(written from a Production point of view)
A symbiotic alien comes aboard Enterprise and captures several of the starship's officers in its web. Hoshi struggles to communicate with the alien invader in an attempt to save the trapped officers.
On board Enterprise, a first contact with a new species called the Kreetassans has gone terribly wrong, with the aliens leaving the ship in anger, quickly. Captain Jonathan Archer, his first officer, T'Pol, Commander Charles Tucker III and Ensign Hoshi Sato are running down the corridor trying to find out what's wrong. However, the universal translator seems to be malfunctioning and Sato cannot figure out what they are so mad about. The Kreetassan captain and his crew make their way to the ship's airlock and demand to leave. Archer tries to settle the situation by apologizing for whatever they have done. The Kreetassan captain refuses to budge, so Tucker opens the airlock door and the Kreetassans leave. However, just as the ship's outer airlock door is closing to the Kreetassan ship, a strange web-like creature enters Enterprise...
With the disastrous first contact over, the crew returns to duty. On the bridge, Sato is depressed about being unable to translate the Kreetassan language and make the aliens stay on board and feeling like it was all her fault. T'Pol, however, does not make Sato feel better about her failure, saying that she should practice more so her next first contact will be successful. Tucker enters the bridge, and Sato asks him to repair a communications device so the annoying static will be taken out. Tucker promises that he'll look at it first thing in the morning. He then makes his way to T'Pol's science station and asks about the captain's mood. T'Pol replies that seeing him now is not a good time. Tucker ignores T'Pol's advice and make his way to Archer's ready room. The door chime sounds and Archer, while looking at Vulcan starcharts, angrily says "it had better be important." Tucker comes in and tells Archer that Chef will be serving prime rib with real horseradish. Archer is not interested and says that he'll ask the ship's steward to send some up. Tucker then suggests that they play some pool and that Archer can start off first. Archer declines again, then Tucker takes a computer card out of his pocket and says that he was going to save it for a rainy day, and tells Archer that it is a water polo match, Stanford vs. Texas. Archer immediately stops reading the starchart and asks Tucker if it is the finals. Tucker tells him that it was freshly transmitted from Earth. This breaks Archer out of his depression and he agrees to watch it with Tucker later in the evening.
In Archer's quarters, his dog Porthos is laying on his bed, seemingly bored. However, a strange noise grabs his attention and he starts to bark. Inside a conduit above the captain's quarters, the strange web creature flows through. In the mess hall, Sato, Ensign Travis Mayweather and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed are eating food, discussing the first contact and what could have possibly gone wrong. Seeing that Sato is uncomfortable with the subject, they both drop it. Reed asks what is playing on movie night on the ship. Mayweather replies that it is a classic French film called Wages of Fear. At first, Reed does not want to go, but Mayweather insists that he'll like it because things blow up. Reed then reverses his stance and says that it sounds good. He asks Sato if she'll come to the film, saying that they might need a translator, given that the subtitles go by very fast. Sato says that she has had enough communication failures for one day and leaves. Sato walks down a corridor, where she hears a strange noise, as Porthos had. She leans her head into the corridor so she can hear better, and unknown to her, the web creature is moving right through the interior of the corridor wall. She dismisses the sound and walks away.
In engineering, two crewmen, Michael Rostov and J. Kelly, are working during the midday shift. Rostov is impatient, asking if they can go to the film now. Kelly says to Rostov to wait one minute while she does the warp core maintenance. Rostov gets more impatient and Kelly says that Rostov could always watch the movie in his quarters, since it is in the ship's database. He claims that it is not the same, since he does not want to see part of the movie in the mess hall, then see the beginning later, which he claims makes no sense. Kelly laughs, then, on her computer screen, she sees that there is a power failure in one of the ship's cargo bays. Rostov says that it can wait for the night shift. Kelly replies that Rostov can fix it in less than ten minutes. Meanwhile, in the captain's private mess, Tucker and Archer are watching the polo match while having beer and pretzels, while some members of the crew are watching Wages of Fear. Just before the film starts, the screen begins to display images of Enterprise, and it shows the bridge and sickbay. Reed goes to a communications panel and asks for a maintenance team to come and see what is wrong.
Just then, Rostov enters the cargo bay. As he is moving through with his flashlight, he sees a white substance on the floor with webs surrounding some cargo containers. Rostov activates his communicator, but before he is able to speak into it, something grabs him. Kelly, in engineering, answers his call, but he is not responding. In the captain's mess, Tucker and Archer are enjoying themselves while watching the polo match. Tucker tells Archer that he should get ready to compose himself, because Texas is going to defeat Stanford. Archer then asks Tucker if he has seen the whole transmission, which Tucker sarcastically replies that he has not. Kelly arrives in the cargo bay and sees the webbing and Rostov enveloped in it. She activates her communicator and contacts Archer, and she tells him that there is a strange creature in the cargo bay; before she can finish her sentence, she is also cut off. Tucker and Archer leave the mess hall quickly.
