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Another aspect of this episode is the parallels we can draw to our own world conflicts right now. Having it set in the desert with Zobral obviously an Arab-like character didn't help things much. Frankly, after "Detained" and all the other media frenzy over 9/11, it is just overkill at this point. Surprisingly though, Archer sympathizes with the "terrorists" which I found interesting. He didn't really know what acts these people had committed. Frankly, I have no sympathy for terrorists. While Zobral had said they had tried all "legal" means to communicate their views to their government and were forced to resort to violence it still doesn't allow for attacks on civilians which is what Trellit had said they were doing. In DS9, Kira and the Bajorans had been terrorists as well but they were fighting Cardassian soldiers not civilians on Cardassia (at least as far as I know) and the Cardassians were brutal and had "killed" millions of Bajorans. Regardless, I think this episode sends the wrong message.
On a lighter side, seeing Archer and Trip playing the lacrosse-type game was fun. They are "very" handsome men and are easy on the eyes. The music in this episode had movie-like qualities and I enjoyed it very much. Zobral (Clancy Brown) was a hoot as the alien leader of the terrorists. His accent was a bit cheesy but I liked it nonetheless. I liked how he looked slightly menacing with lines like: "I should warn you, Captain - I am easily offended." and yet charming at the same time. One thing I wonder about is the one shot of Trip getting up during the Geskana game. They used videotape here instead of film and it really stood out. Wonder why they used it?
Unfortunately, most of the second half of the episode deals with Archer and Trip crossing the desert. Frankly, at this point, I found the episode boring and plodding. It's not like we didn't know they weren't in any real danger after all. It almost seems like this part was tacked on to wrap up the story and get us to the oh-so important foreshadowing of the Prime Directive. I wonder if because of 9/11 they did a re-write of this episode.
I give this one a C-.
Gisele La Roche,