Star Trek: Enterprise


4 stars

Air date: 4/21/2004
Written by Phyllis Strong
Directed by James L. Conway

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I'm about to step over a line — a line I thought I would never cross. And given the nature of our mission, it probably won't be the last." — Archer

In brief: Excels in delivering a single-mindedly sustained tone. Grim, gritty, and captivating.

The Enterprise, battered and crippled under an onslaught of Xindi weapons fire, is spared when the Xindi suddenly break off their attack and allow the Enterprise to limp away. Meanwhile, Archer is supplied transport aboard a Xindi aquatic vessel and released via escape pod into the Enterprise's custody. If things were looking pretty desperate at the end of "Azati Prime," "Damage" quickly turns things around (one might say too quickly) such that things can turn bad in completely other ways.

Call it the episode's Degra ex machina. Degra, who seemed so powerless in "Azati Prime" as to be under the thumb of the evil reptilian commander, stands up and asserts authority here — enough authority to assemble part of the Xindi council (less the reptilians), who authorize Archer's release and order off the Xindi attack ships, much to the dismay the of reptilians. It's quite a whiplash-like turn of events, and Degra, while still cautious, has clearly turned the corner and seen the duplicity that his own people (or, more specifically, the reptilians and insectoids) are capable of.

Could Degra really turn the council's tide and take so much control so quickly? Would he really order Archer's release and send him back to the Enterprise rather than hold him for more questions? I have my doubts, but no matter. These early events are just plausible enough to work, and they simply move the plot along to what the show is really about.

And that can be summed up very aptly by the title, "Damage." This is a show about not simply the severe physical damage inflicted on the Enterprise in the attack, but about the cumulative damage that has been inflicted on this crew by their grueling mission. There's damaged morale (casualties and other emotional traumas). Damaged mental states (T'Pol's drug addiction — yes, drug addiction). And damaged moral fiber (Archer crossing a crucial ethical line).

"Damage" is, in short, about how when things get ugly, and when time is most definitely not on your side, tough and distasteful decisions might have to be made. In some ways, "Damage" could be for Archer what "In the Pale Moonlight" was for Sisko — although perhaps the most demoralizing notion is that for Archer there's his realization that there may be more such choices in his future. This time "probably won't be the last," he notes ominously.

The episode includes some of the season's best dramatic scenes, as well as a captivating, unrelentingly dark tone. It's a grim, tense, and thoroughly watchable chapter about the crew's response to a devastating blow. The Enterprise is in shambles, the death toll is in the teens, the warp drive is wrecked almost beyond hope, and every deck of the ship lies in ruins. By far more than any episode yet this season, this episode fully and compellingly captures a tone of desperation. It's surprising how much mileage the producers get out of trashing all the sets and covering everyone with grime, cuts, and bruises. From a production standpoint, this is effective.

Equally important is the acting. This is a battered and tired crew, and that's apparent in nearly every scene and performance. Archer's steely resolve to get the job done still remains his primary disposition, but Scott Bakula depicts it with even more seriousness and urgency, if that were possible.

There's also a brief Travis/Hoshi scene that sells the tone in the periphery. Travis, ever the optimist, reassures Hoshi, "We're getting home." The look on Hoshi's face is not even close to being so hopeful. These are two characters who have been sidelined almost to the point of total irrelevance, but the story here remembers them long enough to put them to good, if brief, use in selling the tone.

Meanwhile, we've got T'Pol, who has reached the end of her rope, although for very different reasons. Emotionally unstable and descending into near-madness, we learn here that she's been experimenting with deliberate Trellium-D exposure for months now, injecting small amounts of it into her bloodstream to unleash her emotions, first turned loose by her accidental exposure to Trellium in "Impulse."

Basically, she has become a drug addict, and finds herself here suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms, which explains her odd behavior in "Azati Prime." I've gotta say, it's something we haven't seen happen with a regular character on Star Trek, and I think it's an interesting choice, particularly for a Vulcan. It's not used as a means for sending a "message" about drug use (like, say, TNG's "Symbiosis") but rather about the point of view of one individual's struggle as she becomes overwhelmed.

There's a sequence here that's kind of brilliantly executed, where T'Pol wakes up from a disturbing sex dream turned violent, and goes on a crazed mission to get her Trellium-D fix from the cargo bay. The bay has been decompressed as a result of the battle damage, so she puts on an EVA-suit and rummages through the debris. She's nearly killed when she falls and decompresses her suit. Then we follow her back to her quarters, where she liquefies the Trellium, puts it into a syringe, and pumps it into her body. Under James Conway's direction and Jolene Blalock's performance, this sequence takes on an engaging energy of single-mindedness. T'Pol's obvious disorientation is matched by an equally obvious practiced determination that reveals a calm beneath the mania; she has clearly done this many times before. As an exercise in pure technique, this is entertaining; as a document of a character in sudden free-fall, it's riveting.

Realizing she has a serious problem, she reports her condition to Phlox, and explains that she thought experimenting with Trellium would be safe at low levels, but then, "I wanted more," she says simply — which pretty much sums up drug addiction at its most basic level. Phlox helps her detox with a side-effect inhibitor that makes the detox process come across as perhaps too easy, although the show promises future consequences since T'Pol will not simply be able to bottle her emotions after all this synaptic damage.

On a plot level, the story keeps things moving along, and includes a scene where Degra and part of the Xindi council seek answers from a mysterious female sphere-builder (Josette DiCarlo) who communicates with them from her people's "transdimensional realm." I'd say it's pretty obvious she is not to be trusted. She's a manipulator playing the roles of both instigator and peacekeeper, while claiming to want to play neither part.

Degra perhaps senses this — and at the very least wants more information — so he sends the Enterprise a coded transmission with the coordinates and date for a rendezvous. The problem for Archer is the rendezvous is in three days, a timetable the Enterprise cannot possibly make without warp engines.

Enter a starship from an unfamiliar alien race of explorers, who have hit a spatial anomaly and need help. They're unfamiliar with the expanse and have not run into the Xindi. The Enterprise offers assistance, and then Archer asks the alien captain (Casey Biggs, last seen in Trek dying for Cardassia) for a warp coil so Trip can repair the Enterprise's warp drive. The aliens cannot spare this; they would themselves become stranded in the expanse without it.

So, then. The Enterprise needs a warp coil or the rendezvous will be missed and the entire mission will be lost. Archer comes to the unavoidable conclusion that an ethical line must be crossed for the sake of the mission. He plans to attack the alien ship, board it, and steal its warp coil by force. This concept goes further than the airlock scene in "Anomaly" because it's no longer just about Archer and another individual, but about Archer making his crew, and by extension all of humanity, complicit in an act of piracy perpetrated upon a ship full of innocents.

The decision and subsequent debate leads to two excellent scenes: There's a quiet one where Archer seeks Phlox's counsel about matters of ethics, solemnly ending the conversation with, "There could be more casualties." Then there's the fiery scene between Archer and a still-on-edge T'Pol, which makes for one of the most solid and memorable histrionic scenes on this series. I liked Archer's attempt to mitigate his decision: "We're not going to make a habit out of it." T'Pol counters: "Once you rationalize the first misstep it's easy to fall into a pattern of behavior." The argument builds to a potent moment where she shatters a data pad on Archer's desk.

