Star Trek: Enterprise


2 stars

Air date: 2/25/2004
Teleplay by Andre Bormanis
Story by Andre Bormanis & Mike Sussman
Directed by Michael Grossman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Not the sort of thing they trained us for at West Point." — Major Hayes, on command scenarios complicated by sci-fi circumstances

In brief: Big, long, deep sigh.

In my "next week" comments, I like to belittle UPN trailers and offer up sarcastic comments. It's just a fun thing to do. And when I was dismissive in my "next week" comments for this episode, I was of course just kidding around, because I don't take the trailers seriously (often, how can you?). Even when I do, I usually try to poke fun rather than be serious.

"Mutiny aboard Voyager! I mean, Enterprise!" I wrote. Kidding.

Rest assured, come episode time, I was in serious, open-minded mode. In all honesty, I was looking forward to an episode that I hoped would supply some genuine tension, serious clashes of thought, and some meaty characterization and/or tough choices.

Well, now, after having seen "Hatchery," I can only report that this take on the mutiny plot is indeed about as authentic as any of the supposed mutinies that happened on Voyager ("Repression" comes to mind) — which is to say, not at all. There are some reasonably decent situational dynamics here, but the story is built on a cheat plot's foundation, where the mutinous behavior arises only because a Strange Alien Influence has compromised one or more of the characters — in this case, Captain Archer.


Sorry, but this is exactly the wrong kind of routine story to be telling. Andre Bormanis, who wrote "Extinction" earlier this season, which I said was an episode that made all the typical Voyager mistakes, has basically done it again. This is not an Enterprise episode; it's a Voyager rehash. It's the mutiny show done the only way Voyager could ever do it, with abnormal behavior caused by an outside influence and therefore having no lasting significance to the people who participate in it.

What's worse, the whole show is telegraphed from the very beginning, rendering the hour painfully obvious. While an away team investigates a crashed Xindi insectoid vessel on a barren world, Archer is sprayed by a Xindi insectoid egg sac — and the whole plot instantly reveals itself as an exercise in going through the motions. Phlox examines Archer in sickbay and determines that the venom poses no lasting danger. By this point, I'm rolling my eyes and talking to the TV screen: What are you, stupid? (Phlox obviously has not seen enough Star Trek episodes.)

Immediately afterward, Archer starts exhibiting strange behavior, none of which tracks with his usual opinions. All season long, Archer has been only about the mission to save Earth; it has been Priority No. 1. Now he begins to be protective of this hatchery to the point of monomania, and he gives new orders to do whatever it takes to bring the damaged Xindi vessel back on line so the hatchery can be made operable and the hatchlings will survive. Archer argues that such a good-faith display would show the Xindi that humanity is not the threat they think it is. (Considering the Xindi preemptively killed 7 million people, I wouldn't be so optimistic.)

Unfortunately, to do this will necessitate a delay in the trip to Azati Prime and, worse, expend one-third of the Enterprise's antimatter fuel reserves. When T'Pol confronts Archer with reasonable logic, and explains to him that the Enterprise (and humanity) cannot afford compromising the primary mission, Archer relieves her of duty and confines her to quarters for insubordination.

Now it's up to Trip to talk Archer out of this plan. Archer isn't particularly receptive, and after an incident that leaves an attacking Xindi ship destroyed, Archer blames Reed (wrongly), relieves him of duty as well, and then puts Hayes in charge of the bridge. With Hayes in charge of the MACOs and Trip in the tough position of trying to do what's best for the mission, the situation quickly begins heading toward a showdown between Trip's Starfleet followers and the MACOs. Archer stays off the main stage, obsessing over the hatchery in increasing mind-altered-behavior fashion. (Does it strike only me as a little sci-fi convenient that his behavior shift is initially so subtle that it seems reasonable as he argues his position? Of course, by the end he's a borderline loon.)

It's really too bad that all of this stems from a hollow contrivance, because some of the dynamics here are interesting, and some of the responses to this problem make sense. We have, for example, the idea of T'Pol voicing the first of the objections — and then when she's confined to quarters, she has a meeting with Trip that starts the talk of undermining the captain. (The MACO posted outside her door buys a lame story pretty easily; he should be fired.)

Later, there's respectable urgency to the T'Pol/Trip/Reed plotting, as, faced with a deadline, they discuss what needs to be done and who can be trusted to take control of the ship.

I also liked some of the earlier character interaction between Reed and Hayes, who after beating each other up in "Harbinger" are seen here as having reached a level of coexistence but without the added cliché of having become best friends; they still have an edge of competition. At one point Hayes shows Reed a battle simulation, and Reed finds himself expressing skepticism almost automatically. I like that he catches himself doing this and apologizes for it.

