IT’S BEEN A LONNNNNNNNNNNNNG TIME!
The opening really grew on me.
I’ve had time (laziness) to think about this. This was the last episode of televised Star Trek ever made back in 2005.
My 1st reaction: ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Fuck, the last time there was a new episode of Star Trek was in 2005. WHY IS THIS WORLD REAL?!
The live-tweeting succinctly summarized my feelings on the episode.
Well, I guess the post is over, guys. Less than a hundred words too. Bye forever!
So I’m not getting out of this so easily then.
After all, I said on Twitter I would do this post.
As I said: This was the last episode of Star Trek, not just Enterprise. You could not believe how excited I was for this shit. The previous two parter “Demons” and “Terra Nova” were brilliant and showed humanity before it became the idealized citizens we all want to become. The scary thing is that they were more like us and that is fucking terrifying. They weren’t simply metaphors in the guise of an alien who was basically human with a few rubber ridges. These were straight up racist human beings who especially hated Vulcans. Simply put, the previous two episodes hyped me the fuck up… and what I got was the holodeck.
The majority of Star Trek fans including your illustrious proprietor of Max Powered blog Inc. believes that “Demons” and “Terra Nova” are the true concluding arc of the series because they were Enterprise’s episodes. If Robocop could be a xenophobic scumbag, then how the hell was the rest of humanity supposed to catch up to 23-24 century ideals we see later?
So we forget that happened and move on to “These are the Voyages…” an episode that still annoys me to this day.
First of all, let me lay out the biggest problem I have with Enterprise’s finale: It’s not really Enterprise’s finale is a good place to start. It takes place on the holodeck on the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) on the episode “The Pegasus.” What the fuck was up with that? Well let’s read what the fuck was up with that from the man who had a hand in that debacle:
Our thought was to take this crew and see them through the eyes of a future generation, see them through the eyes of the people who we first got involved in Star Trek with 18 years before, with Picard and Riker and Data, etc., and to see the history of how Archer and his crew went from where we had them to where, eventually, the Federation was formed, in some kind of a magical holographic history lesson. –Rick Berman, Executive Producer.
Okay, but my point still stands, why couldn’t Enterprise have its own finale? It’s like if DS9 (Deep Space Nine) ended with a holo recording of the Dominion War or if TNG ending was viewed from some Data descendant a thousand years down the line, and both those took place in some a time traveling Enterprise show. It made no sense and it left me wanting. As the finale to Enterprise and as the finale to televised Star Trek, it does not work.
If it were just another episode of Enterprise, the idea would have been a lot of fun. It was made for cameos and fan service. “These are the Voyages…” was not just another Star Trek episode though, it was supposed to be the last episode of Star Trek for quite some time. For all intents and purposes this was to be the last hurrah.
The thing about last episodes of Star Trek is that they’re usually 2 hours. This was a regular 1 hour show. So another blow.
The episode feels like it was initially structured for a multi hour finale, but production and networks get in the way of the best laid plans of writers and actors. That’s why events feel like they just happened. For example we have Shran suddenly appear because the final episode needed action beats, but as soon as things are cool, he leaves just as he appeared, quickly and nonsensically.
Hell. During my live tweetathon, I even said I loved seeing Shran, because he was my favorite recurring character in the show, but after considering it, I cannot help but think his presence was wasted in the finale.
This episode was leading to the foundation of the Federation and it really deserved more than Riker’s voyeurism. It’s not just me and the fans who think so, because the actors, writers, and even the producers who thought up the idea regret it now:
“A lot of people were furious about it. The actors, most of them, were very unhappy. In retrospect it was a bad idea. When it was conceived it was with our heart completely in the right place. We wanted to pay the greatest homage and honor to the characters of Enterprise that we possibly could, but because Jonathan (Frakes) and Marina (Sirtis) were the two people we brought in, and they were the ones looking back, it was perceived as ‘You’re ending our series with a TNG episode.’ I understand how people felt that way. Too many people felt that way for them to be wrong. Brannon and I felt terrible that we’d let a lot of people down. It backfired, but our hearts were definitely in the right place. It just was not accepted in the way we thought it would be.” — Rick Berman, Executive Producer.