These are two well-written and well-acted scenes. When "The Expanse" aired and made clear the new direction this series was headed in, these were the kind of scenes I had in mind. (It's kind of a shame it took the season until episode 19 to get here.)

Also novel: We have an action scene that grows genuinely and logically out of the story's needs instead of being a mindless detour. The raid on the alien ship involves all the usual action devices already seen this year, including the MACOs, explosions, and phaser shootouts, but — hey! — it actually really matters and we actually really care about what's happening on the screen. There's something at stake much larger than who wins the conflict. It's about more, even, than the fate of the larger Xindi mission; it's about the fact that for the Enterprise crew to be victorious over these innocent aliens is still to lose something, because principles have been willingly compromised. There's a moment where the alien captain demands, "Why are you doing this?!" Archer's response: "Because I have no choice!"

And that's what "Damage" boils down to. It's about making the hard choice in the interests of the immediate needs and — one hopes — owning up to the consequences later. Not since Sisko was sitting in the captain's chair has such a troubling action on Trek been so vividly depicted.

Next week: Archer attempts to solidify a crucial alliance.

Previous episode: Azati Prime
Next episode: The Forgotten

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78 comments on this post

Jacob T. Taylor
Tue, Jul 20, 2010, 4:10am (UTC -6)
So far the best episode of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE ever! I could easily relate to T'Pols addiction to the Trelloum and loved her awakening from a bad dream sequence while having a restless bad dream. It was very familar to me and chilling. It has been on my mind for years that not since early TNG,then Jem Hadars white dependance, has drug addiction been mentioned. I applaud the writer for not making moral judgments in this episode. No one ever plans on becoming an addict. It was a nice touch of reality in TREK. Archers decision is something that is less likely to be seen on other TREK series. By Picards time he was an evolved human, who wouldnt compromise his morals for anyone. Here we have Johnathan Archer doing just that. I also felt it was interesting that this episode was coupled with TPols addiction in doing what she had to do- just as Archer was. As is the case in many drug addictions moral right and wrong no longer apply to an extent and getting well or better to end the hell is the only thing that matters. Just as Archer is trying to fix Enterprise and make it better. Four popcorns! :)
Thu, Dec 30, 2010, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
Just a side note first, I enjoyed seeing Casey Biggs in this episode even though he didn't do much in it.

Anyway, yes, more good stuff from Enterprise... FINALLY! While I was a little uncomfortable about Archer basically becoming a pirate here, it was an interesting plot choice. As almost all of my past comments would suggest, I just can't get into the Captain Archer, Super Hero Of The Universe™ aspect of this show. But, still, this was a good outing none the less.

Far more successful, was T'Pol's story. Her struggle with drug addiction was easily the most intriguing part of the episode for me. The choice to deal with an issue like that gives the show some much needed depth, in my opinion.

I'm not sure I'd be willing to give this one four stars. But, I would go 3.5 for sure!
Marco P.
Mon, May 9, 2011, 8:25am (UTC -6)
I disagree with Jammer about the plausibility of Archer's release. It makes no tactical military sense whatsoever, not even with the "hidden-message-within-the-aquatic-pod-giving-Archer-a-rendezvous" subplot. When you hold captive the captain of the ship sent to destroy your superweapon, you don't just release him back into the wild. Not unless you're stupid (or have been written as such by incompetent script writers).

I also disagree with Jammer comparing this episode to DS9's "In the Pale Moonlight". In DS9 until that episode, Sisko had been written (and portrayed by Avery Brooks) as a very moral, upright, StarFleet leader (much like his Kirk, Picard, and Janeway counterparts). It is that strong moral fiber which provides the sharp contrast with what he is willing to do (and ultimately ends up doing), and is the vital ingredient making "In the Pale Moonlight" so poignant. With Archer however, we are dealing with someone whose behaviour has continuously ranged from the utterly stupid to the severely unethical. "It probably won't be the last" Archer says, but he forgets it isn't the first either. So is it significant a StarFleet captain is reduced to piracy because he has no other choice? Yes. Is it significant for Archer? Not really, despite what the writers would have us believe.

These problems aside, I will admit the rest of the episode is pretty well done. Trellium-D drug-addiction is certainly an interesting take on T'Pol's recent erratic behaviour, one which (I *hope*) will have consequences in subsequent episodes. Also interesting is how the damage (in all its forms) sustained by the Enterprise ship and its crew is portrayed. Like I stated in my comment about the previous episode "Azati Prime", Star Trek has always had the constant of great production values. "Damage"'s depiction of mayhem and damage fallout (producers "trashing all the sets and covering everyone with grime, cuts, and bruises" as Jammer puts it) is no exception.

Finally, I'm not too convinced with the appearance of "SHE" (the Sphere builder), but it is interesting to see a schism forming between members of the Xindi council, which at the very least (one hopes) is bound to give further background information on the supposed Xindi "enemy". An enemy which, at least in part, seems to be soon destined to become allies.

At any rate, much like last episode, I am sufficiently intrigued to WANT to see what's next. So not a 4-star outing for me, but well above average ST Enterprise mediocrity.
Wed, Jan 4, 2012, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
I was actually really disappointed, because in the end of the T'Pol Archer scene, it kind of intimates that her strong opposition is due to her Trillium addiction.

I really would like to have seen some stronger opposition from the crew, and really think they could have had a better confrontation between Archer and Damar.. I mean, alien captain dude.

Archer was too angry, I wanted to see him upset and apologetic. He was a bit too swaggery considering he was really doing something quite unseemly.
Wed, Jan 4, 2012, 9:02pm (UTC -6)
Agree with Marco P.

For me, this was a bare 3 stars, and nowhere neaR ITPM, which for me remains in the pantheon of greatest Trek episodes.

I think that part of it is that I actually don't think Bakula is a great actor, or at least I don't find him very sympathetic in this role. Only T'Pol and Phlox give me any joy, and Trip and Hoshi to a lesser degree.

The rest are deadweight (and is there ever an episode where the conn officer is more than a token?)
Wed, Jul 25, 2012, 11:06am (UTC -6)
I often wondered if Archer bothered to tell someone later (The Xindi, Starfleet) to go back and pick up/help the ship they robbed... or did they just forget about it and let them spend three years getting home :P
Thu, Aug 9, 2012, 12:29am (UTC -6)
I don't subscribe to the 'person with high moral fiber must always be as such' way of thinking. It is too limiting, completely illogical, and rather unrealistic especially under dire circumstances.

Would I bring a whole government into a war under false pretenses if it meant saving an entire quadrant? Yes. Would I pirate a ship and leave them stranded for 3 years if it meant saving billions of lives? Absolutely. Would I feel horrible about these decisions? Excruciatingly so. But I would have to live with them.

I bring this up because I have read reviews and comments on a few sites/blogs that contain a lot of ignorance concerning gray-area polemics. Life is not simple black and white and good storytelling will realize this. Great storytelling will exemplify it.

This was great storytelling - 4 stars.
Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 12:03am (UTC -6)
This is no In the Pale Moonlight, mostly because Archer was never morally upright to begin with. But by Enterprise standards, this was one of the best episodes of the series. By far. Nowhere near In the Pale Moonlight though.
Sun, Oct 14, 2012, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
I don't understand T'Pols trellium-D addiction. Why does she need to inject herself with a stimulant? In Fusion one night without meditation already made her nearly flip. Vulcans are known to meditate to repress their emotions. They don't need anything to get emotions but stop repressing them.
I don't like the way this series depicts Vulcans, and I don't like how they treat T'Pol in particular.
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 1:40pm (UTC -6)

You see, there's a difference between things like In the Pale Moonlight and this episode, and other things like the airlock incident and the Trip clone.

