Star Trek: Enterprise

"Strange New World"

3 stars

Air date: 10/10/2001
Teleplay by Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Gimme your boot!"
"What for?"
"So I can squash it!"
"Are we allowed to squash alien lifeforms!"
"If they're inside your sleeping bag! ... Where'd you put the phase pistols?"
"You want to shoot a bug?"
"I'm just gonna stun it!"

— Tucker and Mayweather, a first contact for the ages

In brief: A routine plot elevated by good characterization and sustained tension.

There's nothing strange, new, or otherwise interesting about the world in "Strange New World." Like last week's "Fight or Flight," this is not an episode sold on an ingenious plot but instead on solid characterization.

The oddity is that for a series that's ostensibly about capturing the essence of space exploration, Enterprise has thus far been pretty tepid. There is virtually no element of wonder in terms of what could be called "exploration" in the general Trek or sci-fi sense.

At least, not from our perspective. Through the other series, we've been to many, many places these characters have not. So there's a certain charm, I guess, in watching Archer and his crew reveling in the exploration of their first uninhabited Earth-like alien planet. (Have I mentioned that I like the NX-01 landing party baseball hats?) Archer seems content to simply be stopping the starship in orbit in order to set a shuttle down on the surface and smell a few roses. Archer asks "Trip" Tucker to take a picture of him with T'Pol. "Smile!" Archer says. T'Pol does not.

After employing some general "exploration," i.e., walking around some fields with scanners, five members of the crew set up camp while Archer heads back to the Enterprise. Soon a windstorm approaches and the landing party is forced to retreat into the caves, where dissension and paranoia begin to set in.

That, my friends, is the plot — very lean, I suppose one could say. There's absolutely nothing inspired or even particularly good about this plot, but the episode is a worthwhile exercise in characterization, where we can watch how the characters respond as they engage in some fairly routine actions, followed by some not-so-routine ones.

For example, we have our crewmembers sitting around a campfire as Mayweather tells a ghost story. (The episode was co-written by Mike Sussman, who wrote Voyager's "The Haunting of Deck Twelve," where characters also sat around a campfire to hear a scary story.) In addition to Mayweather, on hand are Tucker, T'Pol, and two non-regulars, Elizabeth Cutler (Kellie Waymire) and Ethan Novakovich (Henri Lubatti). Here's hoping that on this series, unlike Voyager, we might actually get recurring characters as crewmen instead of an implausibly endless supply of unfamiliar nobodies.

Odd Vulcan out is, of course, T'Pol, who is constantly told that the emotions she as a Vulcan lacks are exactly why we pesky humans find this adventure so much fun. She evidently would not be nearly as amused as I was with the incident involving the "scorpion thing" that ends up in Tucker's sleeping bag. In a funny exchange, Tucker announces his intentions to shoot it with a phase pistol.

The story's actual crisis comes once the storm forces the landing party into the claustrophobic confines of the caves. To make a long story short, the crew members begin hallucinating because of their exposure to a toxic pollen that blows down from the mountains during the storm; the hallucinations lead to paranoia.

Mayweather thinks he sees people outside the cave. Tucker goes along to check and concurs. Apparent LSD-like effects cause our characters to see shapes and movement in the rocks. Elizabeth hallucinates T'Pol talking to someone else in the caves, prompting Tucker to accuse T'Pol of conspiring with these "rock people." It must be the Vulcans hiding something from the humans again, he concludes.

The core of the story exists in Tucker's distrust of Vulcans, pumped up here into a raving insanity that begins to snowball with each scene. Tucker is delusional, but there's a deep-rooted prejudice in his distrust, and we begin to see just how fragile the human/Vulcan relationship can be. There's a lot of resentment here — long-standing resentment for having been bottled up by the Vulcans who were bent on keeping humans out of the interstellar community. While I'm still a little leery about the writers' hazy depiction of the Vulcans' motives, I do appreciate that we have some conflict built into this series.

Tension like the kind found in this episode depends almost entirely on acting. Connor Trinner carries the last two acts with a strong performance that mounts in intensity, bringing urgency and conviction to scenes that very easily could've fallen flat in the hands of a lesser actor.

I'm a little less enthused about Jolene Blalock. Don't get me wrong — Blalock isn't bad at all, but performing a Vulcan character is very difficult to pull off effectively. My main problem is that T'Pol is just too soft-spoken a lot of the time. Being calm is one thing, but T'Pol is quiet and unanimated almost to the point of creating audience boredom. It's almost a relief here when she's finally pushed to her limits, briefly loses control, and raises her voice.

The story's crises are simple instead of elaborate, and I like that. The shuttle rescue attempt in the storm makes sense. It fails because of wind and not because of technobabble. Similarly, the threat to the crew is because of toxic exposure to a hallucinogenic pollen. Simple, effective, and to the point. Not incredibly exciting or interesting, but it serves the purpose of bringing out the characterization. And the emergency rescue of Ethan reveals a transporter failure that is enough to create doubt in transporters but without resorting to tragic extremes.

I'm a little skeptical about the way Archer talks Tucker into lowering his weapon, concocting an elaborate story to convince him that some of his paranoia is warranted. Is all this necessary? Couldn't T'Pol have simply pulled the trigger and stunned Tucker with her phase pistol? I understand she had a deadly weapon pointed at her, but Archer's long-winded solution to this crisis seems impractical and a bit unbelievable.

