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"The Xindi" Promises New Beginning But Does Season Premiere Break New Ground? Deus is Back!
PROMENADE







Posted: 07:08:55 on September 11 2003
By: O. Deus
Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews
Reviews Ex Deus

Summary: Leave behind everything you know because it won't work here. Well, actually it will work here. Forget we said anything; feel free to take along everything you know.

Review: After drooping ratings and a widely popularized overhaul, ENTERPRISE might have been expected to come out swinging in its season three premiere to amaze and win back viewers with something new and exciting. But while "The Xindi" clearly has more FX and production dollars invested in it and more action scenes than the average episode, all told it's a rather commonplace affair. While season three ran under the tagline 'Leave behind everything you know because it won't work here,' "The Xindi" is clearly a poor demonstration of that philosophy. Indeed, if we eliminate the actual Xindi elements from the episode, what we have left is an episode that could just as easily have taken place in any of the earlier seasons.

After the previous season ended with the Enterprise NX-01 vanishing into the mysterious and ominous Expanse to confront unimaginable horrors and wonders, "The Xindi" is a rather pedestrian episode in which the only major effect of the Expanse appears to be some flying cargo crates. Not only that, aside from brief scenes of the Xindi council, we end up with another typical ENTERPRISE storyline in which Archer and Trip are captured by another group of funny looking aliens with cardboard motivations and T'Pol and Reed have to arrange a rescue. A plot twist that the show hasn't just done to death but actually resurrected and done to death all over again. The addition of the Xindi arc rather than enhancing the episode further impoverishes the non-Xindi content as it removes any need for the writers to give the non-Xindi events any depth because they're just marking time to the Xindi encounter.

Aside from Archer acting slightly edgier, most of the intensity and drive we saw in "The Expanse" seems to have been replaced by the ennui of their routines as if the characters are just as bored by what they're doing as we are. Only Trip manages to retain some of the energy from the season two finale, and that too is promptly squandered by the episode's end. "The Expanse" was certainly far from perfect but it set up some interesting potential stories. "The Xindi," by contrast, not only fails to follow up on that potential but shows that the writers would rather return to the same old stories than actually try anything new.

Indeed in many ways "The Xindi" is a rehash of the original ENTERPRISE pilot, "Broken Bow." Like the debut, Archer and his crew are venturing into the unknown with a new mission that seems interesting on paper, a mysterious new enemy Archer needs to learn about, an informant who is located and then pursued by enemies resulting in a shootout, an escape from an alien base during which time the informant is killed, and an episode that ends with tantalizing suggestions about the nature of the new enemy. Perhaps the producers should have gotten the message that a new ENTERPRISE might require new writers or at the very least new ideas, instead of the same old ones recycled and massaged into a slightly different form.

The episode's highlights, aside from Trip's dream of course, concern the Xindi themselves. Moments like the Xindi council and the view of the shattered Xindi planet evoke some of the awe and mystery the episode should needed. The sense that we're going, if not quite into uncharted territory, but into at least somewhere bigger and different than we've seen on ENTERPRISE in the last two years. But those moments were sadly few and far between. Trip's story appeared to have potential initially with an effective dream sequence and a seeming addiction to sleep aids but the show's gift for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory manifested itself again as by episode's end the story was reduced to another clumsy and graceless attempts to boost its sex appeal by getting T'Pol's clothes off. As absurd as previous attempts like the 'Spread Your Germs Around' blue light decontamination chamber have been, "The Xindi" manages to hit a new level of absurdity with the Vulcan topless back massages that also relieve stress over the death of loved ones.

The military team have no particular function except to upstage Trip's red shirts with a display of efficiency and precision design that make them look cool and us wonder why every starship in the future doesn't come with a similar team, but don't really tell us anything about the characters or let us get to know them. And it's doubtful that they can repeat this trick too many times because it would foil ENTERPRISE's traditional plot device of getting Archer captured. At the same time, I found myself more interested in them than in the regular cast, which is never a good sign. Nor was being able to guess that Archer and Trip would be captured the minute they walked into the mine, despite having not read any spoilers for the episode. These are all signs that a lot of this material is growing stale. Season three seemed advertised on the premise that it would be delivering fresh material that seems to be on back order.

Next week: Archer goes 24's Jack on a Xindi.

Enterprise's "Impulse"
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About the Author
O. Deus has been a TrekWeb visitor since the site's 1996 inception. Along with being an ardent poster, he is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Deus has written reviews and columns for TrekWeb for over two years.

