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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Yep. Anyone who has been following this feature knew this was coming. The dreaded final episode of Enterprise which is loathed online. I know last week I said that “Demons/Terra Prime” was Enterprise’s finale. In, in truth, it really does serve as a solid way to close out that series. However, overseer of all things Star Trek at the time, Rick Berman, decided to use Enterprise’s final episode as a way to say good-bye to the last 18 years of continuously produced Star Trek.
Honestly, I cannot blame him for wanting to do this. Many on Enterprise’s production staff had been with the franchise since The Next Generation. They deserve a bit of a send-off honoring their legacy as much as the Enterprise cast does. It was a nice idea to celebrate all the work they had done for nearly two decades and to give a “valentine” to Star Trek fans.
Now, if the episode was any good…well, that’s something different entirely.
In “These Are the Voyages…”, Commander Riker from The Next Generation is running a holodeck simulation of the NX-01’s final mission (six years after the events of “Terra Prime”). Riker has a difficult decision to make: tell Captain Picard a secret or keep the vow he made to a previous captain of his. During the recreation, Archer and co. are on their way back to Earth to sign the Federation treaty. Along the way, their ally, Shran, appears and pleads for help. His daughter has been kidnapped by thieves with a bone to pick with him. Shran, who has a plan to rescue her, but he needs backup and is calling in a favor Archer owes him. Archer detours and they rescue the daughter.
However, the thieves are not through and they tail Enterprise. They board her and Trip leads them into a trap which not only kills the thieves, but himself as well. Archer is down about his best friend’s death and the speech he has to write, but T’Pol gives him the encouragement to press on. After viewing the simulation, Riker makes the decision to tell Picard what he knows.
Okay, here is the thing, on its own, “These Are the Voyages…” is not that bad. Let me explain before I have to turn in my Internet Cool Card.
The idea behind the episode is actually kind of neat. Using one of Archer’s adventures to inspire Riker was a brilliant move to sort of bridge the two series together. To place it within the context of a The Next Generation episode, “The Pegasus” was also a great move (just forget Riker and Troi look 11 years older). And the story, itself, uses with Enterprise continuity and is a nice, small story – not nearly as bombastic and “epic” as “Demons/Terra Prime”. All of that mostly works.
Originally, I had a large section written about all the flaws found in the script. I’m just going to skip that as it has been done to death elsewhere on the net. Suffice it to say, “These Are the Voyages…” has a brilliant premise, but it was horribly executed. Maybe if the writers had more time, it could have been streamlined and strengthened. But we have what we have.
As a finale, it doesn’t work as it doesn’t really do much to service any of the characters or give them closure. Sure, Trip dies (which I have no problem with), and we see the beginning of the Federation, but that was such a background element, that it doesn’t really feel like it plays into the show’s deeper mythology. That is why I kind of look at “Demons/Terra Prime” as Enterprise’s true finale with this being more of a coda to the past 18 years of Trek.
And even as a send-off to that era, I am not sure it works. Of all episodes, why pick “The Pegasus” from The Next Generation? It seems like such a strange pick. Maybe it was the best one they could come up with in order to tell the story they wanted to tell.
Personally, I always thought it would have been neat to use the same story (with Shran’s daughter), but instead have Q being the TNG guest. Maybe the events of the episode lead Q to start to look at the humanity and what they represent. That way it can sort of lead into the events of “Encounter at Farpoint”. I don’t know. I guess I am veering into fan fiction territory with this, so I’ll stop.
That’s “These Are the Voyages…”. It’s not great. But it isn’t as horrible as it some make it out to be. It has a great premise, but some of the creative decisions made cause it to not live up to it. If this wasn’t the final episode of Enterprise, I suspect people would be nicer to it.
This entry also concludes my look back at the Star Trek finales. I think I am going to take next week off from “Trek Tuesday”. I’ve been doing this for the past 27 weeks. I need a little break to recharge and see where I want to take this feature next!