I just watched the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise.
Let me just come right out and say that I am so angry and disgusted that I don’t know where to begin. A while back Jolene Blalock (who plays T’Pol on the show) was quoted as saying that the final episode of Enterprise was “appalling”… Jolene, how right you were. What a sad, sad ending to a series that was just starting to find its voice. What a slap in the face to the cast and the fans of Enterprise. I can’t stop shaking my head in disbelief and the only conclusion I can come to is that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga have truly come to hate Star Trek and its fans.
There, I’ve said it.
Up until the last couple of weeks I’ve given the benefit of the doubt to B&B, but no more. The awfulness of “These are the voyages…” (title of the series ender) was even more evident in that it was broadcast immediately after the “Terra Prime” episode, written by Judith Reeves-Stevens & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, authors of countless Star Trek novels and finally brought in this season as writers for the show. Sure, “Terra Prime” had some stuff in it that bugged the heck out of me, but overall it felt like Star Trek. It seemed like finally, with that episode, characters that had been marginalized for 4 seasons came alive at last.
But then came the final episode…
I had read bits here and there about the finale and the fact that it involved Riker, Troi, and a holodeck recreation of the Enterprise crew, but I didn’t want to spoil the episode for myself so I left it at that. I had read a lot of the reaction to the episode as well, but my thought was “Hey, go easy, you haven’t even seen it yet.” I had also read that the cast was (to put it mildly) unhappy with the episode and they didn’t feel it was about Enterprise.
I’m here to tell you those voices of outrage were on the money.
The difference between the Coto-helmed “Terra Prime” and Berman and Braga written “These are the voyages…” is absolutely jarring. In no uncertain terms it showed on the one hand why the show had finally become worthwhile and on the other why fans left it in droves which led to its cancellation.
And still Berman refuses to take responsibility in any way shape or form. He actually had the gall to refer to the episode as a “valentine for the fans”. What a load of crap. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall anyone clamouring for the return of Will Riker, Deanna Troi or the Enterprise D.
I suppose I should get around to the specifics of the episode. It opens on the bridge of Enterprise 6 years after “Terra Prime”, and 10 years after the start of the show. The ship is going to be mothballed after 10 years of service, and is heading back to Earth for the signing of the declaration that is basically the founding of the Federation. Suddenly we see Will Riker on the ship and soon after that we realize that what we’ve been watching is a re-creation of events on a holodeck on the Enterprise D.
The episode ties in with something that happened during Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Riker had a crisis of conscience and was struggling with a decision. Apparently he felt the need to visit Archer’s Enterprise during a pivotal sequence of events in order to help him make the right decision. Immediately this marginalizes everything going on with Archer’s crew and makes the show about Riker. Seeing him pop up here and there on Enterprise is positively jarring and just feels COMPLETELY wrong.
As things progress we discover that Shran (the ever-excellent Jeffrey Combs) was thought dead for three years but has actually been in hiding with a wife and daughter. His daughter has been kidnapped and he demands Archer’s help in getting her back.
While we are watching this, they keep intercutting Riker and Troi on the Enterprise-D with what’s happening, and then when returning to Archer’s crew, skipping ahead to the parts that are relevant to Riker.
This leaves the story feeling rushed, choppy and disconnected. To add insult to injury, the cook aboard ship, who has been talked about over four seasons but never shown, and all of a sudden is referred to as the crew’s confidant, is portrayed by… Riker.
I can just imagine the actors grinding their teeth during these scenes in the ship’s kitchen.
Here and there cute little comments are thrown out like Archer toasting and saying “Here’s to the next generation.” Ooooh, did that give you chills? Yeah, me neither.
But wait, there’s more… how about the death of Tripp just because, well, you know… killing someone will make the episode more interesting. You remember that is the same deep thought process that went into the death of Captain Kirk on some backwater planet.
By the end of this episode I was so thoroughly pissed that I could just spit.
I can only hope to God that when the next iteration of Star Trek surfaces neither Berman nor Braga are let within 100 miles of the show. How Paramount continues to entrust this franchise to this pair defies logic to an extreme degree.
Oh well, I’ll always have classic Trek on DVD…