1/15/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "These Are the Voyages..."

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise?
Episode: S04E22
Air Date: May 13, 2005
Written by: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga
Directed by: Allan Kroeker

Synopses
After four years of hearing fans complain about Enterprise, Berman and Braga decide to make a Next Generation episode. In which Riker consults the final mission of the Enterprise NX-01 to help him make a decision.

Review
It's ten years after the Enterprise NX-01's first mission and Archer and the crew is getting ready to put the ship in proverbial mothballs. Or... rather... wait, no, it's hundreds of years after the Enterprise NX-01's first mission and Riker is in the holodeck reviewing the Enterprise NX-01's final mission. Because of reasons. After HoloArcher goes over a speech he's writing, Riker is called to the bridge. He pauses the holoprogram and leaves, thus blowing everyone's minds.

In the NX-01's final mission, Archer was preparing to form the United Federation of Planets with a rousing speech like he's so good at making while Trip and the rest of the crew set up the Enterprise to be put in a museum. But back on the Enterprise-D, Riker consults Troi in Ten Forward. He says he's not sure how the simulation is supposed to help him make a confidential decision, but Troi is certain he'll make the right decision. They go for a walk down the hallway and Troi suggests that Riker takes on the role of the ship's chef. Apparently everyone on the ship opened up to chef, even though in four years we still haven't seen him.

Meanwhile on the bridge of the HoloEnterprise, HoloShran contacts HoloArcher, which comes as a surprise to HoloArcher because HoloShran is supposed to have been three years dead. Shran explains that certain people needed to think he was dead because of reasons. But now he's back to call in a favor that Archer owes him. Because someone stole his daughter asking for something that Shran doesn't have in return.
They're asking for my dignity, Jon.
After Riker puts the simulation into "objective mode", he's able to walk around and watch the crew like the voyeur we always knew he was. CreepyRiker watches as HoloT'Pol objects to HoloArcher helping HoloShran because they're going to be late to the formation of the HoloFederation. But Archer finally convinces her that helping is the right thing to do and then tells her to go see the chef. That's when CreepyRiker sees his chance! He jumps into the chef's apron and goes to the galley to discuss with T'Pol Trip's loyalty to Archer. After T'Pol gives him advice about trusting human instincts, CreepyRiker pauses the holoprogram and gives T'Pol a sexy, sexy kiss on the cheek.
Aww, yeah, baby, shave those carrots.
Back on the Enterprise-D, Riker reviews the crew compliment of his former ship, the USS Pegasus, he was on this ship when a classified tragedy caused it to blow up along with all but about nine people, including him and the captain. Troi enters and tries to talk about it, but Riker refuses. Instead, he decides to show her around the Enterprise NX-01. All their nostalgia circuits overload as they look around the 200-year-old ship. And then they blow everyone's mind by saying that Trip had no idea he would never return from the last mission.

Archer and the gang work out a plan to save Shran's daughter and in the middle of it Troi says that Archer is cute. After that, Troi leaves Riker to his own musings, and Riker dresses as a MACO as the rescue team takes a shuttlepod down to Rigel X. During the ride down, T'Pol talks to Trip about their former relationship and makes everything all awkward.

Shran and T'Pol approach Shran's daughter's abductors with a case. They make the exchange and inside of the case ends up being some kind of flash grenade disguised as a huge gem. Well, the flash goes off and a firefight ensues. Trip almost dies by falling off a catwalk, but Archer saves him. They make it back to the Enterprise and laugh about it later, but you just know there's more to come.

But first Riker has to pause the program. He meets with Troi for lunch and then spills the beans about the decision he's trying to make. Turns out his old captain was testing a cloaking system which was illegal under the Treaty of Algeron and that's what blew up most of the crew. Well now that captain is back and wants to restart the cloaking tests. And Riker is trying to decide whether he should stay quiet about it or tell Picard. And I guess the holoprogram is supposed to teach him about loyalty?

Well, here's when he learns it. When the guys who took Shran's daughter come back and board the Enterprise, Archer and Trip confront them. Trip says he'll take them to Shran, but Archer protests and the bad guys knock him out. Then Trip takes them to what he says is a comm room and then connects a couple of wires... and explodes. Trip sacrifices himself for the good of Shran, the good of Archer, the good of the Enterprise.
Here lies Charles "Trip" Tucker: Devoted husband and father in some other universe.
After the crew mourns Trip's death and T'Pol tries and fails to fight the emotional effects of trellium addiction, Riker goes back in the simulation to a point in time where they were on their way to pick up Shran. He dons the chef's apparel again and speaks with Trip. He has a touching chat with him about how much he trusts Archer. And something clicks in Riker's mind.

After that, we get a glimpse of something we had witnessed from afar when Redshirt Daniels took Archer into the future: the formation of the United Federation of Planets. We witness Archer preparing to make his speech and thousands of aliens convening in a huge auditorium. Behind the crowd, Troi watches in admiration. T'Pol straightens up NervousArcher in a back room and, after saying he looks heroic, leads him out the door where he stands in front of an applauding crowd. Riker then joins Troi, they end the simulation, and Riker says he's going to spill the beans to Captain Picard.

The end of the episode is an awesome, inspiring recreation of the classic Star Trek opening in which Captains Picard, Kirk and Archer can be heard over the visuals of their respective ships saying "Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange, new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilization; to boldly go where no one has gone before."

Overall Thoughts
This episode suffers from the same problem that the last episode of Lost suffered. That is, no problem at all. Except the fans misinterpreting it. No, the entire series was not just a holodeck recreation. It was just this episode. This was a great way to end the series. It wrapped everything up nicely along with a healthy dose of nostalgia and lore. The only gripe I have with it is that TRIP DIED AND TRAVIS DIDN'T!