Okay, after several delays caused by a lack of enthusiasm for the episode, a broken monitor that took a month to replace, and then two weeks trying to adjust to the new monitor coupled with the previous lack of enthusiasm, it's time to bite the bullet and wrap up the season.
2:26 - The Expanse
(2nd Season Finale)
TV Blurb: Strange visitor from another planet radically alters Earth's shoreline properties. Archer machos up and decides to go kick some alien ass. Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga. Directed by Allan Kroeker.
I'm in the minority around here as I'm not a big fan of the Xindi arc, but I'll try to refrain from harping about it over the next few weeks. I'm pretty sure I missed this episode during first run, and when I did catch 3rd season episodes, they were so dependent on what had come before them, or were essentially standalone episodes, I had no idea what was going on with the episodes that I did see. My understanding of the continuity is a little better though, after having purchased the entire series earlier this year.
The Temporal Cold War is essentially put on hold at this point, and a completely new enemy comes out of nowhere to make a devastating attack on Earth. Unfortunately, just like any other TCW episode, everything has to be explained to us by one of the TCW trinity characters (Daniels, Silik, and Future Guy). This time, Future Guy gets the thankless job of expository dialogue to tell Archer who the invaders are and their motives. He's probably the worst character to assign this duty to, since his voice is always heavily distorted.
Since they didn't even know what the Xindi were going to look like at this point, all we see of them is a heavily burned humanoid corpse with no identifying features. Due to information that's been made known years later, B&B were essentially writing by the seat of their pants at this point due to the network's dissatisfaction with the TCW.
There's also a hint in dialogue about the MACO's that would feature in Season 3, though I don't think they're specifically mentioned by name.
The Vulcans of course are their usual lovable selves, warning against Starfleet's decision to follow up on Future Guy's information, and once again threaten to recall T'Pol. The mini-arc involving Duras also gets a quick resolution.
Performances all around are good, and Connor Trinneer gets some meaty scenes to work with, but Trip's anger is perhaps a little too much regarding his dialogue. This isn't Trinneer's fault though.
Special effects are top-notch as usual, and were nominated for an Emmy. During one of the more simple shipboard green screen scenes, the crew sees the results of the Xindi weapon for the first time.
In one of the season's blooper outtakes, the stage crew apparently plays a prank on the cast during one of the takes for this scene:
As Bakula, Trinneer, and Keating are staring at the green screen, a stage hand wanders into view, turns toward them and shouts "Hey, I'm kinda working here guys!" as everyone cracks up.
Next: "The Xindi"