Borderland, Cold Station 12, The Augments
Thanks to Netflix, I've been catching up on my Star Trek, with both Voyager and Enterprise.
So far, I've found another multi-part episode that rivals "Through a Mirror Darkly", and that is the three part arc of Borderland, Cold Station 12, and The Augments.
This, quite simply, was "The Wrath of Khan" for Enterprise. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Brent Spiner was great as Noonien Soong, and Alec Newman (who played Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib in the Sci-Fi Channel productions of Dune and Children of Dune) was very effective as Malik, the augment who rebels first against his brother, Rakiin, and then against his own creator/father, Soong.
Involving the Klingons was perfect, as it occasionally served to complicate things for Archer and crew. The episodes struck the perfect balance of overall story, and interpersonal story that Wrath of Khan so deftly wove.
For me, this was 2 hours and 15 minutes of pure entertainment, right up to the final moments. I could watch this and "Through a Mirror Darkly" back to back, and be satisfied that I've probably found some of the best that Enterprise had to offer.
I agree and like to add that despite being dangerously close to being fanwank this as well as all the other fourth season episodes avoided this via telling not merely new stories with old ingredients but also telling something new about the Vulcans, the Augments, the Orions, the Andorians and so on.
To use the Orions, they were great not merely in and of themselves but also in terms of establishing the notion of a dangerous border trinagle area. You can really see the first 'space is disease and danger' notes in ENT (note also Archer's vacuum transport) which eventually led to a fully established theme in the new movies.
On the tidbit site, I liked that we finally saw Dr. Lucas, Phlox's human counterpart on Denobula, (the actor played together with Billingsley and Tony Todd in "A Man From Earth"), that the 'human experimentation with genetics gone awry' theme was tied into Data, thus providing typical Trekish optimism and last but not least the family stuff you already mentioned: the Augments have a "father", there is fratricide and near-patricide, archetypical stuff we know from mythology and religion.
Lest we forget criticism, I think that the follow-up to this story, Affliction/Divergence is a bit better, and I consider the Vulcan and Coalition of Planets three-parters to be better as well ... but this is moaning about the champagne tasting a bit worse than the caviar. While I view the three-parters of the fourth season as a brilliant way to tell longer, slightly serialized stories, something in between TNGish two-parters and DS9ish serialization, I also think that one of the three episodes often drags or falls a bit flat. In this instance it is the second one on the station, in the Coalition of Planets arch it is the third one.
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