Star Trek: Enterprise

"The Andorian Incident"

3 stars

Air date: 10/31/2001
Teleplay by Fred Dekker
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga and Fred Dekker
Directed by Roxann Dawson

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Information: Did you know that over 70 percent of the organisms on my homeworld are bacteria?"
"Here's something I think you'll find interesting: There was a man in Canton, Ohio, who once rolled a ball of string over six meters in diameter."

— Archer getting interrogated

In brief: Mostly routine as these things go, but the ending is of particular interest.

They say that the right ending to a movie is especially crucial, because that's the note you leave your audience with, and they're more likely to judge your success or failure based on the last feelings they have as they leave the theater.

This theory would apply nicely to "The Andorian Incident," which is — let's face it — a typical and obvious hostage premise with questionable logic for most of its run before supplying an ending that makes us sit up and take notice. Agree or disagree, one must admit that the final minutes of the episode and Archer's actions represent an interesting turn of events. The implications are worth thinking about.

The Vulcans, ah, the Vulcans. In "Broken Bow" I complained that they were obstacles for the sake of the story needing near-generic obstacles. That may still be the case (I'm not sure we've seen enough to understand why the Vulcans are the prigs of the galaxy, but so it goes), but here it takes a few interesting turns. The Vulcans are on not the best terms with the Andorians, who as the episode begins have invaded a spiritual retreat on a Vulcan outpost called P'Jem. Coincidentally, enter the Enterprise, where Archer tells T'Pol he'd like to take a shuttle down to P'Jem and visit the monastery in the interests of learning about some Vulcan customs. T'Pol isn't thrilled with the idea but she goes along with it, giving the captain a laundry list of rules to avoid offending the Vulcan elders. (T'Pol says the monastery is 3,000 years old, and since it's not on the Vulcan homeworld, one wonders just how long the Vulcans have been out in space.)

Once inside the monastery, our characters discover the Andorians and find themselves drawn into the middle of long-standing Vulcan/Andorian tensions. Although there's no official state of war between the Andorians and the Vulcans, there are extremist Andorian groups willing to use violence in the name of protecting Andorian interests.

T'Pol describes the Andorians as "paranoid," and she initially seems to be right. Some Andorians are very bitter at the Vulcans, accusing them of spying on their world, and that paranoia doesn't take long to extend to the humans. We have a Vulcan in our midst, we came to this monastery, so we must therefore know something. This "something" has to do with the Andorians' suspicions that the Vulcans have a long-range sensor array hidden somewhere in or around this monastery, used as a major spying post to watch over the Andorian homeworld. The Vulcans dismiss the accusations as ridiculous; they say this is a place for spiritual meditation, not for technology, and certainly not for military-type operations.

The leader of this small Andorian group is Shran, who is played by none other than Jeffrey Combs, who created one of DS9's most memorable villains, Weyoun. What's perhaps a bit unfortunate is that some of Combs' best strengths as a performer aren't allowed to come into play for this role. Shran is a near-humorless thug whose first instinct is to have Archer beaten senseless when he supplies no useful information. Combs' best strengths in Trek have always also included his humorous edge. In addition to his role on DS9, his guest spot in Voyager's "Tsunkatse" benefited from the fact he was a funny bad guy. Shran as a character doesn't have that quality. He's very serious and borderline cruel, and while Combs can do that fine too, it's just not as much fun to watch.

Between bouts of interrogation, our crew members and the Vulcans are locked into a room that, fortunately, has a secret passageway into some Vulcan catacombs. There's a radio down here, which our crew uses to contact the Enterprise. There's a certain Indiana Jones sense to the idea of Vulcan catacombs, but there's also a certain silliness to the fact that our characters are so easily able to go in and out of these tunnels undetected by the Andorians. As is the case for most situations like this, the villains unwittingly give our heroes just enough means to secretly come up with a plan of action.

The whole procession of plot is pretty much routine, but some characterization in between the moments of planning is appreciated and beneficial. In particular, I liked seeing snippets of Reed's leadership back aboard the Enterprise ("I don't take orders from a com voice, ensign — not unless that voice belongs to the captain"), as well as another debate between Archer and T'Pol highlighting differences between Vulcan and human ideals. The discussion on self-defense vs. non-violence strikes me as particularly realistic from what we know of both human and Vulcan sensibilities.

Still, there are also moments that seem really ill-thought-out. The most obvious example is the whole game with the big stone face in the wall. When Trip looked down one of the tunnels and saw the three holes in the wall, the thing that instantly came to my mind was that those three holes were the same three holes in the wall on the other side of the face. This later occurs to the crew as they're planning their escape. But they need to be sure that the tunnel leads to the room with the big face.

So what does Archer do? He tells the Andorians he wants to talk, so that they will take him back to the room with the big stone face. When he plays around with them instead of giving them information, they beat him up some more, during the course of which he secretly throws a small artifact through one of the holes in the big face. Then, on the other side, when Trip finds the artifact, the crew then knows that this tunnel exits to the room where the Andorians are.

