The Future Begins

Story: Star Trek
Written By: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Series: Alternate Reality Films
Year: 2009


When I first heard about this new film, a prequel seemed a little aggravating to me, especially when the previous attempt at one (Enterprise) was so mind numbingly dull. I'd like to say that JJ Abrams involvement lifted my fears a bit, but I can't...I tried watching Lost, and it didn't appeal to me. So I'm no Abrams enthusiast, I barely knew his body of work. All of this mixed with my reservations of having anyone but Shatner or Nimoy in those roles, as well as my brutal disappointment in Indiana Jones the previous summer...I was not going to get excited for this.
But it worked. Action packed? Yes. Sure the plot that doesn't entirely make sense, but the tri-colored uniforms? YES. Space battles? YES. Decent villain? Sorta! It is a big dumb summer blockbuster with lots of effects. But good effects, and practical ones, and real sets, and with characters based on characters I grew up loving…with tons of callbacks that work (and plenty that don’t), and most importantly it is tons of fun.

Most of the cast is good. Spock is portrayed slightly unevenly, but convincing enough, Kirk is good but different, McCoy is McCoy, Chekov you will either love or hate...or a little of both, Uhura has a relationship with Spock...a little weird, Sulu is much like Takei...kinda just there but he gets a nice action scene, Pegg is perfect for Scotty. Old Spock by Nimoy is a Spock we all know and love, but he’s so old and wrinkled that now its a little embarrassing seeing him put on the ears.
A major failure of this film might be that it felt like trying to fit it into the Trek continuity to appease Trek fans, which I feel is a bit of a mistake, this movie should've have been a reboot in its own sense, DISREGARD the continuity and start anew. This movie's plot felt like it was trying a little to hard at times to force itself into saying "its an alternate reality, so its OK!" Another problem is that it tries to use the popularity of Wrath of Khan to appeal to the Trek fan. The Kobyashi Maru, the No-Win situation…these were huge themes in Khan, but in this film they are just thrown around with no real pay off. Those issues aside, I enjoyed it. It is no "Khan" but it was fun enough.

NEXT TIME: John Harrison

Star Trek: Enterprise – The Whole Series Recap

Enterprise had potential. A lot of potential. Each Trek show since TNG has tried to bring us new alien races to learn a lot about. They kept adding new races so much, that some from the original series fell through the cracks and never got fully developed.

Each series has had its “in” with an alien race. With TOS, Spock gave us most of the Vulcan mythology, on TNG it was Worf for the Klingons, with DS9 we had Quark for the Ferengi/Dax for the Trill/Kira for Bajorans/Odo for the Changelings. Hell even Dukat or Garak for the Cardassians on that one.

Voyager gave us some Maquis members, but they were mostly overlooked, especially after Seven of Nine joined up, and we began to learn more about the Borg. I guess you could sort of count Kes and Neelix for Ocampa and Talaxian...but you barely learned anything about them.

So Enterprise comes along and all these races have been explored…where do you go? Backwards of course. I actually mean that, the writers just misinterpreted the idea. In the back catalogue of races that have been virtually unexplored in the universe, that WOULD NOT cause any continuity issues with TOS we have Andorians, Tellarites, Orions, and early conflict with both Romulans and Klingons. That is five potential alien races we could either meet or battle with…not to mention that there is more than two arcs, easily, in each of those races. But no…we spend most of the time dealing with prickish-out-of-character Vulcans before finally trying to do anything resembling this.

They could have had first contact with ALL of these races. Not to mention the formation of enemies in both Romulans and Klingons, maybe even a potential alliances between those two races, and the forming of the Federation arc.

That’s still ripe with possibilities. Troubled relationships between the Andorians, Tellarites, Vulcans and Humans…and shaky relationships that slowly grow and strengthen due to the strong enemy threat looming in Klingons and Romulans.

See how FUCKING EASY THIS SHOW WAS TOO WRITE? I mean GOD. It is so annoying when I can easily spout off 5 or 6 (sometimes I’ve gotten it up to 10) potential storylines this show could have taken to be both unique, interesting, and totally fanwanky at the same time…and yet the writers for this show just rehashed old Voyager scripts for two years, and then farted around with the half thought-out and mostly going nowhere Xindi arc before FINALLY starting to even fathom the shit I just pulled out of my ass in 20 seconds.

Berman and Braga were NOT the guys to head this show. They stuck around because it was easy, not because they loved Trek or still cared a lot about the franchise, but because UPN would pay them for one more show. Their interest was clearly NOT in the mind of Trek, or they could have easily made this show great…but they just sat around pissing about and half writing episodes, and then throwing in generic plot devices until the 45 minute quota was met.

Enterprise could have killed the franchise, and when it ended I thought Trek was over. It may be over for a good long time on television still. It was amazing that it was able to bounce back after 11 shitty years (that’s Voyager and Enterprise I am pointing out, DS9 is exempt) of television and the mediocre TNG films.

NEXT TIME: Reboot

Star Trek: Enterprise - Season 4 Recap

The fourth season is most obviously the best of the series. Is it great Star Trek? No…it is decent or maybe even good Star Trek, but not great. I enjoyed this season for being exactly what they claimed the show would be when it was just starting…good ol’ TOS-inspired Star Trek.

Finally the show starts to tap into arcs and storylines handed to them on a golden platter…things like the formation of the Federation, Romulan threat, Andorians/Vulcans/Tellarites, Orion slave girls…

Enterprise was given these plots as potential story ideas long before the show began, not intentionally of course, but these untapped sources for stories, which do NOT disrupt continuity, were ready for the taking. The producers and writers squandered those opportunities for three years, only hinting at them but never fully exploring those possibilities, then they only half achieved them here throughout this season.

Unfortunately the sad conclusion I must come to is this: if this had been the first season of Enterprise, it might have had many great years to improve upon itself. In reality, it feels like the rocky first season of the other Trek spin-offs, but it’s the FOURTH. While the whole season is filled with these 2 and 3 part mini-arcs, most of them fall flat in their last episode…leaving lame or unsatisfactory conclusions to most of the plots. I do think this was the perfect format for the series, they just struggled to find good conclusions.

Had this been the first season, they could have found their feet and maybe gone onto to be one of the best Trek series. But Berman and Braga dragged their feet for three years, losing viewers and fans slowly but steadily…and by the time they began to take a backseat to Manny Coto, there was hardly a show left to save, or an audience left to watch it.

