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Old December 2 2009, 08:50 PM   #721
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

It's such a shame Hatchery turned out so shitty, as its first third seemed very good.
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Old December 3 2009, 08:19 AM   #722
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Doctor's Orders was a fantastic episode. Trek is not serious business, and I agree, T'Pol when they were starting up the warp engine was just perfect.

Hatchery did indeed suck the big one.
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Old December 3 2009, 07:01 PM   #723
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Glacial wrote: View Post
Doctor's Orders was a fantastic episode. Trek is not serious business, and I agree, T'Pol when they were starting up the warp engine was just perfect.
My complaint wasn't that the episode wasn't serious, my complaint was that I predicted the plot twist before T'Pol even showed up. I knew the episode had to have some gimmick to set it apart from One, and when Phlox started hearing sounds on the ship my immediate thought was that it was going to be T'Pol, and as I heard her footsteps in the shuttlebay I thought it would be T'Pol but only in his imagination. As T'Pol failed to carry out any physical actions throughout the rest of the episode it almost became a tragedy with how obvious it was. At least for me.


Azati Prime (****½)

A rare gem here; a Trek episode which is actually better the second time you view it. The first time I saw it I thought it was a good episode but there was some things about it that worried me, such as T'Pol's emotionalism and the canon-bending sphere-builder wars. But as I rewatch this arc for the first time knowing how the rest of the season will explain these things those worries mostly disappear. This episode is the focal point of the season, the point at which all the threads weaved so far merge into one; the Xindi weapon, the spheres, Daniels, T'Pol losing control, Degra's conscience, the failed reptilian bio-weapon, Archer's penance for the "crimes" he has committed. The seeds which have been sowed throughout the season are finally being reaped, and it is paying off in spades.

So why not the full five stars? Because one thing still seems too easy; Daniels giving Archer the Xindi medal. It's the one piece of evidence the Xindi need to reconsider their plans and Daniels magically gives it to Archer. I would have preferred it if this had been some piece of evidence Archer and co had to get somehow in an earlier episode, I would happily have seen such an episode take the place of Doctor's Orders or Chosen Realm.

Then there's the cliffhanger. I don't want to sound like an inarticulate doofus but... wow. I put it up there with the likes of Scorpion, Call to Arms and even BOBW. It is the most powerful Trek battle since the Defiant was destroyed, and technically it is more impressive. Yes, there's the usual fireworks on set, but you also have exploding fireballs, girders collapsing, the roof falling in, sections of the ship rupturing, people being blown into space, and one of the joys of watching this on my HDTV rather than the crappy CRT I saw it on before is that this time I noticed a hole was blown right through the saucer.

The sad thing about the state of Trek at that time was that when the credits rolled my thought was "That was incredible! I wonder how they'll reset that in the next episode."

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Old December 3 2009, 07:52 PM   #724
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Azati Prime was the best episode since Twilight.

Finally a big payoff--the writers stop the stall tactics and decide to focus on the elements that had been most interesting this season and the writers finally pull everything together and reveal answers to several of the big mysteries of the season.

The episode is in the top tier of season three's best. It isn't perfect and I wasn't sure what I'd give it but ultimately gave it an A instead of an A-.

Lots and lots I liked about this one-- One good side effect of the writers dragging out the season was it made the moment when the NX arrives in the system where the weapon was being built a big exciting moment since we waited all year for this.

First, this episode had a lot of little nice touches. I loved the fresh sight of a water world something Trek didn't offer up often, the ominous sight of the weapon in its launch cradle. I loved the way the writers drew on previously established items to help out their story such as the Insectoid shuttle to penetrate the heavy security, It was nice seeing Hoshi being put to good use with her linguistics or the continuity touch of Dolum discussing how he wanted four ships to escort the weapon and his plans to eliminate every human after destroying Earth(it ties nicely back to what we saw in Twilight).

