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The Appalling Finale of Star Trek: Enterprise

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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. :evil:

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…

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About Vic

  • http://www.jeffkouba.com/myblog/blogger.html Jeff

    I was thinking much the same thing about so much focus on Riker and Troi. They must not think much of the Enterprise crew, and their ability or right to carry a finale. Yeah, it was clever how they wedged it into a Next Generation season 7 episode (The Pegasus), and for Next Generation fans, it was a hoot to see their Enterprise, 10 Forward, to hear Data’s voice, etc… But, why are we waxing nostalgic about them when we’re supposed to be waxing nostalgic about Enterprise?

    True, Enterprise kinda lost me as a fan, mostly because I couldn’t take Count Bakula as the captain. However, Trip and Reed were among my favorite Trek characters from all the various incarnations.

    The ending was nice, with Picard and his Enterprise, to Kirk and his, and then Archer and his, each reciting the famous opening lines.

    The show could’ve been much more. It was a clue as to why the series was cancelled, that instead of giving the Enterprise crew a send off, they got the brush off.

  • http://screenrant.com Screen Rant

    “It was a clue as to why the series was cancelled, that instead of giving the Enterprise crew a send off, they got the brush off.”

    Wow, nicely put!

    Vic

  • Enterprise Fan

    Lucky for me, we had severe thunderstorms here in Michigan last night which knocked the local UPN affiliate off the air.

    So it looks like I was spared from watching the dreck that became the “final” episode by an act of nature or God, depending on your point of view.

    I’ll be reaired tomorrow night on the local UPN affiliate, but I’m debating whether or not to tape “These Are The Voyages” or just end it with “Terra Prime”.

    If “These are the Voyages” is as bad as everyone’s been saying, I may be tempted to erase it in order to give my one finger victory salute to Berman and Braga.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    I never really caught on to Enterprise, though I was a big Next Generation fan for several years. I loved the series finale of TNG, where Picard is in three time periods at once with a mystery on his hands to save the Enterprise.

    It’s too bad that the series Enterprise’s ending wasn’t up to the calibar of the rest of the show.

  • Dalven

    I just wanted to make the comment that I think it is quite fitting that the ‘late great one’ (i.e. TNG) is in Enterprise. I think it is appropriate, in the same way that a 19th century father on the farm, sturdy strong and powerful of body and mind, when finding that his son has foregon his chores and let the family down and skipped church for the evening, takes his mighty hand and crashes it upon the face of the insolent youth both as a lesson in love and in respect.

    lol. Without the extended metaphor: ENT fu**ed things up quite nicely for the dynasty for most of its 4 years. It deserves to be in the presence of the greatness that was TNG, if only as a reminder to fans of what a great show we once had.

    Enterprise doesn’t deserve a ‘proper’ finale, as it never was a proper series. Yes, the 4th season resurrection was splendid and I did see hints of possibilities, especially after the ‘nazi’ garbage ceased. But, count em': 1, 2, 3, … that’s 3 seasons of basically mindless legacy hurting pochow.

    This isn’t just my opinion, it’s the opinion of MANY MANY MANY fans out there. They should have taken the advice of ‘The Great Bird of the Galaxy”s wife and retired for a good 5-10 years after voyager ended, focusing on movies.

    Instead, greed drove them into the creation of ENT, besmirching: a. the legacy of Star Trek, b. the temporal prequel space of this era, which was ripe for good stories if properly done, c. the intelligence of the fans, whom they assumed would stick on for this crap.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. Let the SLOW, CAREFUL, yet PURPOSEFUL rebuilding of Star Trek begin.

  • http://www,nornsisland.com n69n

    ive loved all the star trek series but i could never enjoy ENTERPRISE..it always seemed like a bush/cheney version of the future, instead of the hopeful progressive vision that we’d had in the other series.

    & that themesong was TORTURE!!!!!

  • http://screenrant.com Screen Rant

    My wife actually made me sit through the theme song every week…. At least I don’t have to listen to it any more.

    As to Enterprise being lousy for 3 years, sure, I agree. But it really improved in it’s last season and started to fulfill the promise of the original premise of the show.

    It deserved a better send off. And to be honest, it was kind of embarrassing to see Frakes and Sirtis back in the uniform and role.

