After “Silent Enemy”, my expectations for an episode involving Hoshi in a central role were pretty low. But, God help me, there shall be nearly zero snark in this review. I liked this episode.
The liking thing didn’t happen right off the bat, though. In the teaser, Reed is helping Hoshi practice firing some new hand weapons. On the one hand, it’s showing her embracing the challenge of facing her fears and being an integral part of the crew. On the other hand, she’s still really bad at it, so I think a missed opportunity.
Arriving at a large gas giant, the ship drops out of warp. The probe they send down detects a disabled ship sinking into the planet’s atmosphere.
They put together a team to investigate. Hoshi goes to Archer to ask to be allowed on the team.
Hoshi: What about the language on the control panels, the hatches? They might need someone to help them find their way around.
Archer: Are you trying to tell me something?
Hoshi: I realise that I haven’t always been the first one in line to volunteer for this type of mission, but I want you to know that I am prepared to go. Took a while, but I think I finally got my space legs.
Archer: I never doubted that you’d find them. Your timing couldn’t be better. T’Pol just asked me to assign you to the team. You’d better get to the launch bay before they leave without you.
This is me:
So the third member of the team is Reed, who, it turns out, has contracted a cold. Here is one of my few beefs with the episode: why would you send someone who’s sick to an alien vessel? How do you know a harmless cold virus isn’t going to be deadly to whatever mysterious aliens are there? Plus, wouldn’t it make more sense to send Tucker? The ship is clearly damaged so maybe an engineer would be helpful?
Anyway, suspending my disbelief and moving on.
So Hoshi, T’Pol and Reed take a shuttlepod down to the ship and once there, Hoshi figures out it’s Klingon, thereby immediately showing it was important for her to go.
It seems like the Klingons are mostly unconscious, disabled by a neurotoxin, and there’s some debate what to do with them. T’Pol says helping them would do them a dishonour and risk them all being killed if they succeed. Meanwhile, a Klingon woman wakes up and beats up Reed, steals their shuttlepod, and escapes.
The Enterprise is able to use their translator to hear it’s not their away team – the Klingon is hailing other Klingons, saying their ship was attacked by Enterprise. They grapple the pod and get it (improbably) into the shuttle bay, where Tucker and the woman, Bu’kaH, scuffle, and he subdues her.
Archer decides to take Enterprise down to rescue the away team. Meanwhile, the team realizes they’re going to have to try to figure out how to fix the Klingon ship to at least stop it from sinking until they’re all crushed.
Hoshi manages everyone’s expectations by reminding them “reading Klingon is a lot different than speaking it”, but at least she’s not panicking about it.
On Enterprise, Archer goes to talk to Bu’kaH, who’s tied up in Sickbay. Phlox says he’s working on treating her neurotoxin exposure. Bu’kaH is understandably belligerent – being tied up by enemies and talked about in the 3rd person is about as dishonoured as a Klingon can get.
“Remind me to stop trying to help people,” Archer grumbles as he leaves with nothing more than threats from her.
Here’s my other quibble with this episode: you’ve got a new Klingon woman character and yet you don’t give her anything to really define her, character-wise. She’s just kind of a random, relatively-uninteresting Klingon. Her Memory Alpha entry says she’s the ship’s engineer, but I couldn’t actually find that confirmed in the dialogue. So another missed opportunity, I’d argue.
So back to the Klingon ship and Reed’s amazing insight:
Reed: The one time we need our Chief Engineer is the one time we leave him behind.
Anywho, I promised minimal snark, so moving on. Hoshi discovers a log recording by the Klingon captain and is able to translate it to figure out exactly what’s wrong with the ship. Yet again, she is crucial to this mission.
But Reed’s cold is acting up and he’s feeling light-headed. Hoshi and T’Pol go to get him some water. In the galley there are tons of super-gross but beautifully-designed Klingon foods Hoshi’s anxiety starts kicking up but there’s an astonishing and awesome reaction from T’Pol. First she tells her her anxiety is understandable. Then:
Hoshi: This may sound strange but I envy you sometimes. I know, another pesky human emotion, but there are times I wish I could just ignore my feelings. Bury them the way Vulcans do.
T’Pol: Take my hand.
Hoshi: Excuse me?
T’Pol: (kneeling in front of her) My hand. Close your eyes. (puts three fingers on Hoshi’s palm) Think of yourself on a turbulent ocean. You have the power to control the waves.
This makes me really happy because it’s the two female outsiders of the crew coming together in empathy and mutual respect. And it makes both of them more likeable.
On Enterprise, Archer finally clues in to the fact that you have to stop treating all other aliens like they’re humans. He realizes offering to help Bu’kaH probably triggered her defense mechanisms and he needed to try acting a bit more Klingon.
In his mind, that means threatening to out Bu’kaH and the crew for their real dishonour – catching the neurotoxin in alcohol they plundered from another ship.
Things are getting desperate on the Klingon ship when Archer and Bu’kaH arrive in a shuttlepod to help them fix the ship and get out of there.
The Klingon ship gets out of the gas atmosphere and the away team returns to Enterprise, but then the Klingon captain threatens to destroy them, and the other Klingon ships hailed earlier are closing in.
Archer calls the damaged ship’s bluff and gets Enterprise out of there.
T’Pol, Hoshi and Reed de-stress in the decontamination chamber. I don’t mind this scene because it actually contributes to their sense of teamwork and cameraderie. None of them want to get out and T’Pol actually fakes a headache to get Phlox to let them stay in longer. It’s a pretty cute little exchange and lets us know T’Pol is starting to be a bit less rigid in her ways.
Bechdel-Wallace Test: Pass, and how! I stopped keeping track of all the instances when T’Pol and Hoshi talked about non-man stuff, but they included at the beginning of the team mission when they talk about the environmental suits, and of course T’Pol leading Hoshi in Vulcan meditation.