I also liked how the writers remembered Daniels. Afterall, if this entire war is the result of time traveling it only would make sense for him to play some role. Afterall even if this wasn't exactly a part of the TCW it was still involved a threat with time travel. I loved finding out Archer was onboard the ENT-J and since the timeline has changed no one is beholden to that particular design. I loved the parallels with other epic Trek battles-Wolf 359/Procyon V, the Federation flagship ENT leading the struggle, an ultimate threat to the entire galaxy(the Borg, the Dominion and now the Sphere Builders). I loved the continuity touch where there is none of the pink haze as we see in Zero HOur on the ENT-J because the Federation have lined their hulls with trellium to combat the SBs—either there are no Vulcans serving on the ships involved or they found a way to not be affected. I loved the visual shots of the battle outside the window. This really was one of those epic Trek moments that is a joy for longtime fans who can appreciate the significance of what we are witnessing. Looks like the writers somewhere along the way decided not to tie in the Xindi FG with the TCW opting instead to use an independet party that just happened to have time travel abilities.

I loved Archer hearing about the mysterious Federation once again. Daniels makes a good point about even if Archer destroys the weapon the Xindi will build another but I also understand Archer's initial thinking. All the pieces/clues of the season are perfectly integrated into providing an interesting Big Picture of what is going on.

He realizes he is outgunned by the Xindi. He has only one ship. Plus he has the element of surprise that he would give up were he to attempt to contact the Xindi for diplomacy. He knows most likely they wouldn't be receptive considering they've been told by the SBs humanity is essentially the Terran Empire and so they would view any peaceful overture as an attempt to get the Xindi to let their guards down. Furthermore, Archer knows that at the very least the destruction of the weapon will at least buy some time for them to build up their defenses in the meantime.

We also see another drawback of using time travel and temporal agents. It brings in some logical problems. Daniels shouldn't be whisking Archer to the future to convince him to sway the council. Daniels should do this to the Xindi directly himself. Who would carry more weight someone who can time travel or someone like Archer giving second hand information who can't himself demonstrate that he can travel through time.

Same goes for the NX taking heavy damage. Daniels himself tells Archer that none of this is suppose to be happening ergo you would assume some of those people on the NX shouldn't be dying. We know he can move the NX itself through time(Storm Front) so why not move it to safety. Well because we'd be denied the thrilling and pulse-pounding attack on the ship which I loved. I got a kick out of seeing the ship being torn apart. Probably my favorite moments were the people flying out the hull, the ship rotating as it was being pummeled, the shot of T'Pol's eyes at the very end and the light above Mayweather coming crashing down.

Archer's good-bye to the crew was sufficently moving. I usually can buy into the jeopardy of a character going into a dangerous situation even though no harm will come from it but this one had three strikes against it--this is Trek, this is a prequel and probably the biggest one that removed all sense of jeopardy--Daniels. We knew no matter how close to death Archer is the time cops won't let him die. They pulled him out in Shockwave and Zero Hour and Azati Prime.

I also didn't care for the Archer/Dolum banter. Any other place and it would have been funny. Here it just clashed with the gravity of the situation. For all Archer knows the weapon wasn't in its cradle because it had been launched. The last thing he should have done was trade juvenile insults when his civilization might be in the throes of death. This episode reminds in some ways of BoBW but in certain areas it fails. And Archer's survival is one of them. We all knew Archer would be saved because he is critical to the Federation and Daniels wouldn't allow him to die. He would have just whisked him away as we saw he did in Zero Hour. And you knew Daniels would never allow the weapon to destroy Earth. If it came down to it he would have sent a squad of temporal agents to stop the weapon. Not so with the Borg situation.

And to compare the crew's reaction to the loss of their respective captains you see how much more impressive BoBW was. Archer's scene with Phlox before going on the mission doesn't compare to the riveting discussion between Picard and Guinan with all of their historical allusions and frank pragmatic assessment of the situation in BoBW. And Trip's trying to get T'Pol to snap out of her funk is nowhere near as good as Guinan and Riker's conversation in Part II. But it did have some very powerful images--the first glimpse of the nearly completed super weapon which compares favorably to those moments of unease such as the cube passing Saturn or in orbit of Earth or the destroyed Golden Gate Bridge in DS9.

