Date: November 12, 2154
Original Airdate: January 28, 2005
Reviewed by Diesel Micky
opens on the Andorian ship Kumari with Shran in command. The bridge
is in flames. Shran sends a distress call to the Andorian Imperial Command,
stating that he was attacked by a Tellarite ship. The damage is so severe,
that Shran orders all hands to the escape pods to abandon ship. Cue Russell
Act I begins with Hoshi and Archer in a shouting match. Hoshi complains
about everything from the food to her quarters, including calling Porthos
"mangy" (watch it, sister!) before Archer lets her have
it with both barrels. To no one's surprise, the two then start smiling
at each other. It was all just preparation for receiving the Tellarite
delegation. It turns out that the Enterprise has been dispatched
to ferry the Tellarite Ambassador and his entourage to a neutral planet
for trade negotiations with the Andorians. Earth will be mediating the
dispute it its first high-profile foray into interplanetary diplomacy.
The planet has been designated "Babel" and lies on the far side
of Andorian space. The Tellarites have warp ships of their own, but the
Andorians won't allow them to enter their space, hence the pride of
Starfleet must play taxi. Get used to it, ships named Enterprise
end up with the same crappy duty for at least the next two hundred years.
The Tellarites come take a shuttlepod from the surface to the Enterprise.
Archer greets Ambassador Gral, wasting no time in launching into the insults.
It's not a particularly witty insult by even elementary school standards,
but apparently Gral is satisfied, and he offers Archer his hand. At the
reception for the pigs, Trip tries a little humor without much success.
He tells Archer that he likes the Tellarites' directness. Archer,
thinking he's getting the hang of this insult thing, zings a few Trip's
way before the engineer can get out the door. If Vulcans ever rolled their
eyes, T'Pol would probably be brought up on charges. Gral reminds
Archer that he knows about the Andorians' role in saving Earth from
the Xindi and questions whether Earth can be impartial. He also questions
humanity's experience in mediating such matters, but Archer doesn't
back down and reminds Gral that the Tellarites didn't have many choices.
The Enterprise picks up Shran's SOS, conveniently not receiving
the part about the Tellarites. Helping the Andorian ship will delay the
arrival at Babel, but (all together now) the Enterprise is the
only ship in range. Again, get used to it.
Nineteen Andorians managed to escape the destruction of the Kumari.
That might not be so bad except 86 were aboard. The ship had been escorting
the Andorian ambassador to Babel for the conference when a Tellarite ship
got the drop on them. The ambassador's ship had been destroyed immediately,
and the Kumari hadn't fared much better. Shran remarks that
he'd never seen a Tellarite ship move that quickly, and chalks it
up to their developing their war capabilities while talking peace. T'Pol
is skeptical of why the Tellarites would agree to the conference and then
kill the Andorian party. Archer tells Shran that he's got the Tellarite
contingent on board. Shran first tries to go to question the Tellarites,
but Archer reminds him who's ship he's on. Shran then warns that
there will be bloodshed if the two species aren't kept apart.
The Enterprise's sensors verify that the weapons used in the
attack are consistent with Tellarite technology. The Andorian ship's
data recorder was badly damaged, but T'Pol was able to retrieve an
image of a Tellarite vessel firing on the Kumari. Archer takes
this data to the Tellarites, but they insist the they are not involved.
They point out that Andorian technology is more advanced than their own,
and a single Tellarite ship would stand no chance against two Andorians.
Archer informs the Tellarites that they are headed to Andoria, and Gral
objects, fearing that they would be arrested and held accountable for
the attack. Archer's only reply is that Gral has nothing to worry
about if he's innocent. It's difficult whether Archer is playing
up the aggressive angle, or whether he truly distrusts the ambassador.
Shran joins Archer in his cabin for a toast to the Kumari. Shran
commanded her for 12 years, and knew most of his crew (and their families)
longer than that. He reveals that he's gotten together with Talas,
one of his subordinate officers. apparently in Andorian culture, assaulting
an officer is equivalent to making a pass. He also shares that the Tellarite
attack will likely lead to war. Archer questions why the Tellarites would
initiate such an attack. Shran notes that Andorians have been losing ships
along the border with Tellarite space, but Archer replies that the Tellarites,
too, claim to have lost ships there.