    Vic

  • http://childoftv.blogspot.com/ Brent McKee

    Absolute drek. If anyone at Paramount is smart they’d keep Brannon & Braga far away from any new series and let someone else run and write it, and do that on a regular basis so that production and writing don’t get stale. In truth Terra Prime was a better way to end the series than the pile of …. stuff …. that Berman and Braga sold us.

  • http://halfbakered.blogspot.com mike hollihan

    Look at all that was wrong with TaTV:

    1) We are repeatedly told how important Archer’s speech is — important enough for Trip to die for it? — and Troi mentions memorising it, but then we never do see it, do we?

    2) Suddenly, in the last episode of Season 4, we learn that the cook is the ship’s confidant. Quel suprise! And here I thought it was Dr. Phlox.

    3) No one got a promotion or left the ship in ten years? No new core crew? And Trip and T’Pol’s relationship is still stuck in the same place? Please….

    4) The NX-01 Enterprise had a service life of only 10 years? What government builds capital ships with such a short life span?

    5) Everything we saw was a holodeck recreation, not the real action. Although, given how small the holodeck is, how can the holo-Archer and holo-T’Pol be in the ante-room so far away from Troi and Riker? How do we know what was “real” (i.e. captured on camera and recreated faithfully on the holodeck) and what was computer fill-in? When we see scenes where Riker isn’t present in the action, what are we looking at?

    It reminds me of the TNG send off (“All Good Things”) and the first TNG Trek movie. The finale was what should have been made into a movie and the movie was a botch and an insult to fans that also had to shoe-horn in a tribute to past Trek.

  • http://halfbakered.blogspot.com mike hollihan

    In point five, where I wrote “…how can the holo-Archer and holo-T’Pol be in the ante-room so far away from Troi and Riker?” I meant that Archer and T’Pol are in the room off the main speaking hall, just before Archer gives his speech, while Riker and Troi are hundreds of feet away, along a back wall of the hall.

  • Shirley A. Fox

    Enterprise was my second favorite Trek, (no one can beat Kirk’s bare chested episodes.) Scott Bakula and his fellow cast members were wonderful. Instead of comparing them to the old Treks, compare them to the crap that is currently on UPN and other networks!! I would like the next series to be “Federation” and Scott Bakula made an ambassador sorting out problems between planets.

  • http://screenrant.com Screen Rant

    Well I certainly have no reason to watch UPN now. If you want good TV Sci Fi I suggest you check out Stargate SG-1/Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica.

    Vic

  • http://ca.geocities.com/sherrygardner@rogers.com/ Sherry

    I have been a fan of Star Trek for as long as I have been walking and talking. That said, I don’t understand why one would use words like “greatness” to describe TNG when comparing it to the other series’ of Star Trek.
    I thought they were all great and relished the time I spent watching each one.
    To the Original series, thank you for putting us in space, your braveness in the face of such strangeness, and of course, your fashion sense….LOL,
    To TNG for reviving a theme that we Trekkers until then only could find in the 6 movies with the original cast members… the continuity once more, examining the real issues that beset humanity from a new angle,
    To DS9 … Now there was a series…. not set in a different time, and not roaming the Galaxy to begin with, but exporing more political, religious, spiritual questions… and you never knew who your friends would be in a year on that show….
    On Voyager, Janeway paved new ground much like TOS I think both captains had a lot in common. But I think that she separated herself from her crew even more than some have observed Archer being a loner. Enterprise had a lot to live up to with all the greatness that had gone before it, and I think it did this well. It had a harder time paving it’s path because unlike the others, that followed a chronological order, Enterprise, sought to show us the barely written history of life after Warp and before Federation. There were no clear rules where this show should lead except that it had to conclude somewhere with the continuity of it’s predecesors.
    I think Enterprise was cut down in its prime. The bitter end was rushed, and confusing. I didn’t know if I shouldn’t have thought that the entire series was a Holodeck recreation for the benefit of Riker and Troi. I think B&B took some pleasure killing off Trip just to sabotage any future attempts to revive the series…. and thumb their noses at Star Trek fans everywhere.

