In the episode originally broadcast on October 10, 2001, the Enterprise crew find an idyllic planet only something there is making them paranoid. This is Strange New World
Captain’s Log Date Undetermined.
The Enterprise finds an Earth-like planet and, despite T’Pol’s reminder that they should follow safety protocol, Archer sends her on an away mission with himself to explore this new planet and see it for themselves. There things take a turn for the worse when the crew begin acting strangely and, after becoming trapped by a storm, turn on one another.
After an unfortunate transporter accident used to save one of the crew, Phlox discovers that the away team has been infected by spores and finds a way to inoculate them. This becomes a challenge when Trip becomes certain that T’Pol has been conspiring against them all with some imaginary rock people. Archer is able to talk Trip down and the next morning everyone is fine learning that maybe, listening to protocol would have been a safer bet.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This episode is all about the hubris of humanity and, sadly, Archer’s refusal to listen to reason and guidelines risking his crew for a little bit of exploration. Much like the moment in Alien where Ripley warns them to not bring in the infected Kane back on the ship, Archer completly ignores the chance of risk on an unknown planet. I mean, how hard is it to resist visiting a biome that could have something that can kill you in the air? He has heard of allergies right? I mean, just that alone would be worth considering, and, even if he didn’t, why go down without bio-suits before knowing if it’s safe or not?
Honestly, every bit of this episode could have been avoided if it weren’t for the cavalier attitude of Captain Archer. The irony is, just in the previous episode, he was all about ‘doing the right thing’ but that seems it’s more like ‘Doing whatever he feels is right’ instead of just the ‘right thing’. So far, although the first time I watched this I was all about Captain Archer, I am solidly on team T’Pol for now. She is the one person on the ship who has actual experience on alien planets and no one listens to her. I feel ya T’Pol, been in your shoes before and it is no fun.
Overall, this episode is a prime example of a characters making dumb decisions in order to further a plot. Then again, this series is about how all of the protocols got setup in the first place so, I guess these folks are the guinea pigs who need to royally fuck up in order to learn something. That being said, the episode is actually pretty good despite the fact it could have all been prevented. The writers did a great job with the whole ‘lets make the crew insane’ thing. However, when it comes down to it, there’s nothing Strange about Strange New World not even the fact that humans are ignorant idiots even in the future.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that a the M in M-class planet stands for Minshara.
- The first transporter accident is experienced by Ethan Navakovich who finds himself in a Tuvix situation with the plant life. No wonder McCoy wanted to avoid transporters.
- We really get a chance to see Dr Phlox in action as he tries to save crewman Navakovich. This episode shows just how much he cares for his crew members and feels deeply for them when he might fail to save them.
- T’Pol uses the Vulcan nerve pinch in this episode.
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Late To The Game 4/30/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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