Hello? Why not just go through the tunnel and look through the holes in the wall to see if they lead to the room where the Andorians are? Why go to all the trouble to throw an object through from the other side and then find it in the tunnel? Either Archer is an idiot or he really likes getting beat up. More likely is that the whole concept of the artifact being thrown into the tunnel is to pad out the script and draw out the conflict. What could've been half a page of the script — or indeed, even one line ("We can ambush the Andorians from this tunnel!") — is stretched out into pages of extraneous actions and dialog.

The ensuing chase scenes and shootouts are competently staged but not particularly surprising. What makes "The Andorian Incident" work is not the hostage plot that exists for most of the hour but rather the destination the story reaches. It turns out the Vulcans are in fact hiding a massive spy facility underneath this monastery. We find out that the Andorians' suspicions don't arise from paranoia that makes them into stock villains of the week, but instead that the Andorians are right and the Vulcans have been lying all along.

This ending effectively shatters many of the assumptions from earlier in the episode that were held by the characters in the story and also perhaps by viewers watching. We find ourselves re-evaluating the meaning of some scenes. Consider, for example, the T'Pol/Archer argument on self-defense. It takes on an entirely new meaning in light of the fact that this whole time the Vulcans have been lying and in fact have been spying on the Andorians — probably in the interest of self-defense. T'Pol, I believe, had no idea about what was going on here, and likely finds herself as surprised as Archer. I wonder if the Vulcans are hiding things within their own ranks.

Archer's actions are interesting as well. He lets the Andorians have the records as proof of the Vulcans' espionage operation — an operation that's in violation of the Vulcan/Andorian treaty. Archer, I'm sure, feels completely justified in doing so, since the Vulcans had been lying all along to everyone. The truth is, after all, the truth.

It's especially important that there be consequences to this episode. The ending has shown that the Vulcans can be secretive, militaristic, and persuasive liars. The story presents this information without further discussing it. Archer's actions have shown that he's willing, on principle, to sell out what at this point is humanity's only real ally. By giving the Andorians the proof of the spy facility, he's possibly opening up a Pandora's box for increased tensions between the Vulcans and Andorians, and probably between humans and Vulcans as well. The Vulcans' unwillingness to be straight with humans shows once again that this is a strained relationship. Meanwhile, we have Shran telling Archer, "We're in your debt."

I'm giving this episode a borderline recommendation. There's plenty of stock-issue plotting and broken logic in the course of this story, but I liked where it took us. It shows that Archer is stubborn, principled, and righteous. I only hope that down the road we see what kind of trouble such characteristics get him into.

Next week: Ice, ice, baby.

Previous episode: Terra Nova
Next episode: Breaking the Ice

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60 comments on this post

Mon, Nov 12, 2007, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Shran was a great addition to Enterprise. I'm glad Enterprise brought in the Andorian. I wish they did more with them but I'm still happy with the result.
Thu, Jan 24, 2008, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
I saw this episode. I concluded that the Vulcans and the Romulans have more in common than either would like to admit.

It was also a great perspective. Star Trek always previoulsly justified the Vulcans as always good. In ST: Enterprise they're shown to be priggish and secretive.

During ST:TNG some people had even said that the Romulans were Vulcans needing Prep H. ;-).

BTW in the TOS episode "Amok Time" it was a little disingenouous of T'Pau NOT to warn Kirk of Vulcan rituals.
Marco P.
Mon, Sep 6, 2010, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Like alicelouise, I too immediately thought of Romulans in the final scene of the episode. I felt a bit disturbed to learn of the Vulcans' deceit, but I guess it's in-synch with the image ST Enterprise is painting of them.

Not sure it was the right thing to do story-wise, and it is perhaps further evidence that script writers are cruelly lacking original ideas in thi series.
Mon, Apr 18, 2011, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
Whoa, that ending was quite a bombshell. Wasn't expecting that at all!

This kind of thing is a good idea - it may be set in the past, but at this point *as a series* (collection of), Star Trek has boldly been there and got the t-shirt. There's little they could do in terms of traditional/exploration sci-fi that hasn't already been done by TOS, TNG and Voyager - in many cases 3 or more times. So if this is any indication that the series moves towards a more early-DS9-like theme of political web weaving, I'm all for it - that's been done a lot less.

The other thing the series seems to be doing is keeping fairly light-hearted and not taking itself too seriously, which makes for fun viewing and a fresh perspective on what would otherwise seem recycled. But I don't think it can pull of being both. Guess I'll find out soon enough.

What transpired still doesn't excuse Archer for wading in with his size 10s during the ceremony (this was before he spotted the Andorian so he had no reason). I know at this stage Starfleet haven't quite developed the Picard level of diplomacy, but any idiot knows to be quiet and respectful in that kind of place even without T'Pol's more detailed advice (which he mostly ignored). They just made him look like a tactless loudmouth. This isn't an inexperienced captain, it's a moron. Let's not put him in that light too often eh?

Jeff Combs yet again, just can't stay away can he :) I was glad to see another style to his acting even if it's still a villanous one - his guest appearance on Voyager was far too similar to Weyoun (a style which in itself was overdone on DS9 i.e. the "smiling and polite villain") and yanked me out of immersion a little too often. Here he was sufficiently different not to suspect that Weyoun has cosmetically altered clones all over the galaxy. I knew the actor was capable from seeing Brunt (I didn't even realise it was him until very late in the series), it just needed the right character.

