Archer and his crew have discovered a lost human colony that resembles the 19th century American West. But on this world, humans have overthrown the aliens who abducted and enslaved them, and now treat those aliens like second-class citizens. Can Archer convince both sides to coexist peacefully?
As I mentioned way back when I watched both Spectre of the Gun and A Fistful of Datas, I don’t like Westerns. Very occasionally, I can sit through one and find it tolerable, but this is not the case for any of Star Trek’s attempts at the genre. Right from the start of the episode, I knew I was going to find it a clichéd and tiresome experience. My heart began hurting during the teaser, and the pain didn’t let up until the ending credits began to roll.
North Star’s twist on the genre is that these humans have been forcibly transplanted to the another planet, only to overthrow their captors some time later (*cough* The 37s *cough*). What follows is one of Star Trek’s laziest attempts at a morality play, as Archer interacts with various one-dimensional characters. There’s the plucky woman who is secretly mixed-race, and who believes in teaching the aliens to read and write, even though it’s against the law. There’s the hotheaded young man who is both violent, racist, and keen to punish anyone who disobeys the letter of the law. There’s the grizzled sheriff, who is ultimately reasonable and level-headed enough to be won over to Archer’s point of view.
Naturally, we have to have a prison break and a shoot out, before the side of good prevails. At which point, it seems that arresting just the main villain of the piece is enough for everyone else to forget their prejudices and embrace a new, equal society, just like that. Isn’t it nice when everything can be wrapped up into a nice, neat little package, so Enterprise can fly off and never think about these people again?
Points of Note
- Archer says that humanity has moved beyond racism and intolerance. This will be disproved next season, when Terra Prime starts their “Earth for humans” movement.
- Although Enterprise promises that other Earth ships will come to visit this world and help them reintegrate into human society, this never happens onscreen. Which might be for the best.
Summary – North Star: Another tiresome Western episode.