73: Countdown – Star Trek Enterprise Season 3, Episode 23

Matt and Sean talk about getting to the bomb before the bomb gets to you. Star Trek Enterprise continues its way to the exciting season conclusion. 

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Hey everybody. In today’s episode of Trek in Time, we’re gonna be talking about being on the edge of Civil War again and again, that sounds so strangely familiar. Mm. Anyway, we’re talking about enterprise Season three, episode 23, countdown. Welcome to Trek and. As you should know if you’ve been listening to us regularly, we’re watching every episode of Star Trek in chronological order.

We’re also talking about what the world was like at the time of the original broadcast. We are right now at the, almost at the edge of season three of enterprise, which means we’re talking about 2004 at the same time as talking about the show, and it’s remarkable. Matt, we are almost done. With Enterprise, I mean, I’m say almost done.

We still have half a year’s worth of one season podcast to record, but , when we started this endeavor, it seemed like, well, How’s this gonna go? We’ll never get past this. What’s gonna, what’s, how are we gonna get, how are we gonna do this? And it’s, I have to say, I’m loving doing this. This is, it’s really, it’s a lot of fun.

It’s a lot of fun. And I hope the listeners are enjoying it as well. If you are, weigh in, then the comments jump down there and let us know if you’re having a good time along with us. We hope you are. As I mentioned, we’re talking about all this, but I didn’t mention who we are. Matt, who are we? I don’t know.

Well, I’m Sean Farrell. I know that much. That’s right. I’m a writer. I write some sci-fi. I write some stuff for kids, and Matt is the guru and inquisitor behind the YouTube channel, undecided with Matt Farrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. So between the two of us, we try to cover all the bases, the storytelling, the science.

In other words, star Trek. So Matt, how are you doing?

I’m doing pretty well. How’s your weekend?

It’s been exhausting. It’s been a lot of travel this weekend for me. Yeah. As I’ve been dragging my son around trying to show him, look at this college, look at that college. How do you think, what do you think about that college?

Huh? ? It’s actually been fun seeing some of these places, so it, that’s not, uh, it’s not all bad, but it is tiring. A nice rest bit for me was settling down with a hot cup of coffee and watching this episode of Star Trek Enterprise. As I mentioned, it’s episode 23 of season three. It is countdown. Before we get into that though, Matt likes to share some thoughts on our previous episodes where viewers weigh in on the fun and foibles of the Ferrell Brothers.

That’s right. All right. Matt shows some fun fo.

The first comment I’ve got is from Robotrav, longtime viewer, commenter supporter, all the above on episode 71, which was e, e squared. Uh, he wrote, I have three comments about this episode, and Trav, I have to call you out on this because all of your comments have nothing to do with our episode or the show,

Anyway, , he wrote, I have three comments about this episode. Man, the empty suit was nothing short of brilliant and beautifully hauntingly written. Oh, well thank you. With you. That’s that kind of. It’s my favorite book that Sean’s written, just saying, number two, Matt’s factory house building tour video was really super cool.

Like I said, has nothing to do with Star Trek. Trek in Time, right? It’s

from Matt’s other channel, but that’s great. It’s

my other channel, but thank you Travis. And then number three, shout out to Pego 69 and High to all the other TNT fans out there, . And it’s like that he was calling up Pale Ghost, who we also comment on a lot.

Mm-hmm. . And here’s a comment from Pale Ghost on that same episode. He wrote, I think this episode was my favorite out of all the enterprise. I know it has a few rough edges, but I love that they were able to explore the evolution of the ship and it’s crew. It’s something I really wanted from the Voyager episode where they have time fractures across the ship.

It was called Shattered. And then something funny about DePaul conversation for me, Jolene Blalock made me realize how bad Blo was when talking to a character that isn’t actually there. She did such a good job representing two different characters that my brain didn’t even register. She was having two conversations alone.

Yeah, she’s like so underrated

for me. Yeah, she, which leads me to, she really is.

Which leads me to Jason Dumbs comment, and I hope that’s not your real last name, Jason, cuz I’d be very unfortunate. But , he wrote great conversation. Totally agree. Regarding Jo Blalock, criminally underrated made me think how the style of acting seems different than all the all but recent star Trek shows earlier.

Trek employed more stage actor type performances, and enterprise enterprise seems much more like typical modern cinema performances. Yeah, I agree. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. More nuanced. Yeah. And one last comment to round out the whole comment section. This one kind of caught my. From Drew. Lovely. I caught up.

Looks like I’m going to have to enlist. I’m happy to support y’all, but I didn’t think it would be so. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to YouTube break down these episodes. I have seen all of Star Trek, but you both bring different perspectives that shine a new light on each episode. Thank you. And I am looking forward to more.