Indeed, it's the same old Enterprise plodding though, but the ending makes up for it a great deal.
Tue, Jul 26, 2011, 1:02am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode, though like others I am a bit dismayed Vulcans have been portrayed thus far into the series, but since I am only a few episodes in I am willing to let that go. The thing that seems to be bothering me the most right now is how Archer knocks out a Vulcan with one sucker punch. We've been programmed since Trek's inception to know that Vulcans are much stronger than humans, but yet Archer knocks one cold just like that? That Vulcan that got smacked also seemed so... timid. Almost as if he were afraid. I just have a tough time accepting that I suppose.
Tue, Oct 25, 2011, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Quite a nice show. I like the unexpected twist at the end. I'd actually give it 3.5 stars.
Paul York
Sat, May 12, 2012, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
I just stared watching this and already have two issues with it:

1) T'Pol's vegan meal is pictured as celery sticks and lettuce, yet on Earth there are more varieties of vegetarian dishes than meat dishes, and many are very substantive. This is more of a portrayal of what the producers think vegetarians eat than what they actually eat. If you factor in the millions of possible dishes from other worlds that the Vulcans must know about it, this portrayal seems ridiculous.

2. It would be very improper for a young woman in a tight body suit to visit a monastery, where presumably the clerics are celibate. In fact why is T'Pol pictured this way at all -- or Seven of Nine for that matter? No doubt it has a lot to do with ratings, trying to titillate prurient viewers rather than appeal to intellect or moral ideals.

Another issue that always perplexed me: why portray Vulcans as mystics when they are so dedicated to reason and logic? Mysticism is by definition irrational and illogical. A better religion for them would be similar to the Talmudic studies of law or the highly rational philosophical studies derived from Aquinas or Maimonides. Or perhaps since they are a species of scientists and mathematicians, as well as vegetarians, their religion should be closer to Deism or pantheism, where respect for physics and nature and the laws of the universe is practised, but without any conception of God and no need for complex symbols or rituals as shown here. I don't think Rodenberry really bothered to study religion when he conceived of them. He just drew something out of his imagination that he thought fit. I'm not sure that it does.
Paul York
Sat, May 12, 2012, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
So Archer gives away the Vulcan command centre location to the militaristic Andorians ... what happened to the idea of non-interference? What about the alliance and friendship of Earth and Vulcan. Would Archer like it if Earth's defences were similarly compromised. It does not seem credible that T'Pol would go along with this, or that as soon as they entered the room Vulcan guards would not disarm and capture them immediately. The ending of this episode was horrible.
Captain Jim
Sat, Jun 30, 2012, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
I've always enjoyed this episode. I suppose it's a combination of several things: the reemergence of the Andorians (introduced in TOS but pretty much absent thereafter), the Indiana Jones type atmosphere of the catacombs, a new role for Jeffrey Combs and the surprise ending. All good stuff.
Sat, Nov 3, 2012, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
I'm bothered that the final fight scene took place in the vault where all the "most sacred relics to Vulcan" were stored yet it looked like they were battling through a closed flea market with cheap and fake Ming dynasty vases and pirate dubloons. Like they were filmed battling amongst the props from Goonies.
Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
I'm back! (Betcha didn't expect that, I've moved onto Babylon 5 now)

Why? Because Star Trek Online.

Future spoilers (considered "canon enough" I think) follow

One of the earliest missions is.... a reference to this episode!
On Vulcan they talk of how P'Jem was a holy place of theirs for 12 centuries, which they lost in the 22nd century through their own misguided ways of bringing war and politics (spying on the Andorians) to a place meant for peaceful contemplation.

Furthermore they say how after the founding of the Federation, P'Jem was reconstructed as a symbol of peace between the founding Humans, Vulcans and Andorians.

A fascinating little look back to this episode, which in a way, makes it all the more meaningful.
Mon, Jan 28, 2013, 3:35am (UTC -5)
@Cloudane: Hey, forget all that! tell us about Babylon 5! Is it worth watching?
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 2:56am (UTC -5)
I consider this and the following one the first entertaining episode that matters. All the episodes before were well produced but were dull, horriby plotted and even not worth remembering considering character moments. Klaustrophobia? Had that in DS9. Some poisoning planet and halluscinations. In TOS, TNG and in DS9! They should have done less shows with better plots. No wonder people turned off ENT after a few episodes.
Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
Three stars = just a "borderline recommendation"?
Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
This was the first of many (way too many) episodes in which Archer is being interrogated, and his cocky demeanor in each case (always regurgitating gibberish, which would annoy me to high heaven as well) is so excruciating that I vicariously enjoyed the beatings he got from the interrogators he was torturing.
Fri, Dec 13, 2013, 3:53am (UTC -5)
Posting in a thread where someone actually wrote a paragraph criticising what T'Pol had for dinner.

In other news, I like this episode; I'd agree Shran comes off as brutal and cruel in the episode. It's no excuse, but the Andorians are deeply suspicious people and it seems pretty obvious they will think Archer et al are in league with the Vulcans. Good to see Coombs, one of Trek's greatest actors, making a wlecome return.
Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Michael: Sorry, I hadn't been keeping up with the comments!
A year late here, but..
Yes and no with B5. To be honest, I ground to a halt watching it some time late season 2 / early season 3. That's not to suggest it's bad, in fact it's kind of like DS9 sometimes was with its long complicated story weaving which I enjoy, but if anything it's *too* complicated and for every mystery that's solved 5 more pop up.

