With the recent release of [sfs=560]Season 4[/sfs] of Star Trek: Enterprise, we bid adieu to a show that – for better or worse – tried to fill in the history of the Star Trek universe. My opinion? Continuity problems or not, they did a great job. I will miss this crew. Read More for the whole review.
[sfs=560][/sfs] After the gamble of the third season’s Xindi story, Enterprise took a step back towards episodic television. Manny Coto was brought in to run the show. And they did something some people thought should have been done long before – they fleshed out the history of the Star Trek universe.
This season sees first the conclusion of the Season 3 cliffhanger and the end of the Temporal Cold War in a season-opening two parter, “Storm Front”. From there we forget the past and move forward, with multi-episode stories involving the Eugenics Wars (spawned by Dr. Ark Soong – ancestor of Data creator Noonian Soong and played by Brent Spiner), a Vulcan rebellion (where we meet the father of Vulcan philosophy Surak), the beginnings of the Federation with the Tellurites and Andorians, a view into the “Mirror, Mirror” universe (and an answer to what happened to the U.S.S. Defiant from the original show), some anti-alien sentiments on Earth – and even an answer to the biggest riddle of all – what happened to the Klingon’s foreheads.
This is what I expected Enterprise to be – fill in some of the backstory to the Trek universe, and I think this season did the job well. Did it all make sense? Did it solve all the continuity problems? Definitely not. But it did a decent job telling the story. In my opinion, this was the best season of the show. Unfortunately it was the last.
Standout episodes include the “Borderland/Cold Station 12/The Augments” triplet, but easily the best was the “In a Mirror, Darkly” two-parter which involved the mirror universe first seen in the original “Mirror, Mirror” episode and seen only a couple times since. No one “switches” to the mirror universe in this episode – all the characters are their “evil” counterparts, with an evil Archer, evil Phlox, “Captain’s Woman” Hoshi, MACOs Reed and Mayweather, and Vulcans as a slave species to the Terran Empire. It even opens with scenes from First Contact to set the universe in motion and alternate opening sequences and music. And we also see the U.S.S. Defiant, which disappeared in the original show into “Interphase” in Tholian space, and it turns up here – as do the Tholians and the Gorn. It’s just a original Trek fest. The details for the Defiant were amazing.
And if you watch the deleted scene from the second part, you’ll get my favorite quote from an expanded speech by Archer: “Shoot the first one who stops applauding…”
The series finale, “These Are the Voyages…”, unfortunately used the gimmick of bringing on characters from a previous show (in this case, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis reprising their Next Generation roles) by making the Enterprise events recreated as a historical holodeck program being studied by Riker. It did discuss the events over the founding of the Federation 6 years after the second-to-last episode, and the seemingly required talk of mothballing the ship, even though age-wise it wasn’t really that old. However, a lot of the crew and actors got the chance to appear on screen as audience members, allowing them that final piece of immortality, and for some of them, to do so without prosthetic makeup.
The DVD set pretty much follows the same as the other sets – same packaging, same menu formats (with a Vulcan ship motif this time). See the previous reviews if you want details: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3.
Special features include the same text commentaries from Michael and Denise Okuda on three episodes, and audio commentaries on three episodes as well. The second part of “In a Mirror, Darkly” feature both.
In addition, the usual featurettes are included, including outtakes, behind the scenes of the “Mirror” episodes and others, and even a peak at the wrap party.
Plot/Story: Perhaps they tried to cover too much during one season, but then again the writing was on the wall. They did a good job with it at least. 4/5
Characters/Acting: What actor wouldn’t love a chance to play their anti-character in a “Mirror” episode? everyone did superb jobs this season. 5/5
Effects/Visuals: This has to get a boost just for the “Mirror” stuff. They had to rebuild the Enterprise/Defiant bridge from scratch. 5/5
DVD Extras: Same as previous seasons. Perhaps a notch down as it didn’t seem quite as extensive, although quantity wise its about the same. 3/5
Overall: A find sendoff for the show. And did I mention the “Mirror” episodes? 5/5
Total: 4.4 out of 5. A fitting end.
And thus we say good by to Captain Archer, Trip, and the rest, with a touch of sadness…