"Strange New World" is almost surprisingly tame and restrained. In a way, that's part of why it works. There is no real enemy, no unrealistic influences, no elaborate twists of the plot. The enemy comes from within Tucker's own prejudices, amplified by the symptoms of the hallucinogen. Is this character conflict of the truest kind? Perhaps not, since it requires drugs to bring it to the surface. But that itself is perhaps part of the issue. Tucker says things here that he normally wouldn't, but clearly he has a certain buried ill-will when it comes to Vulcans. And the interaction between the humans and Vulcans is an element on this series that seems to be somewhat important at this stage.

Look, I'm not saying this is a thrilling, original, or deep episode. But it's an effective one thanks to the performances. It gets the job done and sustains the tension. I liked its understated nature, punctuated by moments of fiery acting.

Next week: Trip gets knocked up. Huh?

Previous episode: Fight or Flight
Next episode: Unexpected

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55 comments on this post

Mon, Oct 22, 2007, 11:54am (UTC -6)
I expected some criticism about Archer's leap before looking onto this planet, in complete rejection of T'Pol's advice to use an unmanned probe before sending an away-team down. Obviously, by not using an unmanned probe or at the very least using the sensors to probe it in detail for a few hours, Archer demonstrates his complete disregard for the safety of his crew and his complete ignorance of the proper protocols for such alien planetary exploration.

I'm just saying, this kind of carelessness by Archer either makes him out to be an ignorant and/or inexperienced explorer or else he is following a bad script that intends to set him up for the kill.
Sun, Feb 8, 2009, 11:36am (UTC -6)
This episode is the favourite club for those who want to bash Archer for being a complete idiot. The "exploration" depicted here is just pathetic. In the video review over at, it sums up the Enterprise crew as "white trash piled into a winnebago". A fitting description.
Marco P.
Fri, Sep 3, 2010, 2:44am (UTC -6)
Indijo and Josh's comments are dead-on. There's just something very very weak at work here, and at the root of it all is the way Captain Archer is portrayed in these first few episodes. I understand rash enthusiasm of exploration, which would make someone (even a captain) just want to jump out the shuttle and run through the grass, but here we are dangerously close to incompetence.

For instance, I'd imagine there would be PROTOCOLS in place for these kinds of missions, protocols designed for the safety of the crew above all. There is a reason why unmanned probes are sent before manned shuttles: conditions on a planet may change due to a variety of factors. Weather is one example as we see in this episode, but sunlight/darkness could be another one. I kept thinking of "Pitch Black" during the whole thing and wondered whether a flock of flesh-eating bat-aliens was going to swarm the campsite and eat everyone alive.

So all in all, captain Archer's lack of consideration is just inexcusable for a Starfleet captain, especially one who has been put in charge of the important mission to explore the galaxy and making first-contact with new civilizations.

I find it ironic then to read Jammer underline "strong characterization" as one of this episode's positive traits. I suppose the picture *is* indeed painted strongly and the actors do a fair enough job despite working with a mediocre script/storyline. Nevertheless, the final result is really sub-par in my opinion, and I find it astonishing to see a series calling itself Trek can only offer characterization as an attraction point, completely ignoring a compelling storyline (at least so far).
Mon, Jan 17, 2011, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
It seems a bit odd to hear people berating Archer for his "inexperience" as portrayed in this episode, when this is meant to be something like week two of the first ever Warp Five exploration mission - isn't that meant to be the whole point, that there AREN'T books full of Starfleet protocols to cover all this sort of thing, which is all part of the reason why the Vulcans are trying to hold the humans back because they are not ready for solo flying yet.

Archer IS inexperienced - surely that's a big part of the point in these early episodes?
Sat, Mar 19, 2011, 8:16am (UTC -6)
Paul, no. There is a clear difference between mistakes due to inexperince and mistakes due to stupidity. The mistakes made on this mission (neglecting to do any preliminary study of the planet before exposing personnel to it and then stranding then on it overnight) are not the result of inexperience. They are the result of incompetence and even gross negligence. Any idiot should have known that a strange new world should be studied first before leaving your crew vulnerable to its hazards.
Sun, Mar 20, 2011, 9:39am (UTC -6)
Josh, yes. indijo spefically said "complete ignorance of the proper protocols for such alien planetary exploration."

WHAT protocols, given that this is probably the first space mission.
Sun, Apr 17, 2011, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
I'm with Paul on this one.

In a sense it's a problem related to having a prequel - we're so used to the 24th century Starfleet with their strict protocols and prime directives (strict probably *because* of past mistakes) that jumping to the past before any of this was established gives off a sense of stupidity and incompetence.

But really, these lessons haven't been learned yet. We've already seen that humanity got rather overexcited when they discovered life other than our own (wouldn't this happen in reality too?) with the episode of Voyager where they find a probe that Earth sent back around this time with a message of peace and instructions for creating anti-matter reactors(!) and the consequences that had.

Humans in general seem to be a little irrational with their excitement - this seems true enough to life, and whilst the Vulcans can sometimes be portrayed as the enemy to some degree, they're probably right. Nobody likes the negative/sensible person of any group, but they're still important and usually thanked for it in the long run.
Fri, Oct 21, 2011, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
Opening shot: A tootsie is reading a paper book. Yeah, perfectly normal because quite a few current-day N.A.S.A. operatives pass their time scrolling through parchments... *sigh*

A campfire ghost story, geez. Let me guess: Something similar is about to befall the away-team. Well, whaddaya know, it has. Is it Halloween already?

An alright show. Nothing really new or revolutionary; seen it before, I'm sure.

