In this episode, Enterprise finds a TARDIS-esque MacGuffin drifting through space. The Tholians appear for the first time since we saw them in TOS. A temporal anomaly means Reed and Archer have the same boring conversation over and over. T’Pol and Archer get awkward.
So they tractor in this mysterious pod that is bigger on the inside and is full of Gallifreyan-esque carvings. Inside is…not a Time Lord, unfortunately.
Archer thinks it must be the body of Zefram Cochrane, who disappeared on a test flight. Otherwise they have no record of humans venturing that far out into space before Enterprise.
Trip and Reed are exploring the ship and finding strange and unexplained things inside, when the Suliban show up and demand the vessel be turned over to them. They board the ship and attack Trip and Reed, but leave unsuccessful.
Archer calls the Vulcans to act as an escort and while they await their arrival, Phlox tells Archer and T’Pol that the corpse they found in the pod was part Vulcan, and other species, “the result of several generations of inter-species breeding.”
Archer takes T’Pol to break into Daniels’ quarters, and accesses his database of future tech, events and more.
She seems to be bothered by Phlox’s findings and this being the period where it feels like the writers were trying to imply chemistry between her and Archer, it gets awkward.
T’Pol: Few Vulcans have ever chosen to mate with another species.
Archer: Worried about contaminating your genome with a little human DNA
T’Pol: There are significant biological differences between the species. It’s unlikely we could reproduce. (He looks at her and she clarifies)…Humans and Vulcans.
Archer wonders whether a human-Vulcan hybrid would have pointed ears and T’Pol gives him a long look, which I can’t quite read the intention of. Is she annoyed at his mention of their ears? Interested in the suggestion? Ugh, Archer/T’Pol so doesn’t work for me.
Then the Tholians show up, also demanding the pod. In a rare show of admitting he doesn’t know everything, Archer asks T’Pol what she knows about them and listens to her advice about dealing with them. He threatens to destroy their ship and they withdraw, but the mystery is mounting.
Phlox sits down with T’Pol in the mess hall. T’Pol seems reluctant to chat and tells Phlox she doesn’t believe Archer’s theory that the ship is from the future. He insinuates Vulcan scientists are wrong to ignore the evidence of time travel. Add to the list of scenes of men telling T’Pol to change.
Next Reed and Trip chat about whether or not they’d want to time travel to the future and the past. Mid-way through a kind of boring conversation, they get caught in what feels like a “Cause and Effect”-ish situation – beginning their conversation over again three times, and experiencing a strong sense of deja vu. If only it wasn’t such a boring conversation because watching it once was more than enough.
They report the anomaly to Archer and T’Pol. T’Pol then asks Archer to talk in private because she doesn’t think the Enterprise will survive if the Suliban and/or Tholians return.
She wants him to destroy the vessel and stay the heck out of the Temporal Cold War. But he says no – he wants answers.
Not long after, several Suliban vessels arrive and we finally start to see the “tense” in the episode title. They’re only three minutes from the Vulcan rendezvous but they might not make it. Then they do make it but the Vulcan vessel is disabled…by the Tholians.
Archer leaves T’Pol in charge of the bridge (yay!) while he and Reed attempt to use a torpedo warhead to destroy the pod. He also orders Trip to try to activate the homing beacon on the mystery pod.
Hey, the bridge is pretty much staffed by just T’Pol, Mayweather and Hoshi. I would totally watch a show with that as the norm. The Suliban are wiped out by the Tholians, which is scary.
And OMG this episode passes the Bechdel-Wallace Test because T’Pol is in charge and Hoshi gets to do an important thing because Reed isn’t there! I mean her actual job is important too, but we pretty much never get to see that.
Hoshi: They’ve locked on to both docking ports.
T’Pol: Seal the hatches and send security teams.
As they push out the armed pod, it disappears, and the Tholians lose interest and leave.
T’Pol, Trip and Archer sit down for breakfast. Theoretically this should be the point where we learn something about the Temporal Cold War, but that doesn’t really happen. Trip leaves and Archer is left with T’Pol again so cue the awkward again!
It actually starts well, with Archer being nice to the Vulcans! He says he will apologize that the Vulcan escort ship was damaged and thank them for their help. But then he has to bring it up again even though it was clearly uncomfortable earlier:
Archer: I wonder if they’ll believe that humans and Vulcans will be swapping chromosomes one day?
T’Pol : They’re more likely to believe in time travel.
I never thought I’d say this but I can’t wait to get to Trip/T’Pol episodes.
Bechdel-Wallace Test: Pass. Hoshi reports to T’Pol but T’Pol doesn’t specifically reply to her – just issues orders to the entire bridge.