The rest of the scenes work especially with Degra and Archer making some tough calls. And T'Pol--I didn't know what to make of her behavior. The only really jarring things I saw come out of her was in Harbinger. Really looking back over these episodes I didn't see a lot of hints but then again I wasn't sure about her behavior in this episode either. Truth be told if I hadn't read in an interview that there was something more to her behavior I would have assumed it was the way she was written a lot of the time. But still it was nice giving a more intimate personal struggle while at the same time as this nerve-wracking mission to stop the weapon is going on around her.

3.5 stars out of 4 stars.
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Old December 4 2009, 02:02 AM   #725
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

This episode is fantastic, especially the final scene where T'Pol is just completely blank whilst the bridge is burning and then Enterprise is drifting aimlessly through space, being pummeled by weapons fire.

I reckon the NX-01 gives the Defiant a run for it's money in the 'tough little ship' stakes.
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Old December 4 2009, 04:24 PM   #726
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Damage (*****)

Like I said before, 5 stars doesn't mean the episode is perfect, and I do have issue with some things at the start of the episode, but I think the ends here definitely justify some logical gymnastics. Firstly, after the epic cliffhanger the Xindi just stop attacking. It's a bit of a whiplash, but it does make sense that Degra and co would try to use their authority to call off the attack, and that was seeded in the previous episode. It is like how the epic "Mr Worf, Fire" cliffhanger was resolved with "Oh, the weapon didn't work", but it made sense because it was established in the previous episode that the Borg gain the knowledge of those they capture. The only real issue I have with the episode is that the Xindi released Archer, but I feel that was a logical sacrifice which had to be made to explore something deeper; Archer turning to piracy.

The tone of this episode is fantastic, and the production guys did an absolutely amazing job turning Enterprise into complete wreck. Even little things like the distortion when using the comm adds tremendously to the feeling that the ship is coming apart. It was so refreshing to watch the crew actually have to deal with this situation with no reset button in sight; they're tired, they're bruised, they're emotionally drained, yet no rest awaits them.

Which brings me on to T'Pol the crack whore. Never having been a drug addict I can't say for sure whether her motivation is realistic, but T'Pol has often displayed an interest in her emotions in the past, particularly in Fusion, so I can buy into the notion that she experimented with Trellium to experience some more. Besides, everyone knows the horror stories about heroin and crack and all those other drugs whose names I don't even know (I'm a good boy ) but people are still curious enough to try it out that first time. I know I've already used the word refreshing to describe this episode, but I'm going to use it again because it is refreshing to have a Trek episode which explores drug addiction without judging the character. When Phlox finds out what has been going on he doesn't chastise her, his only interest is in helping her get through it, like a good doctor should.

Then there's Archer and his moral conundrum, which is not only a great moral dilemma, it also plays off the warning from the Osaarian pirate at the beginning of the season. What Archer does is wrong, but to not do it would have been even more wrong. As he says himself, he has no choice. There's a great scene between Archer and Phlox in the ready room as Archer comes to terms with what he is about to do. This is a fantastic scene, after watching it last night I'm willing to put this up there as one of my favourite scenes in all Trek; brilliantly acted, brilliantly lit and brilliantly directed. Archer didn't start out as a great captain, but it is episodes like this which set him on that course.

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Old December 4 2009, 06:42 PM   #727
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I always thought this was one of the most realistic episodes in all of Trek. Some people argue against Archer's actions because Trek is supposed to be "all good intentions and actions." Real war is not like that. In real war, good people are sometiems forced to do bad things and think towards the greater good. It is not just self sacrifice. Sometimes it is sacrificing others.
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Old December 5 2009, 07:57 PM   #728
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

The Forgotten (***½)

There's one thing here that I must commend Enterprise for over DS9; Damage is Archer's Pale Moonlight, and in the follow-up episode they had the sense not to have Archer joyfully singing "You can't take that away from me" with Reed. Unfortunately the Archer plot in this episode isn't that interesting because Archer is just summing up the last season for Degra, which is necessary for the plot to move ahead but I already know all this stuff as I've been watching it for the last three weeks. It's good to see Degra and Archer forming an alliance, and even a friendship, and from what we know of Degra it's not too unbelievable that he would want to stop the weapon which he has many doubts about.

