While T'Pol and Tucker discover that they have developed a psychic bond, Captain Archer receives three Orion slave girls as a gift for negotiating with the devious Orion Syndicate - with rather disastrous results.
While en route to the Berengaria system to scout prospective sites for Starfleet's first starbase, Enterprise is intercepted by an Orion Syndicate ship, captained by Harrad-Sar. He invites Captain Archer aboard his vessel in the name of "smoothing relations" between their peoples; Lieutenant Reed expresses his misgivings, given their last unfortunate encounter with the Orions.
In engineering, Commander Tucker is treated brusquely by Kelby, who feels that his promotion to chief engineer may be threatened by Tucker's continued presence. T'Pol volunteers her services to help with the engines; she asks Tucker if he has been experiencing intense daydreams. He jokes around and says no.
On the Orion ship, Archer and Reed are tempted by three Orion slave girls, who dance, scantily-clad, in front of the mesmerized Enterprise crewmates. Afterward, Harrad-Sar offers Archer the coordinates of a planet rich in magnesite; he proposes to broker a deal between Starfleet and the Syndicate for mining operations. As a token gesture of good will, he gives Archer the three slave girls – Navaar, D'Nesh and Maras.
As Enterprise travels to the coordinates to examine the planet, T'Pol reports numerous disruptions due to the presence of the women; she also reminds Archer of Starfleet's official stance on slavery. The crewmembers seem obviously distracted by the very seductive women: the men begin competing with one another and exhibit aggressive behavior, while female crew-members experience intense headaches. Numerous skirmishes and challenges to authority are also observed. Navaar works her way closer and closer to the captain, while D'Nesh has chosen Kelby as the object of her affections and manipulations.
Enterprise reaches the planet and, as promised, detects significant amounts of magnesite. Archer orders the phase cannons to fire and destroy a small, unknown vessel, but Reed refuses the order. Kelby, who is obviously under the spell of D'Nesh, is convinced to sabotage the ship's engines; he succeeds, but is subsequently subdued by Tucker.
In sickbay, Doctor Phlox reveals that Kelby is suffering from escalated levels of adrenaline, brought on by pheromones from the Orion slave girls. These pheromones are accelerating the crew's metabolism, causing aggression and delusional behavior among men and headaches and discomfort among women to divert competition; Phlox himself has been affected, he says, forcing him to rely on stimulants to counter his interrupted sleep cycle. Only Tucker and T'Pol appear to be immune.
The slave girls are imprisoned in the decon chamber, and a search of their quarters turns up a communications device, which they have been using to speak with Harrad-Sar. Archer confronts them, and they nearly convince him to release them, but T'Pol brings the captain to his senses. T'Pol tells Tucker that he is unaffected by the pheromones because, since Tucker and T'Pol have "mated", he is bound psychically to her, and thus he enjoys the immunity granted by her Vulcan physiology.
With Enterprise's engines disabled, Harrad-Sar returns to claim his reward – the Enterprise and Captain Archer. After a brief battle, the Orion vessel hooks Enterprise and begins towing her away. Harrad-Sar reveals that he himself is the slave - a slave to the Orion females on Archer's ship. Having convinced their guards to let them escape, the Orion females now emerge from the turbolift onto the bridge.
Navaar persuades Captain Archer to have T'Pol arrested; Archer complies and orders Lieutenant Reed to arrest the Vulcan. Reed draws his phase pistol and begins to carry out the order, but is stunned unconscious by Commander Tucker, who also stuns Archer and Ensign Mayweather. He signals T'Pol, who uses the ship's deflector to send a positron burst through the grappling line to Harrad-Sar's ship, disabling it. The Orion females, after one final (failed) attempt to woo Tucker, are sent back to their ship.
As Enterprise warps away to continue its mission, T'Pol and Tucker discuss their future together. When Tucker puts her on the spot, T'Pol asks him to remain on board as part of their crew. He promises to consider it and turns to leave, but T'Pol pursues him, embracing and kissing him. Tucker agrees to stay, and reveals that he had actually made an official request to transfer back to Enterprise three days earlier.
"We've dealt with your people before. The experience wasn't one I'd care to repeat."
- - Captain Archer, to Harrad-Sar
"Of course, creatures such as these come with troubles of their own. Women are the same throughout the galaxy, aren't they?"
- - Harrad-Sar, to Archer
"Have you seen them yet?"
"I ran into one of them in the corridor. They're really..."
"Yeah, I know, I know. What are you trying to do?"
"Get 'em out of my head! (Travis nearly collapses under the strain of the weights) The pain helps – you should try it."
"When I was on my parents' ship, we picked up some Deltans once. Their ship was having engine trouble."
