1. "Fortunate Son"
|via Beyond the Farthest Blog|
2. "Cold Front"
The whole concept of the Temporal Cold War baffled fans who thought the series was only going to be a prequel, and then moreso when the conflict only came up occasionally. The only real disservice the arc ever got was when it was jettisoned at the start of the fourth season. Otherwise this episode from the first season will always be a highlight, the introduction of Daniels and the best spotlight for Suliban Cabal agent Silik, who tries to convince Captain Archer that they're not actually on opposing sides. The next most intriguing episode in the arc would be "Future Tense" from the second season. That one features Tholians, rebooted time, arms being cloaked. Good stuff.
|via Star Trek|
|via Star Trek|
|via Borg (how awesome is that?)|
|via We Minored in Film|
The bonus round is for me a no-brainer. The best character of the series wasn't Captain Archer, but his faithful engineer, Charles "Trip" Tucker III. He might have seemed like a McCoy knockoff at first, the good 'ol country boy, but the wealth of narrative material, and potential, he provided was invaluable, essential, and exactly the subject that infamous series finale really featured.
|via the Green Asterisk|
- "Shuttlepod One" (first season) Trip and stuffy Malcolm Reed don't kill each other, but rather end up bonding. The start of one of Trip's many defining relationships.
- "Desert Crossing" (first season) The best example of Trip and Archer's relationship, which features the always-excellent Clancy Brown, and Trip saying this (while suffering from heat exhaustion and trying to humor Archer's request that he take his mind off the heat by talking through the major components of the warp reactor): "Well, there's the drumsticks, thighs, wings. You got anything to eat around here?"
- "First Flight" (second season) In which we experience how Archer and Trip meet, which takes the form of a story Archer tells T'Pol, a reciprocation of "Carbon Creek" from earlier in the season.
- "The Expanse" (second season) Besides a flood of Trip episodes that season, it became all the more obvious how valuable he was to the series when the Xindi arc was kicked off as affecting Trip most directly with the loss of his sister during the original attack.
- "Similitude" (third season) Trip is mortally wounded, Phlox proposes a solution that leads to medical and ethical dilemmas, and Archer must decide how these matters conclude. The character study of all character studies in this series, with the character of all characters in this series.
- "Demons"/"Terra Prime" (fourth season) Often considered the "real" series finale (and featuring Peter Weller in the franchise years before Star Trek Into Darkness), this is the culmination of the Trip/T'Pol relationship. I dare you to not become emotional at its conclusion.
- "These Are the Voyages..." (fourth season) Often listed as one of the worst episodes of the series, mostly because Next Generation characters "hijacked" the final episode, this is actually a Trip story, stripping away all distractions. And what better way to end the series than with one last rumination on its best character? I don't even mind that it features his death. Why would I? Does death diminish a life? In a way, it was completely appropriate. This was the end of the franchise in some ways, certainly that era. There was a prominent tie-in with another series. There was Archer finally intoning (part of) the famous motto. And there was every character talking about Trip. I couldn't possibly have asked for something better. I think once fans have a more favorable impression of the series, they'll come around and agree with me.