Star Trek: Enterprise: Shuttlepod One
November 18, 2018 11:02 PM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

A shuttlepod excursion goes as well as can be expected.

Memory Alpha had a deleted scene, among other things:

Deleted scene
As in the aired version of the episode, Reed and Tucker, bundled together, drunkenly giggle about how the universe isn't going to get any of their bourbon. The officers' discussion then deviates from the one they have in the episode's final version, with Reed commenting that he had begun to suspect Archer was invincible, due to the captain's assuring knack of securing his crew's safety. Tucker replies that Archer has always been reliable and, as an example to back up his claim, recalls coaching him to dive at least once a month, when Archer, by then a member of Starfleet, would travel down to the Florida Keys. Tucker says of the experience that it "really got on my nerves", as Archer was such a quick learner and could soon do everything faster and better than his experienced instructor.

As Archer's comeuppance, Tucker decided to introduce his student to "Old Waldo", a male green moray eel. While Archer was wearing protective titanium mesh, Tucker led him into the eel's hole, hoping that he would be a little frightened when he pulled "old Waldo" out of the hole. After Tucker told him that there were some beautiful starfish inside the hole, Archer reached inside and pulled the eel's entire body out. As the creature clung to his arm, Archer found a pressure point under its lower jaw and the eel let go, returning to its hole. Although Reed suspects that, from then on, Archer would have refused to go diving with Tucker, he instead found the entire incident funnier than his instructor, whom he took out to dinner that night. Tucker remembers that they had steaks, lobsters and Kentucky bourbon before the scene returns to the aired version, with Reed confessing that he finds T'Pol attractive.

This scene was written into the final draft script for "Zero Hour", but with slight alterations. In that case, Tucker told Mayweather the story, in an effort to ease their apprehensions regarding whether Archer would survive the experience of boarding the Xindi primary weapon. Though the scene was excluded from the final edit of "Zero Hour", Tucker's diving experiences with Archer were later referenced in "These Are the Voyages...", also written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga.

Background information
Script and cast
> The final draft script of this installment was issued on 15 November 2001.
> This episode includes no guest stars or background performers. In fact, this is the only Star Trek episode which features no background cast or stunt performers. Only the seven main actors appear in this episode, and only six of them are actually seen on-screen, as Mayweather (played by Anthony Montgomery) is only heard over the comm. The episode is so simple that, in a 2012 interview, Rick Berman reckoned, "[It] could have been done on a stage," and Brannon Braga joked, "For all we know, those actors have taken it on the road." ("In Conversation: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
> Despite believing that his character of Reed likely "notched up a few relationships back on Earth that would be worthy of a 'last letter'," actor Dominic Keating sympathized with Reed's action of recording audio messages for various females. "Really, what we're seeing about Malcolm is that he does have a problem getting close to people," Keating reckoned, "and I think that would explain his 'shyness' around girls […] To them, these women, they'd probably be surprised that they got this letter from this man they've forgot about because they never really knew him. But for him, he's on his last 10 hours of air and he's going to die. It's rather sad, in fact, that he's writing these letters to people he barely knows." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 60)
> Dominic Keating found the making of this episode to be thrilling. "We put some good hours in," he enthused, later in the first season, "and I have to say that as an acting experience it's certainly second to none that I've ever had […] This was something. I'll tell you it really got the juices going. The great thing for me is that Malcolm Reed becomes a three-dimensional, living, breathing Human being who – I tell you, as I talk about it I kind of well up – it took some soul-searching to find all that stuff. What can I say? It just made the hairs go up on the back of my neck as we were filming it […] and God I never wanted it to end." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 60)
> Although Dominic Keating had been left with the impression that an audition he had once done for Star Trek: Voyager had been entirely unsuccessful, his involvement in this episode included learning this was not exactly true. "It wasn't until we were shooting 'Shuttlepod One' that Rick Berman came up to me and said, 'You know, I had your photograph on my desk for two years, Dominic, after that audition for Voyager?' I'm like, 'You could've called,'" Keating remembered, with a laugh. ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)

