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Azati Prime
original airdate: 03-03-04

The pieces to the season long Xindi puzzle are starting to connect. The corner and edge have been laid out. And now the rest of the interlocking jigsaw cut outs need to be snapped together. For the first time, in what feels like the entire season, the Xindi story makes sense. We can see the whole picture.

Its all very exciting, really, to have some of the more confusing elements of the expanse finally be explained. "Azati Prime" is a sort of third-season all-star episode. Characters from the prior months have been dug up and placed in opposition to the Enterprise and her valiant mission.

And one character is set to aid her. Daniels, the time traveling human from the 31st century, makes his first appearance in way too long. The entire Enterprise premise is based on his timeline's cold war being played out in the 22nd century. Thanks to time travel the Enterprise has been dragged into an anti-terrorist strike in the middle of the most dangerous region of space - and where has Daniels been? Sure, he showed up once a few months ago to ship Archer and T'Pol to present day Detroit to stop a Xindi reptilian attack and compete in the rap contest on the south side of 8 Mile, but otherwise Father Time hasn't permitted him to leave the house.

While it's very cool to have so many things finally make sense, it may be too little, too late. We've been stalking the Xindi on tip toes. Every week Archer and crew make minor progress in hunting down the Xindi super weapon. The pacing has gotten tedious. Now Enterprise has finally confronted the Xindi base of operations and we're no closer to the end.

It's like the top of the third act. We know the hero is within striking distance, but he still has a lot of obstacles before the goal is won.

"Azati Prime" does afford the different Xindi races a little bit more definition. The reptilians have just been brooding about acting like space thugs. The unnamed reptilian commander explains his sect are the men of action. Reptilian action.

Now if only the rest of the Xindi could be a little more defined. The humanoid and sloth seem to equally weak, with maybe the humanoids being more industrial than their hippie sloth cousins. The insectoids self reproduce… well, they're just creepy.

The aquatics, or mer-aliens, are still a mystery. The Xindi base on Azati Prime rests deep bellow a blue marble ocean world. As Mayweather and Trip plot a visit to hydro space base - a mix between the submerged deep space nine and a generic Gungan palace - they worry that their ship will leak… It can fly in space, but they're afraid of the pressure of water…? These boys ain't no engineers. Oh, but Trip is. This does not bode well for the southern flyboy.

Thanks to the dangerous nature of the alien splashdown mission, Mayweather is allowed more then two lines this week! Later he volunteers for a suicide mission. And then gets to teach the captain how to pilot the alien craft. Look out, but Mayweather just jumped into 6th most useful cast member. Right in front of Hoshi, now!

It'll be a few more weeks before any of them speak again. The next new episode isn't scheduled until after Easter. With the cliffhanger of an ending we're left with some question to stew over during the weeks ahead.

1. Why is T'Pol so emotional about the captain?
2. Will Archer make it out alive?
3. Will the Xindi believe his outrageous time travel story?
4. How will they fix the ship after its incredible beating?
5. Are the reptilian Xindi really reptiles or just guys in make up?

In the mean time we turn to the trusty alien rating chart to score the entertainment value of this week's episode…

The secret super power of the Alpha quadrant who in the last days of the Dominon War sided with the bad guys. They were tough dudes, impossible to understand and they looked like really bad rip-offs of Boba Fett.

Kevin Miller

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