Consider the automated repair station from Dead Stop. It tried to kidnap Travis to wire his brain into some kind of computing matrix, and towards the end we encounter a room filled with all the aliens it has captured. Terrifying though this is, it could be worse. This is a trading post, so it's conceivable that it accepts long term contracts as well as simple repair jobs. So, there may well be a species out there that, for whatever reason, steals people's bodies and is willing to trade with amoral robots for them.
"Mirror, Mirror" gives a pretty good picture. And imagine all of Star Trek: Voyager with the evil crew from "Living Witness."
Alternate-Archer from the Mirror Universe, over the course of the episode begins to experience vivid hallucinations and demonstrates progressively more erratic behaviour that according to Forrest was previously atypical from him. Did he suffer a psychotic break, or is he beginning to display several of the symptoms of Clarke's Syndrome, the illness that killed his regular-universe counterpart's father? If so, what does that bode for his counterpart?
If we're supposed to believe the Defiant in "In A Mirror Darkly" is the same Defiant from TOS episode "The Tholian Web", then Archer may have been affected by the weird sort of "interspace madness" that Kirk's crew experienced around the Defiant. Maybe it manifests in different ways?
Keep in mind, Arik Soong postulated a possible cure could exist and the Denobulans could have researched one, given how they aren't against genetic engineering like Starfleet. It is possible that in our universe, Archer could have developed the condition and been treated for it.
But wouldn't treating Archer's genetic disease go against the "evolutionary predestination" Phlox believes in?
One web reviewer described it as Mirror Archer being haunted by his Prime Universe counterpart. Specifically the fact that Prime Archer (the peaceful guy that Mirror Archer hates) got farther than Mirror Archer has. (Note that the hallucinations start after Mirror Archer reads Prime Archer's bio.)
When one looks at the evidence, the Xyrillians from "Unexpected" look very suspiciously like date-rapists. First, they stalk Enterprise remaining in their wake to avoid detection, only to claim their ship is broken down when caught. Any visitors experience a Mushroom Samba due to their unique atmosphere, forcing them to take a nap for the better part of a day or two. In Tucker's case, he's shown the wonders of the holodeck and invited to play a game, which is actually their form of sex, essentially subjecting him to rape! (Which she later reveals she knew what she was doing). When their ship is finally fixed, they seem to be in quite a hurry to depart, only to run into the same mysterious "engine problems" a few days later when they're found trailing behind the Klingon's ship. Sound suspicious yet? How about the following line;
"We have a lot of experience dealing with alien visitors..."
The fact that the female Xyrillian in question has very large breasts in a very figure hugging uniform is also deeply suspect in hindsight as we learn very quickly that it is the men who provide the milk for the children using nipples that grow on their arms - which means that not only do they serve no purpose on her, but they are in completely the wrong place. How else can this be explained in-universe other than surgery to help her better attract alien men? And how about the technicalities of this box that she used to impregnate Trip with given how it clearly cannot be their natural method of reproduction? Kind of makes you wonder why it exists in the first place and why she had one so close to hand.
In "Doctor's Orders", Phlox is forced to remain awake while the rest of the crew are put into a coma to travel through a dangerous region of space. The problem however is that unlike the episode it's recycling, "One" from Voyager, Seven lasted about three weeks before the isolation started causing her to hallucinate, before finally going off the deep end when the Doctor went offline. In this case of "Doctor's Orders" however, Phlox is only alone for four days and cracks up after two of them. Furthermore, it's stated that this hallucinations under extreme stress is considered normal for his species and is not a side effect of the region of space they are travelling through! In other words, this unintentionally paints the picture that Phlox's mental health is constantly teetering on the precipice of full-blown madness!
The Inferred Holocaust of the Valakians from "Dear Doctor". The first big evolutionary and intellectual leap that the Menk will have to make is figuring out what to do with the corpses of an entire civilization! Plus, one can only hope that the Valakians are feeling charitable and do things like responsibly shutdown and secure all of their industrial technology (e.g. reactors, etc.) prior to dying out. Otherwise the Menk will likely face a highly polluted and dangerous world filled with failing machinery they have no idea how to repair.
The Vissians in the episode Cogenitor try to describe the life of a cogenitor in very happy, bright terms; but we are essentially talking about a race where two sexes of this world force the entire third to move from family to family to impregnate the females without any belief at all that what they are doing is rape. Perhaps some of the cogenitors give their permission or that some of the males and females are opposed to this horrible treatment as we don't have enough of a reference pool to say either way, but there is no way that the one we see in the episode is and that doesn't change the views or actions of the Vissians that we meet at all (and of course also gets into the thorny issue of whether such an oppressed class could ever be legitimately consensual). And then that gets into other implications, such as what level of indoctrination and treatment goes into cementing this way of life from a young age for all three sexes (because no one goes from normal life to passive rape slave in the span of a single birthday). It certainly makes you wonder how if at all their parents maternal instincts manifest when they give birth to one.
