(written from a Production point of view)
While investigating an asteroid field, Tucker and Reed are convinced that Enterprise has been destroyed and try to face their own oncoming deaths.
Malcolm Reed and Trip Tucker are surveying an asteroid field, using the Enterprise Shuttlepod 1. Tucker is trying to troubleshoot the system to fix the problems they have been experiencing; the sensor array and communications circuits are both down. As