ENT S02E02 Carbon Creek (4 out of 5 stars). From Broken Bow to Carbon Creek (maybe Diamond Ditch was planned to be next). Relations between the Vulcan and human crew continue to improve – to the extent that T’Pol is willing to show them some of her family snapshots. Alas, inserting Vulcans into the 1950s isn’t half as much fun as Ferengi on an airforce base, and since this is just an old anecdote, it doesn’t do anything to advance the story of Archer and Enterprise. But as T‘Mir (who shares her great-granddaughter’s oddly rounded eyebrows) spends more time amongst humans – for months rather than days or hours – it becomes deeply engrossing. The dates don’t quite work (Velcro was patented two years before Sputnik) but the Vulcan’s name does pay tribute to the real inventor.

ENT S02E03 Minefield (4 out of 5 stars). Once again, an attempt is made to make Malcolm Reed’s lack of any defining characteristics (apart from “British” and “always looking like he’s just sucked on a lemon”) a feature. The trouble is, we have T’Pol, so this just looks like laziness. Luckily, it isn’t long before a dirty great hole is blasted in Enterprise’s saucer section – a shocking image, but one which doesn’t mean as much as maybe the producers hoped, simply because we’ve spent barely thirty episodes with the NX-01. And, lo, there are no fatalities which seems surprising given the scale of the damage. The plot of this one is barely any more than its title – the ship has to make its way through a minefield – but this kind of lean, high stakes storytelling is a good use of this inexperienced crew and the set pieces work well. It makes absolutely no difference whether Malcolm watches football or not, I still want him to defuse that bomb successfully, even if the climax is the usual unscientific gibberish. Also – Romulans!

ENT S02E04 Dead Stop (3.5 out of 5 stars). With a rare nod to serialisation, Enterprise still has a chunk taken out of its saucer and repairs are going slowly, and so Archer sends out a distress call. Malcolm also still has a chunk taken out of his leg and Phlox’s treatment regime tests even his stiff upper lip. A Tellarite floating garage in space welcomes them in, with passive-aggressive attention to detail, but without the personal touch. Archer, T’Pol and Trip agree a price for the repairs, play with the station’s replicator and generally hang out. Again, as so often with this show, it’s relaxed to the point of tedium. And when Trip and Reed go sneaking around and Archer has to tear them off a strip, it’s pretty feeble and unconvincing. Naturally, the benevolent automated pit stop has darker secrets. It even manages to kill Travis (not really). But Archer and T’Pol seem happy to liberate their one crewmember and incinerate all of the other victims, which is less than ideal. As usual on a starship with a crew of nearly a hundred, all of the things of interest happen to the same seven people. I can’t believe nobody on the production team ever noticed how silly that was. Also silly – Hoshi wanting to pay her last respects to Travis during his autopsy (as opposed to say at his funeral).

ENT S02E05 A Night In Sickbay (2 out of 5 stars). We’re back to the mutual-lathering-in-our-scanties scene which is not made any more interesting with the addition of Porthos the dog, whose plight does little to make this teaser any kind of attention-grabber. And from the expert statesmanship of Captain’s past, we’re now faced with Archer’s impatient and petty brattishness in the face of one failed negotiation. Once again, there’s a balance to be struck between wanting this exploration to feel raw and dangerous, and wanting our team to be able and admirable – and once again, in this episode, they come off like putzes. Phlox calling “Freudian slips” “Pillarian slips” is rather neat – and presumably a nod to Michael Pillar.

ENT S02E06 Marauders (3 out of 5 stars). With plasma injectors back up and running, Archer’s now in search of fuel, and is given the brush off by a bunch of very human looking miners wearing t-shirts and jeans. It just feels like no-one’s really trying any more. On which subject, deuterium is treated as a precious substance which has to be carefully mined and refined. In fact, it’s an isotope of hydrogen which can be electrolysed out of ordinary water. Why pick that name for your unobtainium if you don’t know what it is or how abundant it might be? Klingons show up and start demanding deuterium with menaces and these are very generic thugs with little of their TNG texture and dimension. After a suitable pause for agonised indecision, our team sends all seven of them packing, and for no very good reason, they agree not to come back.

Trekaday #111: Detained, Vox Sola, Fallen Hero, Desert Crossing, Two Days and Two Nights, Shockwave
Trekaday #113: The Seventh, The Communicator, Singularity, Vanishing Point, Precious Cargo