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On TV Today's Date:

original airdate: 02-04-2005

It’s official. Our time together on board the NX-01 is limited. In fact there are 11 adventures left. So we should savor every last minute of the 22nd century. Unfortunately, the usual sweet flavor of Enterprise has gone rotten.

“United” is the first episode of Enterprise to hit the air since UPN announced that the show would be terminated this May. The hammer was dropped Wednesday after last week’s “Babel One,” AKA the lowest rated episode of Enterprise, ever – and possibly its most boring. At this point it would be so much easier to defend the prequel Trek with words like, “it never got a fair shot,” or “Voyager tainted the public’s view of Star Trek” or “if you’ve missed this show you’ve missed one of the best of the new shows of the Double-Ohs.” (That’s my attempt to finally give a nickname to this decade)

But the truth is; this week SUCKED. Last week sucked. And as if I was trying to force down a propane tank, this is hard to swallow. Maybe UPN was right in killing Enterprise.

“United” tosses all character logic out of the air lock, as well as some key continuity in the Trek continuum. Archer, this week, is obsessed with aligning the Andorians and the Tellarites. And somehow their fragile agreement lies in an Andorian honor duel.

It’s like the script plays six degrees of Kevin Bacon. It starts with Star Fleet searching for a rogue marauder and ends with Archer fighting Commander Shran with ice blades. The journey between these two points is a painfully slow walk through twelve feet of cheesy dialogue.

Commander Shran does everything short of winking at the camera when he offers, “Perhaps future ships will be named after our vessels. Especially if we do something historic… together.” Oh, give me a break. We know this is a founding Federation story. We get that there are other Enterprises. We got that four years ago when the show was announced. WHY bang it over our heads NOW?

More ridiculous lines of dialogue: Archer takes the place of a Gral, the Tellarite who killed Shran’s girlfriend last week. So T’Pol asks linguist Sato to look up a loop hole out of the competition. When the work load gets to heavy, Mayweather steps in with his unnecessary line, “Two of us could get through that a lot faster.” Lame. Just cut to them working together. Is this scene trying to convey Travis’s emotional connection to the Captain? So unnecessary. We know he’s pulling for Archer to LIVE.

Speaking of Travis, why does T’Pol say his first name while discussing his enhanced sensor grid plan? While on duty wouldn’t it be more in character for her to refer to him as Ensign Mayweather? Or just Mayweather?

About the only clever line comes from Reed while he and Trip are on board the remote control Romulan ship. “You’re good at building things. I’m good at blowing them up.” Perhaps it was in the works to see more adventures featuring the two of them as the fixer and the breaker. But unlikely now…

Shortly after this exchange they jump out of the marauder ship while it spins through space. Then they look suspiciously like they’re dangling on wires. Someone should tell the special effects supervisor, “People cannot wade in space like it’s your grandma’s swimming pool.”

But of course the existence of the Romulan ship is a point of great confusion. It still hasn’t been explained how the Vulcan cousins have access to such sophisticated technology in the 22nd century. A holographic, remote-controlled, self-repairing ship is so much better than just going under cloak.

Roy Horn could jump tigers through these loopholes. I would love to say that these are the sort of prequel stories that are going to snag an audience in Enterprise’s darkest hour. And that is definitely the sort of episode we should’ve been watching since episode one – and instead of a year long confusing Xindi story. But honestly…

This sucks.

And only 10 episodes left. Next week the three part Andorian/Tellarite/Vulcan/Human vs Romulan story ends. And there are albino Andorians.

Maybe they’ll draw an audience…

Kevin Miller

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