Saturday, August 31, 2013


***** (5 stars out of 5)

Meanwhile, it's January of 2155 back in a universe where close friends rarely shank each other for the last Pop-Tart in the box: the Star Trek Universe.

Nathan Samuels (better known as the Mayor of that plucky Californian city on the Hellmouth, San Fransisco) is politicizing the progress Captain Archer has made in getting aliens and humans to not murder each other so much. (Progress which is, itself, made possible by a grant from the Hoshi Sato Universal Translator Foundation.) Samuels is the beaming face of the budding new Coalition of Planets (name to be firmed up later).

Reed is making clandestine rendezvous in back alleys again, as the spymasters of Section 31 investigate the shooting death of Dr. Khouri, a woman who collapsed at the Coalition holding a hair from a Vulcan-Human hybrid. Phlox identifies this as the child of T'Pol and Tucker. And finally, Mayweather is doinking a reporter who works for a xenophobic cult lead by a power-hungry madman.

John Frederick Paxton. What is he, a tycoon or a moon shuttle conductor? He's got a funny idea about heroes: his idol is a familiar figure from The Original Series- Colonel Green. It seems that around 2056, shortly after the nukes of World War III dropped, "The Green Party" had an ENTIRELY different connotation. The Colonel prevented generations of mutation, disease, and ugly people using certain undisclosed unsavoury measures. Presumably millions of extremely late term abortions- in the 443rd month, for instance.

From his mobile fortress Paxton seizes the verteron laser on Mars and flatly intones "Aliens Go Home".

"Demons" is LeVar Burton's final directorial contribution, and wonderful work it is, too. Harry Groener and Peter Weller are welcome guests, and the regulars are in top form. We're wrapping up here and I'm kind of sad to see the end. To Be Continued...

Friday, August 30, 2013

In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Using a strategy they'll stick with for a hundred years but get much, much worse at implementing, the Tholians spin a web of any size and explode the ISS Enterprise.

The surviving thugs with our heroes' faces will just have to settle for Defiant, which fiercely outclasses everything else in the Mirror Universe, and turns even mighty Vulcan Wessels into chump meat.

Don't underestimate a Vulcan, though, some of them can meld your mind and some of them have goatees. Some are blessed with both! Rebel Soval of the Avenger tries to conspire with T'Pol to wrest the future ship from the usurper Archer. You'd think it's be easy to do: Archer may have lost his brush-cut brain in the agony booth. He's reading the historical bio of Good-Guy-Universe Archer and having a jealous fit of rage about... himself. He even hears Hero Jon taunting him. But his strangest symptom though- wearing the green wraparound velour shirt popularized by Kirk in the '60s. For the Ladies.

Also For The Ladies: Evil Archer wrestles his giant lizard in the welcome surprise return of a Gorn. Slar may be a slavemaster and head-chomping saboteur, but his defeat via gravity plating crushing and multiple phaser blasts is unfortunate. They could have made him a member of the crew. In a green wraparound velour shirt!

As happens sometimes, the deleted scene has some of the best stuff. I love Archer's deleted line: "Shoot the first one who stops clapping." They should have done that with this series! Although I might have been the only survivor.

"In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" is a romp with all the trimmings, from every detail on the GNDN pipes to the computer voice of Majel. Plus the rise of the Earth's Evil Empress. Fear the belly shirt!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

In a Mirror, Darkly

***** (5 stars out of 5)
I thought I had completely tired of the Mirror Universe, but here it is again and it's better than ever!

First of all, that's a staggeringly fantastic opening sequence. Trek Nerds recognize the end of Star Trek First Contact where Zefram greets Solkar... only instead of the Dawn of Maturity and Peace, psycho Cochrane shotguns the space elf down and steals all his stuff! (Keep in mind, in this dimension, Dexter is a sitcom.)

We discover Reed and Phlox invented the Agony Booth, and, curiously, that the ISS Enterprise crew is already more racially integrated than its counterpart in the positive universe: Andorians, Tellarites, even Orions. Of course, they're all conquered vassals, but still... get to the Tholians!

It's not just another evil parallel universe story, but a sequel to 'The Tholian Web', in which those dastardly crystal lobsters have got their claws on a tasty piece of future tech in flamboyant 2260's style... U.S.S. Defiant.

Mirror Archer proves he's not as unambitious as his Captain Forrest thought, torturing and blasting his way onto the bridge of the most powerful ship in the universe. Who wants the first orbital barrage?

"In a Mirror, Darkly" has lots of twisted amusements: Doktor Phlox dissecting his menagerie, Ho-shi trading up from Forrest's bed-warmer to Archer's, and Big Dick Tucker looking like he took a nap on a hot plate, but they had me at the revised opening credits. Earth thugs killing everything they see until they conquer the moon! Humans are the WORST... but you kind of have to admire their can-do spirit!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)

Groobies, groobies, everywhere, and nary a man can think!

When Enterprise heads into "Here There Be Dragons" territory, scouting the Berengarius System for a good place to build Starbase One, the Orions stir up trouble. SEXY trouble!

