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Star Trek Ent - 1x22 - Vox Sola

Originally Aired: 2002-5-1

Synopsis:
When a strange, symbiotic alien creature boards Enterprise and captures several crew members, it's up to Hoshi to decipher the creature's complex language. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 4.57

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 51 1 3 8 4 6 8 11 18 17 15

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is the winner of my "Best Episode of Enterprise Award" and is therefore a candidate for my "Best Episode Ever Award."
- "Vox Sola" means "solitary voice" in Latin.

Remarkable Scenes
- Trip trying to cheer up Archer about the bad first contact.
- Travis: "Why don't you stay for the movie tonight?" Reed: "What's playing?" Travis: "Uh... 'Wages of Fear'. Classic foreign film." Reed: "Hmm." Travis: "You'll like it. Things blow up." Reed: "Hmm. Sounds fun."
- Trip: "I wouldn't want to be taking a swim if the gravity plating went offline." Archer: "No... no." I wonder if he's remembering his issues with the shower in Ent: Unexpected. ;)
- The alien creature capturing crewmembers, including Archer and Trip.
- Reed's EM emitters injuring the captured crew.
- The captured crew reading each other's thoughts.
- Phlox fighting for the rights of the severed tentacle.
- Travis answering the hail from the Kreetassans.
- Travis finding out why the Kreetassans were offended.
- Trip: "When Zefram Cochrane talked about new life and new civilization, do you think this is what he meant?"
- Reed testing his forcefield.
- Hoshi communicating with the life form.
- The crew visiting the life form's homeworld, returning it to its home.

My Review
This isn't the start of the war with the Klingons that we've been waiting for, or the start of the war with the Romulans that we've been waiting for, or anything that we've been waiting for, for that matter. But Vox Sola has a special charm to it. This episode was exceptional from start to finish. It's not filled with cliches or recycled plots; this episode is totally original and a perfect fit for Enterprise. It begins when Hoshi fails to communicate adequately with the Kreetassans. They storm off the ship for some unknown reason, and nobody gives it a second thought. But when the web aliens of this episode start gobbling up crewmen, they decide to contact the Kreetassans again and see if they know anything about the web aliens.

Because of circumstances, it's up to an underused character, Travis, to bridge the cultural barrier and make up for old mistakes. Normally, it would have been better to show Hoshi doing this, but I was pleased that Travis was given a chance to shine here. And shine he did. His solitary dealings with the Kreetassans in this episode was probably his best scene yet on the show. In fact, not a single character in this episode is neglected. Phlox gets to play the humanitarian, fighting for tentacle rights. Reed gets to play with gadgets and new technology, Archer and Tucker get several nice scenes depicting friendship and camaraderie, and Hoshi and T'Pol get several nice scenes showing contention and eventually the resolution of their differences as they work together to decipher the language of the web aliens.

But what I liked most about this episode was the web aliens themselves. Never have we seen a more unique alien on Star Trek. And it was the perfect opportunity to get the Enterprise crew thinking outside the box. I liked how well everyone worked together. Reed built the first prototype forcefield, T'Pol helped Hoshi decrypt the mathematical portions of the web alien language, and Hoshi reprogrammed the universal translator to adapt it to the alien language. The scene when Hoshi stood behind Reed's forcefield and tried her best to communicate with the web aliens, going from a hostile demeanor to an understanding in just a few minutes was the high point of the episode.

Then the scene when we watch as Enterprise returns the aliens to their home world was as symbolically impressive as it was visually impressive. Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the episode's unusually beautiful scoring, which was way above average. The whole episode was true to the spirit of Star Trek more so than most others and a pleasure to watch. I've read a lot of other reviews of this episode and I've got to say that Vox Sola is highly underrated.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-12-10 at 6:45pm:
    I agree that this is an underrated episode. There were lots of little things that made it a good episode to watch, like the prototype forcefield. It also had that Star Trekkish spirit to it. However, I don't think it's deserving of a Ten. I'd say more like a 7, maybe an 8.
  • From JRPoole on 2011-07-23 at 8:36pm:
    This is a remarkable episode for a lot of reasons. What I like most is the way that what could have been just another alien of the week episode gets some storyline/character building touches, like the Hoshi/T'Pol dynamic, the mention of Risa that gets explored later, the Univeral Translator drama, the force field development, etc. I wouldn't give it a 10, though, because the main plot, though executed well, is pretty much a rehash of a very familiar Star Trek meme: misunderstood alien turns out to be sentient and its hostility is only a miscommunication. How many times have we seen this? I can't remember episode names, but it all started with the Horta. TNG had the sand crystals, the huge baby space creature "nursing" off the Enterprise, and several others, as did Voyager and DS9 in their turn.