Some breathtaking scenery *thumbs up*
Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 3:27am (UTC -6)
I guess it's like the cautionary Prime Directive tales in TOS.
Paul York
Sat, May 12, 2012, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Humans come across as paranoid, fearful, suspicious, hostile, violent. Tucker seems to confirm everything Vulcans have thought about them. However, Archer manages to talk him down, to his credit. In real life humans appear this way to intelligent non-human species on this planet: violent, unpredictable, aggressive, insane. They rightly fear us. I could well imagine the Vulcans fearing that humans with warp drive would use their space ships to deliver weapons of mass destruction across the galaxy. No wonder they made first contact and subsequent efforts to keep humans in control: we represented a future threat, overshadowed only by the more immediate threat posed by Klingons, Andordians, and many others. Yet they would have also sensed our potential for goodness and rationality, if those qualities were cultivated in us systematically -- thus they institute themselves as teachers.
Captain Jim
Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
Cloudane said, "In a sense it's a problem related to having a prequel - we're so used to the 24th century Starfleet with their strict protocols and prime directives (strict probably *because* of past mistakes) that jumping to the past before any of this was established gives off a sense of stupidity and incompetence. But really, these lessons haven't been learned yet."

Yes, I agree with this. This is really quite different than watching TNG, DS9 or Voyager. It requires quite a paradigm shift on the viewer's part.

Other than that, I would personally rate this and last week's episode slightly lower than Jammer; they hold one's attention, but that's about all. But better episodes are coming.
Sat, Jun 30, 2012, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
In the end, T'Pol turned out to be right about everything. And because cpt. Archer wouldn't listen to her, she was almost killed by a fellow officer.

The idiot didn't even apologize to her for his stupid behavior and its consequences.
Message delivered: just screw up and don't learn anything. That's why cpt. Picard never needed all those protocols and directives. Oh, yes, he did. Never mind. That must have been another timeline.

And a training to recognize when you're on drugs teaches you not to recognize that you're on drugs.
Not to mention, the more unfamiliar you are with the circumstances, the less cautious you are in 2151. Even today we have more sensible procedures in space flight.
My god, why are these humans so stupid 150 years from now?

Small wonder there are still crew members living three episodes into the series.
Sat, Nov 3, 2012, 6:39pm (UTC -6)
To whomever said something about the difference between stupid mistakes and "mistakes of inexperience:" Once one has experience and looks back on all his "mistakes of inexperience" they look pretty stupid. All mistakes are stupid. But I can forgive a stupid mistake, if next time they come across a random habitable planet they approach it differently. Even if the different way is also stupid, as long as it's not this particular brand of stupid again. Thanks called learning! Whoo!
Thu, Dec 6, 2012, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
"WHAT protocols, given that this is probably the first space mission."

It is nothing of the sort.

Humans by this time have thoroughly explored the Solar system, and there are slower (but still warp-speed) freighters making regular runs to nearby systems.

This is just the first mission traveling this deep, this fast. But humans have probably landed on a few dozen alien worlds before Archer and co. come to this one.
Sat, Aug 10, 2013, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
The planet was rather Earth-looking.

Would perhaps have been more interesting had the rock people been real.

Not awfully convinced by the "Alien" languages on Enterprise... seem a bit like Americans speakin' "foreign".
Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 6:47am (UTC -6)
I liked this episode overall, but Archer shouldn't be allowed to command a school bus, not mentioning the first human spacecraft to explore other galaxies.

I don't think the captain of a space ship should need "protocols" to know that you don't leave people on an unexplored, unknown, strange planet. *I* know that. I think if we were in that situation today, we would send probes first. Doesn't take a rocket scientist (or space ship captain) to figure that out. It's common sense.

Of course, if he had done that, there'd be no story. I don't know - to me that's lazy story-writing, because I think there would have been a way to make things more credible. Sometimes it seems like the writers just can't be bothered to put a little bit of grey matter in their plots.
Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 4:57am (UTC -6)
You know what's funny?

This debate we're having? Only exists because the show invites us to have it (due largely to poor writing). How many times have the captains of previous series landed on an alien planet after all scans said things were completely fine, only to discover that something was wrong on the planet. If T'Pol hadn't said anything, it probably would have never occurred to anyone on this board that they should have sent out some sort of probe. Of course, it would have been nice if the episode had addressed this after T'Pol's initial warning, but that's another debate entirely.

On a side note – yeah, I'm not fond of Archer. He's overaggressive, and petulant, almost as if the writers wanted an action hero for their new series.
Mon, Dec 15, 2014, 2:20pm (UTC -6)
"WHAT protocols, given that this is probably the first space mission."

Even coffemakers are required by law to provide proper use instructions and safety guidelines. To suppose that space exploration amounts to no more than intuition and/or blind guesswork is patently absurd.
Tue, Feb 3, 2015, 2:53am (UTC -6)
I couldn't make this one work for me - the laughable leap of logic regarding the lack of protocols is just a leap too far for me. Consider that when this episode was written - there were already treaties and protocols regarding space and such things as antarctica that were well established. Its too much of leap to beleive the stupidity and even common sense seemed to be absent.
John G
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 8:31pm (UTC -6)
I didn't think Archer was stupid for not going through a week a anal, Vulcan protocols and I think he was right in line with what other future Trek captains did.

Did Kirk or Picard spend a week on protocols or did they scan the planet and beam down? Kirk was far more reckless. How often did the same number of redshirts who beamed down with him beam back up?

