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Breaking the Ice (episode)

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"Breaking the Ice"
ENT, Episode 1x08
Production number: 008
First aired: 7 November 2001
7th of 97 produced in ENT
7th of 97 released in ENT
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 97 released in ENT Remastered  
635th of 728 released in all
Archers comet Ent TiMur
Written By
Maria Jacquemetton & Andre Jacquemetton

Directed By
Terry Windell
Unknown (2151)
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With a Vulcan ship on their tail, the Enterprise decides to investigate a comet.


Enterprise discovers the biggest comet ever observed by Humans – or Vulcans. An away team consisting of Malcolm Reed and Travis Mayweather is sent to collect samples, as the comet is found to contain a rare substance under the surface. The Vulcan ship Ti'Mur mysteriously appears out of the blue, asking that they be allowed to observe while the Enterprise investigates the comet. Captain Archer is not happy about the Vulcans looking over his shoulders, but in the interest of cooperation agrees.

Meanwhile, Trip Tucker discovers that T'Pol has received secret encrypted transmissions from the nearby Vulcan ship and is suspicious. Captain Archer is especially disappointed that T'Pol has apparently been in touch with the Vulcans behind his back. He has Hoshi Sato decrypt the data, who gives it to Tucker unread. It turns out, though, that the transmission was not correspondence concerning the Enterprise but a personal letter for T'Pol regarding her arranged marriage. Archer, embarrassed at having intruded on T'Pol's privacy, does not ask Tucker to reveal its contents. Tucker feels guilty, however, and, as the one who actually read the letter, decides to tell T'Pol what he did.

On the bridge, a recording to some Earth school children who go to a school in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, is dispatched, containing comments about ongoing events on Enterprise and answers to the many questions the popular crew previously received. Tucker is extremely uncertain about answering a question about ship sanitation as he is worried that he will be assumed to be a sanitation engineer.

Tucker apologizes to T'Pol for having read her message from the Vulcan ship by mistake, telling her that an encoded letter just looked suspicious. T'Pol is upset and asks Tucker to keep the contents of the letter to himself.

Meanwhile, Archer decides to invite the Vulcan captain, Vanik, to dinner aboard Enterprise to "break the ice" so to say, hoping to establish some level of trust between their species. He is not successful, however, as the Vulcan is disrespectful, does not share Archer's enthusiasm and viewpoints, and otherwise is very dismissive and patronizing. It appears to Archer that all he can really prove to the Vulcan is whatever stereotypes he already has of Humans. Upset at Vanik's attitude, Archer concludes the meal by accusing the Vulcan of spying on the Enterprise and then asks him to leave.

Archer notes that an explosion triggered on the surface of the comet by the away team has altered the comet's rotational axis, resulting in the shuttlepod facing the star in two hours, causing temperatures to shoot up a couple of hundred degrees. The away team promises to be out of there as soon as possible.

Later, T'Pol invites Tucker to her quarters to discuss her planned marriage. Doctor Phlox had advised her earlier that it might be helpful if she discussed her problems with someone instead of keeping it inside. In the interest of sharing her predicament with as few people as possible, T'Pol decides to talk to Tucker, since he already knows about the contents of the letter. Apparently, the impending marriage is causing some concern for her, since she would have to leave Enterprise immediately and remain away for at least one Vulcan year. She wants advice from Tucker, who does not share her views on Vulcan culture and tradition, stating that arranged marriages have been discarded at the same time as slavery was abolished – a comparison T'Pol does not appreciate. Whatever advice Tucker gives T'Pol is met with resistance, as she believes that he simply does not understand her culture and commitment to tradition. At the end of the conversation, Tucker is frustrated at T'Pol's insistence on devotion to heritage above all while T'Pol feels that it was a mistake altogether to consult Tucker's help.

Meanwhile, the away team runs into complications and is stuck on the comet due to a malfunction in their shuttlecraft. Unable to rescue Mayweather and Reed on their own, the Vulcan ship offers to help. Archer is reluctant, but T'Pol tells him that Vanik expects Archer to refuse his offer as he sees Humans as arrogant and prideful, and that accepting his offer would be the perfect opportunity for Archer to prove the Vulcans wrong. Archer swallows his pride and lets the Vulcans help pull the shuttle out with their tractor beam – a technology Starfleet does not possess. When the away team returns, attempts by Archer at friendliness are blocked by Vanik, who has no interest in receiving the data Enterprise collected on the comet.

T'Pol chooses to reconsider her marriage and obligations to her culture, showing that her discussion with Tucker wasn't as fruitless as it first appeared.

Memorable Quotes

"Once he realizes we're not going to blow up the galaxy maybe he'll leave us alone."

- Archer

"Wow! That's one big snowball!"

- Tucker, on Archer's comet

"You're easily impressed."

- Vanik, to Archer

"It might not be good for the body... But it sure is good for the soul."

- Tucker, defending his favorite dessert – pecan pie – to T'Pol

"A POOP question, SIR?!"

- Tucker, answering a question from children on Earth

"I always wanted to chase a comet."

- Archer

"I've only seen snow twice in my life."

- Mayweather

"You are Human. You are free to choose."

- T'Pol, trying to convince Archer to ask the Vulcans for help

"If Vanik's the kind of guy who likes to watch... let him."

- Archer

Background information

Vulcan snow man

The Vulcan snowman

  • This episode features the Ti'Mur, the first major Vulcan High Command starship seen in all of Star Trek.
  • Koss, who later appeared in "Home", "The Forge", and "Kir'Shara", is first mentioned in this episode.
  • This episode effectively begins the T'Pol/Tucker personal relationship, and its title is thus a double entendre. It is the first time Tucker enters T'Pol's quarters and the first time she shares personal information with him. The pecan pie she has in her quarters at the end of the story is also the first time T'Pol is seen to eat unambiguously Human food for her own enjoyment. It is noteworthy that she signals her personal rebellion from Vulcan tradition with one of Tucker's favorite desserts.
  • This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for its visual effects, but it lost out to the pilot episode, "Broken Bow".
  • This is the only episode of Star Trek: Enterprise to be directed by regular Star Trek: Voyager director Terry Windell.
  • This is the first episode of Enterprise which did not have Rick Berman or Brannon Braga writing the episode or its story.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Guest star

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt double


Archer's Comet; bio-matter resequencer; Brennan, Liam; caffeine; Chef; comet; County Kerry; dark-matter nebula; Denobula Triaxa system; Denobulans; drill bit; drilling rig; Earth; eisillium; EV suit; "First Contact (art)"; Gaby; germs; grappler; drink dispenser; green tea; Haley; hydroponics; Ireland; Kenmare; Kimball; Koss; logic; magnesite; Malvin; Maymora-class; McCook, Molly; Miles, Geoff; milk; Milky Way Galaxy; O'Shannon, Chloe; peanut butter sandwich; pecan pie; planetary nebula; plasma torch; pok tar; Polycocyx astris; poop; protein resequencer; sanitation engineer; sculptor; snow; snowman; Suurok-class; Ti'Mur; toilet; Tok; tractor beam; turkey; universal translator; Vanik; Vulcans; Vulcan database; Vulcan Space Program; Vulcan survey ship; water; Witty, Gabrielle; Worley Elementary School; Yarahla; Zariphean tea

Previous episode:
"The Andorian Incident"
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 1
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