An unidentified Andorian ship approaches the Enterprise with weapons charged.
It refuses any attempt at a hail and opens fire. Shran attempts to order
the ship to break off its attack, but it doesn't let up. Grudgingly,
Shran helps Reed target the ship's shield generators, but phase cannons
fail to cause any damage. A volley of photonic torpedoes finally manages
to damage the Andorian's power grid and the ship moves off. Archer
congratulates Reed, but the lieutenant notes that he wasn't targeting
the power grid.
Archer brings Shran and Gral together in the conference room. The two
accuse each other of being behind the attacks. Shran suggests that it
wasn't an Andorian ship that attacked, noting that the shield matrix
was wrong. He accuses the Tellarites of stealing Andorian ships and modifying
them. The two almost come to blows, and Archer has the Tellarites returned
to their quarters and placed under guard. Gral tells his aides that Archer
has sided with the Andorians, and they may have made a mistake by trusting
T'Pol discovers that the ship that attacked the Kumari and
the ship that attacked the Enterprise both have the same power
signatures. Shran doesn't believe it, chalking it up to Vulcan lies.
Surely Archer can't be suggesting that the two were the same ship.
Archer isn't sure what he's suggesting, but he decides to follow
the "Andorian" ship's warp trail instead of heading to Andoria.
Over diner, Archer asks T'Pol whether Earth was really ready to jump
into interstellar politics or if they should have let the Vulcans handle
this. T'Pol points out that the Andorians don't exactly trust
the Vulcans, even though relations have improved. Archer worries because
the Andorians and Tellarites don't seem to have anything in common
to build upon, but T'Pol notes that the same has been said of humans
and Vulcans. Despite this introspection, the point of the scene seems
to be to let us know that Koss has informed T'Pol that the dissolution
of their marriage is final. That has absolutely no bearing on the rest
of the story, but it seemed important to the writers for us to know.
The Enterprise follows the warp trail to what appears to be yet
another ship. We now get our first glimpse of the Romulans, trying to
effect repairs. They see the Enterprise's approach. T'Pol reports
that biosigns onboard the alien ship are indeterminate, but its primary
systems are offline and it doesn't return their hails. The hull of
the ship is littered with subspace transceivers and multi-spectral emitters,
pretty standard stuff, really. Archer dispatches Reed with two MACOs to
the ship, and orders Trip to accompany them and try to get life support
online. Onboard the ship, they find the section they've beamed into
is depressurized, and they're unable to scan through the bulkheads.
The Romulans continue with their repairs, but they plan on destroying
the ship, rather than let the humans find out their secrets. Without warning,
the Romulan ship powers up and fires on the Enterprise. Archer
orders the away team beamed back, but only the MACOs can be recovered
before the transporter is damaged. The Enterprise is forced to
flee, leaving Trip and Reed behind. The maneuvering of the Romulan ship
tosses the two starfleet officers about, and the hose on Reed's suit
comes loose. By the time Trip can replace it, Reed is down to eight minutes
of air. Trip uses his own air supply to supplement Reed's, but they
can't last long on just Trip's supply. The Romulans apparently
never noticed any of the beaming activity.
The Enterprise reaches warp 4.9, but the Romulans are still overtaking
them. At warp 5.0, they're maintaining their distance. Mayweather
pushes the ship over warp 5.06 and they begin to pull away from the Rommies.
Thank goodness for those new injectors. Meanwhile, Shran makes escape
plans to get to the Tellarites, question them, then make them pay for
the attack on the Kumari (don't you just love saying "Kumari"?).