With the airlock and with that "Simm" character, Archer just doesn't seem to show much remorse, if any at all. He just snarls around being a bully and doing horrible things, and comes across as, well frankly, a total d**k.

Contrast with this and ITPM - we have a desperate captain, under desperate circumstances, trying to do the right thing... and visibly struggling with the morality of what he has to do. It's a decision he doesn't take lightly at all, and that makes ALL the difference when it comes to seeing things from his point of view and sympathising with his struggle.

This is how you do "overstepping the line in desperation" and make it compelling, not having him marching around with a scowl on his face throwing people into airlocks - much much better and well deserving of 4 stars with the addiction plot thrown in too.

I do agree with wildcolonialboy - "I was actually really disappointed, because in the end of the T'Pol Archer scene, it kind of intimates that her strong opposition is due to her Trillium addiction."
It did seem to suggest that, as she then basically calms down and says she didn't really mean it. I'm just... hoping that she kind of did, and just didn't mean to get emotional.
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
P.s. I do think Archeer was let off the hook a little bit. Wonderful that he had the chance to retain some of his humanity and compensate the aliens as best he could for the act of piracy, but I was half expecting they wouldn't have been able to take down the force field and the ante would be upped to "would the captain beam the coil out, destroying the alien ship in the process?".

I'm sort of glad we didn't have to find out the answer to that one.... I think..... but I'm really not sure, as now we just don't know. Maybe a similar dilemma comes up soon.
John the younger
Sun, Jan 13, 2013, 1:13am (UTC -6)
I would generally agree with Marco P and wildcolonialboy.

Issues aside, one of the better ones this season.
Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 8:15pm (UTC -6)
I'm sorry Marco P., but I utterly disagree with your statement: Sisko was not moral. He used blackmail, coercion and he was discriminating. The writers wanted us to believe he was upright, but for a 24th century captain, he certainly wasn't.
Having said that, Archer is between 20th and 24th century morality and I agree he's been depicted as childish, irrational and sometimes very unethical.

But as Cloudane mentioned, this episode was different because the struggle was shown and we could emphasize with it.

I also agree that the conversation between T'Pol and Archer was great but I'd have preferred her having an outburst after this scene, not in that scene. Her lines would have been more potent.

A nitpick, but the writers could have thought of T'Pol exposing herself to Trellium D in order to make her body accomodate, so Enterprise could equip its hull with the compound.

So, a very exciting and gritty show laced in good action and depth. (I apologize for my grammar. I'm sure it's all wrong, but it's too late for my brain to try and make an adequate translation).
Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 6:50pm (UTC -6)
A potentially great episode marred by the serious misstep of T'Pol becoming a drug addict. It damaged her character for me, irrevocably. Terrible choice on the part of the writers. (Jolene Blalock agreed, as she made clear in subsequent interviews.)

Do people have moments of weakness? Sure. But T'Pol, on a mission to save a world, decides to experiment with a deadly substance because she thought experiencing emotions was fun? I find T'Pol just a little bit contemptible after this, and have lost any affection I once had for the character.
Fri, May 31, 2013, 12:03am (UTC -6)
A terrible episode! Not one corpse or child to whom I could masturbate. 0 stars!!!
Amid Robbers
Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 1:04am (UTC -6)
This episode reminded me of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. Human beings under dire circumstances, struggling between doing what is morally right and doing what is necessary to survive. Darker character traits (addiction, desperation, even piracy) emerging under extreme duress.

This may be the best Enterprise episode so far.

Overtones as well of 9/11 and the Patriot Act; how far will we go to preserve our way of life, and what aspects of our way of life will we sacrifice in order to defeat our enemies? Star Trek has always been at its best when it served as social commentary.
Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 1:50am (UTC -6)
Don't have too much to add to what's been posted above, but I do have just one question: why the heck are there two "humanoid" Xindi on the Council?

You have Degra and the other guy (the dark-skinned humanoid). How come we don't see a) aquatics and b) insectoids? If the insectoids and the reptilians are evil together, we is the former so quiet? (My guess: CGI production costs).

CGI might explain why we don't see Insectoids and Aquatics very often. OK. But for a 5-species "race" held together very tenuously reaching over vast differences and a turbulent past, why are humanoids the only ones with two characters represented?

One more thing (yes, I lied about having just one point to make): are we expected to believe Degra, having seen firsthand the damage to Enterprise, sets up a rendezvous 3 days away at warp speed?

(BTW, not going to lie, when I saw Casey Biggs there I was wondering if we were looking at the first encounter with purposely hard-to-recognize Cardassians. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we are/were privy to first contact and first "souring" of relations between Humans and Cardassians? Think of just how massive the repercussions of Archer's actions would turn out to be if that was a Cardassian vessel he marauded and that he essentially set the stage for the massive death toll of the wars in the centuries to come?)
Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
T'Pol always has the most interesting dreams.
Sat, May 24, 2014, 8:41pm (UTC -6)
Anyone else notice a lot of similarities between "she" and the Borg queen? Bald, pale, cold female with her shoulders and collar bone exposed...
Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
I don't see it as a four-star outing. I found it reprehensible. Picard would have figured out a third option. It does fit with Archer's character, though, to go for the low-hanging fruit and not really debate or consider other options. How about bargaining with the other vessel not for their warp core, but for transportation on a temporary basis? Hitch a ride, in exchange for Enterprise applying the tritium-D or whatever it is to shield them in the expanse.

The Enterprise found the ship again (which is hard to understand if it warped away) -- why not ask for a lift? Explain the circumstances and short timeline, and tell them if the humans can reach the Xindi in time, the Xindi can probably help them both out. I didn't feel like Archer really considered other options -- so turning Star Fleet into pirates is a huge fail for me.

At the very least, they could have had Archer shown later on asking Degra to send a ship to the victims, to replace their warp coil, and think of it as "borrowing" rather than stealing. In fact, while Archer regularly makes me roll my eyes, this is the first time Trip angered me, because he went along with the piracy without arguing.

T'Pol being addicted ... that's OK as a story development. I like that it shows she's been experiencing a character arc for months, and hasn't just been an out-of-character Vulcan. I do like the idea above that if she'd been using it to build up a resistance, it might have been more noble, but Vulcan doesn't equal more noble or, apparently, less inclined to addiction.

And yeah, T'Pol has interesting dreams...quite yummy, until she turns into a Vulcan Zombie!

Another thing I just don't get. Why were the Xindi, who keep demanding proof from Archer, so willing to believe the time-traveling female without proof? Why are the Xindi reluctant to believe Archer experienced time travel when the whole basis for them attacking Earth is to prevent a FUTURE event, told to them by a mysterious time traveler? None of it makes a lick of sense.
Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 10:58am (UTC -6)
More outstanding suspenseful trek!!

My blood was definitely pumping during this one.

Some of the comments above just make me face palm...

Disagree with Marco. Sisko's committed no immoral acts prior to ITPM? Really? ... did I just read that? Did you see "For the Uniform"? He was not written as a straight Star Fleet card like Picard was. (I'm glad for that)

Archer was inexperienced, not immoral.

