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zealousgirl’s SPECIAL EDITION
After a long hiatus, it’s finally back! I’ve also been doing these ‘editions’ for one year now! (and, only missed one episode “Carpenter Street” ‘cause I just couldn’t bring myself to sit through that one more than once)
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! (if you don’t have the chance to see this until later)
Director: Roxann Dawson
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Star Trek or Paramount. I do this for amusement and not for profit. Be forewarned that this will be seen through the biased eyes of a proud Tuckerite!!! (and, a Trip/T’poler!) I will try to focus on what is happening with Trip in these spoilers. Please check Li’s Trekpulse review for more details.
About ‘CHOSEN REALM’: I am surprised that I actually enjoyed this episode, although definitely not one of my favorites – I may have liked it because I was so desperate for a new episode. The first time I watched this I thought “Damn it, another Archer ‘here to save the day’ episode”. The second time I watched it, unfortunately, I still had that same thought. I just can’t understand why they have such great actors and yet rarely use them. We get a bit of Trip and T’pol, snippets of Malcolm and Travis (at helm as always), and only a very quick glimpse of Hoshi. Phlox was my favorite character in this one – his bat is my second favorite. I didn’t like the theme of this episode; I felt that they really oversimplified issues of religious beliefs.
Synopsis (from StarTrek.com):
A Triannon crew which Enterprise rescues from a crippled ship turns out to be a group of religious extremists who hijack the NX-01 to eradicate the "heretics" on their homeworld. Furthermore, when the group's leader, D'Jamat, learns that Archer's crew has dared desecrate the Expanse's mysterious Spheres — which the Triannons consider holy shrines of the "chosen realm" — he demands that Archer choose a crewman to be put to death.
(Great Start as we see OMT right away!) Trip and Travis are in the shuttlepod, investigating another one of those spheres. Trip comments that this sphere is identical in every way to the others they have seen. They finish up the sensor sweep. Trip says “It should give T’pol plenty to chew on for a while.” After a few bumps and power fluctuations they exit the cloaking barrier.
Meanwhile, a nearby ship (which for some reason Enterprise is not aware of) is watching the shuttle come out of the cloaking barrier. The aliens on board remind me somewhat of the Bajorans (fine ridge on their forehead, long hair pulled back in ponytails, dangling jewelry from behind the ears, and a red tattoo streaked across their right temple). The leader asked for an assessment of Enterprises weapons, and then says that they may have found what they are looking for.
Archer and T’pol are in the command centre reviewing the info from the scan; T’pol thinks that she’s that much closer to being able to predict the location of spheres thereby the pattern of the anomalies. Malcolm calls Archer from the bridge to say that they have intercepted a distress call from a nearby vessel.
Now on the bridge, Malcolm informs Archer that it appears that the anomalies have caused too much damage; engines are down, systems are failing. There are 23 biosigns detected. Archer hails them and offers assistance. They only get an audio signal from the damaged vessel and they ask for help. T’pol plots a safe course through the anomalies and Archer OK’s the rescue. But he tells Malcolm to take full security precautions.
Enterprise docks with the alien vessel.
Now in Sickbay, Archer asks Phlox to report how the aliens are doing. Phlox says that he is only able to make spec diagnosis as they refuse any invasive scans for religious reasons. Most are fine. Archer notes that one of the aliens has definite signs of being in contact with an anomaly (stretched skin scars); Phlox has found several others with similar scars.
Archer introduces himself to the leader, D'Jamat (who goes by the designation of Pri’nam). D’Jamat is grateful for the help. He explains that their crew is on a pilgrimage to the sphere. Archer tells him that they are going to try and repair their vessel. Archer then invites him to dinner with him and T’pol, to discuss the spheres even more.
In the Captain’s mess, the three are having a meal. D’Jamat (DJ for short) explains that their home world is Triannon (6.3 light years away). Archer says that he is unfamiliar with this planet because they are new to the Expanse. DJ says that he must mean the Chosen Realm. Archer asks about the Xindi, but DJ have never heard of them; he admits that they put little emphasis on meeting other life forms.