Section after section of the Romulan ship is found decompressed. Trip
is unable to find anything that resembles life support controls and begins
to wonder whether the ship even has life support capabilities. Reed suggests
that they find the bridge, after all there must be life support there.
wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more. The Romulans declare that they
must find the Enterprise. The humans have seen too much. One officer has
doubts about this plan, because the ship is only a prototype and was never
intended for battle. Lucky first shot on the Andorians, I guess.
Back on the NX-01, the damage from the attack has been repaired. Analysis
of the Romulan ship suggests that it is neither Tellarite nor Andorian
in origin. The only identifying sign is the use of Boridium cells in the
power matrix, something the NX encountered in "Minefield". Archer
wonders why the Romulans would be involved in an attack so far from their
home. T'Pol says that the Romulans have been known to be aggressive
toward species they see as a threat, but Archer doesn't see why the
Andorians, Tellarites or humans would be considered a threat. Maybe what
the Andorians fear is an alliance of these species, and with the conference
now postponed, any alliance would appear unlikely.
Trip and Reed have trouble finding the bridge, and Reed notes that it
need not be at the top of the ship. They decide to follow data conduits
in a further attempt to find the bridge. They do manage to find the fuel
tanks for a maneuvering thruster that works on liquid hydrogen and liquid
oxygen. At least they can use that tank to replenish their air supply.
And take the opportunity to confirm that Trip and T'Pol are no longer
involved. Again, it's irrelevant, but someone obviously felt like
we needed to know that right now.
Talas attempts to seduce the MACO guarding her quarters. The MACO doesn't
go for it, but he is distracted enough for Shran to attack. MACO takes
out Shran with no real trouble, but Talas is too much for him and the
two escape. I guess we know who wears the pants in that family.
The Romulans detect the opening of the liquid oxygen tank and activate
internal sensors to find Trip and Reed. After confirming that inertial
dampeners are off, they order evasive maneuvers. The Starfleet officers
are tossed about briefly, but magnetize their boots to keep themselves
in place and continue to follow the data conduits toward the bridge.
Shran, Talas and a few other Andorians make it to Gral's quarters.
They take out the guards and threaten Gral and his aides. Meanwhile, T'Pol
has determined that the Romulan ship is capable of mimicking both the
appearance and weapons of other ships. The discussion is interrupted when
weapons fire is detected near the Tellarite quarters. Inside, Shran sets
his weapon to kill and threatens Gral with death if he doesn't tell
him the truth. Archer and the MACOs take out the Andorians standing guard
and make their way into Gral's quarters. Archer talks Shran out of
shooting Gral, saying he can prove that neither the Tellarites nor the
Andorians were behind the attacks, and that someone wants to derail the
conference. After Shran gives up his weapon, one of the Tellarites grabs
Talas' phase pistol and shoots her with it. Shran goes to her and
tells her it is only superficial, and she'll be fine. Either he's
lying to her, or the episode was running short and the writers couldn't
find another way to work in a non sequitur about Trip and T'Pol's
With the Romulan ship still executing evasive maneuvers, Trip and Reed
finally force their way into the bridge, only to find it deserted. We
cut to the Romulans, still in their control room, which turns out to be
on Romulus. To be continued...
You know, I've missed the Romulans. We haven't really
seen much of them since Deep Space Nine. Yeah, yeah, Nemesis, yadda,
yadda... it doesn't count. This is what Enterprise has needed,
a dose of intrigue. We got close last season with the Xindi and the Sphere
Builders, but you knew Earth would be saved and we'd never be hearing
from the Xindi again. The Romulans are different. There's a war coming.
We know it. We also know we'll win, but we don't know how it started.
Unlike the Xindi, we also know we'll be dealing with the Rommies for
centuries to come. Kirk, Picard, Sisko... they all had their run ins with
the ex-Vulcans. Finally, in the fourth season, we get a story about how
the Federation we know so well got its beginnings. It's not some castoff
either, where Reed out does Starfleet's finest and develops the first
force field or some attempt at reconciliation between Spock and Soval.
It would be completely out of character for me to not point out some flaws,
and I will, but I genuinely enjoyed this one. It's been rare that
I've felt excited about seeing the next episode of this series, but
I've already made sure that the Tivo is locked in on "United."
