4.04.2013

Captain's Blog pt. 6: The Best of Enterprise 1 of 2

What started as a top 20 became a top 22 (my reasoning being there were 22 episodes of TAS so there was some small symmetry, there) and then a top 23 when I couldn't choose between two episodes for the 22nd spot. But it still didn't feel right. I'll spare you more of this riveting behind-the-scenes stuff; I eventually settled on 25 as the magic number and ended up revising all my rankings as a result.

So, that might be too much for one go, so here's part one, my 25th favorite to my 14th. (With honorable mentions to "E2" and "Terra Nova.")

25.

"First Flight" guest-stars Keith Carradine as AG Robinson, Earth's first warp-flight pilot, an honor for which he beat out Captain Archer himself. The episode is structured as a flashback during a dinner with Archer, Trip, and T'Pol, with Archer and Trip telling T'Pol about their days at Starfleet, when they knew Robinson.

This is an example of one episode that I'd initially ranked much higher, all the way up at number 5. That it dropped 20 places during my re-watch surprised me, but it's not because there's anything wrong with it. I discovered not that I liked this story less through the rewatch process, only that I prefer other episodes more. I rate this one a "B+" or an "A-," in case you'd like a barometer with which to measure my affection for all that follows/ didn't make the cut. (Something like "These Are the Voyages..." would be a "C+.")

I love seeing a glimpse of this The Right Stuff side of Starfleet. And it's a treat to watch Carradine, Bakula, and Trinneer work together.

24.

The plot of "Horizon" (Travis reunites with family and old friends on the Horizon, the cargo ship the Mayweather family owns and operates, while the Enterprise looks at some volcanoes and watches Frankenstein) isn't particularly exciting, but it's a nice spotlight-episode for Travis. I also enjoy it for its look into this merchant-ship/ freight-cargo culture that exists in Enterprise's timeline concurrent with Starfleet.


The movie-night subplot and T'Pols evolving reactions to Frankenstein are fun:  

Before: "Wouldn't a dramatic reading of Shelley's novel be more illuminating?" she asks beforehand. (This suggests Vulcans have no film industry; does logic preclude cinema? I can see it precluding something like Hollywood, or the culture of Hollywood. I always got the impression that Vulcans esteemed art.)

During: "We can stop the film if it's disturbing your conversation" to a chatty Phlox. (If there was a show where T'Pol just nerve-pinched chatty cinema patrons, I'd watch.)

After: "This should be required viewing for Vulcans who visit Earth. I look forward to Bride of Frankenstein."

Little moments like those go a long way with me.
The episode opens here, in Travis' "quiet place." If I had access to an anti-gravity chamber, I'd undoubtedly utilize it for similar purposes.

Anthony Montgomery is a likeable guy, although Travis could be wooden or vague at times. But give him a different context/ something more to do, such as here, and he can carry an episode as well as anyone. His TOS analog would be Chekov, and I thought more than once while watching "Horizon" how cool it'd have been had TOS had an episode like this for Chekov. Mayweather makes the most of the opportunity the story gives him here to show some range (processing his father's death, sibling rivalry, reunited with old friends, etc.) But audiences seemed to reject it. According to its wiki, it was the lowest-rated show of the series.

Travis (and Montgomery) gets another chance to shine a little in season 4's "Demons," which (along with its sequel "Terra Prime") would undoubtedly be included in these rankings, had the story been properly finished. Due to the show's abrupt cancellation, we only got the beginning of that promising storyline (with Peter Weller, to boot.) Making it the only Trek incarnation to end in mid-sentence, so to speak.

(While I'm mentioning those two episodes, the "how-the-Klingons-ended-up-looking-so-different-from-TOS-to-The Motion Picture-and-beyond" two-parter ("Affliction" and "Divergence") is also a lot of fun but didn't make my countdown. I probably should have just done a proper top 30 instead of sneaking mention of these offhand. Ah well.)

