Warning: MANY unmarked spoilers.
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- On a meta-level, the Twist Ending from "The Andorian Incident" is one of the boldest moves in the whole series, kicking off one of the show's more memorable recurring arcs.
- Archer's epic "World of Cardboard" Speech to the hostiles in Season 1's "Silent Enemy." The fact that he ends the speech (which is seen entirely via an alien viewscreen) by firing a phaser at the hostile's recorder—punctuated by a switch to static—is a Moment of Awesome for the whole episode.Archer: I assume you planted that device because you wanted to learn more about humans. We'll be glad to give you a quick lesson. We're not here to make enemies, but just because we're not looking for a fight doesn't mean we'll walk away from one. You may think you've left us defenseless, but let me tell you something about humans: we don't give up easily. We'll protect Enterprise...any way we can.
- In a sense, the episode itself is a big "Took a Level in Badass" for Archer, his crew, and Enterprise herself, especially in that relatively early point in the show.
- Archer facing down a crew of Ungrateful Bastard Klingons in "Sleeping Dogs". After he and his crew risk their lives to save the Klingon ship from being crushed in a gas giant, their captain threatens to attack Enterprise until Archer puts him in his place.Archer: You wouldn't last ten seconds in a battle with us. You've got multiple hull breaches, your shields are down, and from what I'm told, you're fresh out of torpedoes. If I were you, I'd take what little honor I have left and go home. (beat) Fire one shot, and I'll blast you right back to where we found you.
- In "Fusion," a pissed-off Archer confronting Tolaris on his Mind Rape of T'Pol. It's extra great because he starts off the conversation affable and charming (in other words, very Scott Bakula) before he drops the bombshell:Archer: Sub-Commander T'Pol's in Sickbay. From what the doctor tells me, she's in pretty bad shape.Tolaris: That's unfortunate. What happened?Archer (grim-voiced): You know damn well what happened. She told me about your, what did she call it, mind-meld? She said when she asked you to stop, you got angry. She said she had to force you away.Tolaris: What happened between us is personal. It's not your concern.
- In "Shockwave, Part 1," Archer snapping out of his funk after Enterprise is recalled to Earth and giving out orders to his senior crewmembers so they can track down a Suliban ship and obtain evidence that they weren't responsible for the destruction of a mining colony.
- "Shockwave, Part 2." That episode featured some truly cool moments for the crew.
- Captured by the Suliban and held prisoner in a nebula, it seems that the Enterprise crew has opted to just blow up their ship. The Suliban tow the ship out of the nebula into empty space just as its warp nacelles are bursting into flames. As soon as they leave....the flames suddenly cease, the nacelles get ethereal glow, and Enterprise blasts off into warp speed! Trip had faked the warp core breach just so they could escape. Badass Engineer? Damn straight!
- Archer returns to his own time and delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Smug Snake Silik.Archer: I SAID you're an ugly bastard!!!!Archer: You're going to call off your ships. And then you're going to giving me back those data disks you took.
- Archer bluffing the alien invaders in "The Catwalk" and playing a Game of Chicken with them, to scare them off of his ship. It's such a dick move, but it's great.
- Ironically, despite being the chief engineer, Trip gets his when he is in command of Enterprise during "Cease Fire." Archer and T'Pol are on a planet disputed by the Vulcans and Andorians. While they're trying to negotiate a cease-fire without being killed, the Vulcan and Andorian fleets are about to start shooting at one another in orbit. They each advise Enterprise to withdraw. Instead, Trip targets both fleets, threatening to open fire on whoever fires first.
- Archer's speech in a flashback in "First Flight" after he and A.G. Robinson succeed in proving the warp five engine can work:Archer: You're right, sir. We were reckless. We knew there'd be consequences. We knew we'd probably be thrown out of Starfleet. A.G. and I may never fly again, but it's a small sacrifice to make if it keeps this project going. We didn't build this engine to make test runs around Jupiter. We built it to explore! If my father were alive today, he'd be standing here asking "What the hell are we waiting for?"
- A.G. then makes a quick nod that says "Damn straight!"
