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THE SHORT VERSION: Paramount owns Star Trek and everything to do with it. I make no money off this site; it's just for fun. For more details, read the long version. Live long and prosper.

Ancient History

Archive of previous updates on the site, April 1-July 1, 2005.

April 1, 2005: I did actually add new photos to "Those SHIRTS!"... :)

"the symmetry principle" is purely in fun, and not meant to be disrespectful to Professor Hawking in any way. He's been on TNG, Futurama, and The Simpsons (not to mention there are some decently funny lines in his books -- c'mon, "the black hole has no hair"?), so I'd like to think he has enough of a sense of humor about himself to appreciate the joke. And I had way too much fun working on it.

April 8, 2005: One more week to new episodes! Our last Extra of the break comes from a nearly divine inspiration by Tripper: Dear Shrannie, an advice column from our favorite Andorian. (The outfit is from a conversation I had on the House of Tucker BBS -- if Andorians in our universe wear black leather, what would Mirror Universe Andorians wear?...)

The Outlaw Josey Tucker

Malcolm: Commander, that pistol has two settings, stun and kill. It would be best not to confuse them.
Trip: Ah'm aimin' at Berman and Braga.
Malcolm: Oh, all right then. Have fun, and if you miss, miss low.

April 15, 2005: All right, I'll give that a 7.5 on the annoying scale, which is better than I'd hoped. A few laffs, several eyerolls, a clever if overly PC way to make the oppressed Orion "Slave" Women into emancipated power grrrrls, and not too much wincing (or plot, for that matter). Archer gets a little -- and why shouldn't he, really? -- and my goodness, Hoshi and Trav got a sack of lines each! No SASTU either.

Regarding the SOEP: first, if the tone of their interaction in the denouement was how they'd handled the entire attempted T/T pairing, I wouldn't be nearly as pissed about it. As it is, I'm completely poisoned on the two, so I'll acknowledge that the actors did a nice job but that's it. Secondly, for the first time I'm glad there's no Season 5, because I would have to slit my wrists before enduring another season of this filmed fanfic. Oh, the giggly angst of their denials and do-si-does around their true feelings! Oh, how cute, they start picking up one another's mannerisms! Oh, how convenient, she kythes his engineering solution and he gets her (biological) immunity to pheromones! Oh, how enlightened, he doesn't mind telepathic shackles even though he didn't know what was going to happen before their drugged fling and didn't consent to any such connection! Oh, how tolerant, the man who used to think that T'Pol was out to sabotage their mission doesn't mind her constant presence in his head or having her know all his thoughts! Oh, how fortuitous and how gracious, Trip already requested a transfer back to Enterprise so they can be together, and Hernandez didn't give him any grief about it! It's every gushy fangirl dream, "we had sex so now we fall in love" -- or worse still, "we had sex and now we're inextricablylinked, we're joined, we're one mind one heart one soul." It's a teenage perspective, and the attitude of an inexperienced and starry-eyed adolescent. That's not how grown-ups behave. It's really pathetic. I'm sorry that Manny chose to handle it like this.

And nice way to casually blow off yet another facet of what used to make Vulcans special: the bond. A Vulcan bond is canonically forged either when two seven-year-olds are bethrothed by arrangement of their families, or when the couple is married as adults. To have it form "accidentally" during quickie sex (when only one partner is Vulcan, even) outside an acknowledged and committed relationship cheapens the entire idea of the bond, not to mention all of Vulcan. If Trip hadn't come back to Enterprise, what then? What if either of them found someone else? Would they be stuck with this third party hanging around? (Talk about an ex who won't let go!) And just when it seems that T'Pol gets up on her hind legs to confess an actual emotion without the use of drugs, both of them dismiss "this thing between us" as "no big deal." It's a Vulcan marriage! It IS a big deal! Which means that T'Pol's emasculation -- eVulcanization? -- is now complete. She's just human now; there's no Vulcan left. She's Seven of Nine with an ear job. How sad.

Onward. You know, D'Nesh, the Hot Trotter who was all over Kelby, had a terrible New York City accent. Look, half my siblings and most of my cousins have that awful sibilant T and lack of timbre, so I know what I'm hearing. Kinda cut down on her seductiveness if she sounds like the love child of Marisa Tomei and the Jolly Green Giant.

And their chief seduction tactic was...playing with their hair? Or was that just something to do with their hands while their pheromones were chugging away? (Speaking of which -- nice Deltan namedrop by Travis. And Gorn namedrop by Hulk of Orion.) And of course there's not one gay crewmember on board, male or female, who would react the opposite of how the Hot Trotters expected.

I did like the unspoken "here there be dragons" in the teaser -- very subtle but nice tie-in to the Hot Trotters, as well as just a funny moment.

Garsh, Archer took a security detail with him to an alien vessel! Including his Security Officer! and left his first officer behind! I should check the temperature of Hell before I go to bed tonight...

Kelby's reaction would only be understandable if he was new to Enterprise. Anyone who'd ever served with Trip for any amount of time would know he's not ambitious. However, we do have a different problem. Trip has transferred back at the end of the episode, so it appears Kelby's paranoia was justified. Is Kelby going to go to Columbia now? (And in a real show -- rather than one eviscerated for ads and sex -- we would have actually seen Trip talking to Hernandez, and got to see her reaction. I bet she would have ripped him a new one.) Also, Trip tells Kelby that he's returning to Columbia, but he tells Polly that three days earlier he'd requested the transfer back to Enterprise. So which one did he lie to?

I demand to see Polly's Engineering degree. That's all I'm sayin'.

I wasn't overly impressed with the Hot Trotting choreography. If they were supposed to be in sync, they could use some classes with City Ballet (although there was a little Bob Fosse going on). If they were showing off their flexibility, I wouldn't bet on them getting any auditions with Cirque du Soleil. Somehow I found Susan Oliver more exotic, but I'm a traditionalist, I guess. That dang dancing scene went on about a minute too long. Yes, they're pretty, they're green, they're writhing around mostly nekkid, Archer and Malcolm are reduced to slack-jawed and drooling goobers with room-temperature IQs, we get the idea. If I wanted to watch Britney Spears with body paint I could tune back into UPN after the finale (which is about as likely as a pine tree sprouting in the middle of the New Jersey Turnpike).

Fish-out-of-water scenes really set my teeth on edge, so I'm glad they kept it down to one, although I could have wished it hadn't been Malcolm. I know that as the head of Security, he's part of the group getting the Hot Trotters settled, but do they have to keep making him look like an attention-starved nebbish?

Pumping aluminium

Malcolm: Good lord, Travis, how much are you lifting?
Travis: Two hundred kilos, give or take.
Malcolm: With your tongue?
Travis: Well, I have to do something to keep it from atrophying.

Gym scene: Damn! Montgomery has some serious muscles going on. And Keating was positively delicious. (Hey, I don't object to judicious skin, or appropriate deshabille; it's when it becomes the focus of the character or plot to the detriment of everything else that I complain.) I really laughed at Trav's double-entendres, about idle hands and his biceps getting a good workout from the presence of the Deltan. But apparently his eyesight returned, so there's nothing to worry about, right? ;)

So it was the girls who wanted the price on Archer's head? and who run the Syndicate? They literally have the men do their dirty work for them? I wonder if "the Orion Syndicate" has evolved in DS9's time to the point where there are less actual Orions running it and it's more of an interspecies Mafia, or if we only saw that particular arm of it. I mean, it's a cute way to stand the slavery idea on its head, but I don't know if it holds up when you try to thread it into the larger franchise.

Hair and Makeup ruffled Phlox's wig, so that when Hoshi goes to see him he already looks a few sheets to the wind before she even says anything. Nice touch.

At least the Bridge crew has finally gotten accustomed enough to Archer getting possessed or brain-scrambled that they recognize a colossally stupid order when they hear one, and refuse to follow it. I was getting "Hatchery" flashbacks (which is no picnic regardless of context) when he started yelling about taking out the little science ship. For real nuance, watch Keating's performance when Malcolm refuses the order. He shifts ever-so-slightly away from his console. Archer growls, "Lieutenant." He answers coolly, "Captain." Archer reiterates his order. Malcolm hears it, acknowledges it with a tiny nod, looks down to think about it, and then says "No" -- and looks away and crosses his arms. He has just enough spine to defy the Captain, but not quite enough self-esteem to challenge him with a glare. Perfectly in keeping with how Malcolm allegedly grew up (with a taskmaster father) and how he's grown on the ship. It takes less than thirty seconds, but it's a nice little character slice. I hope Keating (and Trinneer) get some good TV work on a show I can bear to watch. (Or cast them as the new Bond and Felix!)

Now, since the Orions were dragged off, did anyone check to see if there were really macguffinite deposits on the planet? Was there enough to mine and use for the Starfleet TECH?

Trek as a franchise tends to be -- I don't have the industry terms to describe it, maybe theatre-like? in its staging. There's not often depth of focus in a room (for example, other than Engineering, you rarely get a feel of distance) and people tend to talk in tidy sequence. To hear Archer and Kelby and Phlox all yelling at the top of their lungs, and without any effort by the director to guide us to hear one over another, was pleasantly jarring.

"I can see you're not that experienced at making threats," says the Lead Trotter to Archer. "Don't be too sure about that -- President Roslin stopped by for airlocking lessons," Polly pipes up...

I winced to see Trip shooting Malcolm, but then he takes out Archer and Trav too, so it was for their own good, I suppose. But once again, there are no NPCs on the Bridge? The entire ship is run by those three or four? What if Malcolm had to run off for something -- does he have to wait until his relief makes it to Deck 1?

Food Chain intact. Recycled Trek Actor Checklist: Cyia Batten (Navaar) played Ziyal on DS9's "Indiscretion" and "Return to Grace," and was Irina in VOY's "Drive." William Lucking (Hulk, aka Harrad-Sar) played Furel in DS9's "Shakaar," "The Darkness and The Light," and "Ties of Blood and Water." Next week starts the Mirror Universe two-parter yay!

April 17, 2005: Since I've gotten a number of questions about it, I thought I should reiterate that yes, I intend to keep TripHammered up indefinitely. I will be updating every two weeks, then maybe once a month depending. I am working on a poll to allow you my readers to tell me what you might be interested in seeing in the years to come. And no matter what or how often I post, I plan to keep the site up so that people coming to ENT after the fact through DVDs or whatnot can enjoy it as well. No worries; I'm not going anywhere for as long as you'll have me.