Past Reviews
  • Impulse
  • Rajiin
  • "Extinction"
  • "Anomaly"
  • "The Xindi"
  • Season 2 Poll Results
  • "The Expanse"
  • "First Flight" and "Bounty"
  • "Regeneration"
  • "Cogenitor"
  • "The Breach" (Williams)
  • "Horizon" (Williams)
  • "Judgment"
  • "The Crossing"
  • React to this story below and see what others are saying at the STAR TREK BBS.
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    TREKWEB TALKBACK
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    Sarcasm Alert!
    By Kilroy ( ) at 20:01:22 on September 15 2003
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    The jammin' guitar made all the difference in the theme music...I like it now!

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    • that music by lemmiwinks @ 20:16:19 ET on 17 Sep
    Watching The Xindi on 9/11 Anniversary
    By NeptuneN6min ( ) at 02:29:21 on September 13 2003
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    The review of The Xindi is right on target, thank you. The Xindi Council meeting looked like a scene right from that termite planet on Star Wars: Attack of the Clones complete with insect aliens. The once again getting-captured bit is really really really getting old (when you go traveling, are you constantly being detained by the locals?). The Trip/T’Pol scene was designed for teenage boys who, according to the ratings, apparently weren’t watching it anyway. I feel sorry for all the actors on the show—they’re good and I like them but they are victims of some pretty poor writing.

    Is anyone out there besides me disturbed that Star Trek is losing its way? My first thought after the episode ended is that the Great Bird of the Galaxy would be disappointed that the show he created has strayed far from his original ideas of the future.

    When ENT first came on air, it was around the time of 9/11. The show in a way gave a sense of hope in the future that we humans might someday be able to pull ourselves out of the mess the world is in and go out to peacefully explore space and discover new things. It was the same way with the first Star Trek series in the 1960s where people were dealing with racial hatred and the Cold War. Roddenberry showed us a future where a diverse crew worked together and even had a Russian at the helm. Roddenberry’s positive vision of the future is part of the reason why Star Trek has had such an impact on our culture and been so successful (that and good science fiction writing). Watching ENT on the second anniversary of 9/11 and seeing what has happened to Roddenberry’s vision made me sort of depressed about the future. I know it’s just a show, just entertainment designed to make money, but you know, after 37 years and all the lives it has affected the world over, Star Trek may actually be a little more than that. If the producers want to veer the ship off course and make it like any other typical show nowadays, what made it unique and successful--and the impact it has on people--will be gone and so might the series itself unfortunately.

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    Correction:
    By Jean-Luc ( cooljeanluc@go.com) at 22:11:43 on September 12 2003
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    Shouldn't that read,
    "Next week: Archer goes Janeway on a Xindi."?

    She did essentially the same thing to that Equinox officer to get information from him.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Give it a chance? Well, no. Here's why...
    By AntonyF ( ) at 17:27:27 on September 12 2003
    URL: http://www.b5tv.com | User Info
    After a thrilling season two finale, I was looking forward to the new season. What a disappointment. O Deus's review sums it up very well.

    I haven't read most replies to O Deus's review, but the two I have seen are the pathetic "I love Enterprise, you're bashing it blah blah" tired complaint, and someone saying: "Give it a chance".

    Well I say to guys like this: get real. Look at the viewing figures. They are at the same level as the end of season two — but without Smallville yet! When Smallville comes along, it may very well damage Enterprise further.

    No one has to be told the US TV system is crazy, and very very harsh. When Enterprise ratings plummet, the producers and writers can't say "Oh give us another chance," or "It will get better" or "It was good in places". Ratings are ratings. They producers to hit the ground running, throw everything they can into every episode, try to be bold and new and not waste a minute of screen time. If "The Xindi" is the best they can do to bolster ratings and then hold again Smallville, they might as well give up now.

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    Deus is back? Deus should go away and stay away!!!
    By gordon ( ) at 16:09:17 on September 12 2003
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    Get lost!!!

    Let's take a vote. Should Deus be voted off the TrekWeb site? I for one am tired of his dribble.

    I really enjoyed the season premiere. Enterprise will never be perfect, so instead of ripping it to pieces (like Deus does almost every fricken review), I enjoy what I can.

    I really got a kick out of Trip and his reactions to T'Pol. The aw shucks routine was great. Who cares if they sexed it up a bit? It was a lead in to something that made me laugh out loud.

    Deus. Do you have any fiends? Or, do you chase them all away by ripping them to pieces because they aren't perfect?

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    You guys are unbelievable.
    By cntrlphreek ( ) at 13:49:50 on September 12 2003
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    Give them a break...give them a chance...yes the first episode of the 3rd season wasnt great trek but it wasnt bad either.

