11/19/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "E²"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S03E21
Air Date: May 5, 2004
Written by: Michael Sussman
Directed by: Roxann Dawson

Premise
A temporal anomaly that occurred while trying to use a Xindi subspace corridor puts the descendants of the Enterprise crew in a position to help their ancestors.

Review
In the teaser for this episode, we see a very familiar face. Familiar not because it looks like an old T'Pol but because it looks like Bones McCoy from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Encounter at Farpoint."
Green-blooded hobgoblins stole my face!
The old T'Pol was instructing her son, Lorien, to find Captain Archer after having failed at destroying the first Xindi weapon. Which begs the question: who is Lorien's father? And if T'Pol is so old, how has Archer survived so long? Well, the scene after the teaser is of Trip asking for more neuropressure from T'Pol and T'Pol refusing. She's basically afraid of the lack of control her addiction to trellium had given her and no longer wants to continue the neuropressure sessions. But is she going to tell Trip that? Nooope!

Well, the Enterprise is on its way to a Xindi subspace corridor by which they will find the Xindi council and plead their case that they're not really the bad guys. The trouble is that they have to enter into a nebula to get to it, and stuff always goes down inside a nebula. On top of that, there are some nasty aliens that protect their territory around this nebula. The hope is that Reed will be able to use the nebula to scatter the bad aliens' readings and make it look like there's more than one Enterprise. And then, to the crew's surprise, there actually is more than one  Enterprise.

On sensors is and old, decrepit version of the Enterprise NX-01 commanded by Lorien. When Lorien comes over to the Enterprise, he tells the tale of how Archer had succeeded in his plan to pass through the nebula and into the subspace corridor, but that the two of them mixed together sent them into the distant past. The crew of the Enterprise then made it their mission to simply survive in the Delphic Expanse and wait for the first Xindi weapon to be launched so that they can stop it. Failing that, they waited still longer for Archer to come back around so they can help him stop the second weapon. All the while, crew members hooked up and started families. Most notably Phlox who had nine children with Corporal Amanda Cole. That lucky beast.
The "Doctor's Orders" line works every time.
Also, T'Pol hooked up with Trip to have Lorien, which gives Tri'Pol some more muck to wade through.

Well, after all this exposition, Lorien tells Archer he has the technology to get the young Enterprise to their meeting without using the subspace corridor. He says he can modify their engines to get them up to warp 6.9 and arrive just in time. The only problem is, Old T'Pol says there's a 22% chance that they'll explode if they do that. Well, Archer and Lorien get into a fight about whether or not that's a good idea and it ends in Lorien plotting to steal the young Enterprise's plasma coils to modify their own engines and make it to the meeting in Archer's place. That plan doesn't work out too well. It lands Lorien in the brig. There, he makes a plea to Archer where he says it's just as much his own mission to save Earth from the Xindi.

Meanwhile, T'Pol goes to have a chat with Old T'Pol about a different plan to use the nebula's odd properties to their advantage. In the course of the conversation, Old T'Pol informs Young T'Pol that she well never fully recover from the effects of the trellium. She's going to be emotional her entire life and she's just going to have to just deal with it. Most notably, Old T'Pol suggests using Trip as an emotional outlet. Well, this is pretty much the only way that T'Pol would ever concede to such an idea: if she told herself.
Forever emo
After all this, Archer decides it's better if he and Lorien work together, so he takes him out of the bridge and devises an awesome plan to get past the bad guys inside of the nebula that surrounds the subspace corridor. The nebula makes sensors go crazy and see shadows. Well, one of those shadows happen to be real when the old Enterprise moves away from the young Enterprise and fires back at the bad guys. That buys the young Enterprise enough time to get through the corridor, but the old Enterprise doesn't make it. They find themselves in the correct time and Degra arrives to announce that they're early for their meeting.

And they all lived happily ever after and learned a valuable lesson about time travel.

Overall Thoughts
The concept for this episode was rather intriguing, but it was kind of weighed down by exposition. I guess the main point was to bring T'Pol's story back to the forefront and explain that she would never have control over her emotions ever again and that maybe she has a chance with Trip after all. And the only way she could know that is if she met up with an older version of herself. However, with everything going on, this is just the beginning of a series of episodes that throw a whole lot of stuff at you without much time to digest. Overall, good enough for the excitement, excellent on character development.