After the excitement of Azati Prime and the grim moral dilemma of Damage, it is good to have an episode which remembers all the people that died in the attack. Conner Trinneer does a great job here, especially when he breaks down in front of T'Pol when he realises that he is really grieving over Elizabeth. Maybe it's good that we didn't know Crewman Taylor before she died, otherwise the idea of Trip learning to mourn his sister woldn't have worked.

I feel that some of the writing is off, Tucker's dream pointed out that it was a dream by having Trip tell the audience it was a dream, and the scene where Degra tells Archer about the subspace corridor is practically an advertisement for next week's episode. But this was an important episode, and I'm glad that they did it even if it wasn't perfect.
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Old December 5 2009, 08:12 PM   #729
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I'll give The Forgotten 3 stars out of 4. It was good but not great.

Once again I had a problem with not including Daniels here. When the Xindi want to see a display of Archer's time travel abilities in order to validate what he is telling them and he can't, it just doesn't work. I also thought the presentation of evidence to the council in episode 22 was much more interesting than here.

The standout scene was Trip finally breaking down. If there had been more adult scenes like this between T/T I would have enjoyed their romantic coupling but as it was this was the exception not the norm. Too bad the season also didn't use the therapy sessions between the two as a way for them to connect and for the writers to examine the different paths the two were taking. T'Pol was wanting to fully experience raw unfiltered emotions going so far as to become addicted to trellium to facilitate this while Trip was trying to suppress any emotion surrounding Lizzy in order to avoid the pain. One additional element that might have been interesting was to further parallel their situation with Trip abusing medication to dull his pain while T'Pol uses one to tap into emotion.

I also liked the realistic touch of Trip's grieving process--he had used the urgency of the mission and the constant crises that cropped up along the way to avoid confronting the harsh reality that his sister was really gone. It was only when he was physically exhausted and things had slowed a bit that he was left all alone with his unresolved anguish and no way to avoid it. This is a very true to life detail of how many people cope with a loss.

I will also say the episode subtlely answered a few more questions I had including the one centering around why the Xindi, with so much internal strife and scattered with no common homeland, would decide to form a council and work together. Turns out the Sphere Builders, as part of their long range plan of befriending the Xindi in order to get them to destroy humanity, formed the council. That explanation was much welcomed and plays very nicely off a lot of threads.

Too bad the next episode is an unnecessary roadblock that halts the momentum of the arc in order to do a standalone that cribs from other Trek episodes.

I also have forgotten to mention for the last few episodes to specifically give praise to the well done recaps at the very beginning of each episode--they effectively remind the audience of the germaine plot points that will be addressed in the episode and they are also well-edited making them their own exciting little featurette.
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Old December 5 2009, 10:09 PM   #730
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post

Hatchery
(*½)


When somebody gets sprayed with something alien in a sci-fi show of course it isn't benign, it's a major plot point not so cleverly hidden. When characters question orders so strongly early in the episode it is going to lead to a mutiny. When the military is involved they are going to act like mindless drones. And that's exactly what happens, Archer gets sprayed, he goes weird and obsessive, officers mutiny against him but the military stand by his orders. In the end Trip beams down to the planet, he confronts Archer, an insect climbs up Archer's arm, Archer tells Trip that he seeks peaceful coexistence and so Trip shoots him.
Yes, the episode is completely predictable. I have written since I first saw Hatchery that in the end, we should have found out Archer was the only one NOT under the influence of (something) - that he was the only one being rational and something was actually affecting his crew.

Predictability was one of Ent's biggest problems.
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Old December 6 2009, 03:02 PM   #731
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I also didn't care for the Archer/Dolum banter. Any other place and it would have been funny. Here it just clashed with the gravity of the situation. For all Archer knows the weapon wasn't in its cradle because it had been launched. The last thing he should have done was trade juvenile insults when his civilization might be in the throes of death.
Archer was trying to provoke Dolim into killing him instead of torturing him, so he couldn't give up information about Enterprise's location. It almost worked, but Dolim caught on.