April 22, 2005: <geek>OH MY GOD THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! </geek>

Would you like to meet my little friend?

Ah'm Commander Tucker of the I.S.S. Enterprise, tellin' you to join the Imperial Starfleet today! See the universe! Conquer strange new worlds and enslave new civilizations! If you like killer politics and big shiny weapons, Starfleet is right up your alley! Join today! Now with recruiting bonuses of your pick of your female crewmembers, free knife (sharpening not included), and major medical insurance (reconstructive surgery and anti-radiation treatment not covered).

I haven't seen that much scenery chewed since Alan Rickman was the Sheriff of Nottingham. Politics and double-dealing and skin and weapons and TOS sets! Bring a drool towel, because I'm just going to be slobbering for two weeks over these eps. :D I can't begin to say how much fun that was. Surprising cross-loyalties (or actually almost no loyalties), which is unlike, say, the badly-imagined alternate Voyager crew from "Living Witness." Mirror Archer was somehow still wimpy, or at least unwilling to shed blood. Dr. Phloxenstein was merrily cackling away, just as happy devising unusual torments in this universe as he is meddling and healing in ours. (He reminded me of the "ethics-subroutines-free" Holodocs from VOY's "Equinox.") I wonder if he'll get to show his nasty side next week? Major Reed of the MACOs still as the Weapons Officer was a bit of a surprise, as was Sergeant Mayweather (who did get a promotion, although Mirror Archer told him "don't talk," hee hee). Mirror Trip's ruined face and stereotypically Southern leer was a good play against type. Blalock finally got to display the real reasons they hired her, or at least the kids watching ENT got to see what all the Maxim and FHM readers have known for a while (I'm sorry, it's no fault of hers, but the muscle formations on her hips are just disturbing). Mirror Hoshi the Captain's Woman gettin' double action! She was almost as conniving as the Hot Trotters. (But I can't believe Mirror Malcolm didn't get a goatee and and eyepatch! sob)

The visuals were all excellent, and you could see many tiny touches which everyone spent time thinking about. The ISS ENT logo of the ship over a pair of crossed swords on the patches and the Nazilike epaulets and bandolier strap, the MACO patch which had a skull, Mirror Phlox's black leather outfit, Mirror Trav's Blade haircut and little gold hoop earring, Mirror Archer's and Mirror Trip's nearly vertical crewcuts, Mirror T'Pol's unbound long hair and slight accent, Mirror Porthos the Rottweiler!

That is officially the first time I've sat through the credits in two years. It was the very first time I didn't want to jam my elbows in my ears when listening to it.

Reusing the clip from First Contact was extremely clever. And, frankly, given the way things are today, that's more likely to be how it happens for real than Cochrane's gentle awkward handshake.

It takes a Tough Imperial Captain like Mirror Forrest to wear Smooth Pink Satin. Actually, I didn't find him a convincing Imperial Captain at all. Mirror Archer does a good sneer (and of course he furrows like a champ), and he has a certain amount of practical ruthlessness when called for, but Mirror Forrest is a desk jockey. But consistently the Vulcans attach themselves to him -- Soval in our universe, Mirror T'Pol here.

Pow, right in the kisser

Mirror Archer:' then I'm gonna sock Rick Berman in the jaw, and that should take him right out.
Mirror Malcolm: Here, borrow my brass knuckles. One likes to be certain.

I know the guards are supposed to salute as the captain walks by, but what happens when the perpendicular arm juts out into the hallway and clotheslines the boss by accident?

There is actually a plot under all the fanboy squealing -- there's a rebellion going on, a war which is not necessarily going well. Who's rebelling? Do we get to find out? Vulcans? (Whom I guess are indentured servants of a kind? Otherwise a slave couldn't hold rank, certainly not Commander.) What's Mirror Archer's motive for getting the advanced TECH? Will it get him power and glory in the Empire? Is there another motivation?

I thought it was a riot that we kept panning over animals which Mirror Phlox was in the middle of dissecting...

Linda Park is really not a great actress. She pulls off a few convincing lines, but for the most part she's kinda flat in her delivery. Maybe that's the real reason she hasn't gotten any A-plots.

I liked the Tholian! (Especially when he screeched boo at Mirror Archer.) They kept the crystalline face but added a spider-like body, which makes sense given the "webs" they then weave around their victims. Poor Rubik got frozen until he shattered, like Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man (hmm, that's two in one episode).

No SOEP in this universe! Mirror T'Pol used Mirror Trip for relief from her pon farr, and is perfectly happy to trick him, brainwash him, and zap his Southern-fried ass to serve Mirror Forrest. She actually turned out to be a better Vulcan here than in our universe. Ruthless and barely scrupulous, but coldly logical and calculating. No experimenting, no uncertain emotions leaking to the surface other than a slight ick when Mirror Trip is leering over her shoulder. She chose her side and did whatever she felt was necessary to support it. Mirror Forrest assigns her to Mirror Archer's assassination and she acknowledges it with the barest nod and flicker of eyes. She's perfectly aware of her sexuality, and uses it as a weapon like any other in her arsenal. (A bit more on that below.) Mirror T'Pol owns herself. Also, the social criteria seem to be different here -- she doesn't have other Vulcans keeping track of whether her emotions are showing, she doesn't have to report to superiors at the High Command, there's no shame attached to mind-melding. When nobody's making you doubt parts of yourself, you can accept all of yourself for who you are, and that's what Mirror T'Pol has done.

Okay, Bakula in bare feet and short sleeves? Muy caliente.

Mirror Trip squints at the screen showing the Defiant and rasps "You can barely see anything!" Well, open your eyes -- oh wait, you can't! My bad.

The NCC-1764 is in fact the Defiant which was lost during TOS's "The Tholian Web." Sussman was paying attention. I would say that the web from the TOS episode came from the aft of their ships and this one from the front, but the two webs may not have done the same thing, and this one was smaller, detachable, and assembled much faster, so we'll let it go.

AHAHAHAHAHAHA redshirt dead in the hallway!


Malcolm: Twice the complement of phase cannons, three times as many torpedoes, I get to walk around with a rifle at my hip, and the armoury lockers carry Holy Hand Grenades. I swear I've died and gone to heaven.
Trip: Cap'n Archer and T'Pol are still in charge.
Malcolm: Yes, but in this universe we're encouraged to commit mutiny and to advance by assassination.
Trip: Ah think Ah could get to like it here.

Mirror Malcolm practically begging Mirror Archer to let him have the TOS pistol snicker. In any universe, Mal's a gun nut. (Although in the Mirror Universe, he might only be waiting for the right moment to shoot Mirror Archer in the head, rather than just my jokes about mutiny!) He did rather get off on torture, though, whether smugly studying the Tellarite in the agony booth or watching avidly over Mirror Phlox's shoulder as they interrogated Rubik. (It's consistent with this universe, so that's not a complaint, just a personal squick.)

Moogie wanted to know where they found the geek who recreated the entire NCC-1701 Bridge in his garage so they could film there... (In a later podcast, Sussman revealed that they did get the prop of the rising viewfinder at Sulu's station from a fan.)

Things which seemed to be out of character for the Mirror Universe: Mirror Archer saying to the crew "I know I can count on you." The Mirror Starfleet women show everything from the top rib to the Brazilian border -- even though they have long sleeves -- but the Mirror MACO women don't. Mirror Hoshi apologizing for hurting Mirror Archer's feelings when she left him for Mirror Forrest. Mirror Forrest's surprise and insult over Mirror Archer's mutiny. I guess in the end these people have to form some alliances and friendships or they'll never get anything done, but still -- it kinda takes the fun out of these vacations, where we get to see everyone acting like complete homicidal sex-fiend maniacs.

I found it surprising how much the changed outfits and hair really affected my perception of the characters. Mirror Archer, Mirror Trip, and Mirror Trav all looked meaner with the new 'dos. Mirror Phlox's quasi-Cardassian outfit lent him a nice Mengele patina. Just watching Mirror T'Pol's face, her performance was almost unchanged from previous weeks, but the long hair and darker lipstick and breezy uniform somehow softened it so that I didn't object to it. Was it that this getup is actually the proper context for her emoting, like Six on BSG? A sexualized character should act and dress sexily. A character who isn't made of lust should dress more demurely. Maybe it's the dissonance (emotional catsuited Vulcan) which constantly grates, and she's so far out of her normal mode here that the emotional overtones aren't such a sharp contrast. Watching her hips swivel when she's wearing an outfit designed to show off her body -- and when every other Starfleet woman is wearing the same outfit -- is somehow less irritating than watching her hips swivel in a catsuit which is trying to pretend to be a military uniform (which nobody else wears). I guess it's more honest to be openly trampy than play coy about being naughty.

Food Chain narrowly intact. No Recycled Trek Actors. Eagerly awaiting next week!

April 29, 2005: Oh, man, that was even more jaw-dropping than last week! I could quit watching the series now and be totally satisfied. What a knockout. (And we got to hear Majel's voice! The computer replied "Working" twice, and they must've dubbed her sound effect. The legacy is complete.) This could have been a three-parter with all the Rebellion plotline going on, plus Mirror Archer actually dissolving into the schizophrenia of which I've accused our own captain. This does show why a series set in this universe would never work, of course -- either people couldn't actually be that homicidal, or we'd never have a steady cast.

Archer, possessed by the ghost of Mike Tyson

Gee, your hair smells terrific.

The cinematography was absolutely gorgeous. The silhouette scene in the captain's quarters was astonishing, both for everything we could imply from sounds and outlines and for the technical perfection of not letting a gleam show on the actors. (And IMHO that was twenty times sexier than all the SOEP scenes from the last four years combined.) Loved the TOS ship recreation with all the brightly-colored tubes and pipes and enormous lights and big blocky props! Soval looked extremely cool in the beard. They had the swoopy lights under the viewscreen! :D Moogie thought there was something wrong with the wraparound tunic which Archer was wearing -- the fold-under showed too much seam -- but it really showed off Bakula's shoulders. And Montgomery! Dag, he's had nothing to do for four years but work out, and it shows.

