Star Trek Enterprise was a great series with a terribly botched finale. I disliked it so much I decided to write my own.
I was an avid fan of Star Trek Enterprise until its last episode. The series finale was so disappointing I could only reconcile myself to the series as a whole by pretending it never happened and writing what I thought was the ideal ending. I’m not alone in decrying the finale a total disaster. I’d like to tell you here what was so wrong with it, but that would give too much away. However, if you really want to know, go to the end of this article and all will be revealed.
Star Trek: Enterprise Finale
Season 4, Episode 22 — Mission Accomplished
(replacing current Episode 22 — ’These are the Voyages’)
1. Enterprise Bridge — Day 1
Hoshi, Travis, Malcolm and T’Pol are on the bridge chatting from which we gather that they are on their way back to Earth for the signing of the Federation Accord and are considering their future plans after ten years on the Enterprise. They are all expecting to be notified soon of what positions they will be offered. Archer enters struggling with his speech for the signing ceremony and T’Pol reminds him that he has to speak to Admiral Douglas about decommissioning the Enterprise. Archer receives a call from the dining hall. An argument has broken out between two of the alien ambassadors on their way to Earth for the signing. Archer and Hoshi go to mediate.
2. Enterprise, Corridor — Day 1
As Archer and Hoshi make their way to the dining hall, a little boy with pointy ears runs towards them chased by an elderly Vulcan. Archer sweeps the child up in his arms, calls him Lorian and asks him what the rush is about. Lorian tells Archer he is looking for his Mother because his tutor has told him he will have to go to boarding school when they move to Vulcan and he does not want to go. He knows his Dad will never let him go so he knows he has to convince his Mother to change her mind. Archer assures Lorian there will be plenty of time to talk to his parents about school that evening and hands him back to his tutor suggesting he take Lorian to the playroom for a while to distract him. The tutor objects, but Archer is insistent.
3. Enterprise, Dining Hall — Day 1
Archer and Hoshi are engaged with the alien ambassadors. We are in the final throes of the argument and everyone seems to be talking at once. Finally Archer is able to calm them down and offer a practical solution to their complaints which the ambassadors accept with bad grace.
4. Enterprise, Corridor — Day 1
Hoshi and Archer are making their way back to the bridge. Archer is wondering how the Federation will ever be formed if there is such hostility over a minor issue. Hoshi praises Archer’s handling of the argument and Archer returns he could never have done it without her. Archer asks Hoshi about a communication she has received from the Provisional Federation. She tells him she has been offered a senior position with the Bureau of Interspecies Language and Cultural Affairs. Archer is happy for her. She asks him if he has decided to accept the position as an admiral on the High Command for the Provisional Federation Starfleet. He tells her he is reluctant to take up a desk job. Hoshi tells him the Federation Starfleet will not get off the ground without him. A little shyly she mentions that if they take those positions they will both be stationed in San Francisco and she will no longer be Starfleet, so the rules against fraternisation will no longer apply. It takes Archer a moment to realise what she means, but he finds the suggestion most welcome.
5. Enterprise, Bridge/Ready Room — Day 1
Back on the bridge, Archer asks for a word with T’Pol in his ready room. He asks her about what Lorian said about their going to live on Vulcan. He thought she had been appointed to the Vulcan delegation to the Provisional Federation to be stationed on Earth. She tells him she has also been offered a position with the Vulcan High Council, but she has not decided which position to take. Whichever she chooses Lorian will be going to school on Vulcan, to boarding school if she and Trip live on Earth. Archer is shocked and asks her if she has discussed this with Trip. She has not told him about any of it and asks Archer not to mention it to him. Archer agrees, but reluctantly.
6. Enterprise, Playroom — Day 1
Lorian is playing with a few other children and the nursery school teacher. The Vulcan tutor dourly watches on. Trip enters. Lorian is excited to see his Dad who sweeps him up into his arms. Trip plays with him and the child gets even more excited. His tutor stands Lorian up and reprimands him for showing such emotion. Trip tells Lorian to go and play with the other children and gives the tutor a strong talking to. Lorian is half human and humans are harmed by repressing their emotions, and, in fact, he believes his Vulcan side would also suffer. The tutor retorts that if the child is to go to boarding school on Vulcan he needs to be properly prepared. Trip is obviously angry and walks out.
