(written from a Production point of view)
With a Vulcan ship on their tail, Enterprise decides to investigate a comet.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Memorable quotes
- 3 Background information
- 4 Links and references
Enterprise NX-01 is at warp. In the busy mess hall, Trip Tucker has brought in drawings from his nephew's fourth grade class and is showing Doctor Phlox, who is amused. He gets T'Pol's attention and shows her as well, though she is not as amused, though finds one of the drawings "surprisingly accurate." Soon, everyone notices the starship has dropped to impulse. Captain Archer announces for everyone to get to a window. Enterprise has discovered a large comet, and calls senior staff to the bridge.
Later, T'Pol is doing some reading. She gets some green tea from the mess hall, where Tucker is enjoying some pecan pie. After the usual banter, she bids him good night when he notices something may have piqued her interest. The next day, she notes that the comet is rich in eisillium, a rare mineral that Vulcan chemists haven't been able to study in detail.
She notes the deposits are too deep for the transporter, so Travis Mayweather suggests a landing. T'Pol knows a good spot. Archer tells Malcolm Reed and Mayweather to get started when Hoshi Sato gets a hail. The Vulcan ship Ti'Mur mysteriously appears out of the blue, asking that they be allowed to observe while Enterprise investigates the comet. Archer is not happy about the Vulcans looking over his shoulders, and expresses this to T'Pol in private. In the interest of cooperation, he agrees.
Reed and Mayweather, excited to land on a comet, easily do so and begin scanning. Meanwhile, Tucker discovers that T'Pol has received secret encrypted transmissions from the nearby Vulcan ship and is suspicious. Captain Archer is especially disappointed that T'Pol has apparently been in touch with the Vulcans behind his back, since they had an agreement. He has Sato decrypt the data.
On the bridge, a recording to some Earth school children who go to Worley Elementary School in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, is dispatched, containing comments about ongoing events on Enterprise and answers to the many questions the popular crew previously received. Tucker is extremely uncertain about answering a question about ship sanitation as he is worried that he will be assumed to be a sanitation engineer. Phlox and Sato, however, are excited to talk about germs and the universal translator, respectively.
On the comet, Reed and Mayweather set up their equipment. Mayweather has some fun making a snowman, too. Archer calls down to get a status and remind them they are being watched, asking who the sculptor is. They drop it and place the charges. The comet is found to contain the rare substance eisillium under the surface.
Meanwhile, Sato hands Tucker the decrypted Vulcan message, but didn't read it, preferring to stay out of the message's contents. She tells Tucker he can use the translation matrix to read the Vulcan language. It turns out that the transmission was not correspondence concerning Enterprise but a personal letter for T'Pol regarding her arranged marriage. Archer, embarrassed at having intruded on T'Pol's privacy, does not ask Tucker to reveal its contents. Tucker feels guilty, however, and, as the one who actually read the letter, decides to tell T'Pol what he did.
Tucker apologizes to T'Pol for having read her message from the Vulcan ship by mistake, telling her that an encoded letter just looked suspicious. T'Pol is upset and asks Tucker to keep the contents of the letter to himself.
T'Pol is called by Archer to discuss inviting the Vulcan captain, Vanik, to dinner aboard Enterprise to "break the ice" so to say, hoping to establish some level of trust between their species. She leaves to consult Phlox on a condition she is experiencing causing her to lose sleep. He asks her to talk to him, but she prefers not to. He simply gives her an analgesic and she leaves.
On the comet, the snowman has a few more nice touches and Reed informs Archer they're ready. Sato informs the Vulcans and Archer orders to proceed. They set off a large explosion.
