Trip and Malcolm must upgrade the weapons on Enterprise to fight off an alien attack. Meanwhile, Hoshi is assigned to find out what Malcolm's favorite food is.
Tropes in this episode include:
- A Day in the Limelight: Reed.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Archer decides to swallow his pride and simply call a Vulcan ship for help. However, the aliens have blown up their subspace amplifiers, leaving them cut off from further support.
- Badass Boast: When Archer learns that the aliens left a device on Enterprise to spy on them, he uses it to deliver a message to them before destroying it:"I assume you planted that device because you wanted to learn more about us. I'll be happy 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 run 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."
- Call-Back: In "Fortunate Son," Archer mentioned that they'd be dropping subspace amplifiers. This episode starts with them deploying Echo-2.
- Comically Missing the Point: Reed mistakes Hoshi's inquiries as a sexual invitation.
- Cut-and-Paste Note: The aliens later take Archer's Badass Boast from above and edit it to say "You are defenseless. Prepare to surrender your vessel."
- "Dear John" Letter: Trip gets one from someone named Natalie. Apparently, a Long-Distance Relationship doesn't work too well, especially as this is the longest distance ever for humans of this era.
- Deflector Shields: The aliens have personal ones that No-Sell Archer's phaser shots.
- Dinner and a Show: Off-screen, apparently. Archer tells Trip about it after the latter ate by himself.Archer: You missed T'Pol's latest bout with chopsticks.
Trip: Damn. Dinner and a show.
- Drinking on Duty: Archer allows it after Enterprise fights off the aliens, but warns Trip and Malcolm not to make a habit of it.
- Explosive Overclocking: The first time they test their new cannons, the ship's circuits overload and the beams fire at ten times the power they were supposed to. When the alien ship returns, Reed and Tucker figure out a way to supercharge them again that causes less damage to Enterprise.
- Hilarious Outtakes:Archer: How long until we have subspace something...airspace, French fries and Cokes?
Hoshi: (starts corpsing)
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The aliens while boarding Enterprise decide to put a device on board that not only spies on the ship, but also overloads the newly installed phase cannons far beyond their normal specs when Enterprise does a test fire. When the aliens return, after the alien ship No-Sell on Enterprise's first shot inspires Archer to order Malcolm to overload the cannons like before and fire again. The alien ship's shields collapse almost immediately and two spatial torpedoes launched afterward by Enterprise leaves the alien ship leaking a plasma trail. Needless to say the aliens run like hell before Enterprise decides to fire again.
- I Have My Ways: When Malcolm sees what kind of birthday cake he gets:Malcolm: Pineapple? That's my favorite! How on Earth did you know?
Hoshi: We have our sources.
- Mid-Season Upgrade: The Enterprise crew beef up their arsenal with phase cannons, precursors to the Federation's phaser banks.
- Mood Whiplash: This episode has some of the most glaring A-plot/B-plot dissonance in the franchise. The most intimidating foe the crew have yet come across, mixed with Hoshi trying to find out Malcolm's favorite food for his birthday. In retrospect, it was clear Hoshi was going Out of Focus from this point onward.
- Mundane Solution: T'Pol suggests that Hoshi try to learn Malcolm's favorite food from Malcolm himself. She then tries to probe for his favorite food, before flat out asking what it is. However, he interprets this as flirtations and politely declines.
- Nothing Is Scarier: We don't even see what the aliens look like till halfway through, and even at the end, we really don't learn anything about them, including their species' name or their motivations.
- Plot Parallel: The idea of the B plot is so the audience can discover something about Malcolm, the main character of the A plot who's working to defend Enterprise against hostile aliens. Unfortunately Hoshi's 'assignment' is so lame it comes across as Skewed Priorities.
- Redshirt: Two guys in a corridor are incapacitated by the aliens, but they later recover.
- Rousing Speech: Trip gives two of them.
- The first one is to the engineering crew, with Malcolm's help:Trip: We all signed up for this trip because we wanted to do something no one had ever done before, not because we thought it'd be easy or safe. But we're not here to take foolish risks. The Captain and the rest of the crew are depending on us to keep Enterprise ready for anything.
Malcolm: And once we get these phase cannons on-line, we'll have a lot more firepower to do just that.
Trip: What're you standing around for?
- He gives the second one to Archer, to help him through a moment of self-doubt:"In the old days, astronauts rode rockets with millions of liters of hydrogen burning under their seats. You think they said, 'Gee, I'd love to go to the moon today, but it seems a little risky'? I think if you asked anyone on board whether they thought this mission was worth the risk, you'd get the same answer from every one of them."
- The first one is to the engineering crew, with Malcolm's help:
- Scotty Time: Trip and Malcolm want two weeks to get the cannons built and installed. They get it done in less than three days.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When Phlox offers Hoshi a clue to help her figure out Malcolm's favorite food.Phlox: I think I can help you, Ensign, but it would mean going into Mister Reed's medical record. That information is confidential.
Hoshi: I'm under direct orders from the captain. Couldn't you make an exception?
Phlox: Under the circumstances, I suppose it wouldn't hurt.
- Seriously Scruffy: Malcolm's got some peach fuzz from putting in so much overtime on the phase cannons.
- Society Marches On: Archer compares the mountain that Malcolm blows up to Mount McKinley, which was (re)renamed "Denali" in 2015.
- Subspace Ansible: The amplifiers.
- That's an Order!: Archer uses this line on Hoshi when she tries to duck out of finding out Malcolm's favorite food.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Discussed by Trip when telling Archer how much worse the damage from the alien attack could've been.Trip: There were thirteen people workin' in this section, cap'n, includin' yours truly. If that bulkhead had blown...
- Took a Level in Badass: Enterprise herself, thanks to the new phase cannons.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: The A plot is a strong, tense plot where the Enterprise is face with an enemy that outclasses their ship in every way. The ship is boarded, lives are almost lost, and in order to even survive, the Enterprise has to risk blowing half the ship apart. The B plot is centered around Hoshi finding out Reed's favorite food. Hilarity Ensues, despite, you know, the ship-endangering crisis going on. Needless to say, the A plot is horribly undermined by the thematic discontinuity, and gross stupidity, of the B plot.
- Your Favorite: Turns out Malcolm's favorite food is pineapple.