87: United – Star Trek Enterprise Season 4, Episode 13

Matt and Sean talk about the beginning of the beginning of the Federation. It’s about time that Star Trek Enterprise started building those bridges. 

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In today’s episode of Trek in Time, we’re gonna be talking about the baby steps toward becoming the federation and the importance of a handshake. I’ll get into the details of what I mean by that later. That’s right. We’re talking about enterprise season four, episode 13, United. Welcome to Trek in Time.

This of course, if you are a regular listener, you already know. This is a podcast in which we are watching every episode of Star Trek in chronological order, and we’re also placing each episode into context in history. So we’re looking at things right now in enterprise, and we’re looking at things in early 2005 because we’re in season four of enterprise, and that means the final season, the final push.

we’re already halfway through the series, the season. I’m sorry, we’re halfway through this final season, and after that we’ll be jumping forward into discovery, which chronologically is the next series. And who are we? Well, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a published author. I write some sci-fi. I write some stuff for kids, and with me is my brother.

He’s that Matt of undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and it’s impacting our lives. And Matt, how are you doing today? I’m

doing pretty well. It’s a good weekend.

How about you? I’m doing okay. I’m recovering a little bit from uh, some travel. I was on a whirlwind trip to Seattle, from Brooklyn.

I went to Seattle for a book conference. I was out there in support of my new book, the Sinister Secrets of. Which is coming out in June. So it was a book event where I was meeting book sellers and signing copies of the book, and it was all very exciting and a lot of fun and exhausting and. I am still feeling a little bit like I’m actually asleep on an airplane and I’m gonna wake up at any moment and think, oh God.


a perfect time to do a podcast,

a perfect time to do a podcast. Yeah. I’m gonna be very coherent. That’s right. And it’s gonna be a great discussion. And as a matter of fact, I watched this episode on the plane because science technology, the two things that you know, drive our lives. I was able to download this episode to my phone.

And watch it on the plane. And paramount. If you’re listening, I have a little tip for you. Download Disney Plus, download a few episodes to your Disney Plus app, and then watch those Paramount. If you do that, you’ll recognize their download option works a lot better than yours. Oh, no , because watching this on my phone worked seamlessly until occasionally.

there would be a little bit of a video glitch, uh, and then the audio and video would be out of sync, and I could correct it each and every time by stopping the replay and starting out and starting over. And then it would play seamlessly until once again, it would glitch and then it would be out of sync.

So there’s not something wrong with the file that it’s downloaded, it’s just the app is.

Yes. But other than that, it was great. It’s great. It was great, and it was nice to be able to watch the episode on the plane. It was entertaining. And, uh, spoiler. I enjoyed it. So, but before we get into talking about that in greater detail, Matt, did you wanna share some comments from our previous episodes?

Yes, there was on the episode 85, the Observer Effect. There was a bunch of interesting comments. One for, from, uh, Lambert Rodney. He said, that’s so eerie, Matt. At the very moment I was just thinking that the measure of a man would have been an extremely apt title for this episode, and whether or not that title had been used before in the star Trek universe.

You reminded me of the next generation episode. I got chills

lamb. That was my goal. Matt is watching you. Yes, I’m

watching you. The next comment was from Daniel. He said, uh, one, I’ve always adored this episode. My favorite enterprise episode by healthy. Two, I don’t know or care how the director of this episode pronounces his name, but for me, Mike Vier Vja will always be known as Mike Vier, and I, you know, yes.

Star Trek nerds. Yes.

I love that joke. We out of Vijo.

Yes. A and the last comment was from PGO 69, who, um, is also a new subscriber, Sean. He’s just become an ensen. So thank

you, PaleGhost. Thank you pale.

Yeah, I enjoyed this episode. It’s my answer to the Dark Forest theory. As someone who hadn’t watched the original series when I saw this, I didn’t even know it was a reference to it, which is good because they’re normally so ham-fisted.

I would catch the reference with only passing knowledge of the original episode. So yes, I agree. And if you don’t know the Dark Forest theory, it’s basically the theory of there’s intelligence life out there, but the reason we don’t know about them is because if you do kind of broadcast that you’re out.

Other intelligent life will wanna come and kill you because there’s scarcity of resources and survival, the fittest and all that kind of stuff. It’s like, it’s kind of a bleak view of why we don’t know if anybody else is out there. It’s because you don’t want to be known. And there’s actually a good book series called The Dark Forest Theory that’s worth a

read if you haven’t read it.

