Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Enterprise Re-Watch: Exile

First order of business: I can't wait for Discovery to finally get here. I'm still loving Trek and finding it hard to only watch a couple of Enterprise episodes/week but, with so much other creative work on my plate at the moment, I'm having a hard time coming up with new posts for this blog in general. My brain is just elsewhere a lot of the time and inspiration, for the most part, is draining into my art and animation stuff. Lucky for you, today I watched The Exile wherein Hoshi is lured to a planet with a lone, telepathic inhabitant and starts down a classic Beauty and the Beast path.

Let me just start by saying that I've never really liked Beauty and the Beast as a fairy tale, as the Disney film (in spite of its groundbreaking, gorgeous animation), or the novel(s) by Robin McKinley that Disney ripped off took inspiration from--and I'm a huge fan of Robin McKinley. When friends who know I love her work ask me to recommend one of her books I always give them Beauty because it's the most beloved of her novels. (I'm far more partial to The Hero and the Crown, if you were wondering.)

At its heart, B&B is about a woman finds herself in the care of a very dangerous man. She is isolated and subject to no one's company but his (and his is bad company, indeed) but, through the power of her love, he is changed into a kind, gentle, handsome, rich guy who gives her a castle with a big-ass, undying rose garden. I grew up around some dangerous men. I grew up around women who felt sure those men could be changed by the power of love. They never did, of course. Real life isn't like fairy tales or novels based on fairy tales or animated features based on novels based on fairy tales. Real life is just real life and I feel like it's just better not to get involved with jerks to begin with no matter how big their undying rose garden is or how many talking candle sticks and tea pots bring you breakfast every morning.

So this brings me to The Exile. The dangerous man in question, Tarquin, is our beast. He reaches out to Hoshi by getting all up in her mind and, at first, making her think she might be losing it. Once she's convinced she's not she persuades Archer and the gang to find him. He promises to do some magic Xindi-themed sleuthing on the condition that Hoshi sticks around his creepy castle for a few days while Enterprise heads off to check out one of the spheres that's been giving them so much trouble. Hoshi agrees even though literally everyone is creeped out by Tarquin. She insists she can take care of herself. She's not some defenseless 18th century French peasant girl, after-all. She's a member of Starfleet.

So, Hoshi sticks around and Tarquin reveals himself to be more and more creepy as the days pass until he ultimately tells Hoshi she's not allowed to leave his Dracula castle because she's going to stay there and be his companion until she lives out her relatively short existence. Hoshi's all, "Ummm. No," and threatens to smash his prized telepathic gizmo until he finally relents and releases her. She goes back to Enterprise, happy to put the whole incident behind her, when he shows up one last time to give her the Xindi intelligence he was able to suss from the telepathic ether. And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

I'd like to say I'm proud of this episode for veering off course from the traditional Beauty and the Beast ending but really it's not as though it could've ended differently. Hoshi had a bad boyfriend as part of a larger scheme of terrible Trek boyfriends which is part of an even larger theme: one episode relationships never end well. Anyway, I am proud of the fact that it was Hoshi who got herself out of trouble in the end. (PS- I never wrote about this but one time Hoshi actually did have a good one-episode fling while Tucker and Reed got themselves tied up in a basement. See episode: Two Days and Two Nights.)

While I watched this one, I did a little fanart:

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