- Early in "The Expanse," Enterprise is attacked and easily disabled by a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, and is only saved when reinforcements arrive to drive the Klingons away. Enterprise is refitted throughout the episode for its dangerous mission in the Expanse, and among the improvements are a cache of brand-new photonic torpedoes and no less than seventeen additional phaser cannons. When the Klingons came calling again, they were...unprepared, to say the least.
- Specific moment: Archer telling Duras to "Go to Hell!" and cutting his transmission in "The Expanse."
- Actually the moment of badass is that he tells the angry Klingon to shove it and then proceeds to blast his battlecruiser to shit. Complete with some neat piloting from Ensign Mayweather.
- And, of course, the mere fact that Enterprise is flying into an area of space that's so dangerous, the Klingons are afraid of it, and because our heroes are on a mission to find the Xindi who attacked Earth. Beware the Nice Ones, indeed.
- A female MACO gets one in "The Xindi" while trying to break Archer and Trip out of a mining complex. A big alien attacks her from behind and knocks away her gun. She pulls some martial arts moves, takes him down, then rams her stunstick into his back for good measure.
- The episode "Twilight" is a Crowning Episode of Awesome. Everyone gets great moments here: Archer killing a Xindi-Reptilian with a bronze sculpture, T'Pol ramming the Xindi ship attached to Enterprise into another Xindi ship, Phlox managing to develop a cure for Archer that involves shooting him full of antimatter, and all three of them blowing up the ship to erase the timeline that necessitated all of the above.
- Let's not forget the harrowing destruction of Earth that starts the whole thing—which is also an Awesome Moment for the SFX staff, as they made that sequence simply because they had nothing better to do and it wound up kicking off the episode.
- The Xindi engineer Gralik's speech to Archer in "The Shipment" deserves to be quoted:
- Definitely the best part of "Chosen Realm" was Archer and the crew taking back Enterprise from the Triannon extremists.
- Shran in "Proving Ground": "The Andorian Mining Consortium runs from no one!"
Archer: You like to talk about repaying debts? I've owed you that for a long time.
- Also in "Proving Ground," after Shran has revealed his duplicity and gets a little smug about it, Archer decks him.
- From the same episode, Archer getting his turn to be smug when he forces Shran to get rid of the Xindi superweapon prototype by having T'Pol activate the prototype from Enterprise. The resulting explosion leaves the Andorian warship crippled. Enterprise? Not so much.
- Normally, a starship jumping to warp is business as usual; when Phlox single-handedly makes it happen, despite no engineering experience and a tenuous hold on his sanity, it becomes a "Hell, Yes!" Moment.
- To elaborate: in "Doctor's Orders" Enterprise had to fly through a distortion that would have killed humans and Vulcans if they were conscious. Phlox had to navigate the ship through the anomaly with only a minimal crash-course in the systems of an NX-class starship and T'Pol on his side who was affected by the distortion and was slowly losing her emotional control. And she was a hallucination anyway. And in these circumstances he had to restart the warp engines in a distorted region of space.
- Enterprise dropping out of the Aquatic Ship's launch bay into a major battle with the Xindi-Reptilians.
- Archer being interrogated by Dolim. Not only does he change the subject of conversation from how many Earth ships are in the Delphic Expanse to dinosaurs, but he delivers a killer ice burn to the Xindi-Reptilians:Archer: I'll bet you didn't know this...but at one time, most of my world was ruled by reptiles!Dolim: (intrigued despite himself) I wasn't aware of that.Archer: A comet hit, about 65 million years ago. Caused a mass extinction. Most of the reptiles died out—mammals became the dominant species.Dolim: How unfortunate.Archer: Still, the reptiles might have come out on top, if it weren't for one slight disadvantage!Dolim: And what was that?Archer: They had brains the size of a walnut. (Beat) That's very small. (Beat) Apparently, it's a constant in the universe.Dolim: (hand lunges out, then he visibly resists the urge to strangle Archer)
- Archer then goes on to talk about how one of his favorite dishes is turtle soup, which finally causes Dolim to lose his cool completely.