While Reed and Mayweather explore the new crater, Archer hosts captain Vanik. He starts by commenting on his ship, its capabilities, an encounter Archer had with the Vulcan Tok, and Vulcan environmental suits. Vanik hardly responds, and is disrespectful, does not share Archer's enthusiasm and viewpoints, and otherwise is very dismissive and patronizing. Archer lets them go, but finally mentions that Vulcans sure do get around for a species not interested in exploration. It appears to Archer that all he can really prove to the Vulcan is whatever stereotypes he already has of Humans. Upset at Vanik's attitude, Archer concludes the dinner by accusing the Vulcan of spying on Enterprise and then asks him to leave. He does so, saying something to T'Pol as he leaves. She doesn't explain it right away.
Archer turns his attention to the comet and notes to them that an explosion triggered on the surface of the comet by the away team has altered the comet's rotational axis, resulting in the shuttlepod facing the star in two hours, causing temperatures to shoot up a couple of hundred degrees. The away team promises to be out of there as soon as possible.
Later, T'Pol invites Tucker to her quarters to discuss her arranged marriage. Doctor Phlox had advised her earlier that it might be helpful if she discussed her problems with someone instead of keeping it inside. In the interest of sharing her predicament with as few people as possible, T'Pol decides to talk to Tucker, since he already knows about the contents of the letter. Apparently, the impending marriage is causing some concern for her, since she would have to leave Enterprise immediately and remain away for at least one Vulcan year.
She wants advice from Tucker, who does not share her views on Vulcan culture and tradition, stating that arranged marriages have been discarded at the same time as slavery was abolished – a comparison T'Pol does not appreciate. Whatever advice Tucker gives T'Pol is met with resistance, as she believes that he simply does not understand her culture and commitment to tradition. At the end of the conversation, Tucker is frustrated at T'Pol's insistence on devotion to heritage above all while T'Pol feels that it was a mistake altogether to consult Tucker's help.
Meanwhile, the away team runs into complications. Mayweather hurts his leg, forcing Reed to help him walk. With only the core sample in hand, they slowly head to the shuttlepod. However, they realize the star is almost in view, raising the temperature and making the ground unsteady. They need to hurry.
Reed and Mayweather make it to the shuttlepod, but are stuck on the comet due to a malfunction, and fall several meters under the surface. The Vulcan ship offers to help, but Archer takes the helm to try to get in position for Tucker to shoot the grappler, but it's unsuccessful. Archer wants to continue trying, but T'Pol encourages him to take Vanik's help. Archer is reluctant, but T'Pol tells him that Vanik expects Archer to refuse his offer as he sees Humans as arrogant and prideful, and that accepting his offer would be the perfect opportunity for Archer to prove the Vulcans wrong. Archer swallows his pride and lets the Vulcans help pull the shuttlepod out with their tractor beam – a technology Starfleet does not possess. When the away team returns, attempts by Archer at friendliness are blocked by Vanik, who has no interest in receiving the data Enterprise collected on the comet.
T'Pol chooses to reconsider her marriage and obligations to her culture – and some pecan pie in the privacy of her quarters.
"For those of you who aren't near a window, you might want to find one. There's something pretty amazing off starboard."
- - Archer, to the crew of Enterprise
"Once he realizes we're not going to blow up the galaxy maybe he'll leave us alone."
- - Archer
"Wow! That's one big snowball!"
- - Tucker, on Archer's Comet
"Perhaps they're simply curious."
"Curious? That doesn't sound very Vulcan to me."
- - T'Pol discussing the sudden arrival of the Ti'Mur with Archer
"You're easily impressed."
- - Vanik, to Archer
"It might not be good for the body… But it sure is good for the soul."
- - Tucker, defending his favorite dessert – pecan pie – to T'Pol
"A POOP question, SIR?!"
- - Tucker, answering a question from children on Earth
"I always wanted to chase a comet."
- - Archer
"I've only seen snow twice in my life."
- - Mayweather
"I hope I never see snow again!"
- - Mayweather
"You are Human. You are free to choose."
- - T'Pol, trying to convince Archer to ask the Vulcans for help
"If Vanik's the kind of guy who likes to watch… let him."
- - Archer
"I feel like I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar!"
- - Tucker
"I have more letters in my quarters. Would you like to read those as well?"
