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Old December 19 2009, 02:40 AM   #781
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

The parallels can be taken from the character's reactions involved - Archer's determination to get the job whatever the cost, Trip's desire for vengeance and although we don't see it much, Earth seems to have this reaction of "why oh why did they attack us?", which was something that seemed to pretty familiar to a lot of reactions on September 11.

I don't think the parallel is a literal one, the events of the Xindi arc are vastly different from the War on Terror - but there are some pretty strong themes of hate, fear, revenge and prejudism portrayed in both human and Xindi characters that seemed to be echoing much of what was being felt after September 11.
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Old December 19 2009, 03:02 AM   #782
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Dolim was a religious extremist who had absolute faith that killing billions of innocent people was the right thing to do because he dare not question the sphere-builders (who he revered as gods). Dolim also mentioned that the reptilian who piloted the probe that attacked Florida was willing to sacrifice his life and will be remembered as a hero.

After the initial gung-ho let's-blow-crap-up-real-good strategy didn't work out Archer was forced to go after the hearts and minds of the Xindi.

Trip had to learn not to hate all Xindi after the pain of losing his sister.

Archer tortured a guy to get information he needed to save others.

Plenty of War on Terror allusions in there, even if it wasn't intentional from the start.
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Old December 19 2009, 03:26 AM   #783
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Alex1939 wrote: View Post
But I don't see any similarities or connections between the Xindi war and the war on terror. Earth, the victim of the surprise attack, is weak and technologically inferior. America, the victim of the surprise terrorist attacks, is large and one of the more powerful nations on the planet. The Xindi council is a collective government figure, Al Queda is not organized as a nation or collective in many regards. For someone to say...
This is the difference between a direct one-to-one parallel and something which is touching on the same themes and issues.

I mean if things have to exactly conform, then most of Star Trek's storied history of allegories can be thrown right out the window. I mean, The Undiscovered Country is about the end of the Cold War, but do you remember the time some guy prevented the American President from being assinated by Oliver North who was working with a conspiracy of Russian agents? No?
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Old December 19 2009, 03:37 AM   #784
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Kegg wrote: View Post
I mean, The Undiscovered Country is about the end of the Cold War, but do you remember the time some guy prevented the American President from being assinated by Oliver North who was working with a conspiracy of Russian agents? No?
You mean you don't?
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Old December 19 2009, 07:29 AM   #785
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Hanukkah Solo wrote: View Post
Kegg wrote: View Post
I mean, The Undiscovered Country is about the end of the Cold War, but do you remember the time some guy prevented the American President from being assinated by Oliver North who was working with a conspiracy of Russian agents? No?
You mean you don't?
It was all covered up afterward.
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Old December 21 2009, 05:13 PM   #786
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Storm (The Mafia Verus Time-Travelling Alien Nazis) Front, Part 1 (*½)

After a week and a half of not watching Enterprise due to my workload, I was really looking forward to getting back into the show, because I've been enjoying it a lot over the last season. But by the end of the first act of this episode I was beginning to regret my enthusiasm, and I began to enthuse about the season of episodes I'll have waiting for me after Storm Front. The whole thing is absurd. It's like something from a Robert Rankin novel, in fact Robert Rankin actually wrote a novel about time-travelling alien Nazis, but the key to that novel is that it was supposed to be so absurd that it was funny. This episode is just absurd yet tries to play like a typical action/adventure story.

Last night I was browsing the news and read the story about how Polish police found the sign which was stolen from Auschwitz, and even though I already knew it I was still stunned by the fact that over one million people died there. One million lives extinguished for no reason. And that was only one camp. Why do we treat these real villains as though they were cartoon villains? These guys killed somewhere in the region of 15 million people out of the supremely misguided belief that they were superior to the rest of us, so 60 years later we use them as a ratings ploy to rescue a struggling science fiction show?

To the episode's credit it does try to address this a little bit in one scene where Alica talks about how the Nazis outlawed "coloured music", but even that falls short because IT'S ABOUT TIME-TRAVELLING FRICKING NAZIS IN NEW YORK!!

There is some hope in the episode that things might start coming into focus in regards to the Tasty Coma Wife, which has now broken out into a full-blown temporal war so I'll have to start calling it the Tasty Wife, which I find harder to justify perving over. Silik and Daniels both show up and we're introduced to a new, more powerful villain, so maybe this is the beginning of the answers we've been seeking for three years.