One important question when it comes time to stage the mutiny is whether or not Hayes can be trusted to also turn against the captain (the mutineers decide the answers is no). Hayes, with a more military background, is more inflexible than the Starfleet personnel in his regard for the chain of command, and the point of character analysis here suggests that Hayes is more likely to simply carry out the orders given to him rather than question those orders under special circumstances. That's a dynamic that's somewhat interesting as a demonstration of the differing philosophies of the MACOs versus the Starfleet officers. (Although one hopes there are limits; just how out of control would Archer have to be before Hayes would acknowledge there's something wrong with his decisions?)

Belying the actual details of the mutiny — which work to some degree as we see Trip, T'Pol, and Reed making their plans — is the inescapable fundamental problem here: I just didn't care about the end result. The whole episode is built upon the fact that none of it ultimately matters beyond the execution of the plot points. Since Archer is not in control of his faculties, there are no actual choices being made here. We're just watching a "mutiny" that's seizing control of an artificially created situation. There is no actual conflict of ideology here. It's just your garden-variety retake-the-ship episode, where our characters are retaking the ship from each other.

As a result, the show is a disappointment because there's no need for anybody to be accountable for anything. The mutiny is ultimately viewed as it must be: a necessary measure to get the mission back on track after the captain is held hostage by his mind-altered state, which is laid out for us by Phlox in a tedious scene of medical exposition. There's nothing interesting about it. We've seen it too many times, and it's a dramatic cop-out. Who cares?

Why not have a real story where it's Starfleet versus the MACOs, with a real cause arising from real issues and real opposing views and having real consequences? You know, a premise that makes us think about what is happening and where something is genuinely at stake? Is that so much to ask for?

Next week: It looks as if the crew finally reaches Azati Prime.

Previous episode: Doctor's Orders
Next episode: Azati Prime

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59 comments on this post

Sat, Jul 12, 2008, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
This episode was entirely pointless. As soon as Archer's face got squirted, WE knew he was under mind control and as he began to spend all of his time in the hatchery instead of on the bridge I kept yelling at everyone else that he was under mind control. It just made the crew look stupid that they didn't catch on a lot sooner and Hayes and the MACOs seemed to be pig-headed just to stretch the "plot" out.
As to your ending question, "Why not have a 'real' story...."? The answer is that Berman/Braga obviously have NO interest in Star Trek anymore. It was a job and nothing more and they just didn't have any energy to tell probing stories - they just had to get the 'product' out on UPN's schedule. The entire enterprise (excuse the pun- unintentional) was a cynical project to begin with. It's just too bad, because some new blood with passion for Star Trek could have really made this a fantastic series (as you can see hints of in S4 when real fans came on board).
Jakob M. Mokoru
Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 10:28am (UTC -5)
The thing that disturbed me most is, that Archer wasn't completely irrational. In my opinion this episodes premise could have been presented as real drama, not as the "mind-control"-Plot. I mean, when Archer compared the eggs with humanoid babies, he was right! When he commented that helping them could improve relations with the Xindi, he got a point! When he was angry about the missed opportunity concerning the destroyed Xindi-Ship....
Sun, Aug 23, 2009, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
Janeway would have done the same thing, Starfleet values and all.
Sat, Jan 9, 2010, 12:13am (UTC -5)

Janeway would have travelled trough time to save them,no need for alien infections.
Tue, Dec 28, 2010, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
This was a one star outing for me because it was so boring and obvious. Also, how many freakin' MACOS are there on this ship? Did they bring an army with them? This episode made it sound like there was a MACO in front of every starfleet officer's quarters. Seriously, I am tired of the MACOs being such a shamless plot device in every episode.
Sun, Apr 17, 2011, 12:09am (UTC -5)
Adding to Jakob's comment (from, oh, almost 3 years ago...), the episode would've worked better if the spray had been a red herring. That is, if instead of being a final revelation, someone had said earlier in the episode, "Hey, that spray must've affected Archer's mind!" Which would've led to the revelation at the end: "There was no mind control. I was totally serious."
Sun, Apr 17, 2011, 1:01am (UTC -5)
I should add that, as it plays, the revelation that Archer's compassion was the symptom of an illness comes off as deeply cynical.
Marco P.
Sun, May 8, 2011, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Jammer wrote: "Why not have a real story where it's Starfleet versus the MACOs, with a real cause arising from real issues and real opposing views and having real consequences? You know, a premise that makes us think about what is happening and where something is genuinely at stake? Is that so much to ask for?"

Battlestar Galactica: 1
ST Enterprise: 0
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
I keep asking myself why the crew needed to takeover the ship in the first place instead of using Starfleet regulations that were available to them.

T'Pol had grounds to relieve Archer of command, even just temporarily so she could contact Starfleet Command for further instructions. Instead, she just accepts being relieved of duty without question.