"I don't know that species."
"The females are unbelievably attractive. Very open about... (he nearly collapses again) I was fifteen... I couldn't think straight, could barely breathe. Only thing that got me through it was weight training with my dad. He said if I was exhausted... idle hands and all that."
"Well, did it help?"
"Helped my biceps!"
- - Reed and Mayweather, in the gym discussing the Orions
"Please, release us."
(Archer's hand moves toward the release button)
(Archer regains his senses)
"I'm obviously not the only woman with power over you."
- - Navaar and T'Pol, as the Orion attempts to free herself (and her sisters) from the decon chamber
"There's a long-held belief that when a Vulcan mates, there's a shared psychic bond."
"We didn't mate."
"Uh-huh." (rolling her eyes)
- - T'Pol and Trip Tucker
"I'm immune to the pheromones because of my Vulcan physiology."
"And you're making me immune."
"Huh... I don't know whether to be relieved, or (he sighs) really worried."
- - T'Pol and Tucker
"The Syndicate wants your head, Captain, and they don't really care whether or not it's attached to your body."
- - Harrad-Sar, to Archer
"What the hell, I've been meaning to lose a few pounds."
- - Tucker, as he orders power diverted from the grav plating
"Yes, Captain, you've been operating under a misconception: it is the men who are the slaves, not the women."
- - Harrad-Sar, to Archer
"Commander Tucker, I'm impressed. I'm beginning to see who is the true master of this vessel."
"Oh, save it. Captain Archer runs this ship. You're sweet-talking the wrong guy. Let's go!"
- - Navaar and Tucker
"At least we've learned something about the Orions."
"Yeah, the women are in charge."
"It proves even the most disagreeable species have some... positive attributes."
- - T'Pol and Reed
"Was that my imagination?"
"I don't think so!"
"It almost sounded like you were making a joke."
- - Archer and Reed, responding to T'Pol's obvious attempt at humor
"I assure you, if I ever decide to make a joke, you'll know about it."
- - T'Pol, to Archer, Reed, and Tucker
- Orion slave girls were also featured in "The Cage" and "Whom Gods Destroy", while the Orion Syndicate played a part in DS9 episodes such as "Honor Among Thieves" and "Prodigal Daughter". Both appeared in the "Augments" story arc in Season 4 of "Enterprise".
- Chronologically, this is the first episode of Star Trek to mention either the Gorn or the Gorn Hegemony.
- Both William Lucking and Cyia Batten appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine playing Furel and Tora Ziyal respectively.
- T'Pol mentions that a Vulcan survey team had made note of a species of flying reptiles on Berengaria VII. The reptiles were over two hundred meters in length and breathed fire. This was a nod to the TOS episode "This Side of Paradise", where Spock mentions seeing a dragon while visiting Berengaria VII.
- The "mysterious" ship that attacks Enterprise is said to be an unknown configuration. However, if closely examined, it appears to be of the same configuration as the Nausicaan raiders from "Fortunate Son".
- 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 table. 
- This was the last Star Trek episode for which Marvin V. Rush provided the cinematography. Rush stepped down from the position for the remainder of the season in order to focus on directing "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" and "Terra Prime", and so camera operator Douglas Knapp took over cinematography duties on what would turn out to be the final five episodes of the series.
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
- William Lucking as Harrad-Sar
- Cyia Batten as Navaar
- Derek Magyar as Kelby
- Crystal Allen as D'Nesh
- Menina Fortunato as Maras
- Jef Ayres as Haynem
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Joe Davis as an Orion servant
- Evan English as Tanner
- Henry Farnam as command division crewman
- Tamara Hambly as an operations division crewman
- John Jurgens as an operations division crewman
- Scott Kolak as an Orion servant
- Ricky Lomax as W. Woods
- Bobby Pappas as an operations division crewman
- Cesar Rodriguez as a science division lieutenant
- Cecelia Specht as an operations division crewman
- John Wan as an operations division crewman
- Aaron White as R. Ryan
- Unknown performers as
adrenaline; Berengaria VII; Columbia NX-02; communication device; decon chamber; Deltans; Deltan ship; dizziness; dragons; EPS conduit; field matrix; Gorn; Gorn Hegemony; Harrad-Sar's barge; Hernandez, Erika; Horizon, ECS; Keeley; magnesite; Masaro; Meridor; M-class; Orions; Orion slave girls; Orion Syndicate; phase diagnostic; pheromone; positron burst; privateer; protocol officer; psychic bond; science vessel; slavery; Suliban; transfer conduit; Vulcan science vessel; weight training
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"In a Mirror, Darkly"