And finally, the reason for all these accolades and defense statements, I give you THE EPISODE!
Quantum sleeps. The ship shakes. Quantum wakes. You know, I felt that like that just the other night. I thought it was an earthquake, because, you know every slight jar in California could be an earthquake, right, Mathra? Anyway, I got up to check and discovered it was just three weirdoes moving a couch down the stairs. Seriously, who moves a couch at 12:30 AM on a Sunday night? Weirdoes. I don't think "weirdoes" should be spelled with that "e" on the end, but spell-check does, so it just looks weird. "-Oes." Since comming the Bridge doesn't get him anywhere, Quantum tries to leave his cabin and is stopped by a guard at his door, who tells him that he's under orders from "the captain" not to let him leave. Quantum's all "the hell?" and punches the guy out.
Bridge. The ship is rocked with more blasts, and Reed calls out that they're losing hull plating. T'Pol -- looking AWESOME in a Starfleet uniform, and I am sorry but I am just going to have to take that as a shout-out -- gets up from the captain's chair and gives orders. A shirtless and pajama-bottomed Quantum storms the Bridge and demands an explanation. T'Pol waves her hand and orders that "someone take him back to his quarters." Two guys grab him. The ship shakes some more, Reed announces their weapons are offline, and Hoshi draws their attention to the viewscreen. Kick-Ass Effects are dancing all over the screen as a huge sphere, flanked by two smaller ships, drops out of warp in this sort of materializing-by-expanding effect. The sphere -- oh, I've got to describe this -- is belted by two flat bands that rotate across its surface. The surface of the sphere is the best part, though. It's pimpled with red things, but it looks like there's another sphere sliding under a latticework of metal, that rests on top of the first sphere but is under the bands. It's so hard to describe, but as with all amazing Star Trek effects, it looked like a toy you could buy in a science museum gift shop. The sphere, which MUST be the Xindi's Weapon of (Kick-) Ass Destruction, draws close to Earth and, mimicking the Psycho Bocce Ball, fires a frickin' laser beam at the big blue marble. Oceans boil up and land crumbles as seismic fissures open and blaze forth with molten lava. In a full shot of Earth, deep angry red cracks appear all over the globe before it blows apart in a fiery mass. Wow. That planetary destruction makes the one in Generations rend its garments, cut off all its hair, and swear never show its face again. Let me make you understand: a television show effect was worlds (hee) better than a multi-million dollar movie effect of the same exact event. Quantum pants and twitches with a weird tic. So does the Evil Dr. Mathra, but his tic is a tic of delight. Do you know what that tic means? It heralds the coming of the Delighted Dr. Mathra, the Evil Dr. Mathra's alter ego!