In the scene with Tucker and Phlox where Archer defies Phlox's order to report to sick bay, Phlox had the legal authority to relieve Archer of command (and he even mentions this fact). Yet, he just walks away with Tucker.
Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 11:51am (UTC -5)
I actually sided with Archer - I think he was right to save them and was surprised when the crew thought he was totally crazy. Saving insectoids could have served the purpose of preventing the war - much better than just trying to find the weapon because that does nothing to stop the war.
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 10:04am (UTC -5)
I share the view of a few others here: I was actually on Archer's side.

I knew there was something wrong, and if there wasn't I would've objected strongly to the sudden 180 in Archer's behaviour. (I'd be glad for him to find his Starfleet-style morality, but disappointed in how inexplicably sudden it was). But I think that's what makes it so frustrating - it takes a mind control "illness" to make Archer a respectable captain. who is more about saving some children and demonstrating that Humans are not the threat the Xindi think they are, rather than wading in torching the place like Trip wanted to do.

His "whatever it takes" attitude has rubbed off on the crew, and... I don't know, I just think it really comes to something when you're siding with the guy who's supposedly ill and "wrong". Maybe we'll see in the upcoming episodes that that's the *point* and if so it'll be one of the best things Trek has done. If not, then oh dear. Either way, as we know this is the penultimate season of all of Trek, in hindsight I'm not so sure it was a risk the writers should've been taking.
Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
I don't know why Enterprise even bothers to tell stories like this. Within minutes, I told myself, "Oh, it's one of these episodes."

I am always baffled how nobody on screen can see what's to come when Archer was sprayed with alien goop. It is the most obvious thing in the world.

And didn't we just have an episode where the ship was taken over? I never liked these kind of episodes - it's just action and nothing interesting dramatically or nothing that affects the characters. Why do the Star Trek writers feel they need to keep doing these kind of stories?

For a season that was supposed to bring something new to the table, and even some serialization like DS9 had, there is certainly a lot of useless filler being produced here. This episodes is one of the worst examples of it.
Mon, Jan 21, 2013, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
How about this set up; the Captain, Trip and T'Pol are in the ready room discussing something important when the Enterprise is hit by a surprise attack by the Xindi. All three are injured as the impact was just outside the window.

In a instant, the command structure of the Enterprise is shattered, Reed steps up and takes command, the Enterprise is continually attacked and boarded leading to a conflict between Reed and Hayes. Maybe Reed is still trying to be in charge of Security when he should by commanding the entire ship.

This all leads to the crew becoming splintered, Starfleet v. MACOS. Faced with a problem that could mean they'll be late to Azati Prime both men believe only they can solve the problem.

Importantly Archer, Trip and T'Pol don't wake at the end to save the day.
Charles J Gervasi
Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
I used to think it was irrational to give babies special consideration over other sentient beings. Now that I've had two babies who are now young children, I can understand that biological urge to protect children even at the expense of adults. So many of Archer's actions seemed reasonable to me. If I were in a war situation and saw the Taliban or North Korean soldiers give similar regard for infants, it would make me inclined to sympathize with people who I otherwise oppose completely. There is a chance helping the Xindi eggs/infants could have led to a resolution to the conflict. It could have entered Xindi mythology like the story of the Good Sameritan-- you find a member of a mortal enemy on the road and you help him despite the conflict between your peoples. I agree with Archer under the influence of the Xindi chemicals-- part of the reason humanity is worth saving is we take risks to protect children.
Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
Some have said it, the writers missed almost every detail, or rather gave the details the wrong note.

What an interesting debate: Archer is totally right when he states that if those babies were... well, babies and not eggs, the dilemma for the crew would have been different. (he becomes wrong when he starts acting like a monomaniac, because there were certainly other ways to save those hatchlings).

So, what is bothering is, the episode doesn't even begin to adress the point. Worse, it makes us feel that it's wrong to try and save new borns. In fact, for the first half of the episode, almost everything Archer is saying rings true. It's a shame they had to put him under influence to think in a "trekkian" way.
Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
In the last scene between Reed and Hayes, Reed was far too conciliatory. With the captain imprisoning senior officers for doing their jobs, attempting to give away a third of their fuel and topping it off with ordering Hoshi to alert the Xindi to their position, even a dolt could see Archer needed to be relieved of duty. Hayes showed a profound lack of judgment here and I wish Reed had called him on it. If I were Reed I would have lost all respect for Hayes after this incident.

This episode showed us that Hayes and the MACOs are good for shooting things; nothing more. And that's a bit of a shame.
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
There is a flawed scene where Phlox and Trip confront Archer in the shuttle bay, demanding that Archer immediately report to sickbay for a full medical examination.

When Archer says he'll report to sickbay later, but not immediately, Phlox says that if Archer does not report immediately, Phlox will have to relieve him of duty per Starfleet regulations.

Archer threatens to confine Phlox and Trip to quarters, and Phlox and Trip leave the shuttle bay and begin planning the mutiny.

