The problems persist, though, because we could (and should) have had a set-up for the Romulan Wars, but instead are left with another silly cliffhanger that puts the wrong cap on what could have been an incredible episode. I'm not going to eff-up the ending for you, but let me suggest this only briefly... I think that writers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga have probably been reading a lot of Pierre Boulle lately and sighing "Hey, maybe we could use this in a Star Trek Episode!"
Let's take a look at some of the things that have transpired this season. The Xindi have proven to be a really interesting multi-racial group of organisms from the same home-planet that work together (mostly) as one. While it has been proven that their evil attack on Earth was guided by the Guardians, and not premeditated by them alone, it doesn't excuse the fact that for military strategists they sure make great shoe salesmen! I harp on this again... They're stupider than Bin Laden! They are convinced that they have to destroy Earth for their own safety, they have a weapon in the works that will destroy the whole planet and it'll be ready in just months so they send a test beacon out to wreck Earth, piss Earth off, wake up the sleeping Giant and make damned sure they get stopped by Earth. That's like walking up to someone and saying "I'm going to shoot you on May 26th as soon as I buy my gun!" and then being stunned that they are wearing a Kevlar Vest on that very day! HELLO!
Now, if anyone... anyone couldn't figure out from the Xindi folly that in actuality it's this very plot that brings humanity in to the expanse in order to destroy the Spheres then you've got a Trek-Mug Half-Full Optimism that betrays all evidence offered in the season. That's what's wrong with this entire Xindi/ Expanse season: The episodes aren't that bad, truly, but the entire premise is harder to buy than the Brooklyn Bridge! You have to buy in to this ridiculous concept just to get into the episodes. But if you think about it on more than a surface level you'll have issues buying into the rest of the season.
Still, there was a lot of interesting things taking place. The Andorians had a great and noteworthy presence in this season, making them likeable (and less ridiculous) for the first time! T'Pol (Jolene Blalock), now no longer of the Vulcan High Command has been experimenting with Drugs and Sex which makes here a more emotional T'Bod! Okay, I buy that, but what was the excuse for all the emotional Vulcans in the other two seasons? Trip (Connor Trinneer) has become a more angry and cynical Trip, but that comes and goes.
Most notable has been the Intrigue surrounding the Xindi Factions. Specifically Randy Oglesby's compelling portrayal of Primate-Xindi Captain Degra has proven to be the most dynamic of the season. Degra started out as a flat and dull character but through the interaction with Archer has become an interesting and complex figure in the Trek universe. The sect-clashes between the remaining Xindi on the Council has provided some excitement and interest, making the entire last half of this season more watchable than before.
In the Season Finale Linda Park has been given the chance to show her range and sell a little Crazy to us in this episode as the recently rescued Ensign Hoshi Sato! But it's a desperate bid for the crews of two (better make that three) ships as they chase the now-operational Xindi Weapon toward Earth! Archer is warned by that Time Traveling buddy of his that he must survive because the future of the Federation relies on it. But, like Billy and his Mogwai, he ignores the warnings!
The Stand-Up-And-Cheer part of the episode revolves around the arrival of Jeffrey Combs' Shran and his Andorian Warship to protect the fast but weak Xindi Cruiser filled with the "Good Guys!" Combs has made what was at one time a "throwaway" race a really fascinating element to the Trek universe again. He's got a range of acting and pathos that makes you forget he has rubber antennae on the top of his head! Here is no different as the unexpected Wahoo just might have saved the day.
And, naturally the day is saved. If anyone truly believes that the Enterprise creators were going to destroy the world or cancel the existence of the Federation, I have three words for you: "Aw, Come ON!" Established continuity, folks... they cheat on it like a cuckolded bride, but they've still got future series they want to sell the DVDs for! What's truly very, very good about this episode is that they do indeed wrap up the loose ends and fix some of the travesty of this past season quite nicely. We even get to see (at last) some real action from the poorly utilized Starfleet Troops! And the Finale of the Finale is just a blast on both fronts of the battle.
Well, that is until the last ten minutes. The last ten minutes of "Zero Hour" betray the forward-thinking of the first fifty or so. Here we get a Cliffhanger of sorts that (again) has to do with Time-Travel and a goofy re-working of the future. Here's what smells like ape-shit about that: At the time this episode was written and shot, Star Trek: Enterprise was on the Chopping Block and might well have been cancelled but quick, making this the Series finale! Now, wouldn't this be a dainty dish to set before the Comic Book Guy! As luck would have it UPN has renewed Enterprise along with America's Next Top Model, but they took a risk here that not even Evel Knievel would have touched!
Look, Brannon and Rick... I know you're trying to get ratings and all, but you're playing with a foundation that has things already built upon it. If you continue to rearrange the structure you might crash the whole building. Dudes, Enterprise is a Prequel series, the events of which take place long before anything we've seen in Star Trek before! Therefore, you need to start setting up some of the future here, and some time traveler alluding briefly to something called "The Federation" doesn't cut it, Clyde! Why do we have a Romulan Neutral Zone? Because of the Romulan War that took place about this time... that could have made this season incredible... and while you could have given us that for next season, instead, what do you give us? Alien Nazis! Alien... Nazis! Gene Roddenberry just rolled over in his Grave! I realize this is just a TV Show, but Star Trek fans are loyal, and if you piss them off by changing continuity at your whims, you've got no more target audience. It'd be like if George Lucas had wasted an entire Star Wars Prequel film on some Trade Dispute with cute characters acting silly instead of setting up the future we already know about. Good thing that never happened!
Maybe I'm that same Trek-Mug half-full Optimist out there, because I for one will keep on watching next season just hoping for a continuity hug! If the producers are worried that they can't have any surprises by giving us plots we're familiar with, let me ease their minds here... Season 3 was so damned predictable, you're better off giving us something we know about. Three and a half Stars out of Five for Star Trek Enterprise's third Season Finale "Zero Hour"! I had some excited high hopes for this one, but the last ten minutes reminded me that Gene Roddenberry's dead, and Rick Berman is Brain-Dead! Maybe if the Nazi had been a Romulan I could hang with this. Yeah! And maybe if the last season had been a Dallas like dream we could get back to some Pre-Kirk storylines. Well... it's better than Nemesis was!
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