Star Trek: Enterprise


2 stars.

Air date: 2/11/2004
Teleplay by Manny Coto
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by David Livingston

"The last thing I need is to hear that two of my senior officers have been admitted to sickbay because they suddenly regressed to the level of five-year-olds!"
"Don't try to tell me who started it!"

— Archer, Reed

Review Text

In brief: Glib characters, glib plot, glib everything.

"Harbinger" is like Star Trek for the Instant Gratification Generation. Watch it and maybe be amused by the crazy and goofy and silly things happening on the screen, but certainly do not to give them a moment's thought. Scratch the surface and there's a void beneath. Or endless clichés, maybe.

In a disposable pop-culture society for people with terminal ADD, "Harbinger" is perhaps the Star Trek outing we deserve. It features trashy and superficially amusing character-based antics, and a general commitment to exploring the Xindi arc (albeit in its mostly nonsensical way). It has these things, but that's not to say it makes any sense of them.

The show is like the ultimate passive-aggressive pissing contest that's just waiting to turn active-aggressive — and then does.

What can you say about an episode where two characters have sex that is apparently so meaningless as to be inexplicable, while two other characters beat the living crap out of each other in a scene that looks like it belongs in 48 Hrs.?

One diagnosis could be that Enterprise has officially jumped the shark. Another could be that this was intended as silly fun gone over the top. I will do my best to argue some form of a middle ground, since the actors somehow manage not to embarrass themselves in this material.

In Character Situation #1 (situation, not story), we have Lt. Reed and Major Hayes in an escalating conflict over the administration of the training regimen for the Starfleet personnel. Reed feels threatened by what he perceives as Hayes encroaching on his turf. A pissing contest ensues that is fueled by an ever-increasing level of testosterone and posturing. Reed, frankly, asks for it. Hayes is juvenile enough to take the bait. It all leads to a scene where the two pummel each other with the gloves off, literally.

As male posturing for the Fight Club generation (I happen to love Fight Club, by the way), this is kind of fun, and features some superb stunt coordination — but is really, reeeeeally dumb. At least Fight Club knew it was ridiculous and had Intelligent Percolating Irony. Reed and Hayes, by contrast, are written like walking alpha male clichés. What does this add up to? Not much. It allows for an admittedly satisfying scene where Captain Archer reads them the riot act for their teenage-level behavior. Good for him. (The storyline is shallow but scores some points, I guess, for histrionics and general mayhem.)

In Character Situation #2, we have a Love Triangle™. Actually not, because there's nothing remotely so meaningful brewing here as love. No, we have a Would-Be Sex Triangle, with the vertices being Trip, T'Pol, and MACO Cpl. Amanda Cole (Noa Tishby). Trip has taken to giving Vulcan neuro-pressure to Amanda, which drives T'Pol into some form of Vulcan jealousy, which turns her into the ultimate passive-aggressive personality — one who claims to be above the kind of behavior she is obviously engaging in.

Since neuro-pressure is a Vulcan discipline Trip isn't skilled enough at performing, T'Pol insists on taking over the sessions with Amanda (to "undo the damage"), which she uses as a feeler to gauge Amanda's feelings for Trip. It turns out that Trip and Amanda have some things in common, like both being raised in Florida, etc. Certainly they have more in common than Trip and T'Pol do.

My thinking is that Amanda and T'Pol should've just duked it out, winner gets Trip. You see, that way we'd have had plot parallelism with the Reed/Hayes story — I mean, situation. In such an event, my money's on Amanda, because she's pretty athletic-looking. Catfight time!

No such luck. Instead we get T'Pol turned into a muted passive-aggressive that is superbly performed by Jolene Blalock, but absolutely a wrongheaded characterization as written. Do we really want to see a Vulcan reduced to such shallow jealousy and such calculated, subtle verbal assaults, no matter how coolly delivered?

Consider the scene where T'Pol asks Amanda about her interest in Trip. T'Pol essentially then uses this information to beat Amanda to the punch. One is tempted to wonder what Amanda might feel about such a violation of trust perpetrated by the ship's first officer, no less. Not to worry: The writers promptly discard Amanda as a character immediately after this scene, since she's served her purpose as a catalyst.

And consider the scene where T'Pol makes the first move on Trip. It's a complete and utter contrivance, with no basis in human or Vulcan behavior. It has a basis only in sitcom one-liners. The tit-for-tat dialog between Trip and T'Pol may sound clever (or, more likely, corny), but it has zero psychological believability. They're like two pawns in a game of amusement for and by the writers. What is this supposed to be about? The writers are clueless. It's about only the fact that it happens, and not why it happens. If that's enough for you, then enjoy. Personally, I think it's BS.

The next day, T'Pol dispassionately writes the whole thing off as a Vulcan lab experiment in human sexuality, something that's been on her list of things to try ever since resigning from the High Command. Uh-huh. (I wonder what else is on the list. Maybe "Get a tattoo.") All things considered, Trip takes it pretty well. If it were me, she'd have just lit a powder keg.

In the past I've asked for risk-taking. I've asked for characters that have sex rather than engage in lame TV pseudo-sex. One could say "Harbinger" is the end result I deserve. But no, because "Harbinger" is reckless at the expense of all credibility. You can tell the writers didn't take any of this remotely seriously and aren't really expecting us to, either. It's the very definition of a glib payoff, delivered with a smirk.

Anyway. I'd better get to the sci-fi plot here. It involves an alien found in a gravimetric field (or something) that looks like a growing expanse of bubble gum. The plot provides some interest by explaining that the field lies equidistant from five spheres. An alien with weird sci-fi properties is found in a small pod just inside the sci-fi field. Archer pulls the pod out; the Enterprise is nearly swallowed in the process.

Given everything else that has happened in the Delphic Expanse, I must question the wisdom of Archer stopping to pull an unknown sci-fi alien out of a dangerous sci-fi field to ask a bunch of questions with no apparent sci-fi answers. Never mind the ethical issues of his interference; is it really worth the risk when you're already on course for the red giant where the Xindi weapon is supposedly being built?

Of course the alien gets loose and threatens the ship with destruction. "He's disrupting systems as he goes. We can use that to track him." Yeah, sort of like tracking a tornado by watching the damage path! The alien, which looks kind of like a Suliban, finally tells Archer, with an evil smile, "When the Xindi destroy Earth, my people will prevail!" Then he vanishes to Never-Never Land or into the Temporal Cold War timeline/continuum or who-knows-where. Your guess is as good as mine.

The problem with this aspect of "Harbinger" is that ... well, the Xindi arc already has too many friggin' harbingers. Everything is a harbinger that keeps us in the dark while portending ominous doom. There's only so far you can go with pseudo-clues before the audience begins demanding answers. To be fair, there are nods to continuity here — the spheres, as I mentioned — but too much of the Xindi arc is based on facts in an incomprehensible void. Maybe I'm wrong and this will eventually make sense. One can hope. But for now I'm not particularly impressed, because anything can happen, there are no rules, and none of it has a need to matter. The alien here doesn't obey the laws of physics. Unfortunately, I have no idea why that is and, more importantly, I don't much care.

