Trek In Time

Matt and Sean talk about the getting off the ground despite being doofuses. Captain Archer’s flashbacks to the beginning of Starfleet leave a little to be desired.

Show Notes

Matt and Sean talk about the getting off the ground despite being doofuses. Captain Archer’s flashbacks to the beginning of Starfleet leave a little to be desired.

YouTube version of the podcast:

Audio version of the podcast:

Get in touch: 

Follow us on Twitter: @byseanferrell @mattferrell or @undecidedmf

★ Support this podcast ★

What is Trek In Time?

Join Sean and Matt as they rewatch all of Star Trek in order and in historical context.

In today's episode of trek and time we're going to talk about how flashbacks are dumb a waste of time and yet they still make me cry. That's right everybody, we're talking about enterprise episode 24 of season 2 first flight this episode aired on May fourteenth two thousand and three welcome to trek and time everybody as you should know by now we're talking about star trek we're watching every episode in chronological order and we're also talking about what happened. In history at the time of original broadcast. So right now we're still talking about enterprise we're in the second season we're so close Matt we're so close to the end of the second season I can almost I can taste season three which sounds disgusting the way I said that I apologize everybody.
I can taste it.
It's as un disgusting I regret I regret saying that.
I took that into a place that I shouldn't have gone that's that's bad mind meld so who are we I'm Sean Ferrell I'm an author I write some sci-fi I write some stuff for kids with me is my brother Matt Matt is the guru and aquisitor behind the Youtube channel undecided with Matt Ferrell which takes a look. And emerging tech and its impact on our lives so between the 2 of us we've got the storytelling. We've got the techifying so we've got the star trekifying Matt how you doing.

Spring sprang and is now fully summer. It's like 90000° here in New York city and I spent the day walking I this should let you know where I fall on the intelligence quotient meter. Hit 90° yesterday. So I decided what a great day to go out out in the city and walk around for five miles so yeah good times I think I lost about 9lbs I'm not saying I'm sweaty to say I lost 9lbs
No sean.