This hurts, because it really seems like they were trying to do their best. Although it seemed like no one agreed with them at the time and course of time has not made the decision any more acceptable.
They even picked a pretty good episode of TNG to use, but Enterprise’s finale should not be beholden to Riker’s crisis. For one, Riker has to decide whether to defy the orders of his first commanding officer or reveal the truth to Picard. There is no obvious morale parallel to compare the two episodes and the only reason they chose this episode is because Riker might have had a good reason to use the holodeck. The writing staff probably had to pick a later TNG episode to account for Riker’s ever bulging uniforms and command beard.
The last problem, but in no way is it the least, is that they set Enterprise on year ten of their voyage, while we had only seen four years. So they basically jumped six years into the future and had to drive down character development and exposition down our throats like it was the cure for cancer. One such example brilliantly captured by yours truly:
Apparently they had the relationship everyone assumed they would have and it was filled with drama and misunderstandings. Since there was no order for season five, we got weirdly timed relationship talk, even for Star Trek. I give credit for fitting that in there somehow though, because if there’s one thing this episode did correctly, it was at least giving each crew member their time to speak.
How did they accomplish this, you ask?
For the love and cooking advice you’ve always needed. Meet Chef Riker. Willing to play a tune and cook for you too.
Riker spoke to each of the crew members one by one to gather their thoughts. As creepy as it got at some points, these moments were my favorites in the episode. I loved finding out all of these little personal bits of information about each crew member because I knew it would be like saying good bye to a cast of good friends. This was the best farewell the show could have done given the circumstances and I’m glad they did it. If my complaints about the episode have driven you away from this one, at least watch it once for those scenes, they are worth the watch. Almost.
I feel the biggest travesty in this episode are next to one of the greatest and more powerful moments in it too. The entire point of Enterprise’s mission in this one was to get back to Earth so captain Archer could give his speech that would serve as the foundation to the Federation. There were so many ways they could have went for this and it was almost done well enough to forgive the rest of the episode. Instead it served to anger the fans and most people who worked on the show.
Trip died to get the crew to Earth in one piece so Archer could give the speech and it was weird that almost none of the crew seemed really concerned about it, but I was willing stretch my incredulity to an extent.
T’Pol and Phlox prep Archer for his speech. More quiet and heartfelt goodbyes are seen here and they’re great. T’Pol hugs Archer before he goes out on stage, a hug between two friends that have seen and lost so much together, and it was truly wonderful. Archer walks out on stage and… credits.
The fuck was my reaction and it still is.
The point of the mission, the episode was for that moment, a moment that would serve as the basis for all of Star Trek. For all the rushed shit they put us through, for the crammed exposition we had to take in, I would have loved a fucking speech. We don’t get it. Nope. We are instead left with the implication that the “These are the Voyages” speeches you hear in TOS (The Original Series) and TNG is based off what Archer said at the conference.
It was a nice tribute and at least the show had the decency to end with that, because it did end with that. That was the last scene of televised Star Trek seen since 2005.
“These are the Voyages…” had some truly great moments that I prefer to remember over the multitude of missteps. The problem is is that it still had those, and what could have served as a powerful reminder of what Star Trek is and provide a finale for not just Enterprise, but televised Star Trek for a while, is instead a confused mess that was shoved into a confused 1 hour mess. Enterprise deserved its own finale, oh hell, it deserved its own 7 year run, but the world isn’t fair, and television networks certainly don’t make it any fairer.
Remember what Enterprise was: A take on Star Trek before there was a Federation with enlightened denizens. Another way to view how humanity could attain a true peace, if we could only shed these damn things like xenophobia, racism, and greed. Remember what Enterprise gave us and not what it couldn’t.
PS. Here are Enterprise outtakes, because Star Trek outtakes are always hilarious.
The comments are below if you want to tell me your thoughts and feelings about Enterprise. We can all recover together.