Orion Syndicate giant and son of anarchy Harrad "Piney" Sar seals a deal for part interest in a magnesite mine with Archer. He does this by giving the captain three Slave Girls: Navaar, D'Nesh, and Maras. The trio of scantily-clad dancers emit pheromones that drive men wild, give competing women headaches, and make Dr. Phlox stifle a yawn.

D'Nesh is soon giggling and pulling levers in engineering, while Navaar wiggles her way into Archer's command centre. I MEAN PANTS! Travis Mayweather recommends the same thing he did as a teen surrounded by Deltan ladies- flee the room and Exercise More.

Meanwhile, T'Pol and Trip discover they've accidentally entered a deep and monogamous mating bond. This allows them to read each other's minds, pick out furniture together now and then, and also makes Trip immune to the Green Honey Trap.

This is good news, because they are the only ones who can form a coherent thought when Harrad-Sar turns up again to capture Enterprise on orders from the real enslavers- his owners: The Slave Girls.

"Bound" doesn't ask for much, and it wants to be The Original Series so bad you almost feel sorry for it. Keep Off The Grass!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
How do you manage to risk 160 lives and two top-of-the-line starships just to fix a broken brake line? Just like this... and it's awesome! This is also how mommy space-ships and daddy space-ships make baby space-ships. The mommy space-ship sidles up alongside daddy at 5 times the speed of light and they press real close in a special hug... then they exchange a tiny space-ship building man on a string. Go Trip!

Marab, the Klingon Augment who snuck quietly in and sabotaged the Enterprise, is disdainful of Reed for sneaky-peeky spying! Speaking of hypocrisy, Augment Laneth reports to Marab's father that his son died without honour... because she thinks mere HUMANS killed him. The smooth-foreheads are feeling ashamed because they may have lost some bravado along with their crunchy heads. Although some of the fear may be due to the genocide descending upon them for being infectious mutants. Plus the Klingon Admiral trying to murder all the infected is in bed with Section 31, who (last time I checked) are humans! Sometimes I think Klingons are making up the honourable/dishonourable rules as they go along.

Medicine is just as arbitrary as engineering and honour: Phlox does something with computers and centrifuges, then incubates the result in Captain Archer's veins, which temporarily gives Archer a Klingon forehead somehow. So nobody dies, but the virus is going to create several generations of miserable Klingons who look like humans. (Worse yet, millions of them also caught a cold once that made their hair look like bad curly wigs!)

"Divergence" also explains Saavik and Ziyal- their faces must have caught the Augment Flu!

Monday, August 26, 2013


 ***** (4 stars out of 5)
Did you ever sing "More, more tell us more" when Uncle Remus sang "That's how the camel got his humps?" Well, here's more anyway... that's how the Klingons got their Lumps! (And, no, it wasn't a bite from Lumpy Space Princess.)

Speaking of a beautiful crooning voice and racist comedy, Transferred Trip Tucker has a new underling on the newly-launched starship Columbia: Ensign Stewie. Why, it's a cameo appearance from Seth MacFarlane! (Sadly, he does not sing The Thunder Song.)
Madam Chang's is a popular San Francisco restaurant. Unfortunately, popular with kidnappers. Klingon Uncle Phil drags Dr. Phlox to Qu'Vat Colony, where a Fresh Plague has become Bel Airborne! Klingons can't look weak by ASKING for help. So they stole a Metagenetics expert. (Not as easy as it sounds. First someone had to invent Metagenetics.)

Klingon medicine has advanced to the point of Retsenbaum Scissors and screw-top cranial replacement surgery, but they still can't get that cat out of the operating room! (Sorry, it's a targ, not a kitty cat.) What's the "Affliction" poised to kill millions of Klingons? It's a mutated Levodian Flu Virus. What mutated it, you ask? Oh, you didn't? Well, I'll tell you!

Jealous of human Augments, Klingons made their own! With Soong's embryos from the wreck of Malik's ship. Granted, the super-soldiers lost their cranial ridges, but on the bright side they don't live very long with the disgrace.

Archer's search for Phlox hits a Section 31 roadblock when it turns out Malcolm Reed works for those Shady Secret Servicemen. And while he's still reeling from the betrayal, Klingon Augments infiltrate Enterprise and program it to be the bus that couldn't slow down. Why? Best I can tell: the Augmentation process includes a penchant for pulse-pounding but ultimately meaningless cliffhangers.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Aenar

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Welcome to Andoria at last! It's an ice moon of the gas giant Andor. Enjoy labyrinthine ice tunnels. Geothermal cities in glaciers. Leg-piercing icicles for the unwary. Swarms of acidic bore worms. Essentially the same as Canada.

The Romulans causing all the trouble turn out to be fascinating, too. The football jock-type is a former Senator, demoted to Admiral because he didn't agree with expansionism. The head scientist passionately objects to their scheme with the drugged captive pilot, but he knows if he speaks out demotion is the least consequence. Being right is not rewarded on Romulus. Essentially the same as Canada.

