Date: 30 Sep 2013 06:42 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
Miranda Fave said it right earlier; the change in Carlos is interesting. You don't expect to end with him, first off, and it does seem odd to bring back this character. But, it's important. He begins the story excited to talk to the heroes of Earth, the ones who stopped the Xindi and ensured the survival of the planet. But as he no doubt talked to more and more of the surviving crew members, about all they had lost, all they had sacrificed, friends who had died in front of them, scars they had earned in battle...it would be hard not to be affected by that, to begin to fully realize and understand just what the price of his survival was. So, I agree, it was a very smart idea to end with this transformed Carlos with his new opinions of the mission; he is as much himself as he is a stand-in for his viewers (and your readers). It's expected now for there to be a change, to realize that high cost of freedom and life.
I love the ending as well. I picture him finishing talking, looking down at the coffee for a moment, debating whether to take a drink and not, and then just hitting it out of his way in frustration with such a meaningless decision compared to those of the lives that had touched him. He waded into very unfamiliar waters...and he's been forever changed by the experience.
Thank you so much.
I wanted the coffee cup to just be that unspoken moment of - dammit, I have no right to be around these people. As a civilian, I see soldiers, and I know how different your experiences are from mine, and it feels sometimes like the mundane world is very small and meaningless indeed. It's a symbol of triviality, and he knocks it away because it is so very small and meaningless.
Thank you for reading.
Date: 30 Sep 2013 06:33 Title: Chapter 6 - Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
Another that I read and never reviewed. I'm sorry.
It's wonderful to see Reed acting like this. He knows exactly who deserves credit; sure, he did a lot for the mission, and I'm sure he knows he had his own heroics. But his desire to push the spotlight over to a man who, at the start of the mission, he wanted nothing to do with and had never been a fan of, shows just how close the two had gotten by the end of the Xindi mission. I think this was great, and a neat look at maybe the future, his relationship with Doug Beckett; what ghosts are there that Reed is trying to make amends with when he looks at Jay's mirror and joins his family?
That's exactly it, of course. A part of both his and Lili's (at times) relationship with Doug is looking into those eyes and seeing the other one, the first one they knew. A part of why they are able to make a family with Doug is because there was never a family with Jay. They accept Jay's sister, too; she becomes a judge and officiates at Malcolm and Lili's wedding.
Date: 30 Sep 2013 06:28 Title: Chapter 5 - Ensign Jennifer Crossman
I remember this...and I feel crappy for not reviewing it the first time around. Not sure why I didn't...anyway. I remember this episode and thinking how in the world they managed to pull this off well enough, how good of an actor Archer needed to be to convince Degra and what everyone outside needed to do to keep making it believable. But it's neat how, in this, you show one of the red shirts saying "well, yeah, I did my job, but it kinda sucked we had to lie." I realize (and I said it in an earlier review) that Enterprise had to cross into VERY morally grey area during the Xindi mission to save their species, but it's a higher price to pay than most people think, when you start to betray your own morals. Do the ends really justify the means in all cases? Archer threatening to kill a pirate for information might have really pushed the limits. Lying to an enemy to extract information, maybe a little less extreme and easier to live with for him. I like who you answered the question "well ok, easy for him, but what about the rest of his crew? How are they taking this toll?"
Jenny almost has it easy, as it's her morals that are damaged, versus her having threatened someone, or had her faith questioned. But I don't think it stops being difficult. After all, after we make peace with the Xindi, if Degra's memory (an all-too convenient plot device) had not been wiped, how would we have explained this behavior to them?
I think we could have had a very uncomfortable aftermath. Plus, unless she's been sworn to secrecy (and maybe she has been), what's to stop Jennifer from spilling the beans? If this deception gets back to the people with whom we have an uneasy truce, how much more uneasy does it become?
Date: 29 Sep 2013 06:08 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
Now that is an interesting conclusion and I felt it rounds up the crew pain and price those in the front line pays for a victory. I think the filmmaker own admission of expecting to be a bit jingoistic and the reality is a nice point to highlight.
I think the statement that heroes come complete with consciences, and miseries and regrets is spot on. This is a great little collection of mini character pieces that you clearly work hard on and so all I can add is well done.
