(written from a Production point of view)
Archer needs the help of a criminal to prevent war with the Klingons. (Part 1 of 3)
While on patrol in the Borderland, an area of space between the Klingon Empire and the Orion Syndicate, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey discovers a transport shuttle containing two Human bio-signs. While the two Humans are being escorted to the brig, they attack and murder the entire crew.
Back on Earth, Dr. Arik Soong sits in his prison cell, working on plans for improvements of the Human genome. At that time, Jonathan Archer visits. After Soong reveals his sarcastic and pretentious personality, Archer tells Soong about the Bird-of-Prey. According to Archer, it was attacked by Augments whose DNA matched ones that Soong stole from a medical facility when they were embryos twenty years before. He raised the children as his own, and never revealed their location. They have been left alone since they were 10. Soong is removed from prison and is to work on board Enterprise, which is fully repaired from its mission in the Delphic Expanse, to help locate the Augments. He is fitted with a transponder so he won't be able to escape without being tracked. Soong tells Archer to search the Borderland for the Bird-of-Prey. As Enterprise prepares to launch, Archer takes a moment to regard his reassembled crew and tells them he wouldn't have it any other way as the ship leaves spacedock and warps towards the Borderland.
On the Bird-of-Prey, a power struggle ensues when the Augment leader Raakin scolds Malik for stealing the vessel. Malik takes great offense to this action and contemplates Raakin's future as their leader.
In Enterprise's sickbay, Phlox and Soong have a discussion about genetic engineering and the Augments, as well as the disastrous Eugenics Wars of the 20th century. Phlox says his people have used genetic engineering to help cure disease for over two centuries, but that is very different from what Soong does. He is not pleased about Soong's work and behavior.
The Orions abduct nine of Enterprise's crewmembers, including Commander T'Pol and Ensign Jeffrey Pierce. The crewmembers are taken to Verex III to an Orion processing station, where they are auctioned off as slaves. Soong guides Archer to this planet as he used to acquire supplies he used to survive while on the run. All of the slaves are fitted with a neurolytic restraint. If they try to escape, they will die.
On the Bird-of-Prey, Malik is able to earn the respect of many of the Augments and spearheads a mutiny against Raakin, which he confides to Persis, a female Augment. He says he should be the Augments' leader because he is the smartest and the strongest and it is what their "father" would have wanted.
Arriving at Verex III, the Enterprise is able to enter the auction due to an old identification code used by Soong. All prisoners are wearing neurolytic restraints, so Enterprise is not able to beam the crew back. T'Pol is found to be a high demand individual and is sold for a high price to a Tellarite.
Archer and Soong beam down to Verex III. Archer is able to locate most of his crew in cells. After Soong and Archer view an Orion slave girl up for auction, Ensign Pierce is up next. Archer buys him using his scanner and bribes an Orion to deactivate his restraint but to leave it on Pierce's neck.
On the Klingon Bird-of-Prey in the Klingon captain's quarters, Persis tells Raakin of Malik's upcoming plan to overthrow him and take his place as leader. She tells Raakin that Malik believes he is weak and is making all of the Augments weak. Persis further tells Raakin that Malik believes that if their "father" were with them he would choose Malik to lead them. Raakin announces that he will betray their father's principles – by killing Malik.
Back in orbit of Verex III, Ensign Pierce is beamed back to Enterprise where, upon removal from his neck by Dr. Phlox, the restraint is analyzed by Tucker.
In a corridor on the Bird-of-Prey, Raakin attempts to kill Malik but, unfortunately for him, all of the Augments on the Klingon vessel have turned on him, choosing Malik as their new leader. This eventually leads to Raakin's death at Malik's hands and command of the ship is officially handed to Malik. Persis also now becomes Malik's partner after Raakin is killed.
A code to deactivate all the restraints is discovered and Archer returns to the auction, along with Soong. Archer is able to deactivate all restraints for the slaves and a riot ensues. The Enterprise crew is beamed back to the ship five at a time, but Soong stuns the captain and escapes. Soong deactivates his transponder so he can't be tracked. Archer climbs one of the slave cages and spots Soong, then activates his arm restraints. Soong uses this to climb a wall, but Archer catches up with him and deactivates the restraints, causing Soong to fall back to the ground. They return to Enterprise.
Archer accuses Soong, now locked in Enterprise's brig, of having planned the whole thing, knowing the Orions would attack the ship. He says two of the captured crew may suffer permanent injury. Soong pleads with Archer to just leave the Augments alone; they are the future of mankind. They're stronger, faster, and live longer than the average Human. Archer tells him they are dangerous and have to be stopped and proceeds to leave. Soong tries to insist that genetic engineering could have saved Archer's father, who was suffering from Clarke's Disease; those who had banned genetic engineering had condemned him to death. Yet the captain refuses to listen.
