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On TV Today's Date:

original airdate: 04-21-04

If you're the kind of Fanboy who enjoys a good Star Trek rerun then you've been entertained by your share of marathons. And if that's the case then you know that if a network airs a two-part episode they always play both halves, back to back, rather than the random order they might do for unrelated episodes.

When it comes time to play the Star Trek: Enterprise marathon the entire third season will have to be played back to back, to back to back, to back to back, to back to back...

This whole season has just been one extremely long two part episode. Hard to imagine, but this time last year the Xindi hadn't even been introduced to the mythos. And now we're lucky to make it through one episode without discussing their super weapon or five racial sects.

Deep Space Nine was episodic, but at least it dealt with different issues. The characters cycled through, each fighting their own personal wars and engaging in their own adventures. This season has been one plot. Archer bent on saving Earth at the possible expense of his own humanity, while Trip and T'Pol get it on.

It's not like this show is only capable of a two-dimensional plot. Season Two was laced with Andorians, Denobulans and even Borg. Some might call them interesting adventures in the prequel Star Trek Continuum.

It's a good thing Zero Hour is only six episodes away. "She can't handle much more of this, Captain."

Every episode is a BABY step toward saving Earth. This week Enterprise steals a warp coil from an innocent alien ship. A difficult choice to make, and very un-24th Century Star Fleet. But 100 years before Kirk and Spock steal a cloaking device it's totally feasible the first Captain in space would stoop to piracy in the name of humanity.

The problem is it took half the episode just to gear up to Archer making the terrible decision. Meanwhile T'Pol suffers from the effects of the Expanse. And for an unexplained reason she sneaks into the cargo hold, liquefies a dangerous element, and injects it into her blood stream. All VERY confusing. Maybe if you haven't been watching the show you'd pick up on the fact that she's suffering from withdrawal, but anyone who knows what Trillium D is, knows it makes Vulcans crazy.

Backward story telling it is.

Despite the Pulp Fiction structure, there still is the disturbing question, why is T'Pol addicted to Trillium D? She says she's jazzed on the emotions. We can only assume this is the Vulcan equivalent to E(cstasy). First of all, Vulcans deny their emotions. Sure, they feel things just like everyone else in the galaxy, they just repress the feelings. Secondly, and more importantly, a drug episode seems to come out of the blue.

The message is very heavy handed. It's one step away from Dr. Phlox singing, "D.A.R.E. - to keep kids off drugs," while a ticker rolls at the bottom of the screen reading, "T'Pol got hopped up on Trillium to make fooling around with her boyfriend more exciting. The only exciting thing that can happen to her now is withdrawal or death. The choice is YOURS."

So our heroes aren't perfect. They do drugs and steal warp coils. And next week we'll see how much lower they can stoop as the drama continues when Archer and crew attempt to convince top Xindi officials that the super weapon isn't necessary.

In the meantime, this week's episode, on the alien rating scale, scores a…

The Next Generation had its share of heavy handed episodes. Riker dealt with space homosexuality. This was right up there with when the quadrant was up against galactic warming. But at least no one was on drugs!

Kevin Miller

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