Obviously, the various races will have to start working together, at least
enough to put their differences aside. There's still the issue, though,
of finding and defeating the Romulan ship, oh and getting Reed and Trip
off alive to boot. That the ship is remote controlled shouldn't have
come as too much of a surprise, but it is an interesting way of making
sure that the future allies never come face to face with a Romulan.
Overall, the episode was well acted and the story flowed well, with a
few exceptions. The scene with Archer and Shran having a drink was a nice
touch. These two commanders have obviously come to respect each other,
and Scot Bakula and Jeffrey Combs appear to be comfortable with each other
as well. The only time the story really came to a screeching halt was
when the Trip/T'Pol bits were dragged in. TPol's marital status
and Trips feelings towards her are relevant to the characters' long
term development, but really added nothing to this episode. Perhaps these
seemingly shoehorned-in lines will become relevant before this mini-arc
is completed, but at the moment I can't see how.
Now for the nitpicks.
Aside from all that, I still liked this episode, and I'm looking
forward to next week. That's about the highest form of praise I've
been able to offer since Deep Space Nine went off the air.
- The characterization of the Tellarites confused me a bit. Clearly
the Tellarites in "Journey to Babel" were argumentative, but
I think they've been mistaken for the Zaldans. There was no indication
that Gav expected to be insulted by Kirk or Sarek. It was also not in
keeping with Enterprise's own continuity. The Tellarite, Skalaar
wasn't the least bit insulting, and was hardly even argumentative
by the standards set in this episode.
- Something that made me go "hmmmm" was the idea of having
Babel be on the far side of Andorian space from the Tellarites. What
kind of negotiators do the Tellarites have? They should be fired. Surely
there must be a neutral planet both sides can reach without having to
- I can't be the only one that was amazed that simply tugging on
that air hose could cause it to come undone. I'd be surprised if
today's space suits aren't significantly more rugged than that.
And shouldn't there be some sort of safety systems built in? You
know, if the air suddenly starts to vent into space, the flow shuts
off until manually restarted, or there's an emergency reserve of
- The amount of time spent to repair the NX-01 after the second battle
with the Romulan drone has to be an all-time record. Back in ship shape
before Trip and Reed can even find the Romulan bridge. Who's second
in line in engineering? With response time like that, that whole Trip/Sim
thing may have just been a monumental waste of time, effort and a bad
- More of a neatpick than a nitpick, really. Reed voices something that's
bugged me for a long time. There's no rule that says the bridge
has to be on top. In fact, having it on top has never made sense to
me. All your senior officers and the command and control for the entire
ship, and they set it up on top, out in the open, as one of the easiest
targets on the ship.
- Okay, here's my laws-of-physics rant for the day. Yes, the former
science advisor to the show, Andre Bormanis, has his fingerprints all
over this. The Romulan ship has inertial dampeners turned off, yet all
Trip and Reed have to do is magnetize their boots. Aside from the nice
nod to The Undiscovered Country, this is absolutely ridiculous.
The ship is maneuvering at near light speed at least, pulling hundreds
of Gs. Those boots might stick to the floor, but our boys wouldn't
stay in them long. They'd be spread all over those bulkheads like
jam on toast. Tucker, Smuckers, it's all the same at that point.
Of course, the ship would rip itself apart, too. Oh, and while we're
on the subject of the ship...
- Who the heck was making the repairs? There were no worker drones
in any part of the ship Reed and Tucker explored, and those power conduits
aren't going to replace themselves.
Grade: 9/10 (A-)
Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer
John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox
Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery as Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
Connor Trinneer as Charles "Trip" Tucker
Jeffrey Combs as Shran
Lee Arenberg as Gral (Tellarite)
Brian Thompson as Valdore
J. Michael Flynn as Nijil
Molly Brink as Talas
Kevin Brief as Naarg
Jermaine Soto as Maco Crewman
Director: David Straiton
Written By: Mike Sussman & Andre Bormanis