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It was impossible to avoid spoilers for this episode and I really wish I hadn't known the Borg were going to be featured in it. It would have indeed been a "big" surprise. The last thing I expected was to see them after they were so overdone and reasonably easy to defeat in Voyager. They are somewhat wimpy here too but at least this time there is a reason. There are only a handful of them and their ship is a small, modified transport. So far I haven't seen spoilers for the next three shows and have avoided the newsgroups and mailing lists in order to ensure I don't. I really prefer to be surprised and I especially don't want to know anything ahead of time about this season's finale which I expect will be a good one. I won't be responding to any mail regarding this review and any other till after the 21st in order to ensure the episodes don't get spoiled but do write to me if you like as I shall answer any mail I get concerning Enterprise after the finale.
There are some things I found annoying about this episode. For one thing, isn't it rather convenient that Phlox finds such a quick "cure" for the nanoprobes when all the future doctors can't seem to solve the problem all that well? Of course there's the fact that his physiology somehow slows them down and he can take the radiation overdose but it still seems a touch contrived. Secondly, why were the Borg so slow at adapting to the phase pistols? Thirdly, why would they return home? Wouldn't it take them a heck of a long time to get there for one thing and why would they bother assimilating the Tarkaleans and not more people on Earth? Moreover, since they are the Borg from the "First Contact" movie, why wouldn't they continue their mission and try to assimilate Earth? It wouldn't be easy but being so far away from their "collective", what other directives would they have but the ones they had gotten before they crashed? In fact, maybe it would have been easy for them considering that they still could shield themselves. Having the transport, they could have gone anywhere on Earth, started the process and then gone on to another part of the planet and so on and so on. Of course this would have shot continuity all to hell but it would have made more sense. Another thing that bothered me is how they manage to (so conveniently) go in the same direction as Enterprise and that Enterprise can intercept them so easily. In addition, why didn't they say "We are the Borg"? Just a few too many things that don't ring true I'm afraid and to be honest I wish they hadn't had a Borg episode at all.
With all this said, it isn't a bad episode however thanks to David Livingston's direction. The action sequences are seamless and the pace impeccable. I particularly liked the opening scenes with the researchers, the space battles and the camera angles and shots. The f/x and CGI work are awesome no less. In addition, while the story is a little hard to swallow it still kept my interest. At the first viewing I enjoyed it without thinking too much about it. It's when I started to analyze it that I realized how the story doesn't really hold up to too much scrutiny. Nonetheless, it still works well in the end and I have to give credit to the writers for managing to insert the Borg into Enterprise which is something I really wouldn't have thought could be done.
Deep down though, I wish they hadn't introduced the Borg into the show. It smacks of a cheap rating's ploy. I got so sick of the Borg on Voyager that I wish that it had been a "new" villain being introduced rather than one that has been done to death. It's a shame really that the