the story: Archer and Degra solidify their new alliance.
what it's all about: "The Forgotten" is a chance to remember the victims of the Xindi crisis, not just the ones who died recently ("Azati Prime") but those lost at the very beginning ("The Expanse," the second season finale). As such it features Trip fairly extensively, as he struggles not just over that but his hatred of the Xindi, which is problematic as Archer attempts to make one of them an ally. We saw how he began those efforts in "Stratagem," and how subsequent experiences and revelations have persuaded Degra to consider the opportunity. Like "Stratagem," "Forgotten" gives them time away from most of the other Xindi (Rick Worthy's fellow councilman is present this time), and as such is itself an assurance that Degra really is to be trusted, regardless of Trip's reservations.
It's a continuation of the heavy serialization that had set in with "Azati Prime," and would only have one break from ("E2") as the season winds down. The season had set up its plot elements like dominos, and now they're being knocked over, and it's some truly inspired storytelling that results. T'Pol's predicament, the effects of her drug addiction, is also featured. I think mostly this element is used as the clearest form of the emotional toll the mission has taken, just as Trip continues to embody the home element, having lost his sister in the initial attack.
By the time we know unequivocally that Degra will be taking Archer up on his offer, he's been forced to repel attacks from other Xindi factions, which is proof enough of his sincerity...and also foreshadowing of things to come in his future...
franchise- I don't mean to suggest casual fans won't be able to appreciate material like this, but their emotional involvement will always be smaller by definition.
- series - Whereas Enterprise fans will gobble this sort of thing up.
- character - The culmination of Degra's character arc as he at last joins the good guys.
- essential - It drives home that the arc considered all the angles, including mourning losses.
Randy Oglesby (Degra)