And I wanna thank Drew cuz he did sign up. He is a, a supporter. And just to call out, if you wanna support the show, go to Trek in Time dot show and you can hit the enlist button to become an. And you will get access to our members only show out of time where we try to do one at least once a month, where we talk about other pop culture shows, we talk about Star Wars, star Trek, lower decks.

We talk about all these different kinds of things that we’re watching in our Catching our Eye.

Yeah, we’ve talked about some things like some horror movies. Recently we’ve talked about some TV shows that are more of a sword and sorcery thing, like the Recent Lord of the Rings a series on Amazon, so we try.

It tries to be more across the board just what’s going on with our viewing. So we hope you’ll join us there. And thank you Drew for joining up and glad you caught up. I didn’t think that, uh, it’s one of the things about this show is we’ve had other people weigh in the comments saying like, just found this.

We’re really hoping that if people find this, that they’ll jump as far back as they want to go and you can really just kind of. Jump in and out even if you’re not interested in watching every episode of Enterprise. You don’t have to, but we did. And now you can jump back and listen to the episodes in which we talk about them.

So we hope you’ll share that. Not only keep that in mind for yourself, but share that with your friends as well. So in the background, you’ll hear the read alert. That’s the loud clock song that you’re hearing in the background, and that always means that it’s time for Matt to jump into the Wikipedia description.

Matt, take it.

Oh, this looks like a long one. Countdown is the 23rd episode of the third season of the American Science Fiction Television series, star Trek Enterprise, and is the 76th overall episode. It first aired on May 19th, 2004, on the UPN Network within the United States. Okay. We already established that with the American Science Fiction Television series, but okay.

Set. In the 22nd Century, the series follows the Adventures of the First Star Fleet, Starship Enterprise Registration. NX oh one, season three of Enterprise features an ongoing storyline that follows an attack on earth by aliens called the Xindi, A group of aliens that did not appear in preceding series.

Mm-hmm. , why was that important? Yes. In this. Captain Jonathan Archer. Scott Bula convinces the Xindi aquatics to aid him in his fight against the Z Xindi Reptilians and Insectoid Alliance to prevent earth’s destruction by their super weapon. The weapon departs for earth with Archer in pursuit on board a Xindi vessel in the midst of a battle between the two Xindi factions and away team is sent to Rescue Ensign Hoshi Sato.

Linda Park, previously captured by the Reptilians A data core. In order to get more information on the sphere builders. Was there part of a sentence

missing there? Sean , that is the Wikipedia description as it appeared

because, uh, it feels like there’s a half a sentence missing.

bonus, bonus fragment sentence there.

Yes. So it’s, Wikipedia’s descriptions are fun and wild. It’s, yeah, it’s like the wild west of encyclopedias and I particularly enjoy. The inclusion of the tag as you raised an eyebrow, as you said this, an attack on the earth by a aliens called the Xindi, a group of aliens that did not appear in preceding series.

I loved that. Yeah, , it’s an important piece of information. His first officer, it was the character to Paul who we didn’t know before.

Thanks. Not necessary, but thank you. So, as Matt just shared some of the details around this episode, it’s season number three. It’s episode 23. It’s directed by Robert Duncan McNeil. That’s right. Tom Paris from Voyager. This is his third turn directing an episode of Enterprise the second of this season.

The episode is written by Bormans and Chris Black. This is the first time that these two veterans of the show will work together, and the original air date May 19th, 2004. Guest appearances included Scott McDonald, reprising Commander Doum, the lead Reptilian Xindi, Rick Worthy Jamar, who plays the lead, arboreal Xindi, Scott McDonald.

I already mentioned Scott McDonald. Excuse. Tucker Smallwood, the Xindi primate counselor now that DRE is, has been murdered. This Tucker Smallwood’s. Character takes the lead contact with humans. And it was only during this putting together these notes that I realized mm-hmm. . And I think that’s a shame because I think Tucker Smallwood does a really good job with his character.

He really demonstrates where De was the reluctant designer of a death machine, thought he had good reason for it. And we talked last week about villains standing out the best when they think they’re right. And one thing we didn’t really weigh in on was that Dre is that kind of villain. He’s beautifully rendered in the series as he’s building this terrible thing to destroy an entire planet, but he thinks he has very, very good reasons.

Yep. And by the time he is murdered, he’s turned the corner and he’s realized I need to do everything I can to stop this. Yep. That mantle is now taken up by Tucker Smallwood’s character. I think that the writing around his character is also very interesting because he’s very measured. He’s more, he’s not the science specific.

He’s a politician. He’s more of a politician and he’s, and he is approaching things with a pragmatism and really trying to guide Archer and, and hold a lot of the ropes that DRA was able to pull because of his expertise. He does it because he’s kind of the glue behind Degra, but now he has to take center stage.

