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Still, in real life, the reasons for religious conflict are usually more complex than that. The Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the Irish Catholic/Protestant conflict; the Taliban, Islamic/US conflict, the Indian/Pakistani conflict concerns more than just the religions as such so I think that that’s where the episode seems to fall down. Some would argue that it’s one thing to use a simplistic reason to make a point but that you have to add a bit more meat to the conflict to make it believable. Do Palestinian suicide or homicide bombers do what they do because of simple reasons? I don’t think so but I think that making it so simple is what makes it stand out and makes you think about the rest of the Triannon’s beliefs and how they compare with our world.
Conor O’Farrell as D’Jamat (also from DS9’s “Little Green Men” as Carlson) did an excellent job portraying the misguided leader of the *cult* or religion. Scott Bakula also did a good job as Archer in this one. I also liked Jolene Blalock’s performance. Her facial expressions and her eyes continue to impress me. We also got to see Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather) for a change but where was Linda Park (Hoshi)?. It was strange not to see her especially since the aliens spoke English so well. I guess her character is reduntant now since the UT seems to be working miracles?
Which brings me to something else. Why did the Triannons have to be so human looking? In TOS’ “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield” which this episode resembles a great deal, the aliens, although they looked human even with the half black/half white faces, were still clearly alien. Here they are basically humans with ridges. In the TOS episode, they had special, superhuman powers which gave them that alienness. The aliens we’ve seen so far on Enterprise aren’t very different from us in terms of special powers. They just *look* different and in this episode they didn’t even look all that alien…ho hum.
I liked how T’Pol argued about science vs. religion with D’Jamat. Their lines were revealing. T’Pol: “Doubt is the basis of scientific progress.” D’Jamat: “Scientific progress has led many people astray.”. My favorite quote is a Latin quote which I found in Carl Sagan’s book “The Demon-Haunted World” where he laments that people are becoming more and more superstitious and believing in angels, demons and the like: “Ibi dubium ibi libertas” which means *Where there is doubt there is freedom* is the quote and I live by it.
Some people actually believe/d that 9/11 was deserved by the US because it’s not religious enough. I don’t know but I think it is a scary thought that anyone would believe such a thing. I loved the last line from Archer: “You thought your religion would bring peace. Here it is.” and we see a destroyed world. I thought that was chilling if only because there are religions where the believers pray for and actually believe that Armageddon will bring peace to the world, that their god will return and that the unbelievers or unfaithful will be destroyed very much like what was said in this episode. How much faith should we put in ancient writings or religious leaders? And some people think Islam a fanatical religion. Very chilling indeed.