There's a reason I quit watching The X-Files, which was its general tendency to exist as a series that pretended the whole plot was only one or two or maybe 17 twists away from almost making half-sense.

"Harbinger" is not boring, but at what cost to logic or understanding or characterization or plausibility or any sense that anything happens for a reason beyond the purely random assembly of characters and facts and behavior patterns and plot pieces?


Next week: The fate of the ship lies in Phlox's hands.

Note: This episode was re-rated from 1.5 to 2 stars when the season recap was written.

Previous episode: Stratagem
Next episode: Doctor's Orders

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Comment Section

85 comments on this post

    The "harbinger" in this episode seemed like an afterthought. The main crux of this episode is to get more SEX, SEX, SEX on the show.

    I wonder, did ANY fans enjoy the "pressure point" Trip/T'Pol crap?

    Enterprise also keeps up with sh*tting on the Vulcans in this episode with T'Pol jumping Trip's bones, as well as being jealous.

    Why is it that Leonard Nimoy is the only actor who seems to be able to make a Vulcan charismatic and interesting? Why must every other actor/actress playing a Vulcan just act like a blank slate? Spewing lines mechanically?

    Throughout this series, the Vulcans have gone from an interesting, private, proud race into a bunch of sniveling, uptight jerks.

    Next time, instead of the soft core pressure point crap, just put out a Star Trek TOO HOT FOR TV! DVD for the people who want that, and don't stuff Star Trek with this kind of cheap garbage. If sex is organic to the story, by all means, include it, but, don't crowbar it in. With the wealth of porn available at the world's fingertips, no one is going to watch TV just to see the top of Jolene Blalock's ass crack.

    Not a great episode, but what a beautiful ass crack. Jolene's hot!

    At least some of her crazy behavior gets explained when she is revealed to be a drug addict. And then in the next season with the Vulcan trilogy.

    This series could've used better dialog. A lot of cheese in this episode.

    This episode was bad. One comment that I didnt see was that we keep hearing about Reeds security team. His trained team and best team. He arranges traing between his team and the MACOs. Yet, we we get to see who is on his team, who do we see....Trip, Travis, T'Pol, Hoshi. Thats his team?

    Godawful. This horrible excuse for fanfiction...I'm sorry, I mean an episode of Star Trek deserved the initial 1.5 star rating, and even that was too generous.

    Aside from the stupidity of the B and C plots, there *have* been way too many harbingers by this point of the season. By the time this episode aired, how many idiotic filler episodes had this show seen? It's no wonder Enterprise was cancelled.

    Be that as it may, It was a very good day at the office for Conner Treneer, filming the nude scene.

    Sorry, I liked this episode.

    T'Pol's soft new look and vulnerability has grown on me. The idea that she is jealous is kind of appealing. But it is distracting that not too long ago she spent 12 straight years as Archer's wife and nursemaid. Whatever happened to vulcan loyalty?

    This episode was kind of like a very, very cheap, poorly done knock off of DS9's "looking for Par'mach in all the wrong places". But, oddly enough, I can't say I totally hated it.

    There were a few things I enjoyed about this episode on a purely superficial level:

    1. Travis is kind of hot. I guess I never noticed that before because, well, where is he most of the time? Poor travis never gets any screen time. But, at least in this episode his screen time was not wasted. There's a lot of talk about T'Pol's ass crack. But, for me the highlight of this show was Travis in a sparring match.

    2. When Reed jumped on Hayes like a some kind of Sunday morning cartoon character, or a deranged cat, I literally almost spit my drink out and actually yelled "WHAT THE F*CK?!?" at my computer screen. I hate to reward that kind of idiocy, but I thought it was hilarious.

    3. Archer's speech at the end was also funny. I got the impression Reed was trying not to laugh along with me though. That's not probably not a good thing. But, I enjoyed it in a fluffy kind of way.

    4. I wasn't exactly thrilled about the way Trip and T'Pol got together. But, I'm glad they did. I've been rooting for them to get together since the first season. I really like Trip and T'Pol as characters. I'm not always so fond of the rest of the crew. So, the idea that they're admitting their feelings to each other worked well enough for me to forgive some of the "WTF???!??" nature of how the writers accomplished it.

    5. T'Pol's face at the end of her last scene was also hilarious. As Jammer says, it was totally wrong headed characterization. But, Jolene Blalock manages to act the part with a lot of subtle emotion and humor.

    Ok, now here's where I get negative. I kept assuming throughout the episode that this would wind up being a "the crew is being all wacky because of spatial anomalies... Again." type of story. But, no. We were expected to believe that this is how the crew actually behaves on a day to day basis! For me, that was the biggest "WTF??!!?????!!" thing of all. I think two stars is actually fairly generous, even though I got some good laughs out of this one. But, those laughs came at the expense of a lot of the good will this season has built up for me. That's not good.

    I would say the line at the end about the sphere guys controlling the Xindi war is kind of intriguing. But, I'm still too busy wondering what kind of crack the writers were smoking during the other forty minutes of this episode to really care about anything else.

    Oh, and Archer continues to be an idiot. Considering that way he withholds pain medication from the alien before we actually determine that the alien is any kind of threat (let alone whether or not Enterprise should have rescued him in the first place), tells me that he is continuing a season long trend towards making him a psychotic idiot. Not good.

    Reed's Team of Trip, Hoshi, Travis and T'Pol and their mismatched training uniforms reminded me Vince Vaughn's 'Dodgeball' Team.

    I actually found this episode to be pretty funny.

    This episode deserves 1 star.

    I'm sorry Jammer, but even if the harbinger/alien plot supposedly pans out later in the series, a viewer watching this for the first time will just ask himself "WTF just happened?!". Viewers don't have the gift of foresight: an episode should not be judged based on its place within the season or series, but rather individually or at least, in continuity with the episodes' normal order.

    That is, in itself this episode is a very poor outing because on the one hand it leaves us confused (as far as the alien story is concerned: zero answers or information provided), on the other only *mildly* amused by the B and C storylines. Pissing contests and cheap soap opera sex, THAT's the meat what we're getting here.

    How about some characters worth giving a damn for? Some REAL characterization for Hayes or Amanda (whose background is only skimmed and for the case of Amanda, rapidly discarded when she's no longer needed)? A romantic relationship that actually HAS consequences (perhaps within the command structure, or at least in future interactions between characters, instead of conveniently swept under the carpet -Reset Button[TM])?

    Zero psychological believability indeed.

    And don't get me started on Reed's supposed "security detail" in need of training. As Steve already noted, who does his team consist of? Trip, Travis, T'Pol, and Hoshi????? Why? Just to give these actors some screen time??? Why not show the REAL security team instead, the one which takes action should sh*t happen on board (like aliens boarding Enterprise) during which all the above mentioned characters are at their post (Trip in Engineering, Travis at the helm, etc. etc.). Just utterly ridiculous.

    When Archer reads Reed & Hayes the riot act, he should have appropriately added" "...and the ship's captain is an incompetent idiot, much like the writers of this show".

    Jammer, I'm feeling you just didn't see what was happening here.