NEXT TIME: Whole Series Recap

End of the Berman Era

Story: These Are the Voyages…
Written By: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

Terrible finale to an already lukewarm show. I know what Berman and Braga were going for in this one, but it fails to do so until the final few moments. The plot takes place 10 years after “Broken Bow”, so about 6 years after the rest of this season. You wouldn’t know it though. Where did our character go in the next six years? Nowhere. Hey just like the show!
Everyone is exactly in the position they were when the show began. Nobody has advanced in rank, no one has changed their position on the ship…No one has done anything with their careers…and when you look at this series on a whole…it ain’t that surprising. Sort of the same way you can look at this show, see things like “but Picard first encountered the Borg!” or “TNG made first contact with the Ferengi!” Or “Why doesn’t Starfleet know about the Klingon ridge killing disease?” Because these people are probably so incompetent they took absolutely no notes on their dumb mission…and they couldn’t advance in rank.

The big problem is that it doesn’t serve as a finale for Enterprise, but tries to serve as a finale to all of televised Trek. So we are looking at this Episode through the eyes of Riker and Troi. As this is the last episode of TV Trek to air after 18 long years, it almost makes sense to have it from the perspective of the show that began that journey 18 years prior. But it is sloppy, they stop the action in the holodeck and it literally STOPS THE ACTION of the show.

Essentially we are on the holodeck, so we get a distant view of our main cast, they are pushed to the sideline for a guy who doesn’t quite fit into his costume anymore. And they kill off the only guy who was consistently interesting in the regular cast in a death almost as senseless as Tasha Yar.

The only thing they did get right was the final moment of the show. Ending Trek on TV after 18 years, the lines “Computer, End Program” seem both sentimental and well thought out, and having Picard, Kirk, and Archer reciting the famous opening lines of TOS and TNG. It is a nice little touch; too bad they waited until the last moments to realize they were writing a finale.

NEXT TIME: Enterprise Season 4 Recap

Earth First

Story: Terra Prime
Written By: Judith Reeves-Stevens & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

Both parts of the Paxton story are fairly solid. I wouldn’t say either blows me away, but I enjoyed them, and found Weller to be quite good. They aren’t big action heavy episodes, but they are well written allegorical tales, in classic Trek fashion...and the backdrop for these allegories are stories about the founding of the Federation...this is really what Enterprise was meant to be from the get-go.
I think this episode does it’s best to tie up as many loose ends as it can, it closes up this particular story, and wraps up some other loose ends. The stories may feel rather bland at times, but at least it feels like Trek.

It is a shame that this is the last true episode of Enterprise, as the next episode is a poor finale for this particular series or cast. But at least they did their best to right the wrongs of previous seasons this final year.

NEXT TIME: Valentine to the Fans

Paxton

Story: Demons
Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

Enterprise has returned to Earth to witness a conference that could lead to a Coalition of Planets, a precursor to the eventual Federation. But sinister hands are at work...a man named Paxton (played by Robocop himself, Peter Weller, who is quite good here) has set up a group known as Terra Prime, a group of racists who have use the Xindi War to fall on a sort of Earth for Humans Only policy. They have created a baby using the DNA of T’Pol and Tucker, and use this baby as a way to show that aliens and space travel will only lead to the annihilation of the human race.
“Demons” and “Terra Prime” represent the best Enterprise got at closure. This one sets up a lot of elements that would pay off in the next episodes. This group of racist humans has been hinted at since “Home,” and this is their big payoff two-parter.

It also brings in things like early talks that lead to the Federation, and having Reed reconnect with his Section 31 contact for information, so we get something on that storyline. There is also a story with Travis (what the fuck!?) reconnecting with a girl from his past, who could possibly be a member of Terra Prime.

It is a solid set up episode, and it touches on some interesting ideas, and this two-parter feels like we are seeing the final remnants of Earth’s demons of racism and hate.

NEXT TIME: Racism

Mirrors, Tholians, Gorns...Oh My

Story: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II
Written By: Mike Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

In this second part of the Enterprise mirror story we get to see more of the Tholian, more of the Defiant (interior and exterior), some TOS costumes, Archer fights a Gorn, and it is basically more o f the same from the first episode. It is decent, but the joke starts to get old after a while.
The Gorn looks terrible. After the great CGI for the Tholian, the Gorn looks REALLY disappointing in CGI. Trading in the cheap looking costume for cheap looking CG is no real trade, I’d take the cheap costume any day. Really I just think the Tholian is better suited for CG, maybe the Gorn suit ENHANCED with CG could have worked…but the end result looked like crap.

Really the episode doesn’t go much of anywhere, maybe two parts was two much. It was fun for a while, but I think they just stretched out a one-part story.

NEXT TIME: Xenophobic Humans

Where The USS Defiant Ended Up

Story: In a Mirror, Darkly
Written By: Mike Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

Ahh…the mirror universe. This season has really tried to be more like TOS, and revisiting the mirror universe seems like a solid plan for sure. Is it the best mirror story ever? No, nothing will ever really top “Mirror, Mirror”. But it is good fun at times, seeing all our characters grimacing and talking in gruff voices. The costumes are pretty good, and some of our sinister heroes are well performed. It is unique in that NO proper universe characters crossover. But MAN the TOS references are a plenty in this two-parter.
Basically the Terran Empire has discovered a ship, USS Defiant, lost in the TOS episode “The Tholian Web”. We get to see a Tholian for the first time since that TOS episode, despite many references in the various programs over the years, it was nice to finally see them, and the CGI for it looks FANTASTIC.  

NEXT TIME: Conclusion in the Mirror

Orion Slave Girls

Story: Bound
Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

“Bound” does admittedly have a bit of the feel of TOS. Unfortunately it’s like the worst aspects of the original series. It has a dumb plot, tons of sexism, and uses green women as sex objects. Essentially Archer is given a gift of three Orion Slave Girls, and they begin to bring havoc among the male ranks of the ship. It is ridiculous, and not as funny and charming as it likes to think it is.
It does, however, reveal an interesting factor of how Orion society works…the women are not really the slaves, the men are. The women pose as slaves, which they use to their advantage. It is a pretty interesting notion, and I actually like it…too bad everything leading up to that reveal is hard to watch.

NEXT TIME: Prequel in the Mirror Universe

Flat Foreheads

Story: Divergence
Written By: Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

Just as mixed as the first episode, this one furthers the plotline set up in "Affliction." It quickly wraps up the forced cliffhanger from the previous episode, and then goes back to the silly Flat forehead Klingon plot.
We also get the Section 31/Malcolm plot is expanded, and we learn Section 31 wants the Klingons to afflict themselves with the virus, knowing it will weaken them. Plus Tucker on Columbia and eventually returning to Enterprise. Pointless plot line.

It all boils down to the virus being stopped in stage 1, with the change of appearance and some minor changes in neural patterns (excuses for the different kind of Klingons in TOS).

I didn't much care for this two-parter. It feels like one episode stretched into two. A lot of the side stories feel overlooked, and the main plot wasn't as needed as some fans would've lead you to believe. The performances also felt a little like Season 1 or 2 quality, and not the level that most of Season 3 and Season 4 had been.