Bearing in mind that "In a Mirror Darkly" shows us the mirror versions of Phlox and Reed are the agony booth's inventors, and that the first prototype of the booth was later destroyed along with the Enterprise, one of its inventors has to have survived; by Kirk's time, the agony booth had been propagated to all Terran vessels. Since Phlox was most likely executed for his attempt to sabotage the Defiant (and most certainly would not have given his executioners any help in making his execution more slow and painful than it was already likely to be), Reed, whom Phlox indicated stood an equal chance of dying or recovering after his near-fatal encounter with Slar the Gorn's booby trap, probably did ultimately recover.
Many fans were irritated by the show's treatment of the Vulcans, which more or less made them a whole race of jerkasses. It does, however, give some interesting context to Dr. McCoy's occasionally. . .uh. . .uncomfortable comments to Spock.
Are we really supposed to believe that the Humans willingly let the Vulcans stagnate their technological development for over 100 years? Granted they were desperate for allies and the Vulcans are (mostly) benevolent, but what exactly stopped Humanity from simply trading for a more advanced Warp Drives from another race? Does this mean that the Vulcans confiscated the vessels of anyone who tried? Surely this would have caused Humanity to tell them to go screw themselves and cut off all ties?
Enterprise appears to suggest that before the the Enterprise expedition, humanity's knowledge of what is out there is quite... limited, to say the least (even the Tellarites, who appear to be one of the local relative Great Powers, are unfamiliar to the non-T'Pol Enterprise crew as of season 2). Before you trade for a more advanced warp drive, you need to find someone willing (and able) to sell you a more advanced warp drive, after all.
That being said, we know that Humanity's reach was at least 90 lights years prior to 2151, with Draylax and Vega Colony being some of the furthest locations explored, even before the Warp 2 Barrier was broken in 2143 note Merryweather was born on the several months long freight-run between those two places in 2126. Furthermore, we know that Humanity was in contact with both the Draylaxians and the Denobulans before the launch of Enterprise and possibly a few other races. Unless they all were still limited to Warp 1 and 2, it seems strange that there wasn't at least one enterprising alien businessman willing to flog human explorers a better engine?
But what would humanity have to trade with? Seriously, we're a backwater hick planet with crappy everything. We probably had nothing worth the trader's time.
While Earth is still a backwater, it appears quite wealthy and prosperous as of 2151, enough to end world hunger, disease and poverty. The Earth Cargo Service runs freight to various worlds, so clearly it's not like Earth doesn't have stuff other races aren't interested in? We even see Archer trade supplies for a bunch of kitchen spices in one episode! Taking two ships and selling one, even if for scrap metal and spare parts would earn more than enough for some better kit. Even the Ferengi figured this out and they were too stupid to invent warp themselves!
Most likely political/economic threats from the Vulcans. The Vulcans are shown to be an important player in the Alpha Quadrant, so much so that the Klingons are willing to not send a squadron of warbirds to raze Earth after speaking with them. They most likely exerted their influence to prevent other races from trading with Earth, something along the lines of "If you sell the humans technology that we say they can't have, we'll boycott/blockade your world," or, even worse in cases like the Andorians who the Vulcans don't have amicable relations with, the threat of a shooting war should they interfere. And the Humans, lacking in technology as they were, would be incapable of telling the Vulcans off. "You want us to leave? That's cute. Now, about this warp engine you want to build..."
However, many of the races that the Enterprise encountered in its mission only had ships that were capable of traveling at about warp 2. If that wasn't true, then why would other planets trade with Earth using its warp 2 freighters? Many of the ships that were able to match its speed were from hostile or unknown species that humanity was unable to trade with. With that in mind, trade with other species and decades of practical experience in space no doubt sped up humanity's progress in general. Humanity was able to break the warp 2 barrier only 80 years after they built their first warp drive, while it took the Vulcans centuries to do the same. If this applies to other species as well, then it is no wonder that humanity didn't trade for better warp technology, they were already on their way to having some of the best warp engines in local space.
