Star Trek: Enterprise: The Shipment   Rewatch 
September 9, 2019 12:49 AM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

The crew follow up on a lead about the Xindi weapon.

Memory Alpha stuff:

Background information
> The final draft of this episode's script was issued on 27 August 2003.
> Archer actor Scott Bakula once referred to this installment as "a great episode." (Star Trek Magazine issue 113, p. 7)
> As of this episode, Enterprise has been in the Expanse for three months.
> Gralik Durr reveals how the Xindi homeworld was destroyed. Enterprise saw the remains in "The Xindi".
> The kemocite with the modified radiolytic signature in it was detected and tracked down six months later, in "Proving Ground".
> Enterprise started its mission in the Expanse around late June 2153 or later (April 24th plus refit time plus seven weeks' travel, according to the log entries in "The Expanse"). The fact the ship had been in the Expanse for three months as of this episode means "The Shipment" must be set around late September. "Proving Ground" is set in early December 2153, making it over two months before Enterprise detected the altered kemocite.
> This is the only episode of Star Trek: Enterprise wherein the opening recap starts with the narration, "Previously, on Star Trek: Enterprise...." All other episodes with recaps start with "Previously, on Enterprise,..." sans the Star Trek title, even in future episodes.
> Kemocite, the material being refined at the Xindi outpost, is also the cargo that Quark and Rom tried to smuggle to Orion while accompanying Nog to Starfleet Academy in 2372 in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Little Green Men".
> In Act One, the opening flyby reveals that the open-hull damage to Enterprise’s dorsal saucer section in Act Two of "Exile" has been repaired. However, there is no captain’s starlog or character dialogue to explain how or where this was done.

Memorable quotes
"I have some questions for you."
- Archer to Gralik Durr after he, Reed and Hayes barge into his home

"Who are you? What do you want from me?"
"Sit down!"
- Gralik Durr, who then has a phase-pistol aimed at him by Archer

"I thought we were here to try to stop a war, not start one."
"They struck first."
"Because they were told we're going to attack them. They think they're acting in self-defense. By destroying this complex, we'll be confirming their worst fears about Humanity."
"Let's not forget the seven million people who were killed."
- Archer and Reed

"You burst into my home, show me some twisted piece of metal, and tell me it proves I'm a mass murderer? I've never seen your species before, I've never heard of a planet called Earth, and whether you believe me or not, I had nothing to do with killing millions of its inhabitants."
- Gralik Durr

"Such lethargic creatures."
"You could learn something from them. Patience, for example."
- Reptilian Commander and Degra

"You were right. We probably should have found a nice, empty asteroid to test it on."
- Tucker

"If everything you've told me is true about the attack on your world, I hope you remember that all Xindi are not your enemy."
- Gralik Durr

This Week In:
* Pointless STO Comparisons: A couple come to mind.
- Everyone, Starfleet included, has access to weaponized kemocite in the MMO. (It is indeed pretty good.)
- Seeker drones are also available in the MMO.
* Vulcans Are Superior: Not referenced this week.
* Non-Catastrophic Equipment Failures: Missed.
* Aliens Outclass Enterprise: Xinda-Reptilian weapons tech is absurdly advanced compared to Starfleet. (I'd argue their weapons are better than TNG-era Starfleet-issue.)

Poster’s Log:
This was really very good, IMO, with the single misgiving that I dislike the 'ugly' Xindi species being painted as the mustache-twirling villains (Reptilian/Insect being responsible for the planetary explosion).

That aside... some really good stuff, I think:

* The problem is solved via friendship.

Archer convinces and befriends Gralik, and the episode ends on the reminder 'don't judge everybody of a race by just some.' Gralik has similar misgivings about Archer, but holds firm.

That's the message I find valuable in Star Trek, that keeps me coming back even though a lot of it really bothers me. So it was nice to see here. This might be the first time I really enjoyed watching Archer work, including small details like their plan to blow the facility expressly protecting civilians.

Minor nitpick here would be the lack of security for such a valuable resource, but I liked the A-plot well enough to mostly gloss over it. It was mostly nice to see him do the right thing for the right reasons, with authorial intent clearly behind it.

* The B-plot made sense.