I'm reluctant to criticise this because I know this probably has a lot to do with the budget cuts inflicted on the show for its final season, but it looks cheap. I'm guessing that it has something to do with the fact that they moved over to digital cameras to cut costs, because even established sets like the bridge look off. Modern Star Trek always looked great even when the sets and costumes looked laughable, but there's something about this episode that doesn't look right. I remember this during the entire fourth season and I was hoping that it was just the way Sky One aired them, but if it is on the DVDs too then it must have been the show. This is unfortunate because this new look was one of the reasons why I preferred season 3 over season 4, but I'll keep watching and see if the stories can win me over enough to forgive the aesthetic.

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Old December 21 2009, 06:40 PM   #787
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Storm Front I gets 2.5 stars out of 4 stars from me.

I try not to be hard or overly demanding from tv programs. That doesn’t mean I’ll accept anything thrown at me but I realize at the end of the day like everything else it isn’t perfect so I tend to allow leeway and I am flexible in allowing the writers to tell their story even if it might not be how I would do it. I was one of the few dozen that actually had no problem with the curveball B&B threw in at the end of Zero Hour however I found Storm Front highly mediocre and disappointing. I really tried to enjoy it but it refused to let me. Two words that come to mind are wasted and thin.

It lacked the gravitas of a season premiere. When I think of season premieres I associate exciting events that usually aren’t normally afforded the rest of the season. This hour was just too underwhelming and the energy was noticeably absent. Part of it was the fact that this episode halted the momentum generated by the last 3 episodes of last season. This truly felt like an episode going through the motions--it was lethargic with a bunch of standard scenes that really didn't stand out.

For some bizarre reason Coto included the most dull scenes imaginable which is astonishing considering there was about thousand other elements of the setting he could have focused on and developed scenes around. Instead he was writing it as if he had no idea what to do with the story and was being lazy. It felt truly half-assed with a bunch of drawn out poorly paced generic scenes that came across more like padding to fill an episode and which held hardly any interest like the scene with Travis and Trip fooling around with the shuttlepod and then blowing it up.

Just watching this episode you wouldn’t think there were all these more interesting aspects present that were just screaming for him to focus on--the Nazi occupation, the American resistance, Vosk’s faction and motives, Silik and FG’s agenda, the set up for the culmination of the TCW. With this amount of material to cover, you would think the last thing the episode would be is drawn out and slow rather it should have been frenzied in covering as much as ground as possible not wasting a spare second of screentime.

I was happy to see Silik make what amounted to a brief cameo basically. T’Pol is too difficult when she didn’t seem so stubborn about time travel in recent episodes. I did like the transmission of Churchill’s address and the idea that the eastern part of the US was under Nazi Occupation with the map showing the amount of territory they seized so far. That is what they should have chose to develop more. Heck VOY got across far more scope in its presentation in a holographic simulation(Killing Game) than Coto did here. This two parter felt too small when it should have felt epic.

I suspect Manny was thinking about all the neat prequel stuff he wanted to get to.

The comrades Archer meets up with aren't lively. They come off cartoonish and as clichés which come to think of it the entire episode felt like a cartoon.

One of the most awkwardly executed scenes involves Archer & the gang running into one of the aliens in an alley. Not only was the acting by the alien awful, the dialog that follows is just an embarrassing mess. It is like the characters are strolling casually from one scene to the next wandering aimlessly undercutting any sense of urgency with the lacksadaiscal attitude. Is this Star Trek or some B-movie? The mobsters are caricatures like what an alien civilization from an old TOS episode might conjure up based on reading a crappy novel. I did like the Billie Holiday scene and Alicia was semi-interesting but her non reaction to the idea of an alien hurts.

I always felt that the TCW was a truly interesting premise but one I didn't think was well served by shoehorning it into a prequel. You have two interesting premises-a time war and a prequel-struggling for dominance. If you truly dedicated the time and effort to do the TCW justice by revealing the factions and their motives you would begin displacing the prequel.

No one tuned in to see altered historical events triggered by forces from the future. They wanted to see our crew dealing with events and crises borne out of catalysts and conditions already present in the 22nd century.

It is also difficult to present Archer as anything more than a puppet and Daniels any more than a fool when the series dictates Archer and the NX crew must be the heroes. So to avoid Daniels and temporal agents coming in saving the day the writers have to bend the rules and introduce contrivances.

It might have worked if Archer and crew learned things on their own but they rarely did. I thought the whole point of stating in the pilot that FG was trapped in the future and could only communicate through time was to allow for the players in the 22nd century to work it out on their own. But then Daniels shows up able to physically move through time and that alone raises a lot of questions and introduces some logistical issues.