I see no reason why Phlox did not simply relieve Archer of duty as soon as Archer refused to comply, which would have solved everything and avoided the need for mutiny.

I would also have liked to see the Enterprise remove as much Xindi weapons and technology as possible from the wrecked Xindi ship, to be studied and possibly adapted for use on the Enterprise.
Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 9:29am (UTC -5)
I can't understand why this episode required mind control for archer to do something entirely reasonable. I think in the same situation i would have done my damnedest to save them. especially after seeing the little insectoid foetus. If this was any other star trek the rest of the crew would be treated for unusual levels of apathy instead of archer.
Fri, May 16, 2014, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
I thought the baby insectoids were cute, and the crew should have been helping Archer to save them. It was obvious that the alien goop was controlling Archer's mind, but that was beside the point. The hatchery should have been nurtured and the little Xindi-lings cared for. This was another Enterprise episode that, like Crossings, didn't seem to care about new life forms, but only about killing them. Phlox feeding that Tribble to one of his lab creatures (can't recall which ep) really sums up the disrespect the Enterprise writers have for Trekkian ethics.
John G
Fri, May 23, 2014, 6:07am (UTC -5)
I have to agree, this one had way to many weird holes in it. Phlox and T’Pol had every right to relieve Archer of command and demand an immediate medical examination, and even the MACOs would have had to agree with that. It’s not like they were wanting to permanently remove Archer from command.

There were also so many other avenues that could have been pursued with the story. I actually agreed with Archer that saving the eggs could have helped change the Xindi’s minds about the human “threat”, and that would have been a classic Trek way of approaching it. Very much a missed opportunity in the storyline here. Surely they could have gotten the ship’s communications working again to send a distress call, then leave some sort of calling card to let them know it was humans who did it once help arrived, but in a subtle enough way that it wouldn’t tip off the Xindi about the Enterprise’s whereabouts right away. (Though in the beginning of the arc the Xindi seem to know exactly where Enterprise is, but lately they seem strangely clueless about her location and motives. Huh?)

The series had been looking up until now, but this one really disappointed me. One star.
Sat, Apr 11, 2015, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Archer: "I don't know about Vulcans, but humans don't throw morality out the window when things get a little rough."

Anyone else get a chuckle out of that line? A groan? An eye-rolling "oh, bull..."?

Those MACO's were so blinded by loyalty they didn't question the fact that something WAS wrong with Archer. "Just following orders" has never been an excuse in the court of law. In this case it would have gotten the whole crew killed. One more reason not to have them on this kind of ship. Not even sure why they exist in post-nuclear war. That mindset is what led to WWIII to begin with. They are not proactive, just reactive. Star Trek is supposed to transcend that kind of thinking.

Good thing Q didn't put humanity on trial at this point in time, either.
Peter Coutts
Mon, Apr 13, 2015, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Yup-this was not terribly good.
The lack of any lasting consequences for any one of our characters after this near miss, whilst inevitable, is incredible.
Perhaps the silliest thing was the landing party cracking open their helmets in the first place-this was an enemy vessel and anyhoo hadn't Trip scheduled Alien on Movie night by then?
Fri, Apr 24, 2015, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
I just started watching this episode, only 10 minutes into it. Haven't read the comments yet, but Archer just got sprayed.

I've always wondered why, when there's a breathable atmosphere in a potentially hazardous situation, they upen their helmets.

I'd be the crewman that says "that's ok, I'll just keep mine on."

We'll see if I'm right. Resuming the episode. ..
Fri, Apr 24, 2015, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
Wow, I must be really smart. Yep, the alien egg peed on the Captain and turned him into Mr. Mom. Wow, never saw that coming.

On a side note, I'm catching up on Star Treks I missed when I was in the Air Force for 22 years. TNG is ny favorite series, although I was stationed in England when it came out, and assumed it was a British produced show because of Picards accent. No Google back then to educate me.

Enterprise is dissapointing, to say the least, but it is satisfying my Trek cravings. I just lower my standards.

So many here like DS9. I never cared for it, but maybe I'm missing something. I'll revisit.

Anyway, I feel so much better getting these random musings off my chest.

Thanks Jammer!
Sat, May 9, 2015, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Are you my mummy? Oh wait, wrong series...

Boring! Who *didn't* see that something was going to happen after Archer got sprayed?

"Why not have a real story ... with a real cause arising from real issues and real opposing views and having real consequences? You know, a premise that makes us think about what is happening and where something is genuinely at stake? Is that so much to ask for?"

Battlestar Galactica, anyone?
Sat, Jul 4, 2015, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
The MACOs could have been more than they ultimately turned out to be, but in the end for the most part they were nothing more than disposable action props, although later S3 episodes tried to give individual MACOs some depth.