That’s a good tip. And you’ve mentioned that to me before and I still haven’t checked it out, but I should. It sounds like it’s right up my. And that noise in the background that you’re hearing, that of course is the read alert, which means it’s time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia description. ,

oh boy.

Here you go. Set. In the 22nd century, the series follows the Adventures of the Starfleet Star Trip Enterprise Registration. ,

what is it? NX oh one. It’s TenX oh one man. Yeah. In

this episode, two of the crew are trapped on the Reland drone ship. While Captain Jonathan Archer, Scott Bakula on the Enterprise attempts to gain the cooperation of the Andorian and the Teles in tracking down the drone.

His plan is complicated. When Commander Shran Jeffrey Combs challenges a Tellerite to a dual causing Archer to step. after he defeats Shran, the races work together and force the retreat of the Romulan vessel and the missing crewmen are recovered. That should also be said, spoiler alert for the entire description,


this is season four, episode 13, directed by David Livingston. We’ve seen his name many, many times, story by Manny Koto, who is showrunner at this point, and this is. The story having been created by him, I think is one of the things that really makes it work as well as it does, because his entire goal for this season, we’ve talked about it all season long.

He was trying to build a bridge between enterprise and the original series, and he was planting markers along the way of why are the Vulcans not the same type of Vulcans that we’re familiar with? What happened to build the federation? What about the. Aliens that were all part of the federation, which means you can’t just be talking about Vulcans, you’ve gotta be talking about andorians, and you’ve gotta be talking about Tellerites.

The Teleplay was by Judith Reeb Stevens and Garfield Reeves Stevens. We’ve seen them as well. The original air date was February 4th, 2005. And guest appearances include Jeffrey Combs once again as Commander Shran Lee a Berg as Ambassador gra Brian Thompson as Admiral Valdor. Geno Selva as Senator Brax.

Kevin Brief as nag co. Brink as Lieutenant Tallis j Mihael Flynn as Nael, and Scott Allen Rinker as the pilot. , as I just mentioned, the original air date, February 4th, 2005. And what was the world like at that time? Well, Matt, what were you singing along to? Let me remind you. It was, let Me Love You by Mario.

Do you wanna sing a few bars? Good. And at the movies you were lining up to see hide and Seek. Matt, quickly tell me about Hide and Seek off the top of your head. Can you. No, it earned 21 million and hide and Seek is a 2005 American psychological thriller starring Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning what it was directed by John Polson.

Albert Hughes was initially set to direct making his debut as a sole director, but he left you to creative differences. This, this movie, I think is proof, Matt, that you and I are from a parallel universe. Yes,

we are.

Definitely got the beard for it. Zero recollection, , I have zero recollection of this no movie and when I read.

The name. I was like, well, that sounds like it would be the title of a movie, but what movie could that possibly be? And then when you see it’s Robert Deniera, Dakota Fanning, I’m like, those are recognizable people. I should know this movie, but I do not. And on television, what was everybody watching? Well, sadly, they were not watching Star Trek Enterprise.

This episode earned a low 2.8 million view. I mean, to put that it’s going down, Sean. It’s going down. It’s really, it’s really sad to me that this episode, which is arguably one of the best of the season, has such low marks. At least that’s my opinion. Mm-hmm. , I keep saying how much I enjoyed it. I don’t know yet, Matt, how you feel about it.

We’ll get into that in a minute. Mm-hmm. . But what was Star Trek Enterprise up against? It was up against the Friday night lineup. Eight simpler rules. Getting 8 million viewers, cbs showing a Super Bowl commercials versus the World Special. Got 9.2 million viewers. That’s right. A TV show built commercial out of commercials that would air during the Super Bowl, had 9 million viewers

the world’s upside

down. The world’s upside down. I’m from a parallel universe. What movie was that? I’ve never heard of it before. Meanwhile, for a million people we’re watching the Bernie Mac show. Dateline, N B C head to 8 million viewers. And on the wb, what I like about you and Reba were both getting about 3 million viewers.

So they were either on par with or above star Trek Enterprise. And in the news, well, there were some big events taking place. One of them here. In the us same-sex marriage in the United States. The New York State Supreme Court ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution.

The decision was stayed for 30 days, but of course, this would be part of the slow march toward marriage equality that would take place in the United States and in science. In fact, in space. There were some observations from the Cebo radio telescope that confirmed that asteroid, 2004 MN four, later named 99 9 42 PFIs because that rolls off the tongue so much better.

