6/18/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Breaking the Ice"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E08
Air Date: November 7, 2001
Written by: Maria Jacquemetton & Andre Jacquemetton
Directed by: Terry Windell

Premise
The Enterprise finds a comet and decides to stop by and say hi for some reason.

Review
Well, this is quite the bottle episode. Basically we have three elements at work here. 1) There's a comet. 2) There's a Vulcan chaperon. 3) There's an elementary school class. 4) There's a secret message for T'Pol. Oh, that's four elements, you say? Well, two of them are more related to each other than the others. They're really kinda just one element with two parts.

First the comet: The Enterprise is going along its merry way when suddenly Archer orders a stop. Apparently this is the biggest comet ever discovered by a Human. So, while the comet goes along its merry way, Reed and Mayweather go to collect some samples. Because landing on a small celestial body with explosives is always a good idea.
So, if we do this... we're gonna start a trope, aren't we?
Then the message: (hey, I didn't say these were in order) T'Pol receives a message from Vulcan that's encrypted. Because, ya know... the Vulcans don't trust the Humans. Still. Also, Humans don't trust Vulcans still, so when Tucker finds out that T'Pol got an encrypted message, he kinda freaks out about it. He tells Archer who asks him to decrypt and translate it... ya know, just in case.

Then the elementary school class: Mayweather and Tucker are seen in the beginning looking at some children's drawings that had been delivered earlier. But the real fun begins when Archer and the bridge crew record a message back to the class explaining some of the stuff that goes on in space as well as answer some of their questions. Also, Archer, infinite troll that he is, gives Trip a poop question. It's the little things.

Finally, the Vulcan chaperon: Did I mention that this series is ramming the Vulcan vs. Human trust issues into the ground? Yeah, this is part of that. As you can imagine, the combination of encrypted messages and a random Vulcan ship doesn't sit well with Archer. Especially when the Vulcan says he wants to just sit there and observe from a distance. Glaring with a judging stare. Turns out the message that T'Pol got was her parents informing her that if she doesn't return back to Vulcan her marriage to this other Vulcan guy will be called off. So now she has to choose between Humans and tradition. And this random Vulcan ship is her ride home.

Well, there you have it. All these elements combine and end pretty predictably. Probably the most memorable part of the episode is when Mayweather takes the snow from the comet and makes a snow Dalek.
REFRIGERATE!
Also, when Mayweather and Reed start to go back to the Enterprise in the shuttle pod, obviously things don't work out as well as they'd hoped. They totally didn't account for a rotational shift after their huge explosion, so it caught them off guard when their end of the comet rotates toward the sun. The ice starts to melt and their shuttle falls in a crack and ends up stuck. Then Archer has to overcome his mistrust to ask the Vulcan ship to use their tractor beam to help them out. And through this, T'Pol is inspired to stay on the ship instead of go home to get married.

And they all live happily ever after and we all learn a valuable lesson about trust.

Overall Thoughts
This episode really just rehashes everything that every other episode has been about and makes sure you understand: Vulcans and Humans really don't like each other, and Trip and T'Pol are starting to get to know each other. I didn't particularly like it, but the Tri'Pol part of the story seems to be important to the overall plot. So take from that what you will.