I could apologize for the length of this recap, but as I've been called "vitriolic," "notoriously hard to please" (hee, I'm "notorious," just like Ingrid Bergman!), and that reading my recaps are like "drinking gasoline" -- none of these complaints, I hasten to add, are anything new to any of the TWoP recappers, so y'all really should try to come up some more original sentiments ["and stop drinking gasoline…the hell?" -- Sars] -- I'm not going to bother. Why? To prove that I can be as pleased as spiked punch when the current Treks In Charge come up with something amazing that is completely, unabashedly, and unreservedly worthy of high praise.
And now for my defense of the biggest issues people had with this episode.
Clara Vulcan, Founder of the Red Cross
Was it sexist? Probably. Do I care? Not really. How else would Trip had been made the captain that so many of you adore? I also think it was more about T'Pol feeling very strongly that she owed Quantum a serious debt -- he was suffering because he stayed to save her life -- than it was about T'Pol = female, thus T'Pol = nursemaid. Could they have made one of the male members of the crew owe Quantum that same life-debt? Sure, but let's face it, it wouldn't have been as interesting when we're talking about finally breaking down a Vulcan-human wall. Plus, there have already been many "nice moments" of camaraderie between Reed and Quantum or Trip and Quantum
T'Pol Operating at Full Vulcan Strength
When Quantum ran out of Sickbay in the final battle of the episode, T'Pol tried to stop him, but he easily pushed her away. First of all, this is not the first time that this particular Vulcan's famous strength has failed to impress. But in this specific case, I put it to you this way: T'Pol let him go. I'm not kidding -- I just don't think she tried that hard to stop him. She knew she couldn't keep the erstwhile captain stagnating in a hospital bed while his old ship fell about his ears. After all, the guy had already lost so much of his personal dignity in the intervening twelve years. She had to let him go, and I respect her all the more for realizing it and acquiescing to what she knew he needed to do.
Revisiting the Oft-Used Alternate Timeline Plot
Yes, any alternate universe/timeline/future is going to have similarities to other alternate universe/timeline/future episodes -- it can't help but. However, Earth blew up in this one -- which was awesome -- and the catalyst for the alternate universe/timeline/future (the parasites) also having a joint effect on the timeline was original, inspired, and completely surprising. Best of all? I couldn't predict the method of resolution for this episode, and I loved that! With all the time travel and TCW episodes in the last three years, it was entirely possible to believe that we'd be left cliffhanging at the end of this one. Quantum could have very well been stuck in this other future for quite a few episodes. In fact, making this story a three-parter over sweeps could have worked incredibly well. But I will try not to get too greedy.