*** (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!