Some of the other characters who appear in this one include the sphere builder woman played again by Joette DeCarlo, Bruce Thomas playing a reptilian soldier, Andrew Borba playing the reptilian lieutenant. Mary Mara playing another version of a sphere builder, Ruth Williamson. The third version, Stephen Cult, is back in this episode.

He was gone for a period of time to a point where I actually thought perhaps his character had died off screen. Yeah, the attacks. He disappeared for a good number of episodes, but he is back again in this episode for a rather moving storyline. As Major Hayes and Paul Dean playing a reptilian technician.

The episode’s air date was May 19th. And Matt, I’m sure you’re wondering, what were you singing along to at karaoke the week that this episode aired? Well, Matt, you were singing once again, this Love by Maroon five. I couldn’t stop. You couldn’t stop, and you still won’t. And I’m asking you now for all of us in the family to do.

Okay, . I’ll try At the movies. What were people lining up to see? Well, they were watching a little movie called Troy, which earned 46 million at the box office. It’s a little movie, which, and let’s see if you can, you can figure out the theme here. Matt, what do Brad Pitt. Orlando Bloom, Eric Banya, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Brendan Gleason, Diane Kruger, Peter O.

Till and Rose Burn have in common. If you said they’re all depicting Greeks, you’d be right. , as ridiculous as that sounds, they were all playing Greeks in the movie. Troy, a movie set in the year 1250 BC during the Bronze Age as. Greek civilizations went to war. If you’re interested in seeing a bunch of blonde people run around on the Greek islands, you can catch it streaming on HBO and on television.

What were people watching? Well, once again, they were not watching Star Trek, enterprise Star, Trek Enterprise held its audience, as usually has been with 3.5 million viewers. However, overall, not a great uh, showing. Given the competition, my wife and kids was doing better at around 8 million viewers, 9 million viewers tuned in for 60 minutes too.

That 70 show was getting 10 million viewers. Friends had ended in earlier May, but there was a repeat of a retrospective show. And the repeat beat it. Friends, and a hour long repeat of a retrospective was enough to beat out Enterprise with 6 million viewers and on WB Smallville was getting almost 7 million.

And Angel, which was ending would be getting in the follow up to Smallville, would be getting about 5 million viewers. Strange little write up about the end of Angel. In my research on the news of the day, it was described as the last episode of the hit TV show. Angel aired on this day and I couldn’t help but think, why are you calling it hit TV show when it’s ending after only a handful of seasons?

It basically lasted about as long as enterprise debt. It lasted around four. Yeah, it was not a hit. Yeah. But I also wanted to weigh in with this bit of information. Last week we talked about the change in television format, the prestige view on demand era that we’re in right now being very different from what was then and the the need to really build audiences.

And there was success from networks to build, not only with a lead in show. Benefiting the show that would come after it. But the show that would come after would often build the audience of the lead in show. So like on Phlox, American Idol was airing at nine o’clock. It got 22 million viewers. A good number of those viewers are probably tuning in earlier.

That’s why that seventies show was running back to back episodes with the second episode of that seventies show at eight 30, getting 3 million more viewers than the eight o’clock episode. So you have that, that ability to, with a really strong later program to actually build the audience of the earlier program, which may explain why UPNs star, Trek enterprise continue to struggle.

When their nine o’clock show was a little program called, I’m Still Alive, . I was sucked into an engine, but I’m still alive. , that was the, that was the synopsis of the show. That’s hard. I was sucked into an engine, but I’m, I’m still alive. It had viewership of about 2 million viewers. So Enterprise wasn’t getting a lot of help before or after, which explains the low numbers.

And other than that guy who got sucked into that engine still being alive, what other news stories. Bubbling about at this time, Matt? Well, in Massachusetts, the first fully legal same sex marriage license in the United States was approved on November 18th, 2000, 2003, and it would stand up. Now at this point, a year later, almost a year later, as being considered valid nationally.

The last episode of the TV show, angel aired in this month, and you’ll all remember that we’ve been talking in previous episodes about the Agra scandal, the abuse of prisoners in Iraq, at the hands of US military at this. In the month of May, 2004, the Denver Post had uncovered Pentagon documents that showed that there were more than twice as many allegations of abuse as were being investigated by the military.

That had previously been known. 27 of the abuse cases involved deaths at least eight were believed to be homicides so dark. Days in Iraq, dark news coming out of Iraq, and a very difficult period of time for yeah, US responsibility and attempts to investigate, but also hide culpability. So this episode of enterprise.

As we no doubt, remember we’re in the midst of episodes. That one leads directly into the next. So I wanted to give us a quick rundown of the plot for this one. This is like the synopsis that Matt read earlier. This is basically from Wikipedia, but I just wanted to give us all the big picture plot points very quickly so that we can dip into those areas that we wanted to look at more focused.