    Try writing a script where new characters are added and a new story line is starting and cram it into an hour.

    If they had put in too much special effects everyone would be screaming they were using the SFX to hide a poor story line.

    If there was to little SFX you would be compaining there wasnt enough.

    And the fact is we will learn more about the Expanse as we move into it week to week but again they couldnt show it all in one hour.

    Yes Berman has not continued Star Trek as I would like to see it. But give them a chance.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    The mine "leader"
    By jkoolpe ( ) at 12:47:10 on September 12 2003
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    While I did enjoy the episode (but not as much as I had hoped), I have to say:

    Was it just me or did the mine "leader" sound and act a lot like Simon bar Sinister of the old Underdog cartoons?:)

    Jonathan

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    well
    By Merlinus Ambrosius ( ) at 21:32:34 on September 11 2003
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    When I first realized that the episode was going to be another "Captain Archer got captured" thing, I got a little worried. Than, as the episode, progressed, I realized something.
    Archer getting captured is like Vanilla Ice Cream. It tastes good the first time, but if you keep on eating it day after day, it gets old. But if you take that plain Vanillar Ice Cream and add some Chocolate syrup, sprinkles, whipped cream, ect, you get something better, even though the base is still the same. Archer getting captured is cliched, no doubt. But the execution of it in this episode was aboslutely awesome. And its culmination was jaw dropping. When the MACO guys rappeled in, I was floored. It was so freaking cool.
    And this brings me to my point. Star Trek episodes, in the past, have always been something where you would say "That was a good episode". Last night's episode added a new dimnesion to trek. A dimension of coolness. Last night's episode was just good. It was cool. And that is what is going to help save trek. If people can say "that was cool".

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    It's far too easy, and unfair, to rip "The Xindi'
    By Steve Krutzler ( s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 21:17:50 on September 11 2003
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    I liked "The Xindi." There. I said it. It didn't suck. Oops, did I say that out loud? Ok, allow me to explain.

    First of all I think it's very interesting how there are clearly two extremely divisive schools of reaction to this episode. I happen to be in the positive side. Here is why.

    Everyone is bitching about the common things. The capture. The alien mine. The rescue. The blah blah. But you know something? Many of these plot elements are stock tropes of storytelling. The good guys get caught in the villain's castle and have to escape. So I'm sick of riding ENTERPRISE's ass for doing what plenty of other shows--including all the STAR TREKs--have and continue to do every week. Were Trip and Archer briefly captured? Sure. Who cares? That's just the plot. Do people in real life ever find themselves in the same situation more than once? I rest my case.

    Here's what this season premiere did. For one, it made me want to tune in next week. What I have said for the last two years is finally happening--the show is DOING something. Do we all have our provincial ideas of what that THING should be and what villains they SHOULD be encountering? Yes, but I finally see a story that intrigues me and means more than the usual alien-of-the-week stories for at least the forseeable future.

    Next, although it is surprisingly easy to label "The Xindi" as meaningless, it's not. It's character drama. Yes, character drama is a laudable goal and I praised it when DS9 did it. I just watched "Broken Link" recently and that show is nothing but plot and character drama, and I'll defend to the death that it was and still is excellent STAR TREK. We all love the sort of sci-heavy stories TNG made popular, but sometimes good old character drama will suffice and what I see in "The Xindi" is the beginning of something I haven't seen in the first two seasons.

    Surprisingly, my favorite parts of the episode were not the plot-laden scenes of the Xindi Council or the Xindi captive or even the discovery of the destroyed Xindi homeworld. Amazingly, I liked the Trip/T'Pol (and to a lesser extent, everyone else's) characterizations the most. On the surface it seems really easy to bemoan "yet another" shameless "exploitive" scene, and there's no doubt that an excuse to show off their actors (in particular, Blalock) is always welcomed by the powers that be. But expecting to be totally embarrassed by the "massage" scene I practically knew by heart going in, I have to admit it worked for me.

    Why did it work? It's too easy to point to the obvious dialogue and the faux orgasm that T'Pol experiences and say "look, this is proof that Brannon et al are juvenile idiots." No, I don't buy that, I really don't. The point of that scene in my estimation was to obviously foster a future platonic, yet sexually-tense, relationship between the two characters. What on the surface seems like a not-so-subtle excuse to get T'Pol half-naked is actually a well-crafted interaction and probably the best interchange in the show.

