'Divergence' Among Critics Of Last Week's EpisodeBy Michelle
March 4, 2005 - 11:45 PM
See Also: 'Divergence' Episode Guide
Reviews for "Divergence" were not nearly so positive as those for its prequel, with some unusually strong criticism of the Enterprise actors as well as a storyline that did not successfully resolve all the questions raised in the first of the two parts.
- "Divergence" will disappoint those who expected a story to the equal of "Affliction," wrote Dr. Phlox of Save Enterprise, saying that the episode "performs a series of copouts in order to avoid several of the consequences of the characters’ actions." He thought that Reed's culpability in betraying Archer was dismissed much too easily and found it somewhat facile to have Tucker come back right after he left to help repair the engines. "The Klingon cranial ridge plot finally descends (intentionally?) into complete lunacy," he added, saying that the technobabble in that plot contributed to "a very confusing ending with too many questions left unanswered." On the other hand, he enjoyed John Billingsley's performance and the nods to previous Trek shows.
- By contrast, TrekWeb's O. Deus was sorry that "Affliction" and "Divergence" had not aired as a double episode like some of the Voyager telemovies. Though his grade dropped from an 8.5/10 for the first part to a flat 8, Deus called the conclusion "amiable", focusing on the strong Phlox storyline and the superb effects sequence when Columbia extended her shields around Enterprise which he felt would be "remembered for some time." Reed's moral dilemma "is well played even if it's not quite as gripping as it should be", he noted, and "the plot involving the Klingon general and his son is as hopeless as Archer's brow ridges", but the references to the original series and the lively action scenes made it an enjoyable episode for him.
- The Star Trek LCARS Episode Database's John Patuto thought that the character interaction was superb, particularly the development of Phlox, and he enjoyed seeing Antaak in his duties as a Klingon healer. "Excellent story telling. Gripping tension. And a viable solution to one of the first Star Trek canon-specific arguments that fans have had for over a quarter of a century. This wasn't simply one of the best Enterprise offerings ever, it was one of the best Star Trek stories ever told," he concluded.
- On the other hand, The Great Link's Michael Marek dropped his grade from four to three out of five since last week, saying he enjoyed it while he watched it but the more he thought about it, the more problems he began to see, particularly in the technobabble solution to restarting the warp drive and the scientific implausibility of Archer generating so many antibodies in so little time with next to no damaging effects on his body. He was impressed by all the ways "divergence" played into the story, from the split among Klingons to Reed's move away from his past loyalties to the challenge to Phlox's medical ethics, which he felt made for strong drama, but "several storytelling compromises...weaken it significantly."
- Ian J. Slater, also of The Great Link, awarded "Divergence" a three out of five, down a bit from the four out of five he gave "Affliction." He thought the writers were trying too hard to make things exciting:
My oh my, they are ramping things up a bit for the last few episodes, aren't they? A cable climb between two warping starships, a last second warpcore reboot, and screaming captain used as a medical guinea pig during a space battle. Sigh.Slater called the ship-to-ship climb up the tether "REALLY COOL" and beautifully filmed, as well as the exterior shots of planets and ships. Unlike some reviewers he enjoyed Bakula's performance looking "like an old dog, barking and snapping in Malcolm's face, and growling in a chair under Phlox's medical treatment."
- Entil of Entil'zha dropped his grade from the 10/10 given "Affliction" to an 8/10 for "Divergence", bumping it down a notch in the acting and style categories. "The final act...includes a curiously poor acting job by Bakula," he noted, echoing Dr. Phlox and several other reviewers. "For the most part, the various plot threads had resolutions already built into them: Enterprise would survive its engine trouble, Reed would be more or less exonerated, the Klingon Augment problem would be solved in a fashion consistent with the original series’ version of Klingons, and Section 31 would remain a shadowy sub-compartment of Starfleet Intelligence." He thought the show did a good job using an innovative action sequence to reach a foregone conclusion, but wondered why there weren't more eyebrows raised at the lack of consequences for Reed's actions.
- TailSlate's Michael Sheridan gave three popcorns to the conclusion of the Klingon arc, which he described as "the first real fan fiction concept ever turned into an actual Star Trek episode." Calling it "exciting and interesting, and steeped in Star Trek lore", Sheridan liked the background on Section 31 though he wished there had been more information on how and why Reed became involved with them. "All right, so the plot gets a little convoluted. Trying to figure why Section 31 was in bed with the Klingons was a little thick to sift through," he admitted. "And the Trip and T’Pol storyline really isn’t getting any better, so I wish they would just dump it."
- Television Without Pity's Keckler has recapped "Affliction", calling Archer "Captain Happy Pants" and scoffing at his sacrifice to SAVE THE ENTIRE KLINGON RACE FROM EXTINCTION! in "The Search For Phlox."