I also have no problem with the council releasing Archer. His ship was in shambles and going nowhere. His previous exchanges with Degra revealed Archer needed to prove more... why would he flee? Where would he go at impulse?

"Picard would have found another option" ... maybe, but Archer is on his own and is the last hope for humanity, ship falling apart, multiple crew members dead... he doesn't have the luxury of Star Fleet support and many years of command experience like Picard had. If I'm Archer I don't let them leave the first time. I seize their ship and take what I need to complete my mission to include personnel if I deem it necessary. As it was, he made every effort to not kill anyone and left them supplies for sustainment...

Archer's actions here were not "immoral", they were necessary and mandated by the situation. Do you call a starving person with no money stealing food immoral? I think not.

The only "thing" I had issues with within this episode was the reason for T'Pol's addiction. It should have been something like after her massive exposure on the Seleya she was going through withdrawals and had to take it to support Archer, Enterprise and the mission! Something other than "I began to experiment". "selfish" just doesn't fit her character. (see Twilight and even Broken Bow) She's much more honorable and dedicated than that.

That brings this episode down to 3 stars for me. Sadly. Easily a 4 star episode had the writers not really screwed that up.
Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Based on "VOY: Year of Hell" I have doubts about the feasibility to going to warp with the hull in that condition. At the end of "Year of Hell part 1" Tuvok warned that going to warp with the hull in that condition would result in extreme damage (and it did, with hull fragments coming off during warp flight)
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 12:19pm (UTC -6)

Voyager was screwed up there. Why would anything "fall off" when there is no friction in space?
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
You see, Yanks, once the hull components are shaken loose of the ship's structural integrity field, they are no longer propelled by the warp envelope and drop back into normal space. The speed of light, in this case, acts as friction. As for why Voyager is more fragile than NX-01, clearly the newer ship relies more on the active SIF, whereas the older model was more robust. Compare this to the active safety features of new automobiles, whereas older cars survived crashes due to sheer mass.
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Whoops! My previous comment was intended as a parody of tech-wanking, but it's indistinguishable from the real thing.
Mon, Oct 13, 2014, 7:24am (UTC -6)
I don't know that is true. During ENT's Divergence we see Trip repel between the Enterprise and the Columbia without being dropped out of warp...
Erik Smith
Mon, Dec 1, 2014, 1:07am (UTC -6)
Enterprise is so much fail.

Poor Jolene Blalock. Almost every episode I feel sorry for her being stuck with such incompetent writers.
Erik Smith
Mon, Dec 1, 2014, 1:13am (UTC -6)
Also, I think it's quite novel that the series manages to make the audience hope that the captain will be killed so frequently.

He's like "people might die" and you're hoping that he's the one who makes that prediction come true.

Seeing him beaten doesn't satisfy because you know he's going to come back, uglier and stupider, in the next episode.

And people didn't like Wesley and Neelix. I'd take an entire crew of Wesley, Kes, and Neelix over one Archer.
Tue, Feb 24, 2015, 10:26pm (UTC -6)
Hands down one of the best episodes of the series, and quite possibly a top 10 episode across all of the Trek series. This had everything I was hoping to see this season given the nature of their mission, drama, suspense, ethical questions, taking the characters to a dark place, and downright gritty action sequences... Regarding some of the comments about Jolene Blalock, I don't give a damn if she didn't like where the writers took the character... the last time I checked Jolene was simply an actress and not a writer, and we should all be thankful for that. This was brilliant writing, and it gave her the opportunity to take the character from being a monotone robot to something actually interesting... Anyway, I agree with the 4 star rating. Jammer was spot on in his review!
Peter Coutts
Mon, Apr 27, 2015, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
While watching this I was thinking that Jammer would give this one a thumbs up. At last Archer has to face up to the extreme range of his obligations to the mission-these are potent ethical sacrifices and may turn out to be fatal for the alien crew he steals from.
4 popcorns from me.
Wed, Apr 29, 2015, 8:53pm (UTC -6)
This is my first time to comment here. I didn't understand why stealing the warp core was a big deal, aside from the fact that stealing is wrong.

Stealing the warp core was presented in a way that made it seem fatal to the crew of the alien ship, or that it will cause them to be stranded in space for three years.

Why couldn't Enterprise or Star Fleet find the ship at a later time and give them a new warp coil to replace the one they took? It seems pretty easy to track ships in Star Trek in general, especially, for example, if the heading and destination are known (just ask them about it and tell them we will bring you back the warp coil), or if the alien ship can transmit a specific signal that allows them to be found by Enterprise or Star Fleet.
Mon, Jun 1, 2015, 8:05am (UTC -6)
A great episode, and I really don't understand the griping about Archer.

"Picard would have found another way"

Sure, he would have had Geordi create some technobabble deus ex machina, because the writers in TNG rarely put Picard in situations where there were no good options. There's nothing noble about principled inaction when magical character shields will save the day despite your actions. The NX-01 is the only ship Earth has, and they literally have no right to gloriously sacrifice themselves on the altar of personal morality. The entire theme of S3 is the struggle of good people being forced to do bad things.

A situation with far smaller stakes is presented in Voyager's Prey, where it's only Janeway's crew (a good number of whom aren't Starfleet and who she has no right to sacrifice) instead of all sentient life in the Milky Way. And she takes the blind idealism position, condemning 140+ people to certain death. Not to worry, though, Seven saves them in spite of her and is berated and put under house arrest for acting in self-defense. This is have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too nonsense.

And referring to destroying the Xindi moon base as immoral? It is a military outpost that could give away their position in a system where their enemy is creating a planet-killer to wipe out (and consequently hunt down and exterminate) the entire human race, and by extension the destruction of every sentient race in the galaxy to the sphere-builders 400 years hence.

If that action is immoral, then Picard et al were also immoral for killing Borg instead of "finding a way" to disable the cubes and de-assimilate every drone. They knew it was possible after BoBW part 2. Perhaps Picard could appeal to Q to intervene and offer to become Q's personal court jester for the rest of eternity.

ENT was the first Trek since TOS to actually put its characters through moral gauntlets, instead of contrived situations where they get to feign enlightenment.

For me, Archer is far better paragon of humanity because he is put in situations with no easy way out and he balances pragmatism with idealism, and suffers great personal anguish when he's forced to do questionable things. Ends do sometimes justify means, but justification is not absolution. True strength of character is not found in avoiding the first, necessary step down the slippery slope that T'Pol warns Archer of. It is in taking only the steps that are carefully weighed to be necessary.

Humanity and the Xindi are, to the best of their knowledge, in a similar situation. They believe the other will wipe their species out (and humans have a 4000 km long proof of corpse-ridden concept to point to). The Xindi decide on preemptive genocide, while Archer and his crew go above and beyond to try to prevent harming Xindi non-combatants. When robbing the ship in this episode, they take only what they absolutely need, and give everything they can to ensure the safety of their victims. And they do this not to save their own asses, but the billions of innocents back on Earth. All of them have shown an absolute willingness to sacrifice their own lives if that was all that were at stake.
Mallory R.
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
Enterprise really excels when idealistic or moral characters are pushed to the test. Those dramas aren't for everyone. And facing closely held beliefs and making the right choice to act irrespective of your moral code is a very adult situation and most importantly, breathes abundant life into a fictional character.
I continue to feel Enterprise's worst enemy was being under the commercial constraints of a network, 42 minute limits and those crappy stand alone action pieces. Watching these 3 episodes as a whole revealed a glimpse of what the show could have been. A novel's worth of good material here. Archer transforming from an eager explorer to a military commander and warrior is the epitome of character development. Even seemingly worthless shows like Hatchery work to contrast the sweet Scott Bakkula and a bloody, calculating Archer - a man who in essence sacrificed every life on the ship from the start of the mission.
Diamond Dave
Mon, May 2, 2016, 9:53am (UTC -6)
An interesting example to me of an episode that sets out on an unremittingly dark path - which lies closer to my personal tastes - but yet which I feel is not entirely successful.