23.

"Marauders" is the Magnificent Seven episode of Enterprise, which is to say it's the Seven Samurai or the Wolves of the Calla of the bunch: an outgunned, beleaguered group of folks harassed by outlaws ask our heroes for assistance in resistance, which they provide. For "Marauders," the folks are a mining colony, and the outlaws are Klingons. (Come to think of it, Firefly also did an episode like this: "Heart of Gold.") Does it work? Is it enjoyable? Yes to both.


Although I couldn't help but wonder at episode's end if the Klingons wouldn't simply regroup and come back with more firepower, thereby setting up a Wrath of Khan style sequel where Tessic, the mining colony's leader, seeks vengeance on Archer for abandoning his family/ compatriots to their fate. Allegedly, the Klingons are notified there is this renegade group defiantly forging its own non-Empire way and are presumably chastised/ policed, but Captain Korok (the Klingon captain) doesn't seem like the type to give much of a crap what the Empire tells him to do or not do.

22.

"Home" is the conceptual sibling of TNG's "Family," the one where Picard returns home after the events of "Best of Both Worlds." Here, the Enterprise crew return to Earth after their successful foray into the Delphic Expanse to defeat the Xindi/ end the Temporal Cold War. Like "Family," it succeeds in adding depth to the characters by allowing them to interact in different environments and with different actors.

A bigot in a bar tries to attack Phlox while he, Malcolm and Travis are on shore leave, occasioning the only appearance of the doctor's "attack face." Later, when Hoshi invites him to Madame Chang's, he bows out, presumably to keep working, but we (and she) know it's due to his embarrassment at the xenophobia he experienced. I liked the way it was handled. He declines to go; she argues, he doesn't budge, she promises to bring him some take-out. Point made, shame lines drawn, no sappy speech.
The best parts take place 16 light years away. T'Pol returns home to Vulcan (bringing Trip with her) to visit her mother T'Les (Joanna Cassidy) whom she discovers was forced to resign from the Science Academy as a result of her daughter's actions (in other episodes.) The only way T'Pol can restore her mother's honor is to go through with her arranged political marriage to Koss. Trip is less than happy about this, and he reveals to T'Les that he's fallen in love with her daughter. She encourages him to tell her, and he declines, stating that it would be too much pressure for T'Pol to bear.

That's the sort of heroic self-sacrifice we've come to expect from our Commander Tucker. Comes off way better here than in "These Are the Voyages..." doesn't it?

T'Pol acknowledges his selflessness and keeps up the general Sam-and-Diane-ness of things by kissing him on the cheek on her way to the altar.

The guy between T'Pol and Koss is Jack Donnor aka Sub-Commander Tal from TOS "The Enterprise Incident." Here (and in "Kir'shara") he plays a Vulcan High Priest.
As enjoyable as it would have been to see T'Pol declare the kali-if-fee and Koss and Trip do battle with Lirpas, the tragic restraint and star-crossed lovers aspect of T'Pol and Trip always lands with me.

21.

Mike Sussman, the episode's co-writer, got the idea for "The Catwalk" from a magazine article about the dangers faced by humans on a proposed manned Mars mission. What kind of shielding is required to keep interplanetary asteroids safe from radiation/ ion storms, etc. Here, an approaching "neutronic wavefront" necessitates the crew take shelter in an area of the ship known as The Catwalk, which has the extra shielding necessary to protect them until the ship can safely pass through it. Along the way they give shelter to three aliens, who prove to be defectors from the Takret Militia; Archer sets a problem-solving precedent that will be used often by later Captains, i.e. "Do what I say or I'll destroy my own ship and everyone on it" and all is restored to normal.


