Oooh! That's gonna leave a scar! The A4T "Expanse" Review


Okay, short teasers (<1 minute!) can be just as chilling and effective. Here I've been whining about how lame the teasers are and the last three eps have been amazing. Knowing Trip comes from Florida, and that his family was down there just made it worse. Very, very unsettling. The devastation, by the way, lies a fair bit east of the *real* location of >> Tucker's Corner, Charlotte County, Florida.


Surprise #1: Klingons! It's all about the honor. That and the blood wine.


The meeting scene was great - Serious Business. Archer lays it all out quickly: "There's been an attack on Earth. An alien probe. A million casualties."       Why?" Trip asks.


First Echo of Cogenitor: The following scene was a matched piece with Cogenitor - very cleverly done. Archer, in pain, at the window; Trip entering, also in pain, out of focus. Trip wants to know "What part of Florida?" We know now that he had a "baby sister", an architect. He seems so protective of her - bragging about "letting the boys in her class get a good look at him" so they'd leave her alone. When his voice cracked, I got a lump in my throat. His "What part of Florida?" got more demanding and desperate each time. "What species? Why would someone do this??"


Surprise #2: Suliban! They kidnap Archer (again - is he the most kidnapped captain in history?) and take him to Silik (yay Silik!) who brings him to Future Guy. That was an inspired scene, although oddly brief and almost too convenient. Archer still can't get a clear picture of the TCW after all this time, but now he knows what he needs to do. Another faction? More powerful weapons on the way? And then, FG actually says, "You must not let them [them!] contaminate the timeline!"


Archer then has an unfortunate scene with T'Pol where he seems peevish and petty - not the great "Take your Vulcan cynicism and bury it!" but a pale copy of that, for no reason.


At this point I realized what I didn't like about the ep -- it was going too fast. More about this below...


Montgomery got one of his best lines, "That's our sun!", a poignant moment that really drove home the idea of, well, "home" and that it has been two long years for them.


Surprise #3: Klingons (Duras) again. As the fire and T'Pol identifies the ship, Archer finally says something smart: "Duras!" Bout time. Surprise #4: Three more NX's show up to help Enterprise- nice.


Then, the first view of the devastation. Trip isn't even looking at the screen anymore. He's just standing there, numb and frozen and staring down into a very dark place. Have a kleenex handy - it's a short, powerful scene. :´-(


Surprise #5: The Delphic Expanse (if *only* that was a nod to Douglas Adams). Creepy-World, apparently. Anomalies, Laws of Physics go haywire, a Bermuda Triangle with filetted Klingons.


Second Echo of Cogenitor: Soval says that Archer's claims of time travel and so forth are "Typical of your impulsiveness." Archer's? Starfleet's? Humans'? Oh, the tremendous irony to have that word come back and bite him. Still, Forrest believes him and Soval can't help but wonder about time travel.


The Xindi (Future Guy's name for them): vaguely Roswellian. Apparently humanoid in body shape (although lots of mist blocked the view) and big-eyed, big-head creatures.


Odd interlude with a Vulcan, Dr. Ferat, masquerading (badly) as a doctor concerned about radiation, while actually giving Archer the third degree about his "feelings". He sure rubbed me the wrong way and it didn't take long for Phlox to uncover his lie. Would Soval really stoop to having Archer committed? Phlox is very very protective of Archer. Why? Is it respect?


One For the T*M Crowd, Part 1: Trip and Malcolm view the swath of destruction first hand. Now there's a friend - someone who'll go with you past the gates of hell to find out what happened. There's nothing left of the town where Trip's sister (Lizzie) lived. "The house was over there. And that was the old theater." Trip took his sister to see movies "or she'd howl like a Banshee." {{Gawd! Could he be any more perfect?}} Malcom tries to keep things positive, but Trip knows she's gone. "Someone woulda heard from her." He's quite flat in this scene. No tears, no worrying, just caught up in what *was*. This is quite accurately portraying his loss, so good on the writers.


Enterprise gets a 'retrofit', which to us California folks means the put in some highly visible I-beams to hold up the walls. In fact, the ship looks exactly the same when it leaves space dock. Hmm.


Surprise #6: Military men are coming on board the ship (but aren't seen). At Archer's request! Did he ever answer Forrest's question of why? And what exactly is Starfleet? A civilian NASA descendant? I always thought they were very much military. Let's *hope* these are the redshirts and that they won't screw with the cast lineup too much.


