It’s been 16 years since the finale of “Star Trek: Enterprise” – “These Are the Voyages.” The last scene – Captain Archer hugging his first officer T’Pol – was filmed on March 5, 2005.
Since that time, “Star Trek: Enterprise” fans have distinct feelings about the last episode, even beyond never wanting the series to end. Even “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fans – who watched for Riker and Troi – have thoughts.
But what does the “Star Trek: Enterprise” cast, Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker), and Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi), as well as the writers themselves (Rick Berman, creator, and Brannon Braga, executive producer) think of the finale?
Scott Bakula: Publicly Diplomatic
Although Scott Bakula (Captain Archer) never complains about the script publicly, he clearly disapproved of it, especially when “These Are the Voyages” was filming. Brannon Braga recalls in this TV Insider interview that it was the only time Bakula was ever mean to him.
Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) felt welcome by Bakula, but he recalls, in SyFy Wire, the interaction was awkward. He remembers the episode wasn’t what Berman sold to him.
“[Rick Berman and Brannon Braga] said it would be a valentine to the fans, but all it ended up doing, I think, was hurting Scott Bakula’s feelings.”
Dominic Keating (Lt. Reed) says much the same thing in this Trek Movie interview.
“God bless Scott, he didn’t complain about anything. So, when he does say something like [how he didn’t like the episode at the 10-year reunion], you know that really got to him.”
But publicly, Bakula has been diplomatic, such as in this interview with StarTrek.com.
“I have to say that when I read first read the script, I was off-put by it. I had a long talk with Rick [Berman] and Brannon [Braga] about it, and they explained their idea and philosophy to me. I don’t know that I ever …. Gosh, the end of anything is always hard to write. It was a little odd, but that was their call.”
Even at this Destination Star Trek convention, Bakula says it’s difficult to write any last episode; fans are always dissatisfied. Finally, he admits, the cast was disappointed in the series cancellation.
“The show ended. We were unhappy. We wanted it to keep going.”
Jolene Blalock: ‘Appalling’
According to Trek Today, Jolene Blalock (T’Pol) was excited about the fourth season and couldn’t believe it could come to an end. In the same interview, she talks about how much she enjoyed the last season.
“It was an unexpected surprise to have the scripts that we did [in the fourth season] … it was fun to come to work again.”
But then she received the final script. She was displeased.
“I don’t know where to begin with that one … the final episode is … appalling.”
She expresses being dismayed about where her character was in terms of the storyline. T’Pol’s journey over the show’s history had been difficult; she’d been ill (Pa’nar syndrome in “Stigma”), her mother had died, adapting to new Vulcan traditions and culture, and recovering from drug addiction (trellium-D).
“I wish the best for T’Pol, and I don’t wish her to be viewed as everything that they made her – a drug addict, weak woman, confused, lost.”
Adding insult to injury, the last scene filmed was on Jolene Blalock’s 30th birthday. It wasn’t easy to film either, according to her interview with Trek Today.
“I caught eyes with Scott, and it was just a moment I will never forget. And he walked over and he shook my hand before we started shooting that last scene, and I almost lost it.”
Jonathan Frakes: ‘A Mistake’
Although in the SyFy Wire interview, Frakes says it was delightful to work with Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi), he admits, “I wasn’t crazy about [the episode].”
In this “Star Trek” convention, Frakes talks about what happened and the process of agreeing to return for the last episode, as well as how it felt like being back.
Frakes says he was in London and Berman called him. When he got the script, he didn’t think it was a good idea. Walking onto the set for the last episode, as the show ended, he indicates on StarTrek.com Scott Bakula was gracious, but the cast was unhappy.
“I don’t think the ‘Enterprise’ cast was happy to have us. I’m frankly not sure the fans wanted to see us there.”
He adds, it was fun to work with his previous co-star (Sirtis), but otherwise, the episode is an unpleasant memory.
“It was great, obviously, to be with Marina again and a lot of the crew were people I’d worked with on ‘Next Gen.’ So, the fun part was there, but the legacy of it … I don’t think it was our finest hour.”
Frakes also says on StarTrek.com it was a mistake.
“I think, one of [Berman’s] rare mistakes. It didn’t work on so many levels.”
Marina Sirtis: ‘Kind of Fitting’
In SyFy Wire, Marina Sirtis provides information about how the cast and crew felt. She says she knew the cast was upset. Despite their displeasure, she indicates they didn’t let it get in the way. Sirtis even mentions she and Frakes felt welcomed. The most difficult part, she says, was that she and Frakes were friends with many of the crew.
“I totally got that they were miffed that it wasn’t a two-hour episode. Giving them their due, the cast were great to us. We knew a lot of them. We were friends with a lot of them. They never let their displeasure get in the way. They welcomed us.”
She goes onto say it meant something to her personally.