    T'Pol's obvious flirtatiousness is the crux of the matter. When Trip begins backpeddling what he thinks are her sexual advances and then with expert comic timing says "no" when she confronts him, the true meaning of the scene has become clear. On the surface, T'Pol is throwing herself at Trip in what many have taken to be "a shameless exploitation scene." But there is much more going on here. I realized at that moment that the whole point wasn't to get T'Pol naked. Rather, it was to show that what we--and Trip, as our surrogate--took to be aggressive sexual advances were nothing of the sort.

    This is the beauty of the scene and it really goes a long way. After five minutes of dialogue crafted to make us think T'Pol is basically having an orgasm-like experience, the tables are turned and the very issue of perception is brought to light. T'Pol has no sexual interest in Trip. But Trip interpreted her frankness with regard to disrobing and sharing of the intimacy of the "Vulcan acupuncture" technique as he would have interpreted a human female's behavior. But the very point is that T'Pol, while a sexual being to Trip and to us, really is not. As a Vulcan, a person for whom sexual desire is a very small part of her daily life, it rings true that she would not think her behavior promiscuous.

    Although it's another stretch and I'll be roasted for it, this also explains the catsuits. So much attention is always paid to the press surrounding the "Vulcan babe" that we, the audience, see her as just that--a babe--more than we do a Vulcan. But the truth is, Vulcans are not ruled by their sexual passions like humans so why would a Vulcan not wear a potentially-form-fitting outfit? But I don't want to get into that. I like her new costumes, they look like real uniforms now, but I still think they could be a little looser, but my main concern here is this scene in "The Xindi" and I really think there's a lot more going on here than most detractors are willing to see.

    Some have also criticized the scene by saying it has nothing to do with helping cure Trip's insomnia, but what we are witnessing here is the birth of ENT's first really genuine relationship, one that is clear the writers intend to develop regularly at least for the next few months. When Trip realizes that T'Pol was not being sexual and that he mistook her actions, the bond is beginning to form between them in a way that no connection has really been forged between any two characters on the show to this point. Amidst all the chaos and political ramifications of "The Xindi," the most powerful scene was on board the Enterprise, in T'Pol's quarters. Trip's turn in this episode is a welcome change from the pure anger he felt at the end of last season; his dream of his sister's death was very powerful and I would have to say that Trip is quickly becoming the most in-depth and interesting character on the show.

    Archer was also improved here. Many have criticized him for being "whiney" or "vengeful," but I think exploring those aspects of his character in this post-9/11 world is very valid. Although Rick and Brannon claimed that they were mirroring ST4 more than 9/11, clearly the climate of our culture today is ringing throughout "The Xindi." Archer is willing to do almost anything to find the Xindi and none of us knows what that will be or when that time will come. Will the two sides realize the innocuous nature of the other and reach a compromise or will it be a bloodbath for one side?

    Which brings me to the Xindi themselves. This early execution seemed to be working on cross purposes. We are presented with the Xindi Council, a group of currently nameless characters with only a few lines of dialogue each. Much too little to begin to get any Dukat-esque feeling of dimension from, especially the Insectoids and Aquatics, whose animal noises are welcome respites from standard English but have a difficult time conveying the threat that the Insectoid ambassador/leader's closing ultimatum was meant to have. So in the end we got a little cartoonish. The make-up, aside from the thinly-veiled "X"-foreheaded Humanoid variety, is interesting and a nice change to at least make us feel that we're in a sci-fi universe and the potential is there--it's difficult at this point to make any judgment.

    But the cross purposes that I speak of have to do with the presentation of a threatening, exotic Xindi Council, and a whiney, soft-voiced Xindi-Humanoid in the Trellium mine. The actor was very familiar to me and I really can't think of a legitimate reason for him having to be a humanoid, let alone alive at all. When the mine foreman presented his finger as proof to Archer, I was expecting him to later deliver a dead Xindi corpse, have Archer get mad, and then reveal that Archer was being taken prisoner. Instead we got a soft-spoken, regular-guy Xindi who looks hardly exotic and who is so threatening that he got caught and enslaved in a Trellium D mine like any other poor sap. His only purpose was to deliver the coordinates of the Xindi homeworld, an act which further undermined the Xindi as a legitimate threat (what true patriot would reveal the location of your homeworld to a likely enemy even in the throes of death?), and could have been accomplished in infinitely more interesting ways. Why not have the Xindi be dead and an Insectoid and then have the coordinates come along later from some other method (like Hoshi perhaps having to translate an Insctoid's dying words?)