It was considered at one point an impact risk, but they discovered that it will pass. It would pass Earth on April 13th, 2029 at a distance of 22,000. and will reach a magnitude of 3.3, meaning it will be easily visible to the naked eye from Europe, Africa, and Western Asia. So something for us to look forward to.

At the time that this was discovered, they were of course talking about something that would be 24 years in the future now. Well, it’s, it’s only, it’s only six years in the future. Yeah. Wow. Okay, so something to keep an eye out for. If you’re gonna be in the right Europe, Africa, or Western Asia in April of 2029, keep an eye on the skies, cuz you’re gonna see an asteroid that’s only 22,000 miles away.

Pretty cool stuff. So onto. The episode as we just heard from Matt’s synopsis, this is a direct continuation from the previous episode, Babbel one, in which we saw Starlee trying to play peacemaker between andorians and Tellerites for a trade conference, and it began to fall apart when both sides appeared to have been attacked by the other.

But it turns out that there is a drone ship out there. And the drone ship can masquerade as anybody. And so we have Tellerites and, and we have andorians onboard the enterprise. They’re trying to get to each other to tear each other apart while Trip and Reid are on the drone ship trying to figure out how to get back to enterprise.

Meanwhile, the drone ship is just running amuck, masquerading it as both sides. In this conflict and eventually even going so far in this episode, as to masque it as the enterprise itself and attacking a regalian ship. So we’ve talked. Enough, I think about the setup, the, the Ron Drone ship, the different players.

We’ve talked about all of that, and we had a good discussion last week about Babbel one, and I’ve already revealed my feelings about this episode. I enjoyed this episode. I thought this one was a lot of fun. How did you feel about this one?

I like this one better than the last one. Mm-hmm. The last one we’d talked about how like they made those stupid trying to advance the plot.

Like why the hell the Tellerite. Grabbed the gun and shot Shran. Fiance. Well, in this episode we find out why they had to have that happen because they wanted to have her die to have that dramatic stuff. Taking that aside and just looking at this specific episode, I thought it was fun with what they had.

So the setup I thought was kind of fumbled, but the payoff of that fumble was actually pretty fun. It’s like it felt there. I wrote this down several times. A lot of this episode. , it’s the original series to me, yes, there was a lot of melodrama and over the top music and close up shots of stuff that was happening that could have verged onto the territory of like, oh, eyerolling bad.

But I thought that it just navigated it just well enough that it was like, oh, fun Friday night. , you know, just sci-fi action venture swashbuckling, yeah. Original series E kind of aspect of it. And for that I, I enjoyed it. So it’s like I enjoyed the fights with Shran and the captain. I enjoyed all the stuff.

So it’s at a high level. I thought it was a fun, a fun romp I guess I would say.

Yeah, there were a couple things that reminded me of the original series as well, and not always in the best of ways, but in ways that I was just like, it almost felt like, I think they knew what they were doing. Oh yeah. In being a little bit on the nose with the original series, like at the end when Trip tells Reid, I’m gonna have to put you on report, and then it turns out to be a tease.

Yep. I was left with a little bit of like, I don’t like that kind of setup for that kind of punchline, cuz it’s not really fun. It’s just like mm-hmm. in that moment, that kind of tease. It’s supposed to be fun between the characters, but as far as it being fun for us as a viewer, it, it really doesn’t do it for me.

And in that moment as it was happening in my head, I heard that kind of funny original series music, which would be usually at the end when McCoy would be teasing Spock and you’d hear it. Yes. And it was like almost Gilligan’s Island type music. When that was happening on the screen, I was just like, this is really, they’re very keenly aware of what they’re trying to do here.

I’ve set up a kind of joking relationship between the characters where they can tease each other in this way. It’s a weird development for the show, which hasn’t really had that as a main staple of it. It’s been very professional up to this point, and now it’s showing us sort of like, yeah, we’re getting past the professionalism in, into.

Well on that

exact scene, I actually liked that scene. Mm-hmm. a lot because of what you just called out. It felt very bones prodding, Spock, just to make fun of ’em a little bit. It had that feel to me and I

enjoyed that. I also

enjoyed the fact that it showed the evolution of these two characters. Yeah.