Their mission was not to "cautiously go", but to "boldly go" where no man has gone before.

Sure, he could have been a bit more cautious and probably learned from his mistake. But, the humans' curiousity, sense of adventure and boldness (along with compassion) are the main things they brought to the table that the otherwise far superior Vulcans did not. Without these things they would be useless to the Federation and would lag behind the Vulcans forever.

As Kirk put it, "Risk is our business!"
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
We're supposed to believe that the transporter rematerialization fusing debris with a human being would only result in "skin deep" fusion? Presuambly there'd be debris interspersed throughout his body, in his brain, etc.
Diamond Dave
Mon, Mar 28, 2016, 11:01am (UTC -6)
Feels like another hoary old story - hallucinogenic compounds get isolated group all paranoid and stuff - and plays out broadly as you would expect, with lots of shouting and weapon pointing. If T'Pol had just shot Trip straight away we'd have saved 10 minutes of the shouting and pointing.

I'm really not liking Archer's portrayal so far, I know he's supposed to resent Vulcans but he's just coming over as impulsive and willfully offensive. I guess that's what command authority gets you. At least the redshirt lived so that's progress of a sort - lucky I guess the transporter didn't turn him inside out... 2 stars.
Mon, Jul 11, 2016, 11:36am (UTC -6)
Vulcan's do like their sensor readings :-) Of course T'Pol would recommend wait, more study, caution... that's what she's there for.

Good think Archer doesn't blindly follow the Vulcan... it would make for a pretty dull series.

What exactly did Archer do "wrong"? They DID take scans, they DID evaluate the data.... how are they supposed to know what their sensors couldn't detect?

I believe I heard another Star Fleet Captain say "Risk is our business"...

Good for them for "boldly going"... more than I can say for our writers in STiD.

I agree with Jammer, the performances carried the day and I want an original NX-01 ball cap!!!

I also think Archer's story was a little long winded.

3.5 stars from me.

3 outstanding episodes right out of the gate.
John C. Worsley
Wed, Jul 13, 2016, 4:56pm (UTC -6)
Jack wrote: "We're supposed to believe that the transporter rematerialization fusing debris with a human being would only result in "skin deep" fusion? Presuambly there'd be debris interspersed throughout his body, in his brain, etc."

Sure, why not? There were leaves striking his skin and clothing, not floating through his brain. This isn't the farcical "Tuvix" scenario which I find a lot harder to believe. The idea that the transporter could slightly mix rapidly moving, touching surfaces at this early stage of its development is far more plausible than most transporters-gone-wrong stories.

The paranoia of the crew without being directly noticed by anyone involved went on too long for my taste, it seemed like the script thought maybe we'd really think there were rock people for a while, which maybe could have been the case if handled differently, but the whole thing just seemed transparent from the first hallucination and it was just tedious to get to the obvious.
Tue, Sep 13, 2016, 10:47am (UTC -6)
I'm watching Enterprise, in order, for the very first time and, so far, three episodes in, I'm impressed. We get engaging, memorable characters, decently good story lines, and -- best of all for me -- Enterprise interiors that actually look like they pre-date the TOS series. One of the things that bothers me to no end about the current JJ Abrams movie series is that the Enterprise technology looks far more advanced than even TNG, and yet it's supposed to be way back in the early years of Kirk and company's mission. Ugh!

But back to this episode, I agree with Jammer that it was the characterizations that stood out. I'm really liking the Vulcan/Human tension sub-plot that's been carried through from the pilot episode. This is supposed to be something like a century and half prior to the inter-species marriage that led to the birth of Spock, and only a couple of decades after the initial first contact. It does make sense that there would be some suspicion, especially from some characters more than others.

As much as I was frustrated to see Trip's just-below-the-surface prejudice's exposed, I did think the acting was quite good. I also didn't mind Jolene Blalock's acting. Yes, it must be hard to play a Vulcan well. Not everyone can be another Nimoy, or Mark Leonard, or Zachary Quinto. (The latter is one of the few saving graces in the new movies, IMO.)

Yes, the hallucinatory pollen thing is something we've all seen before, but it was simply a vehicle for characterization. As for Archer's cooked up top secret mission excuse, I thought it was made to fit with the apparent mind-set of Trip. Archer must have reasoned that his engineer, in an advanced paranoid state, would be more likely to buy into a scenario where he was told he was right about there being a conspiracy, just wrong about the details, than being told, "No, you're completely wrong. Just trust the Vulcan!" Archer was more or less saying what Trip needed to hear while still defusing a potentially disastrous situation.

I also would defend Archer's "reckless" actions. As others here have pointed out, all this is happening PRIOR to a lot of Starfleet protocols. Even starship captains who fancy themselves as dictators taking over planets and turning them into ancient Rome are still over a century in the future at this point. So, no, Archer is hardly straying all that far from common sense and reasonable caution. They did extensive instrument scans and the planet seemed benign. Besides, who would watch a show where the only dangerous situations that arose happened to unmanned probes?
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
Tripp trips out on alien hashish (*)
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 6:28pm (UTC -6)
Did anyone else wonder for a little while if T'Pol really was talking to some aliens in that scene? I even went back and paused it and that guy on the left looked like an Andorian.

I'm on my first Enterprise watch-through so still full of intrigue.
Fri, Sep 15, 2017, 4:06pm (UTC -6)
Best part of this basic episode is Trip's reactions to the hallucinations. The standoff between him and T'Pol was good for a while but then it dragged on a bit too long -- the whole play-acting thing was an interesting ruse to eventually allow T'Pol to stun Trip. Very good acting from Trinneer showing paranoia -- he'll prove to be the best actor in the series, for me.