So this. Starts with the, the super weapon has been stolen. The Xindi need three of their species to put codes in to launch the weapon to fully arm it. The reptilians and the insects have formed an alliance where they have agreed that they’re gonna steal this weapon, but they do not have a third. So they have kidnapped Ensen, Hoshi Soto.

So, Inject her with parasites. This is a little reminiscent of from star Trek to the parasites that are put into the ears of the captain of the Reliant and his first officer who is check off and the parasites take them over. They do something similar here to. Hoshi so that she will be more compliant and work with the Reptilians in Xindi to try to crack the computer codes to allow for the faking of a.

Input. Meanwhile, there is the attempts by Captain Archer to persuade the aquatics to join the other two species in standing up to the reptilians. Basically, the aquatics have armaments that would put them on equal standing with. Reptilians and the insectoid, because the humanoids and the arboreal are both under armed compared to the reptilians and the, and the insectoid.

This will lead to the pursuit, the battle, the attempts to stop everything that is so special effect, heavy and so impressive on its battle scale. This episode actually won an Emmy, so yeah, it’s the little movie. Yeah. So as the battle between the Xindi fleet and the enterprise begins, We see Major Hayes again, as we mentioned just a few minutes ago, the lead officer of the Makos, the military aspect of this mission is back and we see a conversation between Major Hayes and Malcolm Reeds, the Chiefs of security.

The two of them have a conversation around what’s going to take place, and there’s been some tension between the two of them, which Reid interprets as blame for the death. Of one of the Makos while under Reed’s command. It becomes evident though that it’s not about blame. It is Major Hayes is really has such a commitment to the safety of his team that he can’t help feel like he needed to be there in order to keep that that officer alive.

And here we have a sequence between Reed and Hayes where Hay. Asks for permission to speak freely, and you think it’s gonna turn into something combative like we’ve seen previously, but instead, it is effectively him saying, we no longer think of ourselves as visitors on this ship. We’ve been here long enough that this is home for us and Soto’s disappearance and the need to rescue her is as critical to us as it is to you.

So he really is without demanding it. Asking Reid for permission to make it his mission, and it’s a very nice conversation between the two of them as they, as they go back and forth. While all of this is happening, the sphere builders are having one of their big picture conversations, which is in the non-time future, wherever they are, where it’s lots of white light and various, what looks like various versions of the same person.

Conversing with themselves about how the threads of time are working or not working for them. And the sphere builders are at a critical point where they express reluctance to have stepped in previously, which I couldn’t figure out what that meant. No, but they now have to make a more forceful. Push directly.

So they become involved in the fleet attack by creating a major disturbance from the spheres that leads to anomalies that will actually destroy vessels. It is the first time that we are seeing. The power of the spheres being used in this way as almost a weapon, and by delaying the ability of the alliance of the aquatics, the humanoids, the enterprise, and the arres to actually catch the weapon, Dolan is able to get the weapon.

Activated and away before they can be stopped. It’s at this point, we see the beginning of the schism between the Insectoid and the Reptilians because the insectoid, I always like it when Enterprise manages to surprise me in the form of the Insectoid, who we’ve only seen them competitively as little tiny babies.

We’ve seen the baby and Insectoid who just kind of crawl around and have the ability to reverse. Im. Other species to help protect them. But here we see an insectoid in conversation with Dolan. It’s the first time that we actually see subtitling for the insects where they say, you know, I don’t know that you’re actually telling us the truth, because if the sphere builders did all of this, what are we, why are we doubting that the sphere builders were involved with changing space?

Dollum is basically brushes the dust off his shoulders, blows up the insectoid ship and takes off with the weapon, and we are left with Archer and the crew now using DE’s vessel, which is faster than the enterprise to try to catch up. So Archer is going to be taking a very injured ho uh, hoshi and trying to catch up with the super weapon to see if they can’t stop it.

The reason I wanted to do a quick synopsis of the whole thing, Is because it feels like this conversation has the potential to bounce around between a lot of different plot elements, because it’s a very tightly packed story. So I wanted to get that big picture out of the way so that we can jump into an out of various plot points.

Mm-hmm. , big picture, Matt, did this one match the previous episodes for you? Was it on par with them or were there any points in this which felt like they dipped a. Or maybe jumped up a bit in comparison to what we’ve been watching in the past few weeks. I would say

for me it was on par and in some cases better for me.

It really came around. There was like my favorite parts of Star Trek are is the character development. It’s the seeing how the characters evolve, how they relate to each other, getting glimpses of how they think and what their motivations are. And for me, hoshi one of the most. Glossed over characters in the series, like she had so much potential and they didn’t do anything with her.

She had some short scenes, I’m talking short like scenes that were like, whoa, dropping a huge bomb of like what kind of character she is. She tries to kill herself. Yeah. To prevent them from. Uh, getting control of the weapon. And it’s like in the beginning of the series, she was this character that was terrified of everything.

