The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Bounty

Following Archer’s successful escape from Rura Penthe, the Klingons have put a bounty on his head. A hard-up Tellarite captain decides to collect on the bounty, and tricks Archer into getting captured and abducted from Enterprise. Meanwhile, T’Pol experiences some unusual symptoms when she and Phlox are exposed to an alien pathogen.

Bounty is an episode of two parts – one mediocre, one outright terrible. As with the Andorians, I’m pleased that Enterprise is putting in the effort to focus on another of the Federation’s founding races, but it is a token effort at best. Once again, I must accuse an Enterprise plot of being workmanlike and pedestrian, because that’s exactly what we get here. Oh look, an essentially good guy who has fallen on hard times and become a bounty hunter. Whatever will become of Archer? Will he befriend this person and escape, or get turned over to the Klingons and executed? Here’s a hint – you don’t really need to watch the episode to find out.

This episode would pass unremarked, however, if not for its awful B-story. T’Pol and Phlox must lock themselves in the decontamination chamber after contracting some alien pathogen – cue more scenes of mostly naked Enterprise characters rubbing each other with gel. The gratuitous rubbing is nothing, however, to what comes next. The pathogen causes T’Pol to enter the early stages of pon farr, and she immediately begins aggressively pursuing Phlox. Phlox, and later the rest of the crew, are understandably horrified that a woman would ever actually want sexual intercourse. They recoil in horror, and ultimately shoot T’Pol to halt her sexual rampage. The whole thing is cringe worthy, and I felt embarrassed on behalf of all concerned.

Remember in Blood Fever, how Tom said no to B’Elanna not because he was horrified at the thought of sex, but because he knew she would regret it and might feel taken advantage of later? I feel this approach handled the situation much better than Bounty’s T’Pol travesty.

Pon farr

  • This episode confirms that female Vulcans can experience pon farr as well. Does the telepathic bond between betrothed Vulcan couples mean that they would both experience pon farr at the same time? When Spock returned to Vulcan during Amok Time, T’Pring seemed perfectly in control of her faculties and not suffering at all.
  • Has T’Pol been through pon farr before? She is currently over sixty years old, so it seems likely – especially as she knows “it’s not time yet”. But she hadn’t yet actually married Kos, which she surely would have done if she’d already gone through pon farr. Unless she used the fact that she was away from home (either on Earth or on a security mission) to have a quickie with someone else to alleviate the condition?
  • T’Pol says her condition can only be cured by sex with a male. What counts as a male for this purpose? Does she need a spunking penis inside her to alleviate the urge? Would a dildo or a spot of fisting work just as well?

Other Points

  • Whilst I don’t much care for this episode, I am glad that there were consequences for escaping Rura Penthe in Judgment.
  • Archer is able to use an escape pod here, even though we’ve previously been told that Klingon ships don’t even have escape pods.
  • Phlox has a ridged spine. Does he have ridged genitalia?
  • Phlox says dating colleagues is against Starfleet regulations. This is clearly a lie – not only has it been stated elsewhere that relationships between Starfleet officers and crewmen are allowed, but we’ve seen plenty of them on screen. One might argue that the rules were different in the 22nd century, but way back in Fight or Flight, Phlox spotted two crew members in the mess hall who were “preparing to mate”.

Summary – Bounty: From the dull to the embarrassingly bad.

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