Star Trek: Enterprise: Countdown   Rewatch 
December 29, 2019 7:56 AM - Season 3, Episode 23 - Subscribe

Archer, his crew, and his Xindi allies head for a final showdown with the Reptilians, and still they stand tall. And maybe they'll come back to Earth; who can tell? Will things ever be the same again?

We're reading together, and still it's Memory Alpha:

- This episode marks the deaths of Major Hayes (Steven Culp) and the Xindi-Insectoid councilor.

- The parasites used on Hoshi were similar in effect to the Ceti eels put into Chekov's ear in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which also made their victims more compliant.

- T'Pol calls Charles Tucker III "Trip" for the first time in the series in this episode.

- This is also the first time she speaks directly to and touches Porthos.

- The subspace vortex effect is a recycle of the Borg transwarp hub effect from VOY: "Endgame" (which, in turn, was a reuse of the quantum slipstream effect from VOY: "Hope and Fear" and "Timeless").

- This is the final episode of the series that was directed by Robert Duncan McNeill.

"Have these Guardians told you where you'll establish your new home world? The one Humans are destined to destroy? Is it here, in the Expanse? In case you haven't noticed, the Spheres are turning it into a trans-dimensional wasteland. None of you will be able to survive. You say the Guardians have helped you. Have they ever tried to disable the Spheres? Because we've found a way. Help me save my people, and I can help you save yours."

- Captain Archer, to the Xindi-Aquatic Councilors

"When this is all over, if you want to talk... I'm all ears."

- Tucker, to T'Pol

"When we first came aboard Enterprise, we definitely felt like outsiders."
"If I contributed to that, I apologize."
"My point is, none of us feel that way anymore. We're all part of the same crew, no matter which uniform we wear. Don't worry about Ensign Sato, we'll bring her home."

- Major Hayes and Malcolm Reed

"The Guardians will not let us fail."

- Commander Dolim

Poster's Log:
As mega-evil Trek super-villains go, Sarris er I mean Dolim is gradually getting decent development, but given a whole season to work with, there definitely could've been more, and earlier. Case in point: his Insectoid ally points out evidence supporting Archer's argument that he's being used, but he blows up the Insectoid. This makes him seem dim-witted here when, had we been given a stronger sense of, say, his megalomania, it might've worked better. (Funny enough, a further glimmer of his not-entirely-selfish motivation shows up in the next episode, the one where—non-spoiler alert—he dies.) I also find his style of line delivery to be a bit more mustache-twirling than seems ideal (and often, his tone of voice is almost exactly the same as Krankor's from Prince of Space), but OTOH, he is easy to dislike.

The space battle was cool and exciting and all, but isn't it interesting how these anomalies will instantly rip apart even a Xindi-Aquatic flagship, but only ever seem to damage Enterprise?

Dunno how many of you use the Skip Recap button, but this one's recap had a very weird and dopey "swoosh" effect between scenes.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
I'm tearing through volume 2 of The Fifty-Year Mission (after tearing through the first one), and hope to have some ENT-related thoughts in a few upcoming posts. For now, one of my major takeaways is—and it's easy for us to forget this—that the roots of this franchise (from TOS through the third movie, or arguably up to the TNG pilot) were low-budget, and that way of thinking persisted in and affected the franchise in various ways, subtle and obvious, good and bad, well into the Berman years, maybe after.

Also: nobody who reads these books can possibly come away from them venerating Roddenberry as a god the way some Trek nerds seem to.

But that's enough about that for now. Maybe a combined FF Books post is in order. *glances in Jack's direction*
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This episode continues the pattern of Coto's season arc, in which small victories seem to be neutralized, only that, given that it's The Final Countdown (🤘), even small delays can help them. I was none too happy thinking about Hoshi being captured and tortured, so I was happy to see that she not only kept enough free will to slap on the encryption, but was willing to sacrifice her life to keep the weapon from being activated; that sort of sacrifice (see also: Hayes) almost always ends up being the prerogative of dudes, and VOY's repeated demonstration of Janeway doing the same (even if it ended up being wiped out by the reset button) was one of the better parts of that series IMO. There is a feeling of maybe some of the other crew members not making it out of this one.

As for The Fifty-Year Mission, sure, although I have to admit that I haven't done a complete read of either book; I skipped over the JJ Abrams stuff and some of the very early stuff, I think. Maybe after we finish this series? Or at least I could start at the beginning of the first one and skip the parts that I already read, or we could do it by chapter. They're not short books.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:30 PM on December 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

In TOS my feeling was th mercilessly low budgt by necessity led to a kind of spartan but effective set design. If it existed on screen, it felt like it mattered. At the opposite end is AbramsTrek. Every time I think of the Enterprise bridge design in Abram's movies I end up screaming at just how horrible they are, laid out like a super fancy mall boutique eyeglasses store or something — just wrong-feeling and hypersaturated with meaningless detail.

I think in this one T'Pol showed a little jealousy when Tucker praised T'Pol and said how helpful she would have been translating the sphere builder stuff, and T'Pol gave a look that was like, "WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER??"

I'm glad Hoshi got to do some things, I loved that she faked them out enough to add a layer of encryption. Of course an aspect of ENT's regressiveness is there is not a whiff of any idea of psychological health apparatus. The language and the topic don't even exist, it feels like. By which I mean, I hope Hoshi gets some help after all this. The whole crew needs therapy.

The space battle was cool and exciting and all, but isn't it interesting how these anomalies will instantly rip apart even a Xindi-Aquatic flagship, but only ever seem to damage Enterprise?

Yeah they were supposed to be super-advanced? Maybe it's bc they're filled with water and can't handle the shock of space distortion so easily, mumble mumble.
posted by fleacircus at 8:47 PM on December 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

*when Tucker praised Hoshi I meant to say.
posted by fleacircus at 2:04 AM on December 30, 2019

This was fun as heck. Maybe even exciting. Major Hayes's death was sad to me—I liked his character and the actor very much—even if it was very obviously telegraphed in his final scene with Malcolm (which was nicely acted by both).

The space battle was cool and exciting and all, but isn't it interesting how these anomalies will instantly rip apart even a Xindi-Aquatic flagship, but only ever seem to damage Enterprise?

I'm still trying to figure out how aquatics build spaceships.
posted by General Malaise at 11:16 AM on December 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

That's an interesting question, General; StackExchange took a whack at it, but didn't get very far. The question about whether hands with thumbs are necessary to create tools and such reminds me of this old Onion piece.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:27 PM on December 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm still trying to figure out how aquatics build spaceships.

Pffft. Trek has already established the existence of psychokinesis (psionic telekinesis). The Xindi-Aquatics could very well have gnarly mind powers.

…Or, their progenitors did, before this big Xindi Dark Age. Maybe that's why the ship fell apart like a toothpick sculpture when it hit an anomaly: these 22nd-century Aquatics don't have what it takes to properly maintain their ancient, inherited starships.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:20 PM on December 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

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