So as usual, we like to start the episode by taking a look back at some of the comments from previous episodes. So Matt what have you unearthed in the comments for us.
There's a couple comments I wanted to highlight one is from robottrav longtime commenter and support of the show. He said of the last episode which was regeneration sorry guys I fell asleep during the Wikipedia synopsis and missed the whole rest of the show I thought that was really funny.
Ah, well take ah get some coffee robo because today's Wikipedia synopsis. it's it's something ah it's something to look forward to so.
do director do I just strap myself in for this one god oh boy the the other comment was there was some ah comments that kind of agreed with kind of our take on. The the whole bringing the borg was kind of felt like kind of shoehorned and didn't feels too great. Felt like fan fiction. But then there was None from Robin Stevenson I thought it was worth bringing up I went ahead and watched season None episode 23 despite your very lukewarm negative review and I've got to say that I thought it was a great episode.
Um, listen.
PS I'm a fan of fan of the original series who liked next generation and voyager but disliked deep space 9 and will not watch discovery or picard and like he draws a line that a line must be drawn here now I think it's understandable that they wanted to do an episode that would dovetail with the next generation movie for his contact.
Um, yeah.
And I like the way it dovetails. It's very nifty in my book. So here's somebody in support of what the episode was doing and I thought it was worth kind of highlighting because yeah, it didn't quite strike a chord with me I think it struck a chord a little bit more with you than it did with me and clearly with Robin he he was like totally on board and had a lot of fun with it.
yeah yeah I don't have to try very hard to see how people could enjoy it for me. The I was on. When he refers to the lukewarm negative I was absolutely in the Luke lukewarm camp and found myself kind of like nodding along to it at points because it's a little bit like you know a cover band you walk in, you're like. Cover band and then halfway through their show. You're like singing along with the songs because you know who the actual band was and you're into hearing it and bobba bot and okay I'm into it. This is great. so I completely get where he's coming from and I appreciate the the feedback Robin that's that's great information to hear. So.
Um, yeah, yeah.
As for today's episode as I mentioned we're gonna be talking about first flight and and oh oh, that's clearly a read alert Matt I think you should get ready for the Wikipedia description on this one robo trav.
Oh my God You were not kidding. This is this is long.
Take a big gulp of coffee robo here. We go.
first flight is the fifteenth episode of the American Science Fiction Television Series Star Trek Enterprise the 24th episode of the second season it first aired on May fourteen two thousand and three on upn it was written by John Chabon and Chris Black and was directed by star trek's next generation actor Lavar Burton Jordie La Forge set in the twenty second century the series follows the adventures of the first starfleet starship enterprise registration nx o one in this episode after Captain Jonathan Archer Scott Bacula is informed of the death of his former colleague. A J Robinson also known as Keith Carroden he relates the story of breaking.
That's right.
The warp two point five barrier with T'Pol Jolene Blalock while investigating a dark matter nebula woo I'm not done.
It does not mention who the nebula was paid played by continue. Please.
The episode was inspired by the story of the first american astronauts as seen in the film. The right stuff. Several sets were specifically built for this episode and a reference to the designer of the enterprise for the original star trek series is included in the story. 3 crew members from the Us navy aircraft carrier uss enterprise cvn 65 appeared in the episode and handed over a flag from the ship to the cast and crew I don't know that that's pretty cool, critical reception to this episode was mostly positive and praise directed at Scott Bacula the episode received the second lowest number of viewers received by enterprise at this point. Which was blamed on it being aired opposite the season finale of Dawson's creek that's one heck of an int. Wow.
Little correction for you there. It was the series finale of Dawson's creek so this is literally the last time that Dawson's creek can beat enterprise in the ratings. This is it and of course you know spoiler alert it did so.
Ever aired. Okay.
As Matt mentioned this episode was directed by Lavar Burton always capable behind the camera I thought he did a great job on this one as well and written by johnn chaban and Chris Black and guest appearances included bridged branaugh who played Ruby and ruby is a character that has been referred to previously in the series where trip and Reid have had conversations of like remember ruby at that bar and this is ruby we finally got to see her von Armstrong reprised his role as admiral. Forrest. And he's also playing him as commodore forrest because the episode. Yeah spoiler alerts as I mentioned at the beginning is told largely in flashback. So we are supposed to be seeing a younger archer and a younger forest and they look remarkably.

