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Unexpected

Series : Enterprise Rating : 0
Disc No : 1.2 Episode : 5
First Aired : 17 Oct 2001 Stardate : Unknown
Director : Mike Vejar Year : 2151
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman Season : 1
Guest Cast :
Christopher Darga as Klingon Captain
Drew Howerton as Steward
John Cragen as Enterprise Crewman
Julianne Christie as Ah'Len
Mike Baldridge as Dillard
Randy Ogelsby as Trena'L
Regi Davis as Klingon 1st Officer
T. L. Kolman as Alien Man
Moral :
Expectations : It can be surprising at just how alien an alien race can be
Guest Reviews :
Rating : 0.0000 for 2 reviewsView existing reviewsAdd your own review
YATI : Although not strictly a YATI, the presence of a movie-era Klingon cruiser in Enterprise is a serious credibility strain. So is the idea of Klingons having holodeck technology on their ships over two hundred years before the Federation did in TNG.

Also, Trip has to go through decompression to get on board the alien ship, and then decompresses again in order to get back to Enterprise. He should decompress going one way and recompress going the other.

At one point, "comedy" is derived from having Tucker become all overanxious about ship safety. He calls an engineer over and complains about the little elevator in engineering, demonstrating how if you leave your hand on the handrail, as the lift goes up, a rail above can sever your fingers. The man responds "why would someone put their hands there, sir?" as if it was the dumbest thing in the world you could do. Yeah... because I can't possibly imagine why somebody might put their hand on... the handrail. Totally unbelievable.

Worst Moment : The entire way they treat what happens to Trip. See the analysis below for details.
Body Count : Zero
Factoid : Trip is, according to Archer, the first case of an interspecies pregnancy involving a Human.

The Klingon battle cruiser in this episode was originally supposed to be a new design of ship rather than a re-use of the existing classic Klingon design. However, the effects team had been working very long hours for the last few episodes and were just too exhausted to work through the night producing yet another ship design, so they were regretfully forced to abandon their efforts.

This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Worst of Trek" award.

Quote : "There's an old saying: 'When in Fellebia, do as the Fellebians do.'" - Phlox to T'Pol.

"I'm not sure if congratulations are in order, Commander, but you're pregnant!" - Phlox to Tucker.

"I can see my house from here!" - Klingon, impressed at a holographic recreation of his home planet.


Plotline

A rash of system glitches on Enterprise turns out to be due to a stealthed alien ship which has been following closely behind them to use their plasma exhaust to replenish their own engines, which are malfunctioning. Archer contacts the aliens and offers to assist them. They accept, and Commander Tucker is sent over to lend a hand with their systems. Because the aliens live in a somewhat non-standard environment, Tucker has to spend several hours decompressing in their airlock before entering the ship. He struggles with the experience, almost panicking at one point, but manages to push through and acclimate himself to the new environment.

On board, he is amazed at how different the Xyrillian ship is from Enterprise but does begin to make progress repairing their systems. The female engineer, Ah'len, seems to like Tucker and during rest breaks the two begin to spend time together. She shows him some of their advanced technology including the remarkable chamber that produced immersive holographic environments. She also shows Tucker something she calls "a game" which involves both of them placing their hands in a small container of pebbles, allowing them to read each others minds.

With the repairs concluded, Tucker returns to Enterprise and the two ships go their separate ways. Shortly afterwards, Tucker notices a strange growth on his arm. Examination by Dr. Phlox shows that it is a nipple - Tucker is pregnant! He is accused of indulging in a romantic interlude whilst aboard the Xyrillian ship, much to his confusion and anger, but Phlox speculates that the "game" he and Ah'len played might have been how the aliens transfer genetic material to one another - their version of sex.

Enterprise sets out to find the Xyrillian ship, as Tucker's body continues to change as a result of the pregnancy. Eventually they locate the ship trailing behind a Klingon cruiser, apparently suffering from more mishaps to their systems and again attempting to leech off another vessel to repair them. Archer contacts the Klingons and informs them, but they respond by disabling the Xyrillian ship with weapons fire, viewing their actions as an attack. Archer is able to calm them down by explaining Tucker's situation, which the Klingons find funny. He arranges an exchange - the Xyrillians give the Klingons their holographic imaging technology in return for being freed. Meanwhile the Xyrillians agree to help Tucker by removing the fetus. Ah'len apologises, saying that she didn't realise that her actions would result in a pregnancy. All three ships go their separate ways, and T'Pol informs Tucker that he has made history by being the first Human male ever to become pregnant.

Analysis

Some good points, some bad points. Trek aliens are notoriously Human-like; an old joke has it that in TNG you can only tell a person is an alien because he has a bumpy forehead, but that's still an improvement over TOS where often as not you could tell a person was an alien because he had a funny hat. Well the Xyrillians are a step or two beyond that norm since they live in a non-standard environment that requires considerable preparation for Humans to live in, have a different take on how the inside of a ship should look, and most especially reproduce very differently.

However, a LOT of stuff in this episode works really badly. The idea of Trip going to fix their engines for example. Huh? Xyrillian technology is significantly beyond Earth's, from what we see of it - certainly they have holodeck technology that Earth won't for almost 200 years to come. When he gets there the aliens have to explain to Trip what half the things he is looking at ARE, and yet he's instantly able to fix their problems better than they are? It makes no sense.

The most serious issue, however, is the attitude the episode takes towards what happens to Trip. Ah'len takes him into a holodeck, tells him she wants to show him "a game". She has him participate in the game, telling him she is not sure if it will work for him, which it does. Later on, we find... that the game is in fact the Xyrillian sex act and Trip is now pregnant. Just think about that for a second. By any sensible definition, what Ah'len did to Trip was an act of rape. She tricked him into taking part in a sexual act, never telling him that that is what he was doing, and her ONLY justification for it is that she didn't know he could get pregnant that way, as one of their own males would. Yet not only does the episode never once bring this topic up, it plunders every negative stereotype of rape that it possibly can, and does so because we are expected to think that the rape and the situation it creates is funny!

Examples. After finding out he is pregnant, the very first thing the Enterprise crew do is start to accuse Trip of being such a hound dog that he couldn't keep it in his pants for the mission. If a woman in the present day was found to be pregnant but had no memory of sex, it would be an ominous moment; our thoughts would instantly turn to abuse, to date rape drugs. We would by sympathetic, supportive, and horrified. Not so here. T'Pol literally says "You were only there for three days and you couldn't restrain yourself!" When Trip denies any sexual contact, obviously confused and a little upset, she simply keeps needling him about how maybe Ah'len should have introduced him to her parents, for instance. And we the audience are expected to laugh along to this.

Nor is any blame whatsoever placed on Ah'len. When they finally catch up to her she is surprised that he could have got pregnant the way her own people's males do. "If I'd known..." she says. The clear implication here is that from the episode's point of view, the rape itself is a perfectly reasonable thing to do; the only issue with it is the fact that it had an unintended consequence. And to cap it all, Archer informs Trip that he may be "pleased to know that this is the first recorded incident of a human male becoming pregnant." Pleased. The idea of becoming pregnant from an act of rape is one regarded with such abhorrence that even a large percentage of the anti abortion lobby concede that such a pregnancy should be aborted because of the severe mental trauma it would inflict on the mother. But Archer and the episode writers think Trip should be pleased about it. Yeah, right.

Despite a couple of interesting ideas, the sheer massive wrongheadedness of the episode on this issue rates it a zero. I honestly wonder why Enterprise never made a comedy episode about child abuse.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 3,887 Last updated : 14 Apr 2013