Yeah. Did not wanna go in a get into a suit to go another ship. She was just terrified of everything. And this is like, she doesn’t bat an eye, she like, Breaks free runs for it, sees she can’t get out, gets up on the railing, is about to leap to her death. And it was like, just this on the spot, just like trying to make this call of I gotta stop them at any cost.

Yeah. And then the thing where she, they, they’re during that whole moment where she’s, she’s fanning. Like she’s faking, like I’m completely out of it. Controlled. Yeah. Right. And then when they pull her away, they discover, she put another layer of encryption on top of what had already been there. So it was like, it was awesome to see how she was doing everything she could to subvert them and try to screw things up, which fit with when you’re on the enterprise Archer saying like, he has this one line.

Like, oh, she won’t let them get that. Yeah. She will do everything she can to stop them. And they say the response from the Xindi to to Archer is, Well, they have ways of making people do things they don’t wanna do. So it was interesting to see how hard she was fighting and pushing it back against how strong of a character she was.

So I love, that’s the stuff for me, that for me was like a step up. It was like, holy crap. That was really good. Storytelling in action. Yeah. Like it wasn’t dialogue, it was action. And then the Malcolm Reed Hayes conversation, you talked. That was another moment for me. That was like a step up. It was, yeah. Oh, here we go again.

They’re gonna have this little, uh, uh, uh, with each other. And it was like, no, it wasn’t, it was them kind of coming to terms and them both kind of like opening up. They’re finally opening up to each other of like, yeah. You know, like especially when Reed says to him, I don’t view the Makos as Makos. I view the Makos as.

My team and I, I, you know, his loss, you know, he was my responsibility and he gets all choked up. You could see that Hayes was recognizing, oh man. Yeah, yeah. He feels just as strongly about my team as I feel about theirs. So it was just this wonderful kind of like olive branch between the two of them. So those kind of scenes are, I just.

Ate up like catnip. Yeah. It’s like I couldn’t, it was just, it made me love

this. There was also similar things toward the end of the episode, I felt when you see Hayes get shot as he’s transporting out Oh yeah. And it’s a, it’s a shot that half of him is still there. So it’s like the shot rips through part of him, and then as he is materializing, he’s wounded in that way, that leads to his death and it is depicted as not only is he dying it.

Brutal, painful death. It’s, it seems like it’s a moment where had he just been shot in the chest, it would’ve killed him faster, but almost instantly he would’ve been dead shot the way that he was. He lingered. But it gives him and Reid an opportunity for the continuation of that conversation. And it’s even with a little bit of the gentle, uh, the gentle ribbing of.

when reach first shows up and says, well, this guy’s a malinger. The, the, those kinds of moments where they’re trying to show that these are two guys who are both trying to be tough as nails, but that they care for the people around them, and it’s depicted very well. There’s also a very, very nice moment with Dr Phlox again.

The briefest of the brief moments where her Phlox is trying to stand up to Archer to say, you can’t take koshi with you cuz you will kill her. Yeah. And Archer spinning around and saying, I don’t have a choice and you cannot come, you have to stay here. This the moment that the two of them are looking at each other and Phlox has that expression that says, I hate being in the no win situ.

This is that in spades. So there’s a number of moments like that again and again. We have Toul finally opening up where, yeah, that scene with her and Trip her and Trip and the two of them having a conversation, which is overdue, but finally happening where she’s being. , she’s being a jerk. She’s being snippy in a way that he’s just like, what the heck is going on?

So he’s finally like, I’m done. I’m out. I’m going. I’ll do this work, but I’m doing it in another room. And she finally admits I’m struggling here. And that scene ends with what I thought was. Maybe a little on the nose, but a nice kind of, again, gentle ribbing of him saying, I’ll be all ears to listen to you later when we’re done with all of this.

And she gives him a look that says, are you mocking my Vulcan ears? Well,

I thought that was really well done because when he said it, it didn’t come across as him trying to make a joke. Yeah. He just said it and it was like an unintentional pun and right as he said it, the acting, you could see like his character realizing, oh, wait, I didn’t mean that.

But then her making joke of, are

you making fun of me? Are you making fun of me? Yeah. But it’s, it’s the beginning of the relationship that at this point in the series, I remember watching the show that at this point I was fully shipping the two of. Like I was fully on board with, like the two of them have to be a couple.

It makes sense. It’s this is where Star Trek is headed with this storyline. And so finally getting to the moment where they’re revealing a little more intimacy, not in the form of like romantic connection. But her willingness to open up to him and trust him with this information and his ability to reach out and say like, I’m here for you, and trying to figure out how does an interspecies communication, how does such difference find that bridge?

Mm-hmm. , it’s happening on that personal level between the two of them. It’s happening on the larger level between Archer and the Xindi who are willing to work with them. Fantastic scene with him, with the aquatics. Oh yeah. Where he’s basically throwing down a gauntlet in front of them and saying, you guys are slow and deliberate, but this is not the time for that.