    For the Reed-situation (as you are opposed to calling it a story): There are two guys where tension is rising and rising, and in this episode it hits the top. Then they battle it out - an event in which they gain mutual respect and a strong friendship is born.

    For the Tucker/T'Pol situation: Clearly, Tucker was interested in Amanda, but mostly superficially considering that he drops her for T'Pol when given the opportunity. It isn't the writers that are taking Amanda out of the story, it's Tucker. And about that romance, it's been brewing ever since they started the pressure technique. Heck, in Similitude the mutual attraction is even admitted by the two of them when they knew that there wouldn't be any lasting (improper) consequences. Oh, and don't be too gullible when T'Pol says it meant nothing to her (and in fact, Tucker is also pretending it meant nothing to him).

    As for the Harbinger-story, it's not very well worked out, but you have been screaming to get more information on the Xindi's mission to destroy earth. You have also been (correctly) stating that the spheres are more interesting characters than the Xindi. Now you are telling me you aren't seeing that they are connecting the two here? I mean, it's not glaringly obvious, but I am pretty certain that here, they are telling that the ones commanding/coercing the Xindi to attack earth are the sphere creators.

    Is it me, or is Malcolm Reed one of the worst characters on this series? I've been trying to like him, but this episode put me over the edge with his ridiculous pissing match with the major.

    When I think of a security officer, I think of a huge, menacing dude who kicks butt and loves weapons (e.g., Worf). The security officer is the person you do not F with. Ever.

    Reed is a small, slightly effeminate, thickheaded British guy with a serious chip on his shoulder and absolutely no personality.

    In the first place, there is no reason for him to have such an unpleasant demeanor. Worf was all business, but he had an interesting personality and had some funny and lighthearted moments.

    Secondly, his only qualification for being a security officer is that he comes from a military family. They should have given him something that actually makes him qualified, such as being a former British SAS operative.

    And where the hell is his "team" of security personnel that he is always talking about? Does his team consist of just Travis and T'Pol and the random redshirt we see get instantly shot every time there is a security threat?

    Frankly, I think the MACOs are much better qualified than Reed's "team" to do anything security-related. They have better weapons than Reed's team and they actually don't get themselves shot within the first 5 seconds of screen time.

    So, did Cole die at Azati Prime? Later in the season, we see a bunch of Macos (when Reed tells them Hayes has died). Cole (and Daniel Dae Kim from Lost) are not among them and there's no indication that someone was absent. Cole and DDK's character were the Macos with the biggest roles (other than Hayes and Hawkins, who appeared in a few episodes).

    Enterprise was usually pretty good about this kind of thing (whereas Voyager was just terrible at it). But ENT struggled with the Macos in season 3.

    I liked this episode and I generally think that ST Enterprise is so unfairly underrated.
    I loved the way TPol and Trip acted this out - the same goes for the confession scene in the Similitude. And it didn't happen overnight, we had this long coming. As TPol was later intended to be discovered as half-Vulcan (unfortunately this was planned for season 5), this would have made sense regarding her Vulcan characterisation.
    As for Reed/Maco situation - so uninteresting and predictable. Good acting from Archer though in the reprimanding scene at the end.

    I think Travis is a beautiful man and glad he was given something to do in this episode even if minor.

    I also think Malcom character sucks. It just was not believable that he could hold his own against the MACO guy's butt.

    Trip and T'Pol were funny especially during the "talk about last night" scene.

    Now we've got this out of our system and come to the conclusion that T'Pol is one of those "I was only showing interest because I was curious" girls who takes you for a ride (ugh) I wonder if we finally move on from padding out episodes with endless massage scenes!

    Malcolm and the Mako guy, oh dear. A classic "resolve our differences and become best friends via beating the crap out of each other" cliché. This is the first time I've liked (or even not-disliked) Archer for pretty much the whole of season 3, when he gave them a good yelling-at! They were asking for that.

    Can't argue with the review. It wasn't terrible, but was shallow, 2 stars seems about right

    Also not a fan of Reed nor the actor who plays him. His scenes should have been scrapped in favor of more Travis.

    I also hate how Phlox continues to be watered down into a doormat who will obey the captain's dubious orders with only a meek protest. "Wake him up." "Captain, it would be unethical to wake him up without a treatment, he'll be in excruciating pain!" "I need answers, wake him up." "Well OK."

    Apparently, I like juvenile fisticuffs, because I enjoyed the Reed/Hayes arc quite a bit. Partly because it had the most realistic h-t-h combat I've ever seen in Trek. (That's always been a weak spot.) But also because it brought out some personality in the woefully underdeveloped Reed, and the new Hayes. Sure the emotions were petty, but, I thought, realistic given the stress of the situation. It's also the first scrap of competence they've given to their security officer. He's been kind of lame up until now. Also, Archer's dress down rant was fun. I see I'm a minority in that I think Reed (and that actor) actually have a lot of potential. As opposed to Travis, who I didn't care for as an actor. I guess the ladies think he'd pretty, though.

    I would have liked the T'Pol/Trip more if it had more weight. I feel that Trek does too many events that get negated by the end of the episode to throw in your typical let's pretend that didn't happen. Also laughable that they're sex scene goes to fade-out that it has far less skin than your average Vulcan pressure-point session, every decom, or even the sparring sessions before. Big props to Blaylock and Trinneer for their acting in that scene, even if T'Pol's passive-aggressive pursuit of Tucker makes no sense whatsoever, and seems destined to be ignored as the plotting mistake it was even before the end of the episode. Blaylock, in particular, made it work while I watched it, but the more I think about it, the less weight every event in this episode has in terms of affecting story around it, and that's always a shame.

    I love reading these reviews, by the way. Even the comments I don't agree with seem well thought-out.

    Terrible. One of the worst of the season so far.

    Some of the continuity works ok and I'm hoping that it stacks up more as I continue to watch season 3 play out. I hear it gets better. Here's hoping.

    Great review Jammer. You only missed the bit where Malcolm's 'team' constitutes a linguist, a pilot and the ship's engineering and science officers.

    1 generous star.

    Jammer tells us "If it were me, she'd have just lit a powder keg."

    What do we think now about a _man_ sexually taking advantage of a _woman_ just because he wants to hump or experience how a hump goes?

    Even in our times we are growingly aware that this is sexual abuse. And especially amongst friends and colleagues. This is disgusting behavior.

    I wonder what it tells us about the ethics of the writers. Really. I don't think they have caught up with civilized society, giving their script.

    2 stars is about right. This isn't an intellectual episode, but it wasn't boring. The setup for the Spheres makers was a bit lost in between the goofy scenes and I agree that Archer and Phlox's twisted ethics are abhorrent.

    About the Maco training, Archer says that it should be setup for the security team AND the senior officers. So, what was wrong wasn't the presence of those officers, but the lack of the security guys. Malcolm is again depicted as an unreasonable/no compromise/I'm the Alpha kind of man. I have to say, Hayes comes off as more reasonable and doing his job until the fight.

    T'Pol and Trip's "romance" didn't come out of the blue, but wasn't cleverly handled. The way T'Pol dismisses the sexual encounter is obviously her way to take distance, but the message it sends isn't very palatable.

