Fight or Flight
The episode starts off focusing on some space slug, which Hoshi has apparently kidnapped from some planet they just visited on an away mission. Apparently, this slug is their first First Contact since setting out (besides whoever they met during the Broken Bow shenanigans). The slug is not doing well. I am not surprised. Who kidnaps a slug from an alien planet, without knowing anything about the slug or the planet, and expects it to not get sick or at least a bit pissed off? Is that some kind of violation of regulations or something? Oh, wait, they haven't written most of the regulations yet.
The crew comes upon a ship with its inhabitants all killed. They have to figure out what happened, stay out of danger, the usual.
Anyway, this whole episode is to demonstrate how scared and nervous and uncomfortable Hoshi is. It's a mirror of our uncertainty about space exploration, of course! And the slug is a mirror for Hoshi's discomfort, being out of her element, in an environment that doesn't suit her.
Dr. Phlox is far less annoying in this episode. He still is very enthusiastic about living with humans, and he fills the role of observer of human behavior. He speculates about whether certain crew members who seem to be flirting with each other will allow him to witness human mating rituals. As creepy as that sounds, it is overall more charming and less annoying than he was to me in Broken Bow.
Also, it is interesting watching them wrangle with the Universal Translator (UT) still.
Blah blah blah. Hoshi faces her fears and decides to not give up on the Enterprise mission. And hopefully there will be less fretting about it in the future, because while I appreciate the focus on this reaction to space travel, rather than how confident they all are in later series, it is not that entertaining to watch.
Enterprise takes a brief detour, and Hoshi and the doctor drop the slug off on some other planet that is apparently similar to the one they abducted it from. This also seems very unwise to me (introducing an alien slug to some other planet, and also hoping it can fend for its lonely self), but okay.
Strange New World
From the episode list on Wikipedia: "A storm traps an away team on an alien world, while spores cause them to experience psychosis."
That about sums it up.
These are notes from watching this episode:
- Do the cardinal directions still apply to alien planets? How do you decide which pole is north? Does it matter?
- I would not let my dog romp ahead of my survey team on an unexplored planet. (Upon disembarking the shuttle pod on this Earth-like planet,Captain Archer lets his dog Porthos the beagle, who he has brought on the mission, roam ahead of them.)
- Cameras still "click" in the 22nd century. Ahh, 2001... what a quaint time for technology. (Commander Tucker (Charles Tucker III, or Trip) has a camera and cheesily takes pictures like he's on a field trip. Which is exactly what I'd be doing, actually. Who'd've thought way back in 2001 when this episode was made that cameras wouldn't click anymore?)
- Ooh, paranoia! (It starts off like a campout, complete with ghost stories, as the away team stays overnight on the planet. They get trapped in a storm and must take shelter in a cave, where they start to act super, duper paranoid. This makes Trip accuse T'Pol, who is less paranoid and who he still doesn't trust on account of being a smug Vulcan, of conspiring with invisible aliens that hide in the rocks and want to kill them. There is a standoff, and T'Pol must do some playacting to get Trip and the others to cooperate.)
- Also, the crew manage to beam back a freaked out member of the landing party in the middle of the storm, but I guess some debris gets mixed in with him in the matter stream. Looks painful, but he ends up okay.
- Hallucinogenic pollen. That explains everything. (There's a remedy beamed down.)
Wait. So it isn't "beware of hallucinogenic pollen blown down from the mountains by freak windstorms when you set foot on unknown planets"?