Because they were a very antagonistic in the beginning. They got trapped on that shuttle with each other, and ever since that moment they’ve kind of bonded and have been kind of, A bromance. I don’t know what you’d wanna say between the two of them. Mm-hmm. . And it was kind of fun to show the trip is the superior officer, but he’s still kind of prodding his good buddy and it was kind of fun to see that kind of playfulness between the two of them cuz they are good friends and so you’d expect friends to tease each other like that.

Yeah. So it’s like in that regard, I thought that little scene was kind of nice. Although it was a little, it kind of came outta nowhere . So it was, yeah, I do agree with you on that. But yeah, I, I thought it was fun.

I also thought that this episode. Manny Koto, I have a feeling was really focused this season on saying we’ve got some characters who have fallen by the wayside.

We see some very strong storylines this season. We’ve talked about the episode where Hoshi got sick and ends up Oh yeah. Revealing that she’s a savant with not only languages, but. And is able to decrypt security procedures to get out of decon. We see her again in this one. We also see T’Pol refer to the fact that she and Mayweather have come up with a plan to be able to find the drone ship.

I really like the fact that it was not T’Pol and Reed not T’Pol by herself, but Mayweather having a hand in figuring out how to do this. Mayweather also has a very nice moment where he says, in reference to wanting to help figure out how to get the captain out of this dual that he has to be a part of.

Mm-hmm. , and we’ll talk about mm-hmm. , like we’re, we’re talking about the show almost backwards at this point, but Mayweather’s reference to his father’s experience. What it’s like when you are in a place where you don’t know the rules and customs and you accidentally step into something and have to figure out how to get out of it without some kind of tragic ending.

This was what we wanted to. Matt and I talked about this seasons ago. Mayweather as a character is unlike any character they’ve had in Star Trek. He grew up in deep space on a freighter, and they never really tapped into it in a very strong way. They had one episode that focused on freighter life, but now you have this reference to him saying like, my father once had to get involved in a dual because.

This exact situation of not knowing something, stepping into it, and then having to figure out how to get out of it. He knew the rules at play, so he was able to do it and keep and save face. I love that Mayweather was involved in both of these things. So to step back and actually hit those plot points, as Matt mentioned, we have Shran Lieutenant die, and of course this is.

Supposed to be the result of, of the babble one attack where the andorians and the Tellerites go at it. And one of the Tellerites shoots her. She has been hit with a phaser fire that is set to kill. So it in it creates apparently some kind of infection. And they don’t go into detail about what that might mean, but it might mean something along.

I, I, in my own head, envisioned the way a phaser would disrupt on a molecular. Might spread, it might create some sort of a spreading response that would disrupt her body’s ability to repair. And she ends up dying and she dies. And Shran has a moment with her before her passing where they’re showing the kind of tenderness that they have for one another, and then Shran responds at her passing.

Is really, uh, a scene that stands out. I put it in the same category as some of the best Klingon scenes involving Worf when he shows up in the conference room with a vial of his mm-hmm. lover’s Blood. and says this is something that we do. You know, something is gonna go happen. Yeah. You know, something’s gonna happen.

And he is talking about like I and he, he shows up and looks like he’s about to set the room on fire and convinces Archer like, I only want to talk, I only want to talk. And then goes about the room and combs. Chewing the scenery manages to chew the scenery. It’s brilliant. His depiction of this character, this,

this, this entire episode was, you could write in the notes, in the margins of my notes of more Shran, please.

It’s like, it’s like for me it’s like you can’t have too much Phlox and you can’t have too much Shran. He’s such a wonderful character, so dynamic, so fun. Um, he’s funny, he’s can be frightening. All those kind of things. And like you just highlighted the scene in the sick. where he is just having the most wonderful tender moment with her, and you can see the other side of him.

It just makes you ache for the pain he must be having. Yeah. And then when he comes outside the curtain, he turns into the Shran. We know where he gets really stoic and you can tell he is bubbling with anger. Yeah. Under the surface. And it’s the same thing in that scene when he walks in, you know, he, he says, he says, I’m not gonna do, like, I’m not gonna.

like fight and you know, okay, he may not be coming here to kill him, but he’s gonna do something. Yeah. That’s not gonna be nice . And so it’s like you knew something was gonna happen. So there’s that tension, the entire scene of like, what’s he gonna do? What’s he gonna do? What’s he gonna do? Yeah. So it was, it was so wonderfully portrayed.

I just loved Jeffrey Comb so much. Yeah. I want him and all

of Star Trek. Yeah, apparently there was, there was a bubbling idea at one point that Shran might get his own series. And I mean, if that were to ever happen today, I would watch it, it would be, it would be terrific. But his, uh, the refrain for his character in this scene when he shows up in the conference room and just keeps saying, I just wanted you to know that.