I guess this is an episode that shows that alien planets may look fine, may check out fine, but there could be something subtle that is toxic. That in itself is fine for a premise. As for the hallucinations, I think that it's odd that everybody (except T'Pol, of course) has the same ones, i.e. the rock people.

Also, why didn't they beam up the crew members one at a time just like they did they guy who was near death? Maybe because he wasn't in the cave anymore? In the early stages of the series, they still had to get over their fear of the transporter and I guess it's only used in in extreme situations.

2 stars for "Strange New World" -- basically about dealing with an irrational and aggressive crew member (Trip) due to hallucinations. I don't think anything profound came out of this episode. T'Pol's acting is very stiff here -- we haven't seen the subtleties of how Vulcans can act yet -- she's pretty much playing everything by the book. Good episode for Trip, as we see some of his basic distrust of the Vulcan come to the surface through the hallucinations.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 3:40am (UTC -6)
I have to agree with your review, specially the part of the story being simple and straight forward, the shuttle not landing because of the storm, I would have loved it if the doctor had a bigger part , he is awesome
Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 6:31am (UTC -6)
This episode is a rip off of the X-file episode, "Field Trip", a masterpiece in which Mulder and Scully hallucinate and get high off spores, spores which make real their deepest feelings and prejudices.

Enterprise would have done better to ignore such a high concept and do instead what it did in the first third of the episode: simply portray a group of scientists wandering about an alien planet, gathering mundane data, talking, exploring and appreciating the beauty of life. No need for phony drama.
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
Despite being derivative this episode is quite effective and enjoyable. It seems to me that the main point is the human distrust in the Vulcans.

I only disagree with the review in one thing. T'Pal is a scientist, not a warrior and Tucker was a real havoc. Ok, Spock was a scientist too, but let's not think all Vulcans are as resourceful as him! The captain's solution was a little over elaborated but adequate to the situation. I saw that coming.
Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
Archer is a pretty textbook racist. Because this is a work of fiction and because his view of Vulcans in universe is a somewhat fair reflection of human nature (to distrust folk who look/act differently to oneself) I don’t especially have a problem with it. It does though contribute to the contempt in which he seems to be held by many fans and as such it might have helped the show if he was portrayed as slightly less bigoted.
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 7:19pm (UTC -6)
I really like Trip's raving lunatic contrasted with T'Pol's Vulcan-ness even more now than when I first reviewed this episode. Yes, it's a very basic episode that relies on the performance of the characters, but everybody (including Travis) gets their parts just right here. Trinneer's performance here rivals or even bests Frakes' performance in "Frame of Mind". As far as a Trek character suffering from extreme paranoia, I think this is as good as it gets.

So early in the series, a lot of it is about building character interactions and getting rid of prejudices or preconceived notions. It was always odd how the Vulcans came across initially -- as suspicious, even treacherous -- and these things play on Trip's mind kind of like in a "The Naked Time" way where they get exaggerated and brought to the surface.

As for Archer's actions in exploring the planet, I don't think he can be too badly at fault in his first mission to an unknown planet. He's got to go through a lot of trial and error before Star Fleet gets to the stage TOS, TNG etc. were at with away mission protocols. And he is still working on his trust with T'Pol. There are times he goes with her suggestions and others where he doesn't (time travel).

"Strange New World" deserves 2.5 stars (was a tad harsh on it earlier) -- a good episode for ENT to get done very early in the series, no fancy technobabble or VFX. It seemed like a "realistic" situation where an innocent visit to an uninhabited planet turns into a nightmare. Fun episode to watch.
Jason R.
Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 6:49am (UTC -6)
I am watching Enterprise in order for the first time and I have to agree with the criticism of this episode. The Vulcan protocols a.k.a. look before you leap! are not just some useless rules made because Vulcans are uptight.

Indeed, could anyone imagine present-day NASA approaching space exploration in such a slapdash haphazard fashion? What happened to humanity in 100 years? Did all the smart humans die in WW3 leaving behind a bunch of bumpkins?

I am noticing this a lot with Enterprise. Yes the Vulcans are colossal pricks but can you really blame them with how the humans behave? Watching Archer and his crew interact with T'Pol or other Vulcans is just cringeworthy. It's like something out of a sitcom.

Hey Mr. Vulcan don't you know how to have any fun? Huh huh huh huh! It's like an entire crew of Neelixes.

The only one who carries himself with any dignity and an iota of insight is Phlox. If it weren't for him (and maybe Hoshi who also isn't bad) I'd be giving up on this series.
Peter G.
Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 8:50am (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.,

When the show first aired, right up until today, I got the sense that Archer is supposed to be a stand-in for George W Bush, and that he's intentionally portrayed as sort of a bumpkin-cowboy living in daddy's shadow, blundering around in other races' territory when he shouldn't be. Whether this means the writers were intentionally making the show dumb in order to harshly critique the current administration, or whether it's some kind of misplaced respect (hard to imagine coming out of Hollywood) I don't know. But I can't escape the conclusion that they are bumpkins very much on purpose. The only thing is to figure out why they made the show into this, all the way down to the Joe American theme music.
Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 9:07am (UTC -6)
@Peter G

“I can't escape the conclusion that they are bumpkins very much on purpose. The only thing is to figure out why they made the show into this, all the way down to the Joe American theme music.”