The same Keith Carroine is in this episode as a G Robinson and Keith Carroden is one of those actors who I never go looking for him but whenever he shows up I'm always happy to see him. He's just he's just a guy who knows how to like deliver the lines look good on camera he does everything he's asked to do and he does it well.
Yeah, yep.
So no complaints. Michael Cannavan was the vulkan ambassador and Victor Bevain was a flight controller and as previously mentioned this episode originally aired on may fourteen two thousand and three so what kind of world are we looking at at this point. Well the number one song was ignition by R Kelly so there's a flashback for you. R Kelly who has since this episode has been convicted of racketeering sexual exploitation of a child kidnapping bribery sex trafficking and violation of the man act he is also. Waiting for another day in court in California which that trial should be happening later this summer and the number one movie. Well it was still x to it added 40000000 to its take following up on its number one week the previous week and just. All things being equal. This is a movie that was directed by Brian Singer who in the years since then has been accused by multiple people of unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment. So lots of bad people doing lots of things in 2003 and on television this episode earned 3 point 3000000 viewers a low point for the season. How does it stack up against the competition. Well my wife and kids and George Lopez and Abc we're getting about nine million viewers each star search on Cbs. I can't wait till this program leaves the airwaves because I refused to admit that in 2003 there was a prime time star search I just don't get it. But apparently ten million people were because that's what its viewership was.
Yeah, yeah.
Fox was pulling in thirteen million on that 70 show and 25000000 with american idol dateline on Nbc was getting nine million and as previously mentioned Dawson's creek beat enterprise with its seven million viewers who tuned in for a 2 parter. All good things part 1 and 2 love the fact that it used the same title as the conclusion of next generation just a little twist of the knife. They just had to get it in there but the number 1 show for the week was friends with over 25000000 viewers and in the news. Wanted to find something from the news on this day may 14th 2003 that would in some way tie into the kind of technological advances that they were looking for in the flashback story. The flashback story of this is humanity's struggling while the vulcans are watching over their shoulder. They're trying to build a warp engine that will actually work in a viable way to go into deep space and the trouble that they're having with getting their technology to work. It's about it's literally about technological advancement. It's it's nobody is showing up trying to hold them back. Vulcans are making rhetorical arguments against their advancements but nobody is showing up and blowing up their plans. It is just about the struggle of making technology work so I wanted to find something from this day in the news and I think that this one hit the nail in the head for me. Because it also has a nice little comedic tone to it from the New York Times on May Fourteenth two thousand and three written by Barnaby J Feder verizon sets up phone booths for internet use without wires. Verizon communications yesterday introduced one of the oldest items in its inventory. The humble phone booth as its newest weapon in the bidder competition to dominate the broadband communications market of the future verizon said that subscribers to its high-speed internet access service would be able to go online wirelessly at no charge. They are near a Verizon phone booth in Manhattan Verizon said that 150 phone booths from the battery to Columbia University had already been equipped with a radio signal technology popularly known as wi-fi to enable mobile computer users who are within three hundred feet of the booth to connect to the internet.
Ah, or.
About a 1000 booths covering virtually all of Manhattan and a few spots in the outer bureaus will become wi-fi quote hotspots by the end of the year the company said I lived in New York City in 2003 I remember when this happened I also remember it did not last long.
Ah, ah.
Because these were used overwhelmingly as free wi-fi hotspots where people downloaded porn. Onto the episode. Big picture Matt before we get into any nitty gritty details. What were your thoughts.
I'm going to sound like a broken record but for episodes now I've basically been saying a kind of like lukewarm and at a high level. The fact that this was a flashback about. Will captain archer be hurt. Of course he's not He's telling the story will the federation will this star feet not work. Of course it doesn't he's out in space as part of starfleeet telling the story and oh this character that he's with maybe he make it hurt no because the the show opened with them saying he died recently. Nobody's like I'm sad. So it's like. There was absolutely nothing no tension of any kind because in the opening coldt a cold opener the show they basically but are like there's no stakes in this episode at all. So let's spend 45 minutes going through a story which has no purpose but at the same time. I did enjoy the performances I like Keith carrodine there were elements of the story that was fun to kind of see played out. You know I mean like to actually see it unfold so there were aspects of it I enjoyed as kind of a fan seeing like holes in the storyline filled in but it was a very lukewarm episode for me. It was a very bad kind of a sad. Sad trombone.
I I agree with all of that I think that they could have added some tension by at the end of the episode a hippopotamus could have come into the bar and eaten ruby.