I would have liked to see an episode or two in S4 where it's explained why we don't see MACOs or any other full-time soldiers in the Kirk era and beyond. (Although there were specialized infantry in DS9, but that could be explained by simply reassigning personnel around due to the wartime emergency.) Something along the lines of "MACO and Starfleet philosophies come into conflict during a critical mission, heads butt, eventually the two sides compromise, resolve the crisis, MACOs are taken off Enterprise and merged into Starfleet security to become the redshirts of Kirk's era". Sort of like the Vulcan arc in season 4.

Such an ep also would have served as a good opportunity to discuss the question of to what extent the presence of the MACOs conflicts with Roddenberry ideals, something that commenters on this site have talked about a few times. Sigh...what could have been.
W Smith
Thu, Jul 16, 2015, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Jammer hits the nail on the head again that Phlox must not watch much Star Trek to not see that Archer was going to get affected by the bug goop. It was so painfully obvious what was going to happen and what was happening, that the hour just becomes frustrating to watch. At least the episode could have concentrated on the peril of "only following orders" by the MACOs who have become nothing more than plot ciphers.
Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
Well, I for one liked this episode. The story with Archer and the hatchery itself was kind of silly, but it set the stage for other events. The mutiny bit has been done before on Trek, but there was always some kind of cheat with it, like it was on the holodeck or the crew was being mind controlled and it never really happened. Here, we see the senior officers for legitimate reasons turn against the captain, fight their fellow crewman, and take over the bridge in a dramatic scene. It was pretty stunning to see this actually happen on the Enterprise, and it kept me watching.
Diamond Dave
Mon, May 2, 2016, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Another disappointing episode. Ironically I was one of those that thought Archer's initial solicitude toward the insectoids was as a result of one of the strange jerks of morality that the writers have him perform on occasion, until it quickly became apparent that there wasn't going to be anything interesting going on here but another standard story. The mutiny was completely as you would expect, and even the Stafleet/MACO split wasn't mined for drama at all. 2 stars.
Sat, Jul 16, 2016, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
Like many others, I agree that Archer's compassion seemed very reasonable and even supported by rational moral arguments, at least until it descended into monomania. So, for me, this episode was a missed opportunity for the mutiny to be about the very ISSUES laid out at the forefront rather than it being a foregone conclusion that whatever Archer is saying is the result of mind-altering substances and therefore suspect and must be discounted (in which case the writing must be seen in a cynical light given the strong moral basis and traditional Trekkian precedent for it).

And you don't even have to agree with Archer's morality for it to have been a far more interesting episode for all, if they had simply deleted the part where Archer got sprayed by alien goo (and consequently also the 'my precious' scene just before he got stunned) and just went with it because it STILL would have made fairly decent sense. The only major difference being they would have found nothing wrong when they scanned Archer.
Thu, Nov 10, 2016, 10:42am (UTC -5)
i disagree. maybe we've seen these similar storylines before but remember this is the first starship ever. so they will encounter similar issues as the later series but with older technology and no previous enterprise history to look for answers. so that's a good twist i enjoy seeing.
Fri, Dec 23, 2016, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Excellent episode, poor review (again).
dave johnson
Tue, May 16, 2017, 1:24am (UTC -5)
If the Allies were working on retaking France and came across a nursery.. and either left it behind for the babies to die, or outright killed them... they would be considered war criminals.

So why are Enterprise fans thinking they should have blown this away or left them behind..... a sentient being in the Trek universe is supposed to be equal to a human.

What Archer was attempting to do was reasonable and more of his staff should have believed the same thing.
Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 9:10am (UTC -5)
Are the MACO's uniforms supposed to be acid-wash?
Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Archer plays mom to insectoid offspring. nuff said
Intrinsic Random Event
Mon, Jul 3, 2017, 10:46am (UTC -5)
I don't see how Archer's (insectoid-juice-affected) point of view would be defensible at all, under the circumstances. This is, after all, a mission to save the entirety of Planet Earth from destruction, a mission where the clock is ticking, and you don't know how much time you will have, or need, or whether you can even be successful. Under the circumstances, Enterprise shouldn't delay their primary mission for one minute. It's not reasonable, this is not Allied soldiers in a warzone, this scenario is more like trying to get a torpedo into the Death Star before it kills everyone. Well, perhaps not quite as exciting as that...
Maybe saving some alien babies will be noticed... by the same attackers that killed 7 million of your people... or maybe not. Can you place a bet on that? No way.
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
Not a bad episode but the ending left a hollow feeling - just not the payout that I was expecting and in the end it's all a bit of a copout.

The real story here is the decision of the crew to mutiny, how they go about it. It's pretty clear Archer's gone off the deep end with respect to the Enterprise's mission shortly after he orders the anti-matter to the Xindi ship.

Plenty of good scenes with T'Pol expressing her doubts, getting relieved of duties; same for Reed destroying the Xindi ship and then getting discharged. Agreed with Major Hayes' role as well standing behind Archer's orders as he doesn't know Archer as well as the regular crew do.

