For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here.
Overview – As the Enterprise goes to gather scientific data on a new planet, a message is received from the cargo ship that Travis Mayweather grew up on and that his father commanded, the Horizon. Travis learns that his father’s health is failing, and he requests a leave to help out. After learning that his father has passed away, Travis is faced with a decision between loyalties to his family and to his Starfleet crew. All of this gets put on hold when an aggressive alien species attempts to take over the Horizon. Meanwhile, T’Pol is invited to movie night.
Score: 6/10 – One of the rare episodes that focuses on Travis Mayweather. Nothing too extraordinary in this episode. At first, it seems like it will be a fairly dull “family conflict” episode that only starts to ramp up its pace when the alien ship comes to hijack the Horizon. The B plot line of T’Pol going to see “Frankenstein” on movie night allows for the rest of the crew to have something to do as the main plot occurs almost entirely off-ship. Some humorous moments arise, including T’Pol addressing a chatty Phlox during the movie. Well written and acted, but nothing too momentous. A good filler story.
Relevance - 1 point. We get to see the “sweet spot” again, which we hadn’t seen since the pilot episode, and it made sense that Travis would be there upon learning about his father. That scores a point.
Continuity - 3 points. Character continuity could have easily scored a point here, if not for one little thing. There is nothing happening that contradicts anything that the characters have previously established except for T’Pol eating popcorn with her hands. It was established in the pilot that Vulcans do not like to touch their food. I will allow the point, however, for a couple reasons. One, T’Pol has been encouraged that it is logical to fraternize with the crew, and eating popcorn at the movie in a different manner would go against that. Two, the way that Jolene Blalock handles the scene shows that she is both unfamiliar and uncomfortable, acting in a truly logical way for the sub-commander. A point is scored for story continuity as it gives us some detail as to how long the ship has been on its mission. Universe continuity also scores a point as things continue as had been previously established.
Character Development – 2 points. Travis gets likely the most development his character has ever seen, especially background with his family. Much like other such characters in different series (Sulu, Geordi, Jake, Kim), a Travis episode is a breath of fresh air for the development. I really liked the one line that archer shared with Travis from his father’s recommendation letter. Great stuff. We also see T’Pol build on her character. I especially enjoyed how she used the Frankenstein movie as an analogy to Earth-Vulcan relations.
Social Commentary – 2 points. The age-old “loyalty to family” dilemma is brought forward again. It isn’t new, but it is very applicable to any age in society. This story deals with the aftermath of choosing something else over the family expectation, which many can relate to.
Cool Stuff – 1 point. Sharp-eyed fans will see a book called “Chicago Gangs” in the old quarters of Travis on the Horizon. This is an homage to the Original Series episode “A Piece of the Action”, where Kirk and his crew find a planet that had been drastically affected by another ship called “Horizon” leaving a book with a similar title. These little tips of the hat are always fun, you just have to know where to look for them.
Rank – Lieutenant (15 points). A really solid second season episode that gives great insight into Travis’s character. He deserved more like this, I feel. While it was solid, it was not earth-shattering in any way. Not a “must-see”, but definitely a “should-see”.