Production
> This is a "bottle show", which accounts for its absence of guest stars and background performers. The installment also does not incorporate any unique, episode-specific sets. It was filmed to lower the production costs of Enterprise's first season. (Inside Shuttlepod One, ENT Season 1 DVD special features)
> The Kentucky whiskey bottle that Reed and Tucker drink from is labeled "Dorton's Best," a reference to Louise Dorton, the show's art director. Frïs Vodka was the original, real-world content of the distinctive bottle.
> The instrument that Tucker uses to scan the systems of the shuttlepod is a RayTek MiniTemp infrared thermometer, slightly modified.

Continuity
> This is the first episode in which no scene takes place on the bridge of the Enterprise NX-01. Another episode which excludes the location is the third season installment "Carpenter Street", which is set mainly in 2004.
> Because Reed's first choice of emergency ration is sea bass, this episode appears to contradict a comment that Mark Latrelle makes in the earlier first season Enterprise outing "Silent Enemy": that Reed "hated fish." However, Reed is also noted to have always eaten "whatever was put in front of him," and may, on this occasion, be keeping a stiff upper lip.
> When Reed attempts to shave away his beard stubble, Tucker derides his actions as pointless. He says that nails and hair continue growing after death, citing his Honors Biology class. Reed accepts the statement as true, but this concept is slightly misstated. The skin around hair and nails recedes, causing the illusion of growth.
> Ruby, a waitress at the 602 Club that Reed and Tucker mention they were both involved with, is later seen in the second season episode "First Flight", in a flashback to 2143.
Tucker shows no interest towards T'Pol in this episode. Later in the third and fourth seasons, he becomes romantically involved with her.
> The act of jettisoning and igniting the impulse engine, sacrificing propulsion in the hope that it would draw the attention of Enterprise and result in a rescue from otherwise virtually certain death is reminiscent of TOS: "The Galileo Seven".

Reception
> This episode became the favorite episode of several cast and crew members, including Rick Berman. (Inside Shuttlepod One, ENT Season 1 DVD special features) During production of the later season one outing "Rogue Planet", Dominic Keating noted about "Shuttlepod One", "Rick Berman just today rang up Connor [Trinneer] and me to say that of all the shows he's ever produced, this is the one he's most proud of." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 60) Brannon Braga also thought this outing "was good." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features) He characterized the installment as "one of the episodes that really captured the spirit of the show best" and went on to say, "There were emotions in there that Star Trek characters just didn't normally have about being out there [such as fear and anxiety] […] And I thought that was really successful." ("In Conversation: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
At Dragon Con in Atlanta, Dominic Keating cited this as his favorite episode.
> Manny Coto once fondly referred to this installment as "a really terrific episode," and he wrote a small reference to this outing in season three's "Similitude". ("Similitude" audio commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD)
> This episode was featured in the Sci Fi Network's August 2008 Fan Favorites Marathon. [2]
The "Ultimate Guide" in Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 79 rated this episode 5 out of 5 arrowhead insignias and named it the best installment of Enterprise's first season.
> The unauthorized reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 365) states about this episode, "Another of the episodes that feels like the writers are still desperately trying to figure out Reed. A nice twist on the lifeboat-type show, and a nice contrast between Reed and Trip."

Memorable quotes
"Astrometrics detected what could be microsingularities in the vicinity of the asteroid field."
"Microsingularities are a Vulcan myth. There's no scientific evidence that they exist."
- T'Pol and Archer

"Sometimes, I think you North Americans read nothing but comic books and those ridiculous science fiction novels."
"Well, I'll have you know that Superman was laced with metaphor. Subtext layered on subtext."
- Reed and Tucker talking about literature

"I don't suppose you have a sextant handy."
"I left it with my slide rule."
- Reed and Tucker

