Damaged Ship and Drug addition on this episode of Enterprise that originally aired on April 21,2004. This is Damage.
Captain’s Starlog date Unknown
Continuing from the previous episode, Enterprise finds itself in dire straights, however just when it is about to be destroyed the attack stops and the Xindi ships retreat. It seems that the Xindi Council want to interrogate Archer further before destroying his ship leaving the crew of the Enterprise confused and needing to deal with the extensive damage on the ship. This, of course, really upsets the reptilian-xindi Commander who clearly wants to kill all the humans.
When Archer is miraculously returned to Enterprise via an escape pod by a Xindi Aquatic being, he finds a ship in pieces with multiple crewmembers dead and a Vulcan Science officer who is quite shaken. As it turns out T’Pol has become addicted to Trillium-D and, due to the damage to the ship, she is having withdrawals. Phlox informs T’Pol that while she will indeed have trouble controlling her emotions, she will adapt eventually. The rest of the episode shows the crew fixing the ship forcing them to raid an alien ship for their warp coil while ‘compensating’ them with Trillium D but also stranding the aliens in the process. This fixes the Enterprise’s engines but forces Archer to feel like he is losing his morality in the process.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
So, basically this is the episode where they turn Enterprise into pirates and T’Pol into a drug addict going through withdrawal.
Let’s start with the piracy thing shall we? The episode itself deals with Enterprise needing a warp coil to, well, basically do anything. So, of course Archer, after having been kidnapped and released, is determined to do anything he can to get his ship back together so he can go finish his job in preventing the Xindi from attacking Earth. So, when he finds an alien ship who has exactly what they need but are unwilling and frankly unable to trade, well, what does Archer do? Does he offer to transport these folks home aboard Enterprise in exchange for their warp coil? Heck, even offering to toss in one of their shuttle pods as a bonus probably would have had these folks seriously consider the request. No, he ends up just forcibly taking the Warp Coil and, while he ‘compensated’ the people who had the coil with some Trillium-D, he literally just stole something they were not willing to part with.
What bothers me about this is that Archer makes a choice that is absolutely against his character. In fact, his choice to attack an innocent ship to take what he feels they ‘need’ is something he would have fought to prevent if someone else attempted this kind of theft. There is no way that the Archer we met in seasons one and two would have condoned any sort of theft, let alone violence toward an innocent ship who needed help in the first place. I would be right on board with his actions if we saw a gradual build up to this angry, determined Archer but instead he literally took a 180 and became Captain Pirate of the Expanse almost as soon as the Xindi Attacked Earth. Sure, I get it, he’s pissed but this does not seem like the same Archer who freed Suliban citizens because they were innocent, no, I think if this Archer were to run into a similar situation involving the Xindi, he would have help execute them all instead of trying to free them. Oh and when he is confronted by the Captain of the alien ship as to why he stole their warp coils? He says ‘Because I have No Choice’ Yeah….what a tool. This Archer is a monster and frankly, if this is a representation of the best of humanity in the 22 century, well, maybe they do need to be wiped out.
Then, there is T’Pol’s drug addition. So. Apparently T’Pol has been secretly injecting Trillium-D into her blood stream for three months and no one noticed, not even Tripp, who has been quite intimate with her. Remember when we encountered the Vulcan-Zombies? Yeah, so, that short stint took T’Pol on a bender with Space-Crack and after three months of ‘experimenting’ in ways to inject this substance into her blood stream, she is just now realizing she is addicted to it and, well, it’s not going well. Remember, this is a highly decorated Vulcan science officer who is experimenting with a drug that turned a crew of her fellow Vulcan’s into Zombies causing them to kill one another quite violently. So, where in her mind did she even dream of considering that taking this drug was a good idea? I mean, I get addiction, there are impulses that some people just can’t control, but the T’Pol we have come to know has had very little concern with talking to Phlox over medical concerns in the past, so, why didn’t she come to him and tell him ‘hey, I might have an issue…’ months before now? Heck, she had time travelled for a matter of days and showed no signs of withdrawal then, and NOW she is having issues? hmmmmm. Sounds like this was not planned out in any way….
To me, having both of these primary characters act so against their established character traits is one of the worst things about this season. I understand the need to create drama on a series such as this, but this is not the way to do it. Don’t have the characters who are meant to portray the moral and ethical highroad act is such terrible ways that really make no sense at all. If anything, Archer should be locked in the brig for high treason and T’Pol should be confined to sickbay for treatment leaving Reed and Tripp to figure out how to finish the mission. Heck, Archer even colludes with the Doctor making Doctor Phlox, one of the best characters on the series, have a questionable moral code! Why anyone would trust these people to get them through the expanse after this is anyone’s guess, I know I wouldn’t. But…Archer ‘feels bad’ about it all so I guess that makes everything okay.
Overall, I feel like this is one of the absolute worst episodes in the way of story telling and character development. Everything that happens in this episode could have been prevented yet they push forward like this is just ‘the way things are’. The only way there would have been payoff for this episode is that, after this mission, Archer resigned his commission and was put in the New Zealand Penal Colony that Paris ended up in back on Voyager. Then, maybe then, I could have accepted it.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- So apparently all warp coils in the galaxy can be adapted to fit any ship, because that’s just how these things work? Riiiight… I mean, it’s even the right size and shape? yeah, let me go get a key engine part for my Honda from someone’s BMW and get them to work with no problem. ugh…
- We get another use out of the Transporter in this one, so, it’s becoming a pretty useful device after all.
- Oh, yeah, and we are introduced to some new alien lady that is apparently able to influence the Xindi council. She’s clearly the real ‘big bad’ in the series so, we are sure to see her again.
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: The Forgotten
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Late To The Game 10/4/2021
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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