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development and great continuity much like DS9; cool sci-fi and time travel eps like TNG and a kick-ass Kirk-like captain and the close friendship between Archer and T'Pol much like Kirk and Spock, I've got no complaints so far. If they keep this up, this show might be as great as DS9 and TNG given time.
Some of my favorite episodes apart from the ones mentioned above are "Mirror, Mirror" from TOS and the parallel universe episodes from DS9. These types of shows help us see a new side of the characters and how different they can look and behave. I loved Reed with his beard which is reminiscent of Spock's in "Mirror, Mirror". Hoshi also looked great in the new hairdo. T'Pol looked fantastic in uniform and with the long hair. It's silly stuff, yes, but it makes the characters more identifiable, human and likeable. I'd love to see Archer in a beard but heck, I love men in beards so I may be a little biased.
Scott Bakula's and Jolene Blalock's acting give this episode much depth and poignancy. For one thing they have great chemistry together. Moreover, Blalock never ceases to amaze me with how expressive her eyes and face can be. She is a good actress however much some people like to say she is there mostly for her, let's say, assets. She is more than that and this episode shows that so well. Did I say she looks great in a uniform? This may seem silly but I felt that it gave her much more authority and yet she still looked very sexy. Regardless, it's a no-brainer that she won't be wearing one any time soon after this episode unfortunately.
I could identify with T'Pol so well here with how patient she had to be with Archer in that I have a parent with Alzheimer's disease. Repeating the same story or event every day is very much the case when caring for people with this condition and it all seemed very realistic in how she dealt with it all.
Bakula gave his best performance yet as Archer. As I suspected, when you give this actor some meaty lines he delivers. Of course, Robert Duncan McNeills' direction certainly helped in getting the best performance out of the actors. The pacing for this episode was impeccable as well. It kept my attention from beginning to the end. I also liked that it is Archer who saves the ship. It was heartbreaking to watch him be so feeble throughout the proceedings and yet in the end, he manages to save not only the crew and ship but the Earth...so Kirk-like. Given a bit more padding this would have made a good movie.
Granted, everything that happened here is erased at the end of the episode but it doesn't matter because we got to see a possible outcome of the Xindi arc. This episode also reaffirms the loyalty and perhaps more that Doctor Phlox and T'Pol have for Archer and the mission. We find out that Archer must be key in bringing out the formation of the Federation; that he is important in the scheme of things. It's also clear that the Xindi are relentless in their quest to destroy humanity and that the situation with them will have to be resolved one way or another. The Andorian Shran is mentioned again and we know that the Andorians are instrumental in the formation of the Federation and that was a nice bit of continuity. I love how they used the planet Alpha Ceti 5 for the colony. What a nice homage to the original series.