The dastardly telepresence drones continue to fly circles around Enterprise. But the answer lies in the frozen hearts of "The Aenar": an endangered Andorian Goth subculture. Jhamel (sister of the Romulan's victim Gareb) is a brave volunteer for the countermeasure Trip and Phlox threw together out of old iPads and cake pans. Jhamel reaches her sibling mentally with a boost from the machine.

Gareb, told he was the last Aenar, appalled by his own deadly actions, and completely out of Doritos, turns on his tormentors. Knowing they will kill him for it, Gareb crashes the drones into each other.

Unwilling to explain his reasons, Trip asks for a transfer to Columbia. Phlox knows why: "No species in the galaxy has mastered the art of mixing romance and vocation."

What a great adventure story! Testing the limits of science! Exploration! Trying to understand the other guy! Nearly 40 years since Vulcans and Andorians showed up on TV and it takes this long to get around to a season depicting their home worlds? What fun, though!

Reaching out to communicate solves problems, silence causes more. Yet everyone knows that as a best policy, honesty is risky. After all, the Remans are waiting outside, just as they were in Nemesis: the wolves who show up to drag your carcass away when you're cancelled.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Trip and Reed are shaken like a Polaroid picture aboard the Romulan Remote-Control Drone ship. The nefarious nemesis continue to sow rage and confusion by destroying hapless Rigelians while disguised as Enterprise. Elsewhere, a Romulan agent takes shots at Extreme Cougar Wives while disguised as Honey Boo-Boo.

Archer's plan to catch the wily raptor with a sensor blockade requires the cooperation of a large fleet. Earth doesn't have enough ships, and the Vulcans are disarming to read the scriptures and lie in deck chairs. Still, Andorian ships are plentiful, and Tellarites have some second-hand Xindi Sloth barges whose stench can likely be detected across a vacuum...

However, the Andorian Aphrodite, Talas, was shot while surrendering to the cowardly Tellarite Naarg. Talas' lover Shran pours her blood on the killer's hands, demanding a duel to the death. Captain Archer stands in for the snivelling pig, since to do otherwise would ruin any chance at alliance. Interstellar peace and politics come down to knife-fights rather often in this dimension! And it's a stab-fest between friends, too, so it's pretty intense. Especially the "handcuffed together wielding ceremonial pizza-cutters" part.

Still, we need honour satisfied and Shran and Archer alive, so it turns out that by "Death Match" Andorians mean: "Or Whatever".

Like Buster Bluth piloting a bomber from a mall kiosk, the hand on the tiller is nobody very important. The Romulans won't let any trace of their involvement be proven, so they captured a Pasty Patsy, an Andorian Mole-Man who looks like he's spent the better part of his life in a basement playing video games hopped up on sugar.

"United" offers a sense of the fledgling Federation as a brittle community struggling to respect each other's values. It's a treat!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Babel One

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Apparently only 2.5 million people watched "Babel One", because this was when UPN decided to cancel the series. I will try to refrain from saying (again)... just when it was getting good!


If the stiffest complaint that can be laid against this story is that is a lot like 'Journey To Babel' then I must totally agree and say 'bring it on'! This is exactly the derivative pandering pablum I wanted to yum up all along! Provided said pablum is also knowing, funny and surprising.

Tellarites and Andorians standing on the brink of war! Molly Brink standing around in her underpants! Returning with a bang as the Andorian Talas, this soldier gal certainly makes Captain Shran's antennae stand at attention! HOW is he always so grouchy with a GF like that?

Speaking of grouchy, I don't know if I would love a Tellarite friend or co-worker, but these dog-eating, mud-wallowing, stinking, hairy swine bring a pork barrel full of fun to interstellar politics... when they're not adding injury to insult.

Action and tumult ensue- when Reed and Trip explore a nasty ship. Trapped aboard the attacker (which uses advanced holography to mimic multiple hull designs), the humans must make their way to the bridge and find out who's behind all this murderous chicanery...

It's an absolutely BRILLIANT twist ending, perfectly in keeping with established facts, and it's spoiler-y as all hell. But it's way past too late to bother about that. The answer is... NOBODY! There's NOBODY driving!

Cancelled! Still, numbers don't lie. ROMULANS LIE!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Observer Effect

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Shine, little glow worm, glimmer! Powerful disembodied aliens possess Reed and Mayweather to watch what humans do when they die. Like Nagilum only less visually ambitious.

Hoshi and Trip catch a silicon-based virus while snooping around a Klingon latrine (!) Whatever  archeological treasure they hoped to dig up... could it EVER be worth it? Disease symptoms include discussions of previously unsuspected back story. Hoshi has an aikido black belt?? And plays poker??? And was expelled for breaking her commanding officer's arm??? Hoshi??? Meek, withdrawn Hoshi. Fine, I'll accept it, but I think you meant B'Elanna Torres. Also, Hoshi's pattern-sensing genius extends to picking computer-code quarantine locks and going for a feverish wander. "Yeah, she's full of surprises today," says Trip. Surprisingly bad quarantine, too. Even a chair wedged under a door handle would've worked better!

