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Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 03 E 08 Twilight

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Best. Teaser. Ever.
Archer wakes up twelve years in the future—and Earth is destroyed.

Tropes in this episode include:

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  • Amnesia Loop: Archer frequently comes up with suggestions, only to learn from T'Pol that they already tried them. For instance, he comes up with engine modifications "this morning," then Trip says he came up with them a week ago and they've already been implemented.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Soval asks T'Pol to return to Vulcan.
    T'Pol: I won't leave them.
    Soval: Them or him?
  • Bad Future: Earth is destroyed and only six thousand humans remain.
    • Even worse, when the audience realizes they are on Ceti Alpha V!
  • Beard of Sorrow: Malcolm's beard in the Bad Future may be one of these, considering humanity is by that point on the brink of extinction.
  • Book-Ends: Of sorts.
    • The episode starts with the explosion of Earth, and its climax is the explosion of Enterprise over Ceti Alpha V in the Bad Future.
    • Archer also comments that it feels "like a shuttlepod landed on [his] head" both early on in T'Pol's recap, when his prognosis is worse, and again after the Reset Button has been hit, when he is all but cured.
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  • Chekhov's Lecture: During his visit, Phlox offhandedly mentions that the only sure way to cure Archer is to vaporize him in a subspace implosion. When the specially-designed chamber that Phlox brought is damaged, and the battle at Ceti Alpha V is all but lost, there's only one thing left for Archer to do: set the warp core to overload, and instigate such an implosion.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Xindi take Enterprise out of the battle over Ceti Alpha V by destroying the bridge.
  • Continuity Nod: Malcolm mentions he'll be taking over the Intrepid from Captain Ramirez—both of which were from "The Expanse".
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Enterprise's failed mission in the Expanse becomes this for the future Tucker.
  • Darkest Hour: Naturally, the situation is on the edge of absolutely hopeless before Archer hits the Reset Button. Not only has Earth been destroyed, but now the last human colony is in danger — and as for the starships protecting it, Intrepid has been disabled and Enterprise has been boarded, with The Bridge destroyed.
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  • Deflector Shields: Enterprise now has them, courtesy of Shran. It's still not enough against the Xindi.
  • The Determinator: Phlox tells Archer that he won't stop until he's found a cure. It takes twelve years, but he eventually finds it.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Just how close Archer and T'Pol got is left deliberately vague.
  • Disconnected by Death: Archer tries to head to the bridge, only to be greeted by a sealed hatch and a darkened monitor when the Xindi destroy it.
  • Disposable Pilot/Dead Star Walking: Mayweather, the resident Advertised Extra, gets this treatment. He dies early on in T'Pol's recap of the Xindi mission due to Explosive Instrumentation, and basically doesn't reappear for the rest of the episode.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Archer to Trip, who has since become Captain Tucker.
  • Dramatic Irony: The surviving humans find refuge on Ceti Alpha V, of all places. The writers confirmed that they still would have suffered the same disaster that Khan experienced, even if the Xindi hadn't tracked them down in the intervening century.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The Xindi Weapon makes a cameo in the teaser (in all its terrifying glory) several episodes before its official introduction. Unlike what would eventually occur, it accomplishes its mission and destroys Earth.
    • The Xindi-Insectoid ships also make their first appearance, well before Enterprise actually encounters them.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The episode starts with the Xindi destroying Earth.
  • Easy Amnesia: Caused by neural parasites that exist outside of linear time. Archer still remembers everything from before the infection, but any new memory fades within a few hours. This was partly based on the condition of Henry Molaison, who, after an operation to treat epilepsy, was left unable to form any new memories.
  • Explosive Decompression: The Xindi invoke this by blowing out Enterprise's bridge in the battle at Ceti Alpha V, throwing the future Tucker, Reed and Sato out into space. The rest of the ship follows when the warp core overloads.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: When we first see Archer after the teaser, he is sporting a Vulcan-style haircut.
  • How We Got Here: T'Pol explains to Archer what's been happening over the last twelve years.
  • Improvised Weapon: At one point, the Reptilians board Enterprise. Archer kills one using his Zefram Cochrane statuette.
  • In Medias Res: The episode begins with Archer already having suffered infestation by the neural parasites, and he stumbles onto the bridge unawares just in time to see the Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Then we get the story of How We Got Here.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Played Straight for everyone except Archer, who takes two hits but lasts just long enough to hit the Reset Button.