Tucker and T'Pol speak briefly in sickbay. He asks how her honeymoon was, and she says that although she was on Vulcan for two weeks after Tucker left, she spent the time alone in meditation. Tucker says it isn't really his business anyway.
Resuming their search for the Bird-of-Prey, the Enterprise is, again, attacked by two Orion Interceptors claiming they stole Orion property. Enterprise is suffering damage until a Bird-of-Prey appears and chases off the Interceptors. Docking with Enterprise, they find out it is the Augments.
Malik meets with Archer and tells him that Soong has contacted him and they have come to rescue him. Archer says his orders to take the Augments back to Earth. Malik says Earth despises the whole idea of his kind, and besides they are superior to Humans. He warns Archer that he is going to hurt him, then a moment later, he grabs Archer's neck threatening to kill him if Malcolm Reed or anybody else interferes. He says that even with a warning the Humans are helpless compared to the Augments. They are five times as strong, twice as smart. Reed lowers his weapon. Then Malik, with Archer as a hostage, exits the ready room onto the bridge and then to the turbolift.
At the docking port, the other Augments led by Persis hack into the door controls and storm the Enterprise's dock, stunning all guarding MACOs. They proceed to the brig and release Soong. Persis hugs him and Soong smiles. At the docking port, Malik arrives with Archer in front of the rest of the Augments and Soong. Soong says he is proud of all of them. Soong tells Archer to go home and start learning to speak Klingon. Malik leaves Archer and returns to the Bird-of-Prey with the others. The ship warps out with Enterprise unable to pursue due to damaged engines.
On the Bird-of-Prey, Soong takes command and tells the Augments that they are going to retrieve thousands of their "brothers and sisters" who are waiting to be born. "Let's go get them", Soong states to his "children".
"Jonathan Archer. What brings you here? They naming the prison after you?"
- - Dr. Arik Soong
"Dr. Phlox's reputation rivals my own – before I was imprisoned, of course. I'd enjoy trading notes with him."
- - Dr. Soong, to Captain Archer
"Here we are again. Wouldn't have it any other way."
- - Captain Archer, to his crew on the bridge of Enterprise as they prepare to leave drydock
"I didn't realize you shared Humanity's reactionary attitude towards this field of medicine."
"On the contrary, we've used genetic engineering on Denobula for over two centuries, to generally positive effect."
"But you don't approve of what I've done."
"You tried to redesign your species! The first time that was attempted on Earth, the result was 30 million deaths."
"We can't let past mistakes hold us back."
"It's your responsibility as a scientist to learn from past mistakes."
"Now what makes you think I haven't?"
"I can read."
- - Soong and Phlox
"It comes with everything but its own protein resequencer. For that, I'll need another day."
- - Tucker, when Archer sees the redesigned captain's chair for the first time
"You don't like me very much, do you, Commander Tucker?"
"No, I don't."
"You probably blame me for what happened to your Vulcan friend."
- - Soong and Tucker
"Your crew could use a sense of humor."
- - Dr. Soong, to Captain Archer
"You're doing well. Oh, three million six – not even my last wife sold for that much!"
- - The Orion slaver, to T'Pol
"If you don't sell as a slave, I will sell you as food."
- - The Orion slaver, this time to Ensign Pierce
"What kind of people are these?"
"I'd say they're not unlike some of your ancestors, judging from your accent."
"Well, if I remember my history, these Augments you love so much had plenty of slaves."
"They were more like subjects."
"Ah… they were just treated like slaves."
- - Tucker and Arik Soong
"You've got spirit. I might just keep you for myself."
- - The Orion slaver, apprehending T'Pol
"I'm not for sale."
- - T'Pol's retort, after freeing herself by kicking him in the crotch
"To quote one of your philosophers, Nietzsche: 'Mankind is something to be surpassed.' "
- - Malik, to Archer
"It's been a pleasure, Captain. Take my advice: go home and start learning how to speak Klingon."
- - Soong, to Captain Archer, as he leaves Enterprise with his newly-found family
- J.G. Hertzler makes his last live-action Star Trek appearance here as the Klingon captain. At this point, he had been a Star Trek guest star for twelve years ("Emissary" was filmed in 1992), with his best-known character being General/Chancellor Martok in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- One of the aliens seen in T'Pol's cell is of the same race as Tarquin.
- The man who buys T'Pol at the slave auction is a Tellarite.
- Big Show is the second WWE wrestler to guest star on Star Trek: Enterprise, and the third to appear on Star Trek overall. (The Rock guest starred in VOY: "Tsunkatse" and Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr. guest starred as Klaang in ENT: "Broken Bow".)
- Several new changes have been made to the Enterprise sets, including a new captain's chair, redesigned transporter pad, new door frames for sickbay, all hatches changed from dark gray to metallic blue, and several light panels and blue carpeting in the bridge set.
- This is the first episode since the third season installment "Azati Prime" in which Enterprise appears without severe damage to its hull and interiors.
