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February 20, 2003

Future Tense: Review
By Nick Sterling
Special thanks to Paul Pytlik for the screencaps!

Click on the thumbnails on the right for the larger image.

The Story:

The story starts off when Enterprise discovers a severely damaged vessel of unknown origin. Archer has the ship taken aboard to see what the ship is all about. When he opens the ship up, Archer finds a dead human inside the craft. Astonished that a human would be so far from Earth, Archer automatically thinks it’s Zephram Cochrane. Phlox examines the pilot and discovers he’s a mix of Human, Vulcan, Rigellian, and other assorted species.

Trip and Reed are assigned the task of investigating the small craft for any evidence of how this human traveled so far, and how this technology works. The craft had no visible Engines or identifying marks. After scavenging around, they discover a biological residue in a bulkhead on the floor. The removal of the bulkhead reveals a passageway beneath the ship. The passageway leads to other rooms, which shouldn’t physically be there. After detecting a small energy signature, they discover a small device of some kind and they remove it from the craft.

As Trip and Reed are leaving the craft, a small Suliban ship appears and demands that Archer hand over the craft immediately. As you would expect, Archer declines the offer and a small battle ensues. While the battle is going on, the Suliban beam a few soldiers onto Enterprise and they attempt to take the craft by force. After Reed drives them out, the Suliban ship escapes. After leaving the region to avoid more Suliban ships, Enterprise also encounters the Tholians. They too want the craft and grab onto Enterprise to take it. Only after Archer threatens to destroy the craft do the Tholians decide to leave.

Realizing this ship is more important than he originally thought, Archer contacts the Vulcans and arranged a rendezvous with one of their ships. Desperate for answers, Archer and T’Pol venture into Daniels quarters and finds his library device. They discover the ship is from the 31st century.

Archer is quickly recalled to the Bridge due to a small armada of Suliban attack ships coming into range. Travis pushes the ship to maximum warp and they discover the Vulcan ship has been severely damaged. Tholian ships also appear and disable Enterprise with an unknown energy weapon. Desperate to capture the craft, the Tholians attack the Suliban! The resulting battle destroys the entire Suliban fleet and they set their sites on Enterprise. The conflict is only ended when Trip activates the strange device taken from the craft and all evidence it was ever there disappears. All of it, the craft, the human, the device… everything. The Tholians, having nothing to gain at this point, warp out.

The Reaction:

Wow, Enterprise is on a roll. This is really the first episode of Enterprise that wasn’t a rehash of VOY/TNG/TOS. The story itself left you hanging as you tried to figure out where all the pieces fit in. You had the mysterious ship, the Suliban, the Tholians, and the “Black Box”. I liked the continuity between this episode and Shockwave part 2. Both episodes had the “extra space where it shouldn’t be” parts. Another huge plus is that they didn’t explain with a long string of technobable how it worked. I can only take technobable in small portions before my head explodes.

Another aspect of the story I liked was that everything was left hanging in the end. We don’t know why the mysterious ship was there in the first place. We don’t know why the Tholians were involved. We don’t know what was so important about the ship to have two races competing for it. I originally hated the idea of a Temporal Cold War arc, but I’m really warming up to the idea, especially after the high quality of the past few TCW stories.

The Good:
- No reset button!
- The TOS reference of Zephram Cochrane leaving Earth was great. Another nod to TOS.
- Scott Bakula: The quality of his portrayal of Archer is really improving. It no longer sounds like I’m listening to Keanu Reeves speek.
- The concept of time repeating due to the temporal radiation. It’s been done before, but it was done very well here.

The Very Good:
- The Music! It’s great to actually listen to a score that wasn’t taken from Voyager!
- The Special Effects: The special effects were spectacular! Even for Enterprise’s standards.
- Finally the Vulcan’s are not all powerful!

The So-So:
- The Tholians- What was the point? It does add the aspect that many different races are involved in the Temporal Cold War, but it really didn’t add to the plot except to add another bad guy. Hopefully it will be expanded on in the future.

The Bad:
- Daniel’s Bazaar: I was really hoping they wouldn’t use Daniel’s quarters in this episode, but alas, they did.

Overall, a really enjoyable episode.


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