The definition of "stagnation" is very subjective here. From most species' perspective, humanity was advancing very rapidly. It was only humans (e.g. Archer) who were chomping at the bit and feeling like they were being "held back". These aren't the idealistic utopians of later Trek eras, they're people for whom World War III was recent history, and Earth had been divided into nations that were doubtless in a constant arms race. So as they began to encounter other species, the first thing that sprang to their mind was the urgent need to achieve technological parity with them, just as the nations had used to do. The Vulcans were "allies" who refused to share their advanced technology. In the days before United Earth (and in real life), that kind of relationship between nations carried the connotation of it being less of an "alliance" and more of a dominate-subordinate relationship.
I was all ready to post a thing on Headscratchers about the Vulcans using lirpas in the Forge rather than the Vulcan equivalent to assault rifles. I figured that as the properties of the Forge are known, they should at least have the Vulcan equivalent of park rangers trained in and armed with these weapons. But then I thought about it, and I realized a few things:
1. Given the significance of the Forge to the Vulcans, the Vulcan priests might well control the Forge rangers. To them, assault rifles or similar weapons would be emblematic of their pre-Surak days, and they would find them repugnant.
2. Even if they did have assault rifles, the Vulcan High Command would not trust these rangers to capture Archer, T'Pol, and T'Pau. If they saw them carrying the Kir'Shara, they might switch sides. And none of their own troops would have reason to be trained to use such weapons. Instead, the High Command found a few trustworthy soldiers who were experts at the ancient Vulcan martial art of lirpa-fu, and sent them in.
Wasn't it mentioned however, that unique properties of the Forge causes interference with particle weapons, rendering them useless?
While the writers clearly intended T'Pol's casting to be for fan service it ended up serving a better purpose, reinforcing one of the few themes they had working in the beginning. When Cochrane made first contact with the Vulcans, we who were masters of our realm were now children again and the Vulcans were adults, smarter and wiser about the new world we were about to enter. By Enterprise era, we're in our late adolescence, having grown up faster than our parents expected, chafing under their rules, ready to break out and explore the world on our own. But they were still smarter and wiser. This is all reinforced on the Enterprise with the adolescent acting Archer butting heads with the calm measured presence of T'Pol. She was smarter, more experienced and physically superior; a constant reminder that made the humans aboard feel somewhat inadequate. So it helps that she's also beautiful, which both makes all of that more visually present and makes her seem that much more superior, having seemingly no flaws. This is one instance in which a flawless character can serve the story.
This is certainly a good explanation for the catsuit. After all, no other Vulcan wears one, so if you believe humans to be brutes ruled by their base emotions, it makes perfect logical sense to try and use that to your advantage by highlighting T'Pol's assets. She was just too unskilled and/or unwilling in the art of the femme fatale to really capitalise on it.
Zefram Cochrane's paraphrasing of the classic introduction from TOS and TNG may seem like a mere Continuity Nod at first. When given a little thought, you realize: Kirk based his speech upon Cochrane's! Picard more likely paraphrased from Kirk, but when you realize that the speech was first made by Cochrane it has much more meaning every time you hear it.
While any fan is loath to use "These Are the Voyages" as an example, it's subtly implied that the "modern" introduction may have been first paraphrased by Archer. Which means that he was the one most likely responsible for flubbing Cochrane's "let us go boldly", into the more famous version, "to boldly go".
I realize that this almost certainly wasn't the intention, but now that you point that out, I can't help but be reminded that probably the most famous flubbed line in American history also happens to be the most famous (though in no way less inspiring) flubbed line in real-life space exploration:
Neil Armstrong: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
Although Armstrong himself always claimed that he said "A Man", but this was lost in the (admittedly bad) transmission.
Well, thanks to J.J. Abrams, we now know that the monologue is the in-universe "Captain's Oath", meaning all Starfleet captains recite some version of it. Even Sisko ("...Five year mission to kick ass," indeed!). It's very likely the tradition still started with Cochrane and Archer, though.
In "Twilight", why did T'Pol foolishly decide to ram the docked Xindi ship into the other one, wrecking one nacelle and ultimately delay the mission long enough for the Xindi weapon to be launched? It was likely because by this point in the alternate timeline, she was suffering from the effects of Trellium-D, lowering her impulse control. This would also explain the smirk she adopts when she began ramming the ships, she was high at the time!
This could also be the real reason she was selflessly taking it upon herself to care for Archer for all those years. Instead of doing it to repay him for saving her from the anomalies, it's because she's trying to atone for inadvertently causing the destruction of Earth, after she let her addiction to Trellium-D take precedence over the mission, causing it to derail completely.
