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Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 02 E 016 Future Tense

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Enterprise finds a pod from the future—and runs into those who want to get their hands on it.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Aborted Arc: At the time of airing, it was mused by the writers that the Tholians would become players in the Temporal Cold War and make return appearances. Any such plans were quickly dropped, though, when the writers embarked on the Xindi arc.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: T'Pol's stubborn insistence that time travel is impossible, despite having a time machine sitting in the launch bay, a dead human pilot with several generations of alien DNA in his genome, and being shown Daniels' holographic database with information on ships that haven't been built yet.
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  • Artistic License – Paleontology: In-Universe—Malcolm's clearly not up on his dino-studies.
    Trip: Now if I had a chance to see the past, I'd jump at it. I always wanted to meet a Stegosaurus.
    Malcolm: He'd probably make a quick meal of you.
    Trip: The Stegosaurus was an herbivore.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Discussed. While talking about time travel, Trip asks Malcolm if he would travel to the future and learn the identity of a theoretical wife. Malcolm says he would on the grounds that it would save him trouble, but Trip says he'd only be getting married to said woman because a book told him to.
    Trip: Suppose you could look into some future book and find out the name of the woman you're going to marry. Would you want to know it?
    Malcolm: Absolutely. Think of all the awkward first dates I could avoid. (chuckles)
    Trip: Fine. So one day you meet Jane Doe. You go out a few times, and you pop the question. She says "I do," and the two you live happily ever after.
    Malcolm: Sounds perfect.
    Trip: Now, did you marry her for love, or because some book told you to?
    Malcolm: If we live happily ever after, what difference does it make?
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  • Bigger on the Inside: The pod is small enough to fit inside the launch bay, yet it has another level inside.
  • Call-Back:
    • It's very subtle, but back in the pilot, Klaang apparently said something about Tholia. It didn't mean anything back then, but now it turns out that the Tholians are players in the Temporal Cold War.
    • In the last episode, T'Pol and Soval discuss humans seeming to obsess over their ears. Archer again talks about the Vulcan ears when talking about a human/Vulcan hybrid.
  • Call-Forward: The discovery of a Vulcan Half-Human Hybrid.
    Archer: If a human and a Vulcan did have a child, I wonder if he'd have pointed ears.
  • Continuity Nod: It's initially believed that the corpse is Zefram Cochrane. In TOS, it was mentioned that Cochrane disappeared to parts unknown in the early 22nd Century.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Tholians effortlessly stomp Enterprise, the Tal'Kir, and the Suliban.
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  • EMP: The Tholians have a weapon which disables any ship it hits, knocking out engines, weapons, defenses, and main power.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: While discussing time travel with Reed, Trip says he'd jump at the chance to travel to the past—saying he always wanted to see the dinosaurs.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Suliban vs. the Tholians, with the NX-01 disabled. Ultimately, the Tholians triumph.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Averted; the database from the future is retrieved from Daniel's sealed quarters.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Daniels' future database has schematics for a Klingon Raptor-class ship, an Intrepid-class starship (possibly the USS Voyager itself), an Intrepid-class aeroshuttle, the Mir space station, the US space shuttle, a Nygean ship, a Romulan D'deridex-class warbird, a Nova-class starship, the alien ship that attacked Enterprise in "Fight or Flight", and a Vulcan Suurok-class starship. Also in the database is an excerpt from President George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address.
  • From Bad to Worse: Pursued by Suliban, Enterprise reaches the Tal'Kir—finding it disabled. Shortly afterwards, the Tholians reveal themselves.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: A Downplayed example—anyone standing next to the pod might end up repeating the last few minutes. After several loops, the afflicted characters begin to notice what's happening. Also, time proceeds normally for those not stuck in the loop.
  • Heinz Hybrid: The corpse in the pod has human, Vulcan, Rigellian, and Terellian DNA, among others.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Pod and its occupant play a part in a story arc in Star Trek Online which gives him a name, a backstory of a sort, an identification for that other species in his DNA, as well as his ultimate fate, and why he ends up here and now.
  • Hope Spot: Under pursuit by the Suliban, Enterprise manages to reach the Tal'Kir—only to find her disabled by the Tholians.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: The Suliban are soundly defeated by the Tholians.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Archer decides to destroy the pod rather than let the Tholians capture it. Unfortunately, they successfully grab it and prevent its destruction—and then the pod, the corpse, and the distress beacon that Trip recovered mysteriously vanish...
  • Not Worth Killing: Once the pod vanishes, the Tholians leave without further harassing Enterprise. They also didn't destroy the Tal'Kir, presumably knocking it out of commission with the same weapon they stopped Enterprise with.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: After fending off the first Suliban and Tholian attacks, Archer quietly wonders who else out there thinks they have a claim on the future ship.
  • Oh, Crap!: Trip and Malcolm when they realize the ship is causing them to relive the same few minutes.
    • Also later when the Enterprise crew reaches the Vulcan ship sent to assist them, only to realize it's already been attacked and disabled.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why the Tholians want the future ship isn't explained, though Archer speculates they're working for another faction in the Temporal Cold War.
  • Shout-Out: The design of the pod's lower level is remarkably similar to a TARDIS control room.
  • Starfish Language: Tholian sounds like a string of shrill squeals and clicks.
  • That Came Out Wrong
    T'Pol: It's unlikely we could reproduce. (off Archer's look) Humans and Vulcan.
  • The Ghost: No Tholians are shown in the episode.
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