The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Bound

Captain Archer is given a most unusual gift by an Orion trader – three Orion slave women. Although he clearly has no intention of keeping them as slaves, Archer lets the three women stay aboard the Enterprise, only to discover that something about their presence seems to agitate the entire crew.

I’ve been dreading this episode for a while now. I get that this season is all about drawing on classic Star Trek tropes to pull in the punters, but did we really need to do it in quite this way? Yes, I like ogling a practically naked Orion woman as much as the next person, but this episode is just cringeworthy.

The main thrust of Bound is that Orion women exude a pheromone that makes human men feel horny and obedient, whilst human women feel cranky. You’ll note there’s no scope here for anyone who isn’t heterosexual, because gays didn’t exist in the Star Trek universe until recently. So instead, what you have is men drooling over green women and putting the ship in danger, whilst Hoshi, T’Pol and Trip (who turns out to be protected due to a ‘mating bond’ with T’Pol) grump around putting things right. It’s all very embarrassing, and I was thoroughly glad when the whole thing was over.

Franchise nods

  • Orion animal women have been a staple of Star Trek since The Cage. According to this episode, although the women appear to spend their entire adult lives in slavery, they are actually secretly in charge. Of course, that could just be a lie told by Harrad-Sar to evade responsibility for the whole plot.
  • The Orion Syndicate featured in several episodes of DS9.
  • The Gorn are briefly mentioned in this episode.
  • Travis mentions being unable to keep his cool when the sexually provocative Deltans were aboard his father’s ship. By the time of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Deltans were allowed to serve in Starfleet, as long as they took an oath of celibacy.

Points of Note

  • After his extremely brief tour on Columbia, Trip stayed aboard after the events of Divergence to assist with repairs. In this episode, he reveals that he’s decided to transfer back to Enterprise after all. Quelle surprise.
  • Trip and T’Pol learn that they have established a psychic ‘mating bond’ between them. Trip argues that they never mated, by which he presumably means ‘got married’, as they definitely slept together last season.
  • Given how easily the Orion women were able to seduce their way out of captivity, why weren’t they being guarded by people who aren’t attracted to women? Even if gay men were still affected by the pheromones, from the looks of things straight women would have been fine.

Summary – Bound: Watch through the crack in your fingers.

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