Blu-ray review: Star Trek - Enterprise - Season Four
(CBS Blu-ray, M)
Imagine if Hitler had won the Second World War.
This is the main premise of the opening two part episode of season four of Star Trek - Enterprise. It's been done before in the original Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever but not like this.
In the newer story Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) is transported back to the Second World War. Hitler's troops have invaded America, with the help of aliens, and seized control of the White House from which they are about to bring the rest of the world to heel.
The final, and in my opinion the best, season of Enterprise, has much in common with its many forebears.
Brent Spiner, who played Star Trek: The Next Generation's android second officer of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, plays Doctor Arik Soong in a three part story. The story explores Data's lineage while linking him to the Eugenics War started by Khan Noonien Singh. It has a lot in common with the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Vulcan mysticism, introduced in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, informs the next arc set on Enterprise first officer T'Pol's (Jolene Blalock) home world. In it Captain Archer ends up carrying the katra, or living spirit, of the founder of Vulcan logic. Dr "Bones" McCoy did the same thing for Spock in Star Trek III, restoring his mind to his body on Vulcan.
Another original Star Trek series alien, the blue skinned and twin antennaed Andorians, finally get a back story in the next triple episode arc and it's inexplicably tied in with the plotting and scheming Romulans who also feature. Both were major players in the original Star Trek.
The Klingons, who first appeared in Star Trek with olive skins and smooth foreheads, went all bumpy headed in Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. In Enterprise's next three parter an explanation, other than the original special effects team couldn't afford prosthetics, is convincingly given after Dr Phlox (John Billingsley) is kidnapped by the warriors.
In A Mirror Darkly, the two parter which follows, can only be described as a love letter to the original series and may well be Enterprise's finest episodes. It's entirely set in the mirror universe, discovered by Kirk, Bones, Scotty and Uhura in the original series episode Mirror, Mirror, while also being a sequel to The Tholian Web in which the Starship Defiant disappears. The USS Defiant turns up in the mirror universe and the mirror Captain Archer wants it for his own. This two parter required an exact replica of the original Star Trek bridge to be built.
Enterprise's final arc deals with how many disparate species overcame obstacles to join forces to form the United Federation of Planets which would sponsor Kirk's five year mission of exploration. But the creators, curiously, chose The Next Generation's Commander William Riker and Counsellor Troi to look in on a recreation of the historic signing. The move, Enterprise's dumbest, alienated fans who criticised These Are The Voyages for depriving the show's crew of a proper farewell.
Season Four is, by far, the strongest of Enterprise's seasons with so many great arcs. Enterprise was mothballed way too early.
The Blu-ray release includes a great four part documentary on Enterprise's final year and a round table discussion between its top writers. If you like Star Trek and don't have any Enterprise in your collection start with this one. Star Trek is rarely better.
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