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4-06 The Augments
reviewed by Kevin Thomas Riley
The third and final episode in the Soong arc concluded in a great manner if only a bit predictable. But it had some very nice touches to established Trek continuity so I didn't really mind. On my patented scale I give The Augments a 10-, a little bit higher than the previous instalments but this grade is more of a grade for the entire arc than just this episode. And the arc was excellent stuff. If they can keep this quality up, and I don't really doubt that, and we still don't get another season then I don't know what will.
Spiner continued to play the conflicted villain of Arik Soong, who eventually saw the error of his ways and redeemed himself. I wondered about this from the start - how the augments would think about him in the end. Sure, he helped create them and he was their "father" but he was still just another un-augmented Human. No, Malik was the real villain here, a superior breed with superior ambition while no superior morals, willing to commit genocide on Klingons just in order to get away without having Earth at their tails. One wonder how it is that Soong never realized what his augments had become until it was too late. Perhaps like many parents who refuse to acknowledge the bad behaviour of their children.
The only augment with compassion was Persis, and she helped Soong escape (which begs the question of Klingon escape pods - are they supposed to have those?). She remained the hope that the augments could learn to adjust to society. It was really too bad that she was killed. I had grown quite fond of her and kind of hoped that she'd survive somehow. And no, I'm not saying that because she looked hot (another tank top and panty scene - with pokies, yay!). It was a bit of a too clean ending having all the augments dead. Oh, well...
There where a lot of nods to previous Treks in this episode and I liked that. The augments and Soong talked about Khan and the Botany Bay from the original Space Seed. Even the end reminded us of the ending of The Wrath of Khan with the stolen ship destroyed. The only thing missing was Malik quoting Melville). Even the Briar Patch, from Insurrection got a mention. Fans will debate whether or not the end was a total rip-off from the classic movie or an homage. I thought myself that it might have been a bit too obvious. What bothered me more about the end was the lack of real suspense. We all knew that the pathogen torpedo would be destroyed (don't give me that Klingon anti-ridges illness thing...) and the same for the augments. Then again, we all know that evil must be thwarted and the evildoers undone in the end.
Some thought that the dreaded Super Archer was back in full force in the last episode but if he was it was rectified here. We actually got to see Airlock Archer get air locked himself. That was a surprise ending of the cliff-hanger and it was nicely done. And the scene with him impersonating a Klingon Captain to another Klingon was absolutely hilarious. The Chancellor and Orion Slave Girls! Say what you want but the Captain has a knack for comic improvisation. Another good "invention" is what I'd call the grappler maneuver. I doubt they can use it on Klingons again but the sheer daringness of such an improbable maneuver gets bonus points. They also did some clever things disguising themselves from the Klingons. Too bad we never got to see Trip paint a Bird-of-Prey on the hull.
There was a great shipper moment between Trip and T'Pol. While T'Pol seems eager to rekindle their friendship Trip has deliberately kept his distance from her ever since her marriage. He has even skipped all dinners at the Captain's table. He is obviously trying to minimize his loss by avoiding her. He even says that it might be for the best; a Vulcan/Human couple would have less of a chance than Romeo and Juliet. From his standpoint it's pretty much over. Vulcans normally marry for life. He is still protective of her of course, as Soong teasingly observes. It seems T'Pol has a harder time adjusting. While she knows what a Vulcan marriage entails she is new to her feelings for Trip and won't just let them go. Oh the angst these two brings in going to be excruciating. I love it! But what about that limp Trip had? Did Connor Trinneer injure himself or something?
The other crewmembers didn't have much to do as usual. I have resigned myself to the thought that this is probably how it's going to be. They're doing more original series style stories and want to emulate the Big Three, but this time with Archer, Trip and T'Pol. I just hope that Reed, Hoshi and Phlox aren't completely forgotten (oh, I almost forgot Travis but then again so have the writers for a long time). In this arc I would have liked to see more interaction between Phlox and his friend and colleague Dr Lucas but we saw very little of it unfortunately. Why did they even bother to bring us Dr Lucas? Was it just a plot point to have him spill the beans when the augments threatened to kill Phlox?
The special effects were mostly good except for when scene with the Denobulan shuttle being dropped into the atmosphere by the Bird-of-Prey. It looked kind of cheesy. Speaking of the Denobulan shuttle, it felt a bit strange to hear them talking about the Denobulan pilot but never seeing her. I know she was seen in CS-12 and the cost of having the actress show up for another episode probably wasn't motivated, but it felt odd nevertheless.
The final scene with Soong back in a prison cell was a great nod to the future. His new obsession is artificial life forms and it may "take a generation or two". I was more or less expecting him to say "next generation".
As said, all in all, a great Star Trek episode that bodes well for the new directing show-runner Manny Coto is taking it. The new concept of mini-arcs will get us the best of both worlds in terms of more stand alone storylines with more episode to episode continuity while at the same time taking the necessary time to tell larger stories. Keep it up!
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