Many Reviewers 'Bound' To Criticise Last Week's EpisodeBy Michelle
April 22, 2005 - 11:03 PM
See Also: 'Bound' Episode Guide
"Bound" received some of the worst ratings of any episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, though a some reviewers appreciated the homage to original series episodes. Plot holes and behavior inexcusable even for men under the influence of pheremones came under particular criticism, as did the illogic of declaring that women whom we have seen treated as slaves in numerous episodes really run their society without any explanation of why they choose to live as they do.
- "'Bound' is ENT's 'Turnabout Intruder' and Microcosm of Star Trek's Demise, Says Deus," reads the headline at TrekWeb above O. Deus' review of "Bound." His overall grade of 4 for the episode was brought up by D grades for the direction and production values, for he awarded the writing only 1.5 out of 10. "We can, I suppose, blame UPN for pushing the producers to use sex to sell the series but that's overly simplistic at best," he wrote. "Supporters will probably call 'Bound' a tribute to TOS but that is not the case. 'Trials and Tribbelations' was a tribute because it attempted to recapture what was enjoyable about an original series episode framed in the current period. 'Bound' is just sleaze packaged in a plot aimed at audiences too dumb for actual stories who would otherwise be watching American Idol."
- Monkee wrote at Monkee's Place that she would be "way generous" and give "Bound" an 8/10. "THE Best Line: 'Wow, is that the engine? I can feel the power...' (D'Nesh, to Kelby. The 'Valley Girl' delivery puts it right up there with "Brain and brain – what is brain?" Totally.)," she wrote, labeling the episode "[not] much above adolescent boy entertainment." She said that while she is all for scantily-clad babes on Star Trek, she found the Orion Slave Girls' dance trashy rather than sexy, and the imbecilic behavior of the male crew "like the worst of the stupid Trip and Reed scenes in 'Two Days and Two Nights' all over again!" She had lots of "awww" moments between Tucker and T'Pol, however.
- Lower Decks' Diesel Micky Dolenz gave the episode a 6 out of 10, saying he liked the nods to the original series better than those in "Divergence" but saying that "gaping holes in logic throughout the episode" brought down the story for him. "I wasn't crazy about the T&A aspect of the show, but it wasn't a major detriment to me," he wrote, but he felt that Tucker and T'Pol's relationship was given the short shrift in favor of pheremones and he found Archer's actions in leaving men guarding the Orion women painfully stupid. He had a list of other nitpicks from the plan to tether a ship at warp to Kelby being unguarded when D'Nesh visited.
- "Though gratuitous nearly in its entirety, 'Bound' does offer some nostalgic moments," wrote Dr. Phlox of Save Enterprise. Giving it a score of 4 - "It's crap, Jim" - Phlox found that erotic sabotaging by the Orion women near the conclusion of the episode seemed practically pointless in terms of the plot, and moreover had trouble telling "the difference between the delusional, agitated Archer from the normal Archer." There's no explanation for why the Orions didn't simply attack the ship directly, and "shouldn't Archer have been immune to the pheromones? He did have Surak's Katra in his head for a time."
- Entil of Entil'zha gave "Bound" a 5/10, his lowest of the season since "Storm Front." "Manny Coto attempts to have it both ways: beginning the story in a situation drenched with sex appeal and corny one-liners and letting it slowly build towards something violent and disturbing," he wrote. "It's not that the concept of the Orion Slave Women and their power is wrong or a break in continuity, since it was established from the beginning that the Orion women in question had a hypnotic effect on Human males. It's the idea that all of Orion society is not what it seems." It made little sense to him in retrospect that every single Orion woman we have ever seen on Star Trek was deliberately letting herself be treated badly as part of an agenda:
The alternative offered in this episode is that the Orion Slave Women are not ruled by their natural sexual allure, but rather, they use it to dominate. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem if they were, in fact, shown as the ones in charge. It would appeal to a very different male fantasy, as it is still a woman defined by her sexuality above all else, but it gives the woman the dominant role. And from a certain point of view, the suggestion that the Orion women are in fact playing a specific role to achieve their agenda, allowing themselves to seem submissive in order to achieve power by using the male desire for dominance against them, gives the women enough intelligence to suggest that they are making the choice for themselves. But it's still a form of sexism, because the Orion Slave Women are not known for their devious intelligence. They have been promoted from the savage sexual animals that they were assumed to be, but they are still forced to apply their agenda through sexuality.
- The Star Trek LCARS Episode Database's John Patuto said that beyond the superficial attempts "to inflate ratings - and testosterone levels" with the scantily-clad women, he enjoyed the "don't judge a book by its cover" theme of "Bound" and the development of the Tucker/T'Pol relationship, though he found it somewhat cliched. "Bound" reminded him of a great many other Trek episodes for which he has fond feelings, from "Mudd's Women" to "The Naked Time" to "Whom Gods Destroy", and he found the performances of the three actresses playing the Orion women to be particularly sensuous.
- The DS9 Movie Campaign's Gisele La Roche gave the episode a C-, saying that she was willing to take the episode as light-hearted fluff "since the sexism in the piece would be a downer to dwell on" but saying that it doesn't really work as comedy. She enjoyed the interaction between Trip and T'Pol, yet felt "some things stood out as really nonsensical however as when the Orion women are being held in the decon chamber and they are left guarded by male MACOs. As it was already established that the men were vulnerable to the women's pheromones, they couldn't find female MACOs to guard them?" She was also disturbed that T'Pol didn't ask Archer more questions about Harrad-Sar to begin with. And because we received no information about why Orion women allow the men to sell them as slaves - is it for money, information, power? - the episode largely lacked substance.
- TailSlate's Michael Sheridan gave three popcorns to "Bound", the same as he gave to "Divergence", the last new episode. "Male drooling aside, the episode was pretty good. I say this because it actually managed to offer something positive regarding the relationship between Trip and T’Pol, which I have repeatedly spoken out against," he noted. Because the Orions have been featured so little on Star Trek, he appreciated a glimpse into the Syndicate, and he thought it was entertaining: "no serious moral dilemmas or elaborate concepts, just a fun episode."
- Chris of Xenoclone ranked "Bound" 0 out of 91. "While the concept of females controlling society through their pheromones (insert modern life parallel here) is fun and believable, the episode's antagonists lack the intelligence to make them truly villainous. Instead, they come off like high school cheerleaders picking on the AV team," he wrote. The story never took off for him, and besides the Tucker/T'Pol flirtation at the end, "the writing is classic Trek cliché otherwise."
- "I don't recall any modern Trek episode with such outspoken sexism," wrote Bernd Schneider of Ex Astris Scientia. While he enjoyed the sight of three women in scanty clothing, he felt that the outcome, in which it was explained that the Orion men were the actual slaves, was "too late and too trivial to change anything" when for so long viewers have seen Orion women showcased on slave markets; it seemed to him like one of many plot holes, including Archer and Reed's failure to take any steps to avert the danger and Kelby stuck in the role of scapegoat. He gave the show a rating of only two out of ten.
- Television Without Pity's Keckler has recapped "Bound", explaining that the men on Enterprise "pump iron to avoid pumping other things, and all the Enterprise women get migraines. As did I."