Definite misstep.

NEXT TIME: Gifts from the Syndicate

Antaak

Story: Affliction
Written By: Michael Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

Trip transfers to Columbia while the Enterprise returns to Earth. While on the planet with Hoshi, Phlox is kidnapped by Klingons. They take him in order to deal with this new problem they are facing...a disease that removes their cranial ridges! Oh boy...this story. I suppose it was bound to happen the moment a ridge-foreheaded Klingon first appeared in “Broken Bow.” It was long just ignored in the series, because it was just a make-up change. “Trials and Tribble-ations” made a funny joke about the change, leaving it at that...because any explanation would be completely silly and ridiculous. Turns out it is exactly that.
It seems that after the events of the Augment Trilogy (in which a Klingon crew was overthrown by genetically enhanced humans), the Klingons acquired some of the Eugenics Embryos leftover from the past. They attempted to use the embryos to create augmented Klingons, but there were side effects, the ridges disappeared...but the augments seemed to work, unfortunately the effects began to fade and the Klingons started to die. It would have ended there but it somehow became airborn...and now the whole Empire is in jeopardy. Wow.

Meanwhile, Reed is faced with a demon from his past (apparently he was a member of Section 31) that causes him to run into conflict with Archer, and send him to the brig for possible treason, a he is unable to share his past and current connections with the secret organizations. Tucker also deals with his transfer to the Columbia.

Some augmented Klingons break onto Enterprise for some reason and sabotage the engines in a way that the only way to keep things from blowing up is to go faster...but the episode cliffhangs on the ship maintaining a speed it can’t maintain for long. It is a forced and rather lame cliffhanger for a rather silly episode overall.

NEXT TIME: Finding Phlox

Andoria

Story: The Aenar
Written By: André Bormanis
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

As the new alliance between the four races begins, it is discovered that the Romulan ship is being controlled by an Andorian sub-species of pacifists and telepaths known as the Aenar, who are rarely seen by the Andorians. Shran and Archer make a journey to find the Aenar on Andoria, in order to find out any more information about the Aenar controlling that ship. They find blind telepaths, only one of which is willing to help them.
She successfully uses their telepath machine to connect to her brother, the Aenar captured and being used by the Romulans, and he stops the ships dead, and Enterprise is able to destroy them, but he dies in the process.

It is pretty straightforward, but it was decent. It is unfortunate that the Federation Unity storyline gets almost entirely lost in this one, the writer chose to focus almost entirely on Andorians, the Aenar, and their society and homeworld. I like all this stuff so I won’t discount the episode...I was definitely interested. I just think as a trilogy goes, not a strong conclusion for all the themes started in “Babel One.”

Well made episode with lots of interesting stuff, but missing that element needed to properly conclude this trilogy of episodes. Oh, and Trip finds working with T’Pol a little too hard now, and he requests to be transferred to Columbia.

NEXT TIME: Beginnings a Fleet

Origins of a Federation

Story: United
Written By: Manny Coto and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

While Trip and Reed struggle on the Romulan controlled ship, Archer continues to struggle with the effects of the ships attacks and the continued issues between the Andorians and Tellarites.
I think in some ways this episode is a slight misstep for this trilogy, a trilogy I really do like. It unfortunately drags along the main story while sidetracking it with Shran’s lover dying, him challenging the Tellarite responsible to a fight to the death, and Archer substituting for him in the fight. The fight is just a distraction from what is really going on, a way to sort of mirror “Amok Time,” but it doesn’t really come close. Although I do like the end with Shran’s antenna being chopped off to be entertaining. And it did give us info on the Andorians (their antenna are important to their balance).

The cliffhanger ends with a reveal that the Romulan inside the big control matrix running their ship...isn’t Romulan at all...but some kind of Andorian off-shoot. Twist!

So that distraction aside, the episode keeps the mystery with the Romulans going, and makes strides in finally bringing the four future Federation founding races closer together. So it is somewhat successful, I just don’t think the whole challenging fight was necessary.

NEXT TIME: Romulan Plot

Tellarites and Andorians

Story: Babel One
Written By: Mike Sussman & André Bormanis
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

“Babel One” is the first real episode to deal with the beginnings of the Federation of Planets. A story like this SHOULD have been somewhere in Season 2 or 3. I really believe Season 1 should have ended with the attack on Earth, and Season 2 should have been a big war arc...but an Earth-Romulan War arc, not the silly Xindi. Then what Season 4 has been should’ve been Season 3.
Well wherever it is placed in the series, this is a story of the conflicts that the peaceful Federation was born out of. Andorians hate Tellarites and Vulcans, Humans have had a shaky relationship with the Vulcans, Tellarites hate everybody and everything...

But this story really shows how a Federation could be born out of such unhealthy relationships, and with Humans being the one group that manages to have relations with all three other races, it actually makes sense that the Federation would be based on Earth, the newest group of people to enter deep space.

This is the first of a trilogy of stories, and it is a pretty strong start. It has the four main races that founded the Federation, and even features the Romulans as sneaky unseen villains (seen only to the audience). The Romulans have a ship that can mimic different ships, and are using the ship to attack Andorians and Enterprise (with Tellarite Ambassadors on board) in order to throw a wrench in their peace talks and prevent an alliance. It is up to Archer and his crew to solve the mystery of the attacks and prove the ship’s existence in order to continue the peace talks. I even liked the cliffhanger, where it turns out the Romulans aren’t on this ship at all...but are controlling it from Romulus.

It is a solid story with good execution.

NEXT TIME: Cooperation

Organians

Story: Observer Effect
Written By: Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

As Hoshi and Trip are stuck in decon as they return from an away mission having contracted a silicon based illness. Meanwhile the crew is being observed by two alien visitors in the bodies of Reed and Mayweather. These non-corporeal beings are actually Organians, the non-corporeal beings featured in the episode “Errand of Mercy”, which also introduced Trek to the Klingons. I think the episode is really well made and has a decent plot development for the Organians.
It is an interesting episode, which proves that Enterprise can be fascinating and very Trek-like without the need to end the show in a big phaser fight. This series really did improve in it’s final season, and it is shame it waited this long to get on this track.

NEXT TIME: Peace Talks

The Inventor of the Transporter

Story: Daedalus
Written By: Ken LaZebnik & Michael Bryant
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2005

This standalone episode is so dull and average you just forget about its existence. We meet the inventor of the transporter. He is not interesting. Neither is his daughter. Or the interactions of these two guests with our main cast. It is just dull for the most part.
It has an average story about the inventor doing something strange and then finding out that he’s trying to get his son back (whom he lost in a transporter accident). It isn’t that interesting and the performances from everyone sort of feel like the whole cast feels the same way and are just phoning it in.

