It's a big day for Archer and crew. The NX-01 is on her final mission, set to be decommissioned after the upcoming signing of a treaty which will lay the groundwork for The Federation. Archer is trying to figure out a decent speech to give at the upcoming ceremony... then all senior officers are called to the bridge, and Riker freezes the program.
Yes, Next Generation has hijacked the finale. Looking 11 years older and quite a few pounds heavier, Riker sits in Ten-Forward with Troi, discussing the "current" situation with Admiral Pressman.
For ill-defined reasons, Riker thinks this holo-program will help him solve his current dilemma. Troi advises him to skip ahead in the program.
Back on the NX-01, Archer gets a call from Shran. Who was assumed to have died three years ago. He needs Archer's help, as his daughter has been kidnapped. Skipping ahead by an hour in the program, T'Pol objects to aiding Shran. Until Archer reminds her that he helped get them access to the Xindi superweapon. He advises her to head down to the galley and speak to the chef. Guess who's playing cook?
Yup, Riker. Oh, apparently her and Trip broke up six years ago too. Fun tidbit. Why she spills her feelings to a chef, we'll never know.
Troi pops in as Riker looks over the Pegasus crew manifest, displaying her "amazing" empathic talents by noticing he seems upset over something. Deciding to add some people to the simulation, they watch Trip and Reed shoot the breeze. And decide to mention how Trip isn't going to come back from the rescue mission on Rigel X.
Skipping ahead to when the crew arrives on Rigel X, Shran and T'Pol converse with the kidnappers. Shrans daughter is fine, and the away team in the catwalks above distract them Shran can get away with her. In the ensuing firefight, the catwalk under Trip is shot... and he's saved from falling to his doom.
Back on the Enterprise-D, Riker meets with Troi as they get closer to the Pegasus. Blah Blah Blah, back to the NX-01.
After playing therapy chef to Reed, Hoshi, Mayweather and Phlox, we cut to Archer and Tucker toasting to "The next generation". Having the TNG crew as the main focus of the episode apparently wasn't enough. But the good times are soon interrupted, as the NX-01 comes under attack.
After boarding the ship, Trip charges off to fight. And despite Archer being out of harms way, security heading there and being safely hidden from fire, Trip decides to pull the dumbest Heroic Sacrifice in Star Trek history, blowing himself up to "protect" the ship.
Skipping ahead, we finally arrive at the day of the ceremony. And the famous, historically dynamic speech Archer has prepared for... is never heard, as Riker has finally gotten over his crisis of faith and ends the program.
And Star Trek closes out on television for twelve years with Kirk, Picard and Archer each quoting the "These are the voyages..." speeches from their respective shows.
- Anti-Climax: The entire series had been building towards the founding of the Federation, with a major emphasis on Archer's (so historically pivotal that time travelers have to meddle in his life to keep him on track) role in it. None of that stuff makes it onscreen. The episode is mostly about Riker, Archer helping Shran deal with shady "business" associates that kidnapped his daughter and Trip and T'Pol's tragic relationship.
- Book-Ends: Rigel X was the first planet the NX-01 visited, and now it's the last. Archer somehow thinks this is "poetic justice," but it's actually a book end.
- The Cameo: Brent Spiner makes a voiceover cameo as Data.
- Canon Discontinuity: The Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch Ret Cons this episode.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Phlox does his super-wide smile again.
- Crossover: Enterprise with Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Distant Finale: Riker is looking through Archer's old logs regarding Trip's death.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Archer's loyal crew don't get to sit on stage with them. They don't even get decent seats, being stuck in the nosebleed section.
- End of an Age: A meta example, as this episode marks the end of 18 continuous years of Star Trek TV-series that started with The Next Generation, leading to a 4-year-drought until Star Trek (2009), and a 12-year drought of televised Trek until Star Trek: Discovery.
- Faking the Dead: Shran, apparently, though it didn't fool whoever he was hiding from.
- Fakin' MacGuffin: Our heroes create a fabrication of the Tenebian amethyst for Shran, designed to blind his daughter's kidnappers with light flashes.
- Fantastic Racism: The kidnappers are surprised to see Shran working with T'Pol.
- Foreshadowing: Pretty blatant—Troi mentions that Trip doesn't make it back to Earth alive.
- The Ghost: We finally see the mysterious Chef... only for him to be played by Riker.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: The Tenebian amethyst for Shran's daughter.
- Humble Hero: The episode starts with the bridge officers talking about Archer's upcoming speech and how he'll do everything possible to avoid taking credit for his (absolutely crucial) role in creating The Federation. A moment later, he walks onto the bridge, grumbling that no matter how he words his speech, it sounds like he's trying to take credit for everything.
- Ignored Epiphany: Riker ends the program deciding that he's ready to tell Picard the truth about the illegal Invisibility Cloak — even though, as Evay of "Triphammered" points out, Riker digs in his heels under Picard's questioning because he's Just Following Orders from Insane Admiral Pressman, and he doesn't reveal the truth until it becomes a necessity.
- Mythology Gag:
- The toast to "The next generation".
- In engineering, Reed tells Tucker "well, you know what they say... all good things."
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Archer's speech. It's the talk of much of the episode, Troi mentions having memorized it, yet it's never shown.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Troi tends to veer between the accent that Marina Sirtis used in the series, and the one she used in the films from Star Trek: First Contact onwards (the latter of which is essentially just her normal accent).
- Plot Armor: Zig-Zagged. Trip rigs up a doohickey to cause a massive explosion that takes out several walls, but, despite being at the epicenter, he survives long enough to die in sickbay. The most extensive damage was to his lungs.
- Recycled Premise: The M0vie Blog thought that the premise was similar to the Voyager episode "Living Witness", where characters experience a holographic recreation of the main crew.
- Remember the New Guy?: This episode tries to establish ENT's place in Star Trek history by the time of TNG.
- The Reveal: The episode's only contribution to the franchise is establishing that Admiral Pressman was working with Section 31 to build the cloaking device, something that fans had already been speculating.
- Series Continuity Error: When Riker deactivates the program, his NX-01 uniform disappears with it. It was strongly implied — though never stated outright — that the Enterprise-D holodeck lacked the capability to make people appear to be wearing different clothing, and that this capability wasn't added until the holodecks aboard the Enterprise-E and Voyager.
- Ship Sinking: T'Pol and Trip, even before he gets killed. On the shuttle trip down to Rigel X, the two very briefly discuss the end of their relationship, implying that it happened several years before the episode's events, and neither of them has even given a second thought to rekindling it since then.
- Time Skip:
- Multiple, all justified. Riker is in viewing the events through a holonovel, and can control what time he is observing. At one point, he pushes the program by an hour, to the next part of the novels plot.
- From the perspective of the NX-01, there has been one of 6 years since the previous episode.
- Tonight, Someone Dies: While Trip's death had been all but spelled out in the advertising, it's made more explicit when, about a third of the way through the episode, Troi casually mentions that Trip wouldn't survive until the Enterprise returned home.
- With Friends Like These...: Shran is still causing trouble for our heroes.
- You Owe Me: Of course Shran is going to use this line on Archer to get his help.
- "Computer, end program."