For me the big problem is the falseness of the set-up. Enterprise needs to be at point A, for which they need a warp coil, which they can get from a ship they just met, which doesn't have a spare. Oh, and despite all the killer fiends the Enterprise has encountered since they entered the expanse these happen to be nice guys. OK, it doesn't detract too heavily from the drama but ultimately it does throw me out of the story a little.

The T'Pol story is almost a surprise in addressing an issue that has been very subtly evolving for weeks without any real open discussion of it, which makes it a very unusual plot device for the Trek franchises. Fair play for that one, it's a compelling watch. 3 stars overall.
Sun, Nov 6, 2016, 3:32pm (UTC -6)
Now THIS was the episode where unethical choice was justified by plot (And by justified, I really mean plot-wise, not from the view point of some, who may still see Archer's actions unjustified and be perfectly right in their logic)...

Here the scriptwriters gave us logical reasons to believe that Archer is doing unethical thing because he HAVE to (or because he really thinks he have, doesn't matter).

It's a difference between this episode and the episode where Archer and Phlox just let the whole race to be wiped out of the existence, just because of some pseudo-scientific nonsense, that only Hitler and Goebbels would sign under...
Joseph S
Fri, Jan 13, 2017, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
ARCHER: We're not going to make a habit out of it.
T'POL: Once you rationalize the first misstep, it's easy to fall into a pattern of behavior.

I thought this dialogue was beautifully written, though maybe a little over the top because, c'mon, shattering a data pad on Archer's desk? Even with Trellium addiction?

But then I realized that her words are as much about her, as they are about Archer's decision. Later she tells Phlox exactly how she rationalized her first missteps into experimenting with Trellium, and how she fell into that pattern of behavior, into that habit. She slams the pad, not because she's mad at Archer or at the situation, but because she's mad at herself. And that's what makes her realize she had to get help.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 11:17pm (UTC -6)
"I also have no problem with the council releasing Archer. His ship was in shambles and going nowhere. His previous exchanges with Degra revealed Archer needed to prove more... why would he flee? Where would he go at impulse?"

I agree with Yanks here. If Archer's story to the council is true (and we know it is), then Archer's mission is to convince the council, so they know he isn't gong to flee. He flees and Earth is literally toast.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
Is this episode mistaking a warp coil for a warp core? Didn't DS9 establish that a warp coil is just one of many "bracket" things along a nacelle?
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
The writers may have goofed...early in the episode, T'Pol says they'll never make the rendezvous unless they go at least Warp 3 but at the end Trip says they can go Warp 2.2 and that it will be enough to get there on time.
Tue, Feb 14, 2017, 9:22pm (UTC -6)
@Dave: Having just watched it again, Trip says 3.2 at the end, not 2.2.
Sun, Apr 9, 2017, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
So, this is the episode I hope gets a back-reference in Star Trek: Discovery. I especially hope the race Archer maroons returns for vendetta, and the chickens come home to roost a century later.
dave johnson
Fri, May 12, 2017, 2:02am (UTC -6)
Here are two things I really disliked:

1 - TPols opposition was turned into her drug problem after she smashed the pad. She backed down and complied with is orders. I didn't like the writers doing that because she had a valid point

2 - They should have written someone, even a MACO , to refuse this order. I really disliked everyone complying..... this whole "i was following orders" is supposed to be a thing of the past for humanity and they should have had someone refuse to do this. I can understand not having a main crew do it as they don't want them in the brig or having a mutiny, but at least a MACO would have been good. The show needed someone to refuse this order out of conscience.
Intrinsic Random Event
Tue, Jul 4, 2017, 10:54am (UTC -6)
Great episode. Situations like that bring realism to the burdens and responsibilities of leadership to an extent that Trek rarely goes anywhere near. When it was Rodenberry's "Western in space", the show would never have put the heroes in that scenario, but episodes like that really evolve the possible breadth of the show/franchise, for the better I think.
There was NO other choice, no magic alternative. Could they say "too bad, I guess we can't save humanity after all..." Nope. It's not just their own ship and their own lives, but billions of other lives depending on their success. In the same situation, Picard would have done it, and Janeway, and Sisko, and Kirk, because what is going to bother you more... the fate of this other ship, or failing to save your planet? It may have made the crew sick to their stomach, but I don't think any could argue against the need to do it. It's a good thought-provoking story idea, even if it isn't traditional Trek.
As for why Archer was released at the beginning, the council may have reasoned that he would be killed off by the Reptilians or the Insectoids if kept around, and wanted to leave room for the possibility that he was right. One fan theory anyway...
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
I think this is what we expect and want from ENT - as Jammer says it's gritty and grim and tough choices need to be made as the crew is desperate. That much rings through really well in "Damage".

A number of things to weigh in on all of which are working together here except T'Pol's drug addiction:

As for the Vulcan's drug addiction, I really think that is something the show could do without but for some form of social tie-in or commentary, I suppose these kinds of things can get thrown into the mix. It is well-acted by Blalock.

The best parts of this great episode are the conversations about ethics that Archer has with Phlox and T'Pol -- some great, powerful and deep lines here about once you transgress, it gets easier to do it again. And that it's these ethics that differentiate humans. Great stuff here with the filming and lack of lighting in Archer's damaged office.

The "Damage" title is appropriate as well as it signifies the damage not just on the Enterprise, its crew, but also T'Pol's addiction (but I expect Phlox to fully cure her soon enough).

Some of the drawbacks to the story arc are the good fortune the Enterprise comes across though -- an innocent race of aliens just pops by with a warp coil, not to mention Degra's quick transformation to see Archer's side of the story, the Xindi breaking off the attack etc. etc. Enterprise needs a perfect storm of good fortune to get the job done and even though it's taken heavy damage, it gets it.

I'd give "Damage" 3.5 stars - really compelling stuff with some minor nitpicks like T'Pol's drug addiction subplot and the seeming fortunate coincidences.
Fri, Sep 8, 2017, 6:38pm (UTC -6)
A strong, well-plotted episode, with lots of good dialogue. They even made use of all the characters in the show!

Unfortunately, I would only rate the episode about 3 stars. The problem is that these characters have largely been 2-dimensional for 2.5 years, so it's hard to ever feel as strongly about them as you did about the characters in DS9 or TNG.

I disagree with those that say T'Pol's opposition to Archer was explained by her drug addiction. It was used to explain her emotional outburst (smashing the Captain's desk), but not her reasoned opposition. That said "Joseph S." is correct, her dialogue was written to refer both to Archer's actions & her own.
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Excellent episode. "I have no choice" BS, as usual. Archer had a choice and he chose Earth, as the Xindi had chosen attack Earth. Ugly and disgusting, but realistic. I was rooting for the aliens so that Archer would have to make do without the warp thing. But it is OK, sometimes the bad guys win. However, this time, we are the bad guys.