You like action right? There's a lot of that. But you can expect a lot of talk as well.

I intend to resume watching it at some point. It's good, don't get me wrong, I just don't see it in the same "best thing in the universe that ever was" light that its fans do - to be honest, people hype it up so darn much I can't help but label it "vastly overrated" even though it's fairly good, if that makes sense.


Enjoying re-reading some of my old comments
"This isn't an inexperienced captain, it's a moron. Let's not put him in that light too often eh?"

Spoiler: They did. A lot. The hot-headed buffoon you see handling situations with the grace and tact of a wounded bull in this episode is pretty much the Captain you get for the rest of the show...
Jo Jo Meastro
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Hi Cloudane, regards to Babylon 5 I would recommend trying to watch the whole thing one day because season 3 and 4 are the absolute height of the show and all the drive of the show is chanelled directly into paying off the lengthy set-up. Imagine all of the best episodes of the first 2 seasons intensified and pumped on steriods and firing on all cylinders and the you'll get an idea of how mind blowingly epic it managed to get! Not to mention, there's consistency and a daring edginess and spark that was absent in them early days.

Each season marked a huge improvement over the last except for a slightly pointess season 5, but even the weakish fifth season gave us one of the most powerful finales ever made. I'm not saying its perfect (just the dialog alone never failed to bug me in its persistent tone deafness!) but I definitively do highly recommend completing the show if you got any enjoyment from those wobbly early days :).
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
OK thanks Jo I'll try to give it another go sometime. It must be the lengthiest set-up in history XD (just hope I can remember it all, that was always the sticky point)

To be fair, it tends to be worth watching for Ivanova and her witty snarkasm.
Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 10:25am (UTC -5)
It's too bad more of early Enterprise wasn't like this.

The episode isn't perfect, but the Shran/Vulcan episodes in the first two seasons sow a lot of the seeds for season 4. Archer's role as a diplomat is actually one of the best aspects of the series.

The problem with Enterprise, early on, was that it tried to make Enterprise about exploration. I know that sounds funny, but after TOS and some TNG, the exploration stuff got boring (with the exception of a few episodes).

Enterprise figured this out mid-season 2 and changed course for season 3, which was pretty strong, if imperfect. The final season had almost no exploration -- Archer even makes a comment about this to Captain Hernandez.

Then, laughably, Archer is called "the greatest explorer of the 22nd century" when the mirror universe characters access the Defiant's database. Essentially, this was the Enterprise creators attempt to pay lip service to Starfleet not being a military organization. But they could have done that without trotting out the explorer line when, really, Archer's significance came from what he did to stop the Xindi and his role in helping found the Federation.
Fri, May 2, 2014, 9:17am (UTC -5)
alicelouise said:

"BTW in the TOS episode "Amok Time" it was a little disingenouous of T'Pau NOT to warn Kirk of Vulcan rituals."

Happened again in ST:III, when she tells McCoy how dangerous it will be to extract the katra that was already dumped into him without his consent.

McCoy's "hell of a time to ask" quip when told of the danger is appropriate.
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
The surprise ending is interesting in that it reveals that the Vulcans have a more complex relationship between spirituality and technology than initially indicated.

However, I think it's reckless for Archer to antagonize the Vulcans. It is not his business whether or not the Vulcans are telling the truth to the Andorians. He should mind his own affairs. Further, the Vulcans are their allies. If they're not perfect, so be it. Even with these deceptions revealed, it's not as though the Vulcnas have committed some horrible atrocity. If it weren't for the treaty that is vaguely referred to in this episode, it wouldn't necessarily be immoral in any way to have a secret facility.

Anyway, the Andorians we see here are thugs with no obvious sense of ethics. The Vulcans not only support the humans, but appear to have a more developed moral code in their society. They don't beat and torture their prisoners and threaten other alien woman sexually (as the Andorians do in this episode). They appear to desire peace and rational thinking.

If nothing else, you shouldn't cut off your nose despite your face.
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Above it should read: [the ending] reveals that the Vulcans have a more complex relationship with spirituality and technology than initially indicated. (with not between)

Also it should say "Vulcans in the second paragraph not Vulcnas."

I've said this before, but it would be great if we were allowed to edit our posts.
Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
I've been re-watching ENT for the first time after watching the whole series 4 years ago. This is the first episode that was remotely familiar to me. Every other episode so far, I didn't remember anything. That goes for the series as a whole--I have some vague memories of the Xindi and I think something about Nazis? Oh, and the Borg episode, mostly because it pissed me off so much. But other than that, nothing. On the other hand, when I re-watched VOY and DS9 on Netflix over a decade after watching them on TV as a child, there were dozens of episodes that I remembered and was delighted to see again.

This really encapsulates the problem with Enterprise. It was just totally underwhelming and unmemorable. The one really familiar element emerging so far is how deeply annoying Archer is as a captain. I think it's partially the writing, but mostly Bakula's acting. He completely lacks the gravitas of Stewart, Brooks, and Mulgrew. He just comes off as an idiot.

