Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Melakon, Feb 6, 2013.
Glad you're back!
Okay, after several delays caused by a lack of enthusiasm for the episode, a broken monitor that took a month to replace, and then two weeks trying to adjust to the new monitor coupled with the previous lack of enthusiasm, it's time to bite the bullet and wrap up the season.
2:26 - The Expanse (2nd Season Finale)
TV Blurb: Strange visitor from another planet radically alters Earth's shoreline properties. Archer machos up and decides to go kick some alien ass. Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga. Directed by Allan Kroeker.
I'm in the minority around here as I'm not a big fan of the Xindi arc, but I'll try to refrain from harping about it over the next few weeks. I'm pretty sure I missed this episode during first run, and when I did catch 3rd season episodes, they were so dependent on what had come before them, or were essentially standalone episodes, I had no idea what was going on with the episodes that I did see. My understanding of the continuity is a little better though, after having purchased the entire series earlier this year.
The Temporal Cold War is essentially put on hold at this point, and a completely new enemy comes out of nowhere to make a devastating attack on Earth. Unfortunately, just like any other TCW episode, everything has to be explained to us by one of the TCW trinity characters (Daniels, Silik, and Future Guy). This time, Future Guy gets the thankless job of expository dialogue to tell Archer who the invaders are and their motives. He's probably the worst character to assign this duty to, since his voice is always heavily distorted.
Since they didn't even know what the Xindi were going to look like at this point, all we see of them is a heavily burned humanoid corpse with no identifying features. Due to information that's been made known years later, B&B were essentially writing by the seat of their pants at this point due to the network's dissatisfaction with the TCW.
There's also a hint in dialogue about the MACO's that would feature in Season 3, though I don't think they're specifically mentioned by name.
The Vulcans of course are their usual lovable selves, warning against Starfleet's decision to follow up on Future Guy's information, and once again threaten to recall T'Pol. The mini-arc involving Duras also gets a quick resolution.
Performances all around are good, and Connor Trinneer gets some meaty scenes to work with, but Trip's anger is perhaps a little too much regarding his dialogue. This isn't Trinneer's fault though.
Special effects are top-notch as usual, and were nominated for an Emmy. During one of the more simple shipboard green screen scenes, the crew sees the results of the Xindi weapon for the first time.
In one of the season's blooper outtakes, the stage crew apparently plays a prank on the cast during one of the takes for this scene:
As Bakula, Trinneer, and Keating are staring at the green screen, a stage hand wanders into view, turns toward them and shouts "Hey, I'm kinda working here guys!" as everyone cracks up.
Next: "The Xindi"
Well the first thing I ask is... why did they attack Earth if their final version is so far away from being done? Heck, they later dedicate an entire episode to testing a prototype weapon on an uninhabited planet. This seems... reasonable. If they were testing their tunnel to Earth, they could've sent a probe. If they were testing the mini weapon's deployability, they could've sent it to attack an uninhabited world about as far away as Earth. Just think how surprised they would've been when the final version dropped in on them unannounced. Attacking a year before hand gives the humans time to.... do exactly what they did, send someone to stop them.
That said, there is some good character dialogue from Archer and Trip. Trip especially is nice and pissy over this, and understandably so. The funny thing is... this whole Xindi arc really wasn't separate from the TCW arc at all... it involved time travellers from the future trying to manipulate the past and screw with humanity. Just like the TCW. Future Guy dropped in at the beginning, Daniels dropped in now and again to help out, and it ended with... Daniels and alien Nazi's. So yeah, I never saw the difference between the two, except another side was getting involved.
The concept of Enterprise taking off to confront the threat that's going to destroy humanity does have a romantic flair for the dramatic to it, and even though they recycled the spacedock departing scene, there was whole new feeling to it this time.
As for Duras? I dunno... honestly it felt like they needed something to pad the episode out with those they threw in this loose plot end. Otherwise it had nothing to do with the story, except maybe to show this Expanse is so badass even Klingons run away from it.
Decent episode with the promise of more to come though.
Yes, it's really rushed, and it's obvious they were just throwing anything in there they could think of. The destructive probe makes as much sense as if the Japanese had first dropped a flour bomb on Pearl Harbor before the major attack. But the whole Xindi thing was to feed off the nation's emotions after the 11 September attacks over a year earlier. From that standpoint, it severely dates the impact of the entire arc when viewed years later.
Why would they even need the weapon anyways? Just take one of their standard ships and have it crash into Earth at warp speed and it would probably kill... well a lot more than the 7 million that first Xindi weapon did. Unless kinetic energy somehow doesn't apply at FTL speeds.