    This episode also highlights the weaknesses of Enterprise for me. "Vox Sola" excels because it's character-driven. With the stiffest, most wooden characters Trek has ever seen--Archer and Tripp--safely tucked away inside the AOTW, the other, stronger characters can shine.

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Star Trek Ent - 3x10 - Similitude

Originally Aired: 2003-11-19

Synopsis:
When Trip suffers a catastrophic injury, his only hope for survival is a transplant from a "mimetic simbiot" which Phlox grows from one of his exotic creatures. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.16

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 54 5 5 7 4 5 2 8 10 18 46

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Enterprise Award".

Remarkable Scenes
- Phlox growing a Trip clone.
- Sim asking hard questions.
- Sim playing with Archer's model starship, breaking a nacelle just as Archer did in Ent: Broken Bow.
- Sim using the phase cannons to fire at Enterprise's hull so as to reveal the shuttle bay doors.
- Phlox revealing that Sim won't survive the transplant after all.
- Archer declaring that he'll kill Sim to save Trip.
- Sim, after T'Pol kissed him: "I couldn't have asked for a better going away present."
- Sim voluntarily giving his life to save Trip.

My Review
I usually hate episodes that reveal the ending in the teaser, such as Ent: Impulse, but this one uses that trick more skillfully. It wasn't Trip in the teaser, it was Sim. This is the first episode in a long while to really touch me. Far moreso than Ent: Twilight did. There are similarities to Voy: Tuvix in the plot, in which another new crewmember was "created" and had to be sacrificed to save others likewise. The difference here is that there was every intention to let Sim live out his normal lifespan in this episode. It was only discovered later that he would have to be sacrificed, whereas with Tuvix, we knew it would be necessary all along. One of the big reasons this episode worked better than Voy: Tuvix was the way in which the sacrifice was handled. Sim went through phases. First he did the Tuvix thing accusing Archer of being a murderer for not letting Phlox try to extend his life, then he tried to escape, then he finally though painfully saw Archer's point. Sim sacrificed himself more honorably than a thousand Klingons. Another thing I liked was that the story didn't trivialize itself by saying "hey, whatever, he was only gonna live a week anyway." I got the impression that Sim was on to something regarding the proposal to extend his life. If Phlox was right at the beginning, and Sim wouldn't have had to have been sacrificed to save Trip, I'm sure Archer and Phlox would have tried Sim's idea. Then they'd have two Trips! Pretty trippy episode, huh? ;) In the end, Ent: Similitude is a profound look at the ethics of cloning as a means to save lives.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Abigail on 2009-03-14 at 9:11pm:
    I had a really hard time getting over the ethical problems that I felt this episode had. I was not necessarily opposed to the idea of creating another being who only lives fifteen days in order to save Trip. I was opposed to forcing him to give his life to do so, which Archer clearly showed that he was going to do. ("Even if it means killing you!") I don't feel that Sim gave his life voluntarily. He noted that one reason he opted not to escape was "Where the hell would I go?" He shouldn't have had that lack of option. He should have been allowed to live out the rest of his life (albeit very short... or perhaps longer) on the ship.

    The idea that Trip had to be saved in order for the mission to succeed was a bit absurd to me, too. First of all, if Trip had just died, that means that all hope would be lost for their mission? That seems silly. And with another being with all of his memories and abilities on it, it's even sillier. If you watch the episode with commentary, the writer says about Sim's delimma, "Would you give your life to save billions? Most people would." Sorry, but I'm not convinced that Sim saved anyone except Trip by dying. I don't know why Archer and everyone else seemed to see the mission as a failure without Trip around.

    The commentary in itself is a little odd. The writer has a strange perspective, in my opinion, which is maybe why the episode itself sits so poorly with me. For instance, he says that to him, the episode is not about cloning; he was more interested in examining a being whose entire life span is seven days. It is about that, of course, but it seems much moreso about an ethical delimma. It seems like the writer didn't notice the delimma. To him, there was only one possible outcome. To me, that outcome is not acceptable.
  • From Pete on 2011-01-05 at 9:50pm:
    I agree with Abigail's commentary. I found most aspects of this episode to be morally offensive. In fact, it is fair to say that the episode disturbed me. All the morals were backwards. The eulogy at the end felt fake and creepy, given that Captain Archer had mere hours earlier told him to his face that he was prepared to kill him--essentially that Sim's life was objectively worth less than Tripp's. How can any person's life be worth more than another's?

