(written from a Production point of view)
Enterprise rescues an alien from a massive spatial anomaly, but its lone pilot refuses to explain why he was there. Reed and Hayes confront each other over their roles on the ship.
- "That was unexpected."
Commander Tucker is in his quarters, practicing Vulcan neuro-pressure on Corporal Amanda Cole's foot rather than his usual partner, T'Pol. After completing a few other pressure points, Cole turns round, and stares at Tucker. She kisses him, and then walks out, leaving him looking surprised, but happy.
- "Captain's starlog, December 27, 2153. Using the coordinates we got from Degra, we're en route to the location of the red giant star and with any luck, the Xindi weapon."
Captain Archer calls Lieutenant Reed to his ready room to discuss training sessions with the MACOs. Major Hayes has already discussed including the senior officers in the training sessions, but Reed has some objections to taking orders from the major. However, he reluctantly accepts his orders.
On the bridge, Ensign Mayweather comments that the stars directly ahead appear to be shifting positions. The Enterprise proceeds to investigate the phenomenon. They arrive to find that it is a convergence of a large number of spatial anomalies. Ensign Sato picks up a weak transmission coming from within the disturbance. T'Pol identifies its source as a small pod containing one humanoid life sign. Archer instructs Reed to deploy the grappler, and they attempt to remove the pod. Upon trying to pull the pod out, the disturbance suddenly expands and envelops the primary hull. Small spatial disturbances begin forming on the bridge, disrupting a few systems, and ammonium sulfide starts accumulating in the atmosphere. The captain orders full reverse from the engineering crew, and Enterprise manages to escape, along with the pod. Dr. Phlox asks T'Pol to join him in sickbay to discuss Corporal Cole. She has been to see the doctor because of headaches, which Phlox associates with the neuro-pressure sessions she'd been receiving from Commander Tucker. Phlox recommends that T'Pol should try to remedy the situation by conducting further sessions with the corporal, and that Tucker should be discouraged from continuing with her.
Meanwhile, Reed and Hayes argue over the timing of the training sessions, much to the major's exasperation. Reed is unhappy about the major going over his head with his recommendation to the captain.
In the launch bay, Archer, Reed and Tucker open the pod, and discover a humanoid inside, alive, with many electrodes connecting him to the pod.
They take the alien to sickbay, where Phlox tries to revive him. In the command center, T'Pol has been working on the readings from the disturbance, and has gathered some interesting data. She has deduced that the disturbance is located exactly in the center of five spheres. Archer hypothesizes that the spheres are the cause of the disturbance.
In one of the cargo bays, Major Hayes has set up a session of hand-to-hand combat, and the MACOs and the senior officers are paired up against each other. Cole immediately pairs with Tucker. Both groups appear to be equally matched, much to Reed's relief. The session goes well, until one of the MACOs goes over the top with Mayweather. Mayweather seems to not be too badly hurt, but Reed stops the session, and demands that the major keep control of his soldiers. Hayes disagrees there is an issue, and the animosity between them continues.
T'Pol and Tucker discover evidence that the pod is associated with the makers of the spheres. T'Pol shares this information with the captain, who speculates that the alien is a "canary in a coal mine," intentionally placed in the disturbance to monitor its effects.
The captain wants the doctor to revive the alien, but Phlox states that's unethical as he would be in pain. Archer says they're going to have to bend a few ethics.
In T'Pol's quarters, she is conducting a neuro-pressure session with Cole. They discuss Cole's apparent attraction to Tucker, which she admits to. T'Pol is surprised enough that she accidentally presses too hard and hurts Cole for a moment.
The doctor confirms to Archer that the alien is dying, but not just dying – he is disintegrating. There isn't much that Phlox can do to stop the alien's demise.
Hayes sets up a weapon targeting session as part of his new training regime. Reed doesn't score very high in his first attempt, much to his disappointment, and he isn't consoled by the major's comments. The major then scores considerably higher – on a higher level – and states that the record for this training exercise is held by Cole. Afterward, in the crew's mess, Tucker engages Reed in discussion concerning the training sessions. Reed doesn't wish to discuss Major Hayes, but is more interested in the rumors of a relationship between Cole and Tucker. Tucker is equally not keen to follow this line of conversation.
The alien's condition continues to deteriorate, and he continues to demand to be returned to the disturbance site. However, Archer is adamant that he needs more answers about why he was there. Finally the alien reveals that he is from a trans-dimensional realm. He demands to be returned to his pod, even though he knows he will die.