Lame.

NEXT TIME: Silicon Virus

New Direction for Vulcan

Story: Kir'Shara
Written By: Mike Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

The final episode of the Vulcan Trilogy is a solid finish. It is quite possibly the only mini-arc of the season (hell the whole series) to be completely strong from start to finish. It’s plot is tight, and it brings in Shran...which is always awesome. Plus it sets the Vulcans on the path to becoming the calm cool collected Vulcans they were in TOS, while disbarring V’Las entirely, taking his position away and putting him under investigation for the bombing.
T’Pau is able to cure T’Pol’s neural disease that has plagued her for so long, as there being no cure was another lie from the High Command. So theres a nice end for her arc there. It is revealed (to the audience not to anyone on screen), that V’Las’ plans involved the Romulans, who he planned to give control of the Vulcans and the Andorians too once the war devastated both peoples. Plus Shran has some great character moments....and the High Command is dissolved...time for Humans to stand on their own. Awesome conclusion all around.

I really enjoyed these episodes, as they actually justified the uncharacteristic behavior of the Vulcans throughout the series and gave them a satisfying conclusion that set them on a better path for the start of the Federation. Solid Trilogy.

NEXT TIME: Emory Erickson

Syrrannites

Story: Awakening
Written By: André Bormanis
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Even more so than the previous episode, this episode really begins to show signs that the people behind Enterprise acknowledge how different and strange the Vulcans are. They are pure dicks who do not seem to be as logical, unemotional, or peaceful as they have claimed to be throughout every episode.
The conspiracy continues with the high command, while Archer deals with Surak’s katra, T’Pol deals with her mother, and both meet the eventually famous T’Pau (who was originally featured in Amok Time). They all seek to find this artifact that has ties to Surak nd could hold the truth behind his teachings...and it is learned that V’Las plans to begin a war with Andoria...because he has the very high emotional anger that the Vulcans worked so long to repress.

I think this is a solid middle act to the trilogy. It has some strong performances, a lot of neat ideas, digs into the Vulcan mysticism, further develops how corrupt the High Command is, and actually does a good job with all of this material.

It is a well performed, well written, tightly paced episode that keeps your interest throughout. Why did Enterprise wait so long to get so good?

NEXT TIME: The Artifact

Death of Forrest

Story: The Forge
Written By: Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

The Vulcans have been dicks for the bulk of Enterprise. They are not really the logical beings they have always been...they somehow seem more irritable and bitchy about Humans than they should be. Finding the Humans impulsiveness and emotional nature. Acting like illogical assholes when it comes to the Andorians, They often showcase more emotion than they should. This Vulcan Trilogy attempts to reconcile that. It is actually the best min-arc of the season. Most of the stories fell flat at some point, but this one somehow held my interest and kept me fascinated from it’s first episode right up to the end of the third.
So the first episode features a bombing of the Earth Embassy on Vulcan, which killed Admiral Forrest as he saved Soval. I really liked that the show took a risk in killing a character who has been recurring since the beginning. Right before his death he had a great conversation with Soval that in some ways explains the behavior of the Vulcans towards humans...they’ve achieved in 100 years what it took the Vulcans to achieve over 1500 years. I liked that scene, and I thought it worked well.

Vulcans open an investigation at first blaming the Andorians but very soon that is disproven when Vulcan DNA is found on a bomb. The finger is pointed at a fringe group of Vulcans called Syrranites, who follow what is perceived to be a corrupt interpretation of Surak’s teachings. When T’Pol learns her mother is a member of this group, she and Archer venture down to the planet to find answers.

The are forced to struggle through firestorms and sehlats (their first live action appearance) to find their way to the Syrranites, while Enterprise discovers evidence that the bombing may be a conspiracy to frame the Syrranites. It also has Archer being given the Katra of Surak, which will play heavily into the next two episodes.

It is definite fanwank material, but enjoyable fanwank material.

NEXT TIME: Surak

Malik

Story: The Augments
Written By: Michael Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

And it falls apart. For some reason the conclusion to this three-part story is so much weaker than its previous installments. The augments were not the best bunch of actors in those episode, but for some reason they were used just enough that they didn’t really grate on you…but this time around they have too many lines and too much to do…and you start to hate having to listen to them.
Mostly though, the problem is pacing. The other two episodes moved well, but this one feels so padded with junk that you sort of feel like it should have been condensed into a two-parter.

It is a shame, because up until this final part, I rather enjoyed this story.

NEXT TIME: On Vulcan

Diseases

Story: Cold Station 12
Written By: Michael Bryant
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Continuing where the previous episode left off, we get another solid entry in this season. This episode continues the themes and storylines that began in “Borderland” and expands upon them; it even adds the growing conflict between Soong and his genetically enhanced humans.
It is kind of nice to watch episodes of Enterprise and not have this irritating feeling that the show was a complete waste of time. This season really did attempt to pick up it’s game, and it managed to be so much more successful in doing so, even if some of the stories (this one included) didn’t quite come to a successful conclusion.

The torture scene is actually really well written and executed. You really feel for the guy and the tension is pitch perfect. All in all I can’t really complain about this episode either, other than I think they should have ended the plot here, instead of dragging it out into another full episode.

NEXT TIME: Conflicts and Conclusions

Dr. Arik Soong

Story: Borderland
Written By: Ken LaZebnik
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

This season not only began to take a new approach to its overall arcs, but also its stories mostly comprise of two and three parters. The first of these is in the Augmented Humans story, featuring a guest star in Data himself, Brent Spiner.
The first episode is a solid set up episode, putting together the elements of a potential Klingon war, Dr. Arik Soong and his experiments with augmented humans, and his augments creating a problem.

I liked this episode; it has a lot going for it. Not only do we get a great performance from a Trek veteran, but also we have a decent story. It also is filled with some great TOS callbacks, things like Orion slave girls, and Tellarites, and Klingons, and the Eugenics wars…there is plenty going on, and it has a decent cliffhanger to boot.

NEXT TIME: Augmented Embryos

Back to Earth

Story: Home
Written By: Michael Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

“Home” is where the fourth season really begins. The show is now being headed up by Manny Coto, who seems to have a better grasp for what Enterprise should be than Berman and Braga ever did. This episode essentially acts as a better epilogue to the Xindi arc than the previous two episodes starting this season actually did.
Basically our characters go home, and have to deal with either their own personal conflicts about what happened during the war (Archer), return to Vulcan to deal with their personal demons (T’Pol and Tucker), or deal with the newfound fear of alien life on Earth (everyone else). It is noteworthy to point out that T’Pol does in fact marry Koss in this episode, and this obviously will cause a strain on her relationship with Tucker during this season.

