Sunny Lee wonders what's up with the yellow and blue face powder -- and all that 23rd Century Chinese food
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Erick Avari, Scott Bakula, ...
Credit: Enterprise: Ron Tom

The ”Star Trek” crew meet humans in bad make-up

Terra Nova means ”New Land” in Latin. I learned that in the seventh grade. And Terra Nova is also the name of one of the first Earth settlements created on a planet colonized before fast interstellar travel was possible. That I learned on the Oct. 24 episode of UPN’s ”Enterprise.”

When the crew arrives on this alien planet, they realize that the descendents of the original colonists haven’t caught on to the fact that they are humans. In a nutshell, the Novens do not identify themselves as humans because decades ago the humans screwed them over big time by abandoning them to live, mole-like, in underground villages to escape acid rain. Naturally, the Novens believe that all humans are evil.

So what is a Noven? A Noven, evidently, is an actor on a UPN series with a lot of theatrical make-up spackled on. The reason the crew mistakes the Novens for aliens is because their faces are supposed to look like they’ve been assaulted by a bevy of beavers. For Pete’s sake, it’s acid rain. Instead, their faces look normally human with a dab here and there of yellow and blue powder. That’s not an alien! That’s Nicole from the ”Real World”!

What’s really great about this episode is that Dr. Phlox cures one of the Novens of lung cancer. ”But I will need a few minutes to synthesize the cure,” says the doctor. Our 21st century mind is stymied by the mere prospect of a cure for cancer ? not so in the technologically advanced 23rd Century.

Perhaps someone can explain to me why Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) runs for cover after a shoot out and then flees the alien planet with his crew — minus Lt. Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating). Now, I don’t know much about military honor and integrity, but shouldn’t the Captain at least TRY to save all his men? After all, Lt. Reed gets capped in the leg fighting the Novens. Instead, Archer books to saves his own inter-galactic behind. Sure, to his credit he returns, but only after a hot shower and a hearty meal.

And speaking of meals, is anyone picking up on the crew’s dining habits? Do they actually eat with chopsticks at the end of the episode? Is that Kung Pao chicken with asparagus they are noshing on? Who’s cooking their meals, and more importantly, by the year 2300 haven’t they figured out that Kung Pao chicken is really bad for you?

As always, these ”Star Trek” tales have a moral, and I like what ”Enterprise” writer and executive producer Rick Berman accomplishes with this episode. Captain Archer says it best: ”Humans help each other. I just want to help you.” (Cue violins.) People are people, and we should try to help one another, no matter how different we look from each other. (Stop violins.) Hey, I learned that one on Be-Kind-To-Your-Neighbor day in kindergarten.

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