7. Enterprise, Bridge/Ready Room — Day 1
Trip comes onto the bridge and asks for a word with T’Pol. They retreat into the ready room while the others exchange looks denoting that tensions between Trip and T’Pol are not rare. Trip demands to know what all this is about Lorian going to school on Vulcan. They had agreed he would go to school on Earth with a tutor giving him his Vulcan training at home, although he would prefer T’Pol to do that as she spends so little time with the child. She says she is too busy to give him the training but Trip knows it goes deeper than that. He tells her he knows she loves Lorian as much as he does and urges her to spend more time with him. It will be too late if she waits until he (Trip) is dead. Although she says nothing we can see this prospect upsets T’Pol. Seeing he is getting no response from T’Pol, Trip asks her straight out why she has changed her mind about Lorian’s schooling. T’Pol tells him about the offer of a position with the Vulcan High Council. Trip is obviously unhappy but quoting the Bible says ‘whither thou goest, I will go’ indicating he is willing to follow her to Vulcan. She must do what is best for her. Trip leaves without speaking to anyone and T’Pol silently returns to her post.
8. Enterprise, Mess Hall — Day 2
Malcolm, Hoshi, Dr Phlox and Travis are at a table together. Malcolm and Travis are excited. They have just been given their own Starfleet commands and are having an amiable argument as to which ship is better. They demand to know what Hoshi and Phlox have been offered. Hoshi tells them her news and Phlox announces he has been offered the position of head of the School of Interspecies Medical Research. They are all excited about their prospects, but at the same time they will miss the Enterprise and serving under Captain Archer. Trip joins them looking rather sad. They ask him what position he has been offered. He says nothing as yet, but is obviously lying. The others do not press him and leave him alone.
9. Enterprise, Mess Hall — Day 2
Archer enters and exchanges a look with Hoshi who indicates where Trip is sitting, miserable and alone. Archer joins him. Archer knows that Trip has been offered the position of Head of Star Fleet Engineering. Trip admits that he has not told T’Pol about the offer so as to let her make her own decision. Archer asks him what he would do if she decided to go to Vulcan. Trip says he would go with her, and anyway, it would be the only way he could be with Lorian as T’Pol insists he has to go to school there. Archer tells Trip he would have no position on Vulcan as no Vulcan would accept or trust him. Trip agrees, but he needs to be with T’Pol, whatever the cost. He begs Archer not to discuss this with her.
10. Starfleet Dry Dock — Day 3
We see the Enterprise enter a dry dock and in another dock close by is the brand new Enterprise-A.
11. Enterprise, Cargo Bay — Day 3
The whole crew is assembled and Archer is giving them a moving farewell speech. A crewmember asks what will become of the Enterprise and Archer tells them it will become an exhibition in the Starfleet Museum. Malcolm speaks for the crew in reply and leads them in cheering their Captain.
12. Enterprise, Corridor/Bridge — Day 3
There is a great deal of movement as crew members go back and forth preparing to leave the ship. Archer is accompanying Admiral Douglas who says he has a surprise for his senior crew. He joins them on the bridge and tells them the Enterprise-A will be commissioned on the following day, but he was wondering if they would like to beam over for a sneak preview.
13. Enterprise-A — Day 3
We see the senior crew excitedly exploring the Enterprise-A which is much more modern and spacious than the old ship. However, for all their fascination with the new ship, tensions are still visible between Trip and T’Pol.
14. Enterprise-A, Captain’s Quarters — Day 3
Archer and Admiral Douglas are alone. Douglas is telling Archer that it would just take a word from him and he could have the command of the Enterprise-A with his choice of crew, even keeping the rank of admiral. Archer asks why Douglas is making such an offer. He replies that Archer would be wasted at HQ. Men like him are needed out there in space. Archer asks if the rest of the High Command agrees with him. He has to admit they do not. Archer reminds him that he was one of the voices dissenting from the formation of a unified Federation Starfleet and asks if he still feels the same. Douglas says nothing, but his silence answers for him.
15. Enterprise-A, Bridge — Day 3
The senior crew have reached the bridge. They examine the equipment and available speed and engine power and marvel at how much more advanced it is than the old ship. Together they fantasise about how great it would be to serve on her under Captain Archer. When Archer enters, alone, they only half-jokingly declare that they should hijack the ship and go back into space. The communication console sounds and Starfleet HQ is asking for Admiral Douglas. Archer tells Hoshi to patch the signal through to the Captain’s quarters and exits.