It is a solid episode that wraps up certain elements from the Xindi arc, and allows the show to move forward past the Temporal Cold War, the Xindi War, and set up the show for the new direction, which is the really the beginning of Starfleet (the NX-02 is debuted), and the eventual founding the federation (which the damn show should have been doing since day one).

So new season, new direction.

NEXT TIME: Augmented Humans

Erasing the Temporal Cold War

Story: Storm Front, Part II

Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

The only good thing about this two-part opener of the final season of Enterprise is that it not only ends the Temporal Cold War, but it also seemingly casts that particular war out of the history entirely. Finally.
If you want my opinion, they should have just ended the Xindi arc at the end of Season 3, and began this season with the next episode: “Home”. This ill-conceived cliffhanger with its lackluster dragging two-part conclusion was a big waste of time. They never needed to close off the Temporal Cold War…they should have dropped it at the end of Season 1.

“Shockwave” really should have just been the end of it, and then everyone could have moved on, because if you look back on the series, Berman and Braga don’t seem particularly interested in keeping up with this bad plotline they shoehorned into the pilot. I think they new it was a mistake the moment the pilot wrapped shooting, but felt stuck with it, and continued on with it for no particular reason.

So there it is...the final end to the Temporal Cold War/Excuse to not properly explore the origins of the Trek Universe.

NEXT TIME: Epilogue of the Xindi Arc

Stupid Alien Nazi Story

Story: Storm Front
Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

The first part of “Storm Front” picks up where the lousy cliffhanger from the end of Season 3 left off. Basically some dumb alien is a Nazi leader…and it is just as stupid and pointless as you’d expect from reading that. Oh…and it has something to do with the stupid Temporal Cold War too…and it lasts two goddamn episodes.
Sadly these two episodes are written by the very person often regarded as responsible for taking Enterprise into the right direction it landed on for the bulk of Season 4, Manny Coto. Braga and Berman finally relinquished a bit of control on this show for this season and handed the show-running reigns to Coto, who for the most part did do a pretty good job, but he started this season off badly.

Just skip past both entries of “Storm Front” and get to “Home,” which is where the season properly takes off.

NEXT TIME: More of Vosk

Star Trek: Enterprise - Season 3 Recap

The third season was a step in the right direction, but not even halfway through it started to feel tiresome and boring again, you were once again wondering if this show is actually going anywhere. Everything started off so well, and then episodes began veering off course with silly episodes like “North Star” or “Carpenter Street” and spending way to much time milling around waiting for the big finale. Clearly the problems of Enterprise couldn’t be fixed overnight (or a summer hiatus).

If the season long arc had been condensed to, say, a strong group of 13 or15 episodes, it may have really worked…but instead they HAVE to make it 24 episodes…so the story goes nowhere for weeks, does not advance, and then moves in circles before finally getting to the point in the last few episodes. I’m actually glad the episode order got cut down, because it would’ve been tragic for this season to meander around for a few more episodes.

The Xindi themselves are not very interesting villains. The fact that NONE of the members of the Xindi are seen in the various Trek that came before also negates their importance to the franchise. Imagine this though: Season 2 ends in the same way, only the villains we hear rumors and whispers of are not a new villain called the Xindi, but are this new threat called the Romulans.

So then we get Season 3, a whole season of build up to conflict and war…the Romulan-Earth War first talked about in the Romulans introduction on the Original series as having taken place around the time this show is set. Then we can follow the continuity of having that unseen enemy, in much the same way the Xindi were used for the first half of the season…and make for an interesting storyline, one that WOULD get Trekkies watching again. The Romulans work best when scheming behind closed doors anyhow, so why not use it here? Personally I’ve always felt the Romulans haven’t been given a fair shake in Trek. TNG used them the most, but they always felt underused. They never properly got featured in a movie (the closest have been offshoots and fringe groups). I want to see that proper conflict with the Romulan Star Empire, with the full force of the sneaky bastards.

The truth is that the showrunners of this particular series, Rick Berman and Brannan Braga, were so focused on trying to do something “new and different” that they overlooked obvious storylines that were perfect for this show set in this time period. And sadly, even though they tried so hard to be “new and different” they often fell into the trap of doing EXACTLY what they had done for years on TNG And Voyager. Even this season, which took a fairly different approach with it’s season long arc, eventually began to feel like more of the same.

The Xindi Arc is decent. There are some good stories and ideas employed throughout the season, but in the end it doesn’t feel nearly as satisfactory as one would hope, and that cliffhanger was entirely unnecessary.

NEXT TIME: The Manny Coto Year

Xindi Showdown

Story: Zero Hour
Written By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

The big dumb summer blockbuster finale is pretty low on plot, since Berman, Braga, and everyone else shot their wad on this storyline in the previous episode, but it is a definitely entertaining action packed finale. It wraps up the Xindi arc nicely, and manages to stop the weapon from destroying the Earth. So success. End of war, end of this season, end of plot.
And then WHAT...a cliffhanger that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever happens. Somehow Enterprise gets hurled back in time to World War II...a shuttlepod and Enterprise are attacked by fighter planes...and Archer is in some army hospital...and the Nazi is...an ALIEN!?

Terrible final moments to what was a simple minded, but definitely well directed action conclusion to the whole season long arc. Why they decided they needed some kind of goofy cliffhanger I have no idea, but they threw it in and, as evidenced by the first two episodes of the following season, had no plan at all how to conclude it. It was a gimmick to get people to stick around, and sadly they stretched that gimmicky cliffhanger into two whole episodes.

On the whole a pleasant fast paced end to this hit or miss season, but that ending left me really cold.

NEXT TIME: Enterprise Season 3 Recap

Stopping the Weapon

Story: Countdown
Written By: André Bormanis & Chris Black
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

With the weapon launched and Hoshi kidnapped to translate codes...it is time for the Countdown to the finale, can they rescue Hoshi? Of course they can. Can Enterprise stop the weapon in time? Well of course it can, we all know Earth is going to blow up. That is the issue with this arc, the threat is completely empty. Oh sure they throw all that Temporal Cold War/Timeline Fudging business in there to make you think it could get destroyed...but is that really a chance they are going to take? I think not.
The episode itself is solid. It is well paced penultimate episode that keeps you interested in the action and has a decent enough story to keep you wanting to stick around for the finale. Better late than never I guess...but this season really did take too long to get to the point.