    T'Pol and Trip's relationship was used as a toy by the writers instead of being explored in a meaningful way, and I thought T'Pol's casual dismissal of the fact that they slept together the night before really did some damage to her character. I liked the Reed stuff though, mostly because it showed him, for once, as a relatively effective (though rather thin-skinned) security officer. Considering the number of times the ship has been boarded and the captain has been taken hostage, it would have been nice if Reed had managed to be an effective security officer before now, but he was of course at the mercy of the writers. If they had cut the T'Pol/Trip stuff and given us a different subplot focusing on another character instead (Hoshi could use some more fleshing out, for example) this could have been three stars for me. As it stands, it's half a good episode and half a pretty offensive one.

    Bah. I wanted Archer and T'Pol to get together eventually out of mutual respect. I was afraid that these massage sessions would lead to a T'Pol/Trip thing, which would have been OK, as long as it was meaningful. But no. They stretched out the massage scenes over several episodes, then squeezed an unbelievable, totally shallow, purely skin-deep soap opera sexcapade into a single episode. I was more moved when T'Pol kissed Sim. Very disappointing.

    And, yeah, Malcolm was being an idiot. I don't like cartoon characters in my Trek.

    Boy, I hope all this Xindi stuff comes together. Any more Harbingers and I will completely lose track and interest.

    At least good fight scenes and the dialogue between T'Pol and Trip was nicely written. And I found the plot about the spherebuilder quite engaging. It was not great, but not as bad either.

    I have to agree with the review on this one after just watching it again for the first time in ages.

    One thing they could've done to make it watchable would be to switch the results of the 2 plots (situations). A cat fight with T'Pol and the Maco girl and then Reed getting it on with Major Hayes would've been much more interesting :)

    I thoroughly loved this episode. Back when TNG was on, I was often bored because everyone behaved so perfectly. Reed and Hayes having it out was hysterical -- because some people DO act like that.

    Trip/T'Pol -- I loved that, too. A romance has been simmering between them for a long time. Obviously T'Pol has feelings for Trip. About time she acted on them.

    I had no problem with her day-after pretense that it was only her curiosity. Obviously she's fronting. She doesn't want him to know how much it meant to her -- probably realized the next morning how badly she betrayed her Vulcan stoicism by letting her feelings rule her. If she was really only using trip like she claimed, she never would have agreed to continue the neuropressure sessions -- Trip sees right through her excuse, too -- that's pretty clear by both of their expressions. Besides, WE know it's more than "curiosity," or there never would have been any jealousy. I thought their conversations were funny and sweet (the way she cited back to him things he'd just said were particularly well done.)

    The harbinger thing... eh, not so impressed with that, but I don't care because the "day in the life" stuff was so well done.

    My first thought was maybe that Trip really sucked in bed (by Vulcan standards where Ponfar is a deep and engrossing multi-day ritual) and T'Pol uses the experiment excuse as some kind of Vulcany exit-card, ha

    Reed has a detached retina and Hayes a ruptured kidney. But Archer has to dress them down before they get treated for these severe injuries? Stranger yet, Phlox seems to have already diagnosed the injuries, but released them to Archer's mouth without healing them.

    Ha! I knew it!

    Back in the comments for "Unexpected", the fourth episode of the first season, I predicted that the writers were setting us up for a T&T match. This started wayyyy before the neural therapy sessions.

    Loved all three subplots in this one. And the Malcolm/Hayes fight was extremely well done.

    3.5* from this Cap.

    Didn't like this episode at all. The Hayes/Reed scenario was totally predictable and cliche ridden, and I could practically smell the testosterone oozing out of the TV while watching them fight. I hope they, and the writers, got that all out of their systems now.

    T'Pol and Trip getting together is fine with me, but really, T'Pol is the WORST Vulcan I have ever seen. Clearly she was jealous, but Vulcan's control their emotions, right? Plus, on a side note, Vulcan's are supposed to be stronger than humans, BUT...she's a damsel in distress in the Western episode AND when the religious fanatics take the ships, she just throws her arms around the one guy and tries to...wrestle him out of the chair? Why not just do the shoulder pinch on him?

    *SIGH* Well, if nothing else (and there's little else in this episode) at least we got to see Travis in a tight fitting sleeveless shirt that showed off his arms VERY nicely. That alone is worth a star and a half.

    Hmm-well the punch up reminded me of Kirk and Finnegan from Shore Leave-except that fight was part of a very smart story and this fight wasn't smart at all.
    T'Pol snogging Trip's face off was rather gratuitous but excusable and I guess the alien in the pod turns out to be a fair way to introduce the unimaginatively named sphere builders who, as Jammer observes, looked like some sort of Suliban.

    You know, darwinards, I actually found Reed one of the more bearable characters on this show. Never liked the military presence on the Enterprise. That should have gone away with WWIII in star trek canon. And here we are inundated with them. To tell you the truth the Major was asking for it from the get go. All this post-9/11 militant nonsense doesn't stand the test of time well at all.

    Anyways regarding Reed that brit humor came out a bit when he was razzing Trip in the mess hall. Another annoying character.

    Yeah, I thought Archer's speech at the end was pretty funny too...not to mention hypocritical. But hypocrisy and Archer are pretty much par for the course in this series.

    I give it an extra star alone for the ass whooping Reed laid down on Major Malfunction.

    Provided you switch off your brain at the door before entering this was actually OK but had some dubious character motives. Some nice little moments which I did enjoy:

    1. Plox's mischevious suggestion to T'Pol to "undo" thje damage that Trip did
    1. Archer gets to chew out Reed and co.
    2. Nice snappy dialogue written for T'Pol and Tucker

    I second the notion that Archer had much more important things to do than endanger the ship and crew pull an alien out of the anomaly/goop, an alien whom never looked like offering any useful information and once again, endangered everyone aboard Enterprise

    "One thing they could've done to make it watchable would be to switch the results of the 2 plots (situations). A cat fight with T'Pol and the Maco girl and then Reed getting it on with Major Hayes would've been much more interesting :)"

    I couldn't agree more. But the Star Trek franchise never could and never would boldly go any further than the limits of the "status quo", and in the case of Enterprise specifically, blatantly dumb-downed and regressive in its efforts to pander to a fragmented audience bored by the formulaic, milquetoast Trek cranked out during B&B's tenure.

    That was a pretty bad outing, I'm shocked that Jammer actually upgraded it at the season recap up to 2 stars. I'd give it one star for the fairly interesting part with the transdimensional alien. The whole "my people will prevail when yours die" sneer was a bit too much mustache-twirling to be believable though. Why can't the writers do a little subtlety? Well, that question was answered with the other two subplots. Roddenberry would be really upset with the Hayes/Reed jealousy and sparring. Roddenberry thought humans would evolve from such puerile and base emotions. And Reed in particular was just ridiculous in this one. The T'Pol and Trip romance was cheap as well. I always felt that if T'Pol was going to be end up with anyone on Enteprise then it would be with Archer since she respects and admires him so much. Trip is such a goofball that I can't imagine she would take an interest in him, but perhaps the goofiness is supposed to be the appeal. Still, the romance was portrayed in such a sophomoric and trite way that it carried no emotional weight beyond ass crack.