    If Archer and Phlox were living on Earth NOW, they would certainly be tried and convicted of crimes against humanity for their actions in this episode. And this is supposed to be "the future"?
  • From Kyle on 2012-07-07 at 12:48pm:
    Great Episode! I think it's pretty clear how much Archer and Phlox were struggling with their decision. But as Archer said, it was all about the mission: "Desperate times call for desperate measures".
    As for the importance of Trip, sure, sometimes the role of someone can be exaggerated in movies or tv series. But in this case, Earth only had Enterprise, and Enterprise needed Trip (as Archer said). When Trip is on Columbia (season 4), it's clear how important he is. Or when Archer is ill (twilight), when things start to fall apart. It can be true in real life. Sometimes only a certain doctor can perform a certain surgery. The Bulls wouldn't have won anything without Michael Jordan.
  • From Zorak on 2016-10-09 at 7:02am:
    An even more moving episode then Twilight, indeed. Contrary to a few things I've read from other people, I feel Trip is the strongest and most likeable character on this show. Early on it was T'pol, but they've degraded her character too much and Trip overtook her a while back. That being said, I was definitely concerned to think they killed him off here.

    The actor that brings us Trip gave another compelling performance as Sim. I also really liked the actor who played Sim as a kid (the one flying the model starship). They did a fine job making Sim relatable and sympathetic.

    A fantastic episode.

    However, the thing that stands out for me most is the possible long term implications of Archers development. Archer is not a man with the highest of moral codes. He's a giant immature space baby who thinks every issue is black and white and his side is always righteous and pure. The show constantly rewards this behavior and lauds him as bringing justice to the galaxy.

    By now making Archer desperate and giving him an "anything for the mission" attitude, perhaps they are setting the stage to drop the ridiculous pretense that everything he does is morally justified. I don't even care about the actual morality of his actions anymore. That ship sailed long ago. I just want them to stop insulting our intelligence by trying to convince us that he is right.
  • From McCoy on 2017-07-24 at 5:53am:
    I know almost from the beginning that Archer is a hypocrite and moron, this opinion won't change:) Now I have another antihero in this series - Phlox - he's just future Mengele, amoral and purely evil. First denying to help whole species, because of cruel darwinistic babble, now this - creating a sapient being just for ripping of part of its brain. What next? Making a soap from aliens? He's disgusting...
    Jim! I'm a doctor not a murderer!
  • From Rick on 2019-03-05 at 7:21pm:
    I think the above commenters are underselling the importance of Trip and this mission.

    You really think that four days of a person's life is worth risking the death of 10+ billion people?

    Of course in a vacuum it is a morally and ethically wrong decision. As Archer said in an earlier episode, "I cant let my morality get in the way."

    He is right.

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Star Trek Ent - 4x18 - In a Mirror, Darkly, Part I

Originally Aired: 2005-4-22

Synopsis:
In the mirror universe, Commander Archer mutinies against Captain Forrest in order to capture a future Earth ship found in Tholian space. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.03

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 59 5 5 5 1 3 5 2 11 12 51

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Enterprise Award".
- This is the 700th episode of Star Trek when you exclude the movies and TAS.
- Trip's facial damage is a reference to what happened to captain Pike in TOS: The Menagerie.
- Tholians require temperatures of 480 degrees kelvin.
- Tholians reproduce asexually.
- Tholians can use their crystalline exoskeleton to act as a naturally resonating transmitter.

Remarkable Scenes
- The teaser with Zefram Cochrane shooting the Vulcans who made first contact with Earth, then stealing their ship... hah!
- Oh my, the opening credits! Didn't see that coming.
- The torture scene in the beginning.
- Archer taking over Enterprise.
- Finally seeing a Tholian!
- Phlox gradually decreasing the temperature in the Tholian's airlock.
- Archer briefing the senior staff about the Earth ship from 100 years in the future from the other universe.
- Cloaked Enterprise arriving at the Defiant.
- Phlox: "Will you kindly die!" Ah, the best Phlox quote ever.
- The Tholian ships deploying their web and attacking Enterprise.
- Archer activating the Defiant.
- Enterprise being destroyed by the Tholians.