  • I Owe You My Life: T'Pol claims that she's caring for Archer simply because he saved her from the anomaly that left the parasites behind. Phlox suggests that there's more to it than that.
  • Kill 'Em All: The entire cast is killed before Archer pulls the reset switch. Travis was killed during the Xindi mission, Trip, Malcolm, and Hoshi are spaced when the bridge is destroyed, T'Pol and Phlox are shot defending engineering, and Archer dies from his injuries just before the ship explodes.
  • Last Stand: Enterprise and what's left of Starfleet fight the Xindi to protect the only remaining human colony.
  • Manly Tears: Archer breaks down when T'Pol tells him that Earth was destroyed, along with the colonies on Mars, Alpha Centauri and Vega.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The planet the remains of humanity take refuge on is Ceti Alpha V.
    • The statuette of Zefram Cochrane that Archer uses to take out an intruding Xindi-Reptilian is exactly as described by Geordi in First Contact — with one hand "sort of reaching towards the future".
  • Never My Fault: Soval believes humans brought this fate on themselves by leaving Earth before they were ready. T'Pol counters that the High Command held Earth back for a century and refused to share technology that could've made a difference — policies, she adds, that Soval supported.
  • Perp Sweating: Trip and Malcolm play bad cop/worse cop with the Yridian.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Given that the destruction of Earth is partly his fault, it is a nice gesture by Soval to offer to take Archer for treatment on Vulcan. That, and offering to reinstate T'Pol at the VHC.
    • At some point, Shran helped equip the last human ships with deflector shields.
    • At the end of the episode, Archer has to miss movie night while recovering. Since he was looking forward to it, T'Pol gives him a display pad so he can still watch the movie.
  • Ramming Always Works: T'Pol's maneuver successfully takes out both Xindi ships, but also damages one of Enterprise's warp nacelles, leading to the ship being too slow to thwart the Xindi's plans to destroy Earth.
  • Rank Up: Several, in the Bad Future.
    • T'Pol became the captain of Enterprise, and later retired from Starfleet and was succeeded by Trip.
    • Malcolm was recently promoted to captain of Intrepid, and Hoshi is now a lieutenant.
    • In the last decade, Shran also become a general of the Imperial Guard.
  • The Remnant: After the Xindi destroyed Earth and systematically exterminated the other human colonies, humanity is down to about six thousand survivors, and Starfleet consists of Enterprise, Intrepid and one more unnamed starship.
  • Reset Button: Almost literally. After getting shot by the Xindi-Reptilians, Archer uses his last ounce of strength to pull the final switch to initiate the warp core breach, which kills the remaining parasites and restores the timeline.
  • Ret Gone: When Phlox destroyed a cluster of the parasites, every scan of Archer's brain since the infection no longer shows that cluster. It clues him and T'Pol in that erasing all of them could prevent every event since the infection started, resetting the timeline.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Phlox and T'Pol can remember that the neural parasites used to be larger in number, even after clusters of them have started to vanish in all of Phlox's earlier scans due to the treatments.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stunned Silence: Everyone on The Bridge can only stare in shock when the Xindi weapon destroys Earth.
  • That's an Order!:
    • Inverted by Soval.
      Soval: I want you to return with me to Vulcan.
      T'Pol: I'm no longer under your authority.
      Soval: It's not an order, it's a request for your own safety.
    • Played Straight and Defied in the climax — with Enterprise a lost cause and Archer left with no choice but to self-destruct the ship to kill the parasites, he orders T'Pol and Phlox to leave while they still can. They both stay and help him.
      T'Pol: With all due respect, you were relieved of command.
  • This Is the Part Where...: After explaining How We Got Here, T'Pol says this is the part where Archer suspects he's involved in Faked Rip Van Winkle.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • When Enterprise takes Xindi prisoners after a battle in which the ship's warp engines are crippled, Trip just suggests spacing them. T'Pol overrules him, though, and has them confined.
    • During the climactic battle, The Bridge is hit and the command crew is spaced.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The parasites exist outside of normal space-time, so killing them in the present removes them from the past as well.
  • Wham Shot: The Teaser ends with Earth being destroyed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: T'Pol uses a maneuver to destroy two Xindi ships that ends up crippling Enterprise. Trip asks her what she was thinking afterwards.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • With Archer's memory impaired, Starfleet makes T'Pol captain of the Enterprise.
    • She then gives Trip the big chair when she resigns to take care of Archer.
    • Malcolm was slated to take over command of the Intrepid when the Xindi arrived at Ceti Alpha V.

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