    Good review, Jammer. I typically like anything with Malcolm, but the writing was very mainstream - soap opera lines from T'Pol and Malcolm just seeming too stupid for a man his age. I agree with the commenter who wrote it would have been more interesting for a Hayes-Reed sexual encounter. Those ultra macho guys are always sooo repressed.
    Not a CLUE what the alien says at the end! I watched it 3x. "My people will..." something. Great.
    After all the expanse has done to the ship, running headlong into a massive disturbance seemed idiotic from the start.

    I agree with the guy who said Reed is pretty lame thus far. He seems to always be complaining. Worf or Odo would knock the crap out of him. I can hear him whining about his beatdown now, lol.

    Liked the choreography of the fights though. I keep rewatching when T'Pol blocks that guy's punch and takes him down. Jolene did great in that scene. She's no Jeri Ryan but she's not just eye candy for this show.


    "As TPol was later intended to be discovered as half-Vulcan (unfortunately this was planned for season 5), this would have made sense regarding her Vulcan characterisation."

    Really? I hadn't heard of this. What was her other half supposed to be?

    Classic 'bitsa' (bits of this, bits of that) episode, and not a particularly strong one. The Harbinger of the title only really becomes interesting right at the end, and as noted above all this really does is throw another unresolved story element into a season long mix.

    The T'Pol-Trip thing seems to have been fairly poorly handled to me - obvious jealousy plot, T'Pol jumping him (which seems a bit out of character, even if involving an eye-opening level of nudity unprecedented in Trk history), and then seeming to deny it was actually anything important. If we're to be involved in this as an audience, it seems an odd trio of beats to focus on.

    And of course the Reed-Hayes match-up has been brewing for weeks and is nothing more than recycling of male bonding cliches from a million films and TV shows. 2 stars overall.

    Maybe I'm shallow but I actually liked the Hayes/Reed fight. I liked it because it was very nicely choreographed. I loved it when Reed landed a stinging punch on Hayes and said "you're improving" as a payback for Hayes damning him with the same faint praise in an earlier public and humilating sparring match. Then it's "on" as meathead Hayes finally realizes Reed wants to kick his butt.

    This tension between Hayes and Reed. Has been bubbling for awhile. I think it's rather plausible that Reed would resent Hayes and eventually it would have come to this. Actually this is a turning point in their relationship necessary for the rest of the arc.

    What I really didn't need is the T'pol/Trip/Amanda triangle. I get it that T'Pol entire wardrobe is nothing but catsuits so 13 year old boys will have some inspiration when they get back their rooms, but really how much more are reduction of her Vulcan logic and reserve are we going to remove? And I'm just getting sick of Trip's thick-headed redneck banter. okay, we get it, Mr. Panhandle. Maybe you can wrestle a gator in case I forget you're from Florida.

    What's really uncomfortable is watching make an alien endure such excruciating pain just so he can ask some a lab rat some questions. Archer seems to expect every alien to have the answers to everything about what their entire species is going to do or has ever done. It would be Archer kidnapping one of us and expecting us to know what the CIA is planning next. I wouldn't mind Archer being so hotheaded if he weren't also so basset hound stupod.

    "You want to supervise me and corporal Cole" Trip to T'pol

    What a great idea Trip!

    Can't blame a guy for trying

    I love the reference to 48 hrs.! I thought I was the only one who knew about that movie. Seems that it's not considered one of the must see Eddie Murphy movies in most peoples opinions, but it's a move I really liked. I know, Jammer, you didn't say you liked it necessarily, you just mentioned it, but glad it's not as much an unknown a movie as I had thought.

    A few points.

    1) Jammer's reviews are great, I read each one for each episode I watch, but every once in a while, I think he might dismiss the nuance (yes, sometimes precious little nuance) with which some of the scenes between characters are performed. T'Pol is clearly smitten with Trip, and has been since well before the whole "let me give you a massage while I flip the gender roles and reveal my superior dexterity and strength" massage therapy angle came about. The Archer-wife thing was a little curveball, but otherwise the writers have been throwing right over the plate with this coupling. Also, it seems maybe Jolene Blalock plays these scenes in a way she might be best suited (see T'Mir in "Carbon Creek") , as a somewhat desultory, somewhat sultry, pretend-disaffected woman who remains just accessible enough for continued dialogue.

    2) If T'Pol wanted to use me to check a bucket-list item, then would let me do my job aboard ENTERPRISE, I would be just perfectly fine with that. Perfectly, perfectly fine.

    Quite enjoyable! If you couldn't enjoy this romp you have to be all trekked out. Good stuff

    Ridiculous episode - this is exactly what we don't want from Star Trek because we can get it from other shows (if we so desire).
    So much stupidity between Reed and the major -- shouldn't senior officers be able to sit down and talk things through instead of it coming to blows -- isn't that what Star Trek should be?
    And then the sexual tension - bizarre love triangle - with Trip in the middle...just silliness all around.
    And the B or C plot (or maybe D plot) of some mysterious alien trying to destroy the ship -- that made very little sense.
    S3 of ENT isn't going so well and "Harbinger" is probably the worst episode I've seen in it so far -- giving it 1 star. As if the writers just tried to fill an episode with nonsense to try to please viewers of other shows, throw in a token mysterious alien as well.

    This season has had a serious tone for the most part sor far. The way I see it, the characters are getting stressed out from their mission, and maybe the writers were too, so this episode is everyone releasing some tension. Fightin' and f**kin'. Why not?

    It was nothing great, but sort of fun.

    2 stars

    Are there any women commenting in this forum? Am I the only one who thinks it is utterly and completely degrading to give a woman an acting job with the seeming prerequisite that she be willing to disrobe partially or completely every few episodes? Not all the cast, nor even all the women, just her?

    So, the alien’s nepharious plan was
    Place me in a pod
    Place the tiny pod in a huge bubble gum thing
    Hope Enterprise notices needle in haystack
    Assume Archer is stupid enough to pull the thing out (most solid part of the plan)
    Hope Archer decides to disconnect alien from his weird pod
    Wait for phasing to happen
    Destroy enterprise.

    Solid plan, Manny Coto.

    I didn't mind this episode, a bit more light-hearted than most. I'd give it 2.5 stars. I seriously hope, though, that this can mark the end of the Trip-T'pol Vulcan neuro-pressure scenes. They are so tedious and they've been in so many episodes now.

    This is actually one of my least favorite Enterprise episodes. Partly because of what a lot of people have already mentioned, but a big part is that they are trying to do too much with one episode (too many "plots" at the same time). Since there are 3 "plots" they all come off as shallow because there isn't enough time to develop them. This is only made worse by the fact that the material is shock value & sex which are shallow to begin with.