Sort of weird how several characters went off into left field from last week's performances. Blalock couldn't hold her Ruthless act together; take her out of the belly shirt and she's back to overemoting, quavering voice, and big dewy eyes. (Maybe it's just the uniforms. In the Mirror Starfleet outfit, she was steady, calculating, and logical even in a fight. In the TOS miniskirt, she was helpless and emotional. Deliberate?) Mirror Trip's leer was gone. Mirror Phlox was barely distinguishable from our own, other than Mirror Soval's hint about concubines (and given Denobulan customs, that's still not much of a stretch). Mirror Archer showed all the bloodthirst I thought was missing in part 1. Were the directors that different in their styles?

Rather remarkable how the Mirror ENT crew was able to jump right into the Defiant's TECH with barely a learning curve, wasn't it? Yeah, yeah, Mirror Trip made noises about not knowing what some of the systems did, but that was typical engineer smoke-blowing.

Yes, those submarines in the new credits are from The Hunt for Red October, which is a Paramount film. (Moogie thought there might have been a clip from Top Gun too, which is also Paramount.) Do we have to go back to "Faith of the Heart"?

SFX nitpick: don't TOS ships have red phasers, not blue?

Bearding the lion in his den

Despite the illogic of excess facial hair, I find this beard to be strangely compelling. Perhaps I shall attempt to establish "a fashion."

It was actually kind of clever that peaceful, successful (::cough::way overdone::cough::) Federation Archer would "haunt" violent, self-doubting Mirror Archer, who only knew how to get ahead through plotting and promotion by attrition. He'd never earned anything, so he didn't feel like he deserved it or could get anything else without taking it or stealing it. Mirror Archer had plenty of swagger, and this week he most certainly showed he wasn't afraid of spilling blood to put his credits where his mouth was, but all the yelling didn't make up for the lack of, dare I say it, faith in himself? Just before Mirror Trip restores the power which Mirror Phlox took out, the scene cuts to the Bridge, and Mirror Archer is literally rocking back and forth and pounding his head in anguish that his chance is slipping away. Our Archer may need intermittent spine implants, but even in his darkest days in the Expanse he never let his despair show like that. Mirror Archer has to threaten, with words and weapons and getting into Mirror T'Pol's space until he could lick off her lipstick, because all his power is seized, not given; our Archer's crew follows him willingly (if not always sensibly). Mirror Archer sneers that real men don't make peace, but perhaps deep down he's ashamed that his compassionate doppelganger got farther than he has. It's apparently what begins his drive towards the Imperial throne.

Another 47 reference -- glad to see that in-joke squeak in again under the finish line...

I was much more impressed with Linda Park in this episode. Granted that they gave her lots more to do, but her slinky, seductive plotting was smooth and believable, rather than being interspersed with flat line readings.

Poor Kelby can't catch a break in either universe. First Trip steals his promotion, then the Hot Trotter brainwashes him in smellovision, and now he's been eaten by a CGI Gorn!

I guess the Blue Weepies were slaves of the Tholians? Since they can't function in a Terran-comfortable environment, they buy slaves to do salvage work? (And not for anything, but between this and "Future Tense," they've done a nice job setting up the Tholians to be the heavies of a future Trek installment.) Bakula pressed a little too hard on the actor's latex head, because as he pulls his hand away you can see the rubber flexing back out.

I was actually sort of hoping for a guy in a suit to play the Gorn, but they just won't do that sort of thing these days. On the other hand, I really liked hearing the translated human voice overlaying the Gorn growling.

Red-hot Malcolm

Tell me the truth -- this full-size greenscreen display makes me look fat, doesn't it?

Okay, what was with the swishy gestures as Mirror Mal's stalking the Gorn? He all but pranced into the hallway like Austin Powers playing Flash Gordon. And the flourish as he flipped open the communicator -- I don't whip my hand around that much to open my cell phone. Poor Mirror Mal -- he looked visibly disappointed when Archer set up the trap so that the Gorn would end up getting shot by the captain, and then he was left to die ignomiously in the hallway after gasping "I've failed you, Captain." And not for anything, but if you're trying to sneak up on something intelligent, don't you want a detection device which doesn't beep like a video game on tilt?

At least when Mirror Super Archer Saves The Universe, he knows enough to bring backup and plenty of firepower... Not to mention using the gravity plating selectively to pin the thing to the ground is actually pretty clever.

So the Terrans have enslaved the Vulcans, Tellarites, Denobulans, and Andorians, and the Empire is now fighting rebels from varying combinations of those species? The Defiant took out that ringship without hardly blinking. (Where were they during the Vulcan civil war, dang it?)

Mirror Admiral Black pretty much sealed his death warrant when he says "A most impressive vessel... Commander." How did he get to be an Imperial Admiral and not recognize ambition when it crashes his party? Rubbing Mirror Archer's nose in his lower rank and refusing him a field promotion was stupid. He should have at least tried some empty promises to win Mirror Archer's allegiance for the moment -- told him that he could bring the Defiant into Sol sector, for example, and then let someone else take it away from him.

Unfortunately, putting the Avenger and the Defiant side-by-side only showcased how much cooler the ENT-era SFX look compared to 1960s visuals. Not that it could be helped, but the comparison elicited a wince.

Notice that during this trick, at no time do my hands leave my wrists

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Now, if the Hot Trotter was in a Starfleet uniform, and Mirror Archer referred to Vulcans as slaves, does that mean that slaves can earn military rank? Why would you give a slave military training and responsibility? Also, are the pheromones something which can be turned on and off, or is everyone so hypersexed that a little more casual boot-knocking is hardly noticeable?

Mirror Archer got more action in this episode than our Archer has gotten in the whole series. And Mirror Hoshi! Sleeping her way right to the top! (Loved the catfight lines -- "I'm surprised you're not exhausted from all the beds you've jumped into recently." "Commander Tucker told me I should give you a few pointers in that area.")

Food Chain kept afloat. Recycled Trek Actor Checklist: Gregory Itzin (Admiral Black) was on DS9 as Ilon Tandro in "Dax" and "Hain in "Who Mourns for Morn?", on VOY as Dr. Dysek in "Critical Care," and Captain Sopek in "Shadows of P'Jem."

Side notes: Congratulations to Connor Trinneer, who told an Australian convention that he and his bride are expecting their first child in October. And Black Holer would like to let everyone know that the Hawk-man will be doing another guest spot on "The Simpsons" this Sunday night. :)

May 6, 2005: Yawn. Boy, I knew the Mirror Universe was a tough act to follow, but I wasn't expecting quite such a precipitous slide into mediocrity. How sad is it when a bigoted zealot threatens to annihilate huge numbers of people and it's just boring?

Clap, damn you all, or no dessert for anyone.

Trip: Jeez, this is boring. Can we go now?
Archer: Two more episodes after this.
Hoshi: We were so much more interesting in the other universe.
Trip: Talk about addin' insult to injury.
Malcolm: I have an audition with the James Bond producers next week, Mister Tucker. Perhaps you'd like to join me? I understand they're recasting Felix as well.
Trip: Ah'll buy you lunch and we'll make a day of it.

There was a whole chunk of boring going on, in fact. (Or not going on, as the case may be.) Our crew was being overlooked by Mayor Minister, Travis and his former bootknock had all the spark of a wet dishrag (and half its acting talent), there was no real sense of urgency or worry caused by the xenoranting, blah blah blah murder by numbers blah bah secrets and spies blah blah forced "banter" between two characters who have no chemistry no matter how badly Manny wants it blah blah Section 31 blah blah blah. The few spots which weren't utterly soporific either didn't make much sense or were fanboy connect-the-dots. Manny kinda crapped out on this one. He doesn't do well with zealots; "Chosen Realm" was his first ENT script and that was a snoozer too. I didn't care in the least what was going to happen next (what we weren't predicting it before it happened, that is), I wasn't engaged in the alleged conflicts, I wasn't interested in the villains or what the heroes were doing about them. Not with a bang but a whimper, huh?

Polly's outfit has a different collar in the opening scenes. A new formal catsuit, perhaps?

Okay, so who told RoboBigot about the SOEP? And why should he care? He would have to have done some serious psychological studies of these two to assume that they'd both drop everything to run after a child. And as far as T'Sprog being "an abomination," a beautiful healthy pointy-eared infant is not what you want as a poster child for booting aliens off the planet. If anything, it would be the awwwwwwww heard 'round the world. Fortunately, evil overlords seldom have three-digit IQs.

Lovely shot of San Francisco at night.

On a real show -- rather than one eviscerated for ads and sex -- there would have been, oh, a half-second of discussion about Malcolm going back to protoSloan. And when he evidently tacitly agrees to get "back in the game" by continuing to grill protoSloan, there's no followup. No worries, no agonized looks, no throwaway lines to Archer. La la la, I wrenched myself out of the KGB by sheer force of will but I'll just toddle back in now without so much as an eyebrow flicker.

Warning: any time someone tells you "the [insert name here] investigators are extremely competent, so I suggest you let them do their jobs and not interfere with an investigation of your own," you can just take it as fact that the speaker is part of the conspiracy hiding whatever's being investigated.

Since there was so little of interest going on, I may as well list all the inter-franchise highlights: The United Earth Space Probe Agency medallion on the floor during the opening speech (UESPA was the precursor to Federation Starfleet, and before things were straightened out canonically, it was occasionally synonymous with Starfleet in TOS). The Coridan, looking like a Breen with a nutmeg-mace shell on his face. Colonel Green, one of the baddies of the Trekiverse about whom we really only know that he was a homicidal nutcase involved in a war, getting some context. Andorians and Denobulans and Tellarites, oh my!

I find it a little disturbing that the mining facility is called Orpheus; in Greek myth, he goes to the underworld to retrieve his wife Eurydice, but at the last second he doubts and turns and loses her back to Hades. Does that mean that nothing actually gets produced out of the mine? (or is that deliberate because it's a front for RoboBigot?)

Travis has gotten so little character development that during all his scenes with the reporter, I was thinking stuff like "Is the actress white or a very light-skinned black woman? Why did both she and Mirror Hoshi leave their lingerie on to have sex? I hope she has a gyroscope stabilizer in that headcam, 'cause if not, she's shooting combat footage with the way she's jumpin' around, and all her viewers are going to be sick. I can't believe they named the reporter Gannett after the news organization. No wonder Travis hasn't gotten many plots; Montgomery can't act!"