- "Captain's starlog, supplemental. With Travis' adjustments in place, we've resumed course for the red giant."
Tucker goes to see T'Pol for his neuro-pressure session, and discusses his situation with Cole with her. He asks if T'Pol is jealous about him and Cole; she denies it, and asks if he is. When Tucker admits that he finds T'Pol attractive, she quickly kisses him before taking off her clothes and kissing him again…
In sickbay, the Doctor talks to the steadily sickening alien about Denobula and Earth. As the Doctor turns away to consult a medical screen, the alien attacks him, knocking him unconscious, but then discovers his arm passes through Phlox's neck. After briefly examining his hand in surprise and testing this new-found ability to pass through solid matter, he then proceeds to walk through the sickbay wall.
The alien is moving rapidly through the ship, causing localized failures that T'Pol notes are a way to track his progress. Meanwhile, Reed and Hayes' conflict has escalated, and they are in the middle of a big fight, which begins as sparring but escalates; clearly, this is personal. Both men trade having the upper hand, but what is now nothing short of a brawl is broken up when they are called to duty to attempt to track down the alien. They intercept him, but their weapons have no effect; the fire passes right through him.
In engineering, Tucker encounters the alien, but is knocked unconscious seconds before the MACOs and Reed arrive. The alien then pushes his hand into the warp core, destabilizing the magnetic seals. With Hayes' help, Reed is able to reverse the polarity of the field coils, and this repels the alien.
The next day, Tucker and T'Pol discuss their intimacies over coffee and tea in the crew's mess. T'Pol thanks Tucker for his assistance of her "exploration of Human sexuality". They both agree to keep their dalliance between themselves, and in fact Tucker, feeling uncomfortable with T'Pol's logical approach to the matter, suggests they "forget it ever happened", but, as an afterthought, suggests that they need not discontinue their Vulcan neuro-pressure sessions together.
Hayes and Reed are called to the captain's ready room for a dressing down because of the wounds they inflicted on each other during their fight. The captain orders their dispute to be ended immediately; Reed and Hayes confirm that it has already been settled. When the captain leaves to speak to the alien again, a bit of humor is added as Reed and Hayes are left wondering if they're dismissed.
Back in sickbay, the alien deteriorates further, and disintegrates completely, but not before telling Archer that his people are somehow involved with the Xindi plan to destroy Earth.
"I've noticed that you and Corporal Cole have become somewhat friendly."
"Last week you were eating together in the mess hall, and in the training session yesterday she touched your behind."
"You've been keeping a pretty close eye on us."
"You're hard to miss."
- - T'Pol and Tucker
"Captain, this man is dying a painful death. To keep him conscious is unethical."
"Until I get the answers I need, we're going to have to bend a few ethics."
- - Phlox and Captain Archer
"You and Commander Tucker appear to enjoy each other's company."
"We do have a lot in common. Did he tell you we grew up less than fifty kilometers from each other?"
"He didn't mention it."
"Our high schools were rivals. We went to the same movie theaters. What are the odds?"
- - T'Pol and Corporal Cole, discussing Trip Tucker
"You two really ought to declare a truce."
"Oh, no. This is a fight to the death."
- - Tucker and Reed
"You have to admit, the extra training isn't such a bad idea."
"Just… drop it."
- - Tucker and Reed
"Why were you giving Amanda Cole neuro-pressure, anyway?"
"What's it to you?"
"Well, from what I'm told, it's a pretty intimate procedure… for just friends."
"I do it with T'Pol. Are you implying there's something going on there as well?"
"That's the rumor."
"Look, for the last time, there's nothing going on with any of us… between any of us."
"Right, you're all just friends."
"Huh. I guess this Vulcan neuro-pressure isn't that intimate, after all."
"In that case, I've got a nasty little pain just…"
"Just drop it."
- - Reed and Tucker
"That's it! Stay loose… excellent! You're improving."
- - Reed, sarcastically, to Major Hayes as they fight
"As you were!"
- - Reed, to a crewman, seconds before Hayes punches him in the head
"What was that?"
"It was a little Klingon move I picked up."
- - Hayes and Reed, after he knocks Hayes down during their brawl
"I don't know who did more damage to the engine, the alien or Malcolm."
- - Tucker, to T'Pol
"The last thing I need is to hear is that two of my senior officers have been admitted to sickbay because they suddenly regressed to the level of five year olds."
"Don't try to tell me who started it!"
- - Jonathan Archer, reprimanding Malcolm Reed and Major Hayes
"Think we're dismissed?"
