Original Premiere: June 24, 2004
This is the first episode of TFF to really, really benefit from the new longer writing schedule. It’s also the first episode that I feel needed a commentary to help explain the plot. Well, actually there are a few other episodes that could have used such a treatise, but… all of those episodes were crappy and I didn’t want to dwell upon them. “Dimensional Analysis” is actually good, so I feel a bit more compelled to explain the plotting wonders therein… as well as some of the Xindi-related stuff that some people are bound to object to.
Enterprise has always been a bit of a problem for me. Since the very beginning, it felt like the creators kindly made every effort to contradict as much Trek canon as humanly possible. I need not recite my list of grievances here (because it would be a very long list), but suffice it to say, I didn’t really consider Enterprise a part of the Star Trek Universe. At best, I thought of it as some sort of parallel universe… and at worst, I tried not to think about it at all (“A Night in Sickbay” comes to mind. And “Precious Cargo.” Blech). But then, in the blink of an eye, one single event made Enterprise worth watching: THE XINDI. With episodes like “Twilight,” “Stratagem,” and “Azati Prime,” the third season of Enterprise actually made me a fan—right up until the moment strange Nazi alien filled the screen during “Zero Hour.” I don’t know where that particular plot thread is going, but… it certainly gave me a moment’s pause. But since the rest of season three was decent, I’m willing to tune into season four and see what happens.
But this little Enterprise renaissance left me with a bit of a quagmire. Since ENT was actually good, I naturally wanted to incorporate some of those elements into TFF… But I went out of my way to show that Enterprise was a parallel universe in the episode “Ghosts” and really… the whole Xindi-arc still didn’t fit in with Star Trek canon. My solution was, of course, “Dimensional Analysis.” Basically, the episode is saying that the Xindi do exist, and that the Guardians/Sphere Builders are trying to eliminate humanity in EVERY timeline… But did the Xindi attack happen in the established Trek universe we’ve known and loved for so many years? Or did it happen in some sort of parallel universe as I indicated in “Ghosts”? That’s for you to decide. For my part, I’m sticking with the parallel universe theory… at least until I see how the whole Nazi/World War II thing plays out next year. (For the record, I’m not too optimistic about it—but I’d love to be wrong.)
I’d also like to clear up the Yelss thread that has been running throughout the entire series—and since this is probably the last time we’re going to see the Yelss, there’s no better time to do so. In terms of the Yelss plot, this episode is the beginning… which is strange, since it’s also the end, but their story has been inverted all along, so I guess it’s a fitting beginning/end. Every single encounter the Starlight had with the Yelss over the years, was a temporal incursion. Prior to the arrival of the Epoch and Guardian intervention in 2421, the Yelss did NOT have temporal technology. And when they finally did acquire that tech, they split up into two factions—the evil faction we saw in episodes like “Termina” and “Eleventh Hour,” and the good faction, featured in “The Odyssey” arc… and in the end of this episode. Granted, the “good” faction is still a bit devious, but they’re not as evil as the “bad” faction.
“Dimensional Analysis” is 66-pages of fan service. You’re welcome. J At the end of each and every season, I take a reader poll to find out what everyone wants to see happen in the coming year. This year, there was demand for the following: Erin Keller, the birth of the temporal age, the Borg, the Yelss, the Xindi, the Iconians… and many people thought a glimpse into the future would be neat. In the past, I tended to divide all of those goodies into several episodes and spread them out over the course of the entire season (except for the Borg, because I’ve always said NO to Borg). But this year, I figured… what the hell, it’s the final year, why not give the readers exactly what they want? The result is probably one of the better episodes Season Five has to offer.
Oddly enough, “Dimensional Analysis” is actually an episode I started writing three years ago. During the second season of TFF, I drafted an episode called “Dimensional Analysis.” Once that draft was complete, I wrote the episode… which turned out to be “Termina.” Obviously, I didn’t follow that original draft very closely, because while “Termina” and “Dimensional Analysis” have similar themes, they are very different episodes. So, I had the complete draft for “Dimensional Analysis” sitting around for more than three years—and when I stumbled upon it early in the fifth season, I just knew that I had to write the episode again. (And since I obviously had to make some considerable modifications to incorporate the Xindi into the plot… the plot is once again, dramatically different from the original draft. So I can use it again later on! This one little rough draft is certainly getting a lot of mileage. In fact, I’m going to use it as the basis for every single episode from now on. Kidding! Kidding!)
Now, before I go any further, I want to clear something up: LIFE SIGNS and BIO-SIGNATURES. It’s happened before, it happens in this episode, and it’s bound to happen again. And people yell at me every time it happens (mostly in the episode poll, where I can’t respond to those complaints). In many, many episodes, the Starlight strolls up to an alien ship and scans for life signs. In “Dimensional Analysis,” the Majestic scans the Yelss junker in the beginning of the episode and it doesn’t find any life signs… But the sensors do indicate the presence of bio-signatures. I figure, if there aren’t any life signs aboard a starship (because the crew is dead), then at the very least, the sensors can detect bio-signatures… that doesn’t necessarily mean the crew is alive, but the sensors can detect the organic matter in the decaying flesh. Or something like that. So that’s my reasoning. Now stop complaining! J
It’s my dream, by the way, to make an audio commentary on a DVD. I can ramble for hours on end about absolutely nothing, and actually make it sound semi-interesting. So maybe one day, 20 years from now, you’ll hear the audio version of this on the TFF Season Five DVD. Just remember—you saw it here first! Though I bet DVDs will be growing obsolete in 20 years… Bah, as long as I can make my freaking commentary.
As usual, this episode is littered with plenty of little in-jokes. The Epoch is an allusion to the time ship in Chrono Trigger, a truly excellent Super Nintendo game that featured a lot of time travel. The Kasuto Expanse is a reference to The Legend of Zelda—Kasuto was a town in Zelda II… Most of the other little references (such as the Markab System and Commander Franklin), are nods to Richard Biggs, the actor who played Doctor Franklin on Babylon 5. He recently died of some sort of aneurism, so I thought I’d pay a little tribute.
And finally, I must give thanks to www.ditl.org and www.wikipedia.com for their excellent information on the Xindi and all things temporal. I might have a fairly decent memory, but not even I could remember the name of the Xindi Aquatic Ambassador. Or those stinking thermobaric cloud layers…
Oh, one last thing… don’t ask me about Alan or Erin or Corey Tompkins. Until that final episode, I won’t be answering any questions about that future timeline, because I’m not going to spoil a thing for anybody. All I can tell you about the final episode is that it will be epic and massive beyond anything you have ever seen. And that it will not end with strange and ominous Nazi guy peering into the camera. (And if you’re reading this after you’ve read the final episode, then you won’t have any questions in the first place.)