The one time I did feel for anyone was when Trip was talking to Phlox. You can see that he's trying to convince himself to accept that this child could be his -- asking about her health, looking for explanations, Daddy always wanted a granddaughter. Since no Trek child conceived by macguffin ever survives, I predict the poor boy is going to have the heart torn right out of his chest next week, either when they determine that the baby isn't actually his or when she dies.

Why would anyone have doubted Polly's word? She can't conceal an extra helping of Vichyssoise in those catsuits, never mind a pregnancy. And some fabulous trust these two have with each other, when he genuinely thinks, for however long, that she might have become pregnant and hid it from him. Deathless romance my ass.

Again the Vulcan bond is spat upon. How can a telepath form a bond with someone when neither of them wants it? Just how badly did the Thrillerium screw with her neurons? It's at least back in character for Trip to resent having his ex-girlfriend snooping around his private thoughts and emotions. Nimoy is probably sitting shiva for his adopted race.

Hey, Hoshi got to show off some smarts! I guess she has to start earning that bio Sussman wrote for her last week.

Didn't RoboBigot's mining facility ship look a little like the middle slice of Deep Space Nine? (I admit I was sort of expecting it to glow and start calling to its mate in space....)

And you know what? It's still a bad thing to land a starship.

Food Chain intact (at least Trip finally got the crew to start drinking espresso). Peter Weller (Paxton) doesn't have other Trek credits, but he's well-known as the title character from RoboCop. Harry Groener (Samuels, aka Mayor Minister) was Tam Elbrun in TNG's "Tin Man" (no really!) and an unnamed Magistrate in VOY's "Sacred Ground" (as well as playing the Mayor on Buffy). Steven Rankin (Colonel Green, played previously by Phillip Pine) was Patahk in TNG's "The Enemy," a Cardassian officer in DS9's pilot, and Yeto in DS9's "Invasive Procedures."

Side note for next week: As there are two episodes -- and we're talking about the finale -- I will be spreading out my updates over the weekend, probably with first thoughts Friday night and then more detailed comments Saturday and/or Sunday. "Terra Prime," airing at 8pm, is the ENT finale, and "These Are the Voyages," following it at 9pm, is the franchise finale. Detailed spoilers for TATV are available if you want to read them.

May 13, 2005: That was the biggest, lamest piece of shit I have ever seen in my life. I can't begin to express my frustration. What happened to the Star Trek of Gene's legacy? What happened to the sweeping, uplifting storyline? What happened to the promise of a bright and tolerant future? How could Trip die for a speech which we don't even get to hear?

My TATV comments are below. Right now I'll focus on "Terra Prime," which wasn't any great shakes as an ENT finale either. (But at least we got to hear the damn speech!)

Is that a dust targ?

Malcolm: It's not under here either, Travis.
Travis: Damn! I know had a career around here somewhere!
Malcolm: Do you recall where you might have seen it last?
Travis: My grandfather's jazz club.
Malcolm: Best to retrace your steps and look for it there, then.

The action is mostly what saves this. I was so numb and angry about ENT's ending that I couldn't appreciate Connor's performance in the last scene until I went back several hours later for screencaps, but you can tell he's giving it a thousand percent. He was choking up right there on camera, weeping real tears, his eyes red and devastated. I so hope he gets another show which truly appreciates his enormous gifts.

I still don't buy the idea that an infant would be an appropriate scare image. For all anyone knows, that was a Vulcan child. They have only RoboBigot's word on her mixed heritage. A seven-year-old spouting propaganda would have been much more frightening.

And let's take a moment to think about this plot which led to the baby's creation. In fact, let's take several moments. Let's say the Earth-First group existed to some extent before the Xindi attack, because there are always xenophobes in any society, but the attack galvanized them into a more concrete organization. In the month or so it took Enterprise to return to Terra, RoboBigot comes up with this idea: he's going to create a hybrid child to frighten Terrans into rejecting aliens. (We'll put aside the rampant stupidity of the concept for the purposes of discussion. Clearly the writers did.) Now, there already are aliens on Terra. Vulcans have a sizeable population, and the UESPA meeting had a whole boatload of other species' ambassadors. You've got Breen, Denobulans, Andorians, Tellarites, who knows what else. The Vulcan compound can't be that hard to get into, and there are many individuals who work outside the public sector and therefore have no security. So there are lots and lots of people (aliens) available to filch DNA from. Remember, because of the Trek TECH, we're not talking literal sperm and egg donations, just a blood sample. And yet RoboBigot thinks the best way to get DNA for his hybrid horror is to wait for the flagship of Starfleet to return from deep space, sneak someone past regular Starfleet security, the extra security put on in the wake of the attacks, and Malcolm's kids to get to Phlox's lab where there might be DNA samples on file of the one Vulcan on board out of 83 people. (It's even less possible to believe that he'd already have an agent on the inside, as a member of the crew, because what xenophobe would get past the psych testing, score at the top of the top of all the schooling and testing and training, and then choose to enter Starfleet to go explore strange new worlds alongside aliens?) And recall that Enterprise is returning to Terra to get instructions about their mission into the Expanse, which is quite possibly a suicide run. What's the point of getting DNA from individuals who are turning around to head out on a mission from which they might not come back? How does maligning the dead accomplish RoboBigot's end?

So the goon gets into Phlox's lab and grabs samples. Why the Vulcan? Vulcans' only outward physical difference from Terrans is pointed ears. Their major social difference is their lack of emotional display. Why not the Denobulan? They have massive facial ridges -- which inflate -- and lumbar flaps, ninety-yard tongues, talon-like toenails, and skeeve-inducing grins. They're poly-poly-poly-polygamous. And this particular Denobulan is responsible for the health and well-being of the flagship of the fleet. Wouldn't discrediting him accomplish more? Make people afraid that "they're going to breed us out"? (And we know that Denobulans can interbreed with somebody, because Phlox had a half- or quarter-breed offspring running around E2, so it's not a DNA incompatibility issue.)

Okay, they grab the Vulcan female's DNA. Why Trip's? There was nothing going on between Trip and T'Pol at the end of S2, nor even any rumor thereof. This is important to establish. This medical work had to have started around the time of the Xindi attack, if not even earlier, in order for the baby to be six months old at the time of this episode. At the end of S2, these two officers and colleagues, privately and publicly, were only a step or two below hostile. No matter what happened during S3, none of that information -- not rumors, not hints, not gossip, not misinterpretations, nothing -- would have been publicly available to Terra during the year that Enterprise was in the Expanse. And even if the least stray comment had somehow been blown out of proportion by the tabloids, Trip and T'Pol were already offworld and out of the reach of Terra Prime's scientists, who would have needed months (years, really) of groundwork to create a never-before-attempted interspecies hybrid. If this ep had aired instead of, oh, "Bounty," would anyone have heard RoboBigot's sneering "Romeo and Juliet" jabs as anything other than sarcastic? Would anyone have expected the pointy-eared tyke to be Trip's in particular and not Archer's? Or anyone else's at random? What point would there have been in stealing the DNA of two people who happened to work together? Why not Archer and T'Pol, to discredit the captain? Why not T'Pol and Mayor Minister, for that matter? Her presence on the ship on the Expanse mission was questionable anyway, since she was no longer a VHC representative but not in Starfleet either -- just a Vulcan civilian with "special friends."

Fine, maybe "Tucker" was the closest male alphabetically (although again, if they're just blood samples and not haploid cells, why not two females?) and the goon was in a hurry. RoboBigot's gengineers fumble around in the lab for a few months and create this hybrid zygote. Who carried her? In an organization of rabid alien-haters, they got someone to volunteer to gestate a half-Vulcan child? And since Vulcans' lifespans are approximately twice Terrans', wouldn't it have been like a 13-month pregnancy? I don't think even in TNG's time there are artificial wombs, the Borg maturation chamber from VOY's "Drone" notwithstanding (since the mobile emitter was from the 29th century).

At length they have T'Sprog. Enterprise has returned from the Expanse, if not covered in glory then at least earning the gratitude of those who aren't dead from further Xindi assault. RoboBigot was clearly planning to use T'Sprog as a hostage against Trip's behavior. What if either or both DNA donors had died in the Expanse? What if Trip had died but Sim had lived in his place? What if Trip had chosen to stay on Columbia? For that matter, how could RoboBigot have guaranteed that Trip and Polly themselves would have come looking for her, rather than Archer sending a crack intelligence team? What if T'Sprog had died before the conference?

And just in case you thought this couldn't quite get any stupider, how are we introduced to this entire house of cards? A medical tech rushes up to Polly and gasps "They're going to kill her... don't let them." So Robo's Bigots have gone through more than a year of skullduggery, genetic manipulation, medical miracles, and political plotting in order to create this crossbreed chimera, and their grand plan is to... murder her? To prove what exactly? To accomplish what exactly?

It was just bad writing. This wasn't thought through at all, or it was a three-parter so savagely cut down to a two-parter that we might as well have not bothered. And this was by the Reeves-Stevenses and André Bormanis! What the hell was going on in that writing room? Couldn't we have had fun on Stratos instead? Or another Mirror Universe episode?

RoboBigot looked like he might have been on the way to being complex, especially when he started talking about how his father built the lunar colony from the ground up, but his casual dismissal of his own genetic faults -- "I'm not the first significant leader to fail to measure up to his own ideals" -- is a crock of garbage. He's a fanatic. There was no personal profit or power or political motive ever even hinted at. He's obsessed with racial purity, to the point of creating a hybrid just to show how much of an abomination she is. And Weller plays him without any affect, which makes him a strangely toothless fundamentalist. Real nutjobs have the fervid light of insanity in the back of their eyes, and a little spit-froth lurking at the corners of their mouths. This guy was as agitated as a judge sentencing a scofflaw to highway cleanup for unpaid parking tickets. He was starting to talk a good game about genetic blurring making a given race "a footnote in some medical text," but then it got lost. (If he'd ever met Daniels, or the mongrel from the Magical Mystery Pod, he would have crapped himself.)

Moogie says: okay, so the array fires its Beam O'Death at a passing ship. Let's say it misses. It's a pretty big Beam O'Death, got plenty of energy and nothing in space to slow it down. How far is that Beam O'Death going to go before it burns out? What if it hit Terra? Or a Terran ship? Or one of RoboBigot's ships?

