Did the writers of Star Trek: Enterprise feel a responsibility to address the wrongful treatment of Muslim people, following 9/11? Kris Hill and myself discuss this, and many more social issues, as we review the first season episode, “Detained”.
Listen via the player below, or find the show on your podcast app of choice.
What’s in this episode?
Dedicated to Reno
Kyle admitted that it had been a tough couple of days for him and his family, as his dog (Reno) had passed away.
Being in lockdown had made the grieving process harder, as he was unable to escape the sight of places where Reno should be.
“He would want me to move on, and keep going.” said Kyle.
A Bit of Business
Kyle asked that listeners rate the show on their podcast app, as it helps the show get in front of more new listeners.
They spoke about how The Expanse – A Star Trek: Enterprise Podcast is the only weekly podcast covering Star Trek: Enterprise [to their knowledge], so all support helps.
Kyle listed all the benefits of becoming a Patreon supporter of the show, including early access to episodes.
Back to Season One
“Let’s talk Suliban,” said Kyle, as he revealed that this week’s discussion is focused around Season One’s “Detained.”
He described the episode as being socially relevant for at least over one century.
“It’s shocking that nothing has been learned from what Detained covered.”
Kyle listed the episode credits, and then gave a quick description of the events of the episode, for any listeners who may need their memories refreshed.
Kris feels that Detained is yet another hidden gem of the show.
“It’s got everything you look for in a Star Trek episode,” he said.
They both agreed that it was one of their favourite episodes from the first season.
“I always think of this episode, when I think of Enterprise,” Kyle added.
The Fallout from 9/11
Kyle spoke of how, following the 11th September 2001 attack on America, a vocal portion of the western world population turned on all Muslim people.
He was critical of this type of thinking, and compared it to the “American patriots” who attempted to overthrow the US Government on 6th January 2021.
Kyle called “Detained” the first time that Star Trek: Enterprise really made an attempt to say that not everyone’s the same, using the Suliban in place of today’s Muslim community.
“They were jailed because of how they looked,” said Kyle, who then called out the behaviour of many countries for the past 100 years, who had jailed people based on their skin colour, or beliefs.
Kyle was fully aware of the white privilege he has, in this type of situation. “A white man goes into a school, and shoots up a school. I’m not seen as being evil, like him.”
People of other ethnicities, or beliefs, are not afforded the same courtesy. “It’s just about how you look.”
Kris said that this episode really speaks to the dangers of internment camps, and judging groups as a whole for the actions of one or two.
A Feeling of Responsibility?
Kyle theorised that “Detained” was being broken around November or December of 2001, shortly after the events of 9/11.
“Within 3-4 months of 9/11 happening, there were a group of writers […] who felt the need to point out that not everyone is the same.” said Kyle.
He said that, if Discovery did something similar today, a certain part of Star Trek’s fandom would complain.
They admired the bravery of the writing team to tackle this social issue so quickly.
Is “Detained” Ignored?
They discussed how “Detained” didn’t often get mentioned, in lists of episodes where Star Trek covered real world events.
Kyle suggested that this was due to people not wanting to hold up the mirror to themselves, that “Detained” is asking them too.
More Info on the Suliban
Both hosts believed that this episode gave the first mention of the Suliban homeworld being destroyed, centuries earlier.
Kyle pointed out the similarity to Season 3’s Xindi, who were also being influenced by people in the Temporal Cold War, following the destruction of their homeworld.
They wondered if the Suliban homeworld was made to be destroyed, to explain why the Suliban hadn’t been featured in Star Trek shows that took place in the centuries after Enterprise.
Change of Tune from our Heroes
They spoke of how Archer and Mayweather became sympathetic toward the Suliban, in this episode.
They liked how the episode even had Mayweather openly address his own pre-judgement of the Suliban prisoners.
A Quantum Leap Reunion
Kyle remembered that Kris had previously admitted to never having seen Quantum Leap.
Kyle joked that, once they run out of ideas for this show, perhaps they could start covering Quantum Leap.
“I was a massive fan of Quantum Leap, growing up,” said Kyle.
When he found out that Scott Bakula would be the lead actor in Star Trek: Enterprise, he was incredibly happy.
He loved that Dean Stockwell was brought in as Colonel Grat, and loved all of the scenes between Archer and Grat.
Kris felt that had Grat not been so forceful in trying to obtain information about the Suliban from Archer, then Archer may have actually provided him with the information he needed.
Kyle agreed, and felt that the character may have been a more sympathetic figure, if he hadn’t become so forceful in trying to obtain the information he wanted.
He was clear that Grat’s beliefs of the Suliban were wrong, and misguided, but that he didn’t consider him a typical episode villain.
He suggested that it was Grat’s ideology that made him a villain, but that as a person, there was a sympathetic side to him. He was a misled character.
Kyle said that this kind of villain belonged on Deep Space Nine, and wasn’t what you normally saw from a one-time villain on any of the Star Trek shows.
They both wished that the character had reappeared.
A Rare Focus on Travis
Kyle joked that this was a rare occasion where Travis Mayweather was in the opening shot.
He loved that Travis admitted to being prejudiced, and how that was wrong, but that he also turned the mirror around onto the Suliban he was addressing.
“Definitely,” Kris said, when asked if that scene was one of Travis’ best of the entire show.
He felt you could tell that Anthony Montgomery was bringing some of his real life experiences to that scene.
Kyle said that, when given some real material to use, Montgomery showed himself to be a “f*cking good actor.”.
They both thought Travis was great, when he was trash-talking the guards.
The Master of Disguise
Kris believed that Archer probably recognised the disguised Malcolm Reed due to his eyes, and also because Reed was the most likely to have taken on that mission.
Kyle thought that Reed was hilarious as a Suliban, and that you could tell Dominic Keating enjoyed it.
What Happened to the Suliban that Escaped?
Kris thought that a good majority of the Suliban were able to escape the Cabal, too, and start up a new life.
Kyle felt that, in hindsight, the Suliban stopped being a major threat shortly after this episode, so he can believe that the escaped prisoners likely did escape being turned to extremism by the Cabal.
At the time “Detained” aired, he was sure that the majority of the escapees would be recruited by Future Guy.
To the Polls!
They read out the results of a Twitter poll that they ran on their official Twitter account (@nx01podcast).
95% of people who voted believed that Archer was right to save the Suliban, and to help them escape.
Kris said that he didn’t vote in the poll, as he didn’t want to taint the result.
He felt that Archer had no choice, once Grat became so forceful. Otherwise, he may have tried to change the living conditions for the prisoners.
Kyle agreed that Archer was right to help, but that if this were a 24th century story, the Prime Directive would have likely prevented him from getting involved.
The Temporal Cold War
Kyle asked Kris if this episode added anything to the Temporal Cold War arc, for him.
Kris said that it added a layer to the Suliban, but didn’t offer anything that changed or advanced the Temporal Cold War storyline.
Kyle agreed, saying that it had more effect on the viewer than it did the in-universe storylines of the show. It asked viewers to take a close look at their own beliefs.
“They probably just forgot about it,” Kris replied, when Kyle asked why this storyline wasn’t followed up on [besides a brief mention in “Two Days and Two Nights”].
On the next episode of The Expanse, they confirmed that they will be doing a character study of Hoshi Sato.