"Mr. and Mrs. Reed… I realize you have just begun a period of mourning and that I'll never get an answer to this question but I gotta ask it anyway. Was Malcolm always this cynical?"
- Tucker annoyed with Reed's pessimism

"Kentucky bourbon."
"Yeah. The captain was planning to give that to somebody. I can't remember who. Guess it's ours now!"
- Reed and Tucker

"The skin of this pod is designed to deflect a meteor five times the size of this hole."
"Well, in that case, I'd guess it wasn't a meteor. I wonder if something like it destroyed Enterprise?"
"Hmm. We'll never know."
"Always the optimist."
- Reed and Tucker

"Is that modulated enough for you?"
"Modulated?"
"The radio! Or is it just the galaxy giggling at us again?"
"It can giggle all it wants, but the galaxy's not getting any of our bourbon!"
- Reed and Tucker

"Commander!"
"What are you going to do, kill me?!"
"It's set to stun. I don't want to use it but I will!"
- Reed tries to stop Tucker from going into Shuttlepod 1's airlock with a phase-pistol

"Who the HELL do you think you are?"
"YOUR ARMORY OFFICER, and perhaps your friend."
"FRIENDS DON'T SHOOT EACH OTHER!"
"Do you know, I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure you use up a lot more oxygen WHEN YOU SHOUT LIKE THAT!"
- Tucker and Reed

"So what are you saying… That you'd rather have Enterprise… find the two of us dead in here?"
"That's EXACTLY what I'm saying. If there's one chance in a thousand… that they saw our impulse drive explode, that they increased their speed, I'll take that chance… I've invested FAR too much time trying to figure you out, Mr. Tucker… I'm not about to accept that it was all for nothing."
- Tucker and Reed, refusing to let the engineer sacrifice himself

"You must have seen the explosion."
"Hard to miss! You know you guys only had two or three hours of air left."
"You don't say."
- Reed and Archer

This Week In:
* Pointless STO Comparisons: Shuttles and fighters are indeed pretty fragile in the MMO, although they are all warp capable by the 25th century.
* Vulcans Are Superior: Vulcans totally knew about microsingularities before they were cool.
* Non-Catastrophic Equipment Failures: Sealing a hull breach with mashed potatoes is a new one on me.
* Aliens Outclass Enterprise: Averted, since the alien vessel was lost offscreen.

Poster’s Log:
I wanted to like this one. I even like most of this one. However, there are a couple of glaring problems that are pretty frustrating here:

* Stinky? Really?

So last week, I was irritated by the completely gratuitous objectification of T’Pol. This week dials that up to 11 with the awful dream sequence, followed by Reed talking about her backside.

On that note, I was also pretty frustrated by his list of ‘subtly different’ love letters. I see what they were doing there, and MA talks about it too, but... ugh.

* The plot hinges on incompetence again.

All they had to do was call the shuttle before they left. They didn't even need to pick them up, although that would've been a better idea than leaving them with such a limited supply of oxygen.

This is a recurring theme on the show: a lot of problems are purely of their own making on the basis of planning that would get someone fired from a civilian job today, much less any plausible military outfit.

I guess leaving those two things aside: the debate between Tucker and Reed about the value of optimism was entertaining. I thought their slide into despair was mostly handled pretty well. The thing with the mashed potatoes seemed pretty stupid to me, but it was still funny. This episode had a lot going for it, I just wish they’d cleaned it up a bit, and I wish they’d stop making me cringe over how T’Pol is treated on the series.
posted by mordax (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
About all this episode did for me was to confirm that I don't really like Reed. Though I did enjoy the moment where he pulled the phaser on Tucker, and then had to double check that it was set to stun. Enough about T'Pol, please.

