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July 19 2024


An archive of Star Trek News

Two Days and Two Nights

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at May 16, 2002 - 8:31 AM GMT

See Also: 'Two Days And Two Nights' Episode Guide

Plot Summary: Enterprise finally arrives at Risa. After the crew draws lots to determine who should get to enjoy shore leave on the pleasure planet, Archer, Sato, Mayweather, Tucker and Reed head down in a shuttlepod. The latter two declare their intention to 'broaden' their cultural horizons; meanwhile Mayweather wants to go rock climbing, Sato wants to learn the local language and Archer wants to relax with his dog. Meanwhile, back on the ship, Phlox enters a state of hibernation, leaving Cutler in charge of sickbay.

In a restaurant, Sato meets a man from a planet with an unpronounceable name. She spends nearly a day trying to learn his language while he easily masters hers. Tucker and Reed head to a club that even the Vulcan database acknowledges to be a hot spot; after spending some time checking out exotic aliens, they meet two women whom they deem worth pursuing and invite them for drinks. In a secluded villa, Archer meets the dog of his downstairs neighbor, then meets the woman herself when she comes to retrieve her pet. She introduces herself as Keyla and agrees to have dinner with him the next evening.

To her surprise, Sato finds herself falling for the attractive Ravis and spends the night with him. Tucker and Reed aren't so lucky; the women they picked up at the club turn out to be alien thugs who transform into bald men and steal the Enterprise crewmembers' clothes. Mayweather doesn't have much fun either, for he falls while climbing and has an allergic reaction to a pain suppressant given to him at a Risan hospital. When he arrives on Enterprise, Cutler fears he could go into shock and reluctantly brings Phlox out of hibernation. The doctor has trouble focusing, but he manages to treat Mayweather before falling back asleep.

Archer enjoys the company of Keyla, though she is in mourning for family members who died in a Suliban attack. But when she becomes too aggressive in her questioning of him, he becomes suspicious and sends a scan of her DNA to T'Pol for analysis. When Archer confronts Keyla with his discovery that she is Tandaran, she knocks him out to protect her privacy, insisting that though he has been kind, he does not understand her. Asked on the trip back whether he got a good night's sleep, Archer admits that he went out like a light.

Analysis: Archer's Captain's holiday isn't all it's cracked up to be, but then, when are they ever? I'm racking my brain trying to think of a Risa episode I didn't think was stupid -- and failing -- so while I'll admit I didn't love 'Two Days And Two Nights,' it was neither as tasteless nor as feebly plotted as it could have been, despite its banality. Ironically, this week's outing was directed by Michael Dorn, who had the misfortune to star as Worf in Deep Space Nine's dreadful 'Let He Who is Without Sin...' In that episode, environmental terrorists were trying to protect the pleasure planet from its visitors, but in Enterprise's era, swimming-pool-blue water and golf-course-green vegetation thrive in all their phony-looking glory. In the earlier era on Risa, people apparently don't walk around carrying statues as an indication that they're in the mood for love, either, which is just as well; when Tucker promised to bring T'Pol back a souvenir, I thought for sure that he'd be giving her one.

That absence, however, is the only unpredictable element of the hour. When Hoshi scoffs at the men for plotting to get laid, it's fairly easy to deduce that she'll meet a handsome stranger; when Trip and Malcolm reject women whose eyes appear too 'alien' for their tastes and zero in on two human-looking hotties, it's unquestionable that they'll turn out to be thugs and probably male as well. Not that I'm complaining about the latter; after having to listen to the boyz objectify women's bodies for several minutes, the kinky overtones of their capture, stripping and bondage put a big grin on my face. Between this episode and 'Shuttlepod One,' the producers seem to be doing everything in their power to give Tucker/Reed slash fans plenty of food for thought. In all seriousness, the humor works better here than in 'Shuttlepod One' partly because their suffering and humiliation are actually more believable locked in the wine cellar in their underwear.

It's nice by contrast that Sato falls head-first, impressed with her new friend's language skills and shared interests, rather than from staring at the bumps on his forehead or elsewhere. Archer, too, gets involved warily with a woman whose dog seems an oh-too-convenient excuse for a meeting. There's no question that she'll turn out to have a nefarious agenda; for me the only question was whether she would turn out to be someone who hated Suliban or someone who was Suliban. The thread ends ambiguously with the discovery that Keyla is Tandaran, but just as all Suliban aren't evil Cabal members, all Tandarans surely aren't genocidal totalitarians like Grat, and this woman seems sincere in her sorrowful statement that Archer just doesn't get it. Then again, she shows no compunction about knocking him out and fleeing so she doesn't have to explain herself. Her spots appear to resemble those of the Trill, though we don't really get a good look at them despite her bathing suit, and since we know she's been genetically altered, they probably don't mean anything. I presume that she'll return at some point, though whether Archer's friendliness to her will count as a strike in his favor or a detriment, it's hard to guess.

As for Mayweather's injury...the moment we see Phlox go into hibernation, it's a sure bet that someone will be critically wounded. Since Enterprise seems to be following Deep Space Nine's pattern of not allowing a black male character to express too much interest in the sort of animal sexuality with which Tucker and Reed seem preoccupied, it's a pretty good bet that Mayweather will be the guy rushed back to the ship (though really it might be more fun to see Trip get the clap). Instead of a vacation, he gets a broken leg, a trip to an alien hospital and a brush with anaphylactic shock; bet he wishes some of the non-regular characters had drawn lots for shore leave instead of the bridge crew.

I guess the doctor's bumbling incompetence while half-asleep is supposed to be humorous. But the slapstick falls dreadfully short, and doesn't really tell us anything about his species' biology; finding out how and why they usually hibernate would be much more enlightening. And what happened to Phlox's nascent romance with Cutler? Not only doesn't it come through in the text or subtext, but she looks upon his physical necessity with apparent distaste. Worse, we don't get any indication that she's becoming a competent medic. But even that is predictable; this is Star Trek after all, where love affairs frequently go into hibernation for years on end.

Structurally, this is a very sound episode. Four separate plot lines run parallel without ever intersecting, and except for Mayweather, no one really gets the short shrift. The planetary exterior shots seem both sparse and phony, but the interior of the restaurants and Archer's bungalow look spacious and lovely, a nice change as always from shipboard episodes. I appreciate the nods to past storylines and the character continuity.

A few morals: always take your scanner with you on away missions, remember that dogs make better babe-magnets than pretending to be the captain, and keep in mind that if you spend all your time talking about yourself and your date doesn't get bored and leave, she's probably after something besides your body. The good news is that just about every humanoid race seems to know what kisses are, no matter what words they use.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Michelle Erica Green reviews Enterprise episodes and Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, as well as Andromeda episodes for SlipstreamWeb. She has written for magazines and sites such as SFX, Cinescape and Another Universe. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.

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