Enterprise’s 2nd season is seen by many as its weakest and I think I have to agree although season 2 hold some great episodes too. For me it is the weakest season because starting from episode 6 till episode 13 there is only one episode that really is above average and that is “Catwalk”. All other episodes of below average, in my opinion that is. Later in the season there is another continuous batch of weak episodes.
Enterprise’s second season started off strong! Of course first there was the 2nd part of the two-parter “Shockwave” where Archer is transported to a desolate and destroyed 31st century. “Carbon Creek” was one of those episodes which remain a favorite for a great many fans. If you ask a fan to make a top 30 of all Star Trek episodes, I believe in many this one is in it. T’Pol corrects Archer and Trip when they talk about the known first contact between the humans and the Vulcans and tells them a story how her great grandmother, T’Mir crash-landed on Earth in 1958 and had to live among these local population for a period of time.
Episode 3 “Minefield” is also a very entertaining story where Enterprise gets into a minefield and a mine has latched itself to Enterprise. Great performance by Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed). “Dead Stop” is another favorite of mine, think for me this one is the top 5 of this season. It is about an automated repair station, too good to be true and turns out it is, but it did get the ship operational again and in perfect condition.
“A Night in Sickbay” is another favorite of mine, perhaps you have to own a pet yourself to actually love this episode the way I do because I’ve read this is a love or hate episode. I love the comedy part of the episode but also the emotional side, Archer being really worried about Porthos. Also Archer is attracted to T’Pol, which I thought was a logical next step. Really would have liked to see this relationship grow into something. I was less fond of the T’Pol / Trip relationship, did not think that really worked.
So as I said, Enterprise really started out strong, first 5 episodes were top-notch with “Minefield” being the least of them. Then it start to slide off, first “Marauders” where the Enterprise crew help the settlement fight off against Klingons who take the goods at a cheap price to so that the settlers have not much more. “The Seventh” actually a tick-up from “Marauders” where T’Pol asks Archer to help her find a Vulcan who is been spotted and is on the lose for 17 years. The Vulcan is played by Bruce Davison. The Next two again are at the same level as “Marauders”, “The Communicator” and “Singularity”. In the first one Reed misplaces his communicator and has to go back to find it. Why can’t they beam it up? Yeah I know, can’t locate it, sure. “Singularity” is really a lame episode, don’t need to say more about it to be honest.
“Vanishing Point” where Hoshi becomes trapped in a transporter for 8 seconds but in that time she lives days on Enterprise where she slowly becomes invisible and the crew of the Enterprise believes she died somehow. Bit better than last episode. Linda Park (Hoshi) is a capable actress who does a convincing job here.
For me, “Precious Cargo” is the weakest of the whole season where Trip has become Kirk, the womanizer! Really forgettable episode. With “Catwalk” there is signs of some improvement, where the crew needs to hide in the nacelle to hide from a storm that would kill every member of the crew. They have some visitors who they invited to stay but they aren’t who they say they are. Their people come for them and want to take over the ship. Finally an episode that was above mediocre, this was episode 12.
“Dawn” was another mediocre episode where Trip crash-lands on a planet and has to work together with another alien who also crash-landed there, so much for originality. A nice titbit in the episode where T’Pol complements Archer on the fact that gotten further with this alien race in 24 hours than the Vulcans in a century with the humans. I always have been anti-Trip. Has bettered the last few years but it will never be my favorite character.
Finally! Episode 2x14 “Stigma”, one of season two’s best episode! T’Pol is diagnosed with a possibly fatal neurological disease as a result of a mind meld. And although it was done to her, it wasn’t her fault, she bears the stigma. Beside the fact what happened to T'Pol, in other circumstances, what is the problem when a mind meld is done between two consensual adults. Meanwhile, one of Phlox's wives visits Enterprise and becomes very interested in Trip. This was a fun storyline, Trip feels uncomfortable because it’s is Phlox’s wife but on his home planet this is all very normal.
“Cease Fire” is another good episode, Archer is being brought in to help with a conflict between Vulcans and Andorians. Archer brings Soval to Shran, but Shran isn’t interested in peace. Always good episodes when Shran (Jeffrey Combs) and Soval (Gary Graham) are in it, they always make an episode better, more interesting! Something is at stake when these characters are in it.
“Future Tense” goes back to the time-travel Arc, Enterprise finds a small ship from the 31st century but apparently it’s wanted by everybody and so Enterprise is being followed. A fun Dr. Who reference, the ship is bigger in the inside then on the outside! 😊 The Tholians and the Sulliban really want that ship badly!
After 3 very entertaining episodes we get two mediocre ones, “Canamar” where Archer and Trip have been arrested and are on a prison ship where a mutiny is taking place. Forgettable episode. “The Crossing” is the next one, Enterprise crew is being taken over by energy beings because their ship is deteriorating and they need these human bodies to survive. Also forgettable.
“Judgement” is another okay episode, better than the previous two. Archer is charged in a Klingon ruling body for life sentence on Rura Penthe. An okay episode, what bothers me is the easy escape, but there was some bribing involved, still it’s way too easy how Reed comes to save this captain and also too easy how they escape again without much problems. Two interesting guest roles, J.G. Hertzler (Martok, DS9) who plays Archer’s Advocate Kolos and John Vickery (Neroon & Welles on Babylon 5) who is Prosecutor Orak.
The character Travis hasn’t been used well in the 4 seasons of Enterprise, and the few episodes where he did get the spotlight, weren’t as great either, like Chakotay on Voyager. “Horizon” could have been fun, but it just was an okay episode where Travis goes to his old ship the Horizon for R&R. “The Breach” was okay, a patient did not want to be treated by Phlox because they at war 300 years ago! Some good Phlox character moments. The bit on the surface where 3 Denobulans needed to be rescued, was less interesting.
