Demons: Enterprise has returned to Earth — for like the 10th time in the fourth season — for a summit with all the aliens Archer has buddied up with (Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, etc.) to form an alliance. But a woman with mortal wounds enters as the conference begins and gives T’Pol a strand of hair — which turns out to be from a human/Vulcan child created with T’Pol and Tucker’s DNA. The child was created by Terra Prime, an isolationist group who wants limited contact with alien races, who plans to use the child as a symbol of the evils of inter-species breeding. T’Pol and Tucker try to find the child and are quickly captured (duh) by Terra Prime’s leader, John Frederick Paxton (Peter Weller), who is based on the moon. The episode ends as Paxton takes control of some devices used to divert comets on Mars and aims them at Starfleet Headquarters — and broadcasts his threat to wipe it out if all aliens don’t leave the system.
Terra Prime: With the summit in danger of collapsing, Archer leads a dangerous mission to get to Mars and stop Paxton. T’Pol and Tucker are still held captive and T’Pol learns the child is dying. Eventually, the good guys prevail, but the child (whom T’Pol names Elizabeth after Tucker’s sister who was killed in the Xindi attack) dies — apparently, a result of Vulcan/human incompatibility. Archer returns to the conference and gives a speech that results in rousing applause, with the idea that the alliance will still happen. The episode ends with T’Pol and Trip talking after learning that Paxton’s methods — and not genetic incompatibility — led to Elizabeth’s death.
Why it’s important
It’s sort of hard to figure to what degree, but the groundwork laid here apparently leads to the Federation and the events in the next episode. So, even if the conference in this episode just paved the way, it’s extremely important.
Also, there’s a cool callback to Colonel Green, an historic bad dude mentioned way back in “The Savage Curtain”. Naturally, Paxton admires him.
What doesn’t hold up
Well, Paxton’s plan is really strange.
In addition to taking over the comet-deflecting thing, he genetically engineers the human/Vulcan hybrid to make a larger point about inter-species breeding. And, I guess, that could have been somewhat disturbing to some people.
But why bother making the kid a combination of Trip and T’Pol? It’s sort of alluded to that Paxton knows that the two of them had been intimate, but why not just make a hybrid child with any old Vulcan and human? There was just no advantage for Paxton if Trip and T’Pol are Elizabeth’s parents, and getting both of their DNA couldn’t have been easy.
Then, there’s the plan to find the child. First of all, sending T’Pol (a Vulcan) to a supposed hotbed of isolationist activity makes NO sense. But beyond that, Trip and T’Pol were global celebrities after the Xindi incident. That neither of them wore any sort of disguise was just ridiculous.
There was a lot of subplotting that didn’t make it into our review, from the Mayweather/reporter love thing to the Terra Prime spy on Enterprise to Sato taking command of Enterprise while everyone else is on Mars to the Earth “minister” (Harry Groener) who previously had been in Terra Prime. The two-parter covers an awful lot of ground — and even despite the strangeness noted above, it works pretty well.
Some consider “Terra Prime” to be the “true” finale of Enterprise, as “These Are the Voyages …” was not well-received. More on that later this week.
Coming later this week …
Trek’s least favorite finale. And no, we’re not reviewing “Turnabout Intruder”.