- - T'Pol
"What was that all about?"
- - Archer after Tucker and T'Pol speak about her deciding not to leave Enterprise for Koss (last lines)
- Production number: 011-40358-008
- Final draft script: 29 August 2001 
- Thursday 30 August 2001 – Engineering, bridge, situation room, ready room (Paramount Stage 18)
- Friday 31 August 2001 – Bridge, situation room (Paramount Stage 18)
- Tuesday 4 September 2001 – Bridge (Paramount Stage 18)
- Wednesday 5 September 2001 – Vulcan bridge, ready room (Paramount Stage 18) and captain's mess, sickbay (Paramount Stage 8)
- Thursday 6 September 2001 – Shuttlepod 1 (Paramount Stage 18) and T'Pol's quarters (Paramount Stage 8)
- Friday 7 September 2001 – T'Pol's quarters, mess hall (Paramount Stage 8)
- Monday 10 September 2001 – Ext. Archer's Comet surface (Paramount Stage 9)
- Wednesday 26 September 2001 – Re-shoot of scene 10 in mess hall (Paramount Stage 8)
- Air date: 7 November 2001
Story and script
- A revised version of the script was submitted two days after the final draft, on 31 August 2001. Although an early version of the script referred to the Vulcan ship depicted herein as being of the "Surak class", the revised final draft referred to the type of ship as "Suurok class". The change was made for reasons which Mike Sussman wasn't privy to. (info from Mike Sussman, see discussion here)
- This is the first episode of Star Trek: Enterprise which did not have Rick Berman or Brannon Braga writing the episode or its story, at least according to the credits of this installment and the previous episodes in the series. However, Braga once referred to the idea of depicting people walking on a comet as an ambitious challenge that came about as a result of him continually trying to push the limits of what the series' creative staff could do. ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise", Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special feature)
- Enterprise staff writer Chris Black was amazed, while planning this episode, by the flexibility of the series' production crew. "That was when I realized they really pull out all the stops for this show," he said. "It just feels sometimes like there's virtually nothing that they can't do! 'Guys!, can you turn Stage 9 into the surface of a comet?' – 'Yeah, when do you want it by?'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 143, p. 29)
- This is the only episode of Enterprise to be directed by regular Star Trek: Voyager director Terry Windell.
- On the first day of production – Thursday 30 August 2001 – Director Mike Vejar filmed scenes 30 and 31 in the corridor and Archer's quarters sets for the first season episode "Strange New World" on Paramount Stage 8. ("Call sheet")
- On the second day of production – Friday 31 August 2001 – pick-up shots of Linda Park at her console on the bridge for the first season episode "Fight or Flight" were filmed. The scenes include R87, R91, and R93pt. The call sheet also features the reminder to match the dark lighting as per original scene. ("Call sheet")
- During the production of this episode, cast and crew went on holiday for the labor day on Monday 3 September 2001, as noted on the call sheet.
- The call sheet for the fourth day of production, Wednesday 5 September 2001, features two notes regarding face casts. It remarked Connor Trinneer had his face cast at 8:45 am at the upstairs lab and Scott Bakula had his face cast with Michael Westmore after wrapping. The same day, a second unit meeting took place at Cooper Building, Room 205, at 10:30 am. Jolene Blalock had her face cast one day later, Thursday 6 September 2001, at 10:30 am. ("Call sheets")
Props and costumes
- Several props and costumes from this episode were later sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction including:
- In addition, Christie's 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction sold pillows, blankets, and several personal items from T'Pol's quarters.   
- Also sold off on eBay were trays and salt and pepper shakers seen in this episode in the mess hall. They were previously used in the mess hall aboard the USS Voyager in Star Trek: Voyager.   
- The bulletin board in T'Pol's quarters – seen in this episode for the first time – features a set blueprint of what seems to be the bridge of Enterprise.
