|Star Trek: Enterprise episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||LeVar Burton|
|Written by||Michael Sussman|
|Featured music||Velton Ray Bunch|
|Original air date||November 12, 2004|
"The Augments" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the eighty-second episode overall. It was directed by LeVar Burton from a script by Michael Sussman. The episode is the last of a three episode arc, preceded by "Borderland", and "Cold Station 12".
The series follows the adventures of the first Starfleet starship Enterprise, registration NX-01. In this episode, the genetically engineered Humans called "Augments" seek to begin a Human-Klingon war to distract from Starfleet pursuing them. Malik turns on Doctor Arik Soong, who escapes and helps Enterprise to prevent the war by disabling the Augement's vessel. Enraged, Malik destroys the ship and transports himself onboard Enterprise where Captain Jonathan Archer is forced to kill him to save Soong.
The production of the episode reunited Burton with fellow Star Trek: The Next Generation alumni Brent Spiner. The majority of the guest cast, with the exception of Mark Rolston, had returned from earlier in the trilogy of episodes. The additional sets were also re-used from those episodes, with the exception of a Klingon escape pod. "The Augments" was first broadcast on UPN on November 12, 2004, where according to Nielsen ratings it was watched by 2.1 percent of the population of the United States. It received mixed reviews by critics, who spoke negatively of the characterisation of Malik, but praised the performance of Brent Spiner.
Captain Archer manages to restore stasis around the central compound, and is beamed from space as pathogens flood the compound. Arriving in Klingon space, Doctor Soong plans to take the Augments and the stolen embryos to an region flooded with radiation from supernova remnants, which he refers to as the "Briar Patch". It contains several habitable planets they could settle, and they would be difficult to locate within the clouds of radiation. However, Malik vocally dissents against what he sees as a weak and cowardly plan, preferring to create a distraction by triggering a Human-Klingon war instead.
As they work to enhance the sensors, Commander T'Pol asks Commander Tucker about the recent distance between them. Meanwhile, noting the aggressive tendencies of his "son", Soong begins working on a way to remove that behavior from the unborn Augments. Malik, concerned by Soong's tampering, leads a mutiny which sees him confined to his quarters. With the help of Persis, however, he leaves the ship in an escape-pod, which is soon detected by Enterprise. Malik kills Persis for her betrayal of him, and continues with his plan to attack the Klingons. Scans of the Qu'vat colony reveal three main population centers, and preparations are made to explode a torpedo armed with some of the pathogens stolen from Cold Station 12 into the atmosphere.
Enterprise arrives and manages to destroy the torpedo, then proceeds to disable the Klingon ship after Soong tells Archer where the stolen warship is most vulnerable. Malik prefers to die rather than be captured and proceeds to overload the dilithium matrix. As the ship disintegrates, however, he transports himself onto Enterprise and attempts to kill Soong, but Archer manages to kill him first. Soong returns to the Starfleet Detention Center and learns that his previous work is being stored in a secure location for potential future use. He doubts that will ever happen, and begins to ponder perfecting artificial lifeforms instead.
The episode was the final in a three part story which had begun in Borderland and continued in "Cold Station 12". The return of genetically enhanced humans as previously seen in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Space Seed" and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was intended to tie Enterprise closer together to The Original Series. The production of "The Augments" saw two former Star Trek: The Next Generation alumni re-unite; Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton who previously played Data and Geordi La Forge respectively. Spiner had appeared in the previous instalments of the story arc, while Burton was directing this episode. To celebrate the collaboration, as well as for many crew members who had remained with the franchise since their former series, Burton bought everyone lunch on the final day of shooting. Burton had directed several episodes of Enterprise, including three in the third season. "The Augments" was written by Mike Sussman, his second episode of the season after "Home".
The shoot began on September 2 and lasted for seven days, although the production halted for Labor Day. The majority of the sets used had been previously created for "Borderland" or "Cold Station 12", with the single addition being a set to represent a Klingon escape pod. As well as Spiner, several other guest stars resumed their roles from earlier in the story arc, including Alec Newman as Malik, Richard Riehle as Doctor Jeremy Lucas, Abby Brammell as Persis and Adam Grimes as Lokesh. Joining them was Mark Rolston as the Klingon Captain Magh; Rolston has also previously appeared in The Next Generation as Walter Pierce in "Eye of the Beholder" and also played Kuroda in the Enterprise episode "Canamar".
Reception and home media release
"The Augments" was first broadcast on November 12, 2004, on UPN. According to overnight Nielsen ratings, it was watched by 2.1 percent of the population of the United States and by four percent of those watching television at the time. This was the same ratings the series had received for the previous episode, "Cold Station 12". However, it moved up to fourth place in the 8pm timeslot, narrowly beating What I Like About You and Grounded for Life on The WB.
Michelle Erica Green said in her review for TrekNation that Malik had become a "cardboard villain" by the time of "The Augements", but didn't blame Alec Newman for the failing. She also criticised the use of Persis' death by Malik, but praised the characterisation of both Soong and the relationship between T'Pol and Tucker. Jamahl Epsicokhan, at his website Jammer's Reviews, gave the episode a rating of two out of four. He also criticised Malik and said that the "crux of the story is reduced to an unremarkable three-character power struggle that is supposed to be a microcosm for the trouble that comes with genetically engineered super-humans, but comes across instead as overly bland and tidy drama." He said that Brent Spiner "delivers a good performance under the circumstances", as his character has to believe that Malik will no overthrow his leadership of the augments.
He summed up the episode, saying "Perhaps this story was simply content to show absolute power corrupting absolutely. Unfortunately, aside from Persis, none of the Augments stop to think about what they're doing or why, and the story of Malik is content to blandly repeat the story of Khan, but without the crucial personal motivator of revenge. I think the writers owed the material more than this." The mini-arc featuring the episodes "Borderland", "Cold Station 12" and "The Augments" were subsequently ranked the sixth best story of Enterprise by Den of Geek writer James Hunt.
The first home media release of "The Augments" was as part of the season four DVD box set of Enterprise, originally released in the United States on November 1, 2005. The Blu ray release of the fourth season of Enterprise was on April 1, 2014.
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- The Augments at the Internet Movie Database
- The Augments at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- The Augments at StarTrek.com