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On TV Today's Date:

Carpenter Street
original airdate: 11-26-03

During the 1990's, humanity was tested by the Eugenics War. You remember, right? World powers created super armies led by such unforgettable warlords as Khan Noonian Singh. It was all over the news…

Original Star Trek's Space Seed detailed the horrific events when Khan tried to take over the old school Enterprise. We all remember that Kirk plopped Khan down on some remote planet, and then showed up 20 years later to do Star Trek II.

The 90's came and went and thankfully there was a fast food war but no Eugenics War. However, reality shouldn't change the Star Trek universe. Star Trek is, admittedly, a parallel universe, different from our own. So when Khan was launched into space in 1996 the crew of Voyager should not have been able to zoom back in time to Earth. Thankfully, we're not reviewing Voyager here.

Just how far off is Enterprise? Starting with the pilot episode, the show has been screwing up the time line. But that's to justify new alien races and events never before mentioned on Star Trek, not to rewrite the continuity… Or is it?

It's really hard to believe that America in the year 2004, just years after the Eugenics War, would look anything like our America. (And we're not even going to go into the fact that by now the US is part of a world union, or that there are now 52 states - TNG: The Royale). But Archer and T'Pol both find themselves transported to Detroit, Michigan to look for some Xindi reptilian terrorists. And everything looks just fine.

"Carpenter Street," while only featuring three regular cast members (Mayweather, Hoshi, Phlox and Reed never make it on screen) is the first episode of the season guest starring Lt. Daniels. He's the 30th century time traveler assigned to watch over Enterprise, and Archer's only informant on the temporal cold war… which by now is probably a room temperature temporal war.

We've gone ten episodes without checking in on the Temporal War that got Enterprise into Xindi land to begin with. It's just been Xindi, Xindi, Xindi, cowboys and Xindi all season long.

It's nice to revisit the continuity line that got the series off in the first place. And this episode marks the death of T'Pol's unexplainable disbelief in time travel. Seeing is believing. Or at least time traveling is believing.

In the past/present/futurepast, Archer and T'Pol discover there are some advantages of being from the future.

For example, stealing cars and tricking ATMs is really easy with a tricorder. But there must be something in the air of the Detroit 2004 because it instantly makes Vulcan dialogue more Vulcan. The word logic pops out every other sentence. And simple tasks are explained in great detail.

Sure, it's funny to hear T'Pol question the operating procedures of a truck, but her vocabulary changes way too much to make these scenes work.

Maybe she's suffering from time jump lag. That would explain why she's never seen someone smoke a cigarette before. She lived on Earth for years, and she never saw a picture of someone smoking? And when they were on the cowboy world no one lit up then, either? Riiiiight.

When the crew was on the cowboy world the camera work reflected the change of scenery. Same thing happened here… in Detroit. There is a lot of hand held action, and almost unnatural pushes (or zooms) on people's faces. Instead of cutting different shots, an entire scene is taken from one roll. It gives it that sort of NYPD Blue feel. And it's as out of place as T'Pol's dialogue.

One redeeming element is the character Loomis. The performance by Leland Orser seems unsettled - like he's trying to be a serious Owen Wilson. But some of the subtle character logic is amusing. Contracted by the Xindi, Loomis uses his day job at the blood bank to hunt down 8 different people with 8 different blood types. He profiles them, tricks them, knocks them out, and then drags them into the Xindi warehouse where their blood is used to create a biological weapon.

So he chooses his victims based on accessibility. Prostitutes that walk the street are easy to pick up. A guy on a wheel chair is easy to roll around. One of the two best scenes is him scanning the files choosing his next target and skipping over people who live on the 9th story of their building.

The other good scene is when T'Pol and Archer finish their mission - just seconds after their departure from Trip's p.o.v. - and the cargo bay is filled with all the time line artifacts. Anything from the 22nd century Archer and T'Pol tagged is dragged back with them to their rightful place in time. Those 30th century time travelers may leap with efficiency, but walking into a cargo bay will never be as cool as the DeLorean.

But now Archer has one of the two weapons the Xindi were going to create to destroy humanity. They also have three more reptilian Xindi and a handful of their technology. This should change the direction of their hunt for the weapon.

The hunt, however, will not continue till the New Year. Just like last year, in episode 10 we meet Daniels and then take the rest of the year off, with new episodes starting in January.

Before we go boldly into the New Year this week's episode, on the Alien Species Scale, scores an…

Android: For being dry and predictable.

Kevin Miller

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