Yep. Season two is over already! Crazy, right? I love this season so it was a hard call but here are my essentials:
1- Carbon Creek:
In this one, T'Pol's memaw gets stuck on 1950's Earth in a podunk coal-mining town in Pennsylvania. Being, as I am, from a small town in the Appalachian mountains, I've always had a fondness for this one. It's kind of like October Sky meets Star Trek and I'm happy about that. I love this era in Space history--right after Sputnik but right before Kennedy's historic moon speech--and I love the simple sweetness of this story.
This one takes Trek's obsession with obsession to an obsessive new level. When the crew nears a black hole, they're affected by the radiation and wig out over whatever trivial bit of business (like fixing a chair or perfecting a recipe) they happen to be working on at the time. Singularity also showcases the Archer/T'Pol friendship in a nice way.
3- Cease Fire:
Vulcans vs. Andorians and Archer's in the middle of it.
Bonus Points for featuring Suzie Plakson
Archer winds up in the Klingon high court. This one is great for showing the Klingons at a transition period in their culture. They weren't always the marauding jackwagons we see in TOS or the battle-mongering (don't get me wrong--I LOVE them) warriors we see from TNG on. Sometimes they were lawyers--really great lawyers.
Bonus Points for featuring JG Hertzler (Martok)
5- The Expanse/The Xindi:
Here's where it all falls apart (literally) for Florida and Earth in general. You're not going to get Season Three without watching this one.
The HIV/AIDs parable seems like something that belongs more in TNG but I really enjoy this one thanks to the other stigma they light-handedly feature: open marriages.
Ever wonder about Archer/Trip's BFF origin story? Here it is.
Crazy town space station in the middle of nowhere that can make pan-fried catfish and fix your ship for next to nothing? Count me in. This is one of the more original-to-Enterprise episodes.