16. Enterprise-A, Captain’s Quarters — Day 3
Admiral Douglas is just finishing the call when Archer enters. He tells Archer that an emergency has arisen. Archer’s old friend Shran, who has been appointed Andorian ambassador to the Federation, has gone missing on his way to Earth. The Andorians believe he has been taken by a rebel faction which is against Andoria joining a Federation dominated by Vulcans. They fear that if the rebels detect an Andorian or Starfleet ship they will kill their hostages. Archer proposes that as the Enterprise-A has not been commissioned it could not be identified by the rebels. Douglas authorises Archer to bring his crew onto the Enterprise-A and use it to get Shran back.
17. Enterprise-A, Bridge — Day 3
Archer joins the rest of his senior crew on the bridge and tells them they are about to get their wish.
18. Enterprise-A — Day 3
We see batches of the Enterprise crew being beamed aboard the Enterprise-A. We see Phlox and his medics sorting out his equipment in Sickbay. We see Malcolm and security men checking out the weaponry. We see Trip in the engine room giving orders to his crew.
19. Enterprise-A, Bridge — Day 3
Archer and the senior crew have taken their places on the bridge. Archer checks with Trip that the engines are ready to go. Archer orders Travis to disengage the clamps and take off.
20. Starfleet Dry Dock — Day 3
We see the clamps holding the Enterprise-A being disengaged and the ship slide out of the dock. As she moves away we can see the old Enterprise nearby looking old and tired in comparison. The Enterprise-A shoots away.
21. Enterprise-A, Ready Room/Bridge — Day 3
Archer is in his ready room talking to a senior Andorian on the screen asking for more information about Shran’s disappearance. He sends Archer a full report on the rebels and Shran’s last known co-ordinates. He says he cannot understand what Shran was doing well into the area under rebel control. He warns Archer the rebels hate Earthmen almost as much as they hate Vulcans and he fears that Shran may already be dead. He admits that there are factions in the government that share the rebels’ opinion so it is important for Andoria’s future in the Federation to undermine the rebellion’s influence by getting Shran back. They agree that the Andorians will stay well away until Shran and the other hostages are safely away. Archer goes onto the bridge and instructs Travis to lay in a course to the given co-ordinates. Travis tells him they should be there in 16 hours.
22. Enterprise-A, Captain’s Quarters — Day 4
Archer, Malcolm, T’Pol and Trip are eating together, but Trip and T’Pol are not speaking very much. In reply to Archer’s questions, Trip tells him that he has recently spoken to Lorian who is with his tutor at the Vulcan compound on Earth. With a pointed look at T’Pol, Trip says Lorian misses them. To break the tension, Malcolm asks what Archer’s plan is to rescue Shran. From what they have learned of the rebel stronghold it will be deep underground and so protected from their weapons, even if a full frontal attack were an option. Nor can they bring the Enterprise-A too close as the rebels might still recognise her as a Starfleet ship. Archer asks Trip to disguise one of the shuttle pods as a civilian trader. The men will go down to the planet on her, but T’Pol must stay behind because they can in no way rouse the rebels’ hatred of Vulcans. Archer lets Trip and Malcolm leave to see to the shuttle pod, but keeps T’Pol back.
23. Enterprise-A, Captain’s Quarters — Day 4
Archer asks T’Pol what is happening between her and Trip. T’Pol asks him not to interfere but Archer insists that when his two best friends are ruining their lives he cannot just sit by and watch. He asks if it is about going to Vulcan. T’Pol tells him she has decided it is her duty to take the position with the Vulcan High Council. Archer asks how Trip feels about it and she says he is willing to come with her. And what will he do there? T’Pol cannot answer. Archer says he knows Trip does not want him to, but he feels he must tell her the position he has been offered. He tells her that Trip loves her so much he is willing to give that up for her, but she will lose him if she does not give him something in return. It is hard enough for a human to love a Vulcan without her deliberately pushing him away. T’Pol leaves without answering.