It's an episode that plays to the strengths of the show's central conceit, i.e. our species' rookie forays into the galaxy. Some fun tidbits:

- Crossword puzzles still exist in the 22nd century, apparently - good to know. One of the clues is "Vulcan's first ambassador," and the answer is "Solkar." Well-remembered: Solkar was named as Spock's great-grandfather in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

- Chef, that often referenced but never seen (until Riker inhabits his holodeck program in "These Are the Voyages...") member of the crew, is seen here from the waist down. Chef's identity was meant to always be a mystery, but Mike Sussman reveals that the plan was to get Shatner to play him as a big surprise in some-later, now-never, episode. Bummer.

20.

In "Carpenter Street," Archer and T'Pol travel to 2004-era Detroit to stop the Xindi from creating a biological weapon. Aiding our heroes is Crewman Daniels; aiding the Xindi is opportunistic lowlife Loomis, played by Trek vet Leland Orser. This is the only time he appears without alien make-up, though.

An axiom of sci-fi tv is that if you must time travel, do so sparingly. After so many episodes of TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9 and VOY (not to mention in the movies) that treat this axiom like Kirk treats the Prime Directive, its edge as a storytelling resource was blunted. Still, its overuse in the franchise shouldn't be held against "Carpenter Street," which exploits the set-up pretty well: T'Pol in the fast food drive-through, her reaction to Loomis' lighting a cigarette, Loomis' telling the cops at the end that he was abducted by lizard-men with ray guns, Archer's confusion about money, etc. The wheel is not re-invented here, but why should it have to be? Perhaps that's a metaphor for the show, overall.
Okay, now for something that I feel somewhat silly about missing. From the Memory-Alpha: "There are many references to the 1978 horror film Halloween. The title and street name is a reference to director John Carpenter. Loomis is a reference to Dr. Sam Loomis played by Donald Pleasence. Lawrence Strode is a reference to Laurie Strode played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Loomis talks about a 'Mr. Myers,' (and) Loomis drives an old station wagon much like the one Myers drives." 

Part of my problem with the Xindi storyline is that its season-long story arc makes it difficult to tell stories not related to that storyline, but they found some novel ways to do little "side-trips." This is one of those.

Great look to this episode in general.
19.

"The Communicator:" Malcolm leaves his communicator behind on an away mission to a pre-warp planet. He and Archer are abducted and tortured while trying to retrieve it. T'Pol and Trip come to the rescue in their captured Suliban ship.


This is a fun mash-up / inversion of some familiar Trek concepts; it recalls things discussed or seen in "Piece of the Action" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday" (TOS), "First Contact" (TNG) and "Blink of an Eye" (VOY) and many other episodes.

It's possible I'm ranking this one too highly, but I enjoy the progression of events and watching the characters react to them. I don't think this planet or its people are ever named, though, are they? It'd have been cool if they took one of the many never-followed-up-on races in the Trekverse and made them the aliens here. It's possible that they did - I throw this out there to the internet: A special Dog Star Omnibus No-Prize to any who find the answer!

18.

At the beginning of "Twilight," Archer wakes in the middle of a battle and rushes to the bridge, only to be seized by security on T'Pol's order. Before he can leave, he, along with everyone on the bridge, is witness to Earth's destruction by the Xindi:




Flash-forward/backward: Archer wakes in a house where T'Pol tells him interspatial parasites from a Delphic Expanse anomaly twelve years previous left him with "anterior grade amnesia," i.e. the inability to form long-term memories. Like Drew Barrymore in Fifty First Dates, each day he wakes up and has to re-learn how he got there and the events of the years between the accident and now. And be caught up on intergalactic current events: the Xindi won, and the only surviving humanoid colony resides on Ceti Alpha V, led by T'Pol, also Archer's now-permanent caretaker.


