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Recap / Star Trek: Enterprise S01 E04 "Strange New World"

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The crew posing for a picture on their first M-class planet. Geez, quit blocking the poor crewman, Archer.
Enterprise is on its way to a nebula, when it notices a planet that's kind of like Earth, but doesn't have any intelligent life. After having T'Pol scan for beacons and find none, Archer decides to explore the planet. He, T'Pol, Malcolm, Trip, Travis, Cutler, Porthos, and a guy named Ethan Novakovich beam down to the planet and explore, with the humans excited but T'Pol just as serious as ever.
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When night falls, Archer and Malcolm return to Enterprise, while the rest stay on the planet to camp and investigate. Travis tells a ghost story, then a storm arrives, so they go into their tents. After a bit of chaos with Novakovich thinking he heard somebody, Cutler teasing him, and Travis and Trip finding a scorpion-like creature in their tent, they decide to hide out in a cave.

Archer learns of the storm and tells Malcolm to keep the shuttle ready in case the away team must leave. Meanwhile, on the planet, Travis goes back to the campsite to retrieve their food, and thinks he sees a group of humanoid aliens. When he tells everybody, Novakovich goes crazy and runs out of the cave, then while they're searching for him, Trip thinks he sees an alien coming out of the rocks.

While T'Pol explores the cave, a nervous Cutler decides to follow her. When she approaches T'Pol, Cutler thinks she sees her talking to an alien, but by the time they meet, there is no alien and T'Pol denies having spoken to one. They go back to the front of the cave, where everyone talks about the aliens they've been seeing and T'Pol again denies talking to an alien. The humans then become suspicious of T'Pol, since she was the one who suggested they camp out. Archer tries to return the away mission, but Novakovich disobeys orders and seems scared, and Archer finds himself unable to land the shuttle (due to the storm) anyway.

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Back in the cave, Trip asks T'Pol who the aliens are, but she doesn't reply, feeling that he's being irrational. Travis mentions that they need water, and T'Pol mentions she's found some, but Cutler and Trip think that she's poisoned the water as part of a conspiracy with the aliens. Then, Trip becomes delusional and he starts shooting at the rocks and threatening T'Pol with his phase-pistol.

Archer tries to beam Novakovich back, but leaves get fused into his body. Phlox then determines that his paranoia and insanity was caused by pollen, so Archer contacts Trip (who is now holding T'Pol hostage) and orders him to lower his weapon and (along with everyone else) move further into the cave away from the pollen. Trip doesn't believe Archer, but he complies. Eventually, everyone becomes delirious, with T'Pol forgetting how to speak English (and so speaking Vulcan instead) and Trip hallucinating Archer. Phlox believes Novakovich's condition is too severe to be treated but is still confident that he can save the rest.

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Phlox makes an antidote for the pollen and beams it and a sedative down to the planet, but when Archer orders Trip to take it, he doesn't believe him. Archer tries to reason with Trip (who is still holding T'Pol hostage and hallucinating "rock people") but it doesn't work, so he has Hoshi tell T'Pol to knock him out and inject everybody, which she does. The next morning, everybody has recovered and the storm has gone away.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Alien Sky: The planet has two moons, but otherwise isn't too different from Earth.
  • Big Storm Episode: There's a storm on the planet, which means that the shuttlepod can't be landed, the away team must hide in a cave, and the transporter beams plants into Novakovich's body.
  • Body Horror: Novakovich is beamed up during a storm—and materialized with debris in his skin.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • T'Pol, after they land on the planet.
      T'Pol: We'll rendezvous here at 1900 hours, unless the Captain wants us to pose for more pictures.
    • Malcolm, after catching a water polo ball that Archer tosses at him.
      Archer: Nice catch. You'd make a good two-meter man. Too bad we don't have a pool on board.
      Malcolm: ("yeah, whatever" look) A shame.
  • Ghost Story: Travis tells one to Trip, Cutler, and Novakovich while camping, about a man named George Webb who died in an accident. T'Pol naturally pokes holes in their story.
  • Hate Plague: Turns out that an undetected pollen is making everyone paranoid. This paranoia then leads to irrational hatred and fear of others.
  • Idiot Ball: Archer either had absolutely no one in place to monitor the weather conditions or just outright disregarded the warning signs despite the fact that storms powerful enough to potentially crash a shuttle pod don't just appear out of nowhere. If there hadn't been a cave nearby for the landing party to seek shelter in once their tents blew away then they would have been exposed to it all night.
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Implied when Cutler and Novakovich debate the merits of their respective breakfasts.
    Novakovich: (re her plomeek broth) How can you eat that stuff?
    Cutler: (re his bacon and eggs) It's healthier than that.
    Novakovich: At least this tastes like something.
  • Impairment Shot: From Travis' POV when Trip tells him to stay awake and alert.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When the crew first discover the planet, T'Pol — with the condescending attitude she typically displays this early on in the show — explains that a Vulcan ship would start by sending automated probes, then performing orbital surveys, before actually landing people there. The humans casually brush this aside, Archer remarking that they didn't come out here to "tiptoe around", and proceed to blunder straight into an unknown alien environment without any sort of protective gear or anything. By the end, it's made pretty clear T'Pol's concerns were justified, as this decision nearly gets five crewmembers killed.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Connor Trinneer briefly loses the Southern accent while Trip is checking on Travis.
  • Pardon My Klingon: A sign that T'Pol is being affected by the pollen.
  • Precision F-Strike: From someone who's clearly out of his mind.
    Archer: (on Shuttlepod 1) Archer to Novakovich. Ethan, respond.
    Novakovich: WHO'S THERE? WHO IS THAT?
    Archer: This is Captain Archer. We're attempting to land. I want you to get back to the cavern.
    Novakovich: GO TO HELL!!
    Archer: ("WTF?" look)
  • Red Shirt: Subverted—Novakovich pulls through in the end.
  • Remember That You Trust Me: Archer trying to get through to an increasingly paranoid Trip, mentioning a Noodle Incident where Trip came down with nitrogen narcosis. It works for a while, but then Trip goes crazy again.
  • Rock Monster: What everyone (sans T'Pol) keeps seeing. Turns out to be a hallucination.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Trip as he becomes increasingly unstable.
    "You think we're gonna wait around here for you to slaughter us? I'll blow this whole cave apart if I have to! I KNOW YOU HEAR ME!!!"
  • That's an Order!: Archer orders Trip to stop pointing his phaser at T'Pol. It doesn't take for very long as Trip starts getting paranoid again.
  • Throw It In: In-Universe—to make it look like they're making peace with the "rock people," T'Pol improvises a speech in Vulcan.
  • Weird World, Weird Food: Cutler seems to like Vulcan plomeek broth, but Novakovich doesn't share her tastes.
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