For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here
Overview – Early into their mission to find the Xindi home world, Archer and his crew encounter a region of space that causes severe disruptions to the ship. While they are trying to figure out how these disturbances are being caused, the ship is ambushed Osaarian pirates. Archer’s crew captures one, but one of the Enterprise’s crew members is killed in the attack and most of their supplies have been stolen. As Archer and his crew try to retake that which has been stolen, they encounter a mysterious sphere that seems to be the source of the disturbances. Captain Archer starts to take more drastic measures to find the pirates, especially when he learns that they had recent contact with a Xindi vessel.
Score: 8/10 – I really felt that this episode kept up the intensity and action that was supposed to be a mainstay in this season. Some great action right out of the gate, and for the first time a crew member is killed on Enterprise. Say what you will about Archer’s command style, but he went two whole years before losing a crew member. Speaking of Archer’s command style, we see that in order to protect Earth and complete his mission he is willing to push the boundaries of what is morally acceptable. He goes as far as to threaten Orgoth, the Osaarian pirate they captured, by tossing him in an airlock and proceeds to depressurize it. They find the first sphere, which we will later learn is a significant piece to the whole reason for the Xindi conflict. Strong acting and story-telling in this episode makes it difficult to not be excited for what is to come.
Relevance - 3 points. The sphere is going to play an important role in the entire Xindi story arc. That scores us a point. A point is scored for the update on Trip’s pressure treatments with T’Pol that will further push these two characters together. The databse that Archer eventually steals from the Omaarians will eventually take them to their next stop in the next episode.
Continuity – 3 points. A point is scored for the universe continuity. At one point, the Omaarians were supposed to be Orions, which would have marked their debut on Enterprise. However, to have the Omaarians originally be traders that were forced into piracy in order to survive made more sense here. Story continuity is intact here. Character continuity was a little more difficult. Archer goes to some far lengths towards succeeding in his mission, and takes him to a dark place personally. Archer has had some questionable developments as far as his character goes (thinking specifically of “A Night in Sickbay” here), but this one actually makes some sense. Earth has never been more vulnerable, and it is up to Archer and his crew to protect it. He loses his first crew member on this episode, and he is very much aware that death will be a substantial part of this mission. To prevent further tragedies and fatalities amongst his crew, Captain Archer shows how far he is willing to go. It’s likely a good thing that this is not the Starfleet and UFP that we knew in other incarnations of Trek, but Archer’s choices here fits the Starfleet of this era, so I will score the point for character continuity here as well.
Character Development – 2 points. This episode is all about Archer and his command. It is about what he will do to succeed at his dangerous mission. He pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable. With such a focus on Archer, the only other development we see is with Tucker and his neuro-pressure therapy that masks his reluctance to continuity something so intimate with T’Pol.
Social Commentary – 1 point. How far do you go to protect your people? What cost is too high to ensure the survival and success of your crew? These are questions that are focused on in this episode, specifically around Archer. However, in the episode itself these concepts are not well addressed. It’s there, but will become more of a focal point later in the series. So while this may start the discussion that will be carried on throughout the entire season, it is not enough to score more than a single point here.
Cool Stuff – 2 points. The sphere gets a point here, especially since it will become more significant in future episodes. An intense battle between the Enterprise crew and the Omaarians also scores a point, as we get to see how the MACO and Archer’s regular crew fight together (in the previous episode it is the MACO unit that engages in the combat sequence). Plus, Trip has a unique way of keeping people out of his engine room.
Rank – Captain (19 points). A great second chapter in this season-long story arc that delivers great action and some interesting character developments that will set the tone for the rest of the season.
If you would like to check out my other episode reviews for Enterprise, simply click here.
If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.