It really didn't bother me that it was yet another unknown alien race since there are bound to be all sorts of unknown aliens involved in the TCW. Afterall the Federation will likely go on to encounter new races well beyond the 24th century. That for me was part of the appeal. I was interested in learning about them and their relationship with the future Federation. I did like the revelation of the Temporal War and how as Daniels reveals to T’Pol that agents of various factions(that we sadly never got to see) were ordered to start changing history to their side’s favor. Obviously it would lead to a constantly shifting timeline that reacts to hundreds of incursions and alterations so I can definitely buy into the notion time was being destroyed. I initially believed Vosk was the source because of his actions in Earth’s past only it turns out it was Vosk but in the 29th century and he wasn’t in Earth’s past 1941 to alter history but to hide. :Rollseyes:

If his faction is the most dangerous the image of them escaping into the past really isn’t a notion that sells it.

I did like the idea Daniels is devastated by time interference and as a result is body is in various stages of temporal flux similar to Chakotay in “Shattered”. Daniels dies, Archer is reunited with his crew and show over. Many will blame B&B for dumping this on Coto but that doesn’t wash with me. Coto is a writer. You are suppose to do your best I refuse to accept that this was the best he could do.
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Old December 22 2009, 01:34 AM   #788
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Personally I think turning Nazis into ludicrous caricatures insults them, not the audience.

I really love Storm Front because I love ridiculousness. Probably the best part comes in part 2 where the NX-01 FIGHTS GERMANS PLANES ARMED WITH LASERS OVER NEW YORK CITY.

I can't understand people not liking this, but for me, this is the pinnacle of science fiction television. It feels like something my friends and I would've concocted for a brief tabletop RPG session for laughs.

I am not about to suggest these episodes are ST's finest, but they are incredibly fun.
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Old December 22 2009, 12:11 PM   #789
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I *hated* Storm Front. Very stupid story, really. The action in the episode drags it above clangers like A Night In Sickbay and Extinction, but the trouble is by this point the TCW is making no sense.

It should have tied into the end of season 3 with the Sphere Builders, and ended when the crew saved Earth. What we have is a very poor start to the new season, that craps all over the momentum we had at the end of the previous one.
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Old December 22 2009, 03:06 PM   #790
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
These guys killed somewhere in the region of 15 million people out of the supremely misguided belief that they were superior to the rest of us, so 60 years later we use them as a ratings ploy to rescue a struggling science fiction show?
Well, why not?

No, really. The same man who gave us Raiders of the Lost Ark, a film teeming with cartoonish Nazi supervillainy, also gave us Schindler's List.

The thing about the Nazis is they're about the only force in history it's okay in pop culture to paint as indiscriminately evil. I like to say that Hitler is a secular Satan, and I mean that in the sense Satan was invariably invoked in Christian society as a bad thing (or to Godwin your opponent - the first use of the word Satanist in English referred to Martin Luther), and now we do that with Hitler.

However, when you've turned real acts of barbarism into your barometer of villainy... things get muddled. Our cartoonish pure evil villains frequently use the Nazis as a reference - directly, like the evil aliens in this episode, or indirectly, like, say, the Empire in Star Wars.

All that said, does this excuse "Storm Front"?

Er... I still have a sneaking suspicion the episode's title is a backhanded reference to the racist website of the same name, that's certainly a plus of sorts.
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Old December 22 2009, 05:30 PM   #791
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I'm not immune to the problem of treating Nazis like cartoon villains, I once created a mod for an RTA game called "Nazis in the Nineties" which was about Hitler and some Nazis travelling to the nineties using a spaceship and a mind-control device given to them by some aliens, and they conquered the world. So I should probably be the last person to criticise Storm Front, even though I was only 15 at the time.

But when I see the Nazis on shows like this I forget what they were capable of. They weren't bumbling buffoons, they were misguided but talented men that captured half of Europe and put millions of people to death and used millions more as slave labour. It's sometimes hard for me to remember that because I'm so used to seeing the caricatures of them on TV and in films. We treat Nazis as evil because they have become synonymous with evil, when instead we should recognise their evil because of what they actually did.


Storm (The Mafia Verus Time-Travelling Alien Nazis) Front, Part 2 (**)

REED: I think I've pinpointed where the timeline changed. Someone assassinated Lenin in 1916.
ARCHER: Who took his place?
REED: No one. So without Lenin, the Bolsheviks never gained power. Russia didn't become Communist, and Germany never considered it a threat.
ARCHER: Hitler was able to concentrate on the West.
REED: After France, Belgium and the Netherlands fell. Hitler quickly took England and then the eastern United States.
Hang on a second, aren't you forgetting about an extremely important island in the middle there? Green, lots of sheep, has a cultural problem with alcoholism...