My Review
Continuity Coto writes his masterpiece. This episode is a sequel to TOS: The Tholian Web. In that episode, the USS Defiant disappeared, never to be seen again. Now we know where it went... the mirror universe, during the Enterprise era! Aside from this marvelous detail, there are numerous others to redeem it. First of all, a common complaint about DS9 was that it consistently abused the mirror universe. This episode presents the mirror universe exactly faithful to how TOS does, finally. All things from Cochrane firing on the Vulcans during first contact, to the personalities of the characters aboard the ISS Enterprise, to the command structure about the ISS Enterprise were spot on. Additionally, bringing in TOS technology from the regular universe in the form of a sequel to TOS: The Tholian Web was just brilliant. We know that the Terran Empire conquered much of the alpha quadrant by the time of TOS: Mirror, Mirror. We also know humans started off inferior to most of the species they conquered. If Archer successfully captures this TOS vessel of the future, it can explain how humanity became so powerful! Another nice touch was being able to see an actual Tholian. We got a crude drawing of one in TOS, but we never actually got see any. The Tholian presented in this episode is perfectly faithful to the TOS drawing, whilst expanding on it creatively. Another wonderful detail is the use of the Tholian Web itself. When the Tholians deployed their web on Kirk's Enterprise, it took hours to complete. In this episode it takes mere seconds. You might first assume this is a technical problem, but if you notice in this episode, the Tholians have an entire fleet deploying the web. We can infer that the more ships working on the web, the faster it gets deployed. Finally, the opening credits of this episode are a great touch as well. Long have fans complained about the opening theme, claiming it'd be better as an orchestral version. The opening theme presented in this episode is kind of making fun of all the fan criticism, whilst being totally appropriate at the same time! Coto has really outdone himself here. This episode is absolutely hilarious, the writing is wonderfully careful, the special effects are marvelous, and the acting is superb. Bravo!

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From hmad on 2010-07-17 at 4:51am:
    My God, to see this sweet and respected devotion to not only canon but TOS homage not seen since DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations" and done in a way that would make Matt Jeffries and D.C. Fontana jealous of the Mirror Universe in true epicness.

    It was the almost flawless run of this fourth season that made me lament (a full three years after the end) that this series had finally, after shedding the burnt out Brannon Braga for Coto, found its legs and teeth. Too late, unlike TOS their would be no revival via the fans, even Trekkies were almost trekked out, or at least needed a siesta.

    But man, if only Enterprise was given the three more seasons that other franchises were with the same level of bravado that the 4th season had. In the words of a Klingon warrior, it would have been "glorious....!".

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Star Trek Ent - 4x19 - In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

Originally Aired: 2005-4-29

Synopsis:
In the mirror universe, Archer commandeers the 23rd-century Defiant from the Tholians and uses it in a nefarious power grab. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.44

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 42 2 6 4 0 3 4 4 5 17 41

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Enterprise Award."
- Hoshi Sato created a "linguacode translation matrix" in her late 30s.
- Archer's mother's name is Sally Archer.
- Archer's name is among the most recognized in the Federation. Historians called him the greatest explorer of the 22nd century and two planets were named after him.
- Archer retires as an admiral and commander in chief of Starfleet and goes on to become the President of the Federation at some point!

Remarkable Scenes
- Archer and crew stealing the Defiant.
- Archer sporting a TOS style captain's uniform.
- Archer and Hoshi discussing the Federation and their alter egos' personal biographies.
- Archer defeating the Gorn.
- Phlox regarding Earth's literature: "I skimmed a few of the more celebrated narratives. The stories were similar in some respects but their characters were weak and compassionate. With the exception of Shakespeare, of course. From what I could tell his plays were equally grim in both universes."
- The Defiant crushing a rebellion.
- Archer executing Admiral Black.
- T'Pol and Soval persuading Phlox to join their rebellion.
- T'Pol to Hoshi: "I'm surprised you're not exhausted from all the beds you've jumped into recently!"
- The Avenger battling the Defiant.
- The Defiant destroying the Avenger.
- Hoshi poisoning Archer.
- Hoshi: "You're speaking with Empress Sato. Prepare to receive instructions."

