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Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 03 E 14 Stratagem

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Enterprise captures Degra, and concocts an elaborate ruse to learn where the weapon is being built.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Bad Future: The backstory Archer and T'Pol come up with is this. The Xindi destroyed Earth, but the Insectoids betrayed the other races. Archer was captured, and Enterprise was subsequently destroyed.
  • Batman Gambit: At the end of the episode, Archer manages to convince Degra that they've applied Xindi technology to their warp drive, allowing them to arrive at the red giant in a matter of minutes. Degra shouts out that the Xindi's defense perimeter will destroy Enterprise, at which point Archer reveals that they're still at the test site and thus has confirmed that the red giant is where the weapon is being built.
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  • Blatant Lies: Degra tries to convince Archer that Azati Prime is the location of an Insectoid deuterium station rather than the weapon's construction site.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: The crew is reasonably certain Azati Prime is where they need to go, but it would take three weeks to get there at maximum warp. There's question of when Degra realized the deception and whether or not he did this. Archer manages to prove he did give them the information they wanted.
  • Call-Back: Gralik is mentioned again, with Archer telling Degra that he sabotaged the kemocite and was later executed.
  • Character Development: Previously nothing more than a generic scientist overseeing the doomsday weapon's construction, Degra is revealed to be a family man who is conflicted over preserving his race and the guilt he feels for killing seven million people.
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: Archer and Degra, at one point. Fortunately, Archer took an anti-intoxicant.
  • Easy Amnesia: Phlox knows exactly how to erase Degra's memories.
  • Eye Scream: That bloodworm Phlox planted inside Degra? He inserted it through the man's eye. The camera pans away, but Archer's reaction says it all.
  • Fake Action Prologue: Of the simulator variety.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: Phlox wipes Degra's recent memory and Archer convinces him that three years have passed.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Archer tells Degra that they became this in prison.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: The shuttle mockup malfunctions from radiation, and Degra just happens to notice.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • In addition to studying medicine, Phlox also studied dermal art.
    • After the con is found out, Degra admits he had no idea humans were so skilled at deception.
  • Hope Spot: Degra has a knife and questions Archer over the names of his children. Hoshi manages to get Archer the information in time, but then Degra asks which child is older.
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  • How We Got Here: The first act ends by showing that it's a simulation and the second act shows Archer capturing Degra and his aides shortly after the previous episode.
  • In Medias Res: The episode starts with Archer and Degra in the "stolen" craft.
  • In Vino Veritas: Archer uses some of the Andorian ale that Shran gave him to try to pump info out of Degra.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Degra recalls when the prototype weapon enter Earth's orbit.
    Degra: When it arrived in your star system, I watched the incoming telemetry with the other members of the council. Seven million lives... were extinguished in front of my eyes. I asked myself, "How many of those were children?"
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: Archer notes the heavy grey that Phlox put into Degra's hair, which the doctor justifies due to the stress of imprisonment.
  • Race Against the Clock: About halfway through, Malcolm detects an incoming Xindi ship that will arrive within six hours. This becomes important when Degra sees through the charade, meaning there's not enough time to simply wipe his memory and try again.
  • Scannable Man: Archer and Degra's fake prison tattoos.
  • Shown Their Work: Invoked. Malcolm says that their shuttle mockup needs to take into account manufacturer origin and language on the control interface. The result is impressive work.
  • Spotting the Thread: Degra claims that the mention of Azati Prime was this, saying it's the location of an Insectoid deuterium facility.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The look on Archer's face when Degra asks him which of his children is older, as the Xindi has figured out the charade and is holding a knife.
  • Truth Serums:
    • According to Archer, bloodworms produce them, which is why they're used for interrogations.
    • Phlox also mentions that they could create one to work on Degra, but it will take too long to produce.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Archer's final bluff is made to look like he actually tried to open a Xindi portal, both to Degra and the audience. It works perfectly.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Archer uses it against the Insectoids in the shuttle mockup.
  • Wham Episode: The crew finally learn where the weapon is being built. What is revealed about Degra will also motivate his actions throughout the rest of this arc.
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