Mashed potatoes sealing hull breaches says more about the quality of Star Fleet MREs than anything else, I guess.
posted by nubs at 8:11 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty surprised that this was the favorite episode of Berman et al., given that it's a bottle show remake of "The Galileo Seven", which is the superior episode by far. (That episode's MA entry notes that one of the examples of prior art for the Cold Equation trope is the movie Five Came Back, which co-starred a young Lucille Ball, co-founder of the original Star Trek production studio.) It does do a fair amount of character development for Malcolm Reed (and a bit for Trip), although, as mordax already noted, even that's problematic. I don't so much mind that he had a sexy dream about T'Pol; dreams aren't under people's control (exceptions notwithstanding), and T'Pol's acting uncharacteristically is a clue that it's not really happening, but the whole "Vulcan bum" thing is just sad and wrong and one more example of how B&B thought that it was OK to objectify the second-in-command of the ship. Even that could have been saved, in one of two ways: either Trip could have called Reed on his bullshit, maybe making the observation that his immature and sexist attitudes might be the reason why he could never make a romance stick, and possibly even come around to admitting that he'd changed his mind about Vulcans because of T'Pol, and laid ground for their budding romance. The other way that they could have gone with that is if, in mid-dream, as T'Pol was coming in for a kiss, she'd turned into Archer, and later, Reed told Trip that he was starting to think that maybe he wasn't into women after all. (The latter wasn't likely to happen on this show, with these showrunners, but what the hell, we can dream.) Another change that the episode could easily have made is to lean harder into the Cold Equation trope, especially the notion that Trip, although the one who was quicker to make the sacrifice, was also the one more valuable to the ship.

One more thing: the micro-leak being able to be plugged with mashed potatoes, although a cute joke about MREs, is terribly improbable, although they could have plugged it with just about anything else. Someone in a discussion about the end of Alien: Resurrection pointed out that air escaping a punctured spacecraft would not do so with any great speed or force simply because an air pressure of one atmosphere is just not that powerful.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:56 AM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Trip could have called Reed on his bullshit, maybe making the observation that his immature and sexist attitudes might be the reason why he could never make a romance stick

Another possibility here might have been to point out to Reed that T'Pol is a safe fantasy to have - she's completely professional, emotionless, a different species, and so forth - so this is another way for Reed to avoid meaningful involvement, by putting his emotional investment into someone who is highly unlikely to ever return it. He's avoiding emotional commitment and involvement by doing this.

I guess that's my overall complaint with Reed as a character - to this point he's been presented as rather stand-offish, that no one (including his parents) knows anything about him, and so forth, and this episode just confirms that he's someone who has trouble getting/being close with anyone...which implies to me that maybe this isn't someone you want on a long-term deep space mission, because I'm not sure of his ability to manage long-term relationships with people he will be in close proximity with for months/years at a time.
posted by nubs at 9:12 AM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty surprised that this was the favorite episode of Berman et al., given that it's a bottle show remake of "The Galileo Seven", which is the superior episode by far.

Remake might be putting it a little strong. I'd settle for near-remake. The thing this script does that might be the reason for Berman et al. liking it so much is that it very boldly confines its focus. From a TV-writing-mentality POV, they do indeed deserve some praise for that boldness.

But I found it tedious and irritating, and unlike ~half of our ENTs on rewatch so far, I was glad when it was over. Since this episode was so clearly conceived as a showcase for these two characters, I viewed it through that lens: how engrossing and "real" does "Shuttlepod One" make these two characters? And I will say that I didn't get bored, which was a real risk given the confined nature of the episode. What got tedious was the amped-up style of their bickering. I believe that professional* spacemen would start to snip at each other in a castaway scenario; I don't believe they'd get so emotive so quickly, and stay at that pitch for pretty much the whole time. It really did feel stagey, in that way as well as in structure.
* = As always with ENT, maybe we shouldn't just assume this of these characters

I know that Trinneer can turn in a fully convincing performance (and I suspect, based on memory, that Keating can too), and the director was TNG/DS9/VOY veteran David Livingston (MA: "a total of 62 episodes across the four spin-off series, making him the most prolific director in the franchise"), so I guess I'll blame the script by Berman and Braga.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:39 AM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


All they had to do was call the shuttle before they left. They didn't even need to pick them up, although that would've been a better idea than leaving them with such a limited supply of oxygen. This is a recurring theme on the show: a lot of problems are purely of their own making

Similarly, the leap from 'we found some debris' to 'surely this means the Enterprise has been destroyed' to 'then the best option is to start moving -- at a speed where we could not possibly reach anyone -- rather than waiting until we're close to losing oxygen and then start moving' felt kind of undersold for a show which repeatedly harps on how meaningful it is that they finally have a fast warp engine.

