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Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 03 E 09 North Star

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Only Enterprise would take a breather from something as threatening as the Xindi to go play cowboy for a while.
Enterprise comes across a human colony straight out of the Old West, who had been kidnapped by alien slavers and now keep their former oppressors under their boots.
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  • Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Emily Bergl has played an alien-human hybrid.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Archer decides that this doesn't apply because it's a human settlement that already knows about alien life and faster-than-light travel.
  • Badass Longcoat: Archer wears one while in disguise.
  • Changed My Jumper: Averted, as Archer's team wear wild-west costumes their first time down. When they return in uniform, it's because Archer's decided to come clean about who they really are.
  • Cowboy Episode: Certainly a change of pace from the Xindi arc.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: Any Skagaran who kills a human is hanged, even if it was self-defense.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Other than Archer getting a bullet through the shoulder, gunpowder-propelled slugs vs. directed energy weapons is exactly as one-sided as it sounds.
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  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The North Star humans still have 19th century attitudes on race and gender equality, unlike the 22nd century crew of Enterprise.
  • Due to the Dead: Bethany pays for the dead Skagaran's coffin.
  • Earth That Was: Most of the planet's inhabitants believe Earth is a myth. The appearance of the Enterprise crew proves them wrong.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The bartender may be the direct descendant of Cooper Smith, but even he is disgusted by Bennings.
  • Fantastic Racism: The humans hate and oppress the surviving Skagarans.
  • Fantastic Slur: The Skagarans are referred to as "Skags" by the humans.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: It's not visible, but Bethany's part Skagaran.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: This is what happens when you get your keys mixed up.
    Bethany: What are you doing?
    Archer: Where I come from, it's called a "jailbreak".
    Bethany: It's called that here too.
    Archer: (struggling with the lock) Sometimes it's called that. Other times, it's called "playing with the lock".
    Bennings: [Unconscious on the floor] The silver key.
    Archer: What?
    Bennings: The silver key.
    Archer: Thank you.
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  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Cooper Smith. In the official human history, he's a heroic liberator who defeated the evil Skagarans. The Skagarans, on the other hand, call him Rahk'tar (The Butcher).
  • Humans Are Warriors: The Skagarans learned this the hard way when the humans they kidnapped and enslaved rose up against them.
    Archer: They kidnapped the wrong people.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: MacReady says this of the humans and their ancestors, who didn't want to risk being enslaved again. Archer accepts this, but tells him that they need to move beyond that.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: When MacReady tells Bennings that he can't bully the Skagarans anymore, Bennings ditches his badge.
  • Kangaroo Court: Bethany claims that even if the Skagaran hadn't been lynched, he would've faced this.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone in Skagtown when Bennings shows up.
  • Medieval Stasis: The human/Skagaran colony is still stuck at an 1860s level of technology and culture. Justified, as the humans destroyed all the advanced technology in the slave revolt so the aliens couldn't use it against them, and their population is only 6,000 or so. After things are settled, it's possible that the database Archer left for them will help them along.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
    • Nice: Bethany, who truly cares about the Skagarans.
    • Mean: Bennings, who goes out of his way to harass the "Skags."
    • In-between: MacReady, who maintains the status quo but draws the line at bullying the Skagarans.
  • Obviously Evil: Deputy Bennings.
  • Reality Ensues: Enterprise obviously can't transport 6000+ people back to Earth, even if they weren't already on an important mission. Archer tells MacReady it'll be years before Starfleet can muster enough ships to bring them all home.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sheriff MacReady. He doesn't approve of his deputy bullying the Skagarans, and he's fairly quick to cooperate with Archer once he explains the situation.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bennings vs MacReady.
    Bennings: You've always been too soft on 'em, Mac.
    MacReady: And you've always harassed them while I looked the other way, and that's gonna change right now.
  • Recycled Plot: Alien slavers abducted pre-spaceflight humans who eventually overthrew their overlords. Didn't Voyager already do this? Although in fairness this episode explores a different aspect of that premise (in the "The 37's", the alien slavers had long since departed).
  • Rock Beats Laser: Averted. The Enterprise away team and a few MACOs make short work of Bennings and his gang in a phaser vs. gun battle.
  • Saw It in a Movie Once: Of course Trip can ride a horse! He's seen every John Ford Western!
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: MacReady lets Henry the bartender/barber keep an illegal bottle of Skagaran whiskey as a makeshift anesthetic.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Bethany teaches the Skagaran children at night, even though it's illegal. She ends up in jail for it.
  • Shoot the Hostage: During the shootout, one of the deputies takes T'Pol hostage. Malcolm stuns her, and then stuns the confused cowboy.
  • Shout-Out: Bennings and MacReady are both named after characters from The Thing (1982).
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Bethany admits that what the Skagarans did to their human captives was terrible, but doesn't believe in punishing the current generation for it.
  • So Much for Stealth: The Enterprise away team first tries to blend in with the population by dressing in western clothing and traveling on horseback. But they are soon forced to use their communicators and transporter to escape a gunfight, outing them as being 'not from around here.' After learning the true history of the human/Skagaran colony, Archer makes the decision to skip the disguises and return in a shuttlepod in full uniform.
  • Space Western: Of the 'advanced aliens encounter Western town' type, although in this case the aliens are human.
  • The Teetotaler: The Skagaran who was lynched during The Teaser. Bennings asks if a sober Skag would really have the nerve to shoot a man.
  • To Absent Friends: Deputy Bennings offers a very disrespectful one "to dead Skags."
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The Skagarans kidnapped the first humans to use as slave labor, deeming them suited to helping colonize an arid world.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We're never told if Archer kept his word about sending ships to return the human settlers to Earth. Given Enterprise is Starfleet's biggest and fastest ship, Starfleet wouldn't be in a position to retrieve them any time soon without contracting out the work.
  • Written by the Winners: Archer says that everyone seems to have their own version of what happened between the humans and the Skagarans, and that he's not likely to get the truth from most of the former.
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