We then find out what their religious beliefs are. Basically, they believe that the ‘Makers’ created many 1000’s of spheres about 1000 years ago which is gradually transforming the area of space into a paradise for when the Makers return. It is through veneration of the spheres via prayer and not study that they are able to get a glimpse of the divine. The spatial anomalies are known as the ‘Makers breath’ and it is almost an honor to be touched by it (by the way I have really paraphrased a lot here, to simplify the scene).
T’pol is skeptical and gets on DJ’s bad side by stating that there are only 59 spheres by her estimate. DJ displays some thinly veiled anger and challenges her on this. They civilly argue about science and progress. Archer interrupts to say that this conversation is not appropriate at this time, and that his engineer thinks he’ll have their ship ready in a few days.
Now in Sickbay, a female Triannonian (made that up, by the way) comes to talk to Phlox. She is hesitant about discussing her problem, and we don’t actually find out what it’s all about.
In the messhall, DJ is sitting with 2 other Triannonians. DJ asks if everyone is in place. One of them (Yarrick) questions the actions they are about to take. DJ explains that it is not coincidence that Enterprise showed up when it did; it was sent by the Makers. He rationalizes that the actions they are about to take is not only for their own salvation but for the salvation of the Enterprise crew as they have desecrated a sphere. Enterprise is the means by which they can end the bloodshed.
Archer and T’pol are in the captain’s room discussing the Triannonians’ religious belief. They are interrupted by DJ; T’pol excuses herself.
In a sickly sweet tone of voice, DJ tells Archer that he wants to repay his kindness. Archer tells him that’s not necessary but DJ says that it is already under way. DJ announces that the crew of Enterprise is about to embark on a glorious mission. He has stationed people all over the vessel; they are equipped with powerful organic explosives and will sacrifice themselves if he commands it. He then pulls out a communicator, and speaks in a different language. Elsewhere on the ship, one of the Triannonians is in a corridor and receives the command. He gets on his knees pulls out a metal object with a needle on the end of it; chants a little and then drives the needle into his forearm; his veins turns blue and extend up into his neck and face. A poor helpless female crewmember is standing nearby, watching this unfold. Then we see an explosion and part of the external hull blows out into space.
Archer and DJ run into the bridge. Archer attempts to order security teams to take action but is stopped by DJ who informs him that there are 2 of his men standing next to the warp reactor at this time. DJ demands the surrender of the ship over to him.
We see crew all over the ship being held at gun point (Malcolm and security team in the Armory, the bridge crew, people in the corridors, MACO’s being sent to their quarters). In Sickbay, Phlox is frantically trying to help the wounded but the Triannonians want to take him to his quarters. Yarrick finally allows him to do his work but leaves someone to watch him.
Archer is talking to Trip in Engineering and tells him not to take any action against them. Trip seems surprised by Archer’s acceptance of the situation; and even more surprised when Archer grabbed him by the arm and dragged him over to the control panel of the warp core. Archer then leaves with DJ, who had been looking on the whole time. Trip glares at DJ and says, “Make yourself at home.”
They are now in the Captain’s quarters. DJ promises that he will harm no one; Archer counters that he has already murdered one of his crewmen. DJ says that it’s unfortunate but that he had to prove that he was serious. He will say a prayer for her. Archer replies bitterly, “Save your breath.”
DJ, on the bridge, orders Travis to set a course for Triannon and to destroy their other ship. T’pol hesitates, but finally complies. (their ship is destroyed)
Archer is summoned to the command centre. DJ says that he will explain everything. His people have been at war for the last century with a group of heretics; with Enterprise, DJ will be able to deliver the final blow and end the war forever. Archer asks how many people will die. DJ finds this to be a funny question as it doesn’t matter how many, just as long as only the faithfuls are around when the Makers return. DJ plans on not only killing all the Triannonian heretics but all other species who do not have the same belief. Archer tells him that his thinking must make it easy for him to rationalize this and thus making it easy. DJ says that it is never easy to kill.
