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The Trek Nation - Rajiin

Rajiin

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at October 2, 2003 - 3:25 AM GMT

See Also: 'Rajiin' Episode Guide

Plot Summary: The Xindi council argues about what to do about Enterprise, with the humanoids urging patience and the reptilians and insectoids wanting to get their super-weapon finished and deployed. Meanwhile Archer is still suffering from the after-effects of having been transformed into an alien being, itching and having nightmares. He leads an away team to an alien bazaar in the hope of finding a scientist who can help synthesize Trellium-D, where he learns that Xindi recently visited a merchant there. The reptilian Xindi were interested in purchasing sexual slaves from a dealer who won't discuss their destination with Archer, but when one of the women asks for asylum, Archer fights the dealer and takes her to the ship.

The woman, Rajiin, tells Archer that she doesn't remember her homeworld, only its name, and that though she has had many owners she has no real family. He gives her permission to explore the ship. Rajiin is very tactile with Sato and later comes to Archer's quarters, where she tries to seduce him as a gesture of thanks for rescuing her from a life of sexual slavery. When she touches him, her fingers emit radioactive scans, but a moment later she is standing across the room and he reacts as though he must have fantasized the encounter. Meanwhile Tucker and T'Pol attempt to synthesize Trellium-D using the volatile formula they bartered from the scientist at the bazaar, but their efforts fail and their shielded lab explodes.

Rajiin goes uninvited to T'Pol's quarters and touches her inappropriately, scanning her Vulcan physiology, which T'Pol becomes agitated resisting. Tucker, who had plans to meet her for a neuropressure session, forces T'Pol's door open when she doesn't answer and is hit over the heat by Rajiin when kneels by T'Pol, unconscious on the floor. He manages to alert security; the MACOs manage to capture Rajiin, who has been trying to communicate with another vessel, asking for assistance. Archer has her put in the brig and learns that she is working for the Xindi, but she says that she can give him no information about their bio-weapon, only that they need scans of humans to construct it.

Two ships of Xindi, reptilians and insectoids, attack Enterprise and send a boarding party which shoots acidic weapons at the MACOs. The Xindi fight their way to the brig and take Rajiin but one of their team falls and dies. Phlox discovers that the reptilian Xindi apparently had a suicide gland implanted in his body to release a neurotoxin. Archer demands a complete autopsy and a complete analysis of the alien weapon, including possible counter-measures. Back at the Xindi council, the humanoids and reptilians quarrel about the risk of rushing into an assault. Rajiin shows them data on human biology but tries to explain that there is more to the humans than they will learn from scans. The reptilians do not want to listen, and have her sent from the room like a slave.


Analysis: There are things to love about this episode, like continuity and excellent performances, and there are things to loathe about this episode, like the most gratuitous use of female sexuality since...you know, I can't even think of a comparison; let's just say the most gratuitous use of female sexuality I can remember on Trek, even counting "Elaan of Troyius" and the aptly-named "Revulsion", not to mention Enterprise's own "Bounty." I'm not sure that there could be such a thing as a responsible Trek episode about sexual slavery, but this sure as hell was not it, anyway.

Or wait...that's not exactly true about responsible episodes. This is, incredibly, the same series that gave us "Cogenitor", which is a very serious look at sexual slavery — not a fantasy of beautiful, well-dressed women in exotic brothels. The irony is that despite their cheap, sleazy seductive moves, none of the alien women is as erotic nor as interesting as, say, Vina in the original series' "Menagerie", because voyeuristic desire depends on more than just flashes of erotic poses. We have to have some connection to the scene, some sense of anticipation building, but it's quickly deferred, refocused on the violence of Rajiin's rescue; the payoff tussle is premature. T'Pol and Tucker, who are much less specifically erotic with one another even compared to last week's episode, are a lot sexier to watch, particularly since we get to see them interacting on so many levels — quarrelling, working together, trying to protect one another and trying to keep their relationship from being perceived as precisely the sort of sleazy sexual hookup being sold in the bazaar.