    This criticism is somewhat contradictory with my desire for the Xindi to be layered, round, and not "de facto evil." But this early in the game I felt showing a Joe Smoe Xindi guy really undermined them as villains. After all, the episode is assertively titled "THE Xindi." Watching the mine scenes I kept saying to myself, "this guy in THE Xindi? what a wimp." His role and speaking parts could easily have been eliminated in favor of some more Trip/Archer dialogue.

    The MACO characters didn't get much show here but I think there is definitely potential. Culp stole the scene in his brief interchange with Reed and other than their icky casino-ceiling costumes, I look forward to seeing how the MACOs shake things up on the ship. I'm also interested to see what goes catastrophically wrong to make sure that no such elite units are ever regularly on board future Starfleet vessels. The ending rescue was a little mundane and difficult to see who was shooting at who.

    All in all, "The Xindi" is a success for me. The character moments are what made the show and I think it's genuinely on the right track. I wish there could be some more originality in terms of plot devices and structure, but overall if ENT can focus on its characters and turn them into living, breathing people we have to see each and every week, that will be some kind of victory, even if we aren't getting award-winning sci-fi with every script. Simply put, the building blocks are here and this is the second and probably last shot they have to deliver on them.

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    ENT keeps boldly going nowhere
    By RichCD ( ) at 16:56:24 on September 11 2003
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    Poor Gene Roddenberry. Look what his child has become. A mindless shoot ‘em up where the most interesting character (Trip) is all about revenge, with gratuitous nudity meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator. And let’s face it, besides being cringe-worthy, the Trip/T’Pol scene wasn’t even true to itself. First, Trip doesn’t think anything sexual is going on until he is asked to undress - AFTER T’Pol has taken her shirt completely off and put it back on again. Huh? Then, the whole point was supposedly Trip getting over his nightmares, but the scene cuts away before we see Trip’s ‘treatment’ and we never see any resolution. Proof that this only existed to exploit poor Miss Blalock, who deserves much better.

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    Not to nitpick your fine review, but...
    By Maestro ( ) at 16:34:28 on September 11 2003
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    Quote:
    The military team have no particular function except to upstage Trip's red shirts with a display of efficiency and precision design

    Shouldn't that be "The military team have no particular function except to upstage Reed's red shirts with a display of efficiency and precision design" ?


    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Best part of the Trip/T'Pol scene:
    By who1 ( ) at 16:25:59 on September 11 2003
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    Connor Trinneer's acting for the awkward moments when Trip thinks T'Pol is propositioning him. Proof that this man has great comic timing and these talents are being squandered on absurd 'sexy' scenes and a rather unconvincingly written angry streak. Yes, the guy looks good without a shirt on and can portray anger, but the material putting these things on display is contrived and lacking in credibility.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Interesting
    By Xenoclone ( chris@xenoclone.com) at 14:22:47 on September 11 2003
    URL: http://www.xenoclone.com | User Info
    The first thing I thought when watching this was how similar it is to 'Broken Bow'. Arguably, this should have been the second episode of the series, not the 52nd. Still, I found it enjoyable. Though that T'Pol scene with her shirt off made me groan. (Just didn't seem logical, since her shirt was so loose anyway Trip could have easiliy lowered/raised it out of his way.)

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    Welcome back O. Deus
    By NAFF ( NATHANGSHARP@HOTMAIL.COM) at 12:13:48 on September 11 2003
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    Great to have you back, O. Deus, with another fair and balanced review.

    I found this a pretty average episode, but a watchable episode. It helped that I watched it on video and could cut out the (frequent) commercial breaks.

    The Trip/T'Pol scene was quite frankly out of place, cringe-worthy and went too far in terms of tit-ilation.

    I didn't think too much of the new Command Center either. Looked more like a Gateway store to me.

    There's just enough to keep me coming back next week though - the Macos (even with their bird-shit outfits), the cool Xindi Council, the mystery of the destroyed Home World, the great SFX, Drakula's acting... well, maybe not that last point!

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Some Good Insights
    By Beefies ( ) at 12:06:20 on September 11 2003
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    Please excuse if this is a double post, but I got an error message the first time and so tried again:

    I think Odie's review is a bit harsh but offers some good insights. The nearly perfect parallel with "Broken Bow" hadn't occurred to me, but neatly explains the sense of deja vu that nagged me the entire time I was watching.

    In sum, I'd call The Xindi a middle-of-the-road show that did nothing to change my wait-and-see attitude about Season Three. There were several things that pleased and disappointed me about the show, some of which other posters have noted.