Ah, didn't see that coming.
Would have yeah it would have added an element of surprise and it could have taken the place of an extremely long and boring fistfight between a j and archer which served no purpose I felt like the entire point. Of their argument was served by a j yelling your father built an engine that doesn't work archer could have yelled back. You're a son of a bitch and I'll never talk to you again and stormed out and the same. The same level of tension would have existed. It didn't need to be a fist fight which had music that sounded like somebody almost like they suddenly improvised a fist fight. It was like the music was like like oh my god this is this is supposed to be action. What's going on here. It suddenly came out of nowhere. It felt very strange. Um and I feel like I'm going to give my response to this episode in flashback because I feel like I'm going to tell it in reverse. I got emotionally moved by to Paul's relationship with archer at the end of the episode that was and it felt strange because I felt like maybe it was the acting. Maybe it was something about the way that she.
Yes, yes.
During the episode began to pull the story from him and it started with her saying if you need to talk like the fact that she is a Vulcan started off with knowing like humans sometimes need to process their emotions in this way by verbalizing it. She deliberately tries to like.
This is.
And she's deliberately trying to tease it out of him to help him. Yes.
But she leaves the door open would you like to talk and she is not one who wants to talk but she leaves that door open and then when he does begin to talk. She is seeing the value of it for him and is teasing it out of him as he's talking but by the end of the episode. When the the B story in this one is effectively them looking for a black matter a dark matter Nebula What I found interesting about all of this is like that's hard science like. Dark matter is a thing that is sought after and by researchers they are they are looking for what is what is the stuff that makes up the universe that we cannot see and because there there are all sorts of calculations behind the scenes of like. There is not enough matter to explain all the gravity at the center of galaxies or how all of these bodies in space are operating that is a real Thing. So The fact that this was in the story I thought was a very cool background element. The story I didn't think it needed to be in the foreground at all. But ultimately the experiment that they're doing in order to find this thing is literally taking shots in the dark they are not able to detect dark matter in any direct way they are looking for a byproduct created by. Literally flares shot into space and the fact that it is as a metaphor he is processing his loss by going deeper and deeper into a dark place. And just throwing his story into the void and she as the witness to that story is helping him with that and the fact that it ended with the beautiful reveal of. Them seeing the response from the dark matter that they were hoping to see without even knowing what that response would look like that's I think where the metaphor of the dark matter is so captivating to me because they're doing all of this without knowing Ultimately what will this result in.
He is telling the story without knowing Ultimately what will this result in. He's not even aware of doing this as a means of processing and she the scientist is running this experiment in a certain way and at the same time is running a parallel experiment with him of.
Yeah, yeah.
Keep pulling the story out keep pulling the story out and when you see the effect of the experiment bear fruit. You see this entire thing The very beautiful and this is where the writing and the acting and the directing I thought just like everything came together in this one moment of him. Bringing her away from the experiment to just admire the beauty and in this moment it being a very powerful demonstration of their relationship. Their friendship and working relationship is so enmeshed.
That they are doing this thing for each other where she is pulling out of the human the need to share the story and he is pulling the scientist back to the world to experience what the universe in front of us is as opposed to what the numbers are telling us and it's. Them meeting in the middle in this very very beautiful way and then the footnote to the entire thing which I really really loved. You could see it coming a mile away but you like I felt it was very touching they get back to the ship and she says. Well humans have a tradition of being able to choose the name of a thing and he immediately thinks what do you think we're gonna put our our names on it and she's like well what about Robinson it seems appropriate as a means of like circling back to her entire response to. This as a story is I've never heard of this man and yet I've read extensively of the whole project of the development of warp technology on your planet I've read all of that and yet I've never seen this man mentioned. And this is a way to like put him back into history will name this nebula the first exposure to the dark matter actual hard evidence of dark matter which is something they point out the vulcans even debate whether it can be real so in this moment this discovery. Will then carry that name on into history and I thought what a wonderful set of circumstances to have like to tie all these things together in this way in this beautiful little effectively short film instead of an episode the rest of it. History the sec the scenes of that story were fine but I didn't find them as ultimately gripping as the book ending present the present mattered to me.