How did Mayor Minister get the job? He's far too milquetoast to be leading a planetary council. You need somebody like Lawrence Fishburne or Viggo Mortensen to handle the job of administrating an entire world.

The room where T'Sprog is being held is numbered 03-47...

Another potential S5 arc shot to hell when protoSloan smirks that Mal's being an "optimist" about never seeing him again. I would just as soon have not revisited Section 31 anyway, so I'm not crying over that. But really, did they need Black Ops to tell the officers on the flagship of the fleet that the security grid is weak in spots? Harry Kim would have found that out in about five minutes.

An internet pundit once commented on the folly of real interstellar hybrids, explaining that life which developed on another planet would of necessity be so different from anything on Terra that it would be easier for a human to have offspring with a dog than with an alien. (Which is the other reason they let Archer back home from time to time, because after a year chasing the Xindi, Porthos was starting to look good.)

And why the hell didn't they use the Suliban cell ship with the cloak?! That would have allowed them to land on RoboBigot's porch if they'd wanted to. Of course, that wouldn't have allowed them to find the convenient sabotage which pointed to Ensign Nameless Traitor. (And not for anything, but when Kelby first shouted down instructions to that guy, he was standing at the warp core, and Moogie and I looked at each other and both commented how very much the actor looked like Trip, even down to copying the hairstyle.)

Trav's little speech to Reuters in the Brig took the prize for Worst Acting of the Hour. Damn, any more wooden and my eyeballs would have gotten splinters. AT, stick with jazz. Television is clearly not your gig.

Okay, I just laughed when Trip socked the goon right in his gleaming jaw. He's so charmingly hot-headed, and yet he used the momentary delay tactically to rearrange wires. That's our brilliant engineer boy -- never mind what that fool holodeck recreation says. Sorry, getting ahead of myself again...

Mal using the airsickness bag hee hee hee I'm glad they kept that little bit of characterization to the end.

Where does Polly find the time to get a French manicure and keep it flawless? Maybe she goes to Mott's great-great-great etc. grandmother.

So they throw Trip into a brig of some kind, and he has to break out. And the musical guy decides to score the scene electronica dance club moment? No, go back and listen. I swear the background music was about to break into "Disco Inferno." Strange goofy grin Trip gives the little doodad he uses to MacGyver the lock, too. (And didja notice? Even though they threw him towards the camera, when he falls...Trinneer splays his legs. Consistent to the last!)

We just howled over the Carl Sagan monument. See, that's a valentine.

Hoshi should've thrown Mayor Minister's sniveling butt off the Bridge. She had a job to do and he was getting in her way.

Boy, no wonder all the whales were dead by Kirk's time -- RoboBigot blasted the bejesus out of San Francisco Bay!

Did Polly really need to name the dying child after Trip's dead sister? Isn't that kinda asking Fate to kick you in the head? And since she got to hold the kid while they were on Mars, why can't Trip cuddle with her for a minute or two? And why didn't Phlox mention Lorian? It was established at the end of that episode that the crew remembered their AU-future counterparts, and Lorian made it explicitly clear that Phlox used some mediTECH to create the Vulcan-human hybrid. He or Trip should have brought that up in comparison to T'Sprog's conception at some point.

I was sort of disappointed that Kelby wasn't the bad guy. It would have made more dramatic sense. But then, why isn't Kelby Chief Engineer of Columbia? 'Cause that would have made more narrative sense. But I digress...

I thought it was an interesting tactical/diplomatic move that Soval -- the Vulcan -- stood to start the applause after Archer's speech, to "break the ice" and give the others a leader to follow. It was doubly important given the history his species and government has of holding the Terrans back until they were "ready."

Polly looked lovely and regal in the Vulcan robes. Pity they never let T'Pol wear them.

Food Chain intact. Recycled Trek Actor Checklist: Joel Swetow (Ambassador Thoris) was Yog in TNG's "Firstborn" and Gul Jasad in DS9's pilot, and did voice work for the video games Armada, Armada II, and Elite Force.

"TrinneerHammered" hee hee hee Zeke, you just rock. I look forward to many years of laughs from you, your staff, and your contributors.

On to "These Are the Voyages..." This is quite long, so get comfortable.

Now, lest I be accused of unfairness, I want to make something clear at the outset. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga created ENT. They came up with the concept. They invented these characters we've come to love. Without them, we wouldn't be sitting here discussing these episodes, or Trip himself. They also, together and separately, have done some great work over the years with Trek. They wrote or came up with the idea for several S1 episodes I adored, some S2 episodes I liked, many VOY episodes, and some good TNGs. So credit where credit is due. Not everything these two have done is bad, and I want to acknowledge that right up front.

This is not one of their "good" efforts. In saying that, I am critiquing this script, the same way that while I enjoyed "Babel One/United" by André Bormanis and the RSs, I did not like "Demons/Terra Prime," written by the same folks. I may be very loudly and passionately upset by this script, but I want it to be understood that I'm bitching about this episode and how it relates to the rest of the show. There's no wholesale tarring-and-feathering of the Bs going on here. Liking or disliking one piece of work, or several, does not constrain me to feel the same way about the person's entire body of work. I have taken the same approach to Manny Coto, to the acting of the various cast members, and to the writing of the episodes over the course of the entire three years I've been running my site. Of course I have favorites, but even the favorites make mistakes, and even those whom I don't enjoy can produce something of value. Are we all on the same page? Lovely.

My gut reactions to TATV were anger, disbelief, and astonishment. Moogie and I frequently found ourselves laughing over the absolute absurdity of what we were seeing, because it was so incomprehensibly bad. Frakes and Sirtis are severely out of practice in playing these characters, and while Makeup put in a heroic effort, they have aged 10 years since the framing TNG episode "The Pegasus" aired, and it's visible. Both of them seemed more interested in (and amused by) the idea that they were back on the Paramount stage in costume than they were about getting into their characters and giving honest portrayals. It was like Sirtis was barely containing her delighted snickers at playing the TNG game again. Her accent was much more of her natural British than Troi's stylized Betazed. Frakes seemed like he was literally trying to shrink himself back into Riker's outline from S7 TNG, which he's emotionally outgrown in the movies.

I think Blalock threw her game, because her performance was so terrible it had to be deliberate. She was practically a parody of herself, and considering that in the last few eps (less the Mirror Universe) they turned T'Pol the Vulcan into Polly the human, it's a real stretch to parody that! Almost everyone behaved strangely out-of-character. Trip was panicking and making broad gestures and going back to stereotypical Southern stuff as though he were back in Season 1, Malcolm loses his best and dearest friend of 10 years and is mostly concerned with his stadium seating, Hoshi says Trip can barely speak English. The longer it went on, the more surreal it became. There were the barest handful of lines or gestures which felt genuine to our people. Commander CameraHog's constant presence was jarring -- I would finally get into the story, and he'd show up again in the background and throw me back out of it. Both TNG characters were condescending and self-important. I don't remember them being that way back in the day. Or maybe they were, and it was okay back then because we had no other modern cast to which to compare them.

I think ultimately I have to write this off as not merely a bad holodeck episode, but as godawful fanfiction. In interviews, the Bs stated they were trying to create a thread to pull all the modern Treks together. By spending so much air time (and out of a regular 41-minute episode) on the TNG characters in the TNG setting, it felt more like they were so creatively exhausted that they could only think to return to the days when they were having the most fun and they were the most popular. The germ of the idea had some merit. The execution was incompetent and insensitive both to ENT fans and to the legacy of the franchise as a whole.

Why didn't they set this on the Titan, where Riker is now captain after Nemesis? Riker and Troi could have been telling stories of the legendary Captain Archer and his crew to their son Jean-Luc, like the grandfather in The Princess Bride. Or an elderly T'Pol and tottering Soval could have seen off Starfleet's new flagship, the NCC-1701, under Captain Robert April. It's not that the characters or the various shows couldn't have been combined -- they brought the Defiant into "In a Mirror, Darkly" and we loved it. It's that they did it badly, and pointlessly. I'm still not sure exactly what lesson Riker grasped, or why Troi thought playacting on the holodeck as a crisis approaches would accomplish anything. TATV was depressing, bewildering, jumbled, and without much hope. It's a very sad note for any Trek series to end on, and given the atmosphere of TV today, it's even sadder to think that it might be the last Trek we see for a quarter-century.

Enough philosophizing. On to the actual episode.

New epaulets of some kind on the uniform shoulders, a second Starfleet? patch on the other arm, and everyone's name is embroidered on their pockets. I guess with the high rate of possession, cloning, and alternate universes, it doesn't hurt to wear a name tag. Even HoloPolly gets her name on her catsuit. But big weird wig she's wearing! And it seemed to me like Blalock and Makeup were conspiring to make HoloPolly look vaguely like T'Pau, in coloring and expression.

The strange awkward mid-Bridge monitor post which we saw on Columbia has been added to this six-years-hence holoEnterprise, and it doesn't look any less stupid here.

yay Majel!

Looking back, I think the TNG people were inconsistent about whether you actually had to change or whether you could put on a holo-costume "over" your uniform on the holodeck, so I guess I won't complain about Commander Obsolete's sudden sartorial switcheroo. (However, he still does the thing where he walks out of a room like he's trying to knock down a door with his forehead.)

I admit that seeing Ten-Forward, with the lighting and sets perfectly recreated, lifted my heart for a moment. "Wow, this is cool, it's seeing TNG again!" But you know, if I want to see TNG again, it's no farther than my DVD player. The momentary cool factor was shortly washed away by Counselor Ineffectual's painfully teased hair and the bags under Frakes's eyes. You can't go home again. We shouldn't be seeing this.

"Reed's shorter than I thought he'd be." Oh, very nice. Snot. No wonder Barclay cut him down to size in "Hollow Pursuits."

"I read almost everybody confided in [Chef]." Huh? We've never seen Chef other than a brief headless shot in "The Catwalk." We've never heard of anyone talking to Chef. Chef has no reputation for a good ear or warm shoulder. It's one thing to create a convenient backstory for a rarely-used or tertiary character, like saying that Trav has some miner friends on the lunar colony so Trip and Polly can sneak inside. It's something else altogether to arbitrarily declare that intimate and deeply personal relationships about which we've never even gotten jokes or rumors, never mind actual screen time, existed over the past four years.