My working theory is that’s who the UPN demographic was. Arguably this kind of act first, think later writing started earlier than ENT.
Grace Clyde
Sat, May 23, 2020, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
My only real problems with this episode was some of the exaggerated acting from the cast - specifically from Connor Trineer, who became one of my favorites, ironically; and the narrative's failure to have Archer realize that his initial approach to the planet was rather careless.
Rick C.
Sun, Aug 16, 2020, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
This is a fun episode to watch all these years later. I like these early episodes of Enterprise. It's fun to sort of get a look at what it would be like for our first Warp 5 ship out there exploring. What fun that would be, and what a big leap for humanity.

In the episode, presumably using the Vulcan star charts, they stumble onto this planet, no one knew it was there. But Earth is still pretty close, one of the crewmembers pointed out the sun in the night sky during the campout. A nice moment by the way!

What they didn't know then and we know now from Kepler and Tess is we're already mapping the sky. If, in real life, we did launch a warp 5 ship 130 years from now, by then we'll know where (mostly) everything is out there, at least in our stellar neighborhood. Archer and company would already have a big list of "habitable" planets to investigate before leaving on their mission. This planet would have more than likely been on the list.

As for the episode itself, I had no problem with Archer going down to the planet. I agree, if we just want probes to investigate why send starships at all? Yes, I'll concede he could have done more surveys before going down and letting crewmembers "pitch a tent". In reality he more than likely would have, but we have to remember this is only television and we only have an hour!

Also, on the topic of pointing out our Sun in the alien night sky on the campout, it was a nice touch to have Archer point out the alien star back on Earth in season 4.
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Just in case anybody is wondering, the crew did the exact opposite thing you’re supposed to do when helping someone through a psychotic episode.

Maybe it’s different for drug-induced stuff, and the actions of Archer etc did make sense in the context of this episode, but if you ever meet someone who is experiencing non-drug-induced psychosis, please just know this important rule of thumb: DO. NOT. FEED. THE. DELUSIONS. That will only make the situation worse and could potentially even harm the ill person’s future health if they lapse into psychosis again between treatments.
Sun, Oct 11, 2020, 12:53pm (UTC -6)
Addendum on yesterday’s comment. The difference between drug-induced psychosis and the kind that the brain manufactures on its own (schizophrenia etc) isn’t all that important. (A lot of schizophrenics self-medicate using things like cannabis, for example.) What’s important is how people on the outside go about helping the person in the throes of delusions and hallucinations.

So, again, regardless of what is causing the psychosis, please remember this: DO. NOT. FEED. THE. DELUSIONS.

In this episode, Archer ends up telling Tucker, “ok, you’re right, we are communicating with rock people.”

Now imagine that, in the future, Tucker goes back to that psychotic place where he truly and deeply believes that T’Pol was communicating with rock people. Only, this time, he now has the memories of Archer telling him that he wasn’t imagining it - it is real.

Hopefully this helps to illustrate how it can be harmful to feed someone’s delusions.
Sean J Hagins
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -6)
Ah, the lovely Kellie Waymire! I always thought she was really pretty! Actually, I think she is more attractive than any of the regulars of the 5 shows of Star Trek I've watched.

The show was good too-I don't have as much to say about it, but I did enjoy it.
Sean J Hagins
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 1:06am (UTC -6)
So, watching this again, reminds me of the spooky TNG episiodes as watched as a tween and teen with one of my best friends (they came on really late on Friday night). It's a delightfully scary episode!

On a negative note, there were 2 things I have to mention:

--The cursing. Such a shame that there is swearing in this. I don't like the h- and d- words in some of the earlier series, but by the dawn of the 21st century, TV has gotten even worse in what it allows

--The odd sleeping arrangements. I didn't notice this before, but in the tents, T'Pol was alone, and Cutler was with Ethan! They weren't doing anything, but that kind of thing is just asking for trouble. I only saw these episodes once before a few years ago, but this must have slipped my notice
Frake's Nightmare
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 4:06pm (UTC -6)
'To stupidly blunder where no idiot has blundered before'.
Sat, Feb 6, 2021, 11:05am (UTC -6)
I've always like Enterprise more than it got credit and I've recently started rewatching the show for the gazilionth time, but it seems to me that so far I've been unable to keep a blind eye to some of the faults here I might've missed in the past. I get that the writers were going for enthusiasm and eagerness to explore in an era where everything was new, but unfortunately they went too far overboard with it, making our heroes look like children, losing sight of the fact that the crew are supposed to be professionals. Unfortunately for Archer, he takes the brunt of this ridiculous writing and, funnily enough, this has led me to agree with T'Pol for the last two episodes even though they tried to portray her as 'stuck up'. I would like to say that I hope the writing is going to change in the future like I hadn't already seen the series numerous times, but right now I honestly can't remember some of the details that normally set the tone for these episodes.
Bob (a different one)
Sat, Feb 6, 2021, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
" I get that the writers were going for enthusiasm and eagerness to explore in an era where everything was new, but unfortunately they went too far overboard with it,"

"this has led me to agree with T'Pol for the last two episodes even though they tried to portray her as 'stuck up'."