Seriously wondering if I want to devote any time to re-watching this series.
Wed, Oct 15, 2014, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
I'm TRYING to watch ENT, but the writing is so bad... "A firefight? In close quarters?" No, you stupid witch! The monks take cover, out of the way, and the instant the Andorians open the door, they're hit with phasers on stun! The writers assume that viewers are as stupid as they are, and won't/can't think of any other tactic/alternative. It's as if no one ever held a hand up in staff meetings and asked any questions.
Mon, Oct 20, 2014, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
After watching Shockwave, I have re-evaluated Archer's decision to share information with the Andorians. I still wouldn't go so far as to agree with the decision; I think the Vulcans are their allies first and foremost. But, in the context of the show's thoughtful idealism, his decision is not without merits. I think also I was overly critical to call him reckless. Clearly the relationship between humans and Vulcans is a dynamic one at this point.
Tue, Feb 3, 2015, 2:58am (UTC -5)
A routine indiana jones/hostage fest crossover episode goes in an unexpected direction and hopefully builds something into a more sophisticated plot development later on.
Diamond Dave
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Yay, Andorians! Yay, Weyoun! This is the only other episode I remember watching as it aired, and I was somewhat surprised to find out when watching again that those two things are the main reason to remember it. Because actually the rest of the episode is a bog standard hostage drama with plenty of shouting and not much else to commend it.

I did the like the twist ending - if only because it seemed so un-Vulcan, which thinking about it probably isn't such a good thing overall - and there were some nice moments (like the jump-cut to Archer getting punched in the face) and dialogue (even if terribly hackneyed "I'm all ears" did get a laugh. 3 stars overall.
Thu, Jul 14, 2016, 8:39am (UTC -5)
I watched this one last night.

Enter one of my favorite Trek actors and character. Shran makes his appearance!

Got to knock Scott's acting here. He doesn't play a very good "I just got my ass kicked".

Nice to see Malcolm being aggressive here and not worrying about sitting in the Captain's chair.

Great exchange here between T'Pol and Archer:

"ARCHER: Problem? I'd like to find a peaceful solution too, but I don't think that's going to happen. However we end up dealing with this, I need to know I can count on you.
T'POL: Are you questioning my loyalty?
ARCHER: I just want to know where we stand.
T'POL: I have never disobeyed your orders. (rolls over and takes all the blanket with her)"

Jolene can convey pretty strong emotions with her eyes for sure.

She does always seem to be questioned or be on the receiving end of snide remarks from Archer. Unjustified in my view. She's done nothing but support them since they left space doc to deliver the Klingon.

I did get a chuckle when she took the blanket though :-)

..and of course, we find out those ever-truthful Vulcan's are well.... not so it seems.

I applaud Archer for making T'Pol take the scans and had them over to Shran. I thought it was a bit much to make her tell Enterprise that the Andorian's were leaving and to let them go. Archer could have taken care of that.

I hadn't realized Andorian's didn't have transporter tech.

Solid 3 star episode here.
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
I imagine the writer's wanted the big stone face to be so tall they couldn't see through the holes, and were surprised when it ended up being human-sized.

I've actually enjoyed re-watching the series so far. I think that's mostly because I haven't watched much of any Star Trek series besides DS9 in about a decade, so all the clichés present in the 'exploring' episodes don't seem as stale to me right now.

Still, this is the first memorable episode. As Paul notes above, stories about the diplomacy of the early Federation were the strength of Enterprise.
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
It was ok (**)
The Cisco
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Vulcans may be portrayed as insufferable snobs, but (at least during these initial episodes) Archer and Trip treat T'Pol just like you would expect any ignorant, entitled crew of high school jocks to treat anyone they consider inferior.

They allegedly reset being treated with derision and condescension by the Vulcans, but their boorish, sarcastic banter fares no better, in my opinion... I would expect senior military personnel to act in a much more professional, detached manner.
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 9:54am (UTC -5)
Agree The Cisco.

I think they took the beratement of T'Pol too far also as I indicated in my post above.

You hit the nail on the head. We can all understand Archer's personal attitude towards the Vulcan's but that's a personal vendetta and shouldn't have bled over to his role as Captain as much as it did.
Tue, Apr 4, 2017, 3:23am (UTC -5)
The first ENT episode to supply some genuine interest and to suggest that it might be setting up some substantial issues for later in the series. It's long enough since I first/last watched ENT that I'm not certain of this, but given who wrote most of the episodes thus far, I wonder how long before the Voyager reset button is located.

I also enjoyed seeing Malcolm briefly in charge, and couldn't help finding him an instantly more credible and convincing leader than Archer - though I suppose his fondness for blowing things up might eventually cause problems. Nevermind; it's not an issue we ever need to worry about. One thing I do recall from my original viewing is how frustratingly underutilised Reed was (along with basically everyone except T'Pol, Archer and Trip (one of the constants of ST seems to be the less an ensemble cast functions as an ensemble, the more the series suffers)).

Other than that, the main thing about this episode which sticks in my mind was the nonsensical way in which the Andorians alternated between watching everyone like hawks, and ignoring them to the extent that they could teleport people into the room unnoticed.