Anyway, this makes no sense with history as I understand it. The Bolsheviks didn't gain power because Lenin was such a great leader, they gained power because the Tsarist regime was incompetent, Russia wasn't doing well in The Great War and the people were suffering, so revolution would probably have happened anyway. If Lenin died then Trotsky would have been the figurehead of the revolution, or some other group promising better conditions for the workers would have taken charge. And even if the Tsarist regime had somehow managed to remain in power it still wouldn't have made a difference because Hitler wanted control of Eastern Europe because he felt it necessary in order to have enough resources for the betterment of Germany. Hitler's goal was always to capture Eastern Europe and Russia, the war in the west was a distraction for him, which is why he only made a half-hearted attempt to conquer Britain while preparing his forces in the East.

And even if history did play out as suggested in this episode, it still doesn't gel with the line about Russians trying to recapture Moscow from the first part!

The episode does its best to escape the absurdity of the first part by focusing more on the Tasty Wife elements of the plot and less on the Nazis in New York stuff. And the Tasty Wife stuff is actually quite good because it turns some of the elements we thought we knew upside-down, such as having Silik team up with Archer and revealing that Daniels and his tasty agents are responsible for saving the Suliban. The episode also gives Vosk some motivation which makes some form of sense and stops him from being villainous just because he is the villain. He doesn't even like the Nazis, which is a surprise (I never thought I'd say that line again).

My biggest problem with this episode, even bigger than the Nazi stuff, is that it discards the Tasty Coma Wife as though she were some sort of Disfigured Coma Wife. I was never a big fan of Enterprise relying so heavily on time-travel, but I decided to give it a chance and it brought some mildly interesting tales with it. There was all sorts of intrigue developed by this plotline and I was hoping the show would eventually get around to giving us some answers, and that doesn't happen. If the producers felt that the best way to save Enterprise was to drop the Tasty Coma Wife and focus on being a prequel to TOS then so be it, but at least use these two hours to give some sort of explanation into Future Guy, the Klingon civil war from Broken Bow and the Suliban's shenanigans in Shockwave. This episode just sweeps the whole thing under the rug and pretends it never existed, which it apparently never did.

Then there's the bit where Enterprise flies over Manhattan and shoots down German planes which are equipped with plasma cannons. The visuals look great and it gives us an iconic shot of Enterprise flying past the Empire State Building, but it's a little too out there, and since when can Enterprise perform atmospheric flight anyway? I mean, what was the point of building this thing in space when it could just as easily have been done in the corn-fields of Iowa?

Dear gods, I did I just advocate that?

My apologies, but I couldn't fit in a joke about Carmine being killed in a very brutal and artistic scene involving a train-set since I went off on a tangent about something else.

Loved the final shot of Enterprise being joined by the fleet, it was like the final shot of Voyager except this crew actually earned it.

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Old December 22 2009, 06:45 PM   #792
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Storm Front concludes with a better hour than its first but still it wasn’t all I had hoped for. I think everyone knew ahead of time that this would be the wrap up to the TCW so I had time to let that sink in and brace myself for it. I can only imagine the fury from those that hadn’t know of its demise ahead of time and that FG’s identity would go unresolved.

Truthfully I always had a suspicion from Broken Bow that the only way to end it whenever that day came was what happens here in Storm Front II—namely the factions realize that none of them can ever maintain the upper hand because of all the incursions and that the constant incursions would destroy time itself leading them to concede to a stalemate where they agree to no further tampering but they also agree to not try to repair earlier incursions allowing for the first two seasons worth of events that stemmed from the TCW episodes to not be undone.

The scene with Daniels as time is repaired did get to me since it felt like the first of many chapters of the show's life was over in what turned out to be the final season. It was a cool visual seeing all the historical events flash and the music stood out particularly with the synthesizer. The welcome home was touching. As for the rest of the hour well let’s say that the episode had its moments but wasn’t more than the sum of its parts.
I did enjoy a few things though:

-Silik working with Archer. I like John Fleck.

-the little factoids like Vosk attempted to erase the Suliban from existence or Silik was sent to retrieve data on how to move physically through time for FG. Again though no further revelations about FG or his side which hurt the show. Contrast this to last season where the Xindi had a nicely fleshed out backstory, insight into their motivations rather than the one-dimension treatment here.

-the visuals of the NX fighting a German plane outfitted with future technology as they fly over NY was another visual effects sequence that ENT excelled at.

-the cleverly done teaser with Hitler in the states was a very neat touch.