Hatchery, Azati Prime/Damage, and The Forgotten are episodes that I generally have to watch all in a row. Hatchery works for me because Archer sounds kind of reasonable for the most part: "There are rules, Trip. Even in war. We have to save those children." That's totally in character and Trip can buy it (as the lone "no, he's not crazy" holdout) because he knows the captain well. The slide into crazy is kind of gradual, and by that time, the battle lines between the crew and the MACOs are drawn.
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Old December 7 2009, 04:17 PM   #732
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Ladies and gentlemen, the following episode was written by Mike Sussman. You may remember that I used to do a joke giving all his episodes 5 star reviews and I stopped doing that after he wrote Twilight, which actually was a 5 star episode. I wish I could say I was smart enough to retire the joke at that point, but the truth is that I was dumb enough to forget to do it for Stratagem, and because of that I've decided to pretend that I was smart enough to retire it after Twilight.


(*½)

This episode reminds me of another, but I can't remember the title. Children of Yesterday? Children of Tomorrow? The Children are our Future? The Time-Traveller's Child? Wife of Time? Bride of Time? Bride of Frankenstien? Bride of Chaotica!? Yeah, that was it, Bride of Chaotica!, this episode is a complete rip off of Bride of Chaotica!! It has aliens and... space... Hmm, they're not that similar at all. It must have been a different episode I was thinking of, but since I can't remember the title of that episode I'm not going to mark the score down.

(The real reason I'm not marking the score down is because MA claims that Mike Sussman wanted to do this episode about the NX-02 Columbia, but BB&C thought it would be better to do it about the descendants of the Enterprise and overruled his objections that it was too similar to Children of Time. Since I've given Sussman a hard time in the past, and I actually like the guy's work for the most part, I don't want to be marking him down for an episode he wrote at gunpoint. Call it a double standard if you will. )

Firstly, I don't like the time travel in this episode, it muddies the water in a way that it needn't have been. NuEnterprise was fighting the Xindi before they launched the probe? And the Xindi never got a picture of it? Riiiight. Why didn't nuEnterprise go back to Earth a day before the probe attacked and warn Earth to station their ships above Florida? Why didn't nuEnterprise intercept Enterprise Prime the moment they entered the expanse and tell them where the weapon is being built rather than have Archer and co searching for 6 months? Why didn't nuEnterprise help to fight off the Xindi during the battle of Azati Prime? None of this makes sense to me.

The episode itself isn't inspired either, it is full of the standard guff that I had thought Sussman left behind in season 2. Enterprise gets in a firefight with itself because the two captains were too stupid to talk out the situation, the Enterprises get in a firefight with some shroomie aliens because the shroomie aliens were too stupid to talk out the situation, and Trip and T'Pol fail to talk out the situation because... they're too stupid to talk out the situation. And don't get me started on old Livia T'Prano, the world's first albino Vulcan.

Then there's the plot resolution where nuEnterprise is destroyed and Archer takes solace in the fact that they probably never existed. I believe Tennyson had a saying "'Tis better to have lived and died than to never have existed at all due to a stupid temporal abnormality which doesn't make any sense". I'm paraphrasing, obviously.

The best part of this episode? When Degra shows up at the end because that means there will be no more filler.

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Old December 7 2009, 06:11 PM   #733
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I liked this episode a lot. While watching I could have focused on my "oh no, not another time travel episode" phobia. Instead I got caught up in the personnel aspects. Old T'Pol. Trip and his son who betrays him. Malcom facing the reality that he could easily end up alone in life. ...
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Old December 8 2009, 12:35 AM   #734
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I thought this episode was great! And they did refer to it throughout the season, because the Xindi always believed there was 2 Earth ships in the expanse. Maybe it was doing its own damage along the way.
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Old December 8 2009, 03:30 AM   #735
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

It could've been better if it had been the Columbia.
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