    And, screen rant, you’re lucky, I guess… Because not only did I like the intro theme, (which was also different than the others being purely instrumental arrangements) I also sang it!!!

  • Rick

    I just watched the season finale yesterday on PVR(TIVO w/o Big Brother) and was thoroughly disappointed. My family decided that that episode occurred in an alternate timeline and wasn’t the season finale. Terra Prime was the “real” season finale with Trip and T’pal holding hands and thinking of a creating their own “Elizabeth”. The Federation creation negotiations go on for years and the Enterprise and crew continue their explorations and further others to join the new United Federation of Planets.

    So erase, delete the alternate timeline episode. It does not have to exist but as a painful alternate reality if we don’t make the right decisions in the present.

  • http://worsethanmybite.blogspot.com/ Nicolette Rivers

    I’ve always thought that the Halodeck worked on a system of smoke and mirrors. Basically it would subtly rearrange the “landscape” as you moved around to divert you from the edges, thus seeming vast.

  • http://avalon_landing.blogspot.com Cass

    Gah, and how do the two episodes with the anti-Federation fit in (wherein Hoshi becomes Empress)??? The dialogue in the final episode was so cringe-worthy that even my hub, who is a closet Trekkie, couldn’t stand it. We were both quite disappointed. And the acting! OMG! It was horrifying! “Galactica” may have some cringeworthy dialogue, but at least I feel like those people can act. RIP, Star Trek.

  • http://firstfolio.blogspot.com Matt Schafer

    I for one am glad this series is off the air. I watched the first seasons and then realized that it was pretty much a continuation of Voyager and TNG.

    What B&B did was take a tired forumla, same lead character positions, and ran it one episode too far.

    Enterprise and Voyager both got so bad I couldn’t watch it and I don’t miss it. Both series have kind of cured me of ever being a trekkie

  • http://halfbakered.blogspot.com mike hollihan

    Just watched the weekend repeat of the ENT finale and noticed something I’d missed before.

    In the TNG Season 7 era where this episode is set, people going onto the holodeck had to wear era- or setting- appropriate costumes. (Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Dixon Hill, Sixties nightclubs, etc.) But we see Riker several times on the Enterprise recreation having the holodeck paint a new, appropriate costume over his TNG era Starfleet uniform!

    Aarrgh! Braga and Berman rewrite history yet again! My head is going to explode….

  • http://screenrant.com Screen Rant

    Matt, I agree that the first couple of seasons were not that great, but the show really made a comeback this year with a different producer and writers.

    Mike, I didn’t notice the “paint over” effect your’re talking about, but it doesn’t suprise me. :-\

    Vic

  • Jake Talahan

    I was excited the first few episodes of Enterprise, and probably would of continued watching it if Stargate: SG1 didn’t take up the same timeslot locally. However, having to make the choice, SG1 was certainly a better series.

    Actually, some episodes of Enterprise actually outright bored me. WHAM! Then came season 4, and especially that Dark Universe style episode.. yes! That works! Bringing me back! Sure, I DVR’ed it, cause I was still watching Stargate, but I was excited to see it afterwards! Very much so!

    Now, as for the season finalle? Don’t be so harsh on the staff and crew. It must be hard to live up to the expectations that Gene Roddenberry set. He was a genius.. do you expect that to be repeated?

    I loved the concept of the last episode.. I loved seeing a TNG episode with richer, more vibrant colors, better digital effects, and lots of advancements. Man, now that I know it’s something they were planning, I would wait a week in rapt anticipation to see it! But.. not as the final episode, I have to agree. Will Riker has always been my favorite character beyond Will Wheaton’s character ‘Wesley Crusher’. Uh.. well I wrote him some e-mails and he was a really nice guy, so now I like him, ok? :)

    In any event, I found the ending fitting. It was a homage to the series.. that all the Star Trek universe is connected, and all part of one. That the voyages of the Enterprise are worth fall more then any individual episode.. and things will get better.

    This was a nice wakeup call for the studio. The viewers have spoken, by simply NOT watching. And now, they have to do something different.

    Let’s just hope another Gene Roddenberry comes along. :)

  • http://screenrant.com Screen Rant

    This was a nice wakeup call for the studio. The viewers have spoken, by simply NOT watching. And now, they have to do something different.