My Review
Part II is every bit as good as part I. In this episode, we get to see the Defiant strut its stuff with Archer loving every minute of it. He obviously has issues with anger and paranoia, as well self doubt which manifests itself as regular-universe Archer constantly taunting him, which was a nice touch. All the characters act as you would expect them to, with the aliens forming a rebellion on the Avenger, only to be destroyed, and Archer getting rid of anyone he even remotely sees as a threat. A possible deficiency is the Gorn stuff. We got a nice mention of the Gorn in Ent: Bound, but fans have been asking to actually see another Gorn for a while now. The usage was appropriate here, but in some ways it felt more like filler. I felt that the whole Gorn sequence was obtrusive and that it should have either been elaborated more or not done at all. The CGI Gorn was extremely well done though. The updated Gorn reminded me a lot of the Skaarans from Farscape. Now, I might have struck a point for the Gorn sequence if it had really wasted time, but it didn't. The episode's pace was sufficient that the ending was still amazing. Empress Hoshi Sato schemes her way to the top! I didn't see that one coming at all, and I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. She reminded me of Persis from the Augments arc. She did the very same thing, but eventually she stood up for what was right and died because of it... not Hoshi! Immoral and corrupt all the way, and it allows her to rise to the top! How viciously nasty! It should be noted that the fan reaction to this two parter has been mixed. Yes, these two episodes waste a great deal of time that could be otherwise spent on more relevant episodes; none of the events of these two episodes actually even take place in the real universe! Yes, I too found it somewhat annoying that Enterprise is squandered what little time it had left. But Ent: In a Mirror, Darkly was just so well written and so entertaining that I simply couldn't strike points from it due to timing and circumstance. The episode probably would have made more sense in season 1 or 2, but better late than never.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Abigail on 2009-04-19 at 8:28pm:
    These two episodes were very intriguing! I loved the continuity with TOS -- the ship (of course), the Tholian web, the gorn (although he looked and acted nothing like the TOS gorn). I also loved the opening credits! It caught me completely off-guard!

    I do have one pretty big complaint ... It was very odd that the crew of "our" enterprise never came into play. Despite its intrigue, it felt a bit like a waste because it has nothing at all to do with the rest of the show, plot-wise. I kept waiting for them to bring in "our" characters! Because of this, when it was over, I felt like it needed a part III.
  • From peterwolf on 2012-10-04 at 5:54am:
    Two more and mirrored heavy arguments why the 4th Enterprise season was so amazing. The first two seasons I saw only dubbed in German after watching it now on DVD, but I still liked the characters of T'Pol and Captain Archer. For example, characters like Reed you can only really appreciate in the original version. Anyway, the last two seasons of Enterprise were so much better with their continuous plots and unblievable great topics and good stories leading to TOS (like Andorian and Vulcan "history")! In fact, the decent, closer to real life characters were great then, overall much better than Voyager. Sheer madness to cancel this series!
  • From Dstyle on 2015-11-04 at 9:44am:
    I was really disappointed that the two Vulcans who helped T'Pol release Captain Forrest in Part I didn't have evil Mirror-Vulcan goatees, so I'm glad to see Soval was at least sporting one!
  • From Luke on 2016-07-27 at 4:37am:
    There is a HUGE continuity problem here - if the ship from our universe was the USS Defiant, and it was build along time before DS9s Defiant, the why wasn't the one from DS9 the -A?

    It shouldn't matter that it was the first of class - in fact I don't think they would reuse a name for the lead ship of a class in the same was the lead Sovreign wasn't the Enterprise.

    Of course, DS9 was made before ENT, but still it's another small yet irritating continuity problem.
  • From Temlakos on 2016-08-15 at 5:47am:
    The numbering of USS Defiant NX-74205 is in no way inconsistent with the numbering of USS Defiant NCC-1764. The only reason for the A, B, and C designations for the Enterprise is that Starfleet honored Captain Kirk by retaining the original NCC number of his ship, and adding A, B, C, etc. for each successive iteration. Consider the real-life naming of multiple ships named Enterprise in the United States Navy. (With another one--USS Enterprise CVN-80, the third Ford class carrier--already in the graving dock, if I am not mistaken.)
  • From McCoy on 2017-08-01 at 10:23am:
    I like everything related to TOS:) Shame that upcoming Discovery doesn't look like true retro sf (looks quite opposite, sadly). However I see one continuity problem here. If they managed to get Defiant, why they didn't improve technology over time? Kirk visited his mirror Enterprise, not some advanced vessel. So Terran Empire just keep building Defiant-era ships with no upgrades over 100 years? Unlikely:)

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