- Hoshi didn't get a lot of time to shine, but she did in "Countdown." The Xindi-Reptilians abduct Hoshi and use brain parasites to force her to de-crypt the Xindi-Aquatic activation codes for their superweapon. When she gets access to the code, she fights off the brain parasites, re-asserts her willpower, and adds even more encryption. When Dolim realizes what she's doing and drags her off for a second dose of brain parasites, she tries to throw herself to her own death. It doesn't work, and in the end, she does de-crypt the access code, but by then, The Cavalry has had time to show up.
- And before much of this happens, she responds to Dolim's threats with a Spiteful Spit! That's a hell of a far cry from the scared young woman at the beginning of the series.
- Captain Archer's final no-holds-barred fight with Dolim in "Zero Hour." As one Youtube commenter puts it, it's the "best kill by a Starfleet captain. Ever." Nobody in a Starfleet uniform other than Worf has dispatched a foe in a manner so bloody. After a shaky first two seasons, Archer became a much grittier captain over the course of season 3, and kicking Dolim's ass puts the capper on it.
- Pretty much all of "Zero Hour" for the Enterprise crew and Xindi allies (Maco Red-shirt going out fighting, Reed fighting a Reptilian, The Acquatics last minute heroics) with a guest appearance by fan favorite Shran. Everyone had a Big Damn Heroes moment.
- In "Storm Front," there's the climactic battle with Enterprise dueling Nazi warplanes armed with plasma cannons over New York City.
- The Augments in the opening to "Borderland" provided a villainous example: Two of them, completely unarmed, are "captured" by Klingons, and then as they're being escorted to the brig, proceed to wipe the walls with the entire crew. One look at that opening, and it becomes obvious that the Klingons' desire to make Augments of their own in the later episodes "Affliction" and "Divergence" was not merely a case of male-hormone-driven jealousy. Had there been a few more of them, one can see how the human Augments really could conceivably have overthrown the entire Klingon Empire.
Soong: Give me the code!Lucas: I have my orders!Lucas: HOW COULD YOU?Soong: GIVE ME THE CODE! THE CODE!!Lucas: GO TO HELL!!!
- In "Cold Station 12," the augments and Dr. Soong take the titular viral research station and demand the access code to the other augments' embryos (frozen after genetic defects rendered them sociopaths). The director of the station, Doctor Lucas, refuses when his own life is threatened, so one of the augments grab one of the other doctors and infect him with one of the viruses they're researching, which quickly puts him into agony. Even though Lucas (and Dr. Soong) are obviously disturbed by this, Lucas still refuses, and when Soong tries to deflect moral responsibility, Lucas throws it back at him.
- Trip and Soval each get one in the Season 4 episode where they warn the Andorians about an impending Vulcan invasion of Andoria.
- Soval's is when Shran is torturing him with a device that removes Soval's emotional control and in order to convince Shran that he's telling the truth, Soval says something to the effect of "Then turn it to a higher setting already."
- Trip's comes when Administrator V'Las tries to get them to back down, Trip informs him that Starfleet has been told what Enterprise is doing, so they will know who destroyed Enterprise.
- Also from that story, Soval telling Archer to do whatever it takes to find out the truth behind the bombing, with his full support.
- In "Kir'Shara," Shran contacts Enterprise right in the middle of a huge battle just to say "Tell Captain Archer that's TWO he owes me!" By this point in the series, Shran was practically guaranteed an Awesome moment every time he showed up.
- In "Babel One," Archer firmly standing his ground against Gral when the Tellarite ambassador protests against Archer's decision to head to Andoria to return Shran and his remaining crew.Gral: I am not comfortable with so many Andorians aboard. Contact your superiors. Have them transferred to another vessel.Archer: Let's get something straight: You're just a passenger on my ship. I give the orders.
- The sight of a combined Vulcan/Andorian/Tellarite fleet in "United" coming to help Enterprise against the Romulan drone ship. This is what truly lays the foundation for The Federation.
- The entire two-parter "Affliction/Divergence" is one for Phlox as he tries to create a cure to the Klingon plague under increasingly difficult and tense circumstances and succeeds, capping it by stopping a Klingon ship from destroying the colony by beaming the virus on board and blackmailing them into backing off.
- And then there's Trip transferring from Columbia to Enterprise by crawling along a tether between the ships at warp speed, then rebooting Enterprise's warp reactor just in time to keep the ship from blowing up.
