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On TV Today's Date:

Chosen Realm
original airdate: 01-14-04

The holidays are over. All the Christmas cookies and rump roast are long gone. The last seconds of 2003 have been counted away, but it just doesn't seem like the New Year until a new episode of Enterprise hits the air.

And there's no better way to work off those holiday pounds then getting right back into the ol' exercise program. And Enterprise has done that, too. Archer and crew pick up this year where they left off - searching for the Xindi Terrorists in the Delphic Expanse.

This week, however, the crew of the Enterprise learns the Xindi aren't the only extremists in the sector. A crew of Triannon zealots hijack the Enterprise in an attempt to eliminate those who oppose their religious views.

And who says Star Trek is just a silly kids show? From galactic terrorists to holy wars, this show has got more action than Alias.

The Triannon send out a phony distress signal and Archer takes the bait. Once on board, Triannon leader D'Jamat meets the Captain in sickbay. Apparently these aliens read ahead on Earth customs, because he shakes Archer's hand like it's the intergalactic greeting. Maybe it's one of those universal pleasantries… like dinner. D'Jamat joins Archer and T'Pol for a glass of wine and some Earth food.

The Triannon call the Delphic expanse the chosen realm and believe the Makers - god-like people - visited this region and built the spheres to alter reality into a sort of paradise for their return, at which time all who believe in the Makers will be rewarded and the others condemned.

T'Pol believes they're full of crap.

And she quickly turns dinner into a good old-fashioned heated debate between religion and science. Wouldn't T'Pol be more reserved then to argue directly with a man and his faith? No matter how absurd his beliefs seemed to her - she should know not to argue. It's just not logical to try to convince someone their religion is wrong over dinner. Especially when this man is a guest. Maybe the humans are rubbing off on her more than she can admit.

But T'Pol is unable to convince D'Jamat that science is better than then faith, and he places his followers at key positions all over Enterprise. Each one is armed with a needle full of an organic substance that once injected into their blood causes them to explode.

This is a whole lot more clever than the Klingons on The Next Generation who dismantled the cool parts of their uniforms and built a phaser. And it's a whole lot more disturbing.

Archer turns over control of the ship to the Triannons, but tells his engineer, Trip, "This isn't over." And the nightmare continues. D'Jamat reveals to Archer they're using Enterprise to eliminate the heretics of their faith - those people who believe the Chosen Realm was built in ten days instead of the traditional nine. Furthermore, for desecrating a sphere Archer must select one member of his crew for execution.

He's so clever. Archer chooses himself for the execution. And he convinces D'Jamat to let him use the humane method of evaporation. (Really the transporter device.) Since the Triannon haven't seen this technology, when Archer beams away they believe he's been dismantled on a molecular level, but really he's been sent to another portion of the ship to regain control. SO CLEVER!

He's able to get away with it because T'Pol runs the controls. And upstairs on the bridge, Mayweather continues to man the helm. So the Triannon know how to shake hands but they can't operate an alien space craft.

But they do know how to work its computers. D'Jamat reads through Archer's logs, calls up all the data on the spheres and then deletes them. You'd think that a giant starship, with a computer processor powerful enough to do massive computations would be able to back files up better. (mmm...Windows NCC-1701...) But instead we assume all the data on the Xindi spheres is now gone.

At this point we're straining our memories to call up what the spheres have to do with this year's storyline. This whole search for the Xindi thing has become more complicated than Lord of the Rings. Fortunately the Triannon's faith reminds us the spheres are responsible for the bizarre anomalies that plague the Delphic Expanse, and the Xindi use them to hide their weapon of mass destruction.

All of this will, undoubtedly, come to some grand conclusion by the end of the season. Maybe we'll even see the return of the supposed Makers.

Of course they'll be bad aliens. It seems that on Star Trek any time there is a god it turns out to be a lie. With the VERY happy exception of Deep Space Nine, in which the Prophets, or wormhole aliens, acted as benevolent gods to the Bajoran people. That (to my recollection) is the only Star Trek story where a spiritual theme didn't take an ugly turn.

Archer has faith, however, in his ability to kick the Triannon off his ship. And he does, just as they're about to eliminate a troupe of "heretics."

The Triannon are then dumped back on their home world, which has undergone some serious changes. The entire planet has been eradicated due to their religious war. Another fine tribute to old school Trek. This is very reminiscent of when Kirk dropped the checkered faced guys on their planet to be the last fighters in their race war. ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield")

The difference here is that Enterprise zooms away and leaves D'Jamat to contemplate his extremist views.


Next week the plot thickens… as has been the norm. And we have the return of the Andorians! More than likely they've collected the same data that D'Jamat deleted. Or maybe they just have a really good copy of Norton Unerase. Last season Enterprise was beaten up beyond repair and then the next week luckily found an automated space garage. We'll see if the Andorians have the same convenient fix.

Until then we'll chalk this week's episode up on the new alien species rating scale as…

Fake god (Star Trek V)
As Kirk said, "What does god need with a starship?" And really what does god need with Enterprise NX-01? If D'Jamat had thought about it the Makers could have just sent an anomaly to kill the heretics if they really didn't' want them. Why did he need a starship?

Just to be clear, however, this episode was far more entertaining then Star Trek V

Kevin Miller

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