FORMULA: Children of Time + Yesterday's Enterprise
WHY WE LIKE IT: Malcolm the disappointed bachelor.
WHY WE DON'T: Been there, done that better.
REVIEW: The problem with E² is DS9's Children of Time, an episode that did the same story so well, there was no reason to revisit it. In fact, there was every reason NEVER to revisit it again. As is, the story doesn't just reek of familiarity, but is also poorly motivated. Seemingly dropped into things at an opportune moment just before the season's climax, we never find out who the attacking aliens are, and the temporal anomaly has never been a problem for the Xindi using the subspace corridor or anyone else. Worse, the crew of the Enterprise² are following the script and have no sensible motivations of their own.
The notion that the Xindi have been catching echos of a Starfleet ship for a century is an interesting one, but the ship's crew, trapped in the past, have had ridiculously little success stopping the Xindi threat, and have been ridiculously successful at evading those same Xindi. The crew is now made up of the original's descendants (aside from a rubber-faced T'Pol crone), and all they care about it committing paradoxical suicide by preventing their ancestors from going back in time. Sure, their primary goal is stopping the Xindi, and for a captain that wasn't able to ram the first Xindi weapon, he's really not squeamish about "ceasing to exist". In fact, it's not a conversation anyone has until the very end, where it's a coda that sounds like it was copy/pasted from a Voyager script. And despite the obvious time ripples, there's no link to the Sphere Builders or to Daniels. It just doesn't fit.
If at least the fates of the crew in the past/future were interesting, but they're not. Trip and T'Pol get together, which isn't a surprise given where their relationship is currently going. Archer marries an alien. Ok, how are we supposed to care about this unknown character? Every conversation is one we've heard in Children of Time, with the only (amusing) exception being Reed learning he's to die a bachelor... Time for some emergency flirting! Otherwise, pretty dull.
There's little excuse for Lorien (Trip Jr.) to attack the original crew and take matters into his own hands. One interesting maneuver to come of it is beaming engine parts off one of the ships, but that's it. Ultimately, the E² does the only thing allowed in this kind of story, and that's sacrifice its existence to delay the aliens attacking its twin ship, allowing it to get out of the corridor without sliding back into the past. You see it coming 100 years away.
LESSON: Trip is a big fan of the Lord of the Rings.
REWATCHABILITY - Low: Terrible, unoriginal, useless nonsense, coming right as the show had picked up an insane amount of momentum.