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[ENT] Jammer's Review: "Precious Cargo"

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  • Jamahl Epsicokhan
    Warning: This review contains significant spoilers. If you haven t seen the episode yet, count your blessings. In brief: Bad. Bad bad bad bad bad. Bad. Plot
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2002
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      Warning: This review contains significant spoilers. If you haven't seen the
      episode yet, count your blessings.


      In brief: Bad. Bad bad bad bad bad. Bad.

      Plot description: The Enterprise comes to the aid of an alien vessel
      transporting a woman in suspended animation, who turns out to be their
      kidnapped prisoner.

      -----
      Enterprise: "Precious Cargo"

      Airdate: 12/11/2002 (USA)
      Teleplay by David A. Goodman
      Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
      Directed by David Livingston

      Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
      Rating out of 4: zero stars

      "Careful, man, there's a beverage here!" -- The Dude, "The Big Lebowski"
      -----

      If a casual viewer happened to tune in this week, they'd have but one
      question: So, this is what passes for Star Trek these days?

      I sincerely hope not. I hope the producers realized this was a dog and aired
      it only because, faced with a deadline, they had no choice. I hope they can
      one day look back and laugh at this atrocity. Laughing is not likely to
      happen right now, however, as UPN and Enterprise continue to face woeful
      days of sagging ratings and a questionable future. With an episode like
      this, those lousy ratings are deserved. Have the producers no respect for
      their audience's intelligence and, more important, the audience's desire to
      be entertained?

      "Precious Cargo" is nothing. Zero. Zilch. A test pattern. An empty vessel. A
      hollow corpse. A lifeless mass. A limp body. A vapid hour. A lamentable
      experience. A lousy outing. A table scrap. A scrap without meat. A piece of
      garbage. A test of viewer endurance. Television detritus. Hoary insipidity.
      A road to nowhere. A road from nowhere. Utter crap. Astounding banality.
      Awful dreck. A dismal failure. An abomination. A self-parody. A bad
      self-parody. An insult to the intellect. A slap to the face.

      Did I mention it was bad?

      At the risk of overstating my case, I'll just say that essentially, this
      episode is one big, long, long, long, long cliche. This is certainly one the
      longest hours of Trek ever made. And one of the dumbest. And most boring and
      pointless. There is literally NOTHING here that inspires thinking. The
      actors are deer trapped in the blinding headlights of the script, coming at
      them at 60 mph. *Wham*. Yikes -- looks like this one's a DOA.

      The plot rehashes elements of TOS's "Elaan of Troyius," which I'm sure was
      already a rehash in 1968. "Precious Cargo" is a rehash without the benefit
      of humor or satire. It plays its premise basically straight, as if it were
      actually a legitimate story. It clearly is not. It's nothing more than an
      assemblage of cliches.

      The plot in a nutshell: Two aliens are transporting a woman in suspended
      animation ("Precious Cargo" -- get it?). Their cover story is that they were
      hired to transport her in this manner. The truth is that they actually
      kidnapped her and are holding her for ransom. In a series of contrivances,
      this woman emerges from her hibernation, Trip gets on board the alien vessel
      and is knocked unconscious, and one alien takes off in the ship with Trip
      and the woman. Trip and the woman must then team up in an effort to escape
      the alien ship. The other alien is left behind on the Enterprise, where he
      is subsequently interrogated in the episode's only scene that comes close to
      working, but is still not nearly as clever or satisfying as it should be.

      The woman is named Kaitaama and is played by Padma Lakshmi, who is very nice
      to look at but delivers a terrible performance. It certainly doesn't help
      that Kaitaama is a walking, talking cliche -- a typically ultra-haughty
      princess who is appalled at her situation and even more appalled that she
      might be rescued by a lowly peasant like Trip Tucker. The ongoing "banter"
      between Trip and Kaitaama is downright painful to be subjected to. Like
      Trip, we're trapped with Kaitaama for the whole episode, and she's
      unbearable while also being unconvincing. I never for one moment felt like I
      was watching actual people, but rather artificial constructions of a
      hopelessly recycled, lame-brained plot.

      There are scenes of Trip and Kaitaama crawling through air vents, cramming
      into an escape pod (tight spaces, up close and personal; har har!), and
      finally crash-landing and traipsing through a swamp. All of this goes on for
      a very long time with very bad dialog and very obviously no dramatic reason
      for existing whatsoever other than to fill an hour of a floundering
      network's bandwidth. It's utterly perfunctory and pathetic and without
      purpose or merit or life or entertainment value. Eventually Trip and
      Kaitaama get in a shouting match before they then suddenly clinch/kiss, in
      an oh-so-predictable scene that is so horrendous as to induce eye-rolling
      and groans. Watching all of this is like witnessing actors sleepwalking
      through an hour in a meditative trance, while production mechanically
      soldiers on, pulling the machine's garbage-in-garbage-out lever.

      What's perhaps worst about "Precious Cargo" is that it's awful without also
      being funny. It's simply awful while being relentlessly boring. Okay, I did
      laugh when Trip punched the bad guy/alien in the face about five times, and
      then the alien actually looked straight at Trip and exclaimed, "Ha ha!" How
      ridiculous. My laughter was one of incredulity. If the alien had a mustache,
      he'd be twirling it while tying Kaitaama to railroad tracks.

      The best thing about this episode was its ending. Not because the ending was
      good (it wasn't), but because it meant the show was over. Just how bad was
      this episode? Let me give you some details for the sake of perspective. I
      taped it on Wednesday and watched it on Friday, and when I queued the tape
      backward one hour, the counter on my VCR told me exactly how long was left
      in the show until it was over. "0:00" meant the end. My VCR's countdown to
      zero was the equivalent of Burgess Meredith in "Rocky," telling me to hang
      in there and get through this fight.

      --
      Next week: The ship is taken over by aliens and Archer considers blowing it
      up. Looks like the Cliche Patrol will be on duty again.

      -----
      Copyright 2002 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved.
      Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this article is prohibited.

      Star Trek: Hypertext - http://www.st-hypertext.com/
      Jamahl Epsicokhan - jammer@...
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