- According to the "Props Requirements" section on the call sheet for the seventh day of filming – Monday 10 September 2001 – a "snowman with two different heads" was needed. ("Call sheet")
- Two musical pieces of this episode, composed by Dennis McCarthy and titled "Archer's Comet/Comet Chasers" and "The Comet", were included on disc 1 of the soundtrack "Star Trek: Enterprise Collection, Volume Two", released by La-La Land Records in 2016.
- This episode features the Ti'Mur, the first major Vulcan High Command starship seen in all of Star Trek.
- Koss, who later appeared in "Home", "The Forge" and "Kir'Shara", is first mentioned in this episode.
- This episode effectively begins the T'Pol/Tucker personal relationship, and its title is thus a double entendre. It is the first time Tucker enters T'Pol's quarters and the first time she shares personal information with him. The pecan pie she has in her quarters at the end of the story is also the first time T'Pol is seen to eat unambiguously Human food for her own enjoyment. It is noteworthy that she signals her personal rebellion from Vulcan tradition with one of Tucker's favorite desserts.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series in 2002 but it lost out to Enterprise's pilot episode, "Broken Bow". The nominees include Adam Buckner, John Gross, Steven Rogers, Paul Hill, Adam Howard, Greg Rainoff, Fred Pienkos, Eddie Robison, and David Stipes.
Reception and aftermath
- Dominic Keating found his work on this outing to be particularly extensive. "I did a whole ten days in that suit, man, on that comet [set]," he stated. Meanwhile dealing with the difficulty of removing the costume he wore to represent an EV suit, Keating experienced some stress due to Anthony Montgomery's energetic and talkative behavior. "There'd just come a point in the day, on that particular episode, when I'd just go, 'Anthony! Shut up, mate!'" Keating laughed, recalling his shouting. "And you could hear, 'Oh, Domi. I'm sorry, man. Sorry, dude.' Hard work, mate, in that EV suit, pretending to be weightless." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise", Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special feature)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.9 and was watched by a total average of 7.36 million viewers. 
- Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide" rated this episode 3 out of 5 arrowhead insignia. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 78)
- The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 361) comments about this installment, "An episode that was probably designed as a showcase for Reed and Travis is hijacked by the far more intriguing T'Pol subplot. The twist that T'Pol isn't plotting against the ship ought to be predictable, but it comes out as something of a relief."
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.4, 24 June 2002
- As part of the ENT Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the ENT Season 1 Blu-ray collection
- As part of the ENT Season 1 digital release
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Vinny Achutha as command crewman
- Adam Anello as operations crewman
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Amy Kate Connolly as sciences crewman
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Michael Duisenberg as operations crewman
- Robert Garcon as operations lieutenant
- Jack Guzman as sciences crewman
- Joel Heyman as command crewman
- Aldric Horton as operations crewman
- Amina Islam as command ensign
- Martin Ko as command ensign
- Marlene Mogavero as operations crewman
- Bobby Pappas as operations crewman
- Alise Phelan as sciences crewman
- Erik Prejean as operations crewman
- Mark Rogerson as operations crewman
- Aric Rogokos as sciences crewman
- Thelma Tyrell as operations crewman
- Michelle Van Den Broeck as sciences crewman
- John Wan as operations crewman
- Mark Watson as operations crewman
- Gary Weeks as operations crewman
- David Keith Anderson – stand-in for Anthony Montgomery
- Gina Chai – stand-in for Linda Park
- Evan English – stand-in for Dominic Keating and William Utay
- Simone Montanti – stand-in for Jolene Blalock
- J.R. Quinonez – stand-in for John Billingsley and utility stand-in
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Scott Bakula
- Pablo Soriano – utility stand-in
- Mark Watson – stand-in for Connor Trinneer
- Unknown performers –
- Hand double for Scott Bakula
- Hand double for Jolene Blalock
- Hand double for Connor Trinneer
- Photo double for Linda Park
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- "Breaking the Ice" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Breaking the Ice" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Breaking the Ice" at Wikipedia
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