^ I agree. I do like the fact that humans are shown to be in awe of the new things they have discovered, but I also agree that it was a mistake to make Archer appear overly naïve. T'Pol was clearly right more often than not early on, but there are some scenes that show that she would do well to "stop and smell the roses" occasionally too, like at the end of First Flight.
Fri, Mar 12, 2021, 3:43pm (UTC -6)

I've just written a review of First Flight saying how much I loved it and then I clicked on my name to refresh my memory of the last review I wrote before it which led me here to your comment which references - First Flight! As Vic Fontaine would say, crazy.
Tue, Jul 6, 2021, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
Hello All, just starting the journey into Enterprise and it's always the little things that irritate me. The simple scene of taking a picture of the group using what looks like a cheap digital camera shows a severe lack of imagination or just laziness. In real life, we are only a couple years out from the launch of the first iPhone and the creators couldn't envision that cameras as a solo device would be absolute 150 years from now. In another episode Shuttlepod One, they dazzle us with the rations technology of the future which is nothing more than a Stouffers put in a microwave. The concept for this show could be so compelling, I just hope that they invest a little more time embracing the transitional period they are in.
Troy G
Mon, Dec 27, 2021, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
Enterprise Re-watch review, originally watched in 2017

I barely remember watching this episode before. I do remember crew members being excited about visiting a new world. Didn’t know It features Crewman Cutler
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 3:39am (UTC -6)
Doing a re-watch after the original airing and really wanting to like the series.

But Archer (or Starfleet) is such an incompetent idiot, I suspect the Vulcans are right about humans. And he's too arrogant to learn from others or even his own mistakes.

Yes, it's all new. But the first spaceflight, the first EVA, the first docking, the first moon landing were all new in their day. Those astronauts (and cosmonauts) trained for every phase of the mission and there were protocols for every eventuality.
Archer doesn't have the common sense to check the weather report before an overnight campout. Or to leave a vehicle at the campsite in case they need to leave in a hurry.

After nearly getting people killed on Rigel in Broken Bow, and nearly getting the ship destroyed in Fight or Flight, you'd think he'd learn some caution. "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots."
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 10:04am (UTC -6)
Isn't that the part of the point though? The Vulcans are condescending, arrogant, and have been keeping humanity on a leash for a century. So Archer and Starfleet overcompensate by being too reckless. At first anyway. A lot of those early episodes are about Archer learning that T'Pol has a valid point about being cautious, and T'Pol learning that the Vulcan High Council isn't infallible.

DS9 is one of my favorite shows, but it wouldn't have been nearly as interesting if season 1 Kira had been written like season 7 Kira.

As for your other concerns - has anyone ever checked a weather report on Trek before? It's an uninhabited planet that they have arrived at just minutes before - maybe there is some sort of tech they could use to accurately predict the weather but I've never seen them do it on a Trek show.

Does it make sense to leave one of only two shuttle pods on a (seemingly) harmless planet in case 6 crewmen run into trouble? What if there is an emergency on Enterprise that endangers the other 75 crewmembers?

If Trek was as cautious as NASA, Trek would be as dead as the space program.
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 10:29am (UTC -6)
Archer: Hey, look at this sandwich I found behind that dumpster.

T'Pol: Captain, please don't...

Archer: Risk is our business, Sub-Commander.

After watching this one again, I have to admit that zzybaloobah was right, and I was wrong.

Contrivances are an occasional necessary evil, but your story probably shouldn't rely on the fact that all of your characters are total morons. It's slasher flick level writing. In some horror movies the audience puts themselves in the place of the victim and feel fear, right? But in bad slasher flicks you find yourself rooting for the bad guy because you lose sympathy for the protagonists because they act so foolishly. The writers aren't skillful enough to think of ways to put the victims in danger so they just have them decide to go skinny-dipping in Killmurder Lake. That's pretty much what we have with Strange New World.

As I said above there wouldn't be a Star Trek if Starfleet behaved like NASA, but this episode makes it impossible to suspend your disbelief. A family having a picnic at the lake takes more precautions than this crew of highly trained astronauts.

Everyone in this episode comes out looking bad.

Archer is a total jackass in act one. No real person, much less an astronaut, would act this way while visiting an alien planet for the first time. What's worse is that the audience KNOWS this is going to blow up in his face. The cherry on top is that the writers have T'Pol sitting their pointing out the obvious and they just make Archer double down on his stupidity. Some of this could have been rectified if there was a scene somewhere in the episode where Archer realizes what a fool he's been and learns some sort of lesson, but B & B aren't interested in that sort of thing. Instead they want to make Archer look as dumb as possible for some reason. See the scene where he can't pronounce "tropolisine" for further evidence.

Trip comes across like a psychotic racist. Yeah, it's mostly due to the mind altering poison in his system, but his anecdote about his Vulcan high school teacher hardly seems sufficient as an apology for almost murdering T'Pol.

Travis is written like a 12 year old at summer camp in 1952. He's lived his whole life in space - no way he would have decided to camp out on his first night on an alien world. I mean no one sane would but especially not someone as well-travelled as Travis.

Cutler = kissass.

Novakovich - needed to be shot with a tranquilizer dart.

T'Pol comes out looking the best, but she gets bitten by the contrivance bug too. She clearly has no interest in exploring this planet, but when it's time to return to the ship in act 1 she suddenly develops an interest in "nocturnal marsupials" and wants to stay overnight. I guess when an opportunity to check out some space opossums comes along even a Vulcan can't say no.

Shuttlepod Manufacturers: Who could have guessed that anyone might need a spacecraft durable enough to stand up to wind?

Possible improvements:

- Have T'Pol be overly cautious and unadventurous in act one. Give Archer something legitimate to overreact to.

- A scene showing Archer learning his lesson.

- An actual apology from Trip to T'Pol.