I feel that Carlos (who was originally not going to be the end of the piece - I forget who I had planned) needed to be affected by what he'd seen and heard. Otherwise, he's just an unfeeling recorder.
Thank you for reading.
Date: 29 Sep 2013 06:01 Title: Chapter 6 - Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
Good to see Malcolm Reed has a touch of survivor guilty about Major Jay Hayes, after all their troubled working relationship in the end they were friends of sorts and his death to save Hoshi.
Now that last paragraph feel so right for Malcolm Reed and the description and words combine to show how upset he is still about it.
Reed is also someone who (when you look at the Minefield episode) believes he was destined to die for his beliefs, his government, etc. And then Hayes beats him to it! I think up until about now, Malcolm figures he will die young, and so he doesn't really plan for life. Now he's got to, and that's more than a little bit scary.
Date: 29 Sep 2013 05:55 Title: Chapter 4 - Ensign Charlotte Lilienne O'Day
Another good short character piece and it makes sense to me that event still haunts Lili, and she want some sort of closure with the Xindi family about it.
And of course this is the same incident as the one in The Mess, but with some perspective.
Date: 29 Sep 2013 05:52 Title: Chapter 3 - Crewman Maryam Haroun
So crewman Maryam Haroun next, now this was an interest character piece the personal guilty that by failing to prey in accordance with Islam guidance, they’re somehow responsible for death of others. It not surprising their faith has been shaken and wondering if their personal failing was punished by Allah.
Brave choice of character for a viewpoint but I think you manage to show it with sensibility and grace, well done.
I thank you again. I have a lot of Jewish characters but not a lot of Muslims (I don't know their faith as well as I know my own, of course). Maryam is the voice of a morality that's been shaken, but different to what happened with Archer.
Date: 29 Sep 2013 05:46 Title: Chapter 2 - Captain Jonathan Archer
So first up Captain Archer, well a good job with capturing Archer post war angry and it does feel right to me that Archer focus would be that Osaarian pirates incident rather than the obvious one. Yes the pain of crossing the line and not wanting to talk about it.
Plus he feel as the Captain hes the one ultimately responsible for all the actions.
Exactly - this was his turning point, I felt.
Date: 29 Sep 2013 05:43 Title: Chapter 1 - Introduction
Interesting idea to have independent filmmaker to record interviews with the NX-01 crew, I like that you did this introduction and it feels right that he want to speak with people at all levels.
Nice introduction piece.
Date: 26 May 2013 05:15 Title: Chapter 1 - Introduction
Ok just wanted to come back to this and give a final overlook to the ficlet. I want to say jespah you have done a wonderful job of respecting and promoting the canon of ENT, that a person who watched the show and found the season 3 arc fantastic and engaging that you have treated the themes and content of those episodes so faithfully and fantastically. You have gotten to kernal of many matters and even done so through more roundabout ways - for example Jennifer and Lili's generous and caring thoughts contrasted to Archer and to Reed twisted pain and aguish. Yet all sides show the humanity of the situation, of the characters and of ENT too.
I think these ficlets have probably helped others to more fully appreciate that there was so much more to ENT that it gets a bad deal. I thank you as a fan of the show for showing others new or unaware of the show that much more could have been got from the show and its premise and what it did do in the Xindi War is some terrific story telling and character stuff. Stuff that you have taken and amped up to an even better level, showing canon characters and you own in such shades.
And again, I have to mention the humane nature of some of the pieces. The pained pieces from Archer and Reed and Lily were so telling but I think even more telling was the pieces from Jennifer caring about having lied on a personal level to Degra, and Lily finding a connection to the Xindi insectoid she killed, finding loss and grieve in the other side of the conflict, empathising with the family of her enemy. Sometimes it is the heart and depth of feeling and love and forgiveness after the event, be it war or atrocity, the act of rising above or seeing the 'enemy' as a person that is the most redeeming feature of people. Bravo.
I humbly thank you for your sweet and wonderful review.
This series got such a bad rap. So many people didn't give it a chance, or gave up on it. It didn't deserve that treatment.
