Bad Thoughts wrote:
Uh, there were a few who liked the episode.
Riker LARPs in the middle of a political and personal crisis. It's not essential to Enterprise, whether you like it or not.
First, while I admit it had it's flaws, I count myself as a fan that enjoyed "These Are The Voyage..." and appreciate what they were trying to do. In my own personal opinion, I feel that had it been a two hour show instead of a one hour show, it would have been a better show. I felt they were trying to cram too much stuff into such a small amount of time, and the story suffered for it.
Second, besides being the last episode of the show, TATV is essential to the over all arc of the show as it was in part about the founding of the Federation. Seriously, how much more essential can you get than that? Yes, I admit I wish we had actually heard Archer's speech, but again, read my first paragraph.
The episode has major problems, most notably that all the action takes place in the 24th century. What we see is Riker and Troi interacting with photons and forcefields. Moreover, those holographic projections can't be called an accurate representation of what happened in the 22nd century. How could the specific actions and emotions of the individuals be known in such detail? The truth would be that the person who constructed the narrative filled in the thoughts and feelings based on how his or her values and interests. At best, it's an historical novel. At worst, it's fanfic. Whatever Riker could have learned from the program would reflect the writer's values, not Trip's. Finally, the whole episode was in discord with “Pegasus” and with the character of Riker. Escaping into the holodeck? I don't believe it.
That said, I'm not sure that as a conclusion or epilogue to the post 1987 era that TATV does better. Because the action takes place within one time frame and within the constraints of a previous episode, the story lacks breadth. It's largely contained. It reflects an aspect of TNG very well: the ethical obligation of the individual. That value was not as important to TOS, DS9 or VOY as it was in TNG. Indeed, there's nothing of DS9's or Voyager's ideas in TATV, even though ENT borrowed from them.
Moreover, ENT was doing a good job of making those connections on its own. We had almost an entire season of fanwanking—albeit well done—in which major narrative and themes were tied together. Many things related to the previous series had been filled in relating to genetics, mysticism, and humanism (under the guise of the formation of the Federation). There was even a compelling guest appearance from a beloved TNG cast member. Season four was the valentine to fans that TATV was not. Furthermore, it was informative rather than summary.
In the TNG finally, Q tells Picard that “worrying about Commander Riker's career [and] listening to Counselor Troi's pedantic psychobabble” were not enlightening endeavors. That's exactly what TATV gives us.