12/23/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Babel One"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S04E12
Air Date: January 28, 2005
Written by: Mike Sussman & AndrĂ© Bormanis
Directed by: David Straiton

Premise
While Archer is bringing a Tellarite delegation to negotiations with the Andorians (two races on the verge of war), Shran screws everything up by going and getting his ship destroyed.

Review
Shran's distress isn't exactly a spoiler. It's the very first thing you see when you watch the episode. He is trying to recover from being blown out of space by an unspecified enemy, but then he decides to abandon ship before it explodes. After that, we switch over to Archer picking up Tellarite delegate, Ambassador Gral. The idea is that Earth will mediate in negotiations to settle long-standing trade disputes between the Andorians and Tellarites. But then they pick up Shran's distress call.

Of course, like a good little Starfleet vessel, the Enterprise is obligated to go pick up Shran and his 18 surviving crew members. One of these crew members has developed a romantic relationship with Shran. And, I gotta say, the blue skin does not dissuade me from also desiring her.
Dappa-dee doppa-wow!
The only problem with having picked up Shran and his crew is that they swear the perpetrators of the heinous act of destroying an Andorian vessel were the Tellarites. And, if you remember, there are at least three Tellarites on board. And this creates friction.

Of course, Gral denies it up and down, despite the Andorians having a visual record of their attacker. But in the middle of all this debate, A WILD ANDORIAN SHIP APPEARS!
IT USES PHASERS! IT'S NOT VERY EFFECTIVE!
The Andorian ship shoots for a bit, but then runs away randomly. It never even stops to hail the Enterprise. Which is odd since the Andorians are supposed to be Starfleet allies.  But it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems. The men who appear to be piloting the vessel... ARE ROMULANS!

FRAKKIN ROMULANS!

I've been over this before, but Romulans are not supposed to be seen until The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror". But, it is OK for Starfleet to fight with them because even in "Balance of Terror" Starfleet knows of Romulans, they just haven't seen them. Romulans use very duplicitous fighting techniques. As becomes clear when the Enterprise goes to find the ship that attacked them only to find something that is completely different from what they were looking for. It's a very small ship with holographic emitters on it. Obviously they used these emitters to replicate the look of an Andorian, and possibly Tellarite, ship.

The ship isn't moving and isn't responding to hails, so Archer figures it's OK to send an away team over. Trip, Reed and a few MACOs transport over to find that there's no atmosphere and no crew anywhere around. (Good thing they're in their space suits.) Suddenly the ship starts to attack! They try to transport everyone back to the Enterprise, but as soon as one of the Redshirts is transported, the transporter explodes. Of course. So Reed and Trip are stuck on the Romulan ship as it warps away without inertial dampeners at full. So, they're tossed around the ship as they try to find the bridge.

Back on the Enterprise, Shran attempts to take revenge for the destruction of his vessel by what he believed to be a Tellarite ship. In the scuffle, his lover gets grazed in the arm and sent to sick bay, but only after Archer reveals that he may actually have evidence to prove that it was not a Tellarite ship that attacked them!

In the middle of all of this, Reed brings up the fact that T'Pol is now divorced from her Vulcan husband. Trip becomes adorably uncomfortable, but he's unable to completely explain himself because that's when the Romulan ship finds a victim and when Trip and Reed find the bridge. They are stunned to find that no one is there!


Turns out the Romulans had been controlling their prototype ship by remote from back on Romulus all along! And the story is to be continued from there...

Overall Thoughts
This is an amazing start to a great three-parter! I love how the fourth season is basically wrapping everything up and making things awesome just because they have nothing to lose. And I'm very impressed with how they're handling this Romulan situation. So far, no visual contact has been made, which is completely coherent with canon. But this is the first of a three-parter, so let's see how it goes...