NEXT TIME: End of the War

Confrontation

Story: The Council
Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

It is at this point in the season that I come to the conclusion that the Xindi-Reptilians look exactly like the villain in “Galaxy Quest”. Of course Archer can get the more human like Xindi on his side, just the ones that look like monsters are against him! This show is racist.
Anyhow Archer most go to the Council and plead his case to them. And that is really all this episode is. Archer pleading his case, and the members of the council coming to their different conclusions following this meeting. The B-plot involves Tucker, Reed, Travis, T’Pol, and Red Shirt (I mean a MACO) investigate one of the spheres. Also Degra gets killed, which makes sense but is a shame since he just started to get interesting.

It is all well executed, and the episode is solid. I wish the Xindi arc had just been condensed, because the good episodes are all near the end of the season.

NEXT TIME: De-Arm the Superweapon

Two Enterprises

Story: E2
Written By: Mike Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Almost every Trek series has done an episode like this. And every Trek series that has done so probably did it better. Actually...with the exception of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” most of them were either average or bad. They are just silly alternate timeline stories that tend to have less meaning since they are wrapped up with the “it never really happened” conclusion. “Children of Time” on DS9 at least dealt with the issue of whether or not to wipe out this alternate history. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” gave Tasha Yar a meaningful death as opposed to her original death by the Tar-Monster. “Timeless” sucked ass.
So if you’d like to see some alternate future of Enterprise and junk then go for it, watch this episode. But I guarantee you’ve seen it elsewhere on Trek...and it feels tired and familiar. I could care less about this pointless alternate future crew, and I could care less about this episode...which is probably why I forgot the bulk of it.

NEXT TIME: Archer and the Xindi Council

Convincing Some Xindi

Story: The Forgotten
Written By: Chris Black & David A. Goodman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Dealing with the death of crewmembers, Enterprise is soon contacted by some members of the Xindi Council, who have their doubts that humans are all they’ve been said to be. At the same time T’Pol learns that she may have to deal with less control over her emotions for a while to come, and Tucker struggles to write a letter to the parents of one of the deceased...and continues to have issues sleeping.
It is a solid end to what was essentially a trilogy, starting with “Azati Prime” and continued in “Damage”. This was three well made episodes in a row, and quite frankly...they should have been near the beginning of the season...and maybe even concluded the Xindi arc...maybe two more episodes could have given it a solid conclusion...I think this arc had like 7 or 8 episodes worth of material...they tried to stretch it out to 24 episodes. You could feel the padding, luckily here you do not.

So the third episode of this trilogy within the season long arc are about the peak of what the Xindi-storyline was really capable of, and this is a definite strong installment to the series. Recommended.

NEXT TIME: Future NX-01

Devastated

Story: Damage
Written By: Phyllis Strong
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Enterprise deals with it’s battle damage and Archer is sent back to his ship by the Aquatic Xindi. It is a solid drama, and it is nice to actually see a ship effected by a battle, instead of being miraculously healed by the start of the next story. We also learn that T’Pol has become a drug addict, which explains her more emotional behavior in the past few episodes...she has been injecting herself with Trellium-D.
The Xindi Council stuff only just now is starting to become interesting as they have more cracks in their council than before. Some are starting to feel Archer is telling the truth while others are still following the weird lady from the other realm or whatever. Who is that lady?

Archer is feeling pretty conflicted about crossing lines he never wanted to, and his lingering feeling that this will continue as long as this conflict with the Xindi continues. He comes to the conclusion that he has to attack an innocent ship and steal their Warp Core. It is a bad course of action, and I completely disagree with Archer. But it is at least debated by the crew, his actions make sense given their position, and the crew at least struggles with his orders...it is a definite step up from the Voyager system of “Janeway is always right!”

NEXT TIME: A Memorial

Suicide Mission

Story: Azati Prime
Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Getting to Azati Prime has been stalled for episodes, finally Enterprise arrives at this destination. They find the Super Weapon is near completion, and Archer decides he is going to risk his life and attack the Xindi weapon...and then Daniels shows up. Oh Crap...the Temporal Cold War. First off Daniel’s costume from the future is so fucking goofy and silly. It’s like the kind of alien sci-fi outfit you’d see in a B-movie from the 50s. Not to mention the whole idea that the future effects the past bothers me to no end. I can NEVER get behind this Cold War plot.
The episode itself is not bad, but it is all screwed up by this ridiculous timeline altering plot. I just can’t believe in it. Luckily the stuff that doesn’t focus on that crap is pretty decent. So this is a hit or miss one, plot wise I find it to be mostly a miss, but I think its pacing and some character moments make it an entertaining hit.

The final battle scene was also really well done, as you see Enterprise getting the shit kicked out of it and seemingly bound for destruction.

NEXT TIME: Battle Scars

Xindi Eggs

Story: Hatchery
Written By: André Bormanis & Michael Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Enterprise finds a crashed Xindi-Insectoid Ship. The whole crew is dead, but there is a hatchery on board, and if Enterprise doesn’t help, all these babies will die. Archer orders Trip to try and figure out a way to save him, in order to maybe prove to the Xindi that they aren’t as ruthless as they assume. This causes issues with some of the crew, as they can’t see the need to save these babies while the Xindi are planning to destroy them.
I think the issue with this season is that Archer is becoming a bit of a nut, he is constantly obsessed with something, whether it be just finding the Xindi or just saving these Xindi eggs...I mean he is ruthless in everything he puts his mind too...and he is starting to make Janeway look like an easygoing Captain. I totally would’ve been with Archer on this one, if he was being reasonable...or consistent. Instead of explaining his position to T’Pol, he confines her to quarters and instead of confining Trip to quarters, he explains his reasoning.

He acts as if his orders need to be followed AND understood, yet he never explains his orders to anyone, and they CONSTANTLY seem irrational. It kind of pisses me off. I liked the concept of this episode, but yet again (sing it with me) the execution didn’t entirely work. But I liked the mutiny stuff.

NEXT TIME: Attacking the Enterprise

Phlox On His Own

Story: Doctor's Orders
Written By: Chris Black
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

In order to travel through some kind of space everyone but the Doctor must be put into an extended period of sleep. For those of you keeping score, this is just a rewrite of Voyager’s “One” in which Seven had to deal with the same issue. I’d say that both are okay episodes...but why would the Enterprise Team remake a story they only made a few years prior. Especially when they claim that this Xindi thing had enough story to fill an entire season (it didn’t by the way).
It is just a pointless diversion to kill time while the writers try and figure out more ways to stall the Xindi conclusion to the finale, and since they skipped over great plans like using the Romulans for the main villain, or bringing in the Orions as major players in the Expanse, or keeping Shran and the Andorians around for help during this Xindi conflict (and quite frankly lay more groundwork for the eventual founding of the Federation and a much bigger Starfleet)...they had to resort to rewriting old scripts just to have filler episodes like this.

Sadly...despite all my bitching about this season and the episodes within...it really was much better than the two previous seasons. It just goes to show you how bad this show was when THIS was a step up.

