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Star Trek Ent - Season 4 - Episode 11

Star Trek Ent - 4x11 - Observer Effect

Originally Aired: 2005-1-21

Synopsis:
Noncorporeal aliens study the Enterprise crew as they respond to a fatal viral infection brought on board from an away mission. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 5.34

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Problems
- This episode is hard to rationalize with TOS: Errand of Mercy regarding the behavior of the Organians.

Factoids
- Organian-Mayweather mentions that Cardassians have been to the planet featured in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Chess scene between possessed Reed and Travis in the teaser.
- Trip: "I remember Exobiology 101, Captain. Humans are carbon based. Our immune system can't fight silicon."
- The Organians revealing themselves to Phlox after he discovered Trip's and Hoshi's anomalous behavior.
- Archer and Phlox desperately trying to save Trip's and Hoshi's life.
- Hoshi and Trip dying.
- The Organians inhabiting Trip and Hoshi and talking to Archer.
- Archer: "Maybe you've evolved into beings with abilities I can't comprehend. But you've paid a hell of a price. You've lost compassion and empathy. Things that give life meaning. If that's what it takes to be advanced, I don't want any part of it."
- Archer: "If you want to know what it means to be Human, you need to do more than observe."

My Review
This episode was, of course, a bottle show. No guest stars and no special effects other than stock footage. There's no fighting and no weapons fired. Not even the Organians entering and leaving people's bodies is animated. Instead of all this eye candy, we get marvelous performances from all actors involved. Another nice detail was the portrayal of the Organians themselves. All throughout the episode we're given the impression that they're vastly superior to corporeal species in every way. Not in a cheesy direct manner either. Subtle things, like the Chess scene at the beginning or the way they so easily manipulate corporeal bodies were all we needed. All of this put a marvelously different spin on the episode, telling us the story from the Organian perspective. The audience is just as detached as the the observing Organians. What annoys me about this episode is that the Organians shouldn't have been used as the aliens here, as it fouls up continuity with TOS: Errand of Mercy. It could be argued that the Organians went through a radical behavioral change in just 100 years, but given their absurd time frames to exact any kind of change and their radically different behavior in the TOS episode, this doesn't seem likely. A better choice would have been Q. No, seriously. Q, or a group of Q could have easily filled in this role and used the same memory wiping trick. We know how quickly their opinions on things can change. We could have even gotten a cheesy line at the end from Q about visiting in 200 years to see how far humanity has progressed, kind of like the line Arik Soong made about wanting to study Cybernetics at the end of Ent: The Augments. In the end, this was a marvelously well played episode, but for the blunder regarding the Organians, I must strike points.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From GDorn on 2012-01-13 at 3:12am:
    I found it hard to believe that sickbay isn't stocked with quarantine suits compatible with medical equipment.
  • From krs312 on 2012-10-29 at 11:15am:
    Definitely should have been Q. My wife thought they were until I told her. Almost seems like the episode was written that way but someone changed it to be Organians so they could reference TOS.
  • From Rick on 2014-04-07 at 9:19pm:
    Why didnt any species in the last 800 years leave a warning beacon about the virus?
  • From Mike Chambers on 2014-07-15 at 2:57am:
    When Hoshi broke out... WHY would there even be ANY way to unlock the quarantine chamber from the inside??

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