Anyhow, so the goo from the insectoid egg sac made Archer develop motherly instincts -- just very hard to buy that. So ultimately the mutiny is meaningless and has no repercussions - hence the hollow feeling the episode left me with. I suppose Phlox picked up some details of insectoid physiology -- is that a useful bi-product of this episode?

2.5 stars for me -- vast majority of "The Hatchery" is reasonably good, just the reason for the mutiny and lack of repercussions drags this one down.
Sat, Aug 19, 2017, 7:02am (UTC -5)
I can agree about the plot not fitting in really but I still found it entertaining.

Archers subtitle transfer from a logical point of view to insanity was well acted and convincing.

When I first watched it it though found it unrealistic to believe that the crew would not react. Yes it is USA produced but still when the commander slowly goes insane it must be able to stop him and this point would have come earlier in a real world. But of course it has ti be dramatised to explore this unrealistic behaviour.

Now , 2017, I see it with other eyes.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
Really late to comment, but here's my thoughts and the reasons for them.
I agree with mark and Alston49.
Though many seem to want the "Starfleet vs MACO" plotline, I think it'd a tired old Hollywood cliche that's beneath Trek writers. As a military Officer (Navy, and to be honest, it's because of how much I loved Star Trek when I was a child. Exploring new islands on a ship, "Horatio Hornblower in space" to quote Roddenberry) one of the FIRST things we're taught, at least in the American Navy, is to NOT follow orders unquestioningly. The way we were taught is that enlisted personnel, according to their oaths, follow "the orders of the Officers appointed over" them, while Commissioned Officers follow "the LAWFUL orders of the Officers appointed over" us. To have military personnel, MACO here, simply parading around as "yes men" is an oversimplification and stereotyping that downplays (potentially) three-dimensional people. In short, its tired, worn-out, and simplistic.
What would happen if, in this instance, MAJ Reed was the one to have gone with Dr. Phlox instead of Trip? Instead of trying to support the Captain as he saves the enemy, wouldn't he have sided with T'Pol, being shocked at the Captain's behavior? It seems more in keeping with the Marines I know that anything which would hurt those under them would be fought against. Taking antimatter, etc. would definitely cause alarm bells to go off in MAJ Reed's head. Besides, he's a senior ranking officer, not a robot.
If one insists in the tired old story of Starfleet vs MACO, why not make Starfleet be in the wrong? Just a thought to shake it up (Stargate SG-1: Prodigy). Though again, I think it dangerous and beneath Trek writers to go there again; if you want real life, treat the paper-thin as people.
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Is it just me, or at least this would have made sense if Archer ever remembered to give the babies to the Xindi later? (I. e. as a goodwill/bargaining tool, on the future episode when Archer enters the Xindi council). Wouldn't have been the best way to show that humans are no monsters and respect civilians/babies? Why forget the babies after they are stored on stasis here? Aww
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
I find the last scene between Trip and Archer quite telling. When Archer asks what their status is, Archer talks about the anti-matter, but after a pause and with an expression that suggests more interest, Archer says 'and the hatchlings?'. When Trip replies that there are 19 of them running around down there and will probably survive until a Xindi ship arrives, Archer's slight pause after and expression makes me think that he still kind of believes that it was the right thing to try to do, albeit not with the obsessive nature that he was forced upon him due to being sprayed. Certainly if the Xindi arrive in time they will know someone tried to help the 'children'.
Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 4:51am (UTC -5)
OK, so it was a barren planet with no atmosphere and the insectoid corpses they found were crew members which suffocated while making sure the hatchery was preserved. Away team comes in with protective suits and helmets on, obviously could not breath before reaching the hatchery which had a sort of airlock in front which pressurized while they were in. So far, so good...
... Later on everyone walks around in the ship wreck as if oxygen were no longer an issue (planetwise obviously) and the end about leaving 19 insectoid hatchlings running around with no suffocation risk complies with that. A logic failure of the storyline, making the barren planet suddenly a place which enables life conditions (or where would the oxygen come from with no plants producing it?).
However, if we remember a couple of ENT episodes, where a story detail did not make much sense for the episode alone, but turned out to be significant for the whole Xindi arc, the fact Enterprise helped insectoid Xindi hatchlings survive could later on reveal as an important detail which might influence the attitude of the Xindi towards Terrans/Earthlings at one point. We'll see.
Sat, Oct 27, 2018, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
I’m with Spud from nearly a year ago (two comments above).
Peter Germany
Mon, Oct 29, 2018, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
I just watched this episode for the first time, missing the first couple of minutes, et voila, I thought this was really good stuff - because I did NOT see the mind-control moment! So, to me this was a real dramatic conflict and I was on Archer side all along! While watching I thought I need to check with Jammers reviews, this got to be a 3,5 or 4 star ep.!
Needless to say the ending was a huge letdown and I agree with the 2-star rating. Sigh. Missed opportunity. Indeed, switch to Galactica for real drama.
Also, super-rude how they turn cold towards the alien babies at the end. Following a moral code is some kind of mental defect or what?? Is that the message to take along when the credits roll?
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 11:07am (UTC -5)
My first instinct on the away mission was. "You fools, keep the GD helmet on!" I see now that it was necessary to make the plot of this episode happen. But seriously, they have the weird booty-shorts-decontamination procedures to come back to the ship, but they huff alien air based on a quick tricorder reading.
Thu, Sep 12, 2019, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Not a bad episode but the ending left a hollow feeling - just not the payout that I was expecting and in the end it's all a bit of a copout.