NEXT TIME: Insectoid Hatchlings

Omen

Story: Harbinger
Written By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

This episode has the infamous love scene of Tucker and T’Pol, in which you get a good look at Jolene Blalock’s naked butt. The scene is pretty underwhelming when you think of how much hype it got...although that was mostly due to the Janet Jackson incident at the Super Bowl like a week before this aired.
The episode is underwhelming as well, as it’s plot has less to do with the Season’s arc...who cares about this alien guy...he is completely forgettable (and so is the episode). The Reed and Hayes conflict should have happened much earlier on, why did they wait so long to deal with this?

Other then Tucker and T’Pol finally doing the nasty, I can’t say this episode has too much to offer.

NEXT TIME: Stasis

Degra

Story: Stratagem
Written By: Michael Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

The biggest issue with this Xindi arc is that it is “plot” over “character”, and as such it loses a lot of its suspense. In a prequel your plot is hindered by parameters. When everyone knows the end result, it can take the punch out of certain things. I was never worried Earth would be destroyed...because I know that it is there in the future. What is interesting in a Star Trek prequel is making first contact with familiar races, seeing the beginnings of a Fleet, seeing the origins of several Trek things like people, races, Starfleet, and stuff like Phasers and the Transporter and other things like that.
So yet again we get an episode that tries to trick the audience into thinking we are in some kind of future where everything went wrong. Of course it turns out this is all a trick by Archer and Co. to get Degra, a mastermind of the Xindi weapon, to reveal it’s location.

I just don’t care at this point. The whole Xindi thing feels misguided. The Xindi are uninteresting, the plot is okay I guess, but the execution is far from entertaining or even thought provoking.

NEXT TIME: Tucker and T’Pol Bang

Shran’s Assistance

Story: Proving Ground
Written By: Chris Black
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

Oh...Shran! How I love Jeffrey Combs, and his performance as Shran is just as good as his characters contributed to DS9 (Weyoun and Brunt). Sadly, he is the most interesting and absolute best character on Enterprise...shame he only has 10 appearances. He was the breakout of this series in the same way Quark or Data or Worf or Spock were the breakouts of their respective series. Here Combs/Shran really breathes entertaining life into this season which started off promising but quickly fell into “Meandering Mode.”
So Shran and his ship make their way into the expanse to help Enterprise on their mission. Which would be fantastic if they actually stuck around for the rest of the season...but unlike the DS9 crew, these writers don’t know what to do with recurring characters, and Shran and the Andorians don’t reappear until the finale of the season. Lame.

All in all, solid episode thanks yet again to the fantastic work of Jeffrey Combs. He manages to make this episode seem like something interesting going on, even when they cut back to the Xindi and you reminded just how bland and uninteresting they always are.

NEXT TIME: Xindi Mastermind

Religious Extremists

Story: Chosen Realm
Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2004

The Enterprise encounters a group of Religious nuts who worship the Spheres and call the Expanse the “Chosen Realm,” and believe that being scarred by the anomalies is being touched by the creators. My own personal religious beliefs leave me finding it hard to believe anyone can be fundamentalist in their beliefs and still manage space travel. I think religion holds people back, especially scientifically. But that's just an opinion and doesn’t really have any impact on the actual episode.
What does have an impact on the episode is that it is just as boring and forgettable as most Enterprise episodes, even in this decidedly better season. The religious aliens are boring, then they hijack Enterprise, which seems hard as hell to buy when Enterprise not only has Reed’s security teams but also the MACOs on board. Really? A few nuts can take over the whole starship? Really? Hard to swallow.

So I can’t really get behind this episode. I know what they were trying to do, to create an analogue to the Religious Extremists in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars...in much the same way that the whole attack on Earth was an analogue for 9/11. I just don’t think this group of writers were suited for that kind of story.

NEXT TIME: Help from the Andorians

21st Century Detroit

Story: Carpenter Street
Written By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

The Temporal Cold War is brought back, having been fortunately skipped over since Enterprise first entered the Expanse (although directly involved in getting Enterprise heading that way in the first place). It is unfortunate that Berman and Braga couldn’t just let their shitty storyline die, and kept bringing it back. It drags down every stroy it touches.
This story has Daniels show up to get Archer and T’Pol to time travel back to Detroit around the same time as the episode was made in order to stop some time traveling Xindi plot thing. I don’t really know or care.

The episode is stupid and uninteresting. Voyager often chose between being completely inane and ridiculous...or being just plain boring....Enterprise decided to spend a lot of episodes being both!

I didn’t care for the episodes in the Xindi Arc that took away from the basic plot of trying to find the Xindi and stop them. All they needed to do to change it up was start having actual conflicts with the Xindi, have battles...but I think the production team was misguided in thinking that had to wait until the last few episodes. But then they ran out of good ideas for the Xindi War and Enterprise just tying to find them in this fucked up area of space...and they just made these divergent episodes that had little to no impact on the major story...but make vague mentions of the Xindi or something in order to not feel entirely pointless.

Weaker episode in the season, skip it.

NEXT TIME: Spheres

Sim

Story: Similitude
Written By: Manny Coto
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

Trip is critically injured and in order to save his life Phlox like grows a clone or something. This then becomes a sort of debate about whether or not the clone should live because he is sentient...but grown purely to die to save Trip. As far the arc goes, this feels rather off topic. I mean trip wasn’t even injured for some war-arc kind of thing...he was running Engine tests!
It was around this point in the season that the whole season long arc thing fell apart, and the series fell right back into it’s “going nowhere” feeling. I mean what does this all do for the storyline of the Xindi? It became quite clear that the writers didn’t have a whole season worth of stories for the Xindi, and so they lost track of that and just made average episodes to stall for time.

I don’t think this was an awful episode really...but it certainly didn’t matter in the long run. It is sadly part of the evidence that this show’s creative team wasn’t ready for this kind of storytelling. I still contend that had the war arc been focused on the Romulans (and used a Romulan War Council instead of the Xindi “Several Species” Council) that the arc would have had more legs.

Again, not the worst episode in the canon, but it ultimately doesn’t feel too satisfying.

NEXT TIME: Loomis

Wild West of the Delphic Expanse

Story: North Star
Written By: David A. Goodman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

You think anybody really wants a Western episode of Trek? “Spectre of the Gun” stunk something awful. “Fistful of Datas” is really not a good episode, although part of me kind of likes it. “North Star” is a dumb premise on top of being as terribly boring as Enterprise tended to be in the first two seasons. Essentially some Western town has been transplanted into the Expanse. Whatever.
The episode is dull, with a premise fairly hard to buy. And I can take premises that are a little wonky and can be hard to buy...but all you have to do is sell it. Enterprise had a hard time selling it. Example: “The Savage Curtain.” TOS starts an episode off with Abe Lincoln FLOATING IN SPACE...and yet it somehow sells it. It took a ridiculous premise and made it work.