You’re gonna kill your people. Just like throwing it down again and again. And finally throwing as they are. Literally walking away. Or swimming away. Swimming away. Yeah. as they’re swimming away from the conversation, he throws out the final thing. I can get rid of these things. The spheres, yeah. I can get like the change in space.

I can stop that, but you gotta help me. And that being the, the fulcrum that pushes everything. And I loved Tucker Smallwood’s character’s response to that, which is he shares the story. Previously there was a procedural issue that was standing in the way of the committee, the council working. It took six days for them to agree to come to the meeting.

Not just like what a solution was, but to arrive at the meeting and Archer gets them to change their stance on whether to work together within three hours. And Tucker Smallwood’s character is walking along like, I can’t even believe that you did that. This is the point of enterprise. This is trying to show.

We’re stronger together than we are a part. And sometimes building bridges, we’re gonna have to, yeah, go through a rough patch. But his ability to walk in and start building a network of allies as an invader, he came into their space to stop them, but is able to start building these bridges is what this show is all about.

So I love all of those aspects. The parts of the show that didn’t quite hit in the same way. and I don’t know that they, I don’t know that they needed to be changed, but there were a couple of moments where I heard the record scratching and the way that made me think like, huh, Uhhuh, the whole sphere builder motivation, the sphere builder hesitance to step in.

Like, like, I guess what they’re trying to lay out is that the sphere builders have convinced the Xindi that they aren’t responsible for the spheres, but at the same time, the Xindi know it. So well the

it, this is the problem where it’s like you talked about how Drow is a wonderful representation of a villain because you understand, he thinks he’s doing the right thing and you see him evolve as a character.

The sphere builders are mustache twirling villains. Yeah. There’s like you there. Were never given any senses to motivation behind what they’re doing and why. Anything like, And it could have very easily been resolved because like you pointed out in the description of like the plot, the insectoid, when they start to question things of like, hey, uh, maybe they’re lying to us because, uh, look what they did with those spheres.

And they’ve been saying that they haven’t done anything with the spheres, and clearly they control the spheres. Yeah. . Yeah. So you can see how they’re starting to question things. Um, they could have very easily had the sphere builder say, we, we don’t get involved because if we do, we’re gonna tip too much of our hand.

Like right things. Things are not in place yet enough for us to tip our hand that much. And if we do this, it’s gonna really tip our hand. They could have said something like that. And it would’ve helped strengthen what the Insectoid say later, right? And it would’ve resolved a little bit of the issue you’re bringing up.

Not all of it, but maybe

a little bit of it. I also felt like we talked last week, again, same point, mustache twirling villains. I feel like they are not doing dole service with the way he’s represented as his motivations. This episode, it really looks like it’s now just a full blown power grab. And it doesn’t have to be, it felt like it could have been a little more nuanced.

Even if it’s megalomania, the manifestation of it could have been something along the lines of, I’m a savior to all of these peoples. I’m, I have to die. Almost creating. A stronger mirror image to Archer of Archer’s willingness to do the hard thing in the name of bringing all these people together to stop the evil from happening.

Yeah. If Dolan was depicted as the flip side of Archer, the same arguments, the same motivation, the same. I will do whatever it takes to save my people. But this, there’s a little too much of him threatening his own crew with cruelty in the name of efficiency, his desires to do things because the, the destruction of the insectoid was an opportunity for a little bit more of.

Him saying something along the lines of, I can’t, our mission is too critical to be held back. Even if they weren’t going to try to stop me, I couldn’t take that risk, and it just felt like instead it was depicted as, I’m the strongest guy in the room, so get outta my way, as opposed to there being a stronger motivation depicted.

I agree with you that his

character is poorly framed, but I’m not sure how you fix it because if you try to fix it, he wouldn’t be doing what he is doing because they’ve given hints that his character recognizes sphere Builders aren’t completely honest with us. and we shouldn’t completely trust them.

And it comes across as this is a power grab. He’s doing this because he believes he’s the only one that can do this, that he’s the one that can solve this, and he’s gonna use this to put the reptilians on top so that they can become the dominant force. But at the same time, when you start to think about it, it’s like, how is this gonna help you become the predominant force if you recognize.

The sphere builders are not completely honest. Then why are you killing the humans? Right? It’s like, how is that gonna make you stronger, the strongest race in the z Xindi Alliance? Like, I

wish things would start to fall apart. It’s in, it’s in that vein where it’s like either, either something, like one step back would be in the direction I described earlier where making him the mirror image of Archer and having him have almost a religious calling to do these things.

You know, like zealotry toward the sphere builders would be one way to solve what I’m talking about. Another way would be to actually double down on what you’re talking about. If he had said something along the lines of the insectoid, like, you know what I just realized? I think the sphere builders have been lying to us.

