So, Star Trek: Enterprise is done. Over. Gone.
The ending was the worst of all of Star Trek's season finale episodes -- I don't count Turnabout Intruder, since there was nothing special about that episode as the last episode of the classic Star Trek.
Unlike others (such as Jolene Blalock), I didn't have a problem with the concept of doing a show where the crew of a future ship was looking back at the missions of NX-01. I can definitely see that encapsulating the story within a story about Riker and Troi pushed away emphasis from the regulars on the show, and that does seem inappropriate for a finale. However, These Are the Voyages... felt to me more like an epilogue to the series (or even the last 18 years of Star Trek on television, which the producers indicated they were trying to do to some extent), with Terra Prime being the "real" last episode of Enterprise.
My problem with the episode is that the two story arcs didn't seem to mesh that well. I've watched the episode twice, once last night and again this afternoon. I'm still having trouble working out exactly what about the events during the Enterprise's journey back to Earth was supposed to help Riker decide what to do with regards to telling Captain Picard the truth about the Pegasus. At first I thought it was something about Trip and T'Pol's admitting to each other that they still have feelings for each other, despite having ended their relationship six years prior. Watching it again, I picked up that it's definitely something about Trip and his relationship with Captain Archer. Riker sees to see that relationship as parallel to the one he has with Picard. I guess that's it (it's amazing how these issues sort themselves out as you sit down and write about it). But it's not very obvious, and by the time I've figured that out, the episode hasn't left a very favorable impression in my mind.
Jolene Blalock was right though, T'Pol does seem pretty out of character when she opens up to Riker. I suppose we can explain that away though as the holodeck adapting the program to have T'Pol answer Riker's questions in a way that is at least somewhat in character; no doubt Chef's discussions with various crew members were not word for word identical to Riker's.
There were a few technical issues I had with the production as well. The biggest had to do with the appearance of the characters. These Are the Voyages... is set six years after the events of Terra Prime. Only two characters looked they were any older. Shran definately looked older, and Hoshi Sato seemed a bit older as well, even if all they did was take her hair out of the ponytail for most of her scenes. Star Trek has aged characters plenty of times, examples that come to mind immediately are Unnatural Selection, The Deadly Years, All Good Things..., and Twilight. They changed the characters' appearances a bit for In A Mirror, Darkly, surely they could have done the same for These Are the Voyages....
There were a few smaller issues as well. Riker's beard seemed a bit too thin. The interior for the Enterprise-D's turbolift didn't look right. And if you look closely, right at the end of the teaser, after Riker has frozen the holodeck program and is on his way to the bridge, you can see Hoshi Sato moving a little bit. Though you do have to give the actors some leeway here; it can't be easy to stand perfectly still through several takes.
I am one of those people that think it would be a neat idea for a future Star Trek series not to be based around a single crew, but to do small arcs spanning a few episodes before moving on to someone else. Much like older television shows like The Twilight Zone were different every week. There are a lot of little story lines spread throughout 200 years of "history" that it would be nice to come back to and follow up on. The biggest technical hurdle I see would be the constant need for vastly different sets. Many 24th century (and even late 23rd century) Federation starships have similar interiors, which would help, but some weeks we might want to set a story on Deep Space Nine or a Romulan warbird, requiring vastly different sets. But recreating the Constitution-class sets for the Defiant in In A Mirror, Darkly and then doing the Enteprise-D for These Are the Voyages... leads me to believe that this might not be as big of a deal after all.
But anyway, the very end of These Are the Voyages... was quite nice. I would have liked to have heard Archer's speech, though. But after that, the montage with the three Enterprises was way nice, it brought a tear to my eye. Enterprise NCC-1701 is now my computer's wallpaper.
Oh and one final request. Will you forum people please stop posting the sexy pictures of Jeri Ryan and Jolene Blalock? It's all about Linda Park, after all. ;)
To the crew of the Enterprise, I can only say this: Live long, and prosper.