Date: 26 May 2013 05:14 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
Coming back to this chapter it was a bit of a niggle to begin with but I kinda didn't like the switch to Carlos the filmamker. I think part of that reasoning is because I was so invested and caught up in the insights of the characters on the ship that I wanted more of them. However, it seems only too right to conclude with Carlos, to bookend it and of course end the documentary with the words of the filmaker how else might it be concluded after all. Who could give the final word. And of course, he is an avatar for us in that through these pieces we see how affected the crew were and in turn are touched by that too. So on reflection I see that it was the inspired route to go. The right way to conclude.
Yes, Carlos is the avatar for the reader. We were not on the ship, and neither was he, and he goes into it almost on a lark, that it's going to be fairly easy and he'll make his art and get paid and maybe get some accolades and awards and he'll move onto his next assignment, about heron eagles or whatever.
He might have felt like any of them. After all, Archer went into things initially thinking that he'd explore and have fun and almost everyone would love us. It's a naive view but also an optimistic one. He likes/liked most people, and thought they would reciprocate. But they don't, and they won't, and it's not easy when your worldview collapses like that.
Far as Carlos was originally concerned, saving a grateful Earth should be a 100% positive experience. But it is, as you noted, far more grey than it is black and white. And it is this time they are heading into, past season 4 and just before TATV, that originally inspired me to write fan fiction at all - to explore that area where grief and healing happen, and people go beyond work and starships and phasers and diplomacy and find their grace and their purposes with others, and the essences within.
The In Between Days, as it were.
Thank you again.
Date: 26 May 2013 04:59 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
Nice to bookend these pieces then with Carlos. And yes, there's no clear cut edited version of this cos war and life does not edit down nicely and neatly. It isn't santized if it wishes to be truthful and it doesn't try to pretty up the ugly.
Date: 26 May 2013 04:56 Title: Chapter 6 - Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
Malcom is not exactly the type of character we instinctively put our heart out to. However, when you write him jespah you add or should I bring more clearly to the fore those aspects about him that do make you put your heart out to him. The detah of Hayes after their long running conflict of interest, the fact that Reed took a dislike to Hayes being on his turf as though it were some sort of slight on him or his department and in the end they both learned to respect one another - or Reed learned to as I think Hayes was always more open to it. It is bitter sweet for Reed then to know that Hayes died in the line of duty that he made the ultimate sacrifice. Not saying that Reed would have wanted that for himself but I think that yes he would sooner it had been him that Hayes. Just something about the noble warrier upper lip Brit mentality that he has.
I think Malcolm was genuinely hurt and felt that Archer didn't trust him to get the job done, when Hayes was brought in. Malcolm would have happily taken on more soldier types but it was the authority figure who got to him, and was the focal point for his frustrations. I think Malcolm also felt that his desire for order and going by the book was really being thrown out in favor of Hayes, who was just as rigid but in different ways.
Malcolm may have seen war as being a bit of glory, and a noble warrior's death as being the thing he was meant to do with his life, his destiny. In the Shuttlepod One episode, when he and Tucker are drifting and he dictates a bunch of essentially anonymous farewell letters to various girlfriends, it's indicative that he hasn't found a place among the living. I think, in World War I, he could've been one of the first to go over the trenches and into No Man's Land, and would have gladly volunteered for same. It's also, ultimately, less work to just die, than to be there and pick up your own pieces and others' pieces. I think he's terrified of that kind of work, and that kind of real intimacy.
This is where I see him as a sympathetic character, that he is unable to get along in the world because, at this point in his life, nobody "gets" him.
Date: 26 May 2013 04:37 Title: Chapter 5 - Ensign Jennifer Crossman
Oh sweet follow up or more accurately ammendum to the canon of the show. The shuttle rigging lie was bizarre and surreal for them all and the way they had to engineer it goes to show how clever and what ingenuity they had to use back on their day with no clever holodeck to do the work for them. Excellent stuff altogether to see you touch back on that moment.
What really strikes though is again the humanity of the crew shining through here because Jenny in all of that feels bad for having lied to Degra especially since she rather believes he and Archer could have made friends had things been different. It is indeed a sobering thought and of course the entire enterprise of the simulation was all about those moral choices that led them deeper and deeper of the path from clear black and white into the grey. The discomfort is not just about failing to genuinely befriend Degra but the necessity to lie in order to win this war.
Jenny's wound is to her integrity. She feels that might not heal (and this is a wound that Archer carries as well).
Date: 26 May 2013 03:13 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
"This victory did not come without a price."