- The new captain's chair is a reuse of Picard's new chair seen in a deleted scene in Star Trek Nemesis. In the episode, Tucker warns Archer not to press a certain button on the chair's left armrest. This was apparently a reference to the button that Picard pressed to activate the chair's seatbelts. The chair was also seen on the Starfleet vessel Intrepid in "The Expanse".
- While Brent Spiner had played several characters other than Data to this point, this was his first Star Trek appearance in which he did not also play Data. Nevertheless, Spiner here continues the tradition begun in TNG: "Datalore" and "Brothers" of playing characters that might be thought of as part of Data's family. Consequently, this is Spiner's first Star Trek appearance without Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) and Jonathan Frakes (Commander/Captain William T. Riker).
- Malik's claim to have "five times your strength" is the same thing that Khan Noonien Singh told James T. Kirk in TOS: "Space Seed".
- This is the first episode since "Bounty" in which the Xindi are neither seen nor mentioned. However, several references are made to the events of "Zero Hour".
- This episode received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Stunt Coordination by Vince Deadrick, Jr.
- Among the costumes and props from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay was an Orion PADD  and two neurolytic restraint props. 
- Phlox's comment to Soong about the deaths of millions of Humans as a result of genetic engineering is a reference to the Eugenics Wars and Khan Noonien Singh. The Eugenics Wars and the final fate of Khan (as of 2154, at least) are further discussed in "The Augments", the third episode in the story arc.
- This episode confirms MACOs are still stationed on Enterprise, even though the Xindi mission has ended. This remains so for the duration of the series.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the Orions since TAS: "The Pirates of Orion" in 1974 and their first appearance in live action since TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy" in 1969.
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Commander T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Alec Newman as Malik
- Abby Brammell as Persis
- Joel West as Raakin
- Big Show as Orion Slaver #1
- Dave Power as Jeffrey Pierce
- J.G. Hertzler as the Klingon captain
- Dayo Ade as the Klingon weapons officer
Special guest star
- Gary Kasper as Orion Slaver #2
- Bobbi Sue Luther as an Orion Slave Woman
- Thom Williams as Klingon Soldier #1
- Michael Battaglia as Starfleet brig guard
- Troy Brenna as Klingon soldier #5
- Fernando Chien as Saul
- Jason Collins as R. Ryan
- Shawn Crowder as B. Cotton
- Vince Deadrick as Alien slave trader #1
- Vince Deadrick, Jr. as Alien slave trader #2
- Kevin Derr as Kelly
- Thomas DuPont as alien slave
- Max Freeman as Boslic slave trader
- Seth Hendrix as MACO
- Yoshio Iizuka as V. Brown
- Jonathan Kuhns as Augment male #1
- David LeBell as Klingon soldier #6
- Ricky Lomax as W. Woods
- Andrew MacBeth as E. Hamboyan
- David Mattey as Orion guard #1
- Tom McComas as alien slave
- Derek Mears as Orion guard #5
- Angela Meryl as an Augment female
- Tom Morga as Klingon soldier #2
- Dorenda Moore as S. Money
- Trey Murphy as an Augment male #2
- Jack Nolan as R. Azar
- Laura Renault as alien slave
- Ron Sarchian as Klingon soldier #4
- Scott L. Schwartz as Orion guard #2
- Lincoln Simonds as alien slave
- Tim Sitarz as Orion guard #4
- Paul Sklar as R. Richards
- Pablo Soriano as Tellarite slave trader
- Monika Spruch as a science division crewman
- Scott Workman as
- Dan Walters as alien slave
- Nina Xining Zuo as alien slave
- Unknown performers as
- Shawn Crowder as stunt double for Dave Power
- Christopher Leps as stunt double for Alec Newman
- Brian J. Williams as stunt double for Brent Spiner
ability; accent; Archer, Henry; arsenal; atom; Augment Crisis; boarding party; Borderland; buyer; captain's chair; Clarke's Disease; cobalt; Cold Station 12; compass; Denobula; disruptor cannon; DNA; Eugenics Wars; Forrest, Maxwell; genetic engineering; high warp; honeymoon; kilo; kilometer; Klingons; Klingon Bird-of-Prey; Klingon Empire; Klingon High Command; Luna; MACO; mercy killing; Mount Seleya; neurolytic restraint; Nietzsche, Friedrich; Orions; Orion Interceptor; Orion language; Orion slave girl; Orion Syndicate; photon torpedo launcher; protein resequencer; Proxima colony; publicity; Sausalito; Sharat Syndrome; slavery; squad; suffering; T-cell; Tarquin's species; tractor beam; transponder; transport shuttle; Trialas IV; Trialas system; tritanium; Verex III; visual spectrum; V'radian slave; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Y class (unnamed)
- "Borderland" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Borderland" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Borderland" at Wikipedia
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"Cold Station 12"