    Pleased:

    The mine, though a carbon copy of Rura Penthe, was suitably alien and spooky. The actor playing the Foreman, sucking on his inhaler like Dennis Hopper in "Blue Velvet," enhanced my enjoyment of the entire episode by at least 50%. I liked it when he banged a pipe to summon his lackeys, liked the 1940-style microphone he used to ring up Enterprise, but was disappointed to see him subsequently using a touch-screen computer monitor like everyone else in the 22nd century.

    Liked the plasma vent escape attempt and was genuinely surprised it didn't work. It occurred to me while watching that scene how far special effects have come the past few years. I thought it looked good, especially the plasma roaring up the tube and shooting past. Not even TNG could have afforded a scene like that.

    Generally liked the MACO troops and their handling. As Deus said, why doesn't every future starship have a SWAT team like this? I was puzzled by the scene in which Hoshi introduces herself to the team apparently for the first time; haven't they all been together on a small ship for a couple of months now? I liked that the troops were allowed some humanity--getting space sick, hailing from Minnesota--and weren't immediately cast as the tight-ass gung-ho bad guys. I think it'll be important for us to *like* these guys despite the tension the writers obviously intend to build.

    The mystery of the destroyed planet. I'm willing to see where that takes us. Was it really the Xindi homeworld? Did Earth somehow destroy it in the past from the future? And if so, doesn't that make us the bad guys?

    Disappointed:

    The Xindi Council in general. Though I appreciate the attempt to bring some alienness to Trek aliens (esp. re: the Aquatic Xindi), the whole council had too much "Legion of Doom" feel for my taste. One could easily picture Lex Luthor in the corner plotting with Brainiac. Does anyone think villains really spend all day sitting around a conference table spouting darkly mysterious exposition? None of the Xindi showed much personality or promise as a compelling villain in the way that Q, Dukat, or Seska (or, hell, even Harry Mudd) did. And the council didn't really *do* anything. As a poster said below, "I felt more threatened by Baltar and the Cylons." Exactly.

    Back Massage. While I don't understand many Trek fans' puritan streaks (Star Trek has always featured beautiful women and sex, it's part of the formula), I get uneasy seeing T'Pol exhibit Vulcan skills we've never seen in 37 previous years. I don't like seeing a Vulcan lie. And, while I appreciated the glimpse of booby, I think her modesty was played completely wrong. I think a Vulcan would either logically conclude that there is no shame in nudity and disrobe without hesitation or, more likely, be so dignified that she would never consider disrobing in front of a human. But apparently T'Pol just gets more human all the time.

    The Expanse: What's the point? It looks like regular space. Except for a few boxes in the hold, it acts like regular space. The only reason I can see for putting the Enterprise into an "expanse" at all is to cut off communication with Starfleet, but distance alone could have done that in the regular old galaxy. I guess we'll get to see people going crazy and turning inside out later--completely wasting an interesting opportunity to explore what it might *really* be like if the laws of physics changed--but so far I'm underwhelmed.

    Summing up: I've enjoyed watching Enterprise with my family, particularly since this is the first Trek my kids are old enough to appreciate. They're big fans. However, the unanimous review of "The Xindi" by the three non-Trekkies in my home was, "Eh. It was okay." As my wife said after watching next week's preview, "I hope we're not going to spend all year watching Archer say, 'tell me what I want or I'll kill you.'" I thought that was a telling criticism.

    I was also reminded of recent comments by both Shatner and Nimoy that Star Trek has lost its way; that its current producers have lost sight of what made Trek great. Star Trek was seldom straight-ahead shoot-em-up space opera. The best Star Trek was about society, our ethics, our prejudices, our dilemmas. It was about us. And when I ask myself what "The Xindi" had to say about us, I can only answer, "Not a damn thing."

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    It’s True, They Didn’t Change Much
    By Brian Langlois ( ) at 11:35:51 on September 11 2003
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    But, I Liked it! As someone who's stood by Enterprise through thick and thin, I was really afraid they were going to extremeley overhaul and ruin the show. I was pleasantly surprised last night because it still FELT like the same show. I know some of you won't like that, but those of us who have always liked the show breathed a collective sigh of relief. I also think it was one of the best episodes to date and can't wait to see more of the slick looking Xindi. Oh, and I, for one, am glad they only tweaked the theme song instead of an outright change (another unpopular opinion, I'm sure). It is good to see that Enterprise is still the same show I've come to love.

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    I Enjoyed the Show
    By Edzo ( lordedzo@hotmail.com) at 11:34:47 on September 11 2003
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    I enjoyed "The Xindi" overall, mostly because it was a season premiere. They always tend to generate more attention after a summer of "withdrawal."

