90 years after Zefrem Cochran invented Warp Drive, a Klingon is injured in an Earth cornfield. The NX-01 Enterprise, captained by Jonathan Archer, is sent out to return him to the Klingon Homeworld.
- Action Prologue: Klaang being chased by two Suliban before blowing them to high heaven.
- And Here He Comes Now: When Malcolm and Travis are in the shuttlepod and Travis reports that he can't locate human bio-signs in the trading complex, Malcolm tells him to scan for Vulcan bio-signs. A second later, T'Pol knocks on the pod's side hatch.Travis: I found her!
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Hoshi says she doesn't think that Klingonese has an expression for "thank you", but The Klingon Dictionary includes the verb tlho' for "to thank" (in context it would be conjugated as matlho', "I thank all of you"). This may be Hoshi's mistake, but more likely it's a misplaced attempt to invoke Language Equals Thought.
- Big "SHUT UP!": When Archer tells Hoshi to stop Klaang's Klingon ranting, Hoshi yells this in English.
- Bilingual Dialogue:
- Between Moore and Klaang, even though neither man can understand the other.Moore: (pointing a rifle at Klaang) Drop your weapon! I mean it!
Klaang: (shouting in Klingonese)
Moore: I don't understand a word you're saying, but I guarantee you I know how to use this!
Klaang: (more shouting in Klingonese)
- Between Hoshi and T'Pol, including an instance of Pardon My Klingon.
- Played for Laughs between Trip and Klaang, when Trip responds to Klaang's ranting with comebacks like "You tell 'em, big guy," and "I don't particularly like the way you smell either!"
- Between Moore and Klaang, even though neither man can understand the other.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Malcolm imitates Trip's southern accent when anticipating his reply to supply problems: "Keep yer shirt on, Lyoo-tenant."
- The Cameo: The appearence of James Cromwell allows the continuation of the Star Trek pilot tradition of a cameo from an earlier work.
- Commander Crash: Barely five minutes in, Trip bumps the inspection pod against Enterprise's hull.Archer: Great. You scratched the paint.
- Deal with the Devil: How Archer describes the Suliban's alliance with Future Guy.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Malcolm is very interested in the dancing girls on Rigel X. Travis does a better job staying focused on the mission.
- Dodge the Bullet: Archer dodges a phaser beam in the Bullet Time room.
- Ensign Obvious: When Enterprise is flying towards the helix to rescue Archer while cell-ships are firing on her:T'Pol: Can we dock, Ensign?
Travis: These aren't ideal conditions.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The jackets lose their padded look come the next episode and remain that way for the rest of the series.
- The pilot seems to be setting up Reed and Mayweather as Those Two Guys. In the rest of the series, Reed would be much more commonly shown interacting with Tucker than with Mayweather.
- The end credits are accompanied by an instrumental version of "Where My Heart Will Take Me", instead of "Archer's Theme", which is used for nearly all of the remaining episodes.
- The small bolts of energy fired (some say 'plasma cannon') from Enterprise at the Suliban cell ships and missing is never used as a weapon in any subsequent episode.
- Epic Launch Sequence: Of Earth's first warp 5 starship, which also represents the launch of humanity's efforts to truly explore the galaxy.Archer: Take her out, Mr. Mayweather. Straight and steady.
- False Flag Operation: Archer and Trip use a stolen cell ship to infiltrate the helix and rescue Klaang.
- Fanservice: The Decon scene—Trip and T'Pol in their undies, rubbing gel on each other.
- First-Name Basis: Silik pulls this with Archer just to taunt him.
- Guns Akimbo: During the firefight on Rigel X, Archer briefly wields two pistols.
- Handshake Refusal: T'Pol does this to Trip, while also snubbing his request to call him by his nickname.
- He Knows Too Much: Silik originally plans to let Archer leave the helix unharmed, until Archer reveals that he knows about the Temporal Cold War.
- Improbably Predictable: Malcolm's Brief Accent Imitation mentioned above gets its payoff a minute later when it demonstrates Trip to be this.Malcolm: Pardon me, but if I don't realign the deflector, the first grain of space dust we come across will blow a hole through this ship the size of your fist.
Trip: Keep your shirt on, Lieutenant. Your equipment'll be here in the morning.
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien: Both T'Pol and Phlox mention that the Suliban shouldn't be at the technological or evolutionary level that they are.