Yeah. He repeats that line over and over again and it is like, it’s like he’s driving a. Deeper and deeper into the ground so that by the time he finally gets to the point where he is just like, I’m invoking my right to call for a dual, and like he’s, he’s laying out these markers of like, this is an Andorian tradition.

This is an Andorian tradition. This is an Andorian tradition. Hey, you know what else is an tradition death dual? This is . Like he, he plants these, these stones to get to that. And it turns into then a no win situation for Archer. If he doesn’t let the dual take place, the Andorians will leave. . And if he does let the dual take place, it is.

Nobody even talks about the, the possibility of the Tellerite might win the dual, but the Tellerites will leave if the, if it does take place. And the issue is that because of T’Pol and Mayweather’s plan, they know they need. 118 ships in order to cast a huge sensor net over the region to be able to identify the location of the drone ship.

So Archer needs this to work. He needs this. Agreement to unite for a common cause to work, and he doesn’t even know if he can get them, like if the dual didn’t even have to take place. He’s still dealing with a situation where he has to get Andorians and Tellerites to be willing to share communication codes with each other, so he is like, this is already an impossible situation that has just become more impossible.

And there’s, there’s, there’s

my favorite scene in the entire episode is tied into this whole thing. When the captain says, I’m gonna be the, the surrogate in this I’ll, I’m gonna fight on his behalf. Right. The scene worked. Archer is walking through, I think with T’Pol. Yeah. The logic of why he has to be the one to do this.

Yeah. Is. Like chef’s kiss perfect. Yeah. Archer is smiling and half laughing. Yeah. The entire time he’s walking through the logic. Yeah. Because the

only one who can only die doesn’t matter.

Like if the Tellerite dies, then the Tellerites are out. If Shran dies, then the Andorians are out. If I die, star fleet’s not gonna pull out, they’re gonna stay in.

So I’m the only one that can die. It’s like, like he’s like, just like, this is it. But what I love about all. He knows that he’s basically written his death certificate Yeah. For this fight. And yet he says going headlong into it. Yeah. And then it’s his subordinates, it’s Mayweather and Hoshi who take it upon themselves to comb through all of the details.

Yeah. To try to find the captain and out. And I love the fact that, that, that shows like the, the, how Captain Archer is that swashbuckler, he like just leaps in headfirst. and it’s, I love the fact that it’s these two subordinates who were not asked to do this. Yeah. They just did it upon themselves. It’s, it’s it, I think you were right when you were sh talk brought up the whole, they kind of had so many good characters in the show that they did nothing with and that in this season they were trying to write that wrong.

Yeah. And this is a perfect example of it. This is something that you would’ve seen on Next Generation. Yeah. Everybody. It could just be a

small little 60 seconds. It makes me wish that Mani Koto had been given the keys in season. I agree. I think that in, in season two on it, on its original Air Night, I don’t know that U P N could have been saved as a network, but this show could have built an audience in a different way.

If this kind of storytelling where you’re seeing this, these connections forged in season two, like the possibilities are, are endless, even if it was mm-hmm. still doing stuff around going into the expanse and having to fight the Xindi and like all these different takes on. Well, let’s branch the show out into unknown territory as much as possible.

I think even with that, Mani Koto might have had a fresher take than Berman and Bragga, who just, we keep going back to that. They just seemed tired, they seemed exhausted at this point. And as Matt just. Described the scenario of the logic of archer’s sacrifice and then his crewman being the ones to try to take that next step.

I loved in the scene with Mayweather where he goes and is talking to Hoshi and is just like, , it’s gonna be faster with two sets of eyes and like mm-hmm. , like, he doesn’t have the proclivity for language and everything she does, but he just wants to lend a hand. And when it shows them later and they’ve got like eight different data pads out on the table and he is like, wait a minute, which one is the, the one that has the rules for combat?

And like trying to figure, figure things out. And they do figure out the. and it is, yep, nicely done. And the combat scene, again, original series on the nose. Like other than using the Star Trek, fight music. , this is as close as you can get to like an original star Trek setup as possible. They are tied to each other and they have to go at each other with in traditional Andorian, apparently icebreaking tools.