Rajiin is in some ways a fascinating character, a combination of little-girl-lost and woman-before-her-time, not weak despite her need for rescue, not a bimbo despite her use of her charms in the practice of her career, whether it's spying, prostitution or both. We don't really know whether she's getting paid for her efforts or if she might have a gland like the one in the reptilian Xindi that might trigger her death if she did not cooperate; we don't know yet whether the Xindi killed himself or if, like Jem-Hadar, the Xindi need a drug to keep them alive. From that standpoint Rajiin remains intriguing and somewhat sympathetic.

In other ways she's an absolute cliché — a trained slut who comes on to everyone around her. (I won't ask who on Enterprise loaned or replicated her clothes.) The scene where she gets touchy-feely with Sato feels spectacularly gratuitous, even more so than the scene where she gets her hands all over T'Pol's naked flesh, because at least by the time she touches T'Pol we have some idea what she's up to; when she's with Hoshi it looks like pure lesbian titillation for the boys in the audience who are into watching that sort of thing, and rather than preserving her personal space, Hoshi seems prepared to dive in. Don't get me wrong, I'd be delighted to learn that Hoshi was lesbian or bisexual, but that's not what this is about, any more than T'Pol's heavy breathing and writhing when Rajiin touches her is about forbidden Vulcan loss of control. It's about creating sexy images to lure male viewers.

It's clear that my sons are too young for this show and I'd be better off sending them down the basement to watch Smallville on Wednesdays from now on. It's also clear that any male over 18 (or at least with emotional maturity over 18) isn't going to find these cheap sexual tactics a good enough reason to watch the show; it's not like throngs of men tuned into Voyager to see Seven's catsuit. So who is this show aimed towards: males 14-16, the only ones old enough to be allowed to watch this nonsense yet young enough to find it titillating? That doesn't really seem like enough of an audience base to keep this franchise alive. I'm going to be very interested in the ratings this month, to see how many viewers in that demographic instead tune in to see an adolescent Superman who never gets laid.

And it's a shame that this is what I'll remember about "Rajiin", because in other aspects it's a really good episode. The continuity is wonderful: there are references to the events of every episode so far this season, a B-plot picking up on the need for Trellium-D to resist the effects of the anomalies, Archer still suffering from having been completely transformed not long ago (and how rare is that on Trek, to see a character having major issues from genetic rewiring — we sure didn't get it in Voyager's "Threshold"!), Tucker and T'Pol having to struggle with the implications of what they are and are not doing together in her quarters after-hours.

I'm unfortunately distracted by the glaring inconsistency of Archer's sweet treatment of Rajiin in the brig...following his behavior a few weeks back, when, as I'm sure we all remember, he put an alien in an airlock and threatened to kill him. That alien was an incidental captive, a marauder who didn't necessarily have information about the Xindi; Rajiin, however, has already proven herself to be a liar and a conspirator. Not that I'm in any way encouraging regular use of the airlock to torture prisoners but if Archer did it once, why didn't he do it again? Because she's hot, because she's a she? It's very convenient considering that she ends up trying to defend him to the Xindi, who don't listen anyway, but there's never any rationale for it. There's no rationale, either, for what could be taken as a violation of non-interference when Archer rescues Rajiin after all the grief he gave Tucker in "Cogenitor" for getting involved, but since there's no Prime Directive, that, at least, can be ignored.

As arc storytelling goes, "Rajiin" takes some interesting risks and keeps all the pieces of the puzzle nicely in play. As science fiction goes, though, it's pretty feeble, despite lovely alien bazaar sets and a glimpse of a Jeffries tube. I won't even ask the obvious question of why, if the Xindi plan to destroy humanity using data from her scans, Rajiin wastes so much time feeling up...excuse me, researching the Vulcan T'Pol. I'm going to fantasize that the traces of alien viral DNA in Archer's and Sato's bodies will have mucked up those scans, and hope the non-humans on the "Jedi Council" acquire more depth, and wait to see if the Expanse holds any truly strange new worlds, new life or new civilizations.


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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.