Phlox/T'Pol: a beautiful, typical, self-aware discussion. He remains coy (why?) about everything she says. She stands and stares as she thinks about her future. Phlox declares his allegiance to Archer, but I don't know where that's coming from. It's heartening, but odd. They even reference the "here we are, the two aliens, talking" thing that so many have noticed about them.


One For the T*M Crowd, Part 2: New photon torpedoes (which Malcolm is showing off) give way to an angry ANGRY hallway exchange, the likes of which we haven't seen since Shuttlepod One. As was predicted, Malcolm tries to help Trip deal, but Trip won't have it. In fact, instead of bringing them closer, it's driving them apart. Trip only really opens up to Archer. But I'm getting ahead of myself ;-) Malcolm asks about a memorial for Trip's sister, but this isn't what Trip wants. When Malcolm pushes a bit harder, Trip snaps at him - "She's DEAD. I'm gettin' real tired (SOPJ) of you tellin me..." Then he whips around again, when you think he's let it go. "Let it alone! Why don't you go work on your torpedoes so we can blow the hell out of these bastards?!?" This scene really bears repeated viewing. Was Trip's slide into vengeful anger believable? I think so. Was his outburst too strong? No, it was a cry. You don't yell unless you know someone is listening. I think Malcom was listening and will step up.


The Expanse is creepy: Exhibit A, Vulcan Horror Movies. When Trek goes dark, it really goes *dark*. Apparently, the Expanse can drive Vulcans to self-destruction and madness, and we get quite a long scene of it, too.


T'Pol and Soval: I wish we knew why he is so protective of her. I still like Myst's "Dad" theory, but who knows. She is quite independent but still manages to sound petulant at the same time.


Archer*Trip Moment: Boy I liked this scene. And not just the delicious soft brown snug shirt on Trip or Archer's well-draped gray one. Where was I? Oh, yes, the conversation: Trip and Archer are the only ones up (plot bunny #1) drinking beer and discussing their feelings (plot bunny #2). Several very interesting remarks about T'Pol.

Trip: You're (<---) gonna miss her, aren'tcha?

Archer: She does kinda grow on you.

Trip: (vague response)

Archer: I'd think you'd be the first to show her the airlock.

Trip: (vague response)

Trip: "To Henry Archer" ( the card if you have it)


(then things turn to the seriousness of it all)

Trip: There's a lot riding on this and on you.

Archer: The weight of the world

Trip: Literally.


(then things turn cold and sharp)

<vengeance seeking, shit-kicking>Trip: Tell me we won't be holding back. (anger rises) None of that Non-interference crap. Find the people who did this. </vengeance seeking, shit-kicking>

Archer: We'll do what we have to.... Whatever it takes.


Brilliant. Archer knows Trip well enough not to push now, but to let Trip push. How will Archer reign him in?


Two days from Vulcan and ready to drop off T'Pol, but she's "gotten used to Chef's adequate food", and (cue music) "I've grown accustomed to (your face)." T'Pol dumps her career with the VHC and joins the Earth team, but as what? A civilian? A liaison? Will she still outrank Trip? "This is not time for me to leave. You need me!" (Was it me or did Hoshi look quite happy?)


The Expanse: marked by a cloud barrier. The crossing is long and uneventful. Whiny!Hoshi returns, sadly. MORE Klingons. Duras orders Archer's surrender. "Go to hell!" (Nice one, Jon.) Even the Klingons fear the Expanse. All but Duras leave. Mayweather pulls the oldest dogfight trick and loops up and over to his Duras from behind. No more Duras. Maybe *Archer* is the reason for three centuries of human-klingon hatred?


Archer asks Trip if the ship is too damaged. "No sir. We're good to go."


Quibble: What about the big *circular* explosion in the promo? Oddly, I was hoping it would NOT happen, because it was too destructive (planetary) and then I never saw it. Did I miss it?


So, it was great. It should have been greater, and would have been, at two hours:

*more Trip, more pain, more Tuckers

*more Expanse creepiness, esp. at the end when they entered

*more T'Pol, more Soval, more public resignation

*more retrofitting, more visible

*more sense of "being too far and coming home too late"


Thus ends Season Two. Will Trip be angry and vengeful? For how long? Can Reed coax him back from the darkness (or show him how to channel it)? Can Archer save Trip from himself (as he's done twice already in their time together)? I CAN"T WAIT. Serious withdrawal is already kicking in....