The second season has hints of temporal stuff throughout, but it starts to get a little grittier with the alien races they encounter. Almost all of them are duplicitous, false friends to the naive and well-being humans.
Episodes That I Liked
The two best episodes of the season are the third and third-last. In EP03, Minefield, the ship is trapped in a Romulan minefield, and Reed has to demonstrate his leadership skills while other ships are closing in. Meanwhile, in EP24, it’s a retrospective episode back to the first ship to break the Warp 2 barrier, and the story of Archer’s chief rival, A.G. Robinson. I rated them both 5/5.
I rated six more EPs as 4/5: EP01 which is the second part of the giant temporal storyline from Season 01’s cliffhanger; EP02 which relates the story of T’Pol’s grandmother having visited Earth years before; EP04 showed that cheap repairs are not always worth their price; EP09 shows weird gravity messing with humans, reminiscent of Naked Now; EP12 has a radioactive storm driving everyone into the center of the ship onto catwalks to survive, despite intruders; and EP16 has another time travel storyline with time machines that have poor timing.
Episodes That Were Watchable
There were a lot of people complaining online about the series in Season 2, and it is not that surprising. I rated twelve episodes, almost half the season as merely good. EP05 showed Phlox’s routine for one night in sickbay; EP06 dealt with bullying marauders; EP07 shows an old job of T’Pol when she worked in security, chasing fugitive Vulcans; EP08 has first contact with a pre-warp civilization, so I guess Bones wasn’t the first to leave his communicator behind; EP10 turns Yoshi into a future Barkley fearful of the transporter; EP11 deals with a stasis pod that everyone wants; EP14 deals with the dangers of mindmelds; EP15 brings Shran back looking for a mediator; EP20 has Travis trying to go home again, without much happiness; EP23 is generously rated 3/5 with time-travelling Borg; EP25 brings bounty hunters looking for Archer; and EP26 introduces the giant storyline for Season 3 which is Earth being attacked by the Xindi for no apparent reason.
Episodes That I Didn’t Like
I really wanted to like some of the six lowest-ranked episodes of the season, all 2/5, but many are pretty derivative. EP13 has Trip bonding with a hostile alien on a planet (Enemy Mine?); EP17 has mutiny on a penal ship (SG1, ST:TOS, ST:TNG, ST:VOY, ST:DS9…?); EP18 has non-corporeal beings wanting to share bodies (ST:TNG?); EP19 has Archer on trial on Cronos (ST:TOS movies?); EP21 has them going spelunking (ST:VOY?); and EP22 deals with gender issues and traditional roles (ST:TNG?). None of the episodes seemed to have anything unique to say.