HoloShran married HoloJhamel and pulled an Elvis, huh? Well, I guess, but it sounds unnecessarily complicated and contrived. And I have trouble accepting that Shran, a Commander in the Imperial Guard, not a tactically stupid man, would leave the Guard because he had a family but would think it's okay to get involved with jewel smugglers. At least Jeff Combs gives HoloShran his usual shout-growl-and-whisper intensity.

Oh, wait, that's right, Archer liked water polo! Better give HoloArcher a water polo ball to be futzing with while he's talking.

Bakula looks exhausted in the scene where he's convincing HoloPolly to go along with HoloShran's request. His temples are gray (I guess that's supposed to indicate time has passed) and the wrinkles around his eyes are almost as deep as Commander PastHisPrime's. The little speech he gives is definitely vintage Archer -- all about compassion and reaching out to help, and dealing with consequences later. But then the Arbitrary Plot Device comes in, and HoloArcher tells her that "everyone" has to visit HoloChef to talk to him. Isn't that conveeeeeeenient.

It also doesn't make sense, given the few things we do know about Chef. In "Silent Enemy," Hoshi says, "You know, I used to love to cook but I never get a chance to anymore the way that Chef protects the galley." So this insanely protective control freak man invited each and every one of the 83 crewpeople (and how could that number not change in eight or nine years?) into his private kingdom and let them put their hands on food which he's serving to others during his grand finale of his tour on the ship? My husband throws me out of the kitchen if I try to empty the dishwasher while he's cooking pasta for the two of us. My sister, who is a professional cook, has a lock on her knife set so Nonna can't use it. It's a bad macguffin. When you create a quaternary character and give him only two or three identifying characteristics, it's bad writing to violate them.

There is so much wrong with HoloPolly talking to Chef Commander CameraHog I hardly know where to begin. Even taking into account that Polly is human and not Vulcan, she's a human like Seven of Nine -- reserved, private, and not comfortable socializing. The only people on board Enterprise to whom she feels she can reveal herself are Archer and (ironically) Trip. For her to babble loosely about her "intimate relationship" and talking about whether she'd miss HoloTrip is literally inconceivable for this character. And her body language -- she sneers, she grimaces, she rolls her eyes, she sighs, she struts. I could believe that much emoting from Hoshi, but Polly? Even when T'Pol was on Trellium she didn't behave that way.

And then she delivers the line which practically gave Blalock a stroke when she got the script: "Before I joined this crew, I never could've imagined anything more important than following orders." This from the woman who was a rebel Vulcan? She went to a human jazz club, she ignored Soval's pleas and threats to stay with Archer and Enterprise more than once, she experimented with mind melds and dangerous drugs because it felt good -- "following orders" is the most important thing to her? Not even Mirror Universe T'Pol was a slave to utter obedience.

And as if the scene couldn't get more disgusting, Commander Lecherous freezes the program and kisses HoloPolly's cheek as a thank you. Now, try to remember the context. Counselor Useless sent him into the holodeck to glean some kind of example from these people because he has some big decision to make. So it's like a law student sitting for a study session with Abraham Lincoln to help figure out if she supports the death penalty. Would you give the revered 16th President of the United States a big ole smooch on your way out? Janeway got it on with a hologram, but not the hologram of Leonardo da Vinci. Is HoloPolly so irresistibly hot that he wanted to take advantage of his lesson time to gather fuel for later self-amusements? It's revolting. (And one for the Nitpickers' Jar: when the scene freezes, HoloPolly is looking out over the table. When the camera shifts, she's looking down at the carrot she's peeling. When he kisses her, she moves slightly.) In his next scene with Counselor Voyeur, he notes, "T'Pol opened up to me," and his tone of voice really borders on leering -- "She opened up ta me, ya know what I mean, wink wink nudge nudge say no more?"

The Big D goes by awfully fast in the establishing shots. Maybe it's because the guy who rendered it is the adolescent jerk from Trekkies who has a uniform specially hand-made and then complains on camera that the seamstress didn't know what she was doing. No, I'm not kidding, that's the person they hired to do the CGI of the ship.

Notice that the first crewmember on the Pegasus manifest of the dead is...Ron Moore? Think that was a li'l jealous slap by somebody at a former coworker who's now doing very well? (The next one is Dawn Velazquez, who was behind the scenes on VOY and ENT.)

The banter between Commander BagEyes and Counselor Botox feels very TNG for a few moments. Her probing, his bluster -- it's authentic, but I was struck at how stilted and almost formal it sounded. The franchise has come a long way in being more realistic since the TNG days.

Then he demands to change the subject and she chirps "Okay." Definitely not a typical TNG exchange, and we can see why, because the scene promptly lurches into the Arbitrary Plot Device. I remember watching the 1994 Olympics, I think it was, when Oksana Baiul won the gold for figure skating, and I was comparing the performances of the various skaters (male and female). Several skaters took long moments of their programs looking over their shoulders and lining up their jumps before attempting anything. The result was technically good but less than artistic. Baiul, on the other hand, flowed into her leaps so smoothly and naturally that the jump was just an outgrowth of the movement before it. In the same way, at this moment in the script the writers wanted to move to the framing device around the ENT cast, but it's awkward and clunky. To me, this means that the combination of the TNG and ENT episodes isn't natural. It's not something which flows organically or believably. If the characters have to stop their conversation outright in order to introduce the desired element, then the scene is structured wrongly and needs to be redone.

"I get all those museum ships mixed up," Counselor Don'tKnowMuchAboutHistory giggles with a dismissive wave of her hand. Yes, that's a lovely way to emphasize the importance and relevance of the ship and crew of the show whose finale this is.

Mal looking pensive

It was a hell of a run, wasn't it, my friend?

The dialogue in HoloTrip and HoloMalcolm's last scene is good (despite the "All good things..." groaner), and serves dual purpose as their farewell to the show as well as the ship, but Keating was acting oddly in spots -- his voice was pitched higher, his accent sounded overemphasized, and his movements were jerky, like he was back in Season 1 again. Trinneer played it straight and gentle. Like any truly dedicated engineer, HoloTrip will nursemaid his wee bairns until they're pried from his cold de-- uh, different metaphor. Until the last possible moment. No reason to send her into mothballs with clogged injectors and dirty filters, right? "It won't be the same" with a different Enterprise, HoloMalcolm notes sadly. "That's okay," HoloTrip answers softly."C'mon." And with a supportive hand on HoloMal's shoulder, they walk out into history.

And BANG Commander SoreThumb and Counselor GoreCrow are hanging behind a ladder, staring avidly like "Fear Factor" applicants watching a car wreck. Her painfully clumsy line that "he had no idea he wouldn't make it back" is high-school-caliber foreshadowing. What in blue blazes is Commander ThickSkull supposed to be learning from this? It's just over a third of the way into the episode and there's still no clue where this is going or what connection it has to "The Pegasus."

Back to HoloMalcolm for a moment: the scene opens with a very typical BritBitchBurst, as he complains to HoloTrip about Look What He's Getting Us Into This Time, Ollie. He notes Rigel's bad neighborhoods and points out that no plans ever survive the first engagement with the enemy. "I don't like it," he grumbles...and then that's it. The mission is later successful, but in the backlash, HoloTrip dies from those "unsavory elements." And we get no followup. In fact, we get less than no followup, because not only do we not see HoloMalcolm raging at HoloArcher and/or HoloShran for dragging them into the mess which gets HoloTrip killed, but in HoloMal's last scene, he's comparing career tracks with HoloTrav and complaining about having nosebleed seats! I know Trek episodes tend to happen in an emotional vacuum, but the event happened like three days before in the same show!

So HoloShran named his daughter for Talas, hm? That was sweet.

Apparently Commander Lecherous and Counselor CastingCouch are quite well suited for one another, as she stops the holodeck program which he's supposed to be using in lieu of talk therapy to eyeball HoloArcher up and down like a side of beef and pronounce "He's cute." (Then Commander EgoStroke jeers, "Don't get any ideas." But at this point in TNG, Troi is about to take up a brief romance with Worf. She and Riker haven't been a couple for years. Where did this come from? Did the writers not even bother to refresh their memories with their own characters' stories so they'd be referencing the right materials?)

yay Majel again! And that's likely a new line, too, not looped.

HoloTrip's protestations that HoloArcher shouldn't come on the mission because it's dangerous (1) contradict what he said to HoloMalcolm, so either he was just blowing smoke then or HoloMalcolm convinced him there might actually be a problem (2) sound completely stupid given just what the crew went through in the four years we saw, never mind the 10 years they've been together on the ship (3) are out of character for Trip because while Trip has shown concern for Archer's well-being, other than the suicide mission against the Death Star, I don't ever recall Trip telling his captain to stay home because it was too risky. In fact, it's out of character for the entire series. Trip gives Archer a great little speech in "Silent Enemy" when Archer thinks he rushed the ship out of Spacedock: "In the old days, astronauts rode rockets with millions of liters of hydrogen burning under their seats. You think they said, 'Gee, I'd love to go to the moon today but it seems a little risky'? I think if you asked anyone on board whether they thought this mission was worth the risk, you'd get the same answer from every one of them." So for HoloTrip to assert that HoloArcher should stay on the ship rather than jeopardize his presence at the charter signing is really out of left field for the show. For TNG it's par for the course, since Picard wasn't allowed to go on many Away Missions, but this is not TNG, it's ENT we're watching.

We return to HoloPolly's bizarre twitching, quavering, slurring, eye-rolling, sighing emotional Lady Godiva act in the shuttlepod. T'Pol took every opportunity to deny that she had any romantic feelings for Trip, for a season and a half. In public, just the two of them, to her mother, to her AU self -- not once did she ever admit out loud to wanting him as more than a friend and bootknock. By the time "Bound" rolled around, the writers had made her human, and there are arguments to be made about who was under what influence at that moment (but that's a soapbox for another day). But to ask "do you miss me?" in front of random HoloMACOs and their friend HoloTrav is once again literally inconceivable. Two private people (and Trip was always private about his pain) do not discuss such intimate matters in public. Period. Even HoloTrip looks at her like she's nuts for bringing it up.

What was the point of the scene, to the writers? What did they want to accomplish? That HoloPolly still wanted HoloTrip? An affirmation of their breakup? If everything in this holodeck program is geared towards teaching Commander CameraHog some lesson about following orders, what possible purpose does this dialogue serve? And more to the point, if this is a historical program, who the hell would have recorded that conversation?