Humans are surprising to the observers, too. The more jaded of the pair of godlike scientists had never in 800 years seen a captain infect himself trying to help. What you get for watching jerks like Cardassians and Klingons, I guess. Or is it just that everyone else sends doctors to heal people?

"Experience compassion for yourself," Archer challenges the observers.

The aliens agree to save lives instead of being jerks, and also start sprucing up for an official first contact with humanity. "That will barely give us 5,000 years to prepare."

"Observer Effect" is a good bottle show, but I'm baffled when The Original Series had better special effects to depict these nostalgic special guest aliens than the modern.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Emory Erikson: Father of The Transporter is the book that made Chuck Tucker grow up to be an engineer.  No doubt Dr. Erikson inspired generations of obsessive tragic engineers like Richard Daystrom, and obsessive drunk engineers like Montgomery Scott. Dr. Erikson takes some time off from his Tinker work for the Great and Powerful Oz to invent a long-range transporter. Zap between Earth and Vulcan in an instant with sub-quantum teleportation! Warp engines will be tossed in the garbage! It's a forgone conclusion... since the audience already knows this is going to go fzzzzzt---pop, crackle, and/or ka-BOOM!

Heading out into The Barrens, a starless void, where if anything goes wrong there will be no one around to hear... we learn that Captain Archer was friends with Emory's kids, that Cochrane taught Erikson to drink heavily, and in the days when the beaming cycle took a full 90 seconds and felt like a year, drinking heavily was a necessity. And back then, son, taking all your molecules apart only cost a nickel!

Emory poo-poos the people who said the transporter would cause cancer, psychosis, and Jeff Goldblum's dingus to fall off, but Emory's own messed-up spinal column and paranoid, deluded ramblings say different. Also, some poor nearby slob gets a disrupted face from a g-g-gh... Zuul!

Breaking the transporter distance record is all very well, but do we go further: 15 years into the past and beyond the grave? Can poor Daedalus bring back his son Quinn... and the wax wings that sent his boy to subspace hell?

"Daedalus" is part 'The Ultimate Computer' part 'Realm of Fear' and part 'Jetrel'. It's like a shambling, mangled, transporter mash-up. But I'll forgive ten times as much derivative writing when I get performers like Bill Cobbs. He actually makes me sympathize with a man so loopy that he knowingly tested his faulty transporter on his own son, and then can't trust anyone enough to ask for help! Enjoy him even more in Demolition Man, won't you?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
The living spirit of Surak (the Vulcan Bono) guides Captain Archer to the "Kir'Shara", a Rosetta Stone revealing the 1800-year-old teachings of enlightenment that have been lost on a Vulcan culture of miserly, xenophobic, bigoted, back-stabbing, self-loathing, war-mongers for quite some time now.

Tucker flies out to Andorian territory so Shran and Soval can shout in each other's faces and realize at last they have some common ground: hating the Vulcan government. Shran kidnaps and tortures Soval ANYWAY, but at least Shran feels kind of bad about it afterwards.

Tucker does his level best to defuse the frayed nerves, but Vulcan and Andorian guns start a-blazin', with Enterprise caught in the middle texting OMG and WTF.

If I've learned anything from the Vulcan military's failed attempt to murder all the pacifists, it is "Don't carry a metal lirpa directly into sand lightning." Logic!

Archer activates the fifth element stone with earth, air, fire, and water and re-boots the Matrix. Surak's original writings! Logic Thy Neighbour. Nothing Unreal Exists. Don't Eat Yellow Sand. The High Command is dissolved, President Bush... uh, I mean V'Las is disgraced, and mindless race war with Andoria returned to 'Plan B' status.

Remember how before T'Pol was a drug addict, she picked up a disease from a mind-meld date-rape? Well, worry no more, because the gentle touch of a lady Vulcan with a LOT of experience can make it all better. T'Pau cures T'Pol's Pa'Nar syndrome (then cures HUNDREDS of other sheepish clients who all mutter the equivalent of "I fell on it"). Since T'Pol's mom died when the V'Las military bombed her sanctuary, T'Pol's sham marriage serves no purpose, either. That block of wood Koss performs a Citizen's Divorce. Yay!

But who was behind V'Las' throne of skulls? Romulans!? Where the hell were you guys LAST year? Oh... right- plotting, scheming, and twirling your moustaches in caves under Vulcan. And that's exactly what I love about this season. Being a prequel means never having to say Xindi when you mean Romulan!

Monday, August 19, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Yesterday's wacky Vulcan hermit is today's holy pilgrim as that guy Arev who died touching Archer's face and saying "Remember" turns out to have been Syrran. His disciples, hiding in caves from the High Command's drone planes, include T'Pol's mom and a young T'Pau (not the eighties pop group).

T'Pau gets it on with Archer (psychically, of course) to find the soul of Surak (the Vulcan Jesus) which Syrran thoughtfully tucked away in Archer's mind before he died of sand lightning. Difficult as it might be for the audience to comprehend, most Vulcans seem to have forgotten they even HAVE downloadable souls, and also lost track of Surak's katric ark (soul jar) for a couple of thousand years. In visions, Surak urges Archer to put his planet back on the right track. (The one with all that peace, love, and understanding jazz birthday-boy Gene was always on about.)