- The Mirror Universe two-parter "In a Mirror, Darkly" was the CMOA for the entire series, but special kudos has to go to Mirror!Hoshi, who assassinates Mirror!Archer and crowns herself Empress of the Terran Empire by threatening to use the USS Defiant to attack Earth. And looks damn sexy in the meanwhile.
- The ISS Enterprise. The scene where Commander Archer and his team storm the Tholian complex and literally ship-jack the Defiant was priceless.
- Don't forget the scene where they make it to the Defiant's bridge and boot up the ship's computer. The camera panning lovingly over every station as they power up and all the TOS bridge sound effects come in one-by-one... Wonderful.
- The Defiant going into battle was surprisingly badass. Long-time fans of the show remember the Constitution-class ships (e.g. the TOS Enterprise) firing phasers at other ships in a pathetically weak manner. The Defiant's phasers, on the other hand, rip the Tholian and ISS starships to shreds.
- The whole sequence is a meta-CMOA for the creators and special effects people, proving that it is possible to make the Original Series aesthetic still look credible and badass here and now.
- The pre-credits sequence takes the awesome and beautiful ending from Star Trek: First Contact...and flips it inside-out for maximum Awesome goodness:Vulcan: Live long and prosper.(Cochrane tries to do the Vulcan salute, fails, then...)Cochrane's shotgun: BLAM!(Cue looting)
- Even the credits sequence gets in on the act, replacing the usual "Montage from Past to Present" with "War! Conquest! Exploding Frickin' Laser Beams!"
- Awesome Music: The theme used in the opening credits, over the scenes of war.
- In all fairness, the "In a Mirror, Darkly" theme is awesome simply by virtue of having a theme slightly (and perhaps ironically) more reminiscent of the OST series.
- For the show as a whole, just about the only thing anyone can agree on is how awesome "In a Mirror, Darkly" is.
- One of Trip's best moments would certainly have to be in the fantastic episode "Terra Prime." He was held captive by the terrorist group Terra Prime. Part of the story involves this group cloning a half-human/half-Vulcan from Trip and T'Pol. After his guard insults his daughter, Trip tenses up and the more physically intimidating guard notices. He taunts him, saying "Go ahead and try." Trip begins to back down, then says "Okay!" and uppercuts the guard. He then takes a moment to sabotage part of Paxton's weapon system before the guard recovers. Even Paxton is impressed.
- Also in "Terra Prime," T'Pol calling John Frederick Paxton out on his hypocrisy, what with having a genetic disease that would've gotten him euthanized under Colonel Green and receiving alien medical treatments despite his Fantastic Racism towards aliens.Paxton: I'm not the first significant leader to fail to measure up to his own ideals.
T'Pol: You're not significant!
- It might have been a piece of scenery, but the "Carl Sagan Memorial Station" on Mars in "Terra Prime" was awesome. Great quote, too:
- Also in "Terra Prime," T'Pol calling John Frederick Paxton out on his hypocrisy, what with having a genetic disease that would've gotten him euthanized under Colonel Green and receiving alien medical treatments despite his Fantastic Racism towards aliens.
- "Terra Prime" has a vindicating moment for Hoshi Sato. For the only time in the series, she gets command of the ship, and does a hell of a job. Especially when Minister Samuels tries to pull rank on her, and Hoshi has precisely none of it. Compare this to the timid girl in "Fight Or Flight." You tell 'im, Hoshi!
- Three seasons after the infamous "gazelle speech," Archer redeems himself with one of, if not the, best speeches on Enterprise, the one that lays the seeds for the Federation. James T. Kirk would be proud.Archer: Up until about 100 years ago, there was one question that burned in every human, that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them. Are we alone? Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers driven to know what's over the horizon, what's beyond our own shores. And yet the more I've experienced, the more I've learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They're within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other. A final frontier begins in this hall. Let's explore it together.
- As divisive as "These Are the Voyages..." was, the final scene, with Captains Picard, Kirk, and Archer sharing The Speech, was awesome. To the point where fans who disown every other part of "These Are the Voyages..." won't disown it.