Instead of covering his body with tattoos and leaving himself detailed Polaroids, the Captain resigns himself to his fate, and Phlox eventually discovers the cure: by exposing Archer's brain to subspace-imposions and experimental radiation, whatever neural parasites are destroyed in the present also disappear from every neural scan of the past. (Nice trick) 

The solution to Archer's problem is a novel one, and the resetting of the bad-future-timeline is handled well here. It's true that Trek fans might have had a bit of bad-future-timeline fatigue by the time "Twilight" aired, having seen some variation of this on each of the Trek series since TNG did it in "Yesterday's Enteprise," "All Good Things," and (sort of) "Future Imperfect." Inevitable to make comparisons, sure, but all I'm concerning myself with is: does it exploit this Trek trope in an an engaging fashion? i.e. if those episodes didn't exist, would it be any lesser-written or performed, etc.? And I'd answer that with no. 
And if you need me to tell you why Ceti Alpha V sounds familiar, shame on you. But in case you missed it, Soval mentions "an Earth convoy destroyed in the nearby Mutara Nebula."
17.

"Kir'shara," the final chapter of a three-parter from season four, is too dense to accurately summarize, but suffice it to say, it a) more-than-satisfactorily closes Enterprise’s open-plotlines re: Vulcan, b) puts Vulcan society on the path it will be on in TOS,


c) gives Gary Graham and Jeffrey Combs the chance to indulge in that hallmark of War On Terror-era television, i.e. the torture scene:
"Talk to me, where are my space detonators?!" and "I'll tear the antennae from your skull!" and "You don't know what pain is!" and such.
and d) bonds Archer to Surak via that "ancient Vulcan secret, eh?" the katra. Nice touch. (No pun intended)


Reminded me of this nice moment from "Unification, pt. 2."
 

Surak as played by Bruce Gray in "Kir'Shara" (left) and as played by Barry Atwater, (right) in TOS "The Savage Curtain."

The three-part story occupies only one spot in our countdown here, but that is not to say the other parts of the story arc are inferior or anything. If stuff like this had been done in Season One, I bet perceptions of the show would be different.

16.

As with "Kir'shara," this is really a three-episodes-in-one ranking, as "The Aenar" wraps up a multi-part storyline and significantly develops the Andorians, which when all is said and done, may be where Enteprise succeeds the most. Nothing much was done with the Andorians in previous series, and Enterprise does a great job in turning them from just another alien costume design into a credible civilization. And also as with "Kir'shara," the plot's a bit too dense to summarize here, but we're given our first in-depth glimpse of the Romulans, whom we discover are meddling behind the scenes and sowing discord in the timeline of Enterprise.
Schemes orchestrated by the great Brian Thompson as Romulan Admiral Valdore.

Archer visits the Andorian homeworld as well as meeting the Aenar: also Andorians, but endowed with "telepresence." They are blind, pacifists (making them ideologically-opposed to the Andorian Imperial Guard) and live deep underground.

Bakula and Jeffrey Combs (aka "Shran") work well together, and Shran, like Graham's Soval or Cassidy's T'Les, should be considered as much a part of the cast as anyone.
If one considers Enterprise via only this "Aenar" trilogy, the "Kir-shara" trilogy, and "In a Mirror Darkly," (all Season Fours) it'd be understandable to think the show was a brilliant pastiche and development-machine of themes from TOS. Unfortunately, though, these are pretty much all we got. Again, how different things might have been had they gotten to stuff like this much earlier.

15.

"Future Tense" revolves around the Enterprise finding an adrift UFO and bringing it aboard, whereupon Trip and Malcolm discover its interior is TARDIS-like, i.e. it is much larger on the inside than on the outside. Other discoveries follow in rapid order: its long-dead pilot is human, though genetically altered, it exudes some kind of temporal field that wreaks some havoc with those caught within it, and it attracts the aggressive attention of both the Suliban and the Tholians.


After an absence of many a year from Trek lore, here come the Tholians. All we get is sight of their ship and audio of their modulated screech via the Comm link, here, but it was enough for me to say "Yes!" to myself and spin around in my office chair hooting with delight.

Hunting for clues in the future database in Daniels' quarters.

