Star Trek 703: Countdown

703. Countdown

FORMULA: Tears of the Prophets + Chain of Command, Part II + What You Leave Behind

WHY WE LIKE IT: The big battle. Poor Hoshi.

WHY WE DON'T: The superweapon's interior color scheme.

REVIEW: There's a lot going on in Countdown as the situation becomes more and more desperate. The reptilians are using a captured Hoshi to decrypt the uncooperative Xindi's arming codes, but can she resist their disgusting mind control techniques? It's hard to watch a sweet character like Hoshi get tortured, and bravely try to commit suicide rather than help the enemy destroy Earth. A raid on the superweapon provides an energetic firefight and successfully retrieves her, though at a cost. Major Hayes pays with his life.

It's an event that ties in strongly with Malcolm's arc. In an earlier scene, he had to face the Major about the lost Maco in the previous episode, a strong emotional moment. And after Hayes' death, he has to assume some leadership over the soldiers and rally their forces. Hoshi's not out of the woods as her insights into the superweapon's systems could prove useful, even if Phlox warns Archer that without treatment and rest, she may never recover. But it's do or die at this point.

The mission inside a sphere in The Council yields helpful information: Some spheres are control spheres which, if destroyed, can blow the whole network. One last appeal is made to the aquatic Xindi using this new data, and they join the fray. The ensuing space battle is really quite beautiful, especially when the aquatic ships blow, releasing water into space. It's a bad day for the Sphere Builders certainly, with even the reptilians questioning their motives (and yet content to use them to achieve domination) and the recalcitrant insectoids being cut loose. In an impressive show of force they activate one of their spheres to change the tide of the battle, unleashing destructive anomalies on the allied ships.

Obviously, we can't yet win. There's one chapter to go. The crew has to split up, with Archer and Hoshi out to raid the superweapon again, this time to destroy it, while the Enterprise heads for a control sphere to stop the Sphere Builders in the here and now.

LESSON: A single species is enough. Five just leads to inefficient democracy.

REWATCHABILITY - High: The hits keep coming!

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