“Cogenitor” is another good episode, guest star Andreas Katsulas who of course plays G’Kar on Babylon 5. Trip gets himself in trouble again when he doesn’t understand that not everybody has the same values/societies as humans. A Congenator is used when couples can’t get a baby, this is not he/she but an it. Trip finds out they are just as intelligent as the others. Trip tries to help it learn in the end it kills itself when it does not get asylum on Enterprise. Archer is very angry and disappointed at Trip. Some great moments between the Katsulas character Vissian Capt. Drennik and Archer.
“Regeneration” A Borg episode, I really liked it, I know it got a lot of criticism when it first aired because of timeline inconsistencies but it did not bother me! The Borg on the artic, frozen from First Contact movie, they try to reach their people via subspace. They’ve stolen a ship, adjust it and travel to the delta quadrant where they come from. Shame that there is no mention or repercussion for Trip because of what happened in the previous episode.
Episode 24 “First Flight” is probably my favorite episode of the 2nd season, after his close friend and colleague A.G. Robinson (Keith Caradine) is killed in a mountain climbing accident, Captain Archer tells T'Pol about the Warp 2 test flight almost ten years earlier, the beginnings of Starfleet's NX program. That story really gets to me every time I watch it.
Episode 25 “Bounty”, is not much more than an okay episode where Archer is taken prisoner by a Tellerite bounty hunter who was hired by the Klingons to return Archer to Qo'noS. The season finale is of course the start of a great 3rd season, “The Expanse”. An unknown probe fires on Earth from space, cutting a swath from Florida to Venezuela. Resulting in the deaths of seven million people, one of them, Trip’s sister Elizabeth. Enterprise is recalled to Earth for upgrades to the ship and to take on military personnel. Silik gives Archer a message from the future about Earth's latest enemy. The Klingon Empire gives Duras another chance to capture Archer. Enterprise heads for infamous and dangerous Delphic Expanse.
So yes, the second season has a number of fantastic episodes, but the mediocre episodes unfortunately outnumber the fantastic episodes. I already mentioned the first batch of mediocre episodes starting from episode 6 to 13, but to be honest from episode 17 tot 21 it’s not that much better. All an all you can say that the 2nd season is very inconsistent when it comes to quality episodes. Also in this year the final TNG movie “Nemesis” bombed hard in the theatres, so it seemed like it was a bit of a snowball effect. If I would rate this season, I would come with a 7-/10 because there are too many episodes which are mediocre at best. Perhaps there was Star Trek fatigue after all but more due to the quality of the episodes than the fans who are done with watching Trek.
If you have the Blu-ray sets of the second season of Enterprise, you can expect the following Special Features:
All the special features you’ll find on the older DVD sets are here too, but there also new special features, deleted scenes, all in HD!
Deleted Scene (HD, 1:10): One short scene for "Minefield."
In Conversation: The First Crew (HD, 1:33:49): A new-for-Blu-ray piece in which Brannon Braga sits down with Anthony Montgomery, Dominic Keating, Jolene Blalock, Scott Bakula, Linda Park, Connor Trinneer, and John Billingsley in a closed, intimate setting for the first time in a dozen years. Braga leads discussions on a number of topics, including fan demand for a revival, the casting process, the cast's loves and hates on the show, changes to the basic ideas for the show along the way, studio interference with the scripting and story, the bonding amongst the cast, the show's cancellation and studio politics, improvement in later seasons, cast souvenirs from the show, and much, much more. A special guest arrives partway through the discussion. This is an extraordinary group of people who come across very well; they're all informed, intelligent, passionate, and sincere. It's too bad they didn't have the opportunity to work together in more seasons.
Archival Mission Log: Photo Gallery (HD): A collection of still images.
Uncharted Territory Part One: Destination Unknown (HD, 29:54): A look at the writer "fatigue" hanging over the first two seasons and the turnover in the writing staff for season two. It also looks at the challenge of creating a show for both established fans as well as newcomers, the vision for creating a "throwback" Star Trek that was pitched as "The Right Stuff in the future," the place of Roddenberry's original vision in shaping the show, the success of "Carbon Creek" and "Regeneration," and the failure of "Precious Cargo."
Uncharted Territory Part Two: The First Crew (HD, 28:58): An examination of the show's humanity and the way it feels closer to modern audiences. It also focuses on the collaboration between the character performances and the writing staff. It studies the Hoshi character; Scott Bakula's contributions to the scripts and the rest of the cast's reluctance to share their ideas or speak with the writers; cast camaraderie; recreating the Kirk, Spock, and McCoy triumvirate in Archer, Trip, and T'Pol; Scott Bakula's veteran presence on the set; and Jeffrey Combs' performance, character, and relationship with Scott Bakula.
Uncharted Territory Part Three: Course Correction (HD, 29:48): Conflict between the writers and the studio and writers and network suits and the sudden influx of studio tinkering with the show, external reviews and Internet criticism, dwindling ratings, a "cold war" between Brannon Braga and the fans, and "shaking things up" by setting up a story arc for season three at the end of season two. Collectively, and as with many of these retrospectives, there's a freshness and honesty that might surprise people. Uncharted Territory is one of the most fascinating supplements out there, Star Trek related or otherwise.
Even if I am a bit harsh on this season, Enterprise still remains one of my favorite TV shows ever. I accept the weaker stories, have no other choice of course but I watch them with every rewatch. Seasons 1, 3 & 4 are perhaps better but still there are some gems in season 2, which I mentioned above. Regarding the Blu-rays, the special features are phenomenal, all the DVD special features have been transferred but beside that lots of new material, highly recommended! Furthermore, if you by chance have a 4K Blu-ray player, I definitely saw approvement with this player, even though I only have a 1080p TV.