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On TV Today's Date:

Cease Fire
original airdate: 02-12-03

You say Pon McKar, I say Wayton . . .

Last week's Enterprise didn't have a single phaser fired and in the first 3 seconds of this week's there were 2 explosions and a volley of phasers over a burnt out city. There must be some balance in the Star Trek continuum. If one week we enjoy a thick story with character explorations, then the next week we must have violence and destruction.

This week Archer is thrust into a conflict between the Andorians and the Vulcans. He fiddles with the idea that maybe mankind's whole point for being in out in space isn't to explore new life and new civilizations but instead to join a greater galactic community.

However, no one thinks he can be the leader of this new era in human history. T'Pol gives him over twelve hundred pages of homework as background research. Soval, the Vulcan ambassador, represses his disgust for Archer meddling in alien affairs. Even light-hearted Dr. Phlox warns him about the perils of diplomacy.

Archer doesn't listen. Good for him, too, because the episode would be over. Archer tries to negotiate with Shran, Jeffrey Combs, who makes his third appearance on the series. But the blue-skin fanning the fames of war is Tarah, Suzie Plakson, the first female Andorian we've met on Enterprise. And she just might have the most cleavage of anyone on Enterprise, too.

The Andorians are some of the most interesting villains on the series, and not just because their women have blue boobs. It seems the writers are using aliens only remembered by those playing Star Trek role-playing games. We've met some pretty random aliens since the show began, including the Nausicans and next week the Tholians. The Nausicans look the same as they did on TNG (we'll see about the Tholians), but the Andorians have received a very cool make-up make-over.

The original Andorians, forgotten since the original show, had the same straw white hair, but their antennae were simple blue sticks poking out of their wigs. These modern Andorians' antennae are animated, and reflect the emotions of the characters, like an extra pair of eyebrows. Or two tails growing out of their heads, if you like dog analogies.

While the creature effects this week were pretty amazing, some of the blue screen needed work. Early in the episode Trip dines with the captain, and behind him the stars shoot by at warp speed. But with the poor feathering it looked like some of the stars burrowed themselves into his hair. This is rather disappointing since last week's non-action driven story had some of the most impressive computer-drawn scenery, including Enterprise docking below a beautiful alien world.

However, the Vulcan ships circling the disputed planet this week, were, as usual, very cool. Their large circular warp engines are unlike anything ever seen on Star Trek. The Andorian's ships looked more like broken Transformers. Maybe they are Transformers. Those Andorians could be more than meets the eye.

In between the two battling fleets, Trip positions Enterprise as either an arbitrator or an obstacle for the forthcoming fight. As he sits in the Captain's chair, staring down both the Andorians and the Vulcans, one begins to wonder, "Just how badly does Trip want the Captain's job?"

He looks good sitting there barking orders. Maybe in five years he will be captain. Trip is more than meets the eye.

In the end the battle is settled with the understanding there will be more peace talks. What is still so fascinating is that the Vulcans and the Andorians are two of the charter members of the Federation. Currently they hate each other. The Vulcans are seen as rigid and untrustworthy, and the Andorians are painted as ruthless and untrustworthy. But, thanks to the magic of prequels, we all know they will eventually sit together on the Federation Council.

Until that time, Enterprise will continue to explore new life and new civilizations. To boldly join a new greater galactic community. To Transform and roll out!

Kevin Miller

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