Hoshi running around being something of an errand girl instead of doing her actual job most of time. The thing is, why wouldn't this be the case? While Archer is the captain and has to run the ship, Reed has to maintain the weapon systems and deal with petty security issues, Tucker has to run the entirety of engineering all day long, and so on, What else does Hoshi have to do? Not much really. The reality is the amount of time she's going to spend actually translating and running the communicator is going to be a tiny fraction of what she's going to spend doing basically nothing all day otherwise. Hoshi's pretty much the only one of the main characters who actually has the time to be a gofer, and it allows her to pick up a wide variety of skills besides.
Many people were more than a little put off by the fact that Klingons in Enterprise had their ridges, with (initially) no explanation of why they suddenly gain and lose them over a period of only a few hundred years. Eventually, Enterprise explained what happened to cause the loss of ridges: While experimenting with the Augmentation procedures used on people like Khan, the human augment DNA made them look more human-like. It mixed with a virus and spread throughout the population, and eventually they found a cure for it and were able to change back to their normal "ridged" look. Now, one known side effect of the Augmentation procedure is a drastic increase in violence and bizarrely aggressive behavior. Apply this to the Klingons, and what's known about them throughout TNG and beyond: Klingons in the TNG era respect honor as a warrior above all else, and try to uphold that in all things. Klingons in the TOS era are ruthless and deceptive, employing tactics that are far from honorable. No onscreen explanation for their prior behavior is ever given. However, by thinking about this with the augmentation in mind, it becomes obvious: the only period in the whole canon where the Federation and Klingons are really at war (the short time in Deep Space Nine excepted) is during the TOS era - the very era where the entire population is afflicted with a condition that makes them unnecessarily aggressive. Now, note how in the TOS movies, the Klingons are starting to get their ridges back: at the exact same time, they're also starting to actively seek peace with the Federation. Coincidence? Likely, but when you put it all together it makes perfect sense, and wonderfully explains the transition from Always Chaotic Evil to Proud Warrior Race through obvious canon means.
I always tried to be forgiving to Star Trek: Enterprise, partially because of my love of Star Trek and because I felt it was better than most others shows on television anyway. But one episode I found hard to justify, "Regeneration" with the Borg making an appearance 200 years before they should have. The episode itself I found to be rather good, actually, despite the chronological issues and other anachronistic details. The Borg hadn't been that frightening since Star Trek: First Contact (no Borg Queen to humanize them), and in fact ties directly into that movie. It even has a sly Stable Time Loop thrown in. But when I started to think over the skewed Borg chronology depicted in Star Trek: Voyager, I realized that Enterprise was trying to make more sense of the logistics behind their very first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In that episode, Guinan had to inform the crew of who the Borg were, being that she was a refugee from a Borg attack. Wouldn't The Federation have at least some knowledge of their existence, especially since they were harboring refugees? While the "Regeneration" episode didn't explain everything, it did acknowledge that there was some info on them and was likely classified until the Enterprise-D made official first contact with a Borg Cube. — KJ Mackley
It's a common, if understandable misconception that Q Who was meant to be the first encounter of any kind between the Federation and Borg. In a neat bit of Fridge Logic, Picard actually recognizes the Borg cube, and, without referencing anyone else or the computer at all, calls Guinan and asks, 'you're familiar with this life form?' This interaction makes no sense if the El-Aurians never informed the Federation about the Borg, which is backed up later by both Generations and Voyager.
It's explicitly stated in Voyager that there were at least rumors of the Borg before Enterprise-D encountered them. Seven's parents went looking for them about a decade before official first contact. Also in the first episode with the Borg, they mention that a planet attacked by the Borg looks just like the remains of Federation and Romulan outposts that were destroyed along the Neutral Zone. Which implies the Borg were already making moves into the Federation's neighborhood. So yeah, the Enterprise Borg episode actually fits surprisingly well. — Dr Lunar
There's another bit of Fridge Brilliance on the part of the Borg that was dinged by SF Debris. In his review, Chuck dinged the Borg for not including the "We are the Borg" part of their standard greeting. Given that these Borg were from the future, so they know how it plays out, they wouldn't want to give the Federation any heads up. If they did their standard greeting, then when Picard got back from J25, all Starfleet would have had to do is type "Borg" into LCARS-Google and they'd get ways to resist/stop assimilation, ways to modify weapons to work, etc. and already be at a post Best of Both Worlds level of tactics and tricks. Or even better, when the El-Aurians started talking about the Borg, they would start preparing nearly 70 years ahead of time. But this way, all they have are some vague 200 year old references buried deep in some archives somewhere that probably just has vague references to cybernetics, which could easily be confused with something like, say, the Bynars. — Tropers/Zatman