So true. Great to see that Castillo has been just as affected as the others by what happened, even if at second hand. And that heroism isn't as straight forward as it seems, a fact that Enterprise the show reflected very well and that you have captured here. Great stuff!
I thank you.
That line was added later; it was originally not going to be in the piece at all.
But I wanted Castillo to not come out unscathed.
Date: 26 May 2013 03:11 Title: Chapter 6 - Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
Ouch. Reed is definitely in a bad place here, understandable after what happened. Well done with this.
My thanks - Reed is alive more because he drew a lucky card than any other reason, and he knows it.
Date: 26 May 2013 03:10 Title: Chapter 5 - Ensign Jennifer Crossman
Not sure if it was intentional, but the little nod to the shuttle simulator being manually rocked made me think of what they did on the Star Trek series when the ship was being attacked! :) Another good scene.
Yes, absolutely. The canon episode does show a little rocking, so I figured they'd grab three big guys and have them just heave it a few times.
Date: 26 May 2013 03:08 Title: Chapter 4 - Ensign Charlotte Lilienne O'Day
You are doing such an amazing job of showing the cost of war in this little series. And you're able to convey so much with just dialogue! Fantastic!
My thanks. I'm a dialogue writer, probably more than a scene or action writer. I wanted these to spare pieces, where the characters tell the story, rather than an omniscient narrator.
Date: 26 May 2013 03:07 Title: Chapter 3 - Crewman Maryam Haroun
Wow. That packs quite a punch! I love to see different cultures represented on Star Trek and it is nice to think that people of faith will still have a place in a universe based around science. And that feeling of survivor guilt was heartbreakingly shown in this scene. Great stuff.
As I wrote in response to an earlier review, for me, faith of the heart means ALL faiths. My characters, at times, worship. I don't think that'll go away any time soon. And for Maryam, whose faith defines her, there is a missing piece, and she feels she did not do all that she could.
Thank you for your kind review.
Date: 25 May 2013 21:25 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
And so ends a sobering look at the Xindi War. The documentary hit on a lot of themes, but ultimately the one that comes across to me is that war, even when its over, never really ends. The participants of it keep fighting their own internal thoughts and demons long after the last torpedo is fired. Other generations will forget this war, but theirs won't ever.
A fitting ending.
I often wonder about wars we - in the present day - have forgotten or don't remember too well or they aren't taught in favor of other subjects.
The French and Indian Wars. WWI. Korea. And those people were no less affected. And this is why the Xindi War isn't mentioned in other canon, and is not even called a war, much like Korea is still called a conflict by a lot of people.
This is Trek's forgotten war (particularly as it's overshadowed by the Romulan War) but the people who fought it are no less affected.
Thank you for your kind review.
Date: 25 May 2013 19:33 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
A ship full of damaged people. Indeed, a crew bruised and battered. They've gone through so much in such a short time. Enthralling set of ficlets, Jesp.
I humbly thank you.
Date: 25 May 2013 14:06 Title: Chapter 7 - Conclusion (Filmmaker Carlos Castillo)
A very fitting summary. I'm so glad that as a journalist, Carlos was able to see beyond the story to the people underneath. How their sacrifice for the greater good affected each of them as individuals. It's a lot different now--we as a country show so much respect for the sacrifices people in the military make on our behalf--but we should never forget that they are people, too with thoughts, and feelings, and morals which often had to be compromised in the name of protecting the civilian populace. They make the tough choices, and the sacrifices, so we don't have to. This was a beautiful and haunting series of vignettes, jespah.
Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind reviews. Carlos thought he'd have an easy job. But he didn't. And maybe he's a better person for it, too.
Date: 25 May 2013 13:54 Title: Chapter 6 - Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
I like it very much that Malcolm wants to give Jay the accolades, but doesn't want to talk specifics. It's like so many of the WWII vets we see interviewed - all are self-effacing and humble, and much more willing to praise a brother-in-arms, but are also hell-bent on protecting that person, even if it means keeping their bravery and sacrifice a private matter between the Band of Brothers.
Yes, exactly. And Malcolm has always been a character who is self-sacrificing to a fault. He wonders why he survived, and whether he can live up to Jay's legacy. He will, but less as a warrior, and more as the link to the future that Jay could not be.