As a show-construction issue, I thought it was interesting (and boring) that they immediately telegraphed that the Enterprise wasn't really destroyed -- viewers could probably intuit that we're going to see the Enterprise again, but given how many times time-travel shenanigans happen we wouldn't necessarily know how or why or when. It's a low-tension episode that's partly about tension; that doesn't really work.

I have an unreasonable love for bottle episodes (pun probably intended by the writers), and I enjoyed this more than was warranted; none of the funny moments felt particularly funny, but I'm happy enough with any totally implausible excuse for some low-conflict character development. It's not good, and it makes Malcolm considerably less likable (which I don't think was intended). This is definitely going in my 'don't re-watch this the next time through' pile, but it's not terrible, except for the entire terrible T'Pol sequence, which was all the more awful following the last episode's dreadful T'Pol sequence.

...

Unexplained mystery: why would Archer leave a gift bottle on the shuttlepod, of all places? Did it fall out of his bag when he was coming on board the ship from Earth? Where else would he have gotten that? Did no one ever clean this shuttlepod since then? So many deeply unimportant questions!
posted by cjelli at 8:12 AM on November 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


cjelli, you spent far more time than I did thinking about the weird questions this episode raises. I raised an eyebrow at the quick conclusion the Enterprise was destroyed, based on one piece of wreckage and decided to just try to let go of any huge expectations.

why would Archer leave a gift bottle on the shuttlepod, of all places?

For the bottle episode, of course.
posted by nubs at 10:13 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


I was wondering about that whiskey; it seemed weird that they'd have that on board, but not, say, a couple of spacesuits.

Also, I did rewatch "The Galileo Seven" last night, and while this episode wasn't really a remake of it, the TOS episode was by far the better. Not perfect--the female officer, while not suffering the kind of humiliation that T'Pol is regularly subject to, wasn't given much to do, and the big grunty cavemen who are the planetside menace don't seem remotely as menacing as they did to a much younger me--but it's tight and a great Spock episode.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:27 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


Even that could have been saved, in one of two ways: either Trip could have called Reed on his bullshit, maybe making the observation that his immature and sexist attitudes might be the reason why he could never make a romance stick, and possibly even come around to admitting that he'd changed his mind about Vulcans because of T'Pol, and laid ground for their budding romance. The other way that they could have gone with that is if, in mid-dream, as T'Pol was coming in for a kiss, she'd turned into Archer, and later, Reed told Trip that he was starting to think that maybe he wasn't into women after all.

I would've taken either of these scenarios, haha. (And like the author of the piece you linked, I've been wondering about Reed being gay awhile now both due to his *intense* focus on personal privacy and his flummoxed reaction to what he thought was an advance from Hoshi in Silent Enemy. Plus, it tracks with his background. Kind of a relief to know Keating saw things that way.)

One more thing: the micro-leak being able to be plugged with mashed potatoes, although a cute joke about MREs, is terribly improbable, although they could have plugged it with just about anything else.

Also wanted to address this: I wouldn't have complained if he'd used the meat loaf. (Trek doesn't really get explosive decompression though, and I guess that's fine. I'm still irritated by the time Geordi told Dr. Crusher to hold her breath in vacuum in Disaster.)

>why would Archer leave a gift bottle on the shuttlepod, of all places?

For the bottle episode, of course.


*facepalms*

Ow. Haha.

I was wondering about that whiskey; it seemed weird that they'd have that on board, but not, say, a couple of spacesuits.

