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Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 03 E 15 Harbinger

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Trip is having a neuropressure session, but it's with Amanda Cole instead of T'Pol. Amanda then looks at him, kisses him, and leaves. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is on its way to the red giant star in search of the Xindi weapon. Archer calls Malcolm to his ready room to discuss training with the MACOs. Malcolm is none too keen about taking orders from Major Hayes, but accepts.

On the bridge, Travis notices that the stars appear to be moving. They check it out and find that it's a bunch of spatial anomalies, which Hoshi detects a transmission coming from. T'Pol identifies its source as a pod with a humanoid life sign on it. As they try to pull the pod out of the anomalies with a grappler, the disturbance expands and anomalies begin appearing on the Enterprise, but they manage to escape with the pod.

Phlox tells T'Pol that Amanda has been having headaches, which he thinks is because of Trip's neuropressure, and suggests that T'Pol do the neuropressure on Amanda and stop Trip from doing it. Meanwhile, Malcolm and Hayes argue over the timing of the training sessions. Later, Archer, Malcolm, and Trip open the pod to find an unconscious alien man who is connected to the pod with electrodes.

They take him to sickbay, where Phlox attempts to treat him, and T'Pol determines that the disturbance is in the centre of five spheres. Archer thinks maybe the spheres are what is making the disturbance. Hayes sets up a training session in the cargo bay, which initially goes well, until one of them goes too far with Travis, causing another argument between Malcolm (who thinks Hayes should control his soldiers better) and Hayes (who doesn't see a problem).

T'Pol and Trip find evidence that the pod is associated with the makers of the spheres. She tells Archer, who wonders if the alien man was sent to the anomaly as a test subject. Phlox then reveals that he can't wake the alien without causing him pain, making him reluctant to wake him, but Archer insists.

In T'Pol's quarters, she does neuropressure on Amanda and asks if she's attracted to Trip and Amanda affirms. Meanwhile, Phlox determines that the alien man is dying, even disintegrating, and he can't save him. Malcolm has another training session with Hayes, but doesn't do very well. In the mess hall, Trip wants to talk about the training sessions and Malcolm wants to talk about Trip and Amanda, but that just leaves both feeling awkward.

Archer interrogates the alien, who reveals that he's from a "trans-dimensional realm". They resume course for the red giant, and Trip goes to T'Pol for neuropressure. She denies that she's jealous, he admits he finds her attractive... and then she jumps his bones!

In sickbay, the alien talks with Phlox for a bit, then knocks him out. Afterwards, the alien's hand passes through Phlox's neck. Realising that he's intangible now, the alien walks through the sickbay wall and around the ship. He creates "localised failures" which T'Pol tracks, then Malcolm and Hayes's arguing escalates into a physical fight. Their fight is broken up when they're asked to track down the alien. They fire at him, but the blasts go right through.

The alien arrives in engineering and knocks out Trip, then Malcolm and the MACOs enter. The alien sticks his hand into the warp core, disabling the magnetic seals. Luckily, Malcolm and Hayes manage to reverse the polarity of the field coils, repelling the alien.

