The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Precious Cargo

When Enterprise runs into a pair of cargo traders, Trip agrees to help them fix the stasis pod holding their sleeping passenger. But when he learns that she is a monarch who is being held against her will, he stages a bold escape from her captors’ clutches – whether she wants to come along or not.

Precious Cargo is a very TOS-like episode. It’s pretty much the bastard offspring of The Perfect Mate and Elaan of Troyius, with a dose of The African Queen thrown in for good measure. We’ve seen the story of a haughty woman being rescued by a salt of the earth man many times before, and Enterprise really offers us nothing new here. Bearing in mind that this episode aired in 2002, is it too much to ask that the writers might have added a soupçon of originality? Instead, we get tired old gender roles, and a plot that’s entirely predictable right from the start. If I were watching this as an episode of TOS, I’d probably be mostly fine with it, but is it wrong to want more from Enterprise? It represents a more modern era, not to mention one in which the many stories from earlier Star Treks have already been done to death.

Of course, I’m well aware that by asking for something new and original, I may actually be wishing for exactly what I’m going to get next week with the ‘grittier’ and not at all Star Trek-like Discovery. Maybe Enterprise was right to play it safe all along.

Franchise Nods

Kaitaama is a Kriosian, as was Kamala, the empathic metamorph seen in The Perfect Mate. Although Kaaitama is not an empathic metamorph herself, she does have her species distinctive Trill-like spots.

The Kriosians were ultimately conquered by the Klingon Empire in the 24th century.

Points of Note

  • Trip was amazingly confident that he could find edible food on a completely alien world, where everything might easily be indigestible or poisonous to a human.
  • What would have happened if Kaitaama had needed to use the bathroom on the escape pod? I’d like to imagine that that happened off screen, with ‘hilarious’ consequences.
  • Kaitaama is not allowed to “socialise with members of the opposite sex”, but presumably she can have as many lesbian relationships as she wants.

Summary – Precious Cargo: Come on, Enterprise, you can do better than this.

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