Thursday, August 1, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
With a page from the IMF manual, Captain Archer attempts to hoodwink and bamboozle the bad guy into coughing up the skinny. In a tiny ship mock-up complete with Star Tours buffeting machines and video warp-drive windows, the Captain claims to be the reluctant former cell-mate of Degra, the Xindi Primate scientist who built the WMD that incinerated a lot of choice land around and possibly including Disneyworld. Also seven million people.

In Archer's scenario, plied with booze and fanciful tales of daring do, he claims Earth was already destroyed but the Xindi were conquered from within by those dastardly Insectoids, who found it amusing to imprison Primate Archer with his greatest enemy. The pair of whom then miraculously escaped somehow! Archer does have a history of jailbreaks, actually, but this is a tissue of lies. Which works. (After the second level of tissue.) Degra reveals the location where the ultimate weapon is being assembled. His memory of having sold out the Xindi is then erased- just like his memory of being captured by Enterprise in the first place. Take that, Denobulan medical ethics!

If you find Degra sympathetic; just a father doing what he must to save his children and his race, congratulations, you have a developed sense of compassion and mercy. If you find Archer's false pretenses offensive, just keep saying "seven million people".

"Stratagem" finally deigned to make a Xindi into a person instead of a snarl and couple of cheek divots. Solid performances, all the tense, vicious shades of grey you can eat.

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