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"Carbon Creek"

(Star Trek: Enterprise production code 028)
  • story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
    & Dan O'Shannon
  • teleplay by Chris Black
  • directed by James Contner
  • music by Jay Chattaway
  • 43 minutes

28: Carbon Creek

Partly due to awful marketing from the trailer hyping a historical re-write, one easily anticipates yet another time travel story here that will continue to misfire dramatically just as the last two episodes have. Thankfully, "Carbon Creek" is not time travel at all... it is in fact something much more cool.

What we get here is basically a shift in perspective, where one race's concepts of an important "first" don't match those of another race's. Pretty good material for Star Trek to explore, quite frankly.

However, one thing that got thrown out along with time travel was involvement of the Enterprise crew. Only Archer, T'Pol, and Tucker appear today and only in a wrap-around dinner table discussion. Meanwhile, Jolene Blalock also plays her own great grandmother amongst a totally new guest cast for the bulk of the episode.

The actual narrative manages to have a fair share of charm, featuring extensive location filming, some classic fish-out-of-water dynamics familiar to older sci-fi anthology episodes, and some pertinent questions for the Vulcans on the issues of involvement and secrecy. All worthwhile material.

It also reminds us of an issue in the feature film "Star Trek 8: First Contact". Namely, how "big" and public does extra-terrestrial contact have to be before it counts as the official first contact? Spock's visit to the 1930's with Kirk in the infamous "City on the Edge of Forever" pre-dates this 1950's adventure, but presumably that doesn't count because his alien nature was kept secret.

Exactly how did Zefram Cochrane's meeting make it into the history books when so many other previous encounters were dismissed? Perhaps the fact that most traditional governments were wiped out helped ensure that no one spun massive debunking campaigns full of misinformation and doubt, while the undeniable new warp engine gave Cochrane and his team some serious credibility. But the meeting was still an untelevised campfire party way out in the middle of the sticks. A continuation of open contact and further visits were probably key elements as well.

Nevertheless, the incident at Carbon Creek still manages to bring into question the Vulcan attitude of ignoring the Earth until the warp test flight surprises them into knocking on our door. Something about this doesn't seem to allow the two stories to fit together as believably as they should.

Still, not bad. This isn't a great episode, but it made for an entertaining hour. One wonders if the crew of Archer's Enterprise can rise to producing an equally interesting show when they get to tackle an episode full on as well....

Read the next In-depth Analysis Review: "Minefield"

This story is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the Enterprise Season Two box sets:


DVD Canada


7-disc DVD set

DVD Extras include:

  • 2 Audio commentaries: "Dead Stop" and "Regeneration"
    by writers Michael Sussman and Phyllis Strong.
  • 2 Text commentaries: "Stigma" and "First Flight"
    by scenic artists Denise & Mike Okuda.
  • "Enterprise Moments: Season 2" (19 min.)
  • Enterprise Profile: Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) (14 min.)
  • Levar Burton: Star Trek director (7 min.)
  • Enterprise secrets (5 min.)
  • Inside "A Night in Sickbay" (11 min.)
  • Outtakes (11 min.)
  • Photo gallery
  • Deleted scenes
  • Easter Egg interviews (8 min. total)
    with Bakula, Park, and Montgomery
Blu-ray U.S.

Blu-ray Canada

Blu-ray U.K.

NEW to Blu-ray for Aug. 20, 2013!

Blu-ray Bonus features include:

  • All extras from the standard DVD set, plus:
  • 3 new audio commentaries:
    • "Carbon Creek" and "First Flight"
      by co-writer Chris Black and
      scenic/graphic artists Mike & Denise Okuda.
    • "Regeneration" by John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) and wife Bonita Friedericy (arctic researcher Rooney).
  • "In Conversation: The First Crew" (HD, 90 min.) with writer Brannon Braga and the entire main cast.
  • New 3-part documentary: "Uncharted Territory" (HD, 90 min.)
    1. Destination Unknown
    2. First Crew
    3. Course Correction

Review written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read the next In-depth Analysis Review: "Minefield"

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