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet deals with Archer and his complete lack in people management and supervisory talent. He should have known the position he put Reed in when he brought the MACOs aboard and he's never shown managing the situation to ensure that the obvious conflict he created is minimized. He calls Hayes a senior officer when he should absolutely NOT be in the command structure. He should have made it clear that Hayes reports to Reed and that's it. He should have known that Hayes was bypassing the chain of command and told him to bring is up with Reed. He certainly wouldn't accept T'Pol, Tucker or Reed going over his head to the Admiral, would he? And Reed has had legitimate concerns that Archer has largely ignored. Even then Reed never went over his head. His lacking management skills is what led to the fight. He's shown no support for Reed throughout the entire series. He's repeatedly stated that Enterprise is not a warship, but then brings military aboard and by doing so essentially told the entire crew he doesn't think Reed and his (very invisible) security force aren't capable and does nothing to assuage that appearance. And, I agree with Reed when he states that his security force has faced more real threats than the MACOs have. Reed's Klingon technique is one very evident example. A.G. Robinson made a very valid point - Archer is a good pilot but not a good Captain.

    If I were Reed, my new combat strategy would be put the MACOs up front and have them charge in for every combat situation. Let them be the cannon fodder so all the important people behind them are kept safe and sound. Keep the Starfleet personnel casualties to a minimum. :)

    Camo is the new red, right? ;)

    This was a stupid ep. People [fans] had probably been writing to the studio to beg for Trip and T'Pol to get together. I personally prefer that sex not be a part of what I am watching on t.v. or a movie. Those who have to see it happen, no doubt, do not ever get lucky in sex.

    Now, I must say this in all truth about the characters: The best of the lot are the actors who play Hoshi, T'Pol, Dr. Phlox, and Travis. Their characters never engage in whackiness that I have seen.

    All the other main actors are just ridiculous. ARCHER should be court marshalled in every episode!!!!!!!!! I am sorry but I don't like this actor and that goes back to the time when he played that scientist who got lost in some kind of vortex[?] and appeared in some town where he was knocked around [every episode] so he could learn what it like to be in THE OTHER GUYS SHOES!

    What happened to the Reed actor? He was a good actor but here it seeeeeeeeeems like he is not up to snuff. I do know that he does not have good lines, actually, no dialog at all.

    Trip carries on like a snotty nosed southern boy always cutting into everyone he has a scene with.

    The weekly drop in actors I have no problem with. However, when crap happens it is because the suits in charge and some of the writers, some of the actors are causing trouble. This happened on Voyager.

    And that dumb alien. Star Trek does have dumb aliens but Enterrpise is the worse for it. I hated the Sulibans. I hated the Xindi's and way back, that Raiijin thing who could copy people
    x-ray style. That shattered alien in the soup did know why he was buried in that soup. It was to see how long he would live out there.

    I don't watch season 4 unless there is nothing else on.

    Think on this, if Earth was blasted to bits, this solar system would go out of whack. There is such a thing as balance...without it the planets would not be in orbits but spinning out of control throughout the universe.

    Since I watch Enterprise strictly for entertainment,I was indeed entertained. I loved what I think of as the “swinging d....” scene and although I’ve been rooting for a P-T ‘ship for a while, their scene took me by surprise — but a very nice surprise. I feel compelled to state my age (69) and sex (cis female - I live in the PNW).

    Ah, the infamous Harbinger. I'm just watching this again for the first time in years, and oh my, after a run if really good episodes we get this nonsense. The scifi plot about the pod in the anomaly field ahould have received MUCH more screen time, a bizarre mystery that should have played out slowly and paid off big time.

    I like the actor playing Reed, having first seen him in the excellent (and undeservedly forgotten) Desmond's. That show dated from a tremendously optimistic time in Britain, where the country was truly becoming accepting of other cultures, where political correctness didn't exist; black people living in Britain were depicted as working hard and contributing to the country, and white people weren't simply written off as racists. But even in those heady days, the Reed actor was highly effeminate and to this day it is hard to believe he isn't gay. Still, he has genujne presence which Enterprise stifled every chance it got.

    Reed is more of a cypher than a character. This is a man who literally has no interest beyond blowing things up, except for the occasional dalliance with women (remember that this blank, standoffish person, whose own parents don't really know him, somehow used to be a ladies' man!). The writing for Reed has been exceptionally bad from the beginning, there was no plan for him, the writers had absolutely no idea what they wanted him to be so everyone who wrote for him did it differently. There is no doubt in my mind that this episode marks the end of Reed (until the Section 31 hijinks which would be far too little, far too late).

    He should have been badass, tough, determined, the first man among the crew who wanted to strike back at the Xindi and learn from their ships and weapons and tactics. Instead he is often whiny, he is entirely unaffected by the tragedy on Earth, leaves the weapons testing to the extremely over-used Trip, gets into a bitch-fight against a trained soldier who is going to be far more capable of military planning than a starship crewman (does the US Army ask the US Navy to plan its ground attacks?), is appalled when Archer sticks that pirate in an airlock...

    What they should have done was create a multi-layered character who was difficult to get to know, but very rewarding to do so; he should have got into a relationship with Hoshi whoch would have toughened her up and made him more personable, as well as made the ship seem more alive and offer genuine human interaction.

    Instead we get endless sexualised storylines for T'Pol, who loves and leaves Trip (I have managed to get out of being in Trip's situation a number of times, so to me, T'Pol's behaviour is normal for a woman and Trip's reaction is pathetic) and we get the embarrassing neuropressure scenes which are little more than the "creative" team needing something to wank over.

    Seriously, does anyone, anyone at all, think the idea of neuropressure was a good idea? "Can't sleep? Well why don't you and your female colleague put your hands all over each other in your underwear on her bed. Oh by the way, to your colleague's species, this is tantamount to sex and whe's going to have multiple orgasms and develop feelings for you. This is right and appropriate behaviour while you're at work."

    Okay, I'll admit. Butt naked T'Pol was worth watching. So she didn't wear underwear during the sessions? But the episode was awful. And I'm so annoyed by the poor acting of Dominic Keating. He just so childish in the way he delivers his lines. And really the worst person to act as an alpha male. Last few episodes were okay, but this is another anomoly in the Delphic Expanse. By the way, if there are so mamy anomalies, then they aren't really anomalies anymore, now are they?

    I give this episode 2.5. I wasn't bored watching it, and that's a good thing. I like that macho bullcrap.

    Everybody hates Reed, but I really like Reed. I can relate to people that are flawed. He can be petty and feel threatened at times. He's not a robot!

    DS9 is my favorite because the characters are flawed. Heck I like 1st and 2nd season Bashir on DS9. Call me a weirdo. There's something nice about watching people that are human! TNG was crap in the first season because everyone constantly had to show us how perfect and morally superior they were. They got Pulaski in season 2 and the show had some life shot into it.

    Then they brought back Crusher. Gates is a beautiful woman and I love Crusher, but no conflict = boring. Pulaski shook things up a bit.

    McCoy is my favorite character in TOS BTW. So take that you green blooded hobgoblins!

    Reed RULES!!!!

