Not that I’m being compensated for talking about it, but the nice thing about the Netflix streaming service is you can get to watch a whole TV series in sequence. For instance, you could – if you had endless time on your hands to do nothing – watch all of “24,” from the first to last episode, see every one of Jack Bauer’s feral snarls. A couple of weeks ago, I was laid low by the flu, and spent three days mostly in bed, either sleeping, having weird dreams, or watching TV. I started watching the Star Trek Enterprise series, since I hadn’t seen much of it. It’s the series set in time before the original James T. Kirk series. I found it to be the best of the all the series, personally – (Trekkies – you can comment but please be nice) with hard hitting, sophisticated plot lines, multi-dimensional characters, and as Jonathan Archer, Scott Bakula, famous also for his role in Quantam Leap, is the toughest, most realsitic captain of all the Star Trek captains. He’s like a heroic gunfighter in an old western, all chiseled looks and staring down death with a grim, set jaw and slit, steely eyes.
Now, back on the album “Empire Burlesque,” Bob Dylan used a bunch of lines from movies, notably “I’ll go along with this charade until I can think my way out,” which came from the Humphrey Bogart movie “Tokyo Joe.” Those same lines were recycled in the original Star Trek series episode “The Squire of Gothos,” and many Dylan investigators mistook the source of Dylan’s appropriation.
I remained hooked on the Star Trek Enterprise series after my case of flu, and have been watching them from time to time. After an epic third season, where Captain Archer saves the earth from the treacherous Xindi and sets the timeline of the universe back to its proper sequence, the crew take time off. In Season 4, Episode 3, “Home,” Archer is a huge hero on earth and he goes mountain climbing with a colleague/ex-lover, to get away from the constant recognition. Sleeping under the stars, he wakes up from a nightmare. She asks him if he’s all right, to which Archer replies, “I’m not even sure what all right means anymore.”
Now, I don’t have to tell Dylan fans where that line originated. In Time Out of Mind’s “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven,” Dylan sings “They tell me everything is gonna be all right, but I don’t know what ‘all right’ even means.” The tip of the hat is obvious, though whether the writer for Star Trek Enterprise knew of Empire Burlesque and “The Squire of Gothos” connection is another matter. That the line comes from a Dylan album that reflects on time and is used in the Star Trek Enterprise season that has an extended plot line all about time – who knows if it was intentional or not, but it’d be interesting to hear what the series’ writers had to say about slipping in Bob’s line.