The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Carpenter Street

The Xindi reptilians have gone back to 2004 to research a biological weapon that will destroy humanity. Determined to protect the timeline, Daniels sends Archer and T’Pol back to stop them before it’s too late.

Just two episodes after North Star, and we have to sit through another episode of pre-warp humanity, this time set on Earth in what was the present day at the time of airing. Once again, it’s hard to engage with or care about this episode, which feels about as much like proper Star Trek as Assignment: Earth did back in the day.

The episode starts with random character of the week enticing a prostitute into her car and then drugging her – probably a scene you never thought you’d see on Star Trek. Eventually, Archer and T’Pol are thrown into the mix, thanks to the return of Daniels and some Temporal Cold War bollocks. Seriously, I’ve taken a lot from Star Trek in the way of time travel bullshit, but this episode really snaps the boundaries of disbelief. The conflict with the Xindi never happened in Daniels’ future, but it “takes time” for changes to propagate through the timeline? What does that even mean? The timeline certainly changed pretty fast in the likes of First Contact, Past Tense and The City on the Edge of Forever. Why is there ever a rush to go back in time ‘before it’s too late’? The past isn’t going anywhere. If the Xindi can go back in time in this one episode, why don’t they just keep trying until they get the information they need? That last one is true of pretty much every time travel story, so we could probably overlook it, but when combined with other observations, it’s just all too much.

And quite frankly, 2004 isn’t that interesting as the setting for a Star Trek episode. If I want to watch something set in 2004, I’ll choose a series that is entirely set in that era. Star Trek is about exploring the galaxy – in the future.

Points of Note

  • T’Pol thinks that the Xindi will be able to use their knowledge of six out of eight blood groups to infect three-quarters of the Earth’s population. This would only be true if blood types were evenly distributed across the population, which they aren’t. Of course, T’Pol is a Vulcan, so she might not know that.

Summary – Carpenter Street: Not at all what I want from a Star Trek episode.

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