- Internal Homage: Archer and Tucker inspecting the NX-01 in drydock is similar to Kirk and Scotty's inspection of the refit Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- Invisibility: One of the Suliban's abilities. Phlox notes that it's not supposed to be part of their genome.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Despite establishing himself as an "Ass" in Ambassador, Soval is right about how Earth shouldn't piss off the Klingons.
- Jurisdiction Friction: When Archer gets injured, T'Pol and Trip argue over who takes command. T'Pol wins.
- Let Me Get This Straight...: Archer summing up how the Vulcans want to pull the plug on Klaang even though he could still live.Archer: Let me get this straight. You're going to disconnect this man from life support even though he could live. Now where's the logic in that?
Soval: Klaang's culture finds honor in death. If they saw him like this, he'd be disgraced.
Tos: They're a warrior race. They dream of dying in battle. If you understood the complexities of interstellar diplomacy—
Archer: So that's your diplomatic solution, to do what they tell you? Pull the plug?
Tos: Your metaphor is crude, but accurate.
- A Minor Kidroduction: We first meet Jonathan Archer as a boy with his dad.
- Multiboobage: According to Travis, Draylaxian women have three.
- The Nose Knows: T'Pol is very sensitive to smells coming from humans, let alone Archer's dog Porthos.
- Pardon My Klingon:
- Hoshi cusses T'Pol out in Vulcan at one point.Hoshi: Ponfo mirann.
T'Pol: I was instructed to speak English on this trip, and I'd appreciate it if you'd respect that.
- Inverted later, when T'Pol thanks Hoshi for being helpful.T'Pol: Shaya tonat.
Hoshi: You're welcome.
- Hoshi cusses T'Pol out in Vulcan at one point.
- Running Gag: Both times when Trip pilots a small craft, he manages to bump into something—first Enterprise, then the Suliban helix.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: In this case, they have no sense of either distance or velocity. Here's how: Archer says that Enterprise can get to "Neptune and back in six minutes"; a bit later, he says that it will take them four days to get to Qo'noS. Doing the math will show that for both statements to be true, Qo'noS would have to be less than one light-year from Earth. (For comparison, the closest star system — Alpha Centauri — is 4.3 light-years from Earth. At this speed, it would take 19 days to get there.) Whoever wrote the dialogue fails math forever.
- Screw You, Elves!: Most of Archer's lines to Soval and T'Pol while on Earth.
- Son of an Ape:Silik: Are you aware, Captain, that your DNA is almost identical to that of an ape? The Suliban don't share humanity's patience with natural selection.
Archer: So to speed things up a little, you struck a Deal with the Devil.
- Spinoff Send Off: Since this spinoff takes place two hundred years before Voyager, there's no way any Voyager character could do the sendoff, so James Cromwell, who played Zephram Cochrane from Star Trek: First Contact does it.
- Straw Vegetarian: T'Pol wastes no time deriding Archer and Trip for eating meat, when humans are supposed to be "enlightened."
- Critical Research Failure: In-universe. For a race that has been studying Humans for centuries, they should know that we're omnivores. She erroneously refers to humans as carnivores, which implies that humans only eat meat. Good job ignoring that non-meat, human-baked breadstick!
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: Soval, when he fails to convince Admiral Forrest to accept his advice.Soval: Listen to me. You're making a mistake!
Archer: When your logic doesn't work, you raise your voice? You've been on Earth too long.
- Tempting Fate: After the battle with the Suliban, Archer says, "Let's hope that's the last time somebody takes a shot at us." Seriously, John?
- Time for Plan B: T'Pol tells Trip this when docking with the helix to rescue Archer isn't a viable option, so they use the transporter instead.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The chamber where Silik speaks to his mysterious future contact, with pre-echoes of what everyone says and does. Not to mention the whole idea of a Temporal Cold War, which confuses the hell out of Archer. Good thing Janeway's not here...
- Translation Convention: Zig-Zagged during Klaang's interrogation—Silik speaks to him in Klingon, but sounds like he's speaking English to his Number Two.
- Truth Serum: Silik uses some while interrogating Klaang. It doesn't help.
- With Due Respect: Forrest arguing with the Vulcans.Forrest: Ambassador, with all due respect, we have a right to know what's going on here.
Soval: You will be apprised of all pertinent information.
Williams: And just who gets to decide what's pertinent information?
- You Do NOT Want to Know: When Archer asks Hoshi what the Klingon chancellor said to him at the end, Hoshi says this in response.