Here the "bigger fish" theory seems to apply. And I guess Phlox did acknowledge his ethical faults in Dear Doctor and Similitude.
Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
The episode wasn't endorsing Archer's stealing (it wasn't frowning upon it either). The Xindi slaughtered 7 million people on the basis of deliberately false prophecies about their fate, and aside from Degra, no Xindi were exactly wringing their hands over it (none that we were shown, anyway; and remember, that slaughter was merely a test run). Aliens, it seems, like humans, have a preference for the survival of their own race over that of others. Is this inherently immoral? It's hard to say, but all of us here are only having this conversation because humans, including fictional Starfleet captains, do indeed act this way. No matter what Roddenberry's auto-revisionism said.
Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 5:29am (UTC -6)
Apart from Regeneration, this is my favourite episode of Enterprise by miles. It's one of Trek's best. DS9 is my favourite Trek for two reasons: character growth and consequences. TNG had neither of these things. Oh, you were a Borg and killed 11,000 people and wrote off an entire fleet? Better carry on flying around the galaxy moralising the actions of others, I'm sure no-one else in the Federation minds.

In fact the very reason Picard was able to continually put principle ahead of common sense was that he never, ever had to deal with any follow-up. If Picard were in charge of the NX-01, humanity would have been wiped out. If he'd been in charge during the Dominion war, the Federation would have fallen. These two fails-in-waiting were luckily given to the most ignored Starfleet captain (Sisko) and the most hated (Archer), both of whom got the job done. Sisko saved the Federation, Archer made sure there was a Federation to save.

This is very tough, gritty stuff. It doesn't crap on Roddenberry's vision: the Federation might be a utopia but the rest of the galaxy isn't. Not everyone in the galaxy wants to live by the Federation's ideals. In a sense that mirrors real life where the United States seeks to impose democracy and culture on other countries, to which these concepts are often alien and offensive. It's a pity this was never really picked up on during any of the shows and instead is reflected by accident when you look at why the Federation is always at war.
Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
Trellium-D is established to have a profound mental effect on Vulcans, but was it ever explained why it also alters their physical appearance, making them look straight out of a zombie movie?
Mon, Oct 15, 2018, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
Oddly I didn't comment on this the first time around. I think I may have been in the middle of a several episode binge, and recapped on them all at the end.

I won't take up much space: this, which is effectively the second half of a two-parter*, is the strongest episode of ENT yet. Criticisms seem like quibbles, but I won't be able to resist a few ;). 'Damage' is strong enough to stand alongside some good DS9 eps (though not alongside their best). and on my second time 'round I was struck by frustration and 'some sort of' sadness that the series couldn’t t have managed this level of quality back in season one, when it might have kept the boat afloat for its presumably intended 7 seasons.

A few odd thoughts: the theme song and whole feel of that title sequence have seemed out of place for all of season three, and positively inappropriate by now.

Much as I applauded them finally giving Travis some proper airtime, I wish I could say he seized the opportunity. I thought his delivery of the lines "We're getting home" - which should have been filled with nuance and passion, were flat, uninflected and characterless. Honestly, I think this episode convinced me that his near absence in most episodes later in the series is no great loss. I'm tired of feeling embarrassed for him.

Best ep of the season so far. If only the consistency had been there from the start of the season, let alone the start of the series.

*how many Trek two-parters improve in their second part?
Tue, Nov 27, 2018, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
The ship is in shambles but so is this episode. What a mess. You have Archer, you put him in a shuttle just so you can give him a secret message to meet with again?

Agree with Snooky on the third option. There was an alternative. Agree with others on T'Pol, unrealistic she would become an addict and she didn't need the stuff for emotions. And how did they catch up with the ship. Then they blast their engines but the ship is still in pursuit?

This was just one messy episode with a lot of weird choices. No more than two stars.
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 11:54pm (UTC -6)
-Where, sir?
- I meant us!!!

I was not expecting to see drug addiction, so that was a surprise, the desperate pirates stealing ship parts, that was a surprise.

I recently watched Ds9 from start to finish and I liked it, but I do not understand people canonizing SIsko in Sainthood. He did some shady stuff, lied, blackmailed and was dastardly. But, he also helped save the Federation. Archer is impulsive, petulant, and volitile, but his crew likes him and they are facing extinction of the species. I think the director wanted to portay this as very dark, as well as very desperate. I do not condone their actions, but I understand them.
Lew Stone
Fri, Aug 9, 2019, 4:37am (UTC -6)
There are people on here attempting to paint Archer as some kind of cold-blooded guy who has no remorse or guilt about his choices when clearly he does. There are numerous times when he verbally expresses guilt and remorse/frustration, and the ethical toll is clearly seen in Bakula's acting and in the writing. I can only assume that some posters simply dislike "Enterprise" so you nitpick and apparently lie to get your point across that "Enterprise" is not a good show. Why else would you say Archer doesn't show guilt when he clearly does? Just watch the episode, or don't, it's in there.

This was a great episode. Jammer got this one completely right. The only slightly negative aspect was that Degra wholeheartedly believed Archer and let him go so easily. I think the writers could have done better on that one.

Bakula isn't the best actor (but better than Avery Brooks' awkwardness) but he did well in this episode, and as Archer, made the tough, "grey-area" choices that leaders must make sometimes.

T'Pol's addiction was interesting and fresh ground for Star Trek. Blalock does surprisingly well at acting considering she's a former model.

Jammer was right-on regarding the production design, I even felt a little depressed seeing the ship in shambles and crew too.

Rating: 4 stars
Jason R.
Wed, Aug 21, 2019, 8:52pm (UTC -6)
This is the first great Enterprise episode. In some ways it's even better than In the Pale Moonlight, if I'm being honest. And that is one of my all-time favourites. In ITPM Sisko had the luxury of a fixed goal that guaranteed a massive payoff if successful. His actions brought the Romulans into the war, which was the big break. He did it once and it was done and he could go back to being a shining knight in Starfleet armor.

Archer is in a much worse situation. He has this message from Degra that may be a trap for all he knows. But as iffy as it is, it's his best shot. His ship might not even make it it to the rendezvous vous *with* the warp coil. His act of piracy and murder may lead to a pointless death even if it succeeds.

I thought the T'Pol subplot worked beautifully here in concert with the main one. Tripp's moral struggle was gut wrenching.

This is a true 4 star episode, plain and simple. About damn time!

Incidentally, for a second I really thought Casey Biggs at al. were Cardassians. Now that would have been a fun Easter egg.

One additional point: I kept waiting for Archer to pull out his Encyclopedia Galactica that he keeps in Daniels' quarters but he never does.. ummm why not?

And wouldn't have been neat if they had a video recording of the trans dimensional guy twirling his moustache at Archer and bragging about his nefarious plot to Degra instead of a couple lousy still photos of his corpse? They don't have CCTV cameras in Sickbay in case someone sneaks in and eats one of Phlix's bats?
Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
Anyone else have a suspicion that this episode was a way for Brannon Braga, after just seeing his ex-partner's new Battlestar Galactica miniseries, to say, "Hey asshole, I can do that too, you're not so special"?
Sun, Apr 19, 2020, 7:24am (UTC -6)
An exceptional episode, probably among the top 15 or 20 in all of Trek.