    The new visual effects of Enterprise herself were beautiful, as were those of the mining operation's exterior. I liked the new "command center" on Enterprise, and the interiors of the mining operation were appropriately claustrophobic and dim.

    T'Pol's red and blue outfits are sweet, but it's kind of strange seeing a Vulcan wearing United Colors of Benetton. Did you notice that Michael Westmore is now making up Jolene Blalock with standard Vulcan "upswept" eyebrows? Look again. They're not the Kirstie Alley style that T'Pol's been wearing for the past two years.

    But the whole "boob-showing, back rubbing" affair was just a screaming plea for attention. This is the lowest they've sunk. Hard to believe it's come to this. Blalock is seriously blazin', that's for sure, but they're playing her character for sex appeal. Vulcan's aren't supposed to have sex appeal. Can you imagine if they'd had Spock or Tuvok running around shirtless and in hot pants? Eeeeek …

    Didn't Stephen McHattie's mining foreman character remind you of a really weird alien straight out of "Farscape"? Nice going with his costume and makeup. This is the kind of "weird" we should be seeing more of.

    Liked the Xindi council. They really pulled out all the stops on the visual effects. Nice job.

    The cargo bay weirdness was cool, picking up on the idea that in the Delphic Expanse, sometimes the laws of physics don't apply.

    It's also a good excuse for T'Pol to begin "exploring her emotions," as B&B have promised. At least, I hope it won't be a "conscious" choice on her part. The strange effects of the expanse should be the catalyst.

    The MACO troops were cool … awesome sharpshooters. But I'd like them to work with Reed. He should be at the forefront of the action, not bringing up the rear like some general.

    Again, nice premiere. I just wish everyone could sit back and enjoy the hour without mercilessly picking it apart. It was entertaining, and it's the best we're gonna get from B&B. It's too bad, but that's the truth. I'm just going to try to enjoy what they give me.

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    My God! I agree but you're too kind
    By sid ( ) at 10:49:58 on September 11 2003
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    I agree with everything you said, but think you let the writers off too easy on the Xindi scenes. It would have added depth to get more insight to those involved by starting with one council member revealing privately his view of the Earth business and his view of the other council members and then follow him into the meeting and seeing it through his eyes. Maybe my idea is not quite right but I feel the Xindi scenes could have been better scripted; Trek should always let us know the enemy better (and not 5 episodes down the line on a shallow basis).

    I think this episode was a throwback to the worst of the prior seasons. The added action and 'sex' took away from the dramatic development.

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    I couldn't agree more.
    By Ensign Ro-Your-Boat ( ) at 10:38:06 on September 11 2003
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    The Xindi was a waste of my time. I had decided to go ahead and give ENT another chance, but I was completely dissapointed last night.

    What a bore.

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    Frankly, it was somewhat disappointing.
    By timmer33 ( ) at 10:19:23 on September 11 2003
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    Well, here are my thoughts on the episode.

    - It seemed to not be much different from the previous 2 seasons. Same old stuff. Archer held prisoner. A cave set. Yawn.

    - The stuff flying around the cargo bay was simply stupid. If this expanse is so different, that's fine. But what would cause the cargo to fly around? How is it a spacial anomaly can travel around WITH A STARSHIP IN WARP and stay in the cargo bay? Bah. They better explain this later.

    - What was so bad about the expanse that drove the Klingons crazy? When will we see this?

    - The new warp streak is nice. It was similar to TOS movies.

    - T'Pol's new uniform rocked. Let's face it, she is totally hot.

    - The stuff between T'Pol and Trip was just a distraction. I like the character development with Trip, but the dream was enough. They should have stopped there. We all know why the massage was put in, but it was a distraction.

    - THe mains story reeked of earlier efforts. Nothing new here.

    - The Xindi-humanoids were just a "forehead of the week!" How stupid is that? All that effort and buildup of a threatening species, and they're just a FOTW? Dumb, plain dumb.

    - The black Xindi was an actor often used in Trek. This was a mistake. He was too recognizable. If you want to use the actor again, great, but as a Xindi? It too was distracting.

    - The MACO people are interesting. However the scene where they appear out of nowhere on wires was silly.

    - Why would the MACO people jump up at dinner saying they had a briefing and dump their full plates of food? That was bad directing/producing, folks.

    - Once again, the writing is terrible. There was nothing good here, really. In fact, dare I say this episode was boring? It was not a good start to the season.

    - Archer was a little more edgy, which was nice. He actually won a fight for change. I hope he uses one of his Quantum Leap spinning crescent kicks. If you watched that show, you know what I mean.

