I was left feeling a little disappointed by this first episode. Its partly becuase I have a hard time believing that they have been in the Delphic expanse for six months.
Maybe its because its only been less than a month since I finished the previous season. Iím sure for those watching it air on tv there was a longer wait between seasons making the sudden jump forward less jarring. But its also because there are little things that donít add up. That scene with Hoshi introducing herself to the macos is the most obvious. I find it hard to believe that Hoshi would wait six months before introducing herself to them. This is a confident character who loves to meet new people and analyse their speech patterns.
The conflict between Reed and Hayes also doesnít fit. Is this really the first time in the six months since Enterprise entered the expanse that these guys have a chance to experience some combat action? Which leads directly to my main problem and the reason for my feelings of disappointment. The finale of season 2 and the flashback segment preceding The Xindi build up the idea of the expanse as a highly dangerous place of freakishly weird phenomena. The only Vulcans to successfully return had been anatomically inverted whilst still alive.
Yet it appears the Enterprise has been in there a whole six months and encountered very little to get excited about. They havenít experienced any dangerous situations that would require security or the macos to get involved and the only anomalies they have encountered have been of the annoying but harmless variety if Archer and Trips reaction to the one in the cargo bay is anything to go by. I find that hard to believe.
I really enjoyed the main part of the story with the treacherous slimy mine supervisor and the dangerous escape attempt followed by the wonderfully timed rescue by Reed and the macos. I really really liked the design of one of the prisoners in the trellium mine. It was dark reddish brown with spikes along the back of its head but we never saw it from the front so I wonder if they just never got round to designing the front of its face. Anyhow this episode gets three stars.
I find this episode a lot more satisfying than the first and a better introduction to the expanse. We get to see strange anomalies being dangerous and freaky and to see Archers frustration building throughout the episode as the anomalies disrupt the daily routine making it difficult for the ship to function. The sphere was also great I love the design of it and like that it doesnít get explained straight away. Hoping this sphere will be part of a subplot since I have heard that this season is a lot heavier with continuity and ongoing story arcs.
I liked the little twist that the pirates were originally traders from outside the expanse who came looking for new markets and found themselves trapped. Their descent into piracy and abandonment of civilised morality comes across as a gradual thing and makes them seem sympathetic even as they pose a dangerous threat. It leaves me wondering if we will see that same slow abandonment of civilised morality as the Enterprise gets deeper into the expanse.
Also I really like how they casually introduced Trellium D in an offhand way in the first episode. The slimy mine supervisor brings it up casually mentioning that the trellium D ore being mined at that facility is used to line ships hulls with and asking Archer what Enterprise is lined with but it comes across as meaningless chit chat and the audience, much like Archer, is dismissive barely paying attention to what he is saying. Here we learn that trellium D is quite important and the crew will need to get hold of some if they want to be safe from those freakish anomalies.
Overall this episode gets four and a half stars.