Props to Jacob (above) for forthrightly highlighting the addiction sub plot. It's interesting to note such a wide range of opinions and reactions to T’Pol’s striking turn. As for Blalock, I've not seen or read her subsequent comments in context, but I wonder if she simply liked her character, and did not enjoy what the writers put her through, like watching a friend in pain.

As for the main conflict, it’s unfortunate many seem to have been unseated by the plausibility of this or that story hinge. Archer's release, the discovery of a friendly ship swollen with critical bits, etc. None seemed especially contrived, and, as in service to a powerful narrative, should be readily diminished, except maybe for the folks who find those issues particularly validating (and more power to them, just not my lucky Pierre).

Many strong scenes here, but for me, far and away the best was actually the Phlox/Archer dialog. The lighting, blocking and framing...all look fantastic. And those long silences between lines of dialog....suggesting two people who are actually listening very intently to each other, considering what's been said, and only then providing a thoughtful reply. We see two characters who have developed an unarticulated but deep mutual respect. I really have to applaud both actors. Bakula drives me crazy sometimes, but occasionally, he really hits it out of the park. Just watch him here, after he asks Phlox if he’d ever done anything unethical. Billingsley pauses, walks closer, and says “Twice”. And then...a beautifully subtle see Bakula actually if to say “There are a mountains on my shoulders, I need someone I respect to take just a bit of that unimaginable weight, and here you are, willing, understanding, ready.” Moments later, Billingsley shines - after Archer remarks that there may be more casualties, Phlox responds quietly “I’ll be ready.” Billingsley delivers that line in very familiar Phlox intonations, but somehow adds paragraphs of connotation: understanding, consent, loyalty, strength, certainty, reassurance, resolve, duty,'s all there, in that moment, like he’s Archer's rock, he knows what needs to be done, he has Archer's back, he's absolutely ready. The actors really sell this riveting moment.

I was reminded of another scene where I felt Bakula nailed it. In “Regeneration”, he orders the decompression of a section of Enterprise, deliberately killing two Borg drones. He's just sitting in the captain’s chair, but you can see that Bakula is totally internal in that moment, subsumed into Archer - just an honest man - he's an astronaut, for god’s sake! - but he's just had to murder two people he knows aren’t in control of their own actions, to save his ship. We feel it. It's sitting there with him in that chair, like a vulture ready to beak his soul. I don't know why Bakula makes the acting choices he does in this series, but there are moments like the two above (and, actually, many others) when he cedes zero ground to any other actor.

As for the morality of Archer's decision, well, I think Sam put it beautifully above: “...justification is not absolution.” Anyone unprepared to make those kinds of decisions should not be helming a starship charged with saving the lives of every man, woman, alien visitor, animal, plant, and square millimeter of an entire planet. If Enterprise can't meet up with Degra, everyone on Earth is dead. Period. Seriously inconveniencing and victimizing some dozens of people balanced against the lives of billions? How is that even a serious debate?

Finally, it's a little bizarre to argue that “Picard would have found another way.” No. No, he would not. It could have been Picard, or Janeway, or Kirk for that matter, and they would not have “found another way” because, hello? The parameters are set by the writers, who wanted to put the characters in a very specific circumstance, to portray a very specific conflict. Is it imagined that, were Picard to somehow swap ships and times with Archer, the writers would suddenly upend the whole point of the story they created? Put George Washington in the captain's chair. Put Jesus in the captains chair. They would not find another way, because that was not the story.

Great episode, outstanding acting, editing, score, etc....four stars.
Tue, Jul 7, 2020, 10:16pm (UTC -6)
Though a fine episode, it is easy in retrospect to see it as a portend for the franchise’s steep decline into murky, aggressive, any-means-necessary dreck now synonymous with Discovery and Picard. The episode’s message ages particularly poorly as we look back at the actual War on Terror over a decade on. T’Pol’s crack addiction and Pirate Archer are now emblematic of the franchise that lost its way. Picard would convene the officers in his ready-room to weigh any ethical dilemma. Archer unilaterally and continually makes the unethical call. And the franchise still lives with the consequences.
Sean J Hagins
Mon, Dec 7, 2020, 8:56pm (UTC -6)
Well, this is where the series ends for me. I can't believe that they have Archer pirate and steal material from another species! It wasn't under mind control, or something-they actually have him do that and make it sympathetic! This shows the morals and values of the world today
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
We are not supposed to cheer Archer for what he did here. And it's not the first time this guy has done questionable things during the Xindi mission. Remember the airlock scene in "Anomaly"? Both these decisions, by the way, will come back to haunt Archer later.

At any rate, one of the running themes in "Enterprise" is that 22nd century humanity is at an intermediate stage of moral development between present day and the enlightened 24th century. And since we're talking about a situation where failure would mean the annihilation of our entire planet, I think Archer's actions - while not morally defensible - are understandable.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -6)
@Sean J Hagins

Huh? Archer’s actions here are not portrayed sympathetically. It’s clearly a “lessor of two evils” situation. Even Archer himself acknowledges that what he does here is wrong - necessary, yes, but still wrong.

At no point does the episode ask us to cheer Archer on as he steals from these aliens. We might be asked to understand his rationalizations for it, but never to fully support them. And it’s not like Trek has never asked us to something like this before. In “A Taste of Armageddon”, Spock flat out says “I do not agree; I understand.”

I’m legitimately curious - what do you think Archer should have done in this situation?

Please don’t let this end you’re viewing of ENT. There are great things coming in what is left of Season Three and especially in Season Four. And I’ve been honestly enjoying your reviews.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
I think there's a difference between feeling sympathetic towards Archer as a person who was forced into this tough situation, and sympathizing with his act of piracy.

When the aliens asked "why are you doing this?" and Archer replies "Because I have no choice" in a broken voice, we *are* supposed to sympathize with him. But that's a very different thing than asking us to approve his actions.

As for what I'd expect a moral person to do in such a situation:

At the very least, he should have given these guys their gizmo back once the crisis was over. Even if we assume the theft itself was a necessary evil (and I'm not 100% sure I buy that), there is absolutely no moral excuse for Archer to leave them hanging like this.

The minute Earth was out of danger, Enterprise should have returned to the same spot (these guys ain't going anywhere without warp drive). Give these guys a huge apology, a brand new warp coil (plus a very generous compensation) and an offer to take them home at warp 5.

I will also add that piracy isn't the worst of Archer's crimes here. His biggest sin is that he likely condemned these poor aliens to death. The episode explicitly states that their ship isn't equipped for long journeys, and now they are stranded FOR THREE YEARS. Unless they're spotted by another ship and that ship happens to be friendly, they are as good as dead.

Speaking of which: Was there any reason why Enterprise couldn't just take these guys home either before or after their rendezvous with Degra? They had 3 days till the meeting.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 6:50am (UTC -6)
Michael wrote (way back on Fri, May 31, 2013)

"A terrible episode! Not one corpse or child to whom I could masturbate. 0 stars!!!"

Strange that I'm commenting on something from over 7 years ago, but are you f*cking kidding me?! This excuse for a comment was allowed to stand?!

@Jammer, please do something about this. I don't care if it's a sad attempt at humor but t doesn't belong here. Doesn't belong anywhere to be frank.
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 9:51am (UTC -6)
"@Jammer, please do something about this. I don't care if it's a sad attempt at humor but t doesn't belong here. Doesn't belong anywhere to be frank."

Haha. Someone farted in the wind 7 years ago and you're outraged about it.
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 12:46pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R.