Still, my memory of this series is far from perfect, and on its own merits the end of this ep rouses some genuine interest.
Sun, May 7, 2017, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Just watched this episode, since I decided to rewatch the whole ST Ent series last week . I was never an ardent critic when the series first aired. I recall being shocked at the twist in the end and the look on T'Pol's face , her eyes expressed her disappointment in what she sees. One of my favourite episodes, just for that twist and the seeing the underutilised Andorians - 4 starts!
Mr. Toad
Tue, May 23, 2017, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
Wouldn't it have made much more sense to end it with Archer giving the sensor data to Shran as a way of resolving the hostage crisis? Having him do it in a fit of pique is just such a bad decision.
Sat, Aug 19, 2017, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
So what did this episode tell us?

1. The Vulcans are sanctimonious shifty bastards.

2. T'Pol needs surprisingly little prompting to share a blanket.

3. As we already knew, the Enterprise is best commanded by an Englishman.
Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 7:35am (UTC -5)
Hi Weyoun! Weee. I am rewatching this show and barely remember the first time I watched it, but unfortunately this episode stuck out enough in my mind that I did remember that there really was a surveillance bunker under the monastery.

I would almost argue that I'm glad this episode was pretty formulaic and unsurprising until the big reveal. Made it even more of a surprise (from what I recall) when the episode made that sudden turn.
Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 8:21am (UTC -5)

I had completely forgotten/never knew that Jeffrey Coombs also plays Brunt. Damn, that guy is a ST god.

Did you ever make it through Babylon 5? I think Babylon 5 is awesome, in terms of the story. Unlike Star Trek, it's one of those shows where when one episode ends, I feel like I immediately want to start the next to see what happens. Still, I'm a pretty character-driven type, and I prefer Star Trek just because I have more affection for the characters (simply because there are more "good guys"), and because it's more "fun". I wouldn't call Babylon 5 "fun". More like, intense and often bordering on depressing, but captivating.

Thanks for that info about the future of the monastery according to ST online. I've never checked that out, and have no plans to, but cool to know!

@Paul York

I agree that T'Pol and Seven's outfits are silly and obviously just designed that way to titillate, but I don't necessarily agree with you that T'Pol wearing that to the Vulcan monastery is "improper". If that's considered acceptable work clothes for her, according to Vulcan culture, there's no reason that it wouldn't be acceptable at the monastery. And Vulcans only get horny every 7 years, from what I understand. . . and at the time, they aren't so particular about clothing. I would imagine they would either leave the monastery to go be with their wives during Pon Farr, or they would be meditating in isolation.


I just commented about Bakula's lack of "gravitas" below the pilot episode. That's exactly the right word for what Stewart, Brooks, and Mulgrew have, and he lacks. Star Trek sort of backed themselves into a corner by casting those three in succession. Now it's difficult for we fans to take seriously a captain who doesn't possess that amazing presence. I truly believe that the creators did it on purpose, though. Look at the writing, and what he says in reaction to all of T'Pol's leavel-headed suggestions. "We didn't come out here just to take scans! We want to explore!" It's hard for me to picture Picard saying some of that stuff!
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 10:26am (UTC -5)
@ MadS,

Don't forget Jeffrey Combs appeared on Babylon 5 as well!
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Definitely the best ENT episode since the premiere, although far from exceptional -- a well-portrayed hostage situation and a serious twist at the end that really paints the Vulcans in a bad light. It also establishes a relationship between Archer and Shran that will pay dividends over the life of the series.

ENT is doing a good job here getting the Andorians (eventual Federation members) some background -- their conflict with the Vulcans. But one of the things I don't like about ENT is how the Vulcans are portrayed: deceitful -- they outright lie -- and suspicious of humans. Nothing like Spock. So somewhere in the future between ENT and TOS, they have to make some kind of transformation to become more like the benevolent Vulcans as they are generally known.

The plot worked well with how Archer and Trip formulated a plan against the Andorians and ignored the Vulcans' reverence for the sanctuary. I like the scene at the start when they first get to P'Jem, realize something is wrong and take matter into their own hands. T'Pol is still pretty bland here -- just plays it by the rules and doesn't contribute anything. She's actually annoying.

"The Andorian Incident" just barely gets to 3 stars for me. Good plot, useful action scenes (Archer gets his ass kicked), and a clever ending that was well-handled with Archer obviously upset with T'Pol just making her hand over the scans to Shran. How does this leave things between Earth and the Vulcans? A theme to be built upon for sure. This good ENT.
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Now we know why Spock will be treated with suspicion by TOS Enterprise's humans, specially by Bones, chronologically speaking. I like where this leading to. Vulcans do lie. Let's not forget Tuvock who will be a infiltrated agent in the Maquis.
Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Finally getting around to watching the Enterprise series after all those years. So much fun to watch and read along with these reviews and comments \o/
I really like it so far. The whole thing with the Vulcans, especially with this episode now, to me screams "see what the Vulcans actually learned from humans, cooperating in Starfleet".

In Enterprise-time, humans are obviously still rough-around-the-edges, paternalistic, macho, wise-cracking, authority-shirking bad-asses, with only their strong instinct for ethics/morals and their ballsiness speaking for them. They haven't accomplished anything at all, just farted warp signatures for the first few times, yet think they're totally Teh Shizazz. Almost to the arrogant. Most races they meet have ample experience sharing the galaxy with others, and humans still have to be taught some respect.