That's. Yes, That's that's you and I are in complete sync here because I had notes for myself of the parts of the show that I thought were hitting 10 out to 10 anytime it was the t'pol stuff with him I thought was phenomenal.
Um, yeah.
And I did get a little emotional and like wow that's really touching especially by the end because it's like you know she she doesn't have emotions like we do. She's going outside of her comfort zone because she's trying to help a friend and a colleague in a way that she knows will help a human even though it's not something she would do for herself. She's putting up that olive branch trying to pull him forward and I I thought that was wonderful and at the end with her suggesting the name. It's like oh t'pol? You're so cool I love you to t'pol? It's like it's just a great moment. But it's so the other storyline. The a storyline is so weak in comparison to me much like I said in the beginning it's because.
Um, yeah.
Like there's no tension they could have created the they did try to create the tension not from the plot of what was happening but from him saying there would be no starfleeet without him and then the first stories are they can't stand each other.. It's like why you so sad for a guy that you can't Stand. It's like they were trying to kind of tease out a different kind of tension from the the action and the things that were happening at the time because obviously we know it all worked out so they were trying to create things that would make it interesting but at the same time.. It's like I'm just watching those scenes and I'm getting bored.
Um, yeah.
I got bored seeing this stuff but yet there were interesting elements that were brought that came at came through in the first season of the show archer is so anti- vulcan it's like whoa dude dial it back a notch here. It's like where's that coming from. But you see where it's coming from in this because you get to see the vulcans being very overbearing and and how they were holding them back which is what they've always said you actually get to see it happen. You get to see how the vulcans are manipulating things and making humans go much slower than they want to go and you see it firsthand so it gives you that kind of like. Ah I get why captain archer was the way he was in the beginning now because now I've seen it I wasn't just told I got to see it and then the other side of it was um so you got to see some character you got to see kind of kind of some rec kinding of his character growth which I thought wast which I thought was interesting but again that was not as.
Interesting or compelling as what was happening in the real time of to Paul and archer on the shuttle pod I thought that they should have probably flipped it a little bit maybe spent more time on the shuttle with the 2 of them talking and a little less time in the flashback sequences. Um.
Yeah, there's a lot left to the viewer to to do some of the heavy lifting in the present as opposed to giving us scenes and and one of the things that as you were talking it occurred to me. There's another element that is revealed and and.
Here's where I'm saying it's giving a lot to the audience to have to do some heavy lifting and connect some dots. They are very very subtly and very indirectly revealing why in the episode trip says. To the vulcans it may have taken your species 100 years to recre warp technology but that doesn't mean it's gonna take us hundred years and then in the present we see to Paul multiple times saying this experiment looking for dark matters probably wasted time. And wasted energy. We should probably turn around now. Well we should probably turn around now. Well we should probably turn around now if it's not for archer's willingness to just say well we've come this far. We might as well keep going have some optimism she says. Optimism doesn't change the physics. He's like let's just persevere. He keeps pushing just for the idea of pursuing the goal not because he's seeing the trail of successes that will demonstrate that the goal. Is achievable whereas she as a vulcan is limiting herself to well if I don't see that the science is going to tell me that a thing is within reach I'm not really going to push that barrier so they kind of indirectly are demonstrating. Why it took the vulcans hundred years to develop this technology because they slow walked their way there as opposed to the human drive of we want to get to space now we want to do this now.
Um, so yes.
So you're you're hitting on something that thinks really important that there's a lot of really good ideas in this episode. There's a lot of really good ideas. There's some very artful attempts at storytelling they were doing. There's some very interesting twists. They were trying to work in.
Yes, yes.
There was a subtext they were clearly trying to say but there was something I can't put my finger on it. But there's something lost in the execution where it just it fell a little flat.. It felt a little boring. It didn't quite resonate the way it was meant to. Even though there were so many really good interesting ideas that they were trying to weave in here.
Um, yeah I can't help but think to go back to what you'd said a little more time spent in the present might have benefited it and I wonder if there couldn't have been expansions in the kinds of conversation that were happening in the present. Most of the conversation in the present revolved around t'pol saying? Well what happened then and I thought you were friends. How come you were adversaries like there's a lot of conversation that's about the story if there had been more that had been along the lines of. Expanding on those moments where archer says have some optimism. Let's keep going expand some of those with him maybe giving a knowing comment about I know you vulcans like to take it slow like a little paralleling between.