And apparently that tool was designed by a prop guy based on a script note, which just simply said the Andorian. weapon is terrible looking like it’s, it was not described in any way. So he had to come up with that. And it was a, you know, it kind of looks like a handheld one hand bat left. So it’s this, mm-hmm.

extremely aggressive looking blade, and the two of them are tied to each other and have to go toe to toe. And Archer holds his own and is merely looking for an opportunity to get the one shot in, which is he needs to incapacitate his. It’s not, you have to kill your opponent, you just have to incapacitate him.

So we discover after what would’ve been the commercial break that he has severed an antenna. And yeah, we see what this does immediately when Shran tries to stand up and looks like he basically has a massive inner ear infection. He doesn’t have any balance. Yeah, Combs plays it beautifully with a very, he is frustrated by the loss.

He is not heartbroken. He’s just frustrated because it’s like it’s gonna take nine months for this to grow back and . Yeah. And the nice moment of flock saying, well, well some electrostimulation and massaging it can be half that time. Like Flox is very chipper about the whole thing. Like you’ve lost it, but it’s gonna grow back.

And just think of all the ways you could help it. And I love that his response to all of this is also relief Combs, his depiction of Shran as like he didn’t want to kill. when Archer was going to present himself as the opponent, Shran was like, I’m not gonna not kill you. And the fact that Archer figured out a way to get the fight to end in a way that allows them both to live, I think is evident in Combs response.

Well, yeah, but I mean, he point V’Las says you showed respect. Like you can, you can tell that scene in the, in the sick bay. His respect for Archer is only deepened. Yeah. So it’s like you can, you can tell that there’s a really strong friendship between the two of them in that one scene.

So it allows for the teller rights and the andorians to now work together.

We get another nice scene where it’s very brief, but it’s the sharing of the communication codes and. He hands them over to Archer and Archer’s responses like, you know that I’ve gotta give these to the teller rights . And he’s like, do what you want. Like, just like . I get it. I know none of us are happy, but the net is cast and they are able to start isolating the drone ship.

And up to this point, Matt and I haven’t even talked about what’s going on in the drone ship, which is again, feels very classic Trek. It feels like it could be Scotty and mm-hmm. and one of the other main characters, maybe checkoff or sulu, trapped aboard an alien vessel and. , their ability to figure out how to interact with the various systems of the ship.

They’re literally like pushing buttons blind. They’re practically like, I’m gonna hit these and you tell me what happens. And it reminded me of when our dad would be downstairs in the basement trying to throw the circuit board and say, let let me know when the dining room lights go off. So they’re literally punching buttons.

And meanwhile, on Romulus, the Romulan in command, the admiral in command of this program is confronted by a senator and in a nice touch. This I thought was, was, uh, really well thought out when. Senator shows up. He’s accompanied by two res and the res. Mm-hmm. are the Romulan offshoot that was introduced in Star Trek nemesis.

Star Trek nemesis had come out just before this season, so they reused some of the re prosthetic masks. in this. So those are straight up right out of the movie, but effectively that makes this the earliest depiction of reins, even though they were one of the last of the Vulcan Romulan. Extended family to be introduced in Star Trek through one of the next generation films.

So we see that the Admiral is kind of up against, his back, is against a wall. This program has to work and working means that the drone ship gets back to Romulus without being captured or identified as Ro. So the fact that the ship is currently dead in space is not great, and he and the scientist behind the development of this drone ship are not really bickering, but kind of sniping at each other with like, well, this gotta get back and well, it’s built to repair itself, so it will do it, but it’s gonna take some time.

Meanwhile, trip and Reid are in there pulling out wires, and that’s not gonna help things at all. He manages at a distance to take Reid captive, and that’s where we end up with the moment that leads to trip teasing Reid, I’m gonna put you on report. Trip is effectively going to be irradiated to death.

Mm-hmm. , and he gives Reid a command. Don’t worry about me, stay out in the bridge area. Don’t come back in here with me, but Reid won’t listen, and Reid puts himself in the same room as a secondary hostage. This of course, Is where the original series twist takes place. Turns out Reid has put a phaser into a control panel and is effectively gonna blow the crap out of that part of the ship , and gets into this room with.

With trip and is like, we better get outta here because there’s nothing. And Well,

he talks in code. Yeah, he just points, he just points at his empty

poster. Because you know what happens when, uh, , there’s a lot of winking, a lot of nodding, a lot of nudging and getting trip to realize like, oh, you’ve got a phaser on overload.

