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These Are The Voyages...
|Series :||Enterprise||Rating :|
|Disc No :||4.6||Episode :||98|
|First Aired :||13 May 2005||Stardate :||Unknown|
|Director :||Allan Kroeker||Year :||2155|
|Writers :||Brannon Braga, Rick Berman||Season :||4|
|Guest Cast :||
|Plotline :||Pondering Admiral Pressman's arrival on board the Enterprise-D to search for the long lost USS Pegasus, Riker decides to watch a holoprogram about the NX-01's last mission before being decommissioned in order to gain some insights into the conflict between orders and loyalty to his friends.|
|Analysis :||Oh. My. God.
From his online comments, I understand Berman and Braga wanted to make this episode "a valentine to the fans". I find this an incredible comment, because what he has actually produced is nothing more or less than an insult to any fan of Enterprise.
Now before I go on, let's be clear that I don't consider myself to be a fan of Enterprise. Not Enterprise specifically, at least. It's Trek, and for me that makes it worth watching, but for the various reasons I go into in my "Enterprise Ramblings" article, Enterprise never really worked for me in the way that TOS and TNG did. But even the weakest child in the class deserves the chance to do his own work the best he can. This episode sends the message that Enterprise doesn't even deserve a send-off of its own.
For all its flaws the show deserved to be treated with a great deal more respect than it gets here. It's one thing to tie one series into another, and even to have one series directly intrude into another - DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations" did the latter, and did it superbly well. But a series finale should try to encapsulate the show, it should sum up the spirit of the whole series. TOS never got the chance to do that, given the way it was cancelled, but they made up for it with a fantastic send-off in Star Trek VI. TNG did it superbly with "All Good Things", giving the crew one last great problem to solve. DS9 did it brilliantly with "What You Leave Behind", finishing up the war, fulfilling Sisko's destiny and showing the feeling of family these people had developed for one another. Voyager did it somewhat with "Endgame", showing the ship making it back to Earth. Now we have the Enterprise finale, and find that it's a story about Riker and Troi? And this was no cameo appearance - fully one third of the entire episode is devoted to characters who have nothing whatever to do with Enterprise. It's a massive slap in the face to the NX-01 crew - both the characters and the actors - to do that to them in the very last episode.
Fast forwarding to show the founding of the Federation was a great idea. Building the backdrop for that is what a lot of Enterprise has been about and it's a fitting climax to the series. But dropping Riker and Troi into it is completely unnecessary. It would have been far, far better to dump the framing story and let Enterprise stand on its own merits. How can Berman and Braga not understand this, for a show they created?
Not that the Enterprise section of the story was up to much anyway. After giving us an incredibly powerful scene between Trip and T'Pol at the end of the previous episode, after implying that they may have a future together after all, where did that go? Nowhere. They didn't get together, didn't have any more kids. They just carried on as professional colleagues.
Shran comes back, apparently from the dead, to claim a favour. Seems the highly noble and honourable Andorian Guard officer dropped out to become a petty thief. Yeah, right. So Archer goes off to take on some criminal gang on Rigel X, and even though they have every possible advantage the NX-01 crew put up a pretty dismal showing in subduing them. Trip's little dangle from the catwalk was presumably there because the writers wanted to make us all think he was going to die then and there. Back to the Enterprise and off we go, only the thugs manage to catch up with the ship and attack it. Nobody pages Archer to inform him of the attack, Archer doesn't call the bridge to ask about it. We get an intruder alert but nobody bothers to actually go and tackle the intruders - presumably the MACOs and Reed's security teams were on their lunch break or something, because we get a good five minutes where the gang stand around chatting or wander the corridors, without so much as a single crewman in sight.
Then Tucker blows himself up to incapacitate or kill the gang. We see him badly injured in the sickbay, with Phlox working desperately to save him. Shran isn't there of course, I mean Tucker just mortally wounded himself fighting Shran's enemies and all but he probably had something better to do just then. Maybe he joined the MACOs for lunch or something.
