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A well-directed episode that maintains a good pace throughout although it is mostly a filler setting up the finale but it is entertaining nonetheless.
I don't usually notice the sound effects but I did this time, most notably the sound of the drill as it cut a hole into Hoshi's skull. There's just something about drills that make me cringe. Hoshi certainly has come a long way since she first boarded Enterprise. She was once afraid of the sounds the ship would make while here she spits in the face of a ruthless and scary Reptilian, Dolim (Scott MacDonald). She attempts to kill herself to prevent Dolim from getting the third code. She certainly has changed.
Linda Park (Hoshi Sato) is usually very bland and expressionless as is Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather). Although to be fair, they really haven't been given much to do this season. Still, Park was good in this episode. She conveyed the helplessness of Sato very well and she certainly can scream.
It's great to see the consequences of war not only in the damages to the ship or the wounds on the faces of the crew, which has been great throughout the arc, but also the real cost that is death. In this case, that of Major Hayes'. We got to know him albeit not that well but well enough to care about his dying. At least it brought a tear to *my* eye. I like Steven Culp and he will be missed.
It's a pity they wrote Reed (Dominic Keating) to be so antagonistic towards Hayes. He came off as more whiny and petty than anything else. It's nice to see here that he has overcome it and we see that he has come to respect Hayes. Their talk before Hayes leaves to rescue Hoshi also shows how the MACOs have become part of the crew as Hayes put it which is nice to hear as we haven't really seen them interact much with Archer's crew.
I've always liked sci-fi and I remember as a kid not liking it when they'd show the *mushy* stuff. I wanted to see the robot or the alien. I've since grown to appreciate relationships as they make the characters more complex. Which brings me to the relationship between Trip and T'Pol. I think they go well together. Trip always seems willing to help her which makes him so appealing. While she is still holding back from him, she appears to be ready to let him into her life. I like how the writers have gradually made her open up to him. T'Pol plans on joining Starfleet. I hope we get to see her in uniform next season. She looks quite good in one (see "Twilight").
Archer appears heartless when he orders Phlox to transfer Hoshi from Sick Bay to Degra's ship. She is still unconscious when they move her and looks very sick. Phlox warns him that moving her might kill her but Archer is desperate. It will be interesting to see how she fares in "Zero Hour".
The Sphere-Builders appear more like a plot device than anything else with the Reptilians and