Archer, Reed, Tucker, and a security officer head down to the cargo bay, fully armed with phase-pistols, while the security officer is armed with a plasma rifle. They enter and see the creature which has two crewmembers inside. Archer talks to Crewman Rostov, who tells them to leave before they become trapped as well. But it is too late: As Archer and Tucker are grabbed by the webbed creature's tentacles, Tucker tells Reed and the security officer to leave now. Then, the web sends more tentacles toward Reed and the security officer. The security officer is pulled in, but Reed manages to escape, and, in the process, severs a piece of the tentacle. On the bridge, T'Pol, Reed, and Sato assess the situation in the situation room. On a call coming from the ship's decontamination room, the Denobulan Dr. Phlox comes up with a solution. Upon examining the tentacle, Phlox believes the creature appears to be sensitive to EM radiation. However, Sato has a different idea. She tells T'Pol about some of the data Phlox has collected about the creature; its emissions seem to be similar to math equations and could possibly be a language. T'Pol refuses Sato's suggestion since time seems to running out and asks Reed to assemble EM emitters.
Meanwhile, in the cargo bay, Archer, Tucker, and Rostov are the only people conscious while in the creature. Rostov asks Archer, because of the situation they are in, if the movie will likely be moved. Archer tells him that he will see what he can do to show it again. Just then, Reed and a few security officers enter the cargo bay, armed with EM emitters. T'Pol orders them to activate the devices. Phlox, on the bridge, notes that it is working. However, the crewmembers are beginning to feel intense pain. Phlox tells them to shut the EM emitters off. Phlox comes to the conclusion that the creature has linked the members of the crew together, and therefore they can feel the same pain it can. T'Pol, seeing that there is no other solution, tells Sato she has limited time to learn how to communicate with the creature.
While walking down a corridor with T'Pol, Reed reveals that Starfleet has been working on creating a stable force field for a number of years. Reed believes that he can build a few for use in the cargo bay. T'Pol tells him to begin working on it.
Sato, with little time, begins to learn the language, but she is having a difficult time with it. Since she cannot do it alone, she asks T'Pol, who regards math to have its own language, to help. Meanwhile, while the rest of the crew are busy dealing with the situation, Ensign Mayweather is the only senior officer on the bridge. Then, the ship receives a hail. Mayweather activates the hail; it is the Kreetassan captain. The Kreetassan captain is speaking English, noting that it was not hard to learn. Mayweather talks to the captain and learns that the reason that they left quickly was because they saw that crewmembers were eating in public, which they see as much like mating for them. He states that they also eat with their mouths, but do so in private. Mayweather makes an apology, which the captain accepts. Mayweather then asks if the captain has seen the web creature before. He replies that he has and sends Enterprise the coordinates for the creature's homeworld.
Meanwhile, Sato has figured out the language with help from T'Pol, and enters the cargo bay with Reed, T'Pol, Phlox, and a security officer. Sato begins to tell the creature to let the crewmembers go. The creature then tells Sato the exact latitude and longitude for its location on its homeworld. The creature slowly releases Rostov, Kelly, the security officer, Tucker, and Archer. Then, Reed, Phlox, Sato and T'Pol head down to the symbiotic lifeform's homeworld in a shuttlepod. They release the creature back to its "people." When the pod leaves, it is revealed that the organism covers nearly the entire planet.
- Captain's starlog, supplemental. I'm beginning to wonder if inviting the Kreetassans aboard was such a good idea. It's been a challenging morning, to say the least.
""You eat like you mate?""
"You sure that thing's working?"
- - Sato translates what the Kreetassans say while Tucker asks if the universal translator is functioning properly
"Well, this is one for the books. Briefest First Contact."
- - Tucker, when the Kreetassans storm off Enterprise
"Are you staying for the movie tonight?"
"Uh, Wages of Fear. Classic French film. No, you'll like it. Things blow up."
"Oh. Sounds fun."
- - Mayweather and Reed
"Reed to Bridge."
"Go ahead, Lieutenant."
"We're trying to watch a movie down here, but instead we're being treated to a view of you. So unless you plan on giving us a little song and dance maybe you could see what's gone wrong."
- - Reed and Bridge Personnel when the movie isn't working at Movie Night
"That will be quite enough!"
- - Phlox, after a tendril from the symbiotic lifeform attaches itself to his hand
"I was going to save this for a rainy day, but... Stanford vs. Texas."
- - Tucker, pulling out a recording of a water polo match to cheer Archer up
"I imagine in a situation like this, they'd cancel the movie?"
- - Rostov asks Archer about movie night while they are trapped in the symbiotic lifeform
"At some point in the very near future, there won't be six lifeforms in that cargo bay; they'll only be one."
- - Phlox
"Starfleet's been working on creating a stable EM barrier for the last five years."
"A force field."
