We also learn from this episode that the M in M Class stands for Minshara, and that one in every 42,000 planets is M class.
We also learn that Enterprise has a crew of 82!
Another fun fact - this is the first episode in which T'Pol does a Vulcan neck pinch.
Mike Sussman recalled that he wrote this episode very early in the production of the series, noting that he wrote scenes of the Enterprise in orbit and thought "I wonder what the Enterprise looks like?"
In the original script, Crewman Novakovich was to die of his injuries and the effects of the pollen. Scott Bakula was concerned by the fact that a minor character was to be killed off without the death having any real impact on the other characters, essentially the "redshirt syndrome" the original series of Star Trek was famous for. The producers agreed, and the character was allowed to survive. In fact it would become notable that no Enterprise crewmember died during the whole of season 1.
The team settle down for the night, making camp and telling ghost stories to amuse one another. However, a severe storm blows up and it becomes too dangerous to remain in the camp. They move to some nearby caves to take shelter there instead. However, strange things begin to happen. Novakovich thinks he sees movement in the rear of the cave, though nobody else can confirm this. When Reed goes back to the camp to rescue some food he thinks he sees humanoid lifeforms outside. Novakovich panics at the news and runs into the storm, evading pursuit. As he comes back to the cave, Tucker notices a creature which vanishes into the rock itself.
Meanwhile T'Pol has explored the rear of the caves, leaving Cutler behind. When Cutler gets nervous at being alone she goes after T'Pol, seeing her talking to alien lifeforms. Cutler rushes forward to find the aliens gone and T'Pol alone - except that the first officer denies that there ever were aliens there. Cutler tells the others that T'Pol is having secret meetings with aliens and lying about it, and the level of tension in the group rises considerably.
On Enterprise, Archer decides to evacuate the team by taking a shuttlepod down. However, the storm proves to be too strong and the craft almost crashes before being forced to return to the ship. The team are forced to stay in the caves for the night - but Archer is worried about Novakovich, who is still out in the storm. With no other choice, Archer resorts to the transporter to beam him up - but to their horror the man appears with twigs and rocks embedded in his body, his pattern scrambled and mixed with bits of the surroundings.
In treating him, Phlox discovers that he is suffering the effects of a form of pollen which the storm has swept across the area. The pollen causes severe emotional disturbance and paranoia, and is ultimately fatal.
On the surface the team become more and more affected by the pollen, turning on one another and gradually becoming violent. Tucker particularly becomes delusional, increasingly suspicious that T'Pol is selling Enterprise out to some hidden local civilisation to benefit the Vulcans. He refuses to believe Archer's explanation of what is happening, and refuses to administer an antidote to the pollen developed by Phlox and beamed down from the ship. Finally Archer decides to play into Tucker's delusion, telling him they are on a secret mission to make contact. The distraction is enough to get Tucker to lower his phase pistol, and T'Pol stuns him. She administers the antidote and the team recover as the storm passes.
Recovered, the landing party return to the ship and Enterprise continues on its way.
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