You are probably right at home reading that 7 year old comment about masturbating to child porn. I guess creepy fetishes, like misery, loves company.
SS Elim
Tue, Mar 2, 2021, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
It is a gross comment and needs to be removed.
Paul Allen
Mon, Jul 19, 2021, 1:46am (UTC -6)
"Enterprise" goes from worse to worse. If that crew ever made it home and if they encountered any other races, they had to issue a warning about the marauders called humans. Archer is a dirty, filthy space pirate and the worst representative that humanity could have sent out into the galaxy. Apparently, his greatest "strength" is his ability to rationalize any act, no matter how repugnant. He's the embodiment of everything that's wrong with "Enterprise".
Tue, Nov 16, 2021, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
Archer is truly an inspiration to us all.
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 10:51pm (UTC -6)
Does anyone else think the design of the EV-suits is stupid if you fall on your back and the hose comes lose and you could lose your air.
Mon, Feb 28, 2022, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
Sad to see Enterprise survive this. It would be better if they'd been destroyed, when they're starting to get willing to condemn countless innocent strangers to death because they tell themselves they have "a greater cause".
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 5:22am (UTC -6)

You mean when Archer slowed down the Illyrians? He didn't condemn anyone.
The Chronek
Fri, Apr 1, 2022, 5:39am (UTC -6)
This is my favorite Enterprise episode. I agree that this was ENT's "In The Pale Moonlight." Fantastic writing, acting, and production. Like ITPM, Damage had its characters making very difficult choices, justifying them along the way by saying the ends justify the means.

Remember, Earth itself was at stake. And other than Phlox and T'Pol, Enterprise's crew was likely entirely human. So, sure, maybe some of the people weren't comfortable carrying out Archer's orders, but they probably wanted to protect their home. If it was between protecting Earth or stranding some aliens they just met without warp drive, why wouldn't they choose to protect their home? Doesn't make it moral. Doesn't make it right. But it does make it understandable.

The few things I've read about impulse power is that it's relative to the ship. There's one episode of TNG that equates 3/4 impulse to being less than 2% of the speed of light. There's also the DS9 season 6 premiere, in which Sisko and company's captured Dominion warship has its warp drive destroyed. In that, I think Bashir calculated that it would take about 20 years for them to get back into Federation space. So, losing warp drive is kind of a big deal, and it could very likely be fatal.

I also would like to see some kind of follow-up with the Illyrians. Can't imagine they'd feel all that fuzzy about a race that left a ship of their people for dead, regardless of circumstances.
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
miyalys said: "Sad to see Enterprise survive this. It would be better if they'd been destroyed, when they're starting to get willing to condemn countless innocent strangers to death because they tell themselves they have "a greater cause"."

When the Nazis asked me where Anne Frank was hiding I had to tell them the truth. Lying is bad, and two wrongs don't make a right.
Mon, Dec 12, 2022, 1:19am (UTC -6)
3 - 3.5 stars. Brilliant episode, but with 2 major flaws:

1: Let Archer go? NO. Just NO.
Do you trust Archer?
NO? -- Obviously, you don't let him go.
YES? -- You need him to talk to the council.
You don't circumvent the council by releasing him. And you really don't drop him off at his crippled starship and give him an impossible rendezvous.
Minus 1/2 star for this.

2. Warp Coil (a geek nit, not really a flaw)
Anyone ever hear of spare parts?
It's small, absolutely critical, easily replaced, impossible to repair. Why aren't there 4 spares on board? Sorry, dump Porthos' dog food and stock up on warp coils.

3. Morality. (no flaw here either...) I'll give you three arguments:
A. "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".
-- Spock, TWoK. Not quite a direct quote from Gene, but close enough.
B. Utilitarianism: The greatest good for the greatest number.
Another slam-duck for Archer.
C. Is a person justified in stealing bread to feed a starving family?
Multiply both sides of that equation by a few billion, and you're looking at Archer's problem.

Honestly, I reject ALL THREE arguments. In particular, I don't think stealing bread for a starving family is justified. But, if you're sitting in that chair, you MUST make the choice for Earth. That's your job. And you try and live with the consequences.

4. On the other hand....(and here's the other serious flaw with the episode)
Someone suggested getting a lift from the aliens. Good idea. Perhaps they were asked and refused. Perhaps their ship can only make Warp 2. But maybe not....
The writers should have spent less time with T'Pol's drug addiction and shown Archer exploring other options. Really sell the "no other choice", rather than make the audience trust Archer (who, admittedly, doesn't have a good track record). This A-plot could have stood on it's own.

Finally, for some, it always comes back to "Gene's vision". Which, at least for TOS and later TNG was very optimistic. Humans finally built a decent society and moved past our petty tribal wars. Kirk and Picard lived in relatively tame universes.
Picard: "Should I steal bread to feed a starving planet?"
Geordi: "By routing the deflector array through the warp core and adjusting the quantum phase shift, I can quadruple the replicator's bread output"
They never had to make tough moral choices -- not at the scale of Archer or Sisko.

@miyalys seemed to wish Enterprise destroyed - which, by the logic of the plot means Earth is destroyed. Is that really part of Gene's vision? Or does Gene's vision not allow a universe where hard choices exist? A universe without hard choices is more Brave New World than Trek.
Fri, Jun 9, 2023, 6:58pm (UTC -6)
Awesome ep!

Outstanding performances by Bakula and Blalock.

Also adding I agree with the objections noted above about the offensive “Michael” post which appears to be clear violation of the terms of use.
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 10:32pm (UTC -6)
Just rewatched this recently and it kept really bugging me that they never even thought to ask the nice explorer aliens if they could just get a quick 3 day lift to literally save their planet. All they did was say they couldn't give up their warp speed in a trade, not that they wouldn't be willing to help out in other ways! Those guys were exceedingly reasonable!

If he had made that request and been denied I think the eventual piracy would be more understandable but as it stood in the episode, hardcore piracy being his first thought over just asking if they'd give them a lift was a bit of a stretch to me.
Michael Miller
Mon, Sep 4, 2023, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
I never understood this concept of using materials to shield yourself from SPATIAL anomalies. Why would the material matter if it's a distortion within the fabric if space time itself? Likewise the whole "innoculating yourself against chronitons and temporal distortions with a hypospray" in Voyager. Just really dumb.
Sun, Oct 15, 2023, 11:58am (UTC -6)
Really disappointing. It’s been clear all season that every time they talk to an individual xindi, they have a new ally. Degra admits that Archer has something she never had: proof. Say what? They are single-mindedly destroying an entire planet on some entities word? Stupid
I also don’t buy tpol’s addiction. It’s clear vulcans meditate to repress emotions. To become more emotional they simply skip meditation and etc: she has access to all emotions she wants.
Made no sense to release the captain.
So many plot contrivances.

And there’s always another way. Hire the ship to take u to the rendezvous.
Seems unlikely degra is not aware of how damaged enterprise is. But again why release him just to meet with him again. Sigh. Tiring logic
Michael Miller
Sun, Nov 5, 2023, 9:56am (UTC -6)
They didn't have force fields yet in this century, so how are the windows just magically impervious to all alien weapons? Who the hell would want a window right near where they are sleeping when they get attacked so much? I wouldn't want that death trap to space in my quarters. All the living areas should be in the center of the ship, behind multiple layers of hull plating and bulkheads. lol

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