At first glance, the premise of this episode - to date, the final hour of Star Trek produced for television - isn't bad. While trying to make an important career decision, Commander Riker (with a little help from Counselor Troi) uses the holodeck to replay a key moment from Federation history to help him come to a decision.
Set ten years after the first episode of the Star Trek: Enterprise (and six years after the rest of season four), the moment in question is the final voyage of the NX-01 as she travels home to attend the founding ceremonies for the United Federation of Planets. Unfortunately, the way the premise plays out is mostly a failure. The crew of the NX-01 end up being minor characters in the finale to their own series, and the drama over Riker's decision is mostly lifeless, since we already know how it is going to play out.
Setting the episode six years after the rest of the series is mostly wasted, too, since outside of a minor aesthetic change or two, it appears that the crew is exactly the same as when we last saw them in "Terra Prime."
The low point of the episode, though, has to be the ham-fisted way in which Commander "Trip" Tucker dies. The plotting that sets in motion the Engineer's empty sacrifice makes for some of the most contrived writing ever to appear in the Star Trek franchise. It's no wonder disgruntled fans began displaying avatars with Tucker's image and the words "Not. Dead." after the broadcast of the episode. Later, these complaints led the (non-canon) Enterprise novels to jump through a series of narrative hoops to resurrect the good Engineer.
All of this in a finale that, as hard as it is to believe, was promoted as a "Valentine to the fans" from executive producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga when it was first broadcast in 2005.
Over-educated, under-employed, and with a passion for film and television, Michael runs the Star Trek Fact Check Blog and figured he would start writing lists of things online, since he already spends too much time reading them.