Previously the Black Hat when it came to humanity, Ambassador Soval lets slip that he's always kind of liked those stinky blunt-eared jerks. Soval takes Charles Tucker's side in the investigation into the bombing that is starting to look more and more like a government frame-up. Certainly when you press them on it, the government is quick to bomb more things, including T'Pol's mom.

"Awakening" implies sweeping changes will come to the world of Vulcan once word gets out that Surak's teachings have been corrupted or ignored. One of those sweeping changes is apparently that T'Pau will develop a thick accent and a much deeper prejudice against humans. Go figure. Then again, T'Pau is probably a common name. "T'Pau of Shirkahr" may be the equivalent of "Debbie from Dallas".

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Forge

**** (4 stars out of 5)
The Enterprise crew is pulled away from their clothed version of Octran Naked Basketball by bad news from the happiest place in the galaxy. Vulcan.

Someone blew up the United Earth Embassy, killing Captain Archer's friend Admiral Forrest and others. V'Las, The Administrator (*cough* dictator) of the Vulcan High Command blames a lunatic fringe. Disciples of the philosopher/archeologist Syrran known appropriately enough as Syrranites. DNA evidence on the scene points a finger at T'Pau, a known Syrranite. Since the group is most famous for being logical pacifists on a spiritual pilgrimage to uncover the original writings of the Vulcan Buddha (Surak), one wonders what the hell is, indeed, up.

It doesn't help that V'Las is the identical cousin of future Earth dictator Admiral Leyton. Six words out of his mouth and you already know he's Emperor Palpatine with a bad haircut. While the wacky hermit whom Archer and T'Pol run into in the nuclear wasteland called Vulcan's Forge is bound to be important later. Wacky for a Vulcan of this era, I mean, in that he is not instantly a douche canoe.

"The Forge" is the first on-screen attempt to give us a good look at Vulcan since 1986 and I welcomed it. You should see me squee when Captain Archer gets chased by a sehlat! Primeval surpassed this all-too-brief CG creature effect, but back in 2004 I really thought that blink-and-you'll-miss-it-beauty was the bee's knees and the cat's ass rolled into one.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Augments

**** (4 stars out of 5)
When we left our heroes, the Augments had decided to keep the fuzz off their backs by starting a Klingon-Earth War. "Sensibly", they're going to start by poisoning Archduke Fehr'DIH G'Nand and everyone else on a Klingon colony near the Briar Patch (You remember? From Star Trek: Insurrection still available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix and Direct-To-Brain download.)

I'm still on the edge of my seat when Captain Archer narrowly avoids a cloud of diseases by blasting himself into space! Where he is beamed to safety with mere frostbite and burst eyeball capillaries for Phlox to contend with. Wish you had a genetically more durable body yet?

Malik overthrows Daddy Soong because the human perfectionist intends to cook up the next batch of Augment Shrinky-Dinks to be less inherently hostile. Malik LOVES hostility! To prove it, he stabs his girlfriend Persis for helping Soong escape. So much for the Malik Dynasty. The ladies don't find that sort of thing terribly endearing, I understand.

Back in normal land, T'Pol's arranged marriage has made things awkward for Trip Tucker. As Trip puts it- "Romeo and Juliet probably stood a better chance." Or as my wife quipped: "Romulan and Juliet."

It all ends with a bang, after Captain Archer bluffs his way past a Klingon Border Guard who sounds a lot like Yoda. Jon tells a big ad-libbed fib about ferrying the Chancellor to Orion... which luckily fits the rumour that the Chancellor digs Orion females. Kerplop!

"The Augments" is 'Movie Reference Episode' with the border guard being kind of ST VI, beaming off exploding ships kind of ST III, and, of course, all the name drops of Khan from ST II. Nobody saves any whales, but when Soong goes back to jail, there's a glint in his eye about designing androids instead of super-soldiers. Despite our heroes' Anti-Augment prejudice, I suspect the true lesson of Mr. Data may be that absentee fathers can be preferable to parents who saddle you with ludicrously high ambitions. What's wrong with setting a goal like "be human"?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cold Station 12

**** (4 stars out of 5)
In the immortal tweets of @lazy_joe_:

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby
All right stop, Collaborate and listen
This frozen baby needs to see a physician

You'll find plenty in medical storage attic "Cold Station 12". Under the "Eggs in One Basket" Directive, thousands of genetically modified embryos from the Eugenics Wars are bottled up right next door to the worst infectious diseases of the cosmos. Xenopolycythemia. Telurian plague. Whatever Ryan Lochte has.

Speaking of mind versus muscle, the Augments have already failed the humanity test when they left their own man "Smike" behind... simply for being born without superpowers. As Captain Archer reminds pirate/geneticist Arik Soong: "Whenever a group of people start believing they're better than everyone else, the results are always the same."

Phlox's pen pal Jeremy Lucas (AKA Walrus Moustache Man AKA Wilfred Brimley Jr.) is Walter Finnerty's umpteenth great-grandson and easily the hero of the hour. Savagely beaten and 'merely' a human hostage, he refuses to yield the vault full of horrors to the bandits. 

