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.