**** (4 stars out of 5)
I've rarely read so many negative reviews for a single episode of anything! And yes, I still really like it. Despite the fact that it shunts the regulars aside... and reminds us that they are centuries dead... and that a minor crisis Riker resolved years ago was retroactively because he and Troi liked to watch these people on the holodeck on the Enterprise-D during commercial breaks!
"Just beyond the next planet, just beyond the next star there would be something magnificent, something noble," says Archer, and for the most part, he was bang on.
But what do we learn today? We jump six years ahead and nobody mentions the Romulan War. Nobody on the bridge got a promotion or changed AT ALL. Except Shran, who had a cute half-Aenar looking kid.
"You got any advice?" Riker asks Trip in what will turn out to be the last day of his life.
"No." Trip laughs. And I can't top that.
So it's 2161- dignitaries from 18 different worlds are present when Jonathan Archer signs the charter of the United Federation of Planets. And the most important moment of all of this... is his heartfelt hug for the alien. I've read that many were mad that Riker ends the program BEFORE we get to hear Archer's speech to the fledgling Federation.
But, c'mon. We KNOW the speech! We've all heard it many hundreds of times. And we hear it again. From Picard, from Kirk, and yes, from Archer. It begins: "Space. The Final Frontier..."
"These Are the Voyages..." divides even those few who claim to have seen it. For many, it was a stumble at the finish line. For myself, a tired but sincere love letter to an era that will never come again. Just as Jar-Jar Binks is BOTH a loveable sweetheart and a tooth-grinding screw-up, there's nothing hindsight can improve. With 25 seasons produced in the 18 solid years leading up to this ending, some were brilliant... and some were worn out.
IF you felt Enterprise was robbed of its own finale, I can only say (Season 4 notwithstanding, and let's not forget I'm easily Season 4's biggest fan) that if Enterprise had spent less time coasting on the goodwill of previous series and more time innovating it might have deserved one.
But this is not the end. As Captain Archer toasts: "Here's to the next generation."