The real story here is the decision of the crew to mutiny, how they go about it. It's pretty clear Archer's gone off the deep end with respect to the Enterprise's mission shortly after he orders the anti-matter to the Xindi ship.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2019, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
What is up with the final scene in the captain's quarters. T'Pol says in her update to the log that they are enroute to Azati Prime, but when Archer asks Trip about their status, Trip says they have just recovered the anti-matter from the Xindi ship. The implication is that they are still in orbit. When Archer says to set a course for A. Prime, Trip does not tell him they are already headed there.

How can the hatchlings survive until the next Xindi ship happens to pass by if the antimatter needed to run the Xindi ship is taken? The bio-support systems should shut down and all of them should die within a day.
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
The episode irked me because they were trying to save infant lives and Archer seemed to be the voice of reason. Then everyone basically told him he was insane and while he did go slightly overboard, he was the only one unwilling to commit mass infanticide for the sake of minimalistic risk to a mission that reasonably shouldn’t rely on the exploits of one starship to begin with. It was very... let’s just say I wouldn’t eagerly shake the hand of the writers of this one.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 11:00am (UTC -5)
It seems that Jammer and quite a few people in this thread don't like any actual science fiction in their science fiction, apart from the spaceships, pew pew weapons and all important Conflict. I liked this episode. I missed the beginning so didn't see Archer sprayed by the egg or his early dispute with T'Pol. I liked the way Archer's desire to save the insectoid children was both morally right and had the potential to give them a diplomatic advantage, but had to be balanced against the sacrifice of important resources and the immediate risk to their mission. (Of course, the Xindi would know that he had been forced to act in their children's interest, so it is questionable whether they would give him credit for it.) I don't think that Hayes was depicted as mindlessly following orders - it made sense that the MACO did not know Archer as well as his Starfleet crew and would be slower to see that his behaviour was becoming irrational, plus Archer's raising Hayes above Reed would seem quite rational to Hayes. I thought that, considering they only had one episode to play it out in, the writers did well in depicting different points of view of the two central problems (compassion versus pragmatism; and loyal obedience versus questioning the decisions of an admired leader).
Cody B
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 1:21am (UTC -5)
I liked this one. Showed how quickly things can go south if the captain is compromised. There could be an argument for them needing to destroy the eggs at the end. Besides being their enemy (and bugs) those eggs could control the crew of the next ship that finds them. Who knows what havoc that could cause
Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 2:26am (UTC -5)
Lol still talking about it. Personally I thought they should have had the spray, have the captain go a *little* above and beyond for these eggs afterwards but in a more believable way (I.e. the spray was a ruse), still did mutiny storyline, but in the end there was nothing wrong with Archer it really was just empathy for a nursery of alien babies and the mutiny cost the eggs their lives just as Xindi families turned up in ships with no weapons to reclaim their young. I found myself making up such alternative stories during the episode to distract myself from this pedestrian plot.
Frake's Nightmare
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
More suggestions for movie night - 'Alien' and 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'.
Tue, May 4, 2021, 11:49am (UTC -5)
"What if we found a nursery filled with 31 infant primates?"

That's actually the deepest, most thoughtful thing Archer has ever said up to that point. Pretty untypical for him, and too bad he apparently had those thoughts just because a neurotoxin made him.

I mean, yeah. Imagine a full war against the Klingons and you find a disintegrating nursery with 31 Klingon babies (and let's just say they somehow couldn't survive if you brought them on the ship). Would you just let them die?

The realisation that it's not right to let them die just because it's much harder for us to empathise with insectoid larvae than with humanoid babies, that we have to realise they're by all means innocent children... that is suprisingly, strikingly classic Trek. It caught me off guard.

It's a tough ethical dilemma even by classic Trek standards. Too bad this season's stakes are so high that you can justify almost anything by prioritising the survival of Earth, and frankly this setup is too big for ENT to resolve.

So the resolution is to cure Archer. What about the hatchlings? In one sentence, it is declared that they'll survive until the arrival of the next Xindi ship after all and that's it. How convenient, problem solved.