We better clear out, and I love the sequence when they open up a panel. And just start ripping the crap out of the stuff in that panel to get through the narrow. Entryway and Trip says, well, how big of an explosion is this gonna cause? and Reid’s response is like, it’s gonna be pretty big . We got , very effective, very effective scenes between them and the Romulan at a distance.

I thought it was a nice game of cat and mouse. Out there being, there’s not a direct physical threat that Ramon can do. They can only threaten with making the ship toxic to them. Mm-hmm. and it’s effective. And they do all these things at a distance where it’s turning the ship into a weapon against Trip and Reed.

But they are also able to manipulate things to make the Romulan control less effective. Fight their way to the outer hole of the ship in order to interface with the hollow projectors, which are, as trip says, they’re basically giant transmitters. And if I can get ahold of one of those, I might be able to reach the enterprise.

So while the net is cast and a hundred plus ships are looking for the drone ship, the drone ship is able to communicate back to them. There is a very brief moment where it’s depicted as. The drone ship is used to attack a Raelian ship and it’s masquerading as the enterprise. It doesn’t add up to a lot.

It just lets everybody know what’s being done. It’s kind of like, don’t forget this loaded gun is out there. , I thought that whole entire scene was unnecessary.

Yeah, they didn’t need

it. Yeah, it was unnecessary. I think it was done primarily to like raise the threat of like, well, will somebody move against Starfleet?

But it’s more to just send the message of they’re not interested in starting an outright where they just want to destabilize everybody’s trust. And I don’t think I agree with you. I don’t think that that was fully necessary. But nonetheless, it’s what happened. The drone ship we see in combat is able to do maneuvers that we have really never seen many Starfleet ships or star ships in, in star Trek do at all.

It’s doing barrel rolls and twists and and changes of direction on a dime. Again, largely because of a lack of a crew and no need for inertial dampeners, you wouldn’t have the need for a shift to respond. To control what would be happening on the inside. But it does raise some questions about physics again.

Yep. This is, yep. This is a show that’s intended to, like, this is supposed to be an extremely threatening ship. It has to be a problem. This, the, the other issue

I have with this point in the story is they went through all this trouble to get the alliance formed to create this net so they can capture it, you know, figure out where it is and keep it from escap.

They really don’t do anything with that. Like yeah, they’ve, they’ve set up this whole thing, it’s almost fallen apart. The captains almost died trying to hold it together and they, they just look like they stumble upon it and it’s like, why did they not make an explicit scene of a Tellerite? Vessel has captured, you know, has a signal that they think might be.

The ship and have them kind of analyze and go, yes, that is it. And so then, and they say, let’s deploy a group of ships. Right? And then you have a tension moment of will they get there in time before Reid and, you know, trip get killed? It’s like they could have added just, so instead of the scene of the, the enterprise shooting the Brazilian ship, it’s like they could have devoted a little time to.

Having that network that they set up succeed, like actually by working together cooperatively, we found this thing. Yeah, but they never really did that. It was just kind of like this, what? What was the point? I think

they did. Try to give a visual cue to like, yes, this worked as intended. Everybody working together.

When you have the drone sequence where the drone is attacking everybody, and it is, the enterprise cannot get a teleporter lock on Trip and Reid to get them off the ship, and they’re told like, you’re gonna have to be clear of the ship. And so Reid and Trip both know, well, that only means one thing, and they open a hatch on the side of the ship.

and they know that they need to just jump, so they jump into space, which leads to some very awkward looking special effects of Reed and Trip, both looking like they’re swimming in water, despite the fact that they could just be floating. Still. Mm-hmm. . I wasn’t quite sure why Reid looked like he was on a surfboard.

But anyway, they go into space and I think the kind of moment that you’re talking about of like, oh, the uniting of all these different races work is in the fact that they look behind them and they see not the enterprise. They see a group of ships that are all Vulcan and Dorian and Tillery. Mm-hmm. and these ships all.

Going to Hot pursuit after the drone. When the drone goes to warp, they’ll shoot after it. And I think that’s supposed to be the moment of like, oh, it’s united front. It’s, that’s the moment. But, but I agree with you. It’s not enough. And they didn’t use time well earlier it

was, they would have this, there was an episode Next Generation where there was a similar thing where they had to work together and they had this like network where if this ship like poked through some kind of sensor field mm-hmm.

they would know mm-hmm. and data was in command and it was this whole thing of like mm-hmm. not trusting the Android. And it was like it, the network worked, they detected the ship trying to get through and everything worked. That’s the moment I was missing from this. Yeah. It’s like they should have shown this.

