692. Chosen Realm
FORMULA: Basics + Cold Front + Let This Be Your Last Battlefield + The Catwalk
WHY WE LIKE IT: Archer's deception.
WHY WE DON'T: Frustrating setbacks. All too familiar.
REVIEW: Though it starts off interestingly with pilgrims that view the spheres as sacred sites and the anomalies as the "Makers' breath", Chosen Realm descends into yet another Enterprise hijack episode, something prevalent in the first two seasons. At least the crew never takes the ship back the same way, eh?
The Triannons are religious extremists, complete with suicide bombers, which is a topical and thus worthy subject. Unfortunately, their motives and actions are rather frustrating to the audience. Firstly, blind faith used for violent ends should be frustrating to any Trek fan. If the show is about exploring our world, people who ignore that world, destroy information, and refuse all arguments but their own are its anathema. More to the point, didn't we just go through a number of episodes to get the map of the spheres, lost again now?!? You want each episode to matter, not have its accomplishments reset (some of the database will be saved, but still). D'Jamat keeps saying he and Archer are more alike than we think, like it's some kind of mantra, but it's hard to see. Here is a man who calls everything that goes his way "ordained" and everything that doesn't "interfering". With self-aggrandizing delusions like this, how can I relate to him at all?
Worse still, the reason for D'Jamat's crusade is ridiculous, harking very clearly to Let This Be Your Last Battlefield: He believes the spheres were made in 10 days, the heretics think it took only 9. Where TOS was adept at these kinds of moral, ironic fables, Enterprise fails. It's just stupid in a more realistic show and calls attention to itself. They might have left it at that, but once we get to their homeworld, it's been destroyed like in Last Battlefield. I mean really, how about doing something new with it?
On a brighter note, I love Archer in this episode. Though his volunteering himself to be put to death in lieu of naming a crewman was expected, his use of the transporter as a merciful execution is just brilliant. A great way to get into the bowels of the ship and work to take it back. His MSN conversation with Phlox just made me smile. The doctor's role in the insurrection is good (sickbay always seems central to any retaking effort), with a nice cameo for his bat.
LESSON: Always have a screen saver ready when surfing porn.
REWATCHABILITY - Low Medium: We've seen a lot of it before, though the bits that are new are good.