Each cast member gets some nice moments in this one. The conversation between the ship's resident non-Terrans, T'Pol and Phlox, is particularly interesting. We learn that Vulcans have concluded that both time travel and the idea that humans and Vulcans can procreate are impossible. When Phlox counters that many of his species' beliefs had to be re-evaluated after they learned of intelligent extraterrestrial life, T'Pol says she prefers logic to surprises. (Naturally)

A couple of fun references to Zefram Cochrane, "the century's greatest missing persons mystery."

TOS viewers know where he ended up, of course.
14.

There's a great shot early on in "Strange New World" where Crewman Cutler and some others marvel at the approaching planet through the mess hall windows. It captures the spirit of its title/ drives home the potential of the Enterprise premise.

The general impression out there is that the rest of the episode is less successful in conveying this spirit, but I couldn't disagree more. Where episodes such as "Kir'shara" et al demonstrate the potential in developing pre-existing TOS themes, this one is a pure extract of the other aspects of the premise: interacting with an alien environment for the first time, in a way we're not used to seeing in the Trekverse. (And is more successful at that than episodes such as "Unexpected" or "Rogue Planet." Laudable attempts and not terrible episodes but a bit clumsier in this aspect.)


An away party beams down to the planet to have a lookaround/ campout.


There is some disagreement over which planet exactly this is supposed to be. But for our purposes it's enough to know that a sudden, violent storm kicks up and drives the landing party into the caves. It also releases into the air the psychotropic pollen of the plantlife, which triggers hallucinations and paranoia among those left behind.


Captain Archer is able to cool everyone's heels from orbit (the storm preventing use of the spacepod until it clears,) and Phlox deduces the source of the hallucinations and creates an antidote.

This episode introduces Crewman Cutler, played by the late Kellie Waymire, who died much too young during the course of the show.




I'll cover her a bit more when I get to "Dear Doctor," but she is used to good effect here, particularly in her (rebuffed) attempts to be friendly with T'Pol.

Let's take a break and get some Plomeek Soup and Saurian Brandy before continuing the countdown.

15 comments:

  1. I have to give the series another watch to comment in any depth here. I have only seen some of these episodes, and of the ones I've seen, only a few of those can I recall much of anything about. Your synopses do make me want to delve into the show again.

    Oddly enough, something reminded me of Kellie Waymire recently. It was just an actress who resembled her, but I recalled how she died in her sleep - if I'm recalling correctly. She had been fairly active on TV for a while. Always a guest star or bit player, but she had a presence about her that I think would have seen her end up with the lead in a series at some point.

    You make a good point in this post, one that we've discussed before - Enterprise needed to frontload the good stuff. That first season should have been filled with stories about the Klingon divergence, the Romulan war, Vulcan/Earth relations, Andorian stories, Tholians, and on and on and on. All the backstory stuff that had been hinted at tantalizingly in TOS and the other series. Add in Earth's expansion of its fleet and colonies, so an episode like Horizon had more context - I remember wondering where all this interstellar/interplanetary commerce was running, since there was never a good indication of how big a footprint Earth had off the homeworld.

    So basically, with Enterprise we had a series with a ton of potential Unfortunately, it was hobbled by a team that seemed to want to rein it in pace-wise, like checking a spirited racehorse to a walk as it desperately wants to stretch its legs and run.

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    1. It's a shame we can't smash together seasons one and two (and make the Xindi storyline a three parter or something) and have season four be Season Two. I'm almost positive it would be then be revered as one of the best Treks, ever. (And then we could have seen those tantalizing stories promised for Season Five and beyond.)

      But, I still enjoy seasons one and two for what they are. Ditto for season three, even if the Xindi storyline didn't quite land with me. They wanted to move slowly, I guess, and they stuck to it. They walked a tightrope between the network (more t'n'a! No! LESS t'n'a! Whaddyadoin', I said more t'n'a, yaaaaarg) and increasingly-hysterical nerdrage from the always-excitable-Trek-faithful. (Of which I'm one, so i speak of them as I would a drunken uncle whom I'm nonetheless happy to see on holidays, etc.) I guess I'm an apologist for the regime on this one.

