'Borderland' Earns Mixed Reviews OnlineBy Michelle
November 5, 2004 - 1:16 AM
See Also: 'Borderland' Episode Guide
Online reviews for last Friday night's episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, "Borderland", reflected a wide range of opinion. Some writers felt that Brent Spiner's guest appearance as Arik Soong was the series' finest performance, while others found him dull or uninspired; some critics greatly enjoyed the slave market sequence and the Augments while others compared them unfavorably to other science fiction shows.
- "If I hadn't been so engrossed the first half hour of this episode that I forgot to take notes, I probably would have written 'Brent Spiner' at least seven times," wrote Erik Dardan Ymeraga of Section 31. "The sharp contrast between the character of 'mad scientist' Dr. Arik Soong and the emotionless Data, both portrayed masterfully, shows the remarkable range Spiner is capable of as an actor, and I don't think the role would have worked for anyone else." Ymeraga gave "Borderland" a grade of B+, the same as "Home", noting that unlike "Storm Front" where he did not have much anticipation for Part Two, this episode made him look forward to the rest of the arc. He also liked the exit from drydock, the appearance of the Orions and the Augments takeover of the Klingon ship. Though he found the violence continuing to be excessive, he felt that the episode offered "clever and engrossing characterization and the dark but compelling plotline." For more, read the review at Section 31.
- One of a few reviewers to drop his rating from the week before, The Great Link's Michael Marek gave the episode a score of four out of five. "'Borderland' is rooted in one of the most venerable storytelling traditions of 'Star Trek", he wrote, citing Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's interest in people with powers beyond those of their peers. He felt that the strongest part of the episode was Spiner as Soong, who "honestly believes that genetic enhancements can improve the human race by eliminating disease and lengthening life." Though Marek found the plot involving the Orions predictable, he enjoyed the connections with the original series. The full review is at The Great Link.
- TrekWeb's O. Deus rated "Borderland" a 5 overall, protesting "the tedious scenes featuring internal rivalries between the supermen who look, act and sound like refugees from a bad 80's music video" and expressing disappointment in Spiner's performance:
Spiner's work in "Borderland" is weak. His performance is comic, a portrayal of a character who is snidely creepy but lacking any depth or nuance. Even when Soong delivers his monologue on the wonders of genetics, he's sniveling. Spiner has no interest in injecting any real passion or nuance into Soong and the result is a character who is mostly amusing and little else. As in "Think Tank," it's another case of a celebrity role poorly filled by a guest star who isn't interested or willing to do the necessary work it takes to make the part work.He appreciated the continuity but not the "T'Pol and Trip Soap Opera That Never Ends Even Though It Probably Should Have Eons Ago", nor the lack of relevant danger. The full review is at TrekWeb.
- Lower Decks' Morbo gave "Borderland" a rating of 7/10, one point higher than the site's grade for "Home". "The opening fight scene just plain rocked," he said, expressing disappointment that the duel between the two Augments was settled by a knife rather than a more action-oriented struggle. He also liked the space politics and Soong's sarcastic lack of respect for Archer. Though the episode left him with many unanswered questions, he appreciated too Soong's quip about the need for more humour among the crew. The full review is at Lower Decks.
- "A great example of how the show has evolved for the better," wrote Chris of Xenoclone, whose site has been redesigned. Spiner, however, failed to impress, earning notes as the episode's single worst feature. Tightly-written dialogue and numerous references to previous Treks, which might help to expand Enterprise's fan base, received positive mention. The full review is at Xenoclone.
- Guy Gardener of TrekPulse wrote that "Spiner was amazing acting Bakula's pants off" and amused by the "giant men that can rattle Barbie doll actresses like a, well, Barbie doll." Though he loathed the Augments' costumes, he liked the slave market scenery and the wit injected into the story. To read more about why he rated "Borderland" a 4/5, the full review is at TrekPulse.
- Television Without Pity has recapped the episode, labeling it "Space Seedy" and joking, "Remember those Orion slave girls they've been promising since the first season? Yeah, they finally showed up long enough to take off their clothes."