'Realm' Not 'Chosen' By Many CriticsBy Michelle
January 18, 2004 - 7:02 PM
See Also: 'Chosen Realm' Episode Guide
Reviews for last Wednesday night's Enterprise episode, "Chosen Realm", were largely critical of the hackneyed storyline and simplistic portrayal of religious feuds. The acting and casting, however, were widely praised.
- Michael Marek at The Great Link gave "Chosen Realm" a rating of four out of five, praising the performance of Conor O'Farrell as D'Jamat, the direction of Roxann Dawson and the political aspects of the script, though he had several nitpicks about the action sequences. "It is also a bit hard to conceive a planet where all of the cities have been destroyed and millions killed, yet they still have an effective fleet of ships in space," he observed. To read more, see the full review.
- This week's episode "takes a well-used plot, throws in some clichés, adds some space-hippies, a few nifty action scenes, and keeps things entertaining -- if never brilliant-- for forty-five minutes," wrote Chris of Xenoclone's 'Enterprise' Power Rankings. He stated that he meant all of the above as praise, for "Chosen Realm" was reminiscent of an original series episode, and why mess with a classic formula? The entire review is here.
- Monkee described "Chosen Realm" as "simplistic and heavy-handed, but not without merit", giving it an 8.5/10. "These simple morality stories worked in the 60's because they were unique to television at the time. Trekkers today, however, are used to ensemble dramas with continuing story lines that explore topics in much more depth," she noted, finding the disagreement about dogma too trivial for the storyline. The full review is at Monkee's Place.
- "Let That Be Your Last Bakulafield!" proclaimed Keckler of Television Without Pity, who awarded "Chosen Realm" a grade of B. "I didn't think this was that anvilicious of an episode. I mean, holy wars have been going on since they had holy and wars -- they weren't invented on 9/11, and neither were suicide bombers," she wrote, complaining about T'Pol's ongoing weakness "because I'm crying 'SEXISM!' at this point, and, well, I don't like to cry. The full review is at TWoP.
- At About.com, Julia Houston said that "while 'Chosen Realm' isn't exactly subtle in its 'message' about intolerant religious beliefs and people who think they Talk To God, the episode cannot be faulted for being too extreme in its depiction of such villainy." She praised the parallels with Pat Robertson and other real-world religious leaders, adding that "the episode is tightly written with some nice twists." For the full review, click here.
- "When stripped down to its skeleton," wrote O. Deus of TrekWeb, "Chosen Realm" is "yet another story about aliens hijacking a starship and forcing the crew to retake it." Calling the episode "a thoroughly uninspired, by-the-numbers rendition of episodes we've seen a hundred times over", Deus praised the acting but found the plot clumsy, the characterization cliched and the drama predictable:
Ultimately the invocation of religious fanaticism, suicide bombers, and holy wars bringing down societies is supposed to seem topical and relevant but it never does. Aside from the suicide bomber preparing to blow himself up as a crewmember watches, "Chosen Realm" doesn't feel particularly relevant. A truly insightful episode should have something more to say than 'killing people in the name of religion is bad' or at least find a better way to say it.To see why the episode was rated a 6.5 overall, see the review at TrekWeb.
- Section 31's Mike Dunham graded "Chosen Realm" a D. "All [this episode] did was spend an hour portraying religion as something which only fanatics are interested in, as something full of silly conflicts, as something practiced by people who have no real respect for life if it interferes with their beliefs...even if I am not a religious man, I can say with certainty that is not true," he wrote. "By promoting science as the only 'true' path to follow, this episode embodies what I believe to be an inherent flaw in Western thinking." On a less philosophical note, he found D'Jamat's characterization to be one-dimensional and found the storyline overall reductive. The full review is here.
- At TrekPulse, Litsa Guevara rated the episode 3.5 out of 5, saying that she was disappointed at the trivial cause of the Triannon war and complaining, like many other critics, about T'Pol's depicted weakness. She appreciated the parallels between our own society and the aliens but found the ending extreme, like the original series episode it echoes. The full review is at TrekPulse.
- Lower Decks' T'Bonz found the episode "utterly predictable", complaining about the ship being taken over again and the unexplained absence of Hoshi Sato. "It was very obvious that the show is really trying to be relevant to today’s headlines," he wrote, though he found it engaging enough to earn a B- rating. To read more, visit Lower Decks.