The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Divergence

It’s a race against time for Phlox, as he attempts to prove to the Klingons that he can cure the mutagenic virus – before they wipe every infected colony. Meanwhile, with Klingon sabotage putting Enterprise in danger, Archer must carry out a risky procedure to get Trip back aboard to fix it – and that procedure will involve trusting Malcolm Reed.

In case you hadn’t gathered from my review of the previous episode, I’m not a fan of this two-parter. Since I’ve already voiced my overarching concerns in the last blog, let’s use this one to focus on what’s specifically wrong with Divergence.

First off, the episode starts with a ridiculous Speed knock-off plot in which the Enterprise cannot go below warp five, lest the engines blow up. The only many who can possibly fix this is Trip, but since he’s stropped off to Columbia to get away from T’Pol, the two ships have to perform a “warp speed transfer” to get him back. In practical terms, what this means is that the two ships must synchronise their warp fields, so that s spacesuited Trip can climb across a cable from one to the other.

Star Trek has pushed the envelope of ridiculousness many times over the year, and each time it has, I’ve commented in derision on one of these blogs. All that pales into insignificance however, when compared to the sight of Trip suspended between two starships whilst the stars whiz by at warp speed. Can we please just forget that such a manoeuvre was ever deemed canon in the Star Trek universe?

The rest of the episode mostly focuses on the effects of the Klingon virus, as Phlox goes about infecting people left, right and centre in order to find and manufacture a cure in time. Half the time this plot feels filled with tired stereotypes, and for the rest it’s just downright over the top – think Archer developing Klingon strength and brow ridges in front of our eyes as his body manufactures the cure. Does any of this make any sense from a physiological point of view?

Notes and Observations

  • We already know by now that the writers of Star Trek either don’t know how computers work, or don’t think it suits their audience or dramatic purposes to use their knowledge. In this two-parter, the Enterprise is infected by “a Klingon subroutine” (do they mean virus, trojan, worm or malware?). The only solution is to “reset the algorithms”, which is what? Reboot? Restore from backup?
    It’s also worth noting that, as in Voyager, in the last episode Hoshi and T’Pol tried to fix something with a “recursive algorithm”. Ah, unspecified recursive algorithms, the silver bullet of Star Trek.
  • If Antaak decides here, in 2151, to get into cranial reconstruction, why are there still smooth-header Klingons in the 2260s? You might argue that it was reserved for elite Klingons who could afford the procedure, but Kor for example came from a powerful House, and even he had to endure time as a “smooth-header”.
  • After saying that there are “some things that go beyond my loyalty to you” to Archer, Reed then tells Harris that his only loyalty is to Archer. Make up your mind, Malcolm.
  • In real life, we know there are such people as “retired spies”. With that in mind, surely Malcolm can be allowed to walk away from Section 31, once he’s properly debriefed? If they keep him in their employ against his will, he’s more likely to get disgruntled and betray them.
  • Why was Malcolm even trusted with what likely need-to-know information about the location of the Klingon research base?

Summary – Divergence: The Enterprise That Couldn’t Slow Down, and Other Stories

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