That one visual was not enough. It was like, what happened before that? It’s like, well, why, how did they know to get there? How did, how did they know where they were? It’s like, why didn’t they show this network succeeded in locating and triangulating the position of this ship, and then they were deployed?

It’s like, I, I didn’t understand why they didn’t even do that. Yeah. So you’re talking about like, 22nd scene. Yeah. Just a conversation overcomes, it’s like, it wasn’t like special effects laden, it’s just literally just have a, a radio conversation about we found ’em, we’re on our way, . Yeah. The fact that they didn’t even do that

was frustrating.

So we’re left at the end of this episode with the drone ship shooting back toward Romulan space. It’s being pursued by the Vulcan Tele, right. Andorian cohorts. on Romulus, we see the pilot being disconnected from the system, and this is the first moment that we see that the pilot is not a Romulan. He is, in fact, he looks like an Andorian.

It is in fact an Anar who is an offshoot of the Andorian race. So we see this anar for the first time and realize, okay, there’s something bigger going on with the Romulan use. This technology and who they’re using in the technology and what it might mean for the andorians. We see back in space, we see Trip and Reid thinking, well, what do we do now?

The enterprise is still there. They’re brought aboard. They have their moment that we’ve talked about already where Trip teases Reid about having to write ’em up. But the episode ends with us seeing the Tellerite and Shran. In communication with each other, standing there talking about how things worked out for the better.

And the Tellerite even makes a statement of perhaps we shouldn’t just be talking about trade negotiations. Perhaps we should be talking bigger picture, meaning the hostilities between these two people. Maybe it’s time to figure out a way past all of that. And this is where the handshake that I referred to at the beginning of this episode comes into play.

The importance of a handshake. This is not a method of welcome or thanks or congratulations. That is native to the Tellerite. , we see the first time that the Tellerites come toward the enterprise. In the previous episode in Babbel one, we see the Tellerite ambassador put his hand forward, obviously in his attempt to incorporate some human tradition into his greeting in the same way that Archer has tried to incorporate.

I’m gonna insult you to your face. In order to show respect to you. The tell. Right. The Tellerite. Has been trying to do the same thing by offering his hand to Archer. Now we see, and I think it’s a wonderful symbol for this show. Mm-hmm. And for what the federation is supposed to be, the teller Right.

Doesn’t have a symbolic gesture to make to an Andorian That would be understood as this is my attempt to build a bridge. , but the teller right knows that the Andorian will know what a human handshake means, so mm-hmm. , he uses a human tradition in order to bring the Andorian onto the same path, and the two of them awkwardly shake hands in front of Archer as we see the beginning of discussions and Archer points to the table in front of them and says, why not start now?

And it’s a great ending. For an episode, which I thought did a great job of showing where these, where this trail is going to lead. We know where it’s going to get, we don’t know how it’s gonna get there, and you want to be engaged and captivated as you’re getting there. I think this episode did a good job with that.


no, it, I agree. It’s like showing that humanity is the bridge between these species with that handshake was, uh,

really well done. So this episode, United was viewed by about 2.5, 2.8 million viewers, and that’s more than the previous episode. But it’s less than the next one. The next episode called the a and r, and we’ve already revealed what the a and r are.

That’s hard to say. Which again, it’s I think, compelling to think about how the episodes, when they build these three episode arcs, how they build audience, how they really do engage an audience. And it seems like people watching babble one told their friends. who then tuned in for United. Mm-hmm. , who then told their friends, who then turned in, tuned in for the a r.

Yeah. If only that kind of audience building could have been taking place earlier in the series. Yep. Yep. So Matt, next time we’re gonna be talking about the a and r. We already know that’s about the offshoot of the Andorian race, so that’s something to look forward to. Before we get there, did you wanna share anything about what you have coming up on your main channel at this point?

I would say there’s a whole bunch of videos that I have planned around my home build and what you can do for your own home to try to be more energy efficient. And so I’m discussing things like heat pumps, which I believe should be out around the time of this. So be sure to check that out.

As for me, if you’re interested in finding out more about my books, you can check out my website, sean Ferrell dot com.

You can also go to your local bookstore, including Amazon Barnes and noble bookshop.org, or your local bookseller or library. Don’t forget my next book, the Sinister Secrets of Sins will be coming out in June, and that’s for middle grade readers or just anybody who likes a good adventure with robots and pirates, and a kid who doesn’t know why he keeps getting into trouble.

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