- - Reed, to Hayes, after Captain Archer leaves them standing at attention
"When the Xindi destroy Earth, my people will prevail."
- - The alien, to Archer (last line of the episode)
- This episode had the working title "Untitled Test Subject".
- As originally filmed, the famous "love scene" between Tucker and T'Pol featured a look at actress Jolene Blalock's naked posterior. Two versions of this scene exist, however, depending on where and how the episode is watched; US audiences watching the original broadcast on UPN (or later on the Sci-Fi Channel) were shown a version in which the frame was "enlarged," enabling the network to crop the picture just above Blalock's bare bottom. Canadian viewers, however, were treated to the scene as it was originally shot – with Blalock's bottom shown (see the picture to the right). The "unedited" version of this scene is intact on the DVD release of the episode, HDNet's broadcast, and streaming video providers such as Netflix and Hulu. The episode aired ten days after the "wardrobe malfunction" during halftime at Super Bowl XXXVIII, which may have resulted in the alternate versions.
- Thomas Kopache, who played the test subject here, has portrayed a number of different characters and aliens over the years. He appeared as Mirok in TNG: "The Next Phase", an engineer in TNG: "Emergence", USS Enterprise-B communications officer in Star Trek Generations, Viorsa in VOY: "The Thaw", Kira Taban in DS9: "Ties of Blood and Water" and "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night", and Tos in ENT: "Broken Bow".
- Captain Archer states that both MACOs' tactics and technology are "two, three years" beyond Starfleet's.
- The MACO training fight sequences were choreographed by stuntman Ron Balicki.
- T'Pol references Sim, a short-lived clone of Tucker seen in "Similitude", who revealed his feelings (and thus, Tucker's feelings) for her to her.
- This is the first appearance of a member of the species that was later revealed as the Sphere-Builders.
- When the tactical alert is initiated in this episode, an alarm sounds that was never included in any episodes prior to this nor after it.
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Sub-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 Tucker III
- Adam Anello as operations crewman
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Evan English as Tanner
- Henry Farnam as command crewman
- Duncan Fraser as Walsh
- Hilde Garcia as Rossi
- Scott Hill as Hutchison
- Yoshio Iizuka as V. Brown
- John Jurgens as operations crewman
- Lalita Lauren as sciences ensign
- Andrew MacBeth as E. Hamboyan
- Marnie Martin as operations crewman
- Dorenda Moore as S. Money
- Aric Rogokos as sciences crewman
- Paul Sklar as R. Richards
- Chris Torres as B. Moreno
- Michelle Van Den Broeck as sciences crewman
- Jeff Wolfe as MACO
- Susan Yee as sciences crewman
- Unknown actor as operations crewman
- Alex Chansky as stunt double for Steven Culp
- Mark Hicks as stunt double for Anthony Montgomery
- Marty Murray as stunt double for Dominic Keating
- Karen Sheperd as stunt double for Jolene Blalock (deleted scene)
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Thomas Kopache
- David Anderson – stand-in for Anthony Montgomery
- Jef Ayres – stand-in for Connor Trinneer
- Evan English – stand-in for Dominic Keating
- Louis Ortiz – stand-in for Steven Culp
- J.R. Quinonez – stand-in for John Billingsley
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Scott Bakula
- Jessica Vash – stand-in for Jolene Blalock
- Susan Yee – stand-in for Linda Park
- Unknown performers as
access tube; alloy; ammonium sulfide; biometric data; canary; cellular degeneration; clone; Cole's destroyed hometown; Cole's family; corporal; cross (boxing); Degra; Delphic Expanse; Denobula; DNA; Earth; ethics; exercise; feedback pulse; Florida; Friday; gravimetric disturbance; hand-to-hand combat; headache; helm; high school; inflection; Jupiter Station; kidney; kilometer; kilometers per second; kiss; Klingon; life support; light year; lunar; magnetic containment; Makers; meter; Military Assault Command Operations; miner; movie theater; navigational sensor; osmotic eel; pain medication; plasma coil; polarity; pressure point; private; rat; reaction time; red giant; retina; senior officer; sergeant; shock; Sim; space; sparring partner; spatial anomaly; spatial disturbance; Sphere-Builders; Sphere-Builder transport pod; Starfleet training; survival training; tactical alert; test subject; trans-dimensional realm; Triannon; Triannon mythology; Tucker, Elizabeth; Tuesday; t-valve; Vulcan; Vulcan High Command; Vulcan neuro-pressure; Wednesday
- "Harbinger" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Harbinger" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Harbinger" at Wikipedia
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