I think they do control the spheres if his response was one problem at a time. First we have to get rid of earth and then we take care of, and then we can take care of the sphere builders and make sure that they won’t do anything to us because now we have this super weapon. And we can stop. Anybody who stands on our way to do anything like that would’ve been a motivation that would’ve been like, okay, I see what his goal is.

But as you pointed out, he’s effectively just been handed this incredible power, but all he seems hell bent on doing is ignoring warning signs and ignoring the logical arguments of what’s being laid out. And I and I, I don’t like it when a villain. Is depicted as as unreasonable and in some ways like it almost boils down to a kind of stupidity.

And I don’t Yeah. Think that that serves the story very well. And I keep, and I, part of me strangely in watching this episode, I kept flashing back to of all things Galaxy quest, where the villain in Galaxy Quest is effectively just, I’m the bad guy cuz there needs to be a bad. And it feels like Dom is sometimes falling into that trap, and it’s unfair to the character to.

Hold them back from having a little bit more nuance. And the sphere builders, again, I, it feels at times like the sphere builders are just the, don’t forget timing wimy, future wher. Like there’s all these things that we’re trying to do to save the federation from, you know, being a non entity in the future.

And I’m like, we’re already on board. Like, yeah, give, give us a little bit more nuance to these people if you were. Steeped in star Trek lore like you and I were in coming to this. We already know the federation exists. We know this India. Not a problem. We like, we already know that future. So give us a little bit more nuance so that we can understand that this history a little bit better.

And if you’re brand new to the series, also put that nuance in because if you’re brand new and you don’t know a thing about the future of star Trek, you still want to see that your villain is standing there and saying like, you may not agree with it, but I’ve got very good. They

should, they should have set him up and leaned into the strong man argument.

It’s like they didn’t do that because even a strong man would have self-preservation at mind. Would have. Yeah. You know, they have something to gain. They never even explain what that is. Beyond the reptilians could be the most dominant force in, in the, in the universe if you do this. Mm-hmm. . But it’s like the fact that he recognizes the sphere builders are lying about certain things.

Would make you question about why you’re doing what you’re doing. So they could have just come up with some kind of explanation for him as a strong man, why he would still be wanting to do this regardless of what the sphere soldiers were doing. Right. And they just didn’t do that because it was probably a difficult question for them to answer and they just like glossed over it.

Yeah. There’s also an opportunity within all of this to reveal a little bit more about how the sphere builders have managed. Present all of the information that they’ve used up to this point to convince all the Xindi of their things. It’s really kind of the antithesis of the whole Vulcan and earth understanding of time travel, because we’ve seen that debate as.

Archer is like, wait a minute, time travels real. Oh my God, what did I just do? This is amazing and, and totally out. It blows my mind what I’m just experiencing. While the Vulcans have been like, it’s not real, it can’t exist, the Xindi would have a very, very different approach to understanding what time travel means, what the future’s communication with the past is all about, and their understanding of all of that could have been the linchpin.

For the reptilian and sphere builder conversations, yep. Of her teasing out like there will be statues to you, there will be cities named and planets named for you. There will be worship of you and your and your lineage because you are the savior of your people. Like him hearing that from her would have worked if this, if the sphere builders were really seen in the conversations they’ve had previously.

They talked about, we refer to them as guardians, like it’s a religious aspect that is missing from a lot of other star Trek other than Beshores experience with the entities in the wormhole. Mm-hmm. like the religious aspect of this could have been something that could have. Informative. I can’t help but wonder if maybe that was pulled out, because that starts to hint a zealotry and it starts to hint at, we just had September 11th, we just had the Iraq war.

We went into Afghanistan. Maybe there were conversations around we can’t make this about religion. I really don’t know. Yeah, maybe. But I’m wondering how much of the error that this was made. Sucked some of that out or held some of that back out of that kind of hesitation to put that into the series, which is an interesting question.

I don’t have an answer to that, but it’s, it’s, I can’t help but wonder if it’s playing a part

well, outside of that, that major issue we brought up. The one thing I do wanna call out is the action sequences, like we talked about this, were incredible, like the whole fight scene. Absolutely. With all the, the ships I love absolutely loved when they showed.

and the belly of the aquatic ship opens up and out comes outta the bitty enterprise. Out of the belly of the aquatic ship one. That was awesome. Just for surprise. Yeah. Here they are. And two, it was helped to give a sense of scale to the battle that is unfolding in front of us. Yeah. These aquatic ships are massive.

Yeah. And also drives home when you see the sphere builders doing their. Warping space and all these ships are getting destroyed. That poor aquatic ship that gets caught and just starts bursting and then it looks like the water’s almost like water’s freezing as it comes out. Freezing as it’s shooting out.