Ah, how deliciously ironic: T'Pol had a history of disliking Andorians and not trusting Shran, Shran spent two episodes spitting epithets about honorless lying Vulcans, and yet HoloPolly is the one to accompany HoloShran to the tradeoff. This is actually what HoloArcher was talking about, people helping one another despite the difference in species. In an ENT episode, there would have been a few moments for the script to linger over that and point it out, and for someone to make another gesture underscoring the trust these individuals have placed in one another.

What the hell -- is that a Kazon behind HoloShran?

Awww, how cute, the daughter of Andorian HoloShran and Aenar HoloJhamel is light blue!

"Stand still, and you won't be harmed. I always say that to all my prey...I just like the sound of it."

See, now, after the firefight, HoloTrip falls off the edge of the balcony, and HoloArcher drags him back to safety. Back on the ship, HoloTrip thanks him for saving his life, and HoloArcher jokes about being glad he didn't take HoloTrip's advice. That moment is the one Commander CameraHog should have learned from. HoloTrip made a conservative, emotional appeal, HoloArcher bravely soldiered on, and HoloArcher was right -- playing it safe doesn't always work. It's actually relevant to the Pegasus dilemma of staying quiet or speaking up, it's more in keeping with ENT's usual tone, and HoloTrip wouldn't have to die to make the point. If I'd been editing, I'd've told them to stop there.

"Boss"? HoloTrip calls his beloved Cap'n "Boss"? Where the hell did that come from? He didn't even call Cap'n Columbia "Boss." That's just plain stupid. That's a writer not having any familiarity with a character's tics and habits. It's sloppy and should have been caught.

"Thanks, pinkskin," HoloTala pipes up. Um, honey, you're too young to be using that word, and daddy shouldn't be swearing in front of you. Now go play with your friends Spock and B'Elanna while I wash daddy's mouth out with soap. And what happens to HoloShran and his daughter? HoloArcher packs them off to Sickbay and they disappear. HoloTrip gets killed by the aliens because HoloShran got them involved his in problems, but he doesn't even come to offer condolences, let alone an apology?

Just to show you the warped frame of mind Moogie and I were in at this point: HoloArcher says "Signing documents are [sic] easy. Training a new engineer..." and in his lengthy pause we both shouted out "Priceless!"

Hey, they got the asteroid from "The Pegasus" right. I actually recognize it!

For the record, Brent Spiner wrote Data's four lines. So there's no excuse for him to sound like S1 Data who didn't recognize human clichés.

When Commander OutToPasture and Counselor FaceLift sit down to discuss the actual choice which he has to make in the context of the TNG episode, it's exactly the kind of conversation which would have occurred in that episode. They're both on the mark, the plot is right, his conflict makes sense. And it's now two-thirds of the way through the episode and there's still no clue where this is going or what connection it has. The "moment of truth" already passed -- it was the brief exchange between HoloTrip and HoloArcher. There's nothing wrong with the TNG plot per se, it just has no relevance to our crew, nor do they to the TNG plot.

Now we come to what is on the surface a series of memories of Trip by his friends, what is intended by the writers to be a little set of eulogies, and what actually becomes a litany of character assassinations. Did anyone who wrote this episode watch ENT for the last four years? HoloMalcolm calls HoloTrip "a hick." HoloHoshi, in one of the franchise's most spectacular canon violations ever to disgrace the screen, states that Trip "could barely speak English" and "didn't even graduate college. He learned about engineering working on boat engines, I think." Trip doesn't speak in mangled stereotypical redneck patois, and never has. He told Phlox in "Doctor's Orders" that "Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't even let you in here without four years of Starfleet training under your belt" and we're supposed to believe that the Chief Engineer of the first Warp Five starship didn't go to college? HoloPimpPhlox is of course happy to chat about the neuropressure he prescribed, as though it were common knowledge that an intimate Vulcan physical therapy regimen led to a one-night stand between the Chief Engineer and the civilian Science Officer during the critical mission to save Terra from the Xindi. Was the continuity editor fired before this script came down? The only way that kind of gossip would be common knowledge 200 years later is if one of the three involved wrote a tell-all book. (Okay, I admit I did laugh loudly when the camera goes off HoloMalcolm to Commander Lecherous, who asks "Did you ever find yourself attracted to him?" and then it pans back to HoloHoshi.)

Commander EgoStroke once again baldly maneuvers the conversation around to asking whether HoloTrip obeyed orders at any given time. Why is it important? He didn't obey orders and he died, that's what happens in this Twilight Zone of a program. Why is that something which he has to poke and prod at like a loose tooth? Any time we spent in the TNG universe wasn't about whatever insights Commander Snotnose might have gleaned, so we're just forced to sit through this string of perversities of the people we love without reason or resolution.

Good night, sweet prince

Archer: So, where do you want to go next?
Trip: Second star to the right, and straight on 'til mornin', Cap'n.
Archer: Sounds like a plan.

Other than the line "Here's to the next generation" which made me throw a couch cushion at the TV, the whiskyklatsch between HoloArcher and HoloTrip was lovely. It's full of the forward-looking, hopeful, positive desire to unite in friendship which ENT -- and all of Trek -- has done best. HoloTrip teasing his captain about not having written his speech yet, HoloArcher sharing his daddy's whisky, the camaraderie of dear old friends -- this is what a series finale is supposed to be! It's supposed to be uplifting and celebratory! It's supposed to remind us of what we loved, not leave us bewildered at the pod people who have cloned our crew.

I do have one quibble, which relates back to HoloTrip's weird protective speech before the Rigel X mission. Why is HoloTrip (and everyone else) so fixated on HoloArcher giving his damn speech? Why is the presence of one man at one ceremony so important? If there really is a reason -- if the Andorian ambassador had been, oh, Shran, or the Vulcans wouldn't tolerate the Andorians without that particular human around -- then it would have been nice to have it explained to us. Instead, it's framed as though HoloTrip dies for HoloArcher's speech. For a speech?

Finally we come to the moment which lifts this episode out of (or perhaps shoves it down past) mere garbage into transcendently horrendous confusion, to the event which makes the Head EGAN appearing in the last 10 seconds of "Zero Hour" a consummation devoutly to be wished.

HoloPolly reports (a) that the ship is under attack, and (b) "intruder alert." Somehow the bad guys who were chasing HoloEnterprise in a ship only capable of doing Warp 2 have caught up with them (I remind you that HoloEnterprise, which has sustained no damage, is supposed to be capable of going Warp 5 for sustained periods), and they've managed to board the ship. Now, in order to know that there were baddies on board, that fast, sensors must have picked up their lifesigns, or at least transporter traces. So someone knows approximately where they aliens are -- certainly someone on the Bridge with undamaged access to the ship's internal communications. And yet Security never arrives. None of HoloMal's kids, none of the HoloMACOs.

HoloArcher and HoloTrip are rushing to the Bridge. The aliens appear in the hallway, flanking them. They demand to see HoloShran, HoloArcher says he left, the aliens threaten to kill HoloArcher, HoloTrip goes into a complete flailing panic the likes of which we've never seen and tries to intervene, HoloArcher orders him to stay out of it (that's apparently the key point), HoloTrip is practically frothing at the mouth and says he'll bring them to HoloShran. This is the next piece of dialogue, as nearly as I can make out:

HOLOTRIP: Hey, this guy's the captain.
HOLOARCHER: That's enough.
HOLOTRIP: He's my boss. I want to disobey his order, I don't want him coming along.
HOLOARCHER: Trip, that's enough!
HOLOTRIP: Listen. I won't do this if you kill him, but could you please shut him up?

Would you excuse me for a moment, please? My head just exploded and I need to clean off my monitor and keyboard.

Okay, I'm back. Is this the lack of command of English which HoloHoshi was babbling about earlier? "I want to disobey his order"? Good gravy, George Lucas doesn't write dialogue that bad! If the writers had strained any harder to connect the ridiculous dots about Commander Irrelevant's conflict they'd have given themselves hernias. "He's my boss"? There's that never-before-used term again, which sounds even stupider here. Trip and Archer had a pretend squabble about following orders all the way back in "Acquisition," except that one worked. This was ludicrous.

Oh, and it gets worse. HoloTrip goes even battier, waggling his fingers and raising his voice to a yowl as he pleads for HoloArcher's life. Remember that Trip has plunked himself between two squadrons of armed starships (not once but twice), faced hot plasma death, engaged in fisticuffs with so many species I've lost count, and has seen the captain kidnapped an average of once every eight weeks. So why is he falling apart like this? The speech?

He lures them to a convenient junction. In typical Trek fashion, he explains he has to bypass the fizzbin generator. He grabs two fat wires.

Trip has managed to make every alien device, engine, or mechanism ever presented to him work. He's wrought miracles on two starships. In "Terra Prime," Trip can take a belt link, a button, and a wire lead and hotwire a door in a secure facility where he's never been before. On Rigel X, HoloTrip made a sapphire the size of a softball which was perfectly clear and flawless and would need a spectral micrometer to see it was a fake, but built into it a remotely-controlled mechanism which gave off such a powerful blast of light that a half-dozen aliens of varying species were blinded. When the aliens come on board, he's got the entire ship -- his ship, his undamaged ship, with the engine he practically built -- at his disposal. And the smartest thing he can think to do is BLOW HIMSELF UP??

Trip is a smart man with a fast mouth. There were simply too many potential solutions which the writers could have given HoloTrip -- environmental controls, a less-violent energy discharge, gravity, lights, the transporter, a MACO team coming down the hall. The script was not structured in such a way that another option could not have been written. It would not have been an "improbable" escape. Even if he had to FOOM himself along with everyone else, HoloPhlox could have easily come up with the mediTECH to save him. It was that the writers wanted to kill Trip off. Berman and Braga wanted Trip dead.

And his death serves no purpose. There's no logical connection between HoloTrip refusing HoloArcher's order to shut up and flinging himself on the proverbial grenade and Commander EgoStroke's problem. None. So he dies for nothing.

Oh, wait, the speech! That's right. The speech which HoloTrip is so obsessed with that some of his last words are gasping about being late for The Speech Which Saved The Universe. I'll get back to that in a minute.