DJ changes the subject by chastising Archer and his crew for desecrating 3 spheres by not only passing through the cloaking barrier but actually landing on one of them and entered another. His faith obligates him to destroy Enterprise and all its crew. However, knowing that Archer did risk his crew to rescue them, DJ will go against this doctrine and will only kill one of his crew – Archer is to pick the person to die.
Archer is appalled. He requests some time to think about it; DJ tells him he has 6 hours. Then DJ tells him that all the data that they have collected on the sphere must be erased; and then he proceeds to do so with a frustrated Archer looking on.
Later, in his quarters, the Captain is visited by Yarrick bringing an update on the repairs to the ship. Archer stops Yarrick from leaving by telling him about his wife’s visit to sickbay. She is pregnant but wants an abortion because she does not want a baby to grow up in the world as it is; apparently she hates everything that DJ represents. Yarrick is upset and initially says that that is not true. Archer then says that Phlox got the impression that he also had doubts. Yarrick asserts that D’Jamat is his spiritual leader and that he will follow him even to his death. Archer replies that that seems to be quite likely.
Yarrick storms off; he finds his wife. He tells her what Archer told him. She did not have the abortion as Phlox needed time to study their physiology and is now under guard. They both express their doubts about DJ’s plan.
Now, in the ready room, Archer comes to find DJ. DJ is happy to see him and says that they are not all that different. He knows that Archer’s mission is find the Xindi and to save his world; not all that different, in his opinion, to his mission. Of course, Archer strongly disagrees that their causes are similar. They chat for a bit more. DJ talks about having to make difficult choices – he tells a story about when he fought with the Holy Regiments and they captured a young boy who had discovered their hideout; they had to kill the boy in order to assure success of their mission. “In the service of the Makers, all actions are the blessed ones.”
Archer argues that he is wrong; that the spheres are machines and not a divine device. DJ, of course, won’t have it. He seems disappointed with Archer that he has not come to believe in the Makers etc… He demands to know who will be sacrificed – Archer volunteers himself.
DJ tries to talk him out of it initially, but then says that again they are a lot alike as he would have done the same in his situation. Archer has one request – to use a device that they have on board for executions which is considered humane.
At the transporter pad, T’pol is working the controls while Archer, DJ and another Triannonian look on. A metal container on the pad evaporates, as Archer explains that the molecules have been disassembled – quick and painless. Archer stoically steps on the pad; T’pol feigns concern; Archer asks her to have Phlox take care of Porthos, and for her to take care of Enterprise. He nods his assent and then is transported. DJ extends his sympathies to T’pol and tells her to inform the crew.
In the command center, DJ and Yarrick discuss the mission. Yarrick is starting to doubt the mission as the crew of Enterprise is not their enemies. DJ tells him that by doubting him, he is doubting the Makers and that makes him a heretic. Yarrick backs down.
In Sickbay, Phlox gets a message from Archer (who is hidden away somewhere else on the ship where there are lots of control panels but no other people - ???). He wants Phlox to neutralize the organic explosives. Phlox needs a scan of one of the Triannonian. Soon after we see Archer sneak up on one of them and knock him out. He brings the alien to a Jefferies tube (tied up and gagged) and scans him there – sending the results to Phlox. (who’s guard is completely clueless)
DJ is informed that one of his men is missing and storms to the bridge to have T’pol use the sensors to find him. Just as he steps on the bridge, the ship’s power fluctuates and it drops out of warp. T’pol tells him that she cannot identify the cause.
In Engineering, Trip is questioned about what has happened and pleads his innocence. His guard confirms that he never left his sight, so was not responsible for the ship’s problems. Someone notes a problem with one of the EPS conduits, so DJ sends Yarrick and another to investigate. Of course, Archer is there waiting for them and stuns the other. Archer tries to convince Yarrick to help him. Yarrick initially refuses, but Archer is persistent (blah, blah, blah) and finally convinces him.