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  2. Only seen a couple of these. I actually just started watching the show again at the point where I left off in season 2. The last one I watched was "The Catwalk," which I enjoyed but was frustrated by. On the one hand, it's a great idea for an episode; on the other hand, the ship-is-invaded elements felt shoehorned in because somebody decided the episode would be boring without them.

    I also recently watched the one with Padma Lakshmi, who is a terrible actress but awfully easy on the eye. Not a great episode, but entertaining.

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    1. The Padma episode narrowly missed being covered here; I like that one.

      If the truth be told, I like MOST of them, but I only LOVE these 25, yadda yadda.

      It's funny you mention the "put the ship in danger because someone decided the episode would be boring without them" aspect, as I'm reading Harlan Ellison's scathing indictment of Roddenberry and Paramount suits now and he mentions how that was a constant note to writers. How little things changed in the decades between TOS and ENT, or rather, how curiously they came full circle.

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  3. I watched two Vulcan-centric episodes tonight: "Stigma" and "Cease Fire." Both had their strong points, but both also reminded me of how much I dislike this show's treatment of Vulcans. Am I crazy, or do they almost never seem to actually do the logical thing on "Enterprise"? I'm willing to concede the possibility that I'm wrong, but I don't think I actually am.

    Of the two episodes, "Stigma" was the better. Its anti-bigotry message is rather on-the-nose, and also a bit mundane. Yeah, I know, I know; even in 2013 -- the future! -- we still do NEED to reminded that bigotry is bad, mm-kay. But does it have to be as obvious as it is here? Not bad; just obvious.

    I far preferred the subplot featuring Phlox's wife trying to get in Tripp's pants. That was a hoot. And that actress (who played a great small role on "Mad Men"), she...uh...well, Bryant is a fan. Tripp is an idiot.

    As for "Cease Fire," it gave Archer some good moments, and was generally well-made. However, I simply can't buy into the idea that the Vulcans would do things like what brought about this episode's conflicts. It simply doesn't jibe with my notion of who the Vulcans are and what they do.

    And while I'm thinking of it, why do they all have bowl cuts? What's logical about looking like Moe Howard? Not a damn thing.

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    1. Ahhh, the bowl cuts. I'm not sure, either. Must be under the same set of laws that regulate all men's sideburns will be pointy.

      Those two aren't favorites, pretty much for those reasons (though I love practically everything related to Phlox, most especially the bits you describe.) If you stick with it, you'll get an attempt at explaining the situation when you get to the "Kir'Shara" episodes; it at least offers up a plausible enough theory as to why the Vulcans we see in the earlier seasons aren't up to the same logical standards that we know and love from TOS and elsewhere.

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    2. I watched "Future Tense" tonight. In general, I find myself feeling grumpy about the whole threat-from-the-future subplot, which I think might have been something the producers should have not saddled the show with.

      I liked this particular episode a lot, though, mainly because it was content to let the futurians and their technology be almost completely mysterious. This is a problem the crew is almost totally incapable of dealing with, or even understanding; I kinda liked that.

      And yeah, it was cool to see the Tholians pop up. Those sound effects were cool; I love it when Trek does something really alien.

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    3. The Tholians' appearance made me so happy.

      Agreed on the threat from the future. I can understand the impulse to create a whole new villain unique to the show, but the problem of doing that with a show taking place in the past is... where did they go in future series? Plus, why even PUT the show in the past if so many episodes are going to deal with stories from the future?

      I certainly wouldn't have minded it if it'd been used more sparingly, and as it is handled in "Future Tense." Even the Borg episode I thought was handled okay, though it's not a personal favorite; it's fine to have them encounter the Borg, so long as it fits into what we know about them in TNG and elsewhere, i.e. humans were unaware of them until Q pointed them out.