    Bizarre episode but parts were enjoyable. The T'Pol and Trip thing has been bring for a while, not sure if it was necessary, and it seemed to be a little clumsy, but life sometimes imitates art. The firstfight was something I have mixed feeling with. It seemed very childish in the beginning, like it was forced. I can see why they did it, but it seemed to last too long, and be a little overdone. I did like the one Klingon move sequence, that was funny.

    Ugh! Kudos to Jolene Blalock for making T'Pol an interesting and likeable character in spite of the dreck like this that Brannon Braga et al devised for her. I feel sorry for Dominic Keating too - the writers go to great lengths to make Reed look like a loser - he seems to suffer some sort of performance anxiety whenever he gets into a firefight where Archer is also present, in that he can't hit a single target. Archer gets to torture another helpless alien - yay!

    The long, drawn out fight scene between Reed and the Major was almost a pitch perfect clone of the one with Roddy Piper and Keith David in "They Live." Intentional? If not, still absolutely ridiculous.

    You people are hard to please. I enjoyed it fairly well. I'd give it three stars.
    Then again, I'd give most of the ENT episodes at least two and a half stars.
    If you don't like them, don't watch them.

    Well, judging by ST:E latests episodes, I'm clearly not in the supposed "demographics", and neither are most of the ppl commenting here

    I guess they are pushing Tucker as the "Good-Lucking bad boy white guy" though I doubt anyone considers him tough or good-looking.

    I suppose this episode could best be described as “quality filler”. Nothing special but it does manage to entertain. Of the three plots only the alien plot was the dud. But I suppose it was added because the other two plots were interpersonal drama plots with no explosions or aliens. Got to put something in there for the low intelligence viewers. Wonder what’s going to come of this Trip and Tpol hookup. Trip has his choice of Tpol or the smoking hot MACO. Not a bad life he’s got going on.

    SnookyTLC if you're still out there, I totally agree! Loved the "day in the life" stuff! I wish we could have more episodes like this.

    I've been reading these reviews throughput the last couple seasons of TNG followed by DS9, Voyager (on the last season) and now Enterprise...I have to admit I am getting a little wary of these ENT reviews which I think focus too much on the negative. As for the comments, I barely read them anymore.

    This was a good episode, (and a very good series altogether), and neither the reviewer nor the commenters acknowledge the obvious, that the spending time among humans (the first Vulcan to do so) is affecting T'Pols control over her emotions. We are rubbing off on her in other words. I find the gradual process fascinating, and that Jolene Blalock portrays a fantastic representation of an erotic enigma that the male humans on board are curious and dare I say, fascinated by. I guess the incessant complaining on how a Vulcan should behave, and what technology doesn't make sense or why a sex scene didn't go a certain way has obscured these subtle changes in a character, or are more fun to bitch about.

    I agree with Triniray. This was an appealing episode that did some different things we haven't seen much of. It never pretends to be some deep classic episode. Not every episode needs to be. The sex and the Maco stuff is welcome and works. Trip and Tpol work. I'm going back over this season on blu ray and it quite works. I'd never seen The Shipment before and it really made me appreciate the Xindi more.The idea of multiple sentient and distinct species evolving and surviving together in the same planet is actually fascinating. It makes one think about earth and it's history. Anyway, I found the criticisms on this ep ridiculous even as I agree media is often too shallow and ADD. There was nothing embarassing about it.

    Additional thought: I also couldn't believe Chosen Realm only got two stars, just because it had some (well done) action it seemed. Some action is actually ok esp when it's good right? I haven't found any of it tired or cliche. Chosen Realm had many great, powerful scenes and is among the better Trek episodes exploring the absurdity and danger of religion.

    I think Reed and Major Hayes have been watching 'Women in Love' on movie night! 'Wrasslin', but in a manly way.'

    As somebody who's new to Enterprise I'm surprised no-one's made the observation that Reed fulfils the role of the crew outsider, i.e. the alien presence on the bridge. He's basically Spock, Data, The EMH, you name it. An emotionally repressed and uptight Englishman on a ship full of Americans. (Or alien-adjacent Americans, like Phlox).

    I agree wholeheartedly with Jammer's review but I think 2 stars is way too generous. I feel like we're grading on an ENT curve here and that seems to concede that the overall quality of the show is not up to that of the other Treks.

    There were, by my count, three storylines here that in no way hung together and were all so poorly executed and in some cases, even embarrassing or undermining of characters. Since they were all sort of randomly thrown together, none of them was fully developed. But I'll give my thoughts on each (warning: all are gripes):

    1. Alien in a pod-- this seemed like a waste of time. It advanced the Xindi storyline almost not at all (basically the last line of the show was it, plus I suppose the business about the alloy of the ship). It still boggles my mind that Archer et al. continue to blithely bring aliens on board after *everything* they've gone through to date, so hey-- no surprise he started wreaking havoc around the ship. Considering the trouble they went through and apparent pain they inflicted on the alien (which I think was the majority of the time spent on that plot), was the "We will prevail" line and the metal alloy information really worth it? I'd argue no. I'd also argue Archer comes across as a moron for continuing to make the same mistakes and endangering his crew/ship, and he and Phlox don't look good as they "bend" ethics on the regular.

    2. Reed and Hayes: wow, Reed got the worst of this one. I've never been a fan of that character, although he's sometimes funny (mostly unintentionally). His only consistent defining characteristic (aside from "being English") is a massive inferiority complex. Commenters who pointed out Archer should have cleared up the chain of command when the MACOs came on board were absolutely right. BUT come on-- Reed provoked Hayes, then escalated every argument, then taunted him at every opportunity, all the while with a sour expression on his face. That character is so absurd. And it's also absurd that, as others pointed out, his "team" was missing from the training scenes. I guess at least the upside is Travis got a little action for once.

    3. T'Pol and Trip have a one-night stand: @Just another fan asked if there were any female posters on this site. I am a female poster and I did think this scene was degrading. It was horrible as a plot point, embarrassing in execution, and offensive in what it says about the writers and producers. I suppose we're supposed to believe T'Pol and Trip have some kind of sassy, sexual tension going on like the Sam and Diane of Enterprise. If there's one thing ENT does not do well (and there's more than one thing), it's building and maintaining sexual tension. The massage (ahem, neuropressure) scenes have been so tedious, and not at all subtly pointing in the direction of them getting together, but it would have been nice if, when they did, it wasn't shown in the cheapest possible way-- I could virtually hear her saying "Feast your eyes... on THIS!" when she threw off her robe--and then written off as meaningless sex for experimental purposes. How is that a "romance?" Even if she was lying (which, is that better? I find that notion gross), I honestly don't understand how anyone could credibly just go with it the way Trip was supposed to. "Ah well, what are you gonna do? We're still doing the massages though, right?"

    I appreciate that there have been a lot of props in the comments for Jolene Blalock but I think she's been saddled with an impossible job-- or at least one that's impossible for her. Very little that her character has done is consistent with what we know about Vulcans from previous shows: she has to be emotionally restrained but sassy and charismatic, sexual, but only interested in sex every seven years, physically strong but submissive, and smart but not smarter than Archer who is regularly an idiot (this is especially irritating: they do a lot of gyrations to make Archer the Hero whenever possible.). I think if she were really playing a Vulcan female, she would not at all be appealing to the human men of ENT as we know them. But it's clear that's not why she's on the show. So she ends up being reduced to the hot woman who monotones a comment every now and takes her clothes off. It's degrading.