    Ah, but WAS it a wakeup call? If you listen to Berman it was everyone’s fault BUT his. “Franchise Fatigue”, “800 episodes already out thre”, “competition from other Trek series”, etc., etc., ad nauseaum.

    God forbid the man looks in a mirror and accepts even one BIT of responsibility. >:-(

    Vic

  • Bobby Shaddoe

    ‘These Are The Voyages’ is utter crap! I mean it was more of a lost TNG episode than a proper Enterprise episode, and I can’t believe that’s how the show ended. In my mind, ‘These Are The Voyagers’ doesn’t exist, because I can’t stand to watch that again, especially after something so great like ‘Terra Prime’, to just end the show on such a sour note just reeks! Just repeat to yourselves everyone, ‘These Are The Voyages’ doesn’t exist.

  • Dionysus

    I’ve been a more than casual trekkie (or trekker – don’t shoot me now) for almost a decade. I know a lot of you have followed trek much longer. All I can say is that trek fans are the most deprecating and critical of the lot….to the point of bitching. The fourth season of enterprise was a beauty…something like the middle seasons of TNG/DS9/TOS and even some episodes of voyager were. The finale…not the best one (the best was tng…hands down)..but i kinda liked it. Just saw star wars too…two stories came full circle in a week..and i had some goosebump moments in both…uhhh..but thats me…juvenile trekkie eh??..:)
    PS…i liked the song too…

  • Gavin

    Can anybody explain why in the last Enterprise episode when all of the Captains had a blurb with their ship Janeway was absent? Moving on I find it interesting that many fans have moved to Stargate and Galactica. B&B took the series into a place without any understanding of the fact that Star Trek has always been different. People complained about how Galactica was not going to be faithfull to the original. People complain that Hollywood redos everything (and they do) because they can’t come up with new things. Seems to me that B&B thought they had hooked into the gravy train only to realize that again… Star Trek is different than remaking Bewitched, Spiderman, Hulk, Wild Wild West, etc.

  • http://indyjoe.blogspot.com/ Joe

    I kind of always felt as though Enterprise was the weakest out of all of the Trek series. Even from the very beginning. The four previous shows were always to some degree entertaining. I never found the same kind of enjoyment with this last one.

    Could just be me though.

  • Matt

    Been a Star Trek fan forever, and this was the best series of all of them. Great characters, great stories, so well thought-out and faithful to everything that has gone before in the franchise. The final episode was god-awful of coure, butB&B were in a pretty tough spot, trying to end the series with as little notice as they had was akin to a novelist being told 700 pages into his 1000 page book that he needed to end it in the next paragraph. They botched it, big deal. They still made some of the best TV I ever got to watch and I’m still grateful for that.

  • Ken Nambu

    The first three seasons of “Enterprise” may not have been all that great, but neither were the first three seasons of TNG, DS9, and VOY. It took them a good three seasons to get their footing, and we remember those series for the good stuff we got from the later seasons. “Enterprise” never got that chance, even though it was following the same pattern.

    The events in “These Are The Voyages…” took place in the 24th Century on a holodeck. For that matter, since they took place on a holodeck, they didn’t exisit at all. It’s bogus.

  • http://screenrant.com Vic

    I hate to get all Trek-geeky, but they were watching historical records of what happened on Enterprise, so it wasn’t bogus.

    Although I wouldn’t put it past the writers to use that angle if they wanted to bring the show back.

    Vic

  • Betheo

    I really thought that something more was coming after Terra Prime, maybe something more that B&B couldnt deliver,
    im a majour ENT/Voyager fan, whilst i do enjoy the others, it was more about them being for MY generation, to be honest, i was way to late for ST:TOS and TNG but i was just in time to see voyager end, and was there all the way with ENT, so, i was extremely pissed by the ending,
    it just felt as if my trekkie generation who missed out on Kirk and Picard in the glory days, got a lazy effort from B&B, so, i guess im stuck with the SCI FI channel and DVDs
    (and before anyone says anything, i do watch TOS and TNG a fair bit, its more about having a show running on prime time or later that you can watch once a week with your mates without already knowing how it all ends)

  • Reda

    “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.” – YOU ARE SO VERY VERY VERY RIGHT!!!