"Right. They just haven't found a way to control the particle density. All the specs are in the database. I've been trying to jury-rig a prototype of my own."
"I've got it stable enough to absorb a phase-pistol blast 60 percent of the time. I think I can improve on that."
- - Reed and T'Pol
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't our mission to try to better understand unique forms of life?"
"Not if they're trying to kill the captain."
"We don't know anything about this creature's intentions."
"I admire your interspecies ethics, but until Hoshi tells me she's found a way to communicate with it, I have to assume its intentions are hostile."
- - Phlox and Reed
"If you want information to help you construct your force field, you'll acquire it under my supervision."
"I'm sure I don't have to remind you doctor, I am the ranking officer."
"Not in my sickbay, unless the captain says otherwise."
"The captain is in no condition to offer an opinion."
- - Phlox and Reed
"When Zefram Cochrane... talked about new life and new civilization... you think this is what he meant?"
- - Tucker, to Archer
"With all due respect, we're not dealing with nouns and verbs."
- - Reed, on Sato's wish to try communicating with the symbiotic lifeform
"You don't think I belong on Enterprise, do you?"
"On the contrary. It would be a great loss to Starfleet if you were not a part of this crew. If you feel I've been unfair to you, I apologize. But I hold you to a high standard, Ensign, because I know you're capable of achieving it."
- - Sato and T'Pol
- The initial story for this episode was originally titled "The Needs of the One", a twist on the opening of a Vulcan saying made famous in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The title was still in use for costume prep, and turns up on the tag inside a Kreetassan costume auctioned off in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction. The script was then briefly called "Vox Solis", such as used on the final draft script, which was issued on 13 February 2002. Eventually, the Latin grammar was corrected. The title ultimately ascribed to this episode is Latin for "Lone Voice". This episode is the last of eight Star Trek episodes with Latin names; the others are TNG: "Sub Rosa", DS9: "Dramatis Personae", "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", VOY: "Ex Post Facto", "Non Sequitur", "Alter Ego", and ENT: "Terra Nova".
- The Kreetassan captain is the twelfth character played by Vaughn Armstrong, including his regular role as Admiral Maxwell Forrest. It is also the final new alien character he played, though said character later reappeared in the season two episode "A Night in Sickbay".
- This marks the first time that an Earth ship uses a force field.
- Joseph Will, who plays Michael Rostov in this episode, had previously guest starred as Kelis in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Muse" where he shared significant screentime with director Roxann Dawson, who was then performing her regular role as B'Elanna Torres.
- T'Pol and Phlox have no name tag on their environmental suits.
- On the first broadcast of this installment, the episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 3.4 and was watched by a total of 5.4 million viewers. 
- Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide" rated this episode 4 out of 5 arrowhead insignias and named it the fourth best episode of Enterprise's first season. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 79)
- The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 368) calls this installment "an episode that doesn't work, mainly because the alien looks a bit silly and the weirdness of the threat never quite comes across. Not a bad episode, but not a terribly exciting one either."
- Dialogue in Act Four between T'Pol and Hoshi is the first on-screen confirmation that T'Pol is Enterprise's first officer, in addition to science officer. This was frequently implied in previous episodes, with T'Pol asserting that her Vulcan sub-commander rank superseded Trip's Starfleet commander rank (ENT: "Broken Bow"), and with Archer consistently assigning command to T'Pol first when leaving the ship (and/or the bridge).
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.11, 7 October 2002.
- As part of the ENT Season 1 DVD collection.
- As part of the ENT Season 1 Blu-ray collection.
Links and references Edit
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Vaughn Armstrong as Kreetassan Captain
- Joseph Will as Michael Rostov
- Renee E. Goldsberry as J. Kelly
- Adam Anello as an operations division crewman
- Jef Ayres as Haynem
- Steve Blalock as Zabel
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Amy Kate Connolly as a science division crewman
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Evan English as Tanner
- Hilde Garcia as Rossi
- Lindly Gardner as an operations division crewman
- Glen Hambly as a operations division ensign
- Aldric Horton as an operations division crewman
- John Jurgens as a command division crewman
- Martin Ko as a command division ensign
- Mark Major as Kreetassan aide
- Marlene Mogavero as an operations division crewman
- Louis Ortiz as Kreetassan aide
- Thelma Tyrell as an operations division crewman
- Cynthia Uhrich as an operations division crewman
- John Wan as an operations division crewman
- Mark Watson as an operations division crewman
- Gary Weeks as an operations division crewman
- Prada as Porthos
Andorian language; calculus; Cochrane, Zefram; docking port; electromagnetic radiation; force field; horseradish; nine-ball; noun; phonology; photosensitivity; prime rib; shock; Stanford University; swimming; syllable; symbiotic lifeform; symbiotic lifeform's planet; tentacle; tissue sample; translator; universal translator; University of Texas; verb; Wages of Fear; warp trail; water polo; water polo players
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