    I think Trip came off better of the two of them but not by much. Unfortunately, he seems to be subjected to these degrading scenes too, and for some reason he comes off smart sometimes and very basic at others. Why he'd be okay with her reaction the next day is beyond me since she supposedly used him pretty callously. But my expectations of this show have lowered considerably, so I guess I'll have to grade on the ENT curve going forward too.

    > I feel like we're grading on an ENT curve here and that seems to concede that the overall quality of the show is not up to that of the other Treks.

    I've always wondered whether Jammer's reviews are absolute or relative to the particular show. Personally I rate everything as absolute.

    * I actually thought the alien in the episode *was* a Suliban, until we were told otherwise. Makeup failure.

    * Unlike many other commenters, I actually like Reed. First of all, he's been consistently depicted as smart, reliable, professional, and competent at his job. So this episode is a bit of character assassination, in the sense that Reed feels threatened by the MACOs encroaching on his "turf" simply because the plot demands it, not because it's consistent with what we've seen from him before. Consider how he was able to set aside similar feelings with the Andorian Talis om "Proving Ground" just a couple of episodes ago, and work politely and productively to a solution wither her. I also emphatically don't think that Reed is devoid of personality, I think he's just *reserved*, and part of his character arc has been him losing some of that British stiff upper lip. Esp. him realizing that some the barriers associated with protocol need to be relinquished a bit. That if you're on a starship for extended periods, you need to bond with with your crewmates to an extent, especially since you may be relying on them to save your life. That's exactly what he's been able to do with Trip since the "Shuttlepod One" experience in which he expressed that Enterprise was the first place where he truly had a family. This led to one of the better friendships and dynamics on the show (Trip/Malcolm). He's also opened up a bit to Hoshi as well, just to a lesser extent. In any case, having "personality" is not the same thing as having over-the-top extroversion (Amercians take note). I enjoy Reed's wry humour and even his realism/pessimism at times. It brings some variety to the show, but perhaps it's too subtle for some audience members to pick up on.

    * T'Pol clearly is having trouble processing the fact that she's experiencing so much depth of emotion for a human, and that's what is leading her to play it off as not meaning anything, and to pretend that she's above it all. On the one hand, this comes across as juvenile and emotionally unintelligent, especially for an individual who is many *decades* old at this point. But being in love with someone from another species is perhaps disconcerting enough that her reaction (and her inability to handle it in a mature way) can perhaps be excused. So I don't think the character assassination is as bad in T'Pol's case. There is some subtlety and nuance to her characterization. The way the writers introduced the romance was trash(y), but depending on where they go with it, perhaps it can be salvaged into something meaningful that really adds to the exploration of Vulcan/human relations in this era of Trek.

    I don't mind this episode. It's definitely not the best, but by Enterprise standards it could be a lot worse.

    One thing I found weird was the scene where Hayes was running the training session with the MACOs and Starfleet.

    During the lead up to this scene, Reid was insisting that his people didn't need MACO training. Maybe it's just me but when he said "his people" it made it seem like he was talking about his personally trained security staff. (and I'm pretty sure previous episodes had established that Reid had a security staff)

    However, when it actually showed the training scene, the only Starfleet people present were the show's main cast. There was no sign of anybody else. If the scene was supposed to be about Reid and Hayes flexing at each other, it would make more sense for Reid to demonstrate the culmination of his staffs training via AN ACTUAL SECURITY OFFICER... no offense to Hoshi this is not her area of expertise.

    In all seriousness, I wish this had been a clip show. Give us 15 minutes of new material featuring the discovery of the Sphere Builder and 25 minutes of clips from the first three seasons leading up to the Xindi arc.

    The Hayes/Reed stuff was dumb and lasted for what felt like an eternity.

    The Trip/T'Pol stuff was also terrible. Awkward, unsexy, and boring. Could there have been a lamer way for the characters to hook up? To describe Berman and Braga's attempts at writing sexy scenes as "juvenile" would be an insult to grade-schoolers. The 20 second scene in in a Mirror Darkly where we only see the silhouettes of Archer and Hoshi in bed was a thousand times hotter than 3 seasons worth of "neuro-pressure" massages and De-con gel scenes.

    Let's face it - Brannon Braga is a shitty writer. Yeah, he wrote some genuinely great episodes but the sheer volume of garbage he churned out over the years is truly astounding. He hit a wall sometime during the middle of Voyager and never got his mojo back.

    Look at some of the Enterprise episodes he wrote:

    "A Night in Sickbay"
    "Precious Cargo"
    "The Crossing"
    "Vanishing Point"
    "The Seventh"
    "The Communicator"
    "Desert Crossing"
    "Terra Nova"
    "Two Days and Two Nights"
    "These Are the Voyages..."

    Most of the worst episodes of the series were written by him. And THIS is the guy in charge of the entire show? Pure insanity on the part of UPN execs. Don't get me wrong, I do like some of the Enterprise episodes he penned, but look at the list I posted. There are some real series killers in there.

    It's amazing all the little details you miss the first time you watch these episodes:

    Maybe Chef found this artifact on a trip to New Mexico or something.

    If Malcolm had been killed off the series, there would be no joy in it, just relief that he was finally gone. A pathetic, obnoxious, whiny character who should have been "the character to kill off" in the main cast so you think any cast member could go.

    Awful at every turn.

    Funniest fight since Kirk vs Gorn lol

    T’Pol’s ass cleavage saved the ep!

    As someone who saw this episode in first run and was absolutely angry that I missed seeing Brian Seltzer guest judge on American Idol that week to watch this, it's funny looking back on this review and the older comments lamenting the lack of professionalism in light of all the complaints I see in Twitter about this on modern Trek shows. xD

    With that out the way, while it's not a great episode by any stretch of the imagination, the one thing I think Jammer was too hard on was the morning after scene. I mean, *of course* it's blatantly obvious T'Pol was lying off her ass that it was meaningless. And with ENT having 24 episodes that season, they could take a break between episodes before fully addressing it rather than shoving it down our throats aagain in the next one.

    That said, the execution for this and the Reed/Hayes plot was lacking. While one could argue the T/T'P plot has been setting up for years if you squint, Rd and Hayes came out of nowhere. They were in one scene together before this where they didn't even look at each other. Made for good slash fodder but in canon? Naw, this wasn't it.

    I can't even remember enough about the Archer and Phlox interrogation to comment on that, which says everything.

    I do agree with the two other women who say that this show often degraded Jolene Blalock and both she and T'Pol deserved better from this franchise than either were given and it's ironic that the one Trek show that absolutely could sorta get away with rampant sex jokes has given their Vulcan lady character (who has lost all control!) More dignity and respect in the ten episodes she's been apart of than T'Pol got in nearly 100 and if there's nothing else about modern Trek, I am beyond glad that women are treated like actual characters instead of props nowadays.

    Malcolm may be the reason why security officers after him wear red shirts...and all that implies.

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