In Enterprise-time, Vulcans have sat in their ivory towers for waaaay too long, it has been centuries since any other race has made them stop and think and consider the basic questions that they took for granted for ages.

Not to mention the Klingons, of course. They just need to learn that sometimes it helps to be somewhat more patient and diplomatic.

That all has to come together. The Vulcans need to be triggered to get their heads out of their asses, and the humans need to be taught some humility and respect. Mostly seen in TNG but also in the TOS, this has happened. I am so intrigued by this, it really made me reconsider the impact of Starfleet.

It also makes me think of the European Union and the NATO and many other continental or even worldwide attempts by different cultures to coop and collab over the last few real centuries. Being a Dutchman and seeing the UK flush itself down the toilet (hopefully for them, but doubtfully, in a temporary and cleansing way) to escape such a pact simply based on underbelly reasons formulated in 140-chars-or-less is also strangely relevant. Most of Star Trek (including Enterprise S1) was created in times where things were coming together instead of falling apart. No wonder the newest Star Trek being made now is so different... I wonder whether the events of 2001 and their blowbacks had any impact on Enterprise S2/3/4.

Side note: obviously the prime directive hasn't been thought of yet. I'm hoping it gets referenced somewhere later in Enterprise.

Thanks everyone on here for making this "second screen" experience so enjoyable. I love the civilized discussions on these pages.
Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 11:55am (UTC -5)
One more general note about Enterprise... The uniforms! Isn't anyone else very, very pleasantly surprised by them?

Simple, functional, cotton-looking overall-style clothing, with pockets and zippers and all? Nothing of that weird rubbery stuff of TNG/VOY or those weird piyama suits in TOS (although those were the 60s, so whatever, I guess :) ).

Actual uniforms that look like they are simply designed to be comfortable to work in for many hours on end, period. Like humanity finally realized that clothes do not (or should not) make the man. FINALLY. What a breath of fresh air!
BP Bergsma
Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Okay... One nitpick then... In STE, every alien language still sounds like a fantasy language made up by a 5 year old American child. There's an American cadence to the syllables in words and words in sentences. Alien questions also end with upwards pitch, alien cusswords are also short with hard plosives... To put it simply, almost every alien language in the entirety of Star Trek (except for e.g. species 8472) that gets the honor of actually being vocalized sounds like it could be written out phonetically using the English alphabet. I understand that this is so that Joe Actor the Average can pronounce it, but it sounds so incredibly lazy from the standpoint of anyone even on earth using any sound from the IPA that's not in the English pronunciation limits. It was 2001, and every alien language in Star Trek still sounded more like English than Spanish, or Dutch, or Latin... Let alone languages from Africa and Asia.

Alien languages should sound AT LEAST as "weird" (relating to English...) as Xhosa, or Mandarin, or one of those whistling/humming languages from Southern America... Many light years away from Earth, prayers probably aren't going to go "goran toneeah agasoria, urea uralin porporo ghast" (with a apical alveolar trill for good alien measure). The linguist in me was pleasantly surprised by episode one where Hoshi Sato went "nuntrin kí, krrrrr, *klick*", but that was quickly forgotten as soon as they met the first aliens. (Well... The first ones who didn't magically speak English and/or whose languages hadn't been added to the UT, of course.)

Such a missed opportunity. But ok, I guess all other species in the galaxy only developed one single language on their planet ever, and Earth is the only one with thousands.
Jason R.
Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Can someone explain something to me? I am only about 7 episodes into this series but what is the deal with Archer's hatred of the Vulcans? He seems to imply throughout the series that they "held back" humanity or kept us bottled up. But does he mean they actively prevented humanity from having a space program? Or is it just that they didn't hand us better technology.

And if it's the latter (as it seems to be) ummmm why would he feel we are entitled to Vulcan technology?
Peter G.
Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 11:37am (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.,

I always understood the premise (from the pilot) to be that the humans, in joining the space-faring races, sort of accepted to be under Vulcan guidance for their own protection. The result seems to have been that the Vulcans' tendencies towards caution resulted in humans avoiding going to space for longer than necessary. Archer's POV seems to be that the Vulcans did this on purpose to hold them back, and that it wasn't just out of altruistic desire to give the humans the best chance at success. The big question would be why Vulcan guidance under these terms was accepted, and the second would be why the Vulcans would offer it in the first place. Maybe the idea was that we'd benefit from learning from one of the older and 'stronger' races, sort of like having a tough older brother or something, only to realize later that the brother isn't so tough and isn't that interested in helping you after all.
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
The fight scenes always make me angry about how stupid they are.

Here they had surprise and cover, from that face wall with the three holes. They could have simply shot both Andorians through the holes. What do they do instead? They blow up their cover, then stumble through and give the Andorians time to shoot one of them and run away. Why?

They might as well have come through the front door.

