Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Star Trek Enterprise Retro-Spective "The Andorian Incident"

I liked this episode when I first saw it, so I really wasn't in the position of anticipation of changing my mind much. The story is pretty simple. Archer finds an interesting planet in their flight path, one that appears on the Vulcan starcharts called P'Jem. It is home to an ancient monastery where Vulcans go to undergo the Kohlinahr, or purging of emotions. Archer wants to visit, but T'Pol isn't in love with the idea, because, as we discover during a chat between her and Phlox, she would be embarrassed to be seen with her human crew. Phlox steals a bit of celery from her plate and lectures her about Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, she quietly fumes, and the episode moves on.

When they arrive on the planet, we see that the monastery has been ransacked. They meet of one the residents, who tries to get them to leave. Archer figures that something is wrong and finally spots a blue-skinned alien (he learns it's an Andorian) hiding behind something, waiting in ambush. Archer and Trip start a fight with them and end up getting locked up with the Vulcans.

It seems the Andorians don't like the Vulcans, and suspect them of using the planet as a surveillance outpost (and of course, that is exacerbated by Archer showing up with a Vulcan). They're rooting around, ransacking, and beating people up, looking for answers. Eventually, Malcolm beams down a security team, and a firefight ensues. Then we're shocked, shocked to find out that there's spying going on here. Yes, there is a massive spy outpost built underneath the ancient catacombs. Archer runs scans of the whole place hands the info over to Shran. Shran now owes Archer a favor (that we'll see repayed soon) and the Vulcans find a way to blame Archer.

This was very refreshing, following the drab "Terra Nova". I'd looked forward to seeing what was done with what were, at that point, the rather mysterious Andorians. Phlox was as interesting and fun as always, dispensing a bit of wisdom and deliberately annoying T'Pol. And of course, Jeffery Coombs. He has always been a treat since he appeared on DS9 as Weyoun, and as Shran he didn't disappoint. The dynamic that would be the relationship between Archer and Shran is obvious in this episode. Of course, many fans out in Trekdom objected to the negative portrayal of Vulcans, and it cannot be denied that the Vulcans' image suffered throughout most of this series. That's a fair gripe, but they redeem (and explain to an extent) themselves in the fourth season. "The Andorian Incident" gets a very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Next Up: "Breaking the Ice"

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