24. Enterprise-A, Sickbay — Day 4
Dr Phlox is happily going about his business when T’Pol enters. She tells Phlox she has a headache. He examines her but quickly determines it is because of tension and asks her how things are going. She says there is nothing troubling her, but Phlox does not believe her and goes on chatting. She must miss Lorian. Rather than reply directly, she remarks that she wishes they had not named him Lorian. Every time she hears his name it reminds her that the other Lorian lost his father when he was fourteen. Phlox is beginning to understand what is troubling her and reassures her that this is another Lorian and another lifetime. She wonders if their daughter might not have died if they had not called her Elizabeth after Trip’s dead sister. Phlox asks if she still thinks about her. T’Pol admits she cannot let herself think of her. It still hurts too much. Phlox speaks gently to her. It is unfortunate, but death is a part of life and the longer one lives the more of it we have to face. He reassures her that Trip will live another sixty or seventy years barring accidents. T’pol remarks it is not very long. Phlox urges her not to dwell on the inevitable end, that way madness lies, but to live for the moment and make the most of Trip now while she has him. The best way to chase away the fear of death is by enjoying life now.
25. Enterprise-A, Bridge — Day 4
They have arrived at Shran’s last co-ordinates and are searching for traces of his ship. They discover an ion trail and decide to follow it deeper into rebel territory.
26. Enterprise-A, Bridge — Day 4
Through their long range scanners, they have discovered Shran’s abandoned ship in orbit around a planet. On the surface of the planet they discover a smaller space craft, but it does not seem to be a shuttle from Shran’s ship. T’Pol reports that there is a small settlement in the vicinity of the space craft. Archer, Malcolm and T’Pol leave the bridge.
27. Enterprise-A, Launch Bay/Shuttle Pod — Day 4
T’Pol takes last minute instructions from Archer as he, Trip, Malcolm and two crewmen get ready to board the disguised shuttle pod. They are all out of uniform and wearing cold weather gear. Malcolm is issuing weapons. Trip is the last to enter the pod. Before he does, despite the tensions, Trip and T’Pol exchange a small intimate gesture that conveys: ‘Take care of yourself.’ ‘I will.’
28. Enterprise-A, Bridge — Day 4
T’Pol is in command and orders the launch of the shuttle pod.
29. Planet Surface — Day 4
The planet is covered in ice and snow and it is as dark as evening even in the middle of the day. The shuttle pod lands close to the space craft and the crew disembarks. Trip inspects the space craft and tells them it is intact but has been damaged by weapons fire, though not recently. Archer speculates that Shran might have abandoned his ship willingly, which is not like him at all. Malcolm reads his instruments and indicates the direction the craft’s passengers took. They set off carefully, weapons at the ready.
30. Planet Surface — Day 4
The landing party has come to a narrow defile between two cliffs of ice and is under fire. Malcolm doubts they will be able to get past and is suggesting a tactical retreat and attacking with the shuttle pod. They hear a woman’s voice calling down from above. She calls them pink skins and demands to know what they are doing there. Archer says he owes Shran a debt of honour and has come to free him. The rebel leader accuses Archer of being an agent of the Federation and taunts him that he will never get Shran out and Andoria will never join their Vulcan-led Federation. Archer says he has nothing to do with the Federation and is a freelance trader. He is only there because he has heard that the Andorian government has abandoned Shran and have sent another ambassador to sign the Accord. Therefore Shran is of no value to them politically, but he would make it worth their while to hand him over to them. The leader says she is willing to negotiate and invites them in. As they enter the defile, they are all stripped of their weapons and communicators.
31. Rebel Camp, Central Cave — Day 4
The landing party is being ushered into an ice cave by armed guards. There they find a makeshift camp and several Andorians in civilian clothes but heavily armed. The rebel leader, a tall Andorian woman, approaches them. She asks how Archer knows about Shran and he tells her that in his line of business it pays to have informants everywhere. They haggle over the ransom until Archer agrees on a number of weapons and other equipment. As they make to leave, the rebel leader takes Trip and Malcolm as a guarantee of Archer’s good intentions.
32. Rebel Camp, Prison Cave — Day 4
Malcolm and Trip are thrown into another ice cave where they join Shran with his wife Jhamel, their little daughter Talla and the Andorian crew. Shran tells them that the rebels captured his wife and daughter so that he was forced to come after them. Trip immediately takes to little Talla, but when he speaks to her she replies that her name is not Elizabeth. Jhamel is embarrassed, explaining that Talla is still too small to block other people’s thoughts. Shran tells him the child responds more to emotions than thoughts and like her mother has healing powers. (We can see that under her influence Shran has mellowed.) Although we can see his sadness, Trip says he does not mind, and deflects Talla by telling her about Lorian.
