This episode was so incredibly bad, and simply insulting, to the viewers, that I seriously had to ask "Have B&B (Berman and Braga) really become so bad at this that they thought we'd like this episode?...or were they trying to insult us *on purpose*?".
I mean, just like 20 years later people still remember the ridiculous "Dallas" season-erasing dream/shower episode, 20 years from now people will remember this as one of the infamous worst endings of any TV series.
Basically, this is *NOT* the Enterprise finale. B&B framed the whole episode as a "holodeck program" being viewed by Riker and Troi during Next Generation's 7th season.
***The regular cast of "Enterprise" gets no time in this episode. Archer, T'Pol, and Tucker are the only ones that have any meaningful dialog. The problem was that Mayweather, Hoshi, Reed, and Phlox don't get anything to do here. The cast of Enterprise is not really present for their own series finale.
***The biggest complaint is they kill off Commander Trip Tucker. This is officially the **silliest character death in the history of Star Trek and possibly of all scifi TV** Riker is (supposedly) watching this holoprogram to get insight into his own dilemma about following orders (which he knew were morally wrong) in the Next Gen 7th season episode "Pegasus", by watching a "famous historical example of someone breaking orders for the greater good".
Enterprise is boarded by random alien pirates, who hold Archer and Tucker at gunpoint. Now, let me remind you; Archer being kidnapped by bad aliens was such an overused plot line in seasons 1 and 2 that fans *begged* the show to stop doing that The point is that these guys have been held at gunpoint all the time; what they do is wait for their other crewmembers (remember them?) to rescue them.
What happens is that Archer is willing to stay at gunpoint, but Tucker says he wants to try something, as Archer is getting punched. Archer shouts that he "orders" Trip not to try anything, but Trip "breaks orders" by doing it anyway: he tells the alien pirates that he will put them in communication with the bridge, leads them over to a maintenance panel, then intentionally misconnects two power cables in his hands, to cause a massive explosion that kills himself and the pirates, thus saving Archer. That's it.
My questions are; 1) Why would Tucker suddenly do something (like causing an EXPLOSION) which he knew would definitely kill himself, when he's been in random hostage situations MANY TIMES during the course of the series? 2) **HOW WAS THIS IN ANY WAY AN "ORDER"???*** Riker's "breaking of orders" dilemma was that he had been ordered by a corrupt admiral not to tell anyone that the Federation was conducting secret weapons experiments in direct violation of international treaties, but he felt this was wrong and wanted to tell Picard. This was longstanding issue, which he struggled with for several days. This whole situation is NOT COMPARABLE to that! *****In interviews, Connor Trinner, who plays Tucker, basically stated that A) Berman and Braga knew that Tucker was the most popular character on the show and B) essentially realized that there was nothing emotionally involving in the incredibly bad script they had written, so they sank to the lowest common denominator by just killing off a beloved character to get people to "like" the "tear-jerker" ending. But it's such a forced, obviously scripted death that it was just silly. Many fans hope that a later series will simply explain this away as a hologram error, and that Tucker never died.
On top of this, the entire episode is centered around Archer having to give a speech at the signing of the Federation charter: struggling with what to write, etc. The final scene is of him walking out the door into a forum to give the speech, then ***Riker says "computer, end program" and the whole thing turns off. We never hear the speech, after all of that hype. Not. One. Word. Maybe they were trying to give the idea that it was such a good speech that we could never hear the whole thing, that it was so legendary and good that we should just let our imaginations run wild with how good it was. I can understand not giving the WHOLE thing, but not a single line?! Not a single quote?! For the amount of hype they gave to it (according to them, Tucker killed himself so Archer could deliver this speech on time!) we should have heard something.
*****The final shot is of Archer, Kirk, and Picard doing a narration of the "These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise" monologue, intercutting with each other as we see the three Enterprises fly by. A lot of casual fans said "oh, this was a good episode, I liked that montage at the end"....well, it could have been inserted into any given episode, and honestly, did it SERVE THE PLOT IN ANY WAY? Character development, etc? IT WAS A CHEAP TRICK.
On top of this, Berman and Braga didn't even THINK of that; they stated that they literally wanted to have Riker say "Computer, end program", have him walk out of the holodeck, then fade to black. Credits role. That's it. The end of Star Trek. How these monsters keep getting work, I will never know.
That's it. I'm watching Ron D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica now. It's the best scifi show since DS9 went off the air (which, conspicuously, was also the last Star Trek which Moore worked on...). RDM set out with BSG to fix everything about scifi TV that B&B got wrong with the last 7 years of Star Trek; and he did it! Characterization, dark tone, smarter dialog, no Seven of Nines! Ron D. Moore and Battlestar Galactica have inherited the mantle of Scifi television.
By your command!
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