I appreciate that ENT dared to set up such an ethical dilemma, but in the end it feels like it bit off more than it could chew.
Mon, Jun 28, 2021, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
The obvious and correct solution was to take the 19 hatched insectoids with them. That was the only way to be sure they would survive, not give out the location of the Enterprise, and resume the mission.

Also, this scenario would have created tremendous drama. Imagine 19 children of enemy biology growing up on Enterprise (at 8 times the speed of human growth). When they start realizing what is happening, which side will they choose? Will we be able to trust them? If grown insectoids mount a rescue mission for the younglings, do we protect the children from being "kidnapped"? If a temporary truce for the transfer of the children becomes possible, do the children get a say in where they want to stay? What if they have mind control abilities as adults too?

So many dramatic and philosophical questions never asked, because absolutely immorally, we left half-day-old babies running around on a dying ship while the captain was sleeping off his temporary insanity. Huff!
Sun, Feb 20, 2022, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
This is why you don't take off your spacesuit helmet in alien environments.

Nuff said.
Sat, Jul 16, 2022, 9:45am (UTC -5)
ARCHER: It's not going anywhere. This is a sentient species. We can't abandon them.
TUCKER: Captain, with all due respect, why the hell not? I've got half a mind to take a plasma torch to that place.
ARCHER: What if we found a nursery filled with thirty one infant primates. Would you want to torch them? The Xindi are trying to destroy Earth because they heard that humans are ruthless. This is a chance to prove them wrong.

^ Archer is the bad guy here according to the makers of this episode.

The morality of the writers of some of these ENT and VOY episodes is just totally alien to me. The moral decisions in episodes like Dear Doctor, Cogenitor, Tuvix etc. are abhorrent to me. Hatchery is another of these episodes. What is disturbing to me is that the question of what to do with the Insectoids is presented as anyone who doesn't immediately want to leave them to die must be insane.

An episode similar to "I, Borg" where the crew debates the merits of doing the right thing by saving the babies vs the the possibility of it leading to the failure of their mission to save Earth would have been interesting. It would have given Archer a chance to atone a bit for some of his morally questionable decisions earlier in the season.

Personally, I wouldn't have minded an episode where the issue was HOW to save the Xindi infants while also completing their mission. Yeah, it wouldn't have been as dramatic, but to me the answer to the question of "Should you allow a nursery full of babies to die?" obvious.

Instead we get yet another episode that makes Archer look like a buffoon while also delivering a terrible "moral."
Fri, Dec 9, 2022, 12:03am (UTC -5)
First. They're in a hurry. A BIG hurry. "Doctor's Orders", they took a huge risk rather than a 2-week detour.
Second. They have irreplaceable crew. In "Similtude", if they loose key people, Earth is destroyed.

You don't stop for anything that doesn't directly help stop the Xindi weapon. Tactical information on a Xindi ship? Maybe. But you don't risk time and people trying to reboot a Xindi hatchery. Trip had an explosion that killed an egg. Supposed the next one kills Trip?
Yeah, I get the attempt to show humans in a good light. But, the Xindi launched a preemptive strike that killed 7M. You have no idea what their problem with humans is. You have no reason to believe they can be reasoned with.

Chance of fixing that type of rabid paranoid xenophobia with a single act of kindness: Near Zero.
Chance of getting someone key killed or being late (let's not even discuss giving up antimatter): Small, but significantly larger.

Why do you assume that all sentient species should be treated equally? The Borg are sentient . The creature in "Obsession" (TOS) was sentient, as was the creature in "Wolf in the Fold". Is it utterly impossible that, for some sentient species, the average member has little or no redeeming characteristics? Why anthropomorphize aliens?
Yes, they're infants. I'm sure a baby rattlesnake is very cute. But that doesn't stop me killing it if it poses a threat.
Did Gene leave some sacred scrolls proclaiming that all sentient species in the galaxy are basically good? Apparently not, since he had a hand in all the villains named above.
Mon, Mar 13, 2023, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
Boy, I sure love a good mutiny episode. It was fun watching the crew glancing at each other in stunned, but silent aggravation as Archer became increasingly loathsome bellowing orders in his cruddy uniform. Is this not how all reasonable people behave when faced by a leader who suddenly moves the goalposts and changes standing orders on a whim?

Archer's notion of proving to the Xindi 'how non-threatening humans are' by saving the insectoid babies was unfortunately vever going to work. @Polly in 2019 pointed out, I think correctly, that the Xindi would know that Archer's protectiveness toward Xindi young was non-volitional and therefore discount it as a diplomatic salve. Besides, the Xindi have been told that their civilization will be destroyed by the humans of Earth in 400 years. They would simply reason that Archer's mercy toward their young was an element of the inexorable outcome they were trying to prevent.
Thu, Jun 8, 2023, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Strangely constructed episode. It was obvious from the start that the egg spraying Archer affected him, but he kept making fairly rational arguments about protecting the insectoid young, weird.

I kinda liked the sets and insectoid FX.

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