Reviewers Enthusiastic About 'Affliction'By Michelle
February 25, 2005 - 10:43 PM
See Also: 'Demons' Episode Guide
"Affliction" received some of the most positive reviews all season from online critics, who greatly enjoyed its continuity with previous storylines, the use of the cast in multiple plots, the direction of Michael Grossman and most of the performances, particularly that of Dominic Keating as the potentially traitorous Reed. However, several writers expressed concern that the things which make the episode a treat for a long-time fan may be the same issues that are keeping Enterprise a cult favorite rather than a show with broad appeal to genre audiences.
- Entil of Entil'zha awarded "Affliction" a perfect rating, 10/10. "On the face of it, [the topic of Klingon foreheads] is probably one of the most 'Trek geek' questions imaginable. Chances are, this was never going to appeal to a wider audience. For the diehard Trek fan, however, this is about as good as it gets," he wrote. "There’s also the return of Section 31, one of the other continuity items high on the fan list. In both cases, the treatment is well within established franchise continuity." Entil was also impressed with the intra-series continuity, referring to the Augments and "Home", with the number of plots being juggled and with the character development taking place within each of them. He had no criticisms beyond the ongoing neglect of Mayweather, and wrote,
Few episodes of 'Enterprise' have been so densely packed or quickly paced, but the direction was smooth, as if the entire production understood how strong the episode would be. Even the score was inspired, which is a rare thing for this series...with all of the continuity references to the franchise history and episodes earlier in the series, this episode is a fine example of what a lot of fans were expecting out of the first season.
- Writing on similar themes, TrekWeb's O. Deus wished that "Affliction" had been the pilot for Enterprise rather than merely the launching point for Columbia. In an episode he rated 8.5/10, Deus enjoyed the nods to continuity, the sweeping feel of the episode which reminded him of the grander TNG and DS9 storylines, Reed "locked in...the moral cell of his conflicting obligations" and T'Pol's expansive mental abilities. He called the Klingon head explanation "clever and plausible."
- In agreement as well, Dr. Phlox of Save Enterprise called "Affliction" the best modern Star Trek that's been aired in years, praising the intra-season continuity as well as the ties to the past and saying that the rapid pacing of this arc works to its advantage. He felt that the episode was distinctly Enterprise despite making references to the earlier Star Treks and enjoyed how nearly the entire cast was involved in the different storylines. His perfect 10 rating encompassed the directing as well, which he said had a "very edgy and definitely modern feel."
- But a note of disagreement came from Lower Decks' Diesel Micky Dolenz, who gave the episode a B-, saying that while it was enjoyable enough, the episode cemented the fourth season's "fan-boy quality." He didn't feel that the issue of Klingon ridges needed to be addressed:
The forehead ridge change has, for years, droned on in the realm of fan fiction; it should have stayed there. Toss in the added introduction of Section 31 to the Trek universe, and it's no wonder that some people have had enough...I suppose if there were to be a season six, we'd have to be told where the Romulan foreheads come from, too. Those weren't even around for TOS films.The pacing and performances worked for him except for Keating as Reed, whom he felt did too much pouting.
- Monkee of Monkee's Place admitted that she was never a fan of Section 31, which did not seem to her to fit into Roddenberry's universe, but she was pleased to discover that Reed had a shady past. "The standout scenes this week were between Archer and Reed – Archer crackled with anger and betrayal, and Reed's conflict was obvious," she noted. She also enjoyed the scenes with Sato in casual conversation with Phlox and T'Pol, and said "Ouch!" to Tucker's dismissal of his relationship with T'Pol as an influence on his life-changing decisions. Her rating was 9/10.
- The Star Trek LCARS Episode Database's John Patuto was very impressed by the writers "slowly knitting together three sub-plots" concerning the kidnapping and the Klingons, Tucker's feelings upon leaving Enterprise, and Reed's seeming disloyalty. "The way these three sub-plots work so effectively apart, and yet so well together, forming the initial fabric of this mini-arc is the stuff of science fiction - no, story-telling magic," he wrote. "I don't know where this arc is going, but I can't wait for it to reveal its secrets."
- Ian J. Slater of The Great Link awarded "Affliction" a four out of five rating, saying that much as he enjoyed the Enterprise interaction, he wished he could fly off for a few episodes with Captain Hernandez on Columbia. "The Klingon storyline was pure 'prequel', and exemplified what the fourth season of 'Enterprise' has done so well," he noted, saying he grew a little tired of the Reed cloak-and-dagger storyline but thought Archer looked strong in that subplot. He found both the complicated Klingon culture, not simple stereotypes, and the complexities of Tucker and T'Pol's relationship to be very effective.
- The Great Link's other reviewer, Michael Marek, also gave the show a four out of five rating, though he said, "I'm not one who was ever bothered by smooth Klingon foreheads, any more than I saw the need to explain why different actresses played Saavik in different movies." He found the episode perhaps unnecessarily complicated and ambitious, but did think that the character development and cliffhanger were well-done.
- David J. Nixon of Sci Fi Universe offered four out of five head ridges as his rating, praising the development of Tucker and T'Pol's relationship as the two begin to share headspace, the unexpected return of the Augment embryos and the glimpse of Tucker on a ship of untrained officers. His review focused on the entertainment value of the episode, which he felt was quite high.
- Television Without Pity's Keckler recapped "Affliction", which she felt deserved only a D grade. She called Archer an ass and wasn't impressed by Reed's sniveling, either.