REVIEW: “The Enterprise Incident” (Star Trek: Remastered edition)

Star Trek (Remastered): “The Enterprise Incident”
Remastered Episode #64 (4/5/2008)
Original Episode #59 (9/27/1968)

Forget the Klingons, the Romulans have long been my favorite villains of the classic Star Trek universe, though they only appeared in three episodes. All three of the Romulan episodes are among Trek’s best: “Balance of Terror” from the first season, “The Deadly Years” from the second, and, completing the informal trilogy, “The Enterprise Incident” from the third season.

“The Enterprise Incident,” which made its Star Trek: Remastered debut over the weekend, starts with a foreboding medical log by Dr. McCoy. Captain Kirk seems to be buckling under the pressure of command, like so many others before him. An angry Kirk orders the Enterprise into the Romulan neutral zone, and Romulans soon surround the vessel. To the astonishment of the crew, the Romulans are now using Klingon battle cruisers.

When Kirk berates Spock for not detecting Romulans in the area, the first officer notes that the Romulans have a new cloaking device capable of fooling their sensors. Though not specified in the episode, this is evidently an upgraded, more powerful version of the Romulan cloaking device previously featured on the show.

On the original version of this episode, three Klingon-style battle cruisers surrounded the Enterprise. In the first and second seasons, the original Trek team did not have the budget to create a Klingon spacecraft. They finally created the battle cruiser model for the third season. The first episode produced to make use of the Klingon battle cruiser was “Elaan of Troyius,” in which the Federation has yet another planetary claim dispute with the Klingons. Ironically, “The Enterprise Incident” aired prior to “Elaan of Troyius,” so 1968 audiences first saw the Romulans using the vessel rather than the Klingons.

While updating the special effects of the entire Star Trek series, the Star Trek: Remastered team has liberally sprinkled the Klingon battle cruiser into earlier Klingon episodes where its use makes sense. The battle cruiser is a fantastic design by Matt Jefferies, who designed the original USS Enterprise as well. The battle cruiser also appeared in three Star Trek movies and several TNG-era episodes, without significant design changes.

Here, the Remastered team’s computer generated renderings of the battle cruisers usually look realistic. As a nice finishing touch, they added a Romulan paint scheme to the vessels, distinguishing them from the Klingon versions. Since the original creators had to reuse the model and footage, this sort of episode-specific detail could never have been performed on the original model.

Another change is that only two battle cruisers appear in the Remastered version of “The Enterprise Incident.” The team has replaced the third with a Romulan bird-of-prey, as seen on previous episodes. This is another nice finishing touch and continuity nod, well worth the small canon ripple.

The Romulans order the Enterprise to stand down and demand that Kirk and Spock beam aboard the flagship. They do so and meet the Romulan commander (Joanne Linville), a woman who seems to share an instant attraction with Spock. The increasingly erratic Kirk blames the encroachment of the Enterprise on equipment failure, while Spock tells the Romulan commander that Kirk alone is responsible.

Picture and sound upgrades are superb. With vibrant colors throughout, the episode looks even better than it did on the 2004 DVD set. As noted, the new special effects are quite effective in most scenes. I would have preferred a bit more creativity when the Enterprise extracts itself from the Romulan vessels near the conclusion, though, rather than the simple maneuver shown.

“The Enterprise Incident” is one of Star Trek‘s very best and always a must-see, in its original version or its newly remastered form.

Dramatic Content: 10 (out of 10)
Effects Upgrades: 9
Overall Experience: 10