It was touching, but a little painful in comparison, that after nearly two years of professional distance with a few intermittent moments of banter, it's only in this holodeck program that we get to see Archer's caring for Trip again. HoloArcher cradles HoloTrip as tenderly as a brother to bring him to the MRI bed. Damn near broke my heart -- or it would have, if Commander AmbulanceChaser hadn't been gawking in the background.

wink wink nudge nudge

It's a holodeck program. Don't take it too seriously.

What was that weird wink about? Trip gave Archer a goofy thumbs-up at the end of "Singularity," but a wink? Was he hinting that he was going to come back from the dead like HoloShran did? (Trinneer later joked at a convention that what HoloTrip whispered in HoloArcher's ear at the last moment was "Marry me.")

Now, for a truly moving death scene for Trip, where Archer shows his love for his friend, watch the last 10 minutes of "Observer Effect." Because it doesn't happen here. What does happen? HoloPolly is packing up HoloTrip's quarters. HoloArcher comes by to share a bit of grief with her, and most of the scene is honest and raw (except for Commander Center Of The Universe hovering in the reflection like Maleficient's mirror had a fat brother).

And that's IT. No, really, THAT'S IT. Nobody else on holoEnterprise mourns HoloTrip's loss. I'll deal with that just below.

The next scene made most of my hair stand on end, because Commander Sadist decides that now, several days out of sequence, he's going to run the part of the program where HoloChef is supposed to talk to HoloTrip. So we're watching a ghost, or an angel. I was expecting him to be transparent or leave trails when he moved or something -- it was utterly surreal.

Well, it was surreal and stupid, with the stereotypical catfish of S1 and S2 returning. Trinneer was really irritated about that, and asked the writers to stop doing it. At least when he grabbed the carrot to nosh on it, he didn't put it back with a bite out of it (like Riker himself did in "Encounter at Farpoint." Yes, I do remember stuff like that).

So HoloTrip makes a sweet little speech about truly trusting HoloArcher not to hurt him, about HoloArcher being there for him always. And this teaches Commander Indecisive what exactly? I cannot grasp what the writers were trying to achieve with this. I literally don't even know what point they were trying to make. Were they trying to draw a parallel with Picard? with Troi?

Finally, the day for TSWSTU arrives. HoloHoshi, HoloMalcolm, and HoloTrav (along with several ENT writers) are in the cheap seats. They've just lost HoloTrip, HoloMal's dearest friend of 10 years. Is there grieving? Is there a mention that HoloTrip would have been proud? Is there recrimination, guilt, if-onlys, how-could-hes? Is there a single normal human reaction to a terrible and profound loss?

No! There is whining about the seating arrangements! HoloArcher has finally made so many stupid risky decisions that he got his old friend killed, and HoloMalcolm blithely tells HoloTrav to stick with the captain, as "that's exactly what I plan to do." Why, so he has more opportunity to put a knife in his back? Neither HoloPhlox nor HoloPolly nor HoloArcher even allude to their comrade in their final scenes together. HoloTrip has to be spinning in his holograve at the callousness of his so-called friends. This is textbook insanity. This is beyond incomprehensible. This reads as though the last half hour didn't happen. How can the writers expect us to accept this? How is this a "valentine," as they called it so often? It's like Trip didn't exist for the last four years, like one of the engineering NPCs or a Security redshirt died. There is no conceivable explanation for this behavior.

The last bit among HoloPhlox, HoloPolly, and HoloArcher has some good Birth of the Federation talk. (and another creepy Denobulan smile! ick! we couldn't have gotten away without that one last time?) And the gentle hug HoloArcher gives HoloPolly is a true full circle for those two friends, and very believable.

Okay, let's hear this damn speech already which HoloTrip died for, and it had better be go--- Wait, what's going on? Why are we cutting away? What do you mean, he died for the speech and we don't get to hear it?! It's more important to show Commander Buttinsky and Counselor KnowItAll throwing in one last desperate tidbit to try and jam the two stories together? Everyone on board the HoloEnterprise was consumed with getting HoloArcher to his meeting on time so that he could deliver his speech. It's all any of them could talk about. HoloTrip died for this speech. Counselor Condescending twitters that she had to memorize it in school. But we don't get to hear it?

Okay, but after all that, there has to be some connection to "The Pegasus," right? If Commander Dithering spent all that time in the holodeck trying to learn something, there's some scene in the TNG episode where he walks in, mind made up to confess?

Or perhaps the writers weren't paying attention even to their own work. This is the script for "The Pegasus," and it's a very interesting read.

Commander BloatedEgo leaves the holodeck after cutting off Archer's speech, claiming to be determined to go straight to Picard. But in fact, he doesn't -- Picard asks him directly more than once what's going on, and Commander HonorBound won't talk. (I'd actually have to watch it again to see if there are sufficient gaps for the holodeck playing to have occurred.)

It isn't until he beams over to the Pegasus and is confronted with Pressman's greed over the cloak that he "makes his choice." And THEN it isn't until the Romulans seal Enterprise inside the asteroid and the cloak is the only way to escape that he rats Pressman out.

So not only was HoloTrip's death completely senseless and not related to the lesson Commander Clueless wanted to learn, but he didn't apply the lesson he came to the friggin holodeck to learn in the first place! Going through that script (which is a good one), you can see what the Bs were trying to do, or what they thought they were trying to do. You can see the "choice" and "trust" and "orders" coming up repeatedly, and how Commander Indecisive might have looked to other famous rebellions or mutinies for guidance. But what arrived on screen is barely a distant cousin of that idea.

Brothers in Arms

Connor Trinneer and Scott Bakula in an unguarded moment near the end of filming. It's just a great photo.

Photo: Sci-Fi Universe

The montage of the three Enterprises was visually nice, but Bakula threw his game too and read his line flatly. And by that point I was so off the charts that Q could have danced naked on the asteroid and I wouldn't have cared.

At least we get to end with one positive note: the Food Chain remains unbroken to the very end. :D We stretched a few times, but there is a mention or shot of food in every single episode of "Enterprise." How can you not love a show like that?

Recycled Trek Actor Checklist: As DS9 did in "What You Leave Behind," several behind-the-scenes Trek folks appear in costume as extras, including long-time Trek writer and science editor André Bormanis, Manny Coto, the Reeves-Stevenses, and writer Larry Nemechek. I'm not counting Commander Obsolete and Counselor Ineffectual as Recycled. Voice-overs included Majel Barrett as the computer and Brent Spiner as Season 1 Stupid Data, and Patrick Stewart and William Shatner were spliced in from their shows' introductions.

Next week I will be seeing Star Wars Episode III: It Had Better Not Suck. If I'm up for it I'll post some thoughts. If not, I'm taking a week off and will return most likely with a Get Me Rewrite on the 27th. I have lots of stuff planned for the coming months -- original material and ENT-focused, as many are requesting -- as well as expansion into BSG commentary. So please do keep coming back. Even if Enterprise has sailed into the west, TripHammered will continue for as long as you'll have me.

May 20, 2005: I have some thoughts on Revenge of the Sith up, which is on a separate page to spare people hoping to avoid spoilers. For the annual site design tweak in July, I'll be gathering all the non-ENT material under a new banner, Off-Topic, and it'll live there.

May 27, 2005: Returning to our roots, and to happier times, here's a Get Me Rewrite! with an image from Season 1. Usual disclaimers apply.

June 3, 2005: Held over for an unprecedented second week! I'm getting so many good captions for this photo that I'm leaving it up for another week. (Also, I'm going to have to start posting on alternate weeks at some point anyway, so I might as well start with something people actually want to see for another few days.) If the form is grouchy, feel free to email me your caption, and riffs on my continuing joke are welcome.

June 4, 2005: The webmaster of, promoting a book about Pete Conrad, the third man on the moon, alerts us to a poll on his site asking who should play Conrad in a movie. Connor Trinneer is walloping Russell Crowe. Let's make it a landslide! Go vote!

Not the Gazelle Speech

Scott Bakula: ...and, in conclusion, I would just like to say that you will never find a harder-working, friendlier, more greenscreen-tolerant cast in all of Hollywood. Thank you.
Connor Trinneer: Thanks a bunch, Scott. It's really nice of you to come down here and talk to the casting directors for us.
Bakula: Hey, we're all in this together.
Jolene Blalock: Can I take off the catsuit yet?
John Billingsley: Only for the lad mags.
Blalock: I've been in all of them already!
Billingsley: How about GQ?
Bakula: Or Cosmo?
Blalock: Ooh, now there's an idea.

June 10, 2005: That was a huge amount of fun. I didn't expect for that photo to generate so many great captions -- nice work by everyone! Make sure you check out the last two captions which wrapped up my running joke.

This week we have a new column from our favorite Andorian, Dear Shrannie. You're always free to mail questions for Shrann Landers, which I'll collect and post in future columns.

June 17, 2005: The webmaster of very happily reports that Connor got over 90% of the vote in the poll about who should play Pete Conrad in the movie, thanks to the Tuckerite legions, so he's leaving the poll up for a bit longer. Go vote again!

The results of the Future of TripHammered survey were almost evenly split into Just ENT, All the Treks, and Trek Plus Other Shows. In that spirit, here's our first non-ENT Get Me Rewrite with a fertile (heh) TOS image. (After the site tweak, this photo and its captions will live in the Off-Topic section, just FYI.)

June 24, 2005: Hey, remember the crew quizzes? myst generously volunteered to convince one of our favorite Vulcans, Ambassador Soval, to respond.

Next week I'll have an update on Friday, and then on Monday the 4th, TripHammered's third (!) anniversary, I'll be introducing the "Off-Topic" section of the site. This will be more important around the middle of July, when BSG2K starts up its second season, as I plan to do commentary on those episodes.

July 1, 2005: Your mama wears MACO boots! And a whole lot of other things.

Site updates, January 2 through June 26, 2006

Site updates, October 3 through December 26, 2005

Site updates, July 4 through September 26, 2005

Site updates, January 4 through March 25, 2005

Site updates, October 1 through December 31, 2004

Site updates, July 4 through September 24, 2004

Site updates, April 7 through June 30, 2004

Site updates, January 1 through March 31, 2004

Site updates, October 1 through December 31, 2003

Site updates, July 4 through September 30, 2003

Site upates, April 2 through July 2, 2003

Site upates, January 1 through March 28, 2003

Site updates, July 4 through December 31, 2002

Shoe Mac vs PC
Photos:, Paramount