Well, it's been a couple of weeks, and as I finished the series a week ago, it's time to round off with the final six episodes of the series...
Look, I never object to scantily clad women in my Star Trek, but this just didn't seem to have much of an engaging plot. The revelation that the men are actually under the control of the women was an interesting twist, but the actual episode felt a little dull. It was great seeing Colonel Lynch from the A-Team though, even if he was green!
"In A Mirror Darkly" (Parts 1-2)
Oh dear, looks like I'm going to annoy a lot of people but... I just don't see why this two-parter gets so much love. Well, no, I do see why - I just don't really share it.
Perhaps it was the timing of the episodes: With only a few episodes left of the series, it felt a bit wasted to do these shows which aren't even about "our" crew. Perhaps if there'd been a season 5+ I'd be feeling more generous...
It was an interesting move to not go the usual mirror universe route of having somebody from our universe transport to the mirror one, but rather telling the whole story from 'their' side. But I felt we lost...something by doing it that way. Maybe it was any impact on our characters, which made me somewhat uninterested in what happened to these people.
Yes, it was fun to see our characters acting differently, and the recreation of the Kirk-era ship, and Soval with a goatee (!!) - oh, and the Gorn (though absolutely irrelevant to the plot) was good. And of course, T'Pol in TOS style uniform... but still, lots of little 'cool' moments does not a great episode make.
"Demons" / "Terra Prime":
This is more like it. A fantastic two-parter that really takes our characters into interesting places, and gives us a fascinating 'villain' in Paxton. The fact he's not foaming at the mouth trying to wipe out other races, but rather taking a more isolationist perspective elevates his characterisation. Peter Weller did a great job. The whole theme of this two-parter, and Archer's speech at the end, played very well to the series as a whole, and the formation of what Star Trek is to become.
Throw in plenty of action as well, and it turned out great.
As for T'Pol and Trip's daughter... some great acting from our Chief Engineer, but I really wish the baby had survived. Must be by sentimental side or something. I'm not completely sure I quite got what Paxton's point was by creating the baby (going through a lot of effort) but it added to the overall wallop of the episodes.
And now, for "These Are The Voyages".
I was very aware of the controversy surrounding this episode, and vaguely remember watching this nine years ago when Channel 4 first aired it in the UK (I had only ever seen "Broken Bow" in 2002, so could barely remember the characters etc - must've tuned in just for Riker and Troi).
But now was a very different context: A series I had watched from the beginning was coming to an end, and this episode was it's finale.
First, the good: I genuinely get what Berman and Braga were trying to do here. I can't hate them for this, I understand what they were striving for. And as Trek has always been about striving for something greater, I won't bash them too hard on that score.
The idea of the future crew/s looking back at Enterprise Nx-01 and its impact in history is also intriguing.
That's...about it for the good.
Frakes and Sirtis. I say this as a TNG fan first and forever, but... they didn't look good in this. Placing the 'future' scenes in the TNG series era was a mistake; placing it in the MIDDLE OF AN ESTABLISHED EPISODE WAS OUTRAGEOUSLY STUPID. It strained credulity and frankly didn't add much at all. Aside from 'nostalgia' for the Enterprise-D, these scenes - if they had to exist - should've been on the Titan, with an appropriately-aged Riker and Troi.
I really felt too much time was spent with Riker and Troi... the Enterprise crew barely got a look in, and it was their final episode! And, although above I mentioned I like the idea of a retrospective on Archer's crew, the fact that they technically didn't even appear in this episode really smacks of a wasted opportunity.
The jumping forward in time from the last episode by 5 or 6 years... just added to the silly nature of the story. Yes, in Trek, we always suspend our disbelief that characters rarely move on/change/get promoted etc... but it just stood out here as particularly disappointing.
The story for Archer and co themselves: Boring. It was good to see Shran, but he was wasted and the "find my daughter" thing did not seem appropriately epic for a finale.
Trip's death: Unnecessary, and wasted potential. I get that it was the final episode, but it seemed almost spiteful to kill him off in such a way. It wasn't heroic enough, and we didn't even get that much reaction from the rest of the characters. Moreover, I just can't see it helping Riker's dilemma all that much. Riker isn't some freshfaced ensign by the time of "The Pegasus" - this is the man that survived the Borg attack. He knows all about duty, doing one's bit etc. It was a redundant lesson and the fact it came at Trip's expense...well.
All in all, an abysmal finale. I know they didn't have loads of time to craft a finale, but surely they recognised that Terra Prime offered a more appropriate ending than this?
What they should've done (I know, I know, hindsight is so easy...): Reduce Enterprise season 4 from 22 episodes down to 20. Have Demons/Terra Prime (with a little rewriting) be the double length finale.
But, you cry, UPN had agreed and financed 22 episodes - what a waste! Well, what they could've done with the 'final' 90 minutes is a "Star Trek: Legacy" one-off special episode. THIS is where they should've done some sort of situation in the 24th century (possibly with representatives from TNG/DS9/VOY: Frakes and Sirtis will attend the opening of a Trek envelope; as I suspect, will the likes of Garrett Wang, Tim Russ... and I bet they could've got some one from DS9, even Nog!) - a situation which recalls a flashback or two to Enterprise and Archer.
As it isn't technically an episode of "Enterprise" (which had its own finale and end) this episode could be more free to balance time around the different series representatives and - knowing Trek was at an end (for the forseeable) Berman and Braga could've crafted their 'valentine to the fans' as its own thing.
But what about the budget? Yes, it would've been tight... but heck, you have some Trek actors working for practically nothing on these unofficial fan films...I'm sure they could have been persuaded for something similar. As for building sets... the future parts didn't need to take place on any of the recognisable ships or sets, but something new.
Enterprise's production values prove that, on an episode-by-episode basis, you could still go to space stations, planets etc... SOMETHING good could've come from it.
Anyway, I disgress: Back to Enterprise. Now my journey is at an end, I can say that Enterprise is a more than worthy addition to the Trek franchise. It charted new territories for Trek in storytelling (such as the season-long Xindi arc) as well as exploring Trek's own history, and moving back to TOS-style old fashioned adventure stories, particularly in seasons 1-2 (which I loved). The cast and crew did a great job.
It can stand proudly alongside TOS, TNG and DS9 as a truly innovative, interesting series. One day maybe I'll give Voyager a chance as well :-)