Seeing a Tholian is also great - there has been massive fan speculation about just what the Tholians look like after the glimpse we get in The Tholian Web, and it's nice to finally get a good look.
Tholians can generate comm signals with their body.
T'Pol states that the Defiant Captain's neck is broken, exactly as stated in "The Tholian Web". Even the position of the Captain and the other body on the bridge is exactly as seen in the TOS episode.
The two present day aircraft seen in the teaser are a B-1 strategic bomber and an F-15 fighter, both US aircraft.
Excluding the movies and animated series, this is the 700th episode of Star Trek to be broadcast.
In the Mirror Universe, Zefram Cochrane shot the Vulcan who greeted him from the ship and the Humans then raided it and stole everything they could. So the Mirror universe branches off from our own at least this early, if not earlier.
This is only the second time we've ever seen a Tholian Web weapon employed.
This episode is a winner of the DITL "Best of Trek" award.
Bringing the Defiant in is a clever and sensible thing to do. We've seen many times in Enterprise that Humans are not the big guys on the block; even with Vulcan technology it's hard to believe that the Humans of 2155 could be out conquering the Klingons, Romulans, Tholians, etc. By giving the Terran Empire TOS technology in the form of a real live working Constitution class starship, Humanity is gaining a massive leg-up that serves to explain perfectly how they ended up so powerful.
It's always great fun to see our characters ham things up for the MU episodes - one of the few things DS9 did right in this regard was Intendant Kira, who was superb as the MU version of our own Kira. Here all the characters are just perfect. You could go on for hours, but to touch on just a few of the nice moments - the idea of Forrest claiming command of the NX-01 for himself, which is exactly what you would expect inthe MU. Archer is good as the Mirror universe equivalent of himself, though he is surprisingly similar to our own Archer in character. Why not just throw Forrest out of an airlock as Reed suggested? It was a nice touch to have Porthos still there but as a much larger, much nastier rottweiler. And I love that he has a collection of guns on the wall where the pictures of previous Enterprises are in our universe. Hoshi is great as the "Captain's Woman", still somewhat loyal to Forrest but also perfectly willing to go along with the top dog. In that respect she's very similar to Persis from the Augments arc. Trip is excellent as the Chief Engineer, with his facial disfigurement from Delta ray exposure being a nice reference to "The Menagerie". T'Pol is interesting in how she parallels Mirror Spock - she's loyal to her Captain, a valued crewmember but apparently a second class citizen in the Empire, and more than willing to use her Vulcan abilities to further her cause when necessary. Reed gets less time than most, but he's good fun as the ship's enforcer. Phlox doesn't get a whole lot of screen time but he surely makes the most of it, whether displaying his evident pride at inventing the agony booth or urging the Tholian to hurry up and die. It's also a nice touch that his sickbay animals are still there, but now they're experimental test subjects.
Of course there was all the usual little changes to look for. Different ship's patches for the Starfleet and MACO crew, Terran Empire sword-and-planet logos everywhere, skimpier uniforms for the women - the MU Humans apparently stayed sexist a long time after our own did!
One of the great things about the episode was getting to see a Tholian in the "skin". We saw a Tholian in The Tholian Web, but it was a simple drawing of a crystalline shape. The non-canon Trek novels suggested that the Tholians were indeed crystalline life forms, even suggesting that their bodies could be carved into different shapes so as to fulfil a specific function. Even so, there was some fan speculation that what we saw in TOS was actually just a helmet, with Tholians themselves looking utterly different. This episode gave us a "head" shape pretty much identical to what we saw in TOS, but puts arms and legs onto it. A nice way to build on the appearance of the original without contradicting what we saw in TOS in any way.
The re-use of the Tholian Web was also pleasing, especially as it was done in a far superior way. The original conception of the web was rather absurd; it took literally hours to deploy, and given that the Enterprise could disable a Tholian ship in a matter of seconds then you could comfortably pick off whole fleets while they tried to encompass you in the web. This version is deployed in seconds, trapping the NX-01 effectively. It may seem odd that an earlier version of the weapon was more advanced, but then the Tholians did have far more than two ships working together this time, so perhaps that makes the difference?
The ending surprised me a little. I didn't expect to see the NX-01 get blown away by the Tholians, certainly not with virtually the whole crew. I actually wondered if Archer would destroy the NX-01 with the Defiant, or if Forrest would voluntarily abandon it in favour of the Defiant.
My only gripe for the whole episode was that we got to see so little of the Defiant in action. I found myself a little impatient for them to get there; perhaps I would have skipped the sequence where the Tholian was captured and have them go straight to the ship. Show the NX-01 destroyed and then have Archer come out in the Defiant to give the Tholians a pasting, ending the episode with the Defiant heading out into space. But that's just me. Whatever, no doubt the Defiant will be strutting her stuff satisfactorily in the next episode.
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