The next day, Trip and T'Pol talk about what happened in the mess hall, with T'Pol claiming she banged him as an "experiment". Archer chews out Malcolm and Hayes for fighting, then the alien claims that his people are involved with the Xindi's plan, before disappearing into nothingness.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • All Myths Are True: Archer and T'Pol discuss the Triannon creation myth again, and begin to wonder if it has a basis in fact.
  • Bathos: Archer has just finished dressing down Malcolm and Hayes in a big What the Hell, Hero? moment when he's suddenly called to sick bay and leaves the room. Malcolm and Hayes continue standing at attention for an extra five seconds in silence.
    Malcolm: ... Think we're dismissed?
  • Canary in a Coal Mine: Archer compares the alien in the pod to a canary and explains the analogy to T'Pol.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: T'Pol sees Amanda slap Trip's ass during the sparring session, which distracts her long enough for her partner to deck her.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Bizarrely crossed with Bullet Time—the helm sends out a burst of sparks in slow motion when Enterprise is in the Negative Space Wedgie.
  • For Science!: Discussed when T'Pol claims that she had sex with Trip as a way of exploring sexuality. Trip is unhappy with this idea, since he doesn't want to be a "lab rat".
  • Greater-Scope Villain: This episode formally introduces the Sphere Builders as the true villains of the Xindi arc.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: T'Pol is clearly jealous of Trip and Amanda, despite trying to deny it, with her squeezing Amanda's shoulder hard while giving her neuropressure when she tells T'Pol that Trip has nice hands.
  • Hypocrite: T'Pol insists that her objection to the amount of time Trip and Cole are spending together is that it's inappropriate for a senior officer to fraternize with a subordinate... and then she has sex with Trip herself, despite being his superior.
  • Inappropriately Close Comrades: T'Pol says that Trip and Corporal Amanda Cole are this. Trip counters by saying that since Cole's a MACO and not Starfleet, it's okay.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Things come to a head between Malcolm and Hayes. Malcolm even tries to say that the MACOs' combat experience comes from simulator training on Earth, ignoring that they have fought numerous skirmishes against the Xindi.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: Before disappearing, the alien test subject gives a last message to Archer:
    "When the Xindi destroy Earth, my people will prevail!"
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Downplayed—rather than actively cause him pain, Archer makes Phlox hold off on giving pain meds to the patient to make him start talking.
  • Loophole Abuse: When T'Pol objects to Trip's potential relationship with Amanda on the grounds of Starfleet officers being barred from fraternising with subordinates, Trip points out that the MAC Os aren't Starfleet.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Trip and T'Pol have sex in her living room.
  • No-Sell: Energy weapons are useless against the alien.
  • Red Alert: An alarm is sounded when the Tactical Alert is activated, something that hasn't happened before or since.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Trip and T'Pol finally become an item after a few episodes of him crushing on her.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Amanda Cole had never appeared before. Some fans speculated that she was supposed to be the same character as the female MACO who had appeared several times, but she's played by a different actress.
  • Reverse Polarity: Malcolm and Hayes do this on the warp core to stop the alien from destroying it since everything else phases through him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: A Downplayed version — a Red Shirt happens to walk down the corridor where Malcolm and Hayes are fighting. Malcolm tells him "As you were" before taking a punch from Hayes. The crewman winces and goes back the way he came.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: T'Pol strips and kisses Trip, then the scene changes. Later, it's implied that they went all the way.
  • That's an Order!: A pissed-off Archer orders Malcolm and Hayes to settle whatever problem they have with each other.
    "Settle it! That's an order!"
  • Three Lines, Some Waiting: There are three distinct plot threads in this episode: Archer and Phlox trying to solve the mystery of the alien test subject, Trip and T'Pol having a love triangle with Corporal Cole, and Malcolm and Hayes coming to blows over their rivalry.
  • Unwanted Rescue: The alien in the pod, who starts dying just after his rescue. Though it ends up being subverted, as it turns out he was sent to sabotage Enterprise before they can find the Xindi weapon.
  • Wham Episode: The Sphere-Builders make their debut, and Trip and T'Pol finally hook up after half a season of Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Archer chews out Malcolm and Hayes for fighting.
    Archer: (to Malcolm) Doctor Phlox says you have a detached retina. (to Hayes) A bruised left kidney. We're in a dangerous region of space. We're trying to stop an alien race from destroying Earth. We face attacks from all sides, enemies everywhere we go. The last thing I need is to hear that two of my senior officers have been admitted to Sickbay because they suddenly regressed to the level of five-year-olds!
    Malcolm: Captain—
    Archer: DON'T TRY TO TELL ME WHO STARTED IT! I don't know what the problem is between you two, and to tell you the truth I don't care, but I want it settled right now! (gets in their faces) Settle it! That's an Order!!
    (Malcolm and Hayes glance at each other)
    Malcolm: There's no problem, Captain.
    Hayes: It's settled, sir.
  • With Due Respect: Hayes uses this line on Malcolm, who does not consider his behavior very respectful.