So then we get Tucker's moving death scene. Or rather we don't, as this happens during the commercial break. We do see T'Pol packing his stuff up, and she seems about as upset as a Vulcan can get, but nobody else seems especially bothered. Archer's grief is summed up by saying he will miss Trip before he moves on to the important matter of talking about his speech. Well, he only knew the guy for eighteen years and Trip only sacrificed himself to save Archer's life, so it's not like he'd be upset or anything. And what the hell, it's not like it's an important element of the episode, we certainly wouldn't want to take time away from those vital scenes of Riker chopping vegetables or anything.
And of course, two minutes later Trip is back alive again anyway. Either we're flashing back or Riker's decided to go back in the program, for no particular reason. Either way, it's an excellent way to make the audience wonder what the hell is going on with the dead guy who is now walking aorund alive again, only to then vanish at the end of the scene and never reappear. Since the NX-01 crew clearly didn't feel any great sense of grief at Trip's death, I can only imagine the intent was to undercut any feelings of loss that the audience might have as well. Nice move there, well done to the writers.
So off to Earth, to see Archer's speech. It's an important element of the show, they've gone on and on about how hard it is for Archer to write it, Troi has talked about how it is so historic that even a couple of centuries later kids have to memorise it at school. Wow, this speech must be great. Better than the one at the end of "Terra Prime" I bet. So is it great? Don't ask me, because after that build up the writers decided that no, actually we don't need to see Archer's speech after all. Apparently an episode dedicated to showing us the founding of the Federation doesn't actually want to clutter the plot up with the actual founding of the Federation or anything. Why bother with that, when you can spend the time having Data misunderstand the term "rain check" in an amusing manner instead?
And so we move to the end of the episode. TNG finished with a line from Picard, finally joining in the poker game. DS9 finished with a line from Quark about how life goes on on the station. Voyager finished with a line from Janeway about getting home. The end of the this episode finishes with Riker saying "Computer end program." Doesn't it just stir your soul?
Only that's not quite the last line as such. It's the last one that's part of the episode proper, but the writers now do something that is very nearly meaningful. They give us the "Space the final frontier" monologue with different parts performed by all the different Trek captains. Wonderful. This really could have been a great moment.
Except... what they actually do is give us the "Space the final frontier" monologue with different parts performed by SOME of the different Trek captains. Picard gets some of it, as does Kirk and Archer. But Sisko and Janeway, well I guess they just don't make the cut. Maybe the actors were approached and refused to participate. Maybe they thought that only captains of ships called Enterprise should be included since the lines refer to that. In either case, it would be better not to have done this at all than to have done it in such an exclusive way. (Is it a coincidence that the two people excluded are the black guy and the woman? Probably. I hope so.) Let Archer do the entire thing himself, it's his show after all.
Well, so ends Enterprise. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a raspberry. Enterprise deserves better than this, Enterprise has had better than this under Manny Coto. If - when - there is a new series or a new movie a few years down the road, we can but hope that somebody like Coto or Ron Moore is put in charge from day one. If there is to be a silver lining to this episode, let it be that this is the last time Berman and Braga get their hands on Star Trek, ever again.
|Guest Reviews :||
|YATI :||Troi says the ceremony will lead to the formation of the Federation. This IS the formation of the Federation.|
|Worst Moment :||Take your pick. I'll go for Trip's lack of a death scene.|
|Body Count :||Trip. Several un-named bad guys. The Enterprise series as a whole.|
|Factoid :||The Admiral behind Reed in the signing ceremony is none other than Manny Coto.
The crew of the Pegasus includes Ronald Moore, a tip of the hat to Trek writer/producer Ron D. Moore.
Enterprise is the only Star Trek series that kept the main cast the same throughout the whole run.
Director Allan Kroeker also directed the last episodes of Deep Space 9 and Voyager.
Jonathan Frakes has now appeared in all four Star Trek spinoffs from the original series - TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise.
We find that the NX-01 is in the fleet museum in the 2370s.
This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Worst of Trek" award.
|Quote :||Picard : "Space, the final frontier these are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission..."
Kirk : "...to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations..."
Archer : "...to boldly go where no man has gone before."
|Copyright Graham Kennedy||Page views : 82,477||Last updated : 28 Apr 2006|