Chafing under Soong's too-squeamish approach to enforced obedience, Augment jefe Malik carries out the ghastly murder-by-blood-burn of Jeremy's co-worker. It's anybody's guess whether Soong was only bluffing, but his eager kids picked up the message somewhere that perfect, rare, and beautiful snowflakes don't have to follow the rules! They aren't taking no for an answer. 

They are taking Augment fetuses and a grab-bag full of viruses. The anthrax is for duck huntin'.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


***** (5 stars out of 5)
Ask a Star Trek fan what five things they'd like to see most, take the top answers, and film the results. You'd get "Borderland", a delicious Star Trek goulash that tastes as great the second day as it did the first.

Spock's ancestor may have solved mysteries in Victorian drawing rooms, and Picard's ancestor may have founded the Martian Colonies, but Data's ancestor is a jailbird. Meet Dr. Arik Soong, a smug super-genius devoted to improving the human genome in a culture not terribly eager to repeat the 30-odd-million deaths they had the last time back in the Eugenics Wars.

Thoroughly Misguided Soong raised a dandy little crop of Nietzscheans, and they were left to their own devices when he was arrested. They may not have the common sense to get new clothes (unless the artfully ripped chest holes are 22nd Century Chic?), but they sure know how to kick stuff! Klingon butt, mainly.

Archer needs Arik to pacify his overpowering proteges before they make the Klingons mad enough to go to war... oh, too late. But first, the disgraced geneticist must come to the rescue when Orion slavers sell T'Pol in a market down on Verex III. You just don't get that personal touch when you buy your harem girls on eBay!

Real, Honest-To-Gor Orions! The third and final Hertzler Klingon! A Tellarite being a chauvinist pig! And all the infighting and bedroom antics of the gene-spliced Augments. Let's give a hand (before they take it by force) to Malik, Persis, and Raakin: the Khannabes, everybody!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)

"Home". It's a great word, isn't it? Home at last. Home is the hunter. There's no place like home. What a breathtaking opening shot, too! That shuttlepod arcing in, throngs of adoring fans cheering the guys what brung peace in our time and suchlike. The command crew standing proudly while Captain Archer praises the ones who did all the actual sacrificing. The only part I don't understand is why they parked the shuttle ON STAGE between the audience and the podium. The premium seats probably can't SEE anything! Well, that's the convention experience for you.

Archer sends a shout-out to MACO General Casey, and I'm glad to hear the Casey military family is still fighting the good fight even after Mars Attacks.

Tucker visits T'Pol's hometown since his is a crater dustbowl, then realizes he had it pretty good. Vulcan's stark beauty and oppressive heat are its good qualities. T'Pol's mommy T'Les essentially guilts her daughter into marrying Koss after all, to save her own reputation and career. There's nothing like filial affection. And this is nothing like filial affection!

Speaking of alien jerks, a human bigot tries to bully Phlox at a bar, putting in his two credits on the subject of Starfleet handing out Earth's address so very blithely. (Although he phrases it more "Earth-billy" than I did.) When the punches are being doled out, Phlox stops everyone dead with shock by inflating his own head to look fierce. Go Denobula!

Speaking of guys with big heads, Jon Archer does a little soul searching (and underpants searching) on a mountain climbing vacation with fellow starship Captain Erika Hernandez.

"I lost something out there," he confesses, "And I don't know how to get it back."

Erika's got a gentle way of reminding him what Starfleet's meant to be all about.

Less airlock torture, more fun in your underpants.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Storm Front, Part II

**** (4 stars out of 5)
As disappointed as I was to learn that the Nazi's time-traveling backers aren't Remans after all, but some Reman Identical Cousins called Nazghul or something, I was delighted with everything else.

Character-defining back story for Silik unfurls just moments before his retirement. Spoilers: by retirement I mean he's shot dead. I'm gonna miss that twisted, cantaloupe-headed, licorice-body-stockinged goblin! Not that death ever stopped Temporal Cold Warriors before...

Daniels of the Spiders and Vosk of the Snakes have their pawns duke it out for Mastery of Time! Some faction's assassin (probably Liquid Metal Robert Patrick) killed Lenin and erased the Soviet Union, so Germany pretty much ignored Russia and was soon goose-stepping down Broadway. Daniels (Not dead yet! I feel happy!) assures our heroes that, convoluted as a time war seems, if Vosk is stopped, all these changes will reset. And Zachary Quinto will turn back into Leonard Nimoy if we all clap our hands hard enough.

Vosk doesn't need to bother shooting those who displease him. He just makes a note to erase them from history later like Chuck De Nomolos the Despotic Gym Teacher from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. Also Ol' Voskie meets the same sticky end as Senator Ron Silver from Timecop, in accordance with the Blinovitch Limitation Effect.