33. Enterprise-A, Launch Bay — Day 4
T’Pol enters the launch bay as the shuttle pod doors are opening and demands to know where Trip is. Archer assures her he is all right, but he has to load up the shuttle and get straight back. He instructs the crewman to come with him to the armoury. We can see how distraught T’Pol is feeling.
34. Planet Surface — Day 4
The shuttle pod comes down to land close to the defile and Archer gets out. He shouts up to the guards that he has what their leader wants. The rebels surround the shuttle and take Archer and the crewmen into their camp.
35. Rebel Camp, Central Cave — Day 4
The rebel leader and her people, Shran and his party and the Enterprise landing crew are all gathered looking wary. A rebel enters and speaks to the leader in whispers. She confirms that Archer has brought what he has promised and says the hostages can be freed. Shran has to have the last word. The rebel leader just laughs at him and tells him the fight is not over yet. The Federation Accord can be as easily torn up as it will be to sign. The rebel leader orders some of her people to accompany the freed prisoners back to the shuttle pod to unload the cargo.
36. Planet Surface — Day 4
Archer leads the freed hostages and a few Andorian rebels out of the defile towards the shuttle pod, but before they can reach it their position is attacked by an Andorian military ship and in retaliation the rebels fire on the departing hostages. In the ensuing chaos Trip throws himself on Talla to protect her and is seriously wounded. Archer is also wounded. Malcolm tells Archer to call in the Enterprise to beam them up with Shran’s family. He, Shran and the crewmen will fight on and get back on the shuttle with the cargo, which should not be left in rebel hands. They cover the others until they dematerialise.
37. Enterprise-A, Transporter Room — Day 4
T’Pol is operating the transporter. Phlox is already there with his medical team as well as a security detail. Archer, Trip, Talla and Jhamel materialise. The medics take Archer and Trip away. T’Pol seems frozen to the spot. The security detail tries to usher Talla and Jhamel out as well but Talla goes to T’Pol and takes her hand. T’Pol looks at her, bewildered. Talla says nothing but we can see they are communing. Jhamel approaches to take Talla away. She places a hand on T’Pol’s cheek and seems to be reassuring her. The crewmen usher them out. Left alone, T’Pol sinks to the floor, overcome by her emotions.
38. Enterprise-A, Exterior — Day 4
A much battered shuttle pod enters the launch bay.
39. Enterprise-A, Launch Bay/Shuttle Pod — Day 4
With his arm in a sling, Archer, accompanied by Phlox and a team of medics, enters the launch bay as the shuttle pod doors open. Looking the worse for wear, Shran, a few Andorians and a crewman disembark. Shran sadly shakes his head and indicates the interior. Archer enters and sees Malcolm and the other crewman, together with an Andorian, strapped dead to their seats.
40. Enterprise-A, Cargo Bay — Day 5
Archer is presiding over the funeral of Malcolm and the crewman. Shran and Jhamel are there, but Trip and T’Pol are not. Archer talks about how their personal sacrifices are the price that must be paid for peace.
41. Enterprise-A, Sickbay — Day 5
Phlox is attending to Trip who is lying unconscious. Jhamel and Talla are also there. Talla is sitting by Trip with her head resting near his. Archer enters and asks how Trip is doing. Phlox says he is recovering slowly. In answer to his question, Phlox tells him T’Pol has not been to see Trip. Jhamel overhears the question and asks Archer not to be angry. If T’Pol has not come, it is not because she does not care but because she cares too much and cannot bear the pain. Phlox agrees. Archer nods and leaves.
42. Enterprise-A, Bridge/Ready Room — Day 5
Archer enters the bridge where everyone asks how Trip is doing except T’Pol. Archer asks T’Pol to join him in his ready room. Gently, he states that she has not been to see Trip in Sickbay. T’Pol does not answer. Archer tells her she has no idea how much it hurts him to see Trip so close to death. Trip has been his closest friend for ten years and they have faced death together many times. He has moved heaven and earth to save Trip in the past. He cannot bear the thought of losing him, but it would be worse if he should let him die without telling him how much his friendship has meant to him all these years. Phlox is convinced Trip will recover this time, but all the same, as soon as he can he will tell him how he feels. However, for all their friendship, Archer knows that it would mean so much more to Trip to know that T’Pol loves him as much as he loves her. Archer realises T’Pol has tears streaming down her face and he holds her close.
