January 11, 2003

Dawn - REVIEW
By Paul Pytlik
Special thanks to Paul Pytlik for the screencaps.

 

The Story

 

While testing new autopilot upgrades, Shuttle Pod One, being flown by Charles Tucker, is fired upon by another vessel, and forced to make an emergency landing. Enterprise, who was watching from afar, lose contact with Trip, and are forced to scan all 62 moons in the system to find him. Down on the surface, Trip realizes his engines have been neutralized by a substance on the moon and his main power is down. He sets about trying to repair his transceiver to contact the ship. Hearing a noise, Trip walks around the shuttle to find a crouching alien, who fires at him. The alien misses, and Trip runs back to the shuttle, locking himself inside. Looking out the window, he sees that the alien has stolen his transceiver.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise is intercepted by an alien vessel, identifying themselves as Arconians, and order Archer out of the system. Captain Archer explains that they’ve lost contact with their shuttle and are looking for it. The other captain, Khata'n Zshaar, agrees to helping with the search. They’ve also lost contact with their shuttle, who was sent out to intercept Shuttle Pod One.

After wandering around, Tucker finds the alien’s camp, where he’s keeping the transceiver. However, the perimeter is protected by an alarm. Trip devises a way of luring the alien away, using a PADD and recording his voice (reciting ‘Mary had a little lamb). It works, and the alien grabs his gun and leaves to find where the noise is coming from. Tucker makes his way into the camp, and begins to fiddle with the transceiver. Seeing the source of the voice, the alien runs back to his camp, accidentally tripping his own alarm. Trip hides in the alien’s ship, leaping out at the alien as he passes by. The alien shoots Tucker, and ties him up. When Tucker comes to, the alien forces him to repair the shuttle. Unable to communicate due to a lack of a translator, the two are able to discover each other’s names at least. The alien, Zho'Kaan, heals Tucker after he cuts himself. Trip, taking the opportunity, uses a component of the shuttle to distract Zho'Kaan and wrestle his gun away. He then forces Zho'Kaan to pick up the equipment and carry it back to Trip’s camp.

T’Pol informs Archer of the bad blood between the Arconians and the Vulcans. When the Vulcans first contacted their race, they didn’t respond in the same way the humans did. The Arconians were suspicious and deceitful, and soon the Vulcans were forced to withdraw. She also discovers that the moons of the system undergo extremes in temperature. If they don’t find Tucker before the sun rises, he’ll most likely die.

Using a power source of Zho'Kaan’s, and his transceiver, Trip is able to get both working together. However, because of the same particles that neutralized their engines, the signal isn’t strong enough. He needs Zho'Kaan’s help to carry the transceiver assembly to higher ground, and so throws the gun away as a sign of peace, and unties him. Zho'Kaan tackles Trip, and the two fight. The former is able to get to the gun, but Trip manages to wrest it away, and once again throws it. Zho'Kaan agrees to help.

Once higher up, Trip is able to raise the Enterprise. By now, the sun is hot, and affecting Zho'Kaan greatly. Phlox informs the captain that using the transporter to beam Zho'Kaan up would kill him, due to the extreme change in temperature. Tucker refuses to leave the alien behind, and figures out a way Khata'n Zshaar can modify one of his shuttles to land. It’s a success, and Phlox nurses Zho'Kaan back to health. T’Pol congratulates Archer for his dealings with the Arconians, and for doing in one day what the Vulcans could not do in one hundred years.

 

Analysis

 

The Good
The interactions between Tucker and Zho'Kaan were very well done. Trinneer is developing Tucker very nicely, and Gregg Henry gives a satisfyingly alien portrayal. The Arconian ship was a very cool design, and I hope to see it again, though as a whole, the species probably doesn’t warrant being more than an alien-of-the-week. The exterior space shots, with the “Gas giant of many moons” were superb as well.

 

The Minor
Thankfully, the bad this week weren’t enough to really bring down the enjoyment level. Rather, they’re just minor niggles.

Why was Tucker alone while testing the autopilot? Shouldn’t there have been at least one other person with him, most likely Mayweather?

Why does the Enterprise have to scan every moon? If they were tracking the shuttle during the testing, shouldn’t they at least have a general idea of where he last was, regardless if Reed couldn’t figure out his last heading? There’s only so far he could have gone.

When the Arconians were sending that shuttle to intercept Trip, why couldn’t they detect Enterprise? The interference couldn’t have been that bad, since Tucker was still in communication with them up until the attack, so presumably the aliens should have been able to see Enterprise much clearer on their scopes than the tiny shuttle.

When Trip gets to Zho'Kaan’s camp after luring him away, he runs to the transceiver and begins looking at it. Then, after hearing Zho'Kaan’s alarm go off, he leaves the transceiver and hides in the nearby shuttle. Wouldn’t this be the point where you’d want to pick up what you came for and high tail it out of there. The last time you encountered this alien he tried to shoot you, and you don’t know if it was set to kill.

Why isn’t a translator standard fare on the shuttle, the method that actually gets you to the aliens half the time? I can understand not having a phase pistol normally in inventory, though, but he really should have had the translator with him, test flight or not.

Why would Zho'Kaan capture Tucker to fix his ship for him? For all he know, Trip is the ships cook who was on his way back from groceries.

Why not drag the transceiver to the top of the hill and then make for the shuttles. Surely they have some form of protection beyond air conditioning in space. They’re in the line of fire from a hot sun all the time. There has to be some form of shielding. Otherwise, the AC goes out and you fry.

However, the thing I can’t get by or really justify is why on earth Zho'Kaan was on the Enterprise recovering. It was an Arconian shuttle that picked the two up off the moon, and there would be Arconian doctors on board the larger ship who are more capable of treating Zho'Kaan than Phlox. It was written in to give Trip and him a goodbye scene, but they could have redressed the alien bridge they had to appear as a sickbay. It would have made more sense.

All (but the latter) really are minor, and easily ignorable.

Discuss this episode at The Observation Lounge BBS.

 

Good fare this week, 8/10.

 

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