"Storm Front, Part II" asks the big questions. Does Daniels' receding hairline mean that in 9 centuries there's still no cure for the heartbreak of male pattern baldness? Or does he have a naturally high forehead from ancestors with a variety of prosthetic faces which cancelled each other out? Points to ponder as Season 4 wraps up ALL the dangling plot threads (except who was the Shadowy Figure and what was it all FOR) and gets to start making its own beautiful messes!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Storm Front

**** (4 stars out of 5)
As Winston Churchill put it so succinctly, there's no time to slow down, we've got to keep buggering on at freak-out speed. I think that was Churchill, anyway.

Captain Archer awakens in Nazi-Occupied New York state, 1944. Remans are colluding with Aryans to deliver tank-blasting plasma rifles and, soon, Joker toxin in the water supply. SNAFU, to coin a phrase.

Enterprise is here, too, their shuttle met with the standard hail... of bullets.

The Temporal Cold War got Hot, and here in the hottest pocket of all, Time-Spy Daniels got burned by paradox on the way to see Archer. Sections of his body are aging at different rates when he dies (again) with a dire warning on his ancient lips.

Alicia Masters.. uh, I mean, Travers lives in oppressed Brooklyn and conspires with Archer and half the cast of The Sopranos to resist the wave of homogenous Grey Supremacists. The in-fighting but diverse underdogs of America are mending ethnic fences to combat the evil alien threat, much as the Xindi did back in Season 3.

Silik of the Suliban rears his ugly head once more. Well, collapses his ugly head more than rears. Silik steals a shuttlepod, but he goes out of his way not to kill Tucker. (If Archer is crucial to Daniel's utopian future, Silik knows who to preserve when it comes to ratings!)

"Storm Front", and all of Star Trek Enterprise Season 4, was MINE, ALL MINE. No-one in my peer group was watching anymore, so I could stop caring whether it was clever, or good for me, and just be entertained by it again. It became my favorite season since All Good Things... 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Zero Hour

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Raise your mouse to the final episode of Season 3!  Reptiles on the Rampage! A Mammal Alliance racing to find and disrupt Death Sphere 41!

Daniels jumps Archer 7 years into the future. (That sounded a little filthy. Time-Jumps his bones? No, still a bit erotic...) To the day the Captain signs the Charter of the United Federation of Planets. Urges Archer to send Reed or some other peon to their death on the Xindi planet-cracker. "They are not crucial to the future of mankind. You are." Archer, as usual, pays him no heed. Sexy time-travellers are speed-bumps, not stop-signs!

A trio of trans-dimensional saboteurs attack Enterprise, striding through walls and zapping MACOs with space magic.  Just this side of 15 minutes in toxic space and Tucker's jiggery-pokery sends the demonic spheres back to blazes. With the human crew's skin cracking from the exposure, but probably nothing a vat of Space Noxzema couldn't cure. (Phloxzema?)

The Yosemite 3 research station- happiest place orbiting Earth! Until today. 40 unseen Yosemite Sams are killed by Dolim for an appetizer. (Really? This lizard needed lessons from Governor Tarkin. Day One: Alderaan. Day Two: head for Yavin. Day Three: blow up Yavin. Instead of: build a single-use prototype, give Alderaan a warning shot, spend six months building, testing, and debating, give Alderaan another warning shot.)

Shran and the Andorians ride to the rescue, running interference for Archer's boarding party to disarm the WMD. Archer's team pulls out, but the Captain trades punches with Dolim until the chance arises to stuff a grenade down the terrorist's pants. Then the victor's needful Running-In-Slow-Motion down an exploding gantry to nowhere as the Death Star goes blooey.

"Zero Hour" was Valentine's Day, 2154, although anomalies or a drug-addled slip of the tongue has T'Pol recording it as 2152. (Maybe she wishes the last two years never happened... or had been spent fighting Romulans or something canonical?) The Delphic Expanse is healing already. Probably no-one will ever hear of the Xindi again or mention how awful these events were as an object lesson at any point in the next century or so. It'll be like they never existed! The Xindi Aquatics thoughtfully give the banged-up starship a lift through subspace back to Earth in a day and squelch off somewhere for celebratory pie.

But what's this? It's an Earth without man-made satellites, without Lunar 1 colony, they can't even get Wi-Fi. It DOES have WWII planes and Remans dressed as Nazis, however! Twist Ending? Cancel us NOW, suckas!

At 65, T'Pol is getting too young for this shit.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)

Say, what's with the Reptilian shoulder-pads? They look like copper wire for a still. Is that what the projections at the neck are? Gin straws?

Through a drunken haze, the Xindi Reptilians and Insects require a third launch code. Hence they kidnapped Hoshi. She is compelled to break the code... or they break her.  Parasites injected into her brain are used to "reconfigure" her mind. She's supposed to wind up with a cabbage for a thinking-bag; more confused than a Kardashian.

Instead, she writes in MORE encryption and spits in his... I guess you'd call it a face? Her tormentor Dolim sometimes manages to take time out from his tanning bed to lead the attack through a subspace vortex to Earth. He also kills his Insectoid ally at the first sign that he's becoming too expensive a visual effect. We never even learned Buggo's name. Captain Needa, I think.

Xindi Primate Tucker Smallwood allies with Captain Archer, and the Sloths and Eels team up as well. For moral support and Posable Standing-Around Action!

