Monday, November 5, 2012

Enterprise 2x19 "Judgment"


Sometimes fans of something don't seem to appreciate the benefits of being, y'know, a fan.  Perhaps they forget that "fan" is short for "fanatic."

I mention this because fans are supposed to be the ones who appreciate what fans will gleam from regularly enjoying something.  Too often in this magnified age of fan interaction, they end up rejecting what they seem to enjoy precisely because of that familiarity.  I know, I'm still confused by that myself.

What I'm still driving at is the appreciation of patterns.  Star Trek has always been about enjoying patterns.  The original series was littered with patterns.  It's nature of episodic television, what makes a procedural franchise possible.  Even when Star Trek doesn't follow the episodic format, there are still established elements that resonate through each incarnation.

I'm not even talking about that.  "Judgment" is a little more fundamental than that.  This episode of Enterprise  calls to mind a specific sequence from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, released some twenty years before the episode originally aired.  "Judgment," to be specific, features a return to the Klingon tribunal Kirk and Bones once got to enjoy, as well as the same result, a sentencing to the ice planet penal colony Rura Penthe.

If that weren't enough, it also guest-stars J.G. Hertzler, playing a Klingon defense attorney.  Hertzler famously played Martok, who eventually became the Klingon chancellor in Deep Space Nine.  Although he only appeared in the last few seasons Martok quickly became one of that show's most memorable recurring characters.

And in that weren't enough, "Judgment" also features the first chronological appearance of a character named Duras (infamous from The Next Generation and a pair of sisters who survived two TV series but not their first movie appearance, Star Trek Generations).

It's as if the whole episode were constructed in order for me to make this point.  Enterprise was always about celebrating the legacy of the franchise.  This may be the most resonant statement of that aspect of the series.

Anyway, the unfortunate dude at the Klingon tribunal this time is Archer, and he easily and confidently carries the episode, holding his own even as Hertzler is, well, Hertzler, actually making the case that not all Klingons are warriors (it's true!).

So yes, on the one hand you can watch "Judgment" for the novelty of revisiting something from one of the movies that fans generally like, or for Hertzler, or for Klingons in general (this is their best appearance in the series), or simply for the fact that it at last grounds the season in ways prior episodes, even "Cease Fire" with the Andorians and Vulcans, tried their best to do, establishing how far Archer has gotten and how far he still needs to go.  There's a string of episodes that continues the story, by the way, straight into the Xindi arc that envelopes the next season, so those fans who like Star Trek to be more serialized won't be disappointed, and neither will those who like it episodic.  It works every way you like, and beyond that.  It's meta Star Trek, but it doesn't lose sight of telling an interesting, compelling story.

In short, there's little wrong in loving this one.

franchise * series * essential * character

Notable guest-stars:
J.G. Hertzler
Daniel Riordan

Memory Alpha summary.


  1. One thing Entertprise did was establish and create links to the original series. Klingon courts are probably the worst in the Galaxy with the pain sticks and all.

    1. Cardassian courts aren't so awesome, either, what with the collection of teeth and all...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...