“North Star” doesn’t sell it, it is just silly and dumb, and has only a little to do with the ongoing arc.

NEXT TIME: Cloning Tucker

Years Later

Story: Twilight
Written By: Michael Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

This episode is similar to Voyager’s “Timeless” in that it features a future that never happens and remains mostly pointless when you think about it. But it is also sort of similar to DS9’s “The Visitor” in that some elements of the episode feels rather poignant. But again everything gets negated and I just never really care for that (even in the oft-praised “The Visitor”).
Essentially Archer is having memory problems and he keeps waking up later than he can last remember and things keep drastically changing. Earth gets destroyed, he ends up living with T’Pol who is taking care of him in his rare disease thingy.

It isn’t terribly interesting for the long run, but it has it’s moments as an episode I guess. It is a shame that season couldn’t keep a good arc going, and fell into pointless episodes that bared little impact on the future of the season’s arc.

NEXT TIME: A Western Episode

Kemocite

Story: The Shipment
Written By: Chris Black & Brent V. Friedman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

Enterprise uses the information it has gathered so far to seek out a Xindi mining operation. Despite the whole Xindi-Arc thing being superior to the previous two seasons...I really don’t feel like the Xindi as a species (or several species) are all that interesting once we get to know them. Sure they have several different branches and offshoots...but that is where it all ends. I don’t think anyone really thought them out beyond that and the fact that they are building a Super Weapon.
So Archer and the Enterprise make plans to shut down this Kemocite operation in order to try and somehow affect the Super Weapon plan or something. Archer is like an irrational loon at times, he feels like one of those aliens you’d see on Trek that was all Gung Ho about war against some oppressor that Picard would have to get to chill out. Anyhow this episode is a big one for the Xindi arc, so if your into the whole Xindi-thing...then it is a definite must see.

The episode is okay, and it this point you still think this Xindi thing is going to go somewhere, but for a while after this...it really doesn’t.

NEXT TIME: How it all Ended

Tarquin

Story: Exile
Written By: Phyllis Strong
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

Hoshi is being contacted by someone telepathically. He gets Enterprise to come to him, and then offers them help against the Xindi, for the price of Hoshi staying with him. It is sort of like Phantom of Opera or Beauty and the Beast in a way...and it is weird. It is also fairly uninteresting.
I mean it could’ve been worse I guess, but I just didn’t particularly care about this weirdo. I could see what they were going for, but it just never made me want to stick around. The Enterprise B-plot is rather anti-captivating as well.

It does further the Xindi plot a bit, but it wasn’t a terribly thrilling episode getting there.

NEXT TIME: Gralik Durr

Zombie Vulcans

Story: Impulse
Written By: Jonathan Fernandez
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

Enterprise an asteroid field in the Expanse with a Vulcan ship trapped inside. When they finally get on board the Vulcan ship, they find the Vulcans have become violent and zombified. Trapped on the ship, they have to figure a way out before it begins to take over T’Pol as well, who begins having symptoms fairly early on. As Horror-Science Fiction goes...this is pretty solid. It’s like a Romero movie fused with Alien. Not a bad combination.
Less satisfying is the Trip/Travis plot of trying to find more trellium in the asteroids. It is completely different tone-wise and feels jarring every time they jump to that B-plot. Not to mention it isn’t terribly interesting.

The horror stuff is pretty great, and I don’t even mind that it lacks any real attachment to the Xindi-arc beyond the search for Trellium to reinforce the hull of the ship (for survival in the Expanse). It was a solid action horror movie condensed into 45 minutes. I also liked that it left T'Pol clearly affected by this Trellium reaction, and it wasn't a quick fix for her.

NEXT TIME: Hoshi and the Telepath

Enemy Advances

Story: Rajiin
Written By: Brent V. Friedman and Chris Black
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

While looking for some Trelium-Dto reinforce the hull of the ship, Archer comes across a slave trader and a slave who asks Archer to take her with him. He accepts not believing in slavery and all...she uses sex to get information from the crew and about humans...because she is actually a Xindi spy.
Again I have to point out what a missed opportunity not using the Orions was. I mean Enterprise did finally bring them into the fold in Season Four, but you have pirates a fw episodes prior and now slave traders...it all seems like the Orions could have had a definite plot line in this Xindi Arc.

Anyhow this episode is rather dull, and it uses sex to try and hide the fact that there isn’t much story here. It was watchable, but I kept feeling like it could have been more interesting.

NEXT TIME: Asteroid Field

Goofy Genetic Virus

Story: Extinction
Written By: André Bormanis
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

This is yet another in a long line of bad genetic virus episodes in Star Trek. Preceding it are things like “Genesis”, “Identity Crisis” and “Threshold”. These episodes are bound to be bad since the concept defies all logic. Genetics just don’t work this way, and the writers never tried to learn that lesson. Didn't they get enough of this kind of thing on "Threshold"? I mean almost all involved admitted how badly they screwed up there...why try it again?
I could go on and on about how goofy and ridiculous (not to mention pointless to this arc) this episode is, but I just don’t care too. I think I already ranted enough on “Genesis” and “Thereshold” and some of Braga’s other bad genetic/evolution plots (although this one wasn’t written by Braga, it seems like it is just a rewrite of his similar scripts).

I think it is important to note that the director of this episode was LaVar Burton...and Geordi himself (who turned glow in the dark in “Identity Crisis”) has admitted to being ashamed of this episode.

NEXT TIME: Enigmatic Passenger

Interstellar Pirates

Story: Anomaly
Written By: Mike Sussman
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise
Year: 2003

Enterprise is hitting a series of seriously bad and odd anomalies in the expanse. They find another ship adrift, and find a dead crew with evidence of death by both no life support and phaser fire. Not long after Enterprise is boarded by pirates who steal several key items from Enterprise. Still stuck with no warp due to the anomalies...and lacking supplies, Enterprise is bound to be left for dead soon.
This episode furthers the dark path Archer will be on for the season, as he loses his first crewman and learns that surviving in the Expanse is going to mean making tough decisions...and not remaining completely civilized. It is an interesting arc for the character, even if it doesn’t feel too Trek-like.

Oddly, this episode was meant to feature the Orions and not this new alien known as “Osaarians”. There is no real reason for the change, but I think it really showcases how out of touch with what this show should be the producers really were. That would have been a step in the right direction for sure, and having the Orions involved for the remainder of the season would have been a definitely solid plan, but alas...

This episode is definitely pretty solid, and it feels original, which is odd as hell for Enterprise, which felt tired from its inception.

NEXT TIME: Primal Life-Forms