My take on the whiskey was simply that Archer hadn't bothered to *remove* it from the shuttlepod when he brought it up. Like, 'I'm just gonna have to take it off the ship anyway, nobody touch my bourbon.'

The space suit thing bugged me though - when Tucker started going for the hatch, I thought he was going to point out a space suit at first to give them just a little more time. I still don't know why they didn't have like four on board, apart from 'author failure.'
posted by mordax at 11:17 AM on November 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Irrelevant but amusing: the application of a Tumblr meme to the ENT crew. (There's one person on there who doesn't show up until S3, I think.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:29 AM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


There is, but whatever. Also: they're probably right about Phlox. :)
posted by mordax at 10:19 AM on November 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Phlox would do it, call it a dessert pizza, and he would smile while he ate it while gently encouraging people to try new experiences.

Unless, of course, creating such a pizza would somehow interfere in the ongoing extinction of a species.
posted by nubs at 2:55 PM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also not directly relevant:
I recently read Nicholas Meyer's book about his career, and made a FanFare post on it.

Here are a couple of pullquotes that made me think of some recurring topics from our ENT and VOY threads:

pg. 81:
"Roddenberry […] was emphatic that Starfleet was not a military organization but something akin to the Coast Guard. This struck me as manifestly absurd, for what were Kirk's adventures but a species of gunboat diplomacy wherein the Federation (read America, read the Anglo-Saxons) was always right and aliens were—in Kipling's queasy phrase—'lesser breeds'? Yes, there was lip service to minority participation, but it was clear who was driving the boat."

pgs. 85-86:
"Later, reflecting on my Star Trek experiences at various panel discussions, I found myself likening the series to the Catholic mass. That is to say, like the mass, there are certain elements of Star Trek that are immutable, unchangeable. The mass has its Kyrie, its Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Dies Irae, and so on… Star Trek has Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Klingons, Romulans, etc., and the rest of the universe Roddenberry bequeathed us. The words of the mass are carved in stone, as are the fundamental elements—the Enterprise, Spock, the transporter beam, and so forth—in Star Trek.

"It is the music to which they are set that differentiates one mass from another (yes, I know, there's a different text for requiem masses, but you get the idea). Mozart's
Coronation Mass bears scant resemblance to Bach's Mass in B Minor, which, in turn, is nothing like the African Missa Luba. Similarly, each Star Trek episode (whether on television or film) is distinguished by the writing and directing personalities of those who create them. It is they who provide the new music to the Star Trek words, or, to switch metaphors, the wine may be new but the shape of the bottle is always the same. I was pouring my own brew into the bottle of Star Trek II, trying to fill it without breaking it. (Later, on Star Trek VI, I did wind up breaking it and found myself in a melancholy face-off with Roddenberry himself.)"
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:51 AM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's really weird to hear that Roddenberry--who should know better, being an Army Air Force veteran--thought that the Coast Guard wasn't a military organization. It totally is, even if they don't have SEALs or the big ships with the big guns or cool jets. I've always interpreted "Starfleet isn't military" as an oversimplification on the order of "Vulcans don't have emotions."
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:20 PM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Here are a couple of pullquotes that made me think of some recurring topics from our ENT and VOY threads:

Wanted to mention that I totally see the connection too. I've often talked about the weird conservative undercurrents in Trek, and I like this as a metaphor for how that works.
posted by mordax at 9:56 AM on November 24, 2018


I guess that's my overall complaint with Reed as a character - to this point he's been presented as rather stand-offish, that no one (including his parents) knows anything about him, and so forth, and this episode just confirms that he's someone who has trouble getting/being close with anyone...which implies to me that maybe this isn't someone you want on a long-term deep space mission, because I'm not sure of his ability to manage long-term relationships with people he will be in close proximity with for months/years at a time.

Supercilious with a punchable face is no way to go through life. Count me as another vote for "surprised to hear that this was a cast and crew favorite." On the other hand the idea that "of course they had a bottle in the bottle episode" makes up for a lot.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:08 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


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