    - The opening theme was still brutal. Nothing can help or minimize that 2 minute torturous sequence.

    - HOW CAN THEY SPEND ALL THIS TIME REVAMPING THE SERIES AND END UP WITH A BORING BEEN-THERE-DONE-THAT EPISODE? It makes little sense to me.

    - I gave this ep a 3/10 on the poll. I was shocked to see the overwhelming response was 10/10. WTF? What is wrong with you people? How can you say that was a 10/10?

    - Watching that episode, I realized that no retooling can help this series. The only help possible is writers who care about characterization and developing characters who we care about. This episode didn't compare to any TNG episode. Even last season there were a number of better eps (Carbon Creek, Regeneration, First Flight).

    - Trek is in trouble, people. And trust me, it hurts to say that. Personally, this could be the last season guys. Enjoy it (if you can) before it ends. I'll probably keep watching, but it's like watching a train wreck.

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    Kept my attention, but...
    By bretw ( ) at 09:46:04 on September 11 2003
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    Yeah, I watched the whole show. I even stayed on UPN to watch "Jake 2.0" which I enjoyed. Will I stay tuned once "Smallville" & "Angel" hit the air? Mmmmm... There are big problems that I saw in the premiere. The remixed lead song sucks even more than before, if possible. If the big brass can't see even that much, what hope does the show have? The Xindi council were nothing menacing, just a bunch of bickering politicians. This is the great threat? I felt more threatened by Baltar & the Cylons. Archer's new attitude was more pissy than commanding, and the less said about the b-story Vulcan back rub, the better. What a waste of talent and story. And the decision to show a female red-shirt whup alien butt in an extended fight sequence was ludicrous. Wasted time again.

    I felt that they just spent so much time revealing things. Why show the audience the five distinct Xindi species, and then spend the whole show making sure Capt. Archer finds that out? It's no big surprise to the audience, since we saw it at the first.

    Well, enough. I enjoyed the show, but don't believe it's going to save the series, or keep me from switching channels on Wednesday nights.

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    The season opener revealed the whole story of the Xindi arc.
    By 8man2k ( ) at 09:32:59 on September 11 2003
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    As soon as it was discovered that the Xindi homeworld had been destroyed 120 years before the Enterprise showed up...the whole final outcome and overall story behind the Xindi arc became clear to me....tell me if you agree...

    The Xindi homeworld was destroyed 400 years in the future, yet it was destroyed 120 years before Enterprise found the homeworld. How is that possible?

    Easy enough....400 years from the time of Enterprise...people travel back in time(120 years before Ent) and destroy the Xindi Homeworld. The Xindi, upon destruction and discovery of the origins of the person who destroys their homeworld, decide their only recourse is to attempt to destroy the humans now before they are able in the future to go back in time and destroy their homeworld. The person who does that is the mysterious person from the future that is controlling the Suliban; he is also manipulating Archer and the Enterprise.

    The final piece of the story arc will be Archer discovering that he is being manipulated and he will make a vain attempt to try to stop the destruction of the Xindi homeworld (I see some classic Voyager time travel episodes here).

    What do you guys think?

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    • scary by Greenspan @ 12:42:03 ET on 11 Sep
    I agree with Deus analysis but reach a different result
    By Akita1999 ( ) at 08:34:55 on September 11 2003
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    I think Deus is right. The episode was a recycled "Broken Bow." I disagree with Deus's conclusion, however, that the episode wasn't enjoyable because it was predictable. The episode held my attention pretty well because there were enough new bits intertwined with the old rehashed bits. Extending Deus's analysis though, it would have been cool had the episode started with the Xindi council and then Enterprise finding the destroyed planet.

    The T'Pol geisha routine wasn't great. I fancy Blalock. She's not my favorite good-looking babe on TV, but I think she's attractive. At my age, however, I need a little more to hold my interest in the episode than an obscured glimpse of T'Pol naked chest from the side.

    With all that said, I thought the episode was entertaining. The production value were first-rate, which is frustrating because Enterprise would be a great TV-viewing experience if the writing came close to the production values in terms of quality.

    I think this episode shows some promise. But Deus is right -- B&B better get to some fresh story telling quickly or the show is doomed.

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    The Xindi
    By Cyrus ( ) at 07:58:58 on September 11 2003
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    This episode rocked. It was the best ENT episode since early first season. For the first time in a long while I wanted to rewatch an ENT episode (good thing I taped it).

    I wish I had the confidence that they could pull off this story arc, but at least they are off to a great start.

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