      I suppose the Suliban/ Temporal Cold War had an "out" with the whole timestream resets itself thing, but it seems like a lot of smoke for a little fire.

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  4. I finally got to "Twilight" tonight. Very disappointed; Taylor Lautner didn't take his shirt off once. I'm not sure he was even in it!

    I can sympathize with the potential complaint about it being maybe one future-gone-wrong/rest-button-pushed episode too many. Despite that, I thought it was a fairly terrific episode. Definitely one of the better T'Pol episodes I've seen to date.

    It's also kind of amusing that there is a great big "Battlestar Galactica" vibe to the episode...which aired about a month prior to the miniseries premiere of the new BSG. Pretty cool.

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    1. I don't remember a BSG vibe, but it certainly makes sense in retrospect. I'll have to view it through that lens next time I see it. Glad you enjoyed!

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    2. Convoy of ships bearing the ragtag remnants of humanity, all headed for a planet where they can find refuge from the race that wants to finish the job of wiping them out. It's mainly just that one plot point, but that one is pretty persuasive.

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  5. Well, I finally finished season three. Overall, I'd have to say it was a very good season of television. My only complaints would be these:

    (1) I wish there had been a way for the Xindi to be composed of aliens we'd already seen on later Trek series. Because really, based on this season, I'd have to feel as if the Xindi -- particularly the Aquatics -- would end up being key members of the Federation a few decades down the line. It's only a problem if you focus on the prequel-ness of the series, though, and I mostly don't.

    (2) I also wish it hadn't culminated in a battle. That's not really the Star Trek way. I wanted the whole thing to be resolved with a mix of force and diplomacy. But, again, this IS a prequel, and the argument could be made that THAT sort of Trek doesn't entirely exist yet. I can live with it. And anyways, the last few episodes were tense and well-made, so my objections don't matter much even to me.

    My final complaint is with myself for not having watched the show while it was on. I bailed out during season two, and watching the third season now, I feel like I missed the boat. Big-time.

    So did much of the rest of the country, though, so at least I'm not alone.

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    1. I'm glad you're stopping back in to continue your impressions as you make your way towards the end - look fwd to your s4 thoughts!

      I was disappointed with the whole threat-to-Earth / vengeance-mission / Xindi/ Sphere-Builders story, pretty much, yet I like the overall season. I think (if memory serves - actually, you're in a better spot to comment, here, having just watched it) that the idea is that by stopping the Xindi, they've been removed from continuity or something? Ergo their non-appearance in later Trek mythos? Am I making that up?

      I can't believe they chose the design they did for those Sphere Builders. Someone in the Trek department has an inexplicable affection for that Changeling make-up design.

      The aquatics are a cool idea, but the visual never worked for me. The only Xindi visual I liked was the insectoid one, and they weren't used very much (and not too effectively.)

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    2. Unless I somehow blinked and missed it, there is nothing to indicate that the Xindi have been removed from the timeline. Unless that happens in the course of the opening of season 4, somehow. In fact, during one of the times when Daniels takes Archer into the future to see what it looks like, there are Xindi members of Starfleet. Which begs the question of why we don't see 'em in TNG or DS9 every so often. That's a bit of a shame, but it only bothers me a bit.

      The makeup on the Sphere Builders is weak, I agree. One of my biggest complaints with modern Trek (TNG through Enterprise) is the occasional sameness of the makeup and alien designs. I get it; there's only so much that can be done with putting foam latex on a dude's head, but still.

      That may be why I like the aquatics and the insectoids as much as I do. The CGI isn't all that great, but at least they don't look like seventeen other alien races we've seen on the various shows. Even the reptilians are distinctive, although to my eyes they look a lot more like bugs than they do like reptiles. C'est la vie. They made for pretty good bad guys.

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