The Sphere-Building 'Guardians' activated their poisonous fumes against this traitorous fleet of rebels. Things shoot at other things. Hayes leads the MACOs in Hoshi's rescue. And takes a phaser hit during beam-out. Hayes, no! He was my favourite... no, I can't sustain that.

"Countdown" got the outstanding VFX Emmy, beating out the only competition, another episode of Enterprise. It is the second-last story of an ambitious season-long arc. And if there's any complaint to be levied on my part, it's that The Original Series could have banged this moral out a heck of a lot faster: Look before you leap. Don't give in to hate. Peace on Earth was all it said.

OR maybe: Put yourself in the other guy's shoes. Stand united against the nature-destroying corporate juggernaut. OR, just maybe: you like explosions, don't you? Wait'll next time!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Council

**** (4 stars out of 5)
"The Council" is about (if you can imagine it) the council. Not the Council of Cross-Time Kangs, or (in this case) the Council of Cross-Time Demon-Borg-Queen-Changelings. The Council of Xindi, eh! And just as it becomes too late to matter, we learn their names at last.

Degra also shares all he knows about the Trans-Dimensional Hell Spheres. Not that he would call them that- he was raised to revere 'The Guardians'. These beings have been appearing from thin air and leading Xindi to food and shelter ever since their atomic squabbling cost them their home planet. Essentially gods.

Gods with giant machines full of horror show robot armatures that kill MACOs most efficiently! Poor Hawkins. We hardly... scratch that... never knew ye.

The Council meets in the majestic mountain aeries of the long-dead Avians. Real estate agents praise the view and the high ceilings, but downplay the heaps of pterodactyl skulls. We finally learn what drove the Xindi attack: a video. Either a doctored video or taken by 'The Guardians' in an alternate reality. A video of human starships blasting New Xindus to itty bitty chunks and twirling their moustaches. Yes, the starships have moustaches.

Aquatics love video- pictures are worth a thousand words of sonar. Archer wins them over with holograms backing up his song and dance. A delightful refrain called Your Gods Lied. He talks up the merits of a diverse and peaceful Federation. "That's a future worth fighting for." Or, alternately, as Hoshi points out "Some women can't resist the bad boys."

Bad Boy Reptile Politician Dolim stabs Degra, then he and his bugs and rangos steal the WMD and kidnap Hoshi for good measure. If there are any train tracks around, he's busy tying her to them. Then he's going to blow up the train tracks, every train, and everything, everywhere.

But perhaps most importantly, Phlox is losing weight with the Denaxian tapeworm method!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

*** (3 stars out of 5)

You know what they say. If you travel far enough, you eventually meet yourself.
More "Children of Time" turn up in Enterprise-2. Commander Lorian, son of T'Pol and Tucker is every inch a Tolkien elf. Karyn Archer is Jon's great-granddaughter. And probably 80% of everyone else aboard is named Ensign Phlox. The man is nothing if not prolific.

They were thrown back 117 years while under attack from some foreheads called the Kovaalans. Unwilling to interfere in their own timeline, Enterprise became a generational ship in a perpetual holding pattern. And even with eleven decades of planning, they somehow crapped up when it came to stopping the probe attack on Earth. Or even sending an evacuation warning?

But like Admiral Janeway and her shuttle full of Future Tricks, they bring techniques for tractor beams and Warp 6 speed. But they haven't got a cure for Reed- fated to be a bachelor all his days. (It's only because he and Major Hayes never admitted their gay love.)

Lorian couldn't give the order to collide with the probe at the cost of his crew. He blames his emotions for this tragic hesitation. His mother, however, tells her younger self "Follow Your Heart". So whaddya gonna do? And I guess if you run out of ideas again they could still show up somewhen shouting "Hi! What did we miss?"

"" is the shortest Star Trek title to date. Maybe there's a story out there about the grandson of Q: the lower case q. It's a well-performed tale with keen effects whose greatest sin is like all late-stage Trek: it's not boldly going where no one has gone before anymore.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Forgotten

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Degra is nearly convinced by the future Xindi artifact Archer gave him. (My Ancestor Burned a Swath of Devastation Across Earth and all I got was this Lousy Medallion.) He wonders if he might be working for a demon instead of an angel. Should he have voted for that egghead Gore after all?

Now he's teamed up with the humans. Yes, they have a parade of consistent facts, but everything they say sounds pretty flimsy. Plus Trip is restraining himself pretty hard not killing Degra- the guy most directly responsible for killing his sister.

"Erasing your memory probably wasn't the best way to earn your trust." says Archer too glibly. And despite this, Degra turns on his own species on behalf of strangers who have give him nothing but grief.

Speaking of things under pressure happening for no reason, the ship springs a leak and gushes plasma flame. Reed saves the ship while getting cooked with green radiation. His kids are gonna have gills or American accents or something.

Trip's attempts to write a letter to the parents of one of his dead team, "The Forgotten" Ensign Jane Taylor, lead him back to his grief, and T'Pol is there for him, envious yet still comforting.