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This is yet another well-written, well-acted and well-directed episode. The pieces of the Xindi arc puzzle are falling into place quite nicely. Trip's long-standing grief over his sister's death is finally resolved. Degra is on side with Archer. Both Trip and Degra have reached a turning point much like Archer did last week. Archer and Degra are good men and yet have had to do things they never thought they would do. Dire circumstances force even the best of us to make decisions we don't like or abhor or even do things that appear immoral on the surface but are unfortunately necessary.
We discover that the Xindi Council wasn't formed because of some prior rapprochement between the Xindi races but rather was the result of the Sphere-Builder's influence. This explains much as to why there is such an underlying animosity and mistrust between the members of the Council. Theirs is not a friendly alliance but one of necessity. It also explains why someone like Gralik, the Arboreal in "The Shipment", would be upset that his kemocite was to be used to create a super-weapon and why he would trust Archer and sabotage the kemocite.
There is one thing that is decidedly missing however and that is where does all this fit in with the Temporal Cold War? Daniels is involved in the sense that he told Archer that he must convince the Xindi not to deploy the super-weapon which would destroy Earth and prevent the formation of the Federation. Humans and the Xindi are to be allies in the future and will defeat, along with the other Federation members, the trans-dimensional aliens. The humanoid from the future who leads the Suliban also told Archer about the Xindi and where to find them. It's all a little murky although the Xindi arc itself is starting to make sense. It seems to me that the Xindi arc is apart from the TCW and once resolved will not play a significant part in the war or will it? It's all yet to be seen and I have to say I love the fact that the storyline is so complex and engaging.
I do have some questions however that I hope will be answered. Why do the trans-dimensional aliens need our universe? How can 79 Spheres or however many there are, alter a whole universe? If they're already testing to see if the alterations are working ("Harbinger"), will it take that long for them to finish?
Still, this is a character-driven episode with the focus on Trip, Archer, Degra, the Arboreal and T'Pol. Connor Trinneer does a great job portraying Trip's dilemma. Trip is forced to face and deal with the death of Taylor, one of his engineers, which causes his unresolved grief for his sister's death to resurface. He does everything he can not to confront his feelings. The last scene when he finally writes and finishes the letter and says goodbye to his sister is very poignant indeed and tugs at the heart. Trinneer is good with emotions whether they be comedic or serious and in this episode he shines.
It's a pity we didn't get to know of Taylor till this episode however. The dream sequence would have had much more of an effect in that we would have understood why Trip *could* have