43. Enterprise-A, Sickbay — Day 5
T’Pol enters and everyone else silently greets her then leaves her alone with Trip who seems to be sleeping. She tentatively takes his hand, then brings it to her lips and kisses it passionately. Trip opens his eyes and smiles at her.
44. Enterprise-A, Sickbay — Day 5
Trip is sitting up and T’Pol is sitting by his side, holding his hand. She is telling him that she has decided to take the position on Earth and that Lorian should go to a human school while she undertakes his Vulcan training at home. Trip says that, before they settle down, they should take Lorian to visit Vulcan. He thinks his grandmother would have been proud of him. They look at each other in perfect harmony.
45. Star Fleet Dry Dock — Day 6
The Enterprise-A manoeuvres into dry dock next to the old Enterprise.
46. Enterprise-A, Transporter Room — Day 6
Batches of Enterprise crew are being beamed off the ship. The senior crew are last in line awaiting their turn. Trip is being pushed by T’Pol in a wheel chair. As they wait, Travis challenges Archer to admit he was offered command of the Enterprise-A. Admiral Douglas must have put them on that ship for a reason. Archer admits it and how tempting it would be to continue working with his crew, but he would just be holding them back from the brilliant careers ahead of them all.
47. Earth, Great Hall — Day 8
We see the Great Hall as Daniels once showed it to Archer, full of delegates from all over the galaxy. In the distance we can see Archer signing the Accord. In a row of seats at the front of the gallery, the Enterprise crew are proudly looking on. Archer gives a moving speech as he talks about how the Federation will bring peace, co-operation and friendship where once there was war, distrust and fear. He talks about the sacrifices that have been made to get to this point but how proud all those who have fought and died for this day would be and how proud he is of them. He says how all of the species in the Federation are different, with different strengths and abilities, but united they can make a perfect vehicle for them all to give of their best. There is a standing ovation and Archer looks towards his crew to include them in it. We close on Archer’s face showing pride, humility and inner peace.
Spoiler alert: see above
What was wrong with the original finale? Where do I begin?
1. It isn’t real, but a holoprogram being viewed — and constantly interrupted — by Commander Riker and Counsellor Troi from The Next Generation. Riker is trying to decide whether to tell Captain Picard a deep secret, so is observing Commander Trip Tucker’s relationship with his captain. Riker takes the part of the ship’s chef in whom various members of the crew confide about Trip while he teaches them to cook. This is taking up the running joke in the series in which everyone talked about the ship’s chef, but we never met him. No one ever talked about confiding in the chef, and one certainly can’t imagine him sanguinely listening to their problems while they made a mess of his kitchen.
2. The much anticipated relationship between Trip and T’Pol has come to nothing, even though almost every episode in the preceding season seemed to be designed to bring them closer together and foreshadowed their eventual marriage and parenthood. We are never told why it didn’t eventuate. All we have is T’Pol wondering what might have been and Trip expressing no regrets. Neither is particularly plausible and horribly disappointing for the viewer.
3. The action line is ludicrous at best. The Enterprise is on its way to the signing of the Federation Accord, the culmination of all the crew’s efforts and sacrifice, but is waylaid by an appeal from Shran. Since being dishonourably discharged from the military, Shran has got involved with criminals who are holding his daughter hostage. Archer agrees to help him retrieve her, but when they do the criminals board the Enterprise. Afraid they will delay Archer’s arrival on Earth in time to sign the Accord, Trip lures them into a trap and kills them and himself in what, to the viewer, looks like a totally unnecessary self-sacrifice.
4. Trip’s self-sacrifice is the historical fact Riker has come to observe and he is hoping it will guide him in making his own decision. However, to the viewer, there seems to be no comparison between his dilemma and Trip’s. One is left with the impression that Riker’s and Troi’s inclusion in the episode was a totally artificial, obtrusive, unnecessary and ultimately unsuccessful contrivance to bring closure to the Star Trek universe.
© Pauline Montagna 2016