I guess they're super lucky that the Andorians used stun weapons too.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 12:56am (UTC -5)
As I am rewatching 5 ST series at once (no Kelvan) I check here after every episode and must say this is one of the most articulate and thoughtful comment section I have experienced in 24 years on the internet. Thank you all and thank you Jammer! As far as this particular episode, it is the mpst enjoyable so far of the STE for me. Hostage situation was route yes, however the end I did not see coming, that surprise alone elevates it above my initial perceptions.
Sean J Hagins
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 4:22am (UTC -5)
I saw this once before, and it still is a shocking reveal that the Vulcans were hiding an espionage station in their temple! I can definitely see why Archer shared this with the Andorians, and it did lead to trust for humans (a lot more than it would have) in future
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 3:45am (UTC -5)
One of my favorite Enterprise episodes. One thing that's ironic is how it's the Vulcan initiate, firing wildly in the reliquary, who causes part of the cloth covering to fall, reveal the metal portal, and ultimately undo the Vulcans' deception.

Some of the posters ask why Archer would ignore the alliance with the Vulcans to let the Andorians have the info about the listening post. Can you imagine the actions the Andorians may've taken against the Enterprise landing party then and there, and in talks later, if he'd tried to prevent them from seeing through the portal and getting info on it. Archer's whole motive was to end the hostage situation and get his crew back safely, and the Vulcan monks didn't help much. Plus, the metal portal was very out of place in a reliquary.

And I think Archer directing some of his disgust or head-shaking toward T'Pol at the end wasn't really personal toward her, but his very human response to the Vulcans having held Earth back from space travel and how their scientists slowed his father's development of the first warp five engine and the Enterprise. So, understandable, I think.
Sun, Jun 6, 2021, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
I was actually laughing out loud, everything reminded me of the A-team (excluding the twist in the end of course).

The poor isolated defenseless villagers being oppressed by local bullies, the a-team showing up and using tricks to get the upper hand, banter along the way, hannibal (Archer) interrogated but making jokes etc.

I was almost expecting an ancestor of Barclay to show up, now that would have been the perfect cameo.
Tue, Jun 15, 2021, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
That's tactical stupidity throughout the episode.

How about leaving as if nothing happened and then come back with force? And not rush the one enemy hiding without knowing more?

And two Starfleet officers can't overpower a guy who turns his back to them?

And what about the element of surprise? There shouldn't have to be a fight after three more beamed down with a bag full of weapons ...
Jeffery's Tube
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
Something interesting happens at the end of this episode. Nothing interesting happens for the first forty minutes of the episode. Some people find that enough to like this episode. I say: no.

We also get to meet Shran, but all the reasons we will love Shran later aren't much on display here. You're enjoying his character in this episode based on what we know about him in retrospect. Also, by featuring Combs the episode has a player front and center who can actually act, and I understand people starving for that by this point and responding to it. It may even trick you into thinking this was a good episode. But take a step back and think about it.

Sun, Feb 27, 2022, 6:34am (UTC -5)
I get they are trying to make Archer swashbuckling but he just comes off as a clumsby ox.

If you are going to go for that would need an actor with a certain on screen magnetism. Bakula isn't that man.

The Vulcans seem to basically be doing what the Romulans do in later series.
Fri, Jul 29, 2022, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Yanks said: "I did get a chuckle when she took the blanket though :-)"

Yeah, I liked that part, too.

I thought this was a pretty good episode. It sets up the Andorians nicely. The superciliousness of the Vulcans in the early episodes of Enterprise can get tedious at times but the payoff at the end of this episode makes for a satisfying conclusion. I also like that this story isn't just a one off; the events that take place at P'Jem will be referenced multiple times over the course of the series.

p.s. What's up with all the "You stink!" comments in the B & B scripts? Every time two Vulcans meet the first thing they talk about is the stench of humans. Hell, they talk about it directly in front of humans in this episode and over the dinner table in Fallen Hero. Trip talks about Klingons smelling bad in Unexpected. T'Pol wrinkles up her nose at Porthos in the pilot, and at Hoshi's living quarters in Fallen Hero. In this episode T'Pol and the monk talk about the humans stinking, T'Pol won't share a blanket with Archer becausse she hasn't had a "nasal suppressant", an Andorian says T'Pol doesn't smell like most Vulcans, and Archer says the Vulcan's robes smell like they haven't been washed since the time of Surek. I'm sure this is mentioned in several other episodes, too.

It's bizarre that Berman or Braga thought that this was some genius bit of comedy that needed to be reused over and over again.
Fri, Nov 4, 2022, 7:11pm (UTC -5)

Overcompensation, perhaps, for previous Treks having mostly ignored the likelihood that the sense of smell would come into play in interspecies relations?

I can hardly stand to walk through a herpetarium, and those reptiles all evolved on the same planet I did, and are even in the same taxonomic kingdom. I hate to imagine what a Gorn would smell like to a human (or vice versa).
Mon, Feb 6, 2023, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
Nice twist ending! Felt like T’Pol was in on it, it was like she wanted the Enterprise crew out of there before they figured anything out. Perhaps this will be explained in future eps.
Wed, Jun 21, 2023, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
I like Archer. I think he has good chemistry with the crew, I kind of dig his brashness, and boy does he look good in that uniform 🙂
Sat, Jun 24, 2023, 11:25am (UTC -5)
"The ending has shown that the Vulcans can be secretive, militaristic, and persuasive liars."

This is unforgivable, to make the Vulcans this way. It's like when you can't think of a new story let's tear down the universe. So edgy and cool. But it is a good story and plot.

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