Back on the bridge, DJ is frustrated as he still does not know what’s going on. Travis interrupts to tell him that a convoy of ships is approaching.
Elsewhere, Archer and Yarrick are working on some control panels, setting up their plan. We find out that the reason DJ and his crew consider the others heretics is that DJ believes that the Chosen Realm was created in 9 days, while the others believe it was in 10 days (I’m sorry but this is just too ridiculous. . . I think it oversimplifies the problem, as we all know that this episode is actually about the way that religious zealots are willing to sacrifice even themselves for their beliefs).
Archer explains the plan to Yarrick. Phlox has designed a agent that neutralizes one of the enzymes in the organic explosive, making it inert. They need to re-route environmental systems to Sickbay so that the agent can be delivered. This can only be done on the bridge and Yarrick needs to be taught how to do this.
On the bridge, they are hailed by the convoy. A Triannonian (with a black tattoo streaked on his left temple) is displayed on the viewscreen. DJ demands their surrender, as Enterprise has more weaponry than even their 4 ships. He promises to treat them fairly. The ‘Heretic’ tells him that he knows how D’Jamat treats those that he considers heretics, so refuses.
DJ orders to fire on them.
T’pol tries to stop them, but someone pulls a weapon on her. The battle begins.
In Sickbay, Phlox, in the turmoil of the shaking ship, sets his bat loose. His Triannonian guard is kinda freaked out by it, despite Phlox’s assertion that it is harmless – unless of course it is agitated.
Meanwhile, Archer is running around the ship setting Malcolm and the MACO’s free.
Yarrick arrives on bridge and informs DJ that the engine repairs will be complete within a few hours, then skulks to the back of the bridge to one of the controls and starts to work on re-routing environmental controls to Sickbay.
Phlox is still in Sickbay, telling the guard to be careful since he does not have an antidote to its venom (I love Phlox!!!). The bat swoops past the guard, who ducks. Phlox is able to inject the guard with a sedative and knocks him out. He then says, “There’ll be extra helping of snow beetles for you tonight, young lady”. (best line of the night) He has somehow already made the neutralizing agent, and sends it into the ventilation system.
In Engineering, a firefight is underway with Malcolm and Archer against a few Triannonians. One of them pretends to give up, but then as he is coming towards Archer and Malcolm he tries to set off his organic explosive, but of course fails.
On the bridge, DJ is ordering the pursuit and destruction of the heretic vessels.
Back in engineering, more fire fighting is taking place. Again, Archer saves the day there.
In the corridor, Malcolm and a MACO fight a couple more of them. The female MACO is about to be shot after she is knocked down but is saved by Yarrick’s wife who ends up shooting one of her own kind.
On the bridge, they receive a hail from the heretics who want to surrender, but DJ orders them to continue firing. The weapons, however, are no longer responding. Just then, Archer hails the bridge to tell DJ that he has taken back engineering and weapons, and that the organic explosives have been neutralized. Archer demands DJ’s surrender, who refuses.
The Heretics, seeing that Enterprise is no longer firing on them, turns about and starts to fire at Enterprise again. The next few moments are quite frantic (weapons firing, ship shaking etc…) but in the end, DJ is rendered unconscious and Malcolm takes control on the bridge again. They get weapons back on-line and fire back at the Heretics, just enough so that they know Enterprise is back in business. Archer shows up on the bridge, they hail the Heretics and convince them to stop firing on Enterprise as DJ is no longer in control.
Some time later, Enterprise is now in orbit around Triannon. Archer comes to get DJ from the brig. DJ tells him that he has done a terrible thing – that he has stopped DJ from bringing peace to his world. They argue a bit about it, and DJ says that all that matters is the ‘sacred truth’. Archer responds that he’ll show him the truth.
Now on the planet, Archer steps out of one of the 2 pods that just landed. DJ and a few of his zealots step out. All that there is around them is grey dirt, scattered debris, and few almost completely destroyed structures. Everyone is in shock. Archer tells them that both sides were decimated about 8 months ago; there are no major cities left; nearly everyone is dead.
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