The Obligatory Pre-Warp shenanigans.  Originally broadcast on November 13, 2002 this is The Communicator.

The Episode:

Returning from studying a pre-warp civilization, Reed discovers that he left his communicator behind. Prompted by T’Pol’s insistence that leaving behind any technology is dangerous, Archer and Reed return to the planet only to be captured and accused of being spies for ‘The Alliance’. 

After Enterprise loses contact with Archer and Reed, Tucker suggests using the Suliban stealth ship they captured in order to rescue their crewmembers. Unfortunately, something goes wrong while testing the ship and Tucker’s arm becomes cloaked.  Phlox assures Tucker that his arm will reappear over time, but until then the Engineer will need to use a glove.  

On the surface Tucker and Reed are taken to a Doctor when the locals discover that they have Red Blood and it is determined that they are genetically altered super spies from the Alliance who are to be killed and studied. 

Enterprise is finally able to get the Cell Ship working and go to save Archer and Reed only to end up accidentally exposing themselves to some of the alien military craft.   Just as their crewmen are about to be hanged, the re-cloaked ship arrives and saves them but not without several people seeing them get away.  Leaving the planet, Archer notes that they caused much more damage than intended, possibly upsetting the current conflict between the two factions.  T’Pol mentions she is impressed that Archer and Reed were ready to give up their lives instead of further contaminating the young species.

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

Leaving technology behind on a pre-warp planet is not a new concept, in fact we have seen variations of this story since the original series.  That being said, seeing how new this crew is to the galaxy, it is not surprising that the crew of Enterprise would make this very mistake.  I am a little shocked it was Mr Security himself, Malcolm Reed, but still, I guess someone had to mess up.  Now, that aside, the episode itself isn’t a bad one, just a very by-the-book, paint-by-numbers kinda tale.  Crewmembers get in trouble, other crew save them before it’s too late but things don’t turn out exactly as planned. 

Yeah, it sounds like a didn’t care for this particular instalment and, while there is really nothing wrong with it, it just seems once again to be a safe and simple episode that gives us no real character development or anything really new to explore.  There really wasn’t much of a sense of danger as we all knew that Reed and Archer would get out of this unscathed and, seeing that the planet had already been exposed to ‘future tech’ well, that wasn’t really a threat either.  So what are we left with, well, a rather weak debate about further polluting a culture to save your own life and a rather humorous exploration of early cloaking technology.   Which brings us to another issue that prequel series present.  If Starfleet had had cloaking technology in their possession this far back….why was the Cloaking device such a big plot point in the rest of the franchise?  I mean, this also happens with the existence of the Spore Drive in Discovery and the fact that everyone just kind of forgot about it when it came to space exploration. I am sure Janeway would have LOVED to have had access to that kind of tech!  Then…where exactly did this cell ship come from?

Sure, you can say, but didn’t Archer steal one when he escaped Silik in the first episode of the season. Yes and no… You see, it is suggested that Archer left Silik aboard that ship in space to just float around until he woke up.  So, not only did they not keep a very valuable prisoner, they let go of very valuable tech…only they didn’t apparently.  So, this further implies that they just left Silik floating in space alone and without a ship…so did they murder him after all or did they actually jail Silik or what?  Talk about a warp core breach sized plot hole! 

Overall, not a bad filler episode if you don’t pick it apart like I like to do, but that is sort of why I write this series of blogs so, you can’t really blame me.  Honestly, you could watch a worse episode, this one is pretty decent.

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

  • We never find out what happened to this alien species and the their war with the Alliance but I imagine things got really bad after this particular visit.
  • We actually see crewmembers peeling off the alien prosthetics after a mission showing that this was well before the surgical enhancements we later see in the franchise for undercover operatives.
  • I find it interesting that this species still uses gallows to perform execution, maybe next time a lethal injection would be the best bet?
  • Oh and Tucker get’s his arm back…well, most of it as there are still a few bits that are invisible.

Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review,  I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!  Next Review: Singularity

more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game 7/9/2021

I’m not saying they are aliens…but….’Aliens’….

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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