7/3/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Shadows of P'Jem"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E15
Air Date: February 6, 2002
Written by: Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Directed by: Mike Vejar

Premise
The Smurfs with UHF reception return to repay their debt to Archer who had inadvertently gotten caught in the middle of an alien planet's civil war.

Review
We open on a very angry Vulcan who explains that the Temple of P'Jem, remember the one that was housing a Vulcan spy station, had been destroyed by the Andorians. As a result, the Vulcans blame Captain Archer and wish to end joint missions between Vulcan and Earth and bring T'Pol back home. Basically, they're sore losers.

And then we get to see just how much of a troll Archer can be. While having breakfast with Trip, he mentions that they're stopping by an alien planet that has been friendly with Vulcan for quite some time. The away team needs to be small, though, because the aliens prefer it that way. So Trip can't go with. But, Archer says, as a result of their relationship with Vulcan, they have some engineering marvels the likes of which Trip has never dreamed! Really too bad he couldn't come.
Problem?
It's ok, though, because after that he has to tell T'Pol that the Vulcans want her back. She takes it very logically. Which might as well be the Vulcan trollface. Well, they have three days until the bus comes to pick her up, but Archer decides he wants to take T'Pol on the mission just to have some time with her before she leaves and try to convince her to fight to stay on board. Well, obviously, that's not going to work. But a life-threatening situation might go a long way.

When they shuttle down to the planet, they're immediately attacked by a rebel force, shot down and taken prisoner. Well, now that they're tied up together, Archer and T'Pol can spend some quality time together to talk about P'Jem. Archer makes a convincing argument that T'Pol wasn't responsible for the destruction of P'Jem or even the discovery of the spy station, but she immediately shoots that down saying she should have protested going to the planet altogether. During all that, they make a valiant effort to escape their bonds, getting as far as freeing themselves until a guard comes in and shoots down their escape attempt altogether.

To make matters worse, as Trip and the rest of the crew are trying to find the shuttlepod, the Vulcans come along to pick up T'Pol. And now they have to explain that T'Pol and Archer have been captured. And, of course, the Vulcan says that he's going to take charge now. This whole episode so far is just one big troll after another. The Vulcan's plan: send in a surge of troops to attack the terrorists.
Because that always works.
Meanwhile, one of the terrorists gives Archer and T'Pol some food. But since they are now tied up separately, it's very difficult to eat. Fortunately, things start to look up when Archer finds a communication device in his oatmeal.

Reed and Tucker come down to the planet with weapons and such and make their way to where the shuttlepod is supposed to be. And, just as planned, get attacked. No, wait, that wasn't the plan. Luckily for them, they're attacked by over-enthusiastic Braveheart impersonators that went too far on the makeup and shot themselves in the head with arrows.
Too much?
This time the Andorians are good guys. They have a debt to repay. They explain that they got to Reed and Tucker before the real bad guys could, and that the terrorists will kill Archer and T'Pol if they agree to send them weapons as an exchange. The Andorians have a man in the ranks of the terrorists, so now that Archer and T'Pol have a com device, they can talk to them and explain the situation.

The rest of their time on the planet is basically spent rescuing Archer and T'Pol. There's some running and shooting and explosions and debt repayment and, basically, T'Pol gets injured when a terrorist fires at the Vulcan who came to pick her up and she pushes him out of the way. The Vulcan says he's going to take her to a Vulcan doctor, but Archer insists "She's still my science officer."

Back on board Enterprise, Phlox insists that T'Pol needs a very long rest before he can even consider letting her get out of bed. Because of her bravery to save the Vulcan, he agrees to discuss giving her some leniency with the Vulcan High Command. With the Vulcan gone, Phlox wakes up T'Pol who speaks with Archer about staying on board the Enterprise. And they all lived happily ever after and learned a valuable lesson about loyalty.

Overall Thoughts
Not bad. Not bad at all. It's definitely not a stick-out-in-your-mind kind of episode, but it wraps up P'Jem pretty neatly and adds some depth to T'Pol's arch. I'm sure this isn't the last we'll see of the Andorians, and that's a good thing. I'm growing to like them, despite their originally suspicious nature.