Tucker and Phlox enthusiastically trying to figure out Xindi tech worked, with a couple minor nits: I was surprised at the open reference to bio-weaponry on Phlox's part, (this is not necessarily a dealbreaker since we're talking about harming equipment rather than autonomous life forms), and I really wish he'd worn gloves. That aside, it was, again, good to see some Trek competence porn on display, officers generally attempting to investigate sci-fi problems methodically.

* The transporter is totally a thing now.

This worked for me without explanation because they're still using shuttles to move people, and only use it for objects.

Anyway, curious what everyone else made of it.
posted by mordax (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ah the sweet smell of Star Trek, how I’ve missed you. Moral conundrums and actual ethics wrapped in a package of good television. Mmmm. How about a glass of Sofia blanc de blanc, as we’ve all deserved it, and this episode deserves it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:56 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

That's the message I find valuable in Star Trek, that keeps me coming back even though a lot of it really bothers me.

Yes! After seeing a lot of really reprehensible behavior on the part of the crew, under the assumption that Space 9/11 Justifies Anything and Everything, Archer is coming around to the idea that maybe that isn't the best approach when it's just his ship vs. all the Xindi. This is really the episode that I've been waiting for through the early part of the season and the episodes that could have been done in earlier seasons, if not other shows. Really, there was just so much done right with this episode:

- Just about everything about Gralik: his initial stubbornness and pride in his work, coupled with not asking questions about what all that kemocite was being used for, shading into his acceptance of Archer's revelation about the weapon. (I was reminded of a minor character in the 80s tech-college comedy Real Genius, itself concerning a spaceborne weapon aimed at Earth; the character, Laszlo, is a recluse, and the explanation for that is "he found out that his inventions were being used to kill people.") Also, while he's still obviously on Team Earth, he seems to have just a sliver of doubt after Degra's explanation.

- The backstory on the relationships between the different Xindi species. It's kind of a shock that there was a sixth species that died, and that the Xindi have already destroyed a planet, their own. And I also agree about the disturbing aspect of the less-humanoid species being the more aggressive ones, although it's not the first time that Trek has gone to that well; that's the basic Bajoran-Cardassian dynamic, after all. (Although Trek has also averted it more than once, as with the Horta in "Devil in the Dark", for instance.)

- As mentioned, the fact that the plan evolved to be less about blowing shit up.

- The B plot, and how it's reinforcing--as with the earlier attempt to synthesize Trellium-D--that competence porn doesn't always mean getting it right on the very first try. I mean, they're arguing about safety precautions, as well they should in an armory that's about the size of the average living room, and holy crap, T'Pol is right for once.

Overall, I was so happy that I even stuck around for about half of the next episode, which, while not exactly original for Trek, does take a unique approach to the trope, and is also quite relevant to the season arc.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:40 AM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't have a lot to add as Enterprise never quite gelled for me, but I would like to share my delight that Dominic Keating provided the voice for Kormac the Templar in Diablo III.

It always amuses me to think of Lt Reed saying "The Light grows stronger within you!"
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 2:32 PM on September 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

[any random space battle] GLORIOUS!
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:27 PM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Gralik actor John Cothran, Jr. also played one of my favorite Klingons ever, Nu'Daq from TNG: "The Chase." A good part of my enjoyment here was hearing that unmistakable voice again.

It's also an episode that showed signs of having been put together with some care and effort. Looking back on a lot of ENT (and VOY), that was not always a given. I noticed that this was the first time I found myself speculating about aspects of the Xindi that haven't yet been established—probably a sign of effective worldbuilding.

I suppose the main thing I'm wondering now is whether or not I feel that seven episodes into the season is too late to redeem the Space-9/11-eyness and other shoddiness/ickiness that preceded it. Flipping ahead and reading plot summaries, I hold out some hope; they look like more winners than losers at first blush, although there seems to still be some residual Archer-morality-wrestling, which could go either way.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:55 PM on September 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

Pretty decent. I like that some morals asserted themselves.

I kinda worried when Trip said, "I hate the Xindi as much as anyone," and that statement went unchallenged. Earth supposedly put all their strife behind them, but people are just going to hate and seek retaliation without any introspection now anyway huh.
posted by fleacircus at 1:20 PM on November 6, 2019

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