The whole post 9/11 thing is a part, I think, of what made me shy away from Enterprise when it debuted. It just made everything about the show 'feel' more wrong than it probably was. I'd sample an episode from time to time...but by the end of season 2, the Xindi attack just sort of brought brought back the idea that the series, as well as the real world, was just drifting away from anything which felt "right" to me.
I always wonder why shows do this. Contemporary references always become dated, like when some program or movie makes some allusion to, say, O.J. Simpson. "Gee, I wonder when this came out?".
I've mellowed since, and can watch the show without a problem. It did surprise me, though, that in the wrap-up of the Temporal Cold War (when time was re-setting itself), that among the historical images was one of the smouldering twin towers.
I never made any post 9/11 connection to the Xindi attack. Star Trek is full of horrible attacks and always has been. But I'm not watching this show from america.
3:01 - The Xindi (3rd Season Opener)
TV Blurb: Malcolm feels threatened, Trip wants to kick some Xindi ass, T'Pol takes her shirt off, and Archer gets the finger. Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga. Directed by Allan Kroeker.
Six weeks after Enterprise enters the Expanse, they still don't know where to begin looking for the Xindi, until a questionable tip leads them to a trillium mining facility. When Trip has trouble sleeping due to nightmares from the Xindi attack on Earth, Phlox persuades T'Pol to use Vulcan neuropressure to treat him.
We're introduced to the Xindi Council, but again, we learn information about their nature and battle plans before the main characters do. This is the same problem I had with the Temporal Cold War, where we're given information long before our heroes, and it just seems like poor story structure to me. Archer has to solve the mystery, but we already have important clues he needs. Why couldn't they have kept us in suspense for a few episodes?
Several actors who have appeared in other Trek productions appear here, including Randy Oglesby, Scott MacDonald, and Rick Worthy as humanoid members of the Xindi Council. More notably, Richard Lineback (one of the druggie Onarans in TNG: Symbiosis) and Stephen McHattie ("It's a FAAAAKE!") have important roles. Steven Culp makes his first appearance as Major Hayes, head of the MACO team, and the thorn in Malcolm's side.
Apparently not having enough confidence in their main story about finding the Xindi, B&B tack on a completely unnecessary subplot about Trip having trouble sleeping. This serves to introduce the beginnings of a Trip/T'Pol romance, as well as proving once again that Jolene Blalock was hired to be the T&A girl. The Xindi search is essentially wrapped in the fourth act, with act five existing mainly to get T'Pol's shirt off. As much as I appreciate the female form, it's simply uncalled for in the story. The only time nudity has really worked in Star Trek was in TNG: Chain of Command during Picard's torture scenes.
Oddity: The Mining Foreman demands liquid platinum as the price for Archer to question the Xindi worker. Did B&B mean to say latinum?
Dirtiest Line: T'Pol (to Trip): "Harder. Harder."
Uncalled for in the story about the Xindi but not uncalled for in the to be continued story of Trip and T'Pol.
Yes, the neuropressure business should have been saved for a later episode. But since it was the first of the season, they wanted to get the hottest bodies together.
It would be nice if what was used as a constant B storyline became a whole episode. After all the interrupted the Xindi war with a few other non-Xindi eps.
Yes, I think I missed this episode during first run, and didn't catch one until the Beauty and the Beast story with Hoshi. I had no idea what was going on.
3:02 - Anomaly
TV Blurb: NX takes damage from spatial anomalies in the Expanse, is attacked by pirates, and Archer begins to realize the Xindi mission will require methods he's unaccustomed to. Written by Mike Sussman. Directed by David Straiton.
This episode probably presents the shift in Archer's character from his "gee, shucks" good-natured captain into someone made of more sterner stuff. The first clue is when he sees the body of a casualty from the raiding Osaarian pirates.
After discovering a huge artificially constructed sphere and discovering the Osaarian's treasure trove including their stolen supplies, he angrily confronts his Osaarian prisoner and nearly kills him. It's an important moment for Archer, showing just how far he's willing to go to save Earth.
There are some nice CGI anomaly effects in the early minutes, the requisite gratuitous skin shot before boarding a derelict ship, and some inventive camera work when first boarding it.
(if this entry was unusually short, connection problems caused me to write it over and over again four or five times)
This is absolutely a turning point episode. It's no more Mr. Nice Guy time.
Copy and paste, my friend, copy and paste. If I have anythinng longer than this reply, I do it all in MS Word then just paste it in the thread. It results in a dramatic reduction in gratuitous profanity.
I really was glad they took a moment to reflect upon the consequences of Archer's behavior to himself in one season 4 ep.
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