-I liked Vosk and Jack Gwaltney. Too bad the episode barely scratches the surface of his character and his species though. We really learned very little about them or their ties to the future “Federation” Daniels was involved in. It felt like there was more to it but was never explored. We got a taste with his conversations with Archer or his speech to his fellow aliens but it wasn't nearly enough.

I didn’t particularly care that the altered WWII timeline had nothing to do with Vosk. He only ended up here when he was running from Daniels and was looking for a place to hide from Daniels temporarily. Instead the alterations were triggered by an agent from another faction(which we knew nothing about or why that faction took that action) who shot Lenin in 1916(pretty cool image though that reminded me of how spooky and intriguing the TCW was in Broken Bow). I think it would have been better if Vosk was responsible for trying to undermine Earth’s history and we learn why.

We never learned FG’s identity or the fate of the Suliban. I remember reading in TVGuide that Berman promised we would learn why we had never heard of the Denobulans or Suliban and it had to do with the TCW. I thought that might be fun. I had a theory that once FG was done with the Suliban as footsoldiers he let them die off because of a hidden defect in the genetic alterations he provided them to guarantee Silik wouldn’t attempt to gain an advantage hence why we never hear of them in later shows.

Overall I wasn’t completely pleased but I’ll freely admit that I have watched Part II here and there because it is alright as mindless entertainment so I give it a B- or a low 3 stars out of 4.

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Old December 23 2009, 04:13 PM   #793
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Home (***)

I'm going to split this one up into sub-plots to make it easier to review.

Plot A (Archer and the chick with the nice rack climb a mountain): After everything which happened in the Xindi arc it is important that Archer has an episode where he reflects on how he has changed as an individual, and how he is no longer the naive explorer he was in the first season. This episode tries to do that, but for much of it it is far too heavy-handed; we are treated to scene after scene of Archer moaning about how dangerous space is to Hernandez. The revelation scene is great, where Archer points out that he's trying to escape her because she reminds him too much of his younger, more optimistic self, but then the episode solves Archer's dark night of the soul by having him get laid. How shallow are we as a society that we think a good roll in the hay is how we should forgive ourselves for torture and other nasty actions?

And since when does Archer enjoy rock-climbing? Kirk had rock-climbing retconned in as part of his character in TFF, Picard had it retconned in in Bloodlines, and now Archer... is this some sort of requirement on behalf of Enterprise captains?

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Key skills: Explorer. Diplomat. Tactician. Rock-Climber.

Plot B (Trip and the chick with the nice rack go to Vulcan):
I've probably mentioned this before but I'm not a Trip and T'Pol fan, and I'm even less of a fan of how the writers decided to turn the whole thing into a Ross/Rachel will they/wont they scenario. This plot is okay, the best parts of it are the parts about T'Pol changing due to her trellium addiction and how she has to choose between what she wants (to be with humans) and what is expected of her (to be a good Vulcan). The romance stuff is fairly bleargh, but the rest of it is okay.

Plot C (Reed, Travis and Phlox go cruising for chicks with nice racks in a bar): Godsdamnit, I love the bit about Reed wearing his Enterprise jacket to attract women. Sure, after three years I'm still convinced that he's overcompensating for being gay, but you have to admire his perseverance. Phlox and his blow-fish head is weird and I'm not sure why it would make people run away rather than point at him and shout "That's weird!" I do like the fact that the episode made some remarks about how Earthicans have reacted to the possibility that their planet was about to be blowed up real good, and some humans becoming xenophobic makes sense given the circumstances. This could probably have used more exploration, but I guess that will come later in the season.

Unfortunately, the show still looks cheap, and the stage Archer and co stand on in the beginning of the episode has to be the worst looking set on Star Trek in the last 10-15 years. The budget also seems to have had an effect on the quality of the music, which now sounds as synthetic as Steven Hawking's voice. (Count yourselves lucky I shied away from the Jolene Blalock joke.)
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Old December 23 2009, 04:21 PM   #794
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
And since when does Archer enjoy rock-climbing? Kirk had rock-climbing retconned in as part of his character in TFF, Picard had it retconned in in Bloodlines, and now Archer... is this some sort of requirement on behalf of Enterprise captains?

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Given the amount of time the Enterprise crew spend exploring the Vasquez Rocks, it's probably essential.

I've probably mentioned this before but I'm not a Trip and T'Pol fan, and I'm even less of a fan of how the writers decided to turn the whole thing into a Ross/Rachel will they/wont they scenario.
I liked Ross/Rachel better when it was Sam/Diane.
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Old December 23 2009, 06:04 PM   #795
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

BTW, the music in the Augments trilogy was superb, so, even if it sounded cheap here, it gets better (or, at least, more creative).
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