- The crashed shuttlecraft trope has been done to death, but it would have been much preferable here instead of Captain Jackass/Yugo Shuttlepod/Space Opossums contrivances.

Even if all of these problems were fixed there isn't enough of a story here for the episode to be more than decent. As it is it goes into my "bad but watchable" list along with episodes like Vanishing Point and Carpenter Street.
Fri, Jul 29, 2022, 10:22am (UTC -6)
Read Jammer's reviews of the first two episodes and of course he sides with the vile Humans and I guess he will again in this but to me it seems as if T'Pol is again the voice of reason. While Archer just wants to land on the planet, she recommends further scans but gosh dang it, Humans don't wait around! One must admit though that T'Pol is fairly unlikable. When a young crewwoman tells her that she likes Vulcan food T'Pol just ignores it. There is a difference between being logical and being an asshole and T'Pol sometimes chooses the latter. Just say "Yes, Vulcan food features a fairly unique range of spices who are unusual for many Humans. if you are interested I can provide you with a few recommendations." That would have been enough and Cutler would have walked away happy telling everybody how cool T'Pol is and three weeks away from getting ear surgery.

When they fly to the planet I kind of hoped that T'Pol would be the only one wearing a hazmat suit but no. Almost the entire senior staff walks around with no protection, luckily they brought a few young officers/offerings to pay for Archer's idiocy. He even brings his dog because why the f**k not. Let's just hope that dog droppings do nothing to a this ecosystem.

Mayweather tells a camp fire story. That guy is not a great actor. Skip.

Oh crewman Novakovitch has a headache... then a storm... then creepy little bugs... then the tents start flying away... then a cave. T'Pol tries her most dull voice so far to calm anybody but without success. Redshirts get ready to die!

Ok, this is an everybody goes crazy episode. Well, they got Novakovich out alive... kind of. But Trip is Tripping hard.

On the plus side.... Nobody died...

It's kind of nice to see that Trip acknowledges his own racism. In that sense the episode works because through the drug they all show their deep distrust towards Vulcans and have a somewhat nice moment where T'Pol and Trip connect.
Bok R'Mor
Tue, Aug 22, 2023, 2:19pm (UTC -6)
I rather enjoyed on this on a re-watch. I recall being disappointed the last time I watched it - finding it too unimaginative and derivative of previous episodes of Trek, and not much of a 'strange new world'.

But the descent into hallucinations in the cave scenes, and the last-ditch tricking of Trip via giving commands in the Vulcan language and the simultaneous reassurance of T'Pol by Archer and Hoshi are all executed well with good performances by all involved.

It's actually quite an accomplished depiction of the tension between humanity and the Vulcans that has been festering since First Contact and what I liked was it shows that tension from both sides, and T'Pol is portrayed admirably sympathetically. Not only is she isolated by being a Vulcan among humans, but the scenes in the cave show how genuinely perilous that isolation can be for her.

I also liked the way Hoshi was used as the only way to bridge the gap between the two. This is a far more natural use of Hoshi than in the previous episode, which was over the top in how green she is and how much she is pushed despite her near-breakdown.

The scene where Novakovich was transported up fused with leaves and other storm debris was wonderfully disturbing and underlined how out of our Trek comfort zone these pioneers are.
Michael Miller
Mon, Sep 4, 2023, 8:10am (UTC -6)
And this is why you send the probes down first. Did this serve as a valuable lesson to the characters though? Of course not lol!
Michael Miller
Wed, Oct 11, 2023, 8:04pm (UTC -6)
I watched this episode again and I can't help but think how ridiculous Archer's behavior is within the first 2-3 episodes. He already saw the risk of what could happen with that dead ship in "fight or flight", yet again proceeds to step foot on a planet without taking the slightest precautions. Lets his dog run through the grass without knowing if there's any dangerous bugs/snakes/toxic plants/holes in the ground/quicksand/toxic compounds in the atmosphere..etc. Then lets them stay overnight in a *tent*, not even a basic starfleet grade portable shelter/pod. Then to sit outside as insects buzz around you carrying who knows what diseases/venom/..etc. So ridiculous.
Then we have the cave scenes where T-pol could have just kept it simple and stunned everyone from the beginning instead of having a Mexican standoff with Trip for hours. I also don't believe the level of stupidity that even after being told the pollen was causing them to all hallucinate they were still naive enough to think it was a huge conspiracy going on, lots of good starfleet training did. They shouldn't have reacted so irrationally even IF those rock-aliens WERE real! Such ridiculous behavior for star fleet officers lol. Yeah the pollen affecting their judgement...etc but I mean come on trip can hold it together with the warp core about to breach but lost his mind cause he thought T-pol was talking to someone? Or because a lifeform emerged that didn't even do anything threatening? Have they ever heard of Camaflouge? Bad character development.

Then the whole nonsense about the shuttle pod being able to land in sub-hurricane force winds...GIVE ME A BREAK. Airplanes can do that now in stronger storms, a freakin shuttlecraft from the year 2150 can't land in an open field cause it's gusty outside? What a joke, just set the damn thing down, you need vectors and auxiliary thrusters just to land in an open field 20 feet below you? Even if it was a little bumpy! It can handle re-entry but not some winds. LOL.

Why didn't they just beam everyone up when they realized they couldn't land? Ironically they are comfortable going out into deep space with misaligned weapons systems, uncalibrated this/that...etc, but the transporter, the one thing that seems to work fine, they are terrified of using. Fun 4 star episode, but they could lock in the plots and dilemmas a little better.

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