Monday, July 29, 2013

Carpenter Street

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Welcome to Burgerland. Sorry, America. Detroit, 2004. Twitchy, paranoid America. Reptilian Xindi on an unsanctioned side project went back in time 150 years and 90 light years. They hired a sketchy Blood Bank worker called Loomis to kidnap eight people (one of each blood type) for their bioweapon research. Archer and T'Pol must put a stop to it. With robbery, stealing, and Grand Theft Auto. Yes, the video game.

So, worryingly, the Xindi's mysterious Earth-hating backer has time travel ability, which is fine as long as Archer has a mysterious time-travelling backer, too. The ubiquitous Daniels tells Archer that his timeline never included conflict between humanity and Xindi. Which is kind of what the audience had been saying. Except they were saying "Why does a prequel want to introduce a plot cul de sac like the Xindi in the first place?" Or words to that effect.

Something changed about fossil fuel scarcity in 2061. Probably that it went from "scarce" to "run out completely forever".

It's not about having the moral high ground. As T'Pol puts it: "You've been abducting people for money and you're questioning our honesty?" No, this season it's about tactical high ground. Argue about who's right when your foes are dead. Heroism!

"Carpenter Street" is better than they say. First, because of Leland Orser. This guy's great. He's not playing a laudable character. He's playing a disgusting ghoul as a matter of fact. But he's a riveting performer. And I'm in total agreement with the words of one of Loomis' kidnap victims, just as true in 2004 as it it today: "I don't wanna miss Conan."

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