“The irony, to me, is that the very last scene shot was Jonathan and I walking off the holodeck. Jonathan and I were in the very first scene of ‘The Next Generation’ when we started shooting and then, however many years later, we were in the very final scene shot of ‘Enterprise.’ So, in that way, for us, it was kind of a fitting finale.”
Rick Berman: ‘An Area of Controversy’
Berman does provide details about the timing for the last episode and how it felt to write it. He explains they didn’t have a lot of time and couldn’t make it a two-hour special.
In 2005, Berman says that he and Braga had talked with the cast about the script during the filming, insisting, “Discussions had ended very amicably.”
In 2014, when giving information to StarTrek.com, he says that people were furious about the story and even indicates the actors, most of them, were displeased.
But when talking with the Television Academy in 2018, Berman calls the episode, “An area of controversy.” He claims he and Brannon Braga weren’t trying to make the last episode about “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Instead, he indicates he wanted to honor the “Star Trek: Enterprise” characters by enabling other “Star Trek” characters (Riker and Troi) to see their heroic actions. He confirms more fans didn’t like the episode than liked it.
“You can’t create how people feel about [the finale]. Brannon and I have wondered [since it aired], perhaps it was a mistake.”
Brannon Braga: ‘I Have Some Regrets’
Braga’s opinion of the final episode has changed dramatically over time. He also acknowledges, in an interview in Trek Movie Blog, that he and Berman weren’t just trying to wrap up “Star Trek: Enterprise” but also wrap up “Star Trek.” He really wanted to deliver “a valentine” for fans.
Once calling it “The coolest thing ever,” he now admits in Cinema Blend, the script had problems.
“It was kind of a slap in the face to the Enterprise actors. I heard it from everybody.”
Braga, in 2016, agrees with Berman’s assessment that there’s controversy about the episode. He goes on to say, “I have some regrets about [it].”
It had some great stuff in it and it was a cool concept, but it was languid. I don’t know if it fully delivered and it really pissed off the cast.
Connor Trinneer: ‘Satisfying’
In the finale, Commander Trip Tucker, played by Connor Trinneer, dies protecting Enterprise and Captain Archer. It crushed some fans for a multitude of reasons. Yet, Trinneer seems fine with Trip’s death.
In this Trek Movie interview, Trinneer indicates, he thought it worked.
“Personally, I liked the way I was able to conclude Trip with his untimely demise. As an actor that was satisfying to me. I have always felt that way.”
He says with SciFi Pulse in this Trek Today interview that he’s happy with the finale. He goes onto say he understands the challenges Berman and Braga had, knowing how difficult it is to wrap up the “Star Trek” franchise.
Dominic Keating: ‘Clunky’
Dominic Keating is less generous than his acting friend, Trinneer. His Trek Movie interview pinpoints his feelings.
“I have always said it was clunky. But I have always sympathized with Brannon [Braga] and Rick [Berman], and them wanting to somehow honor not just our show, but the end of their tenure with the franchise.”
John Billingsley: ‘Flaccid’
John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) says in this Trek Today article that although he liked working with Frakes and Sirtis, there were issues.
“Many things about this episode seem somewhat flaccid and dramatically arbitrary, and I think it may have hurt some feelings.”
In this Trek Movie article, Billingsley discusses why he didn’t think “These Are the Voyages” worked creatively. In season four, Billingsley indicates they were getting traction under Manny Coto’s writing team. They had interesting stories, and the show began to take on a new tone. The finale’s script, he says, felt disconnected from and even dismissive of the fourth season.
“It was as if suddenly somebody from another cosmos dropped in and wrote the script, above and beyond the fact that the Enterprise’s story was swallowed up by the framing device.”
In a Finale, Is Anyone Happy?
There have been instances across genres of people being unhappy with series’ endings, from “Game of Thrones” to “Seinfeld.” The finale of “Quantum Leap,” another television program with Bakula, still has fans complaining.
At Destination Star Trek (London) in 2012, Bakula asks if there are any show endings that fans are happy about. Silence rang out.
It’s difficult for fans and castmembers to say goodbye to a series. It’s especially hard when, as Bakula says to Canada Canoe, “Star Trek: Enterprise” was beginning to “hit its stride.”
Although most of the cast was dissatisfied with “These Are the Voyages,” they’re willing to return. When asked whether Bakula would want to come back, he said to Trek Movie, “Of course!” Billingsley and Anthony Montgomery (Ensign Travis Mayweather) are also willing to come back. In this Trek Today interview several years ago, Blalock says she wouldn’t mind returning for a movie.
“I loved the people that I worked with … I’m very grateful and fortunate that I was able to be part of this incarnation. It’s sad to see it go.”
So, can a movie happen? Bakula at FedCon in 2011, according to Trek Movie, says at one point “Star Trek: Enterprise” was going to be the next franchise to do movies. He’s hopeful there will be a movie, but he doubts it.
In the meantime, fans are still trying to bring “Star Trek: Enterprise” back. And characters could always appear in other “Star Trek” shows, such as “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”
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