It’s like, oh, all those poor aquatic people that just die. Yeah. It’s like the ship is

so big. Yeah. The scale of it all is one of those where the original enterprise, this enterprise compared to like the enterprise D or the enterprise E, it’s probably compar. Like they’re probably bigger than the aquatics vessel, but in this timeframe of seeing this enterprise compared to that ship, it really is massive and it is heartbreaking as you see the battle going on, to see what happens to those aquatic vessels and to see, one of my favorite sequences of the battle was seeing the enterprise.

Swinging in and battling a couple of the insectoid vessels, and then suddenly the massive aquatic ship moving in and to protect them. The lieutenants feeding information to doum in the command center saying we can’t get to the earth ship because the aquatics are giving them cover. They’re, they’re too well protected by that ship, and it really does boil down to the battle is not going well.

For the Reptilians until the sphere builders step in. And it is a plot point that is critical and is exciting within the show of they do the thing with the spheres and change space and it basically knocks the battle just to silence. They just with a swipe of one hand knock all the ships in every which way.

But it just, you know, the, the point that we were. Debating just a few minutes ago is we’re fine with all of those consequences and we’re fine with all the pieces and how they’re being moved around the board just a little bit more between some of the characters. Mm-hmm. to give it a little bit sharper, tighter edge and they are demonstrating they can give those tighter edges in all the sequences between all of the heroes of the episode, all the heroes are being given really top-notch dialogue.

It’s just the villains are giving a little too much of like, and here’s my mustache. So Yep. That’s where. That’s where I land on it. Overall though, I can see why this episode won an Emmy, and I can see why at this point, enterprise was really feeling like it found its footing. I remember these episodes at the end of this season and feeling like this is the show I was hoping to see tuned in two years earlier and wasn’t getting this show.

It was getting a little too much of like, oh, we’re gonna give you. Some time travel stuff and a future thing and poking, you know, like into a villain. That doesn’t make sense really. The Suliban who at this point the first season didn’t even need, yeah, the, but at this point really feeling like this is, this is it.

This is the kind of storytelling that I had grown to really appreciate and love in particular for me because this. Back to back storyline, feeding one episode into the next for me. That was where Deep Space Nine found its voice and did it so beautifully. Mm-hmm. . And so this was scratching that itch for me.

So this really, yeah, was a good set of episodes. As we head toward the end of season three and speaking of the end of season three, next week we’re gonna be talking about zero. Matt, I’m not gonna ask you for any predictions. . Okay. I think it’s pretty obvious. It’s obvious. It’s obvious where we’re going.

We’re going to zero our, this is going to be the Xindi weapon Earth, the nascent attempts of a pre federation space, faring vessel to build bridges with a lot of. Moving parts to try and work together to stop evil from happening. That’s what zero R is gonna be about. And I say that not having watched the episode yet.

So before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you wanted to share with our listeners? Uh, just to keep

stay tuned to undecided with Matt Ferrell. I’ve got a lot of interesting videos coming up. Um, one on nuclear fusion, another one on a new battery that may. Revolutionize EVs and everything else. So there’s a lot of interesting topics coming up.

To check out. As for me, please check out my website, sean Ferrell dot com. You can also just, if you’re interested in my books and you wanna go directly to a book seller, go to any book seller you like. They’re available everywhere. That includes Barnes and Noble, that includes Amazon, it includes you, includes your local book.

And if you don’t know that you have a local bookstore, may I direct you to bookshop.org. It is a terrific online retailer that can do multiple things. You can order books directly through them just like you would Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but you can also order books. From specific local bookstores through them.

So your purchase will actually be from the store that you choose. So you can either go directly to them or you can find the local bookstore through them. Either way, they’re a great resource and I just recently discovered to my surprise that my middle grade book, which is coming out next year, is already available for pre-order.

So Wow, that’s great. If you’re interested, if you go to the page for the Sinister Secrets of Sin. And you’ll find it via my name or through the title. If you go to any of those book sellers, uh, that I mentioned before, you will be able to find the book. You will be able to pre the book. You will not see a cover.

So if you wanna wait until there’s a cover available so that you know it’s a real book , you can wait until the cover’s available. I have seen the cover and I will tell you that I think it’s a really cool cover. Matt, I think you’ve seen the cover as well. I saw the early

sketch of it and it it’s incredible.


it’s really, really, So I’m looking forward to seeing the cover also available on the websites where the book is being sold. But for right now, it’s just a little gray square with my name, but if you’re interested in pre-ordering, I would appreciate it. That’s very helpful for the future of the book and for my future attempts to sell follow up sequels.

There will definitely be a book two. I’m hoping there will be a book three, and that can happen if enough people pre-order and make it look like, wow, there’s an audience here. So if you have a young reader in your life or you enjoy reading books in a Harry Potters vein, I hope you’ll check it out. Don’t forget, you can jump into the comments.

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