Maybe this doesn't belong here, and maybe I've subconsciously taken it from somewhere, but why did Picard have to tell his replicator he wanted his tea hot? Because one of the guys working on the replicator since before it was used for food and drink was from the South, where tea is iced! — Tropers/Alvin
Actually a reaction to a SF Debris review, but that work's Fridge page is reserved for Chuck's in-universe conclusions. In his review of "Carbon Creek", Chuck tears into Stronn for making Straw Vegetarian arguments against killing a deer, then turning around and trying to justify leaving humans to die because They Are As Mayflies. He (Chuck) points out that the deer wouldn't live even as long as a human, so the Vulcans should be justified killing and eating it. But my Fridge Brilliance is that Stronn doesn't know that. He's never seen a deer. For all he knows at the time, that deer could live another two centuries. — Classified
Another entry related to "Carbon Creek." I always felt the episode offers a great, organic explanation for why T'Pol has such difficulty controlling her emotions and is so rebellious: her great-grandmother T'Mir. She displays most of the same characteristics that her descendant eventually would, so clearly it's something that runs in the family. This idea was strengthened when we find out that T'Pol's mother T'Les, as a high-ranking Syrranite, is a revolutionary. The female line kept that story alive, and kept that purse preserved, for four Vulcan generations. T'Pol not only had the purse with her on Earth, but took it with her onto Enterprise. She never took a vacation, but she took a pilgrimage to the place where her ancestor made first contact with Earth, violated the Prime Directive in numerous ways, and lied to her superiors. T'Pol combines the mindset she shares with her female family members, the rebellious attitude they've fostered for centuries, with actual experience with humans that exceeds even T'Mir's. No need for her father to randomly be a Romulan spy.
Remember that Beware the Nice Ones speech that Quark gave Nog in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine about how when pushed hard enough, "hoo-mans" can become as dangerous as Klingons? "The Expanse" demonstrates this subtly but effectively, and not just the part where Enterprise blasts Duras' bird-of-prey to hell. The area where Enterprise is headed, called the Delphic Expanse, is considered so dangerous and unpredictable that even the Klingons are afraid of it. When Enterprise is just about to enter the Expanse, Duras' wingmen bug out, and his own crew think he's nuts for wanting to chase Enterprise in there. Yet our heroes are flying in without a second thought to find the Xindi who attacked Earth. Piss humanity off enough, and they'll charge in where Klingons fear to tread.
Another "Carbon Creek" example was T'pol referring to her "second foremother". Initially this just seems like a typical example of a Vulcan using Spock Speak rather than using a more common (though perhaps less exact term) like great grandmother. However, it makes a lot of sense that Vulcans would refer to ancestors by these sort of terms. Given the length of their lifespans it is possible if they reproduced at young ages for many generations to be alive at the same time at which point terms like "great great great grandmother" would become cumbersome. So it's actually quite (if you'll forgive me) logical that a Vulcan would use such a term.
In "North Star" at first it seemed strange that the humans were apparently able to overthrow these aliens who were obviously technologically advanced (at least enough to have transporters, beam weapons, the ability to travel to Earth then take slaves the fifty light-years from Earth to the Delphic Expanse) but that none of those technologically advanced aliens ever showed up to find out what happened to their people in the last 200 years. Then it hit me that this colony was in the 'Delphic Expanse', basically the Bermuda Triangle of space where ships go in but don't come out and where Vulcans fear to tread. After they didn't hear back from their people they probably learnt something of the reputation of the place and decided not to send another ship. Of course, it's extremely unlikely we'd ever see a return of the Skagarans in a future Trek series but if we did it'd be interesting to encounter a group of technologically advanced Skagarans who may not like the idea of a group of cowboy humans having oppressed their people.
Beyond the Delphic Expanse being a rough place, the planet itself wasn't that fertile. So Skagarans weren't interested in visiting a really lousy house in the worse neighborhood. Hell, that's likely one reason why they needed slaves to begin with; not enough willing colonist to make a go.
In "United", Shran, an Andorian, challenges a Tellarite ambassador to an Ushaan, which is an honor battle with Ushaan-Tor. An Ushaan-Tor is basically brass knuckles if they were a giant knife. The fridge brilliance is that it's an ice miner's tool, coming from the Andorians who are known to have an icy planet, and it is incredibly similar to a knife known as an Ulu, which is a traditional knife from Alaska, which the coldest state in the US.
Malcolm's strong objections to Archer's actions during the Xindi crisis make even greater sense when you realize that it's likely he may have committed deeds in his past as an agent for Section 31 that he may not have been proud of and cannot anymore justify with the Greater Good which is the slippery slope that Archer seems to have gotten himself into.