Yes, yes.
Flashback and the present might have brought brought that to the foreground and made the past look more important to pay attention to because it did feel very much like oh we've got this relationship between these 2 people that we know and we care about. We see them doing a thing where one of them is saying. Not going to find squat the other one is saying let's keep going anyway and while that is happening. We're seeing them reveal stuff about their relationship that is moving and touching in a way that I really enjoy and we also have a storyline about stuff that really doesn't matter. And if they had done a little bit more paralleling that was evident. It might have made me say oh this isn't a story about the past that really doesn't matter. This is effectively the key to unlock the present.
so so I don't know if you've seen the show mythic quest on Apple Tv plus um it's it's a tv show about making video games. Highly recommend my watching it. There's an episode in season one that is a flashback episode that stars.
I have.
None of the regular characters and on its own. It is a work of art. It is an amazing piece of television just this one episode This is flashback with characters. We've never seen before but that entire episode reflects So strongly on the current timeline of the rest. Show that you are not only engrossed in that story because it's just so well told you're engrossed on it in it because you are making such clear connections as to what is happening with the current video game storyline characters that we've been with.
Um, yeah.
So there's this. It's just for me. It's so well done and this is attempting to do the same thing but it's falling just a little flat I think I think you and I are both hitting on it. It feels like the balance was just dialed in just a little off and if they had just.
A little off. Yeah.
Tweaked that dial a little bit. It would have gone from a lukewarm episode to a oh this is kind of a fan favorite a heart warmer. Ah ooh I like this but it's like it just kind of missed that Mark just a little bit.
Yeah, and it's also interesting because I as much as I appreciated the present Storyline I Don't think this is one that you could watch just the present storyline and understand it. It wouldn't be a complete story. So It needs the flashback but it needed it needed something to to bring the the 2 together in a better way.
Um, here to to relate it directly to a star trek show that basically is doing something similar here the episode of next generation where Picard q takes Picard and shoves him back into his life to the point where he.
Tapestry is the name of the episode. Yeah
Where he gets he stabbed into the chest by the um was who was it that stopped the yeah Dom Jo human um that episode I love that with qe shown up is there a jean look pickard here. It's like I thought that's great episode. Ah but that episode is telling a part a story from Picard's past which.
Yeah, yeah.
We all know Picard became Picard so it's like what's the tension. What's the character development here by having him go back and relive that point of his life and q is messing with it which means the timeline could be shifted and timeline could be screwed with if things will play out with in in a proper fashion here.
Um, yeah.
They they threaded that needle in a very unique, interesting way. That's that star trekiness to the way they told that story so you're watching essentially a full-leng flashback with Picard but you are totally in it because it feels urgent and it has a sense of oh crap.
There was none. There was none of that in this episode Just absolutely none of that. So it's it needed something and I think that balance that we've been talking about might have been able to help with that.
Yeah, so Matt's looking for balance I'm looking for some parallels between the the flashback and the present in order to make those ties stronger I'm curious as to what the listeners think what do you think this needed in order to. Bring it all together in a way that might have been stronger or do you just think we're full of hot air and you thought this episode did it for you. Let us know you can reach out through the contact information in the podcast description or you can just go on Youtube directly below this video. And you can leave your comments there before we sign off Matt is there anything you want to talk to our listeners about what do you have coming up.
I got some interesting videos coming up about some breakthrough technologies on the undecided Youtube channel of mine so stay tuned I've got some interviews with some interesting people coming up so check those out.
As for me, you can go to my website you can look for my books there. There's information available about them and purchasing them. You can also just go directly to Amazon Barnes and noble or your local bookstore. My books are available at all those locations. If you'd like to support the show. Please do consider reviewing us on Apple Google Spotify wherever you found this podcast. You can also do it on Youtube you can like you can leave a review you can subscribe if you'd like to more directly support us. You can go to trek and time show and click on the become a supporter button. You throw some coins at our heads. We do appreciate the bruises and while you're going to trek in time show. You can see that the website has recently been rebamped. It's full of it's full of more useful information and easier to navigate through our episodes including being able to have quick links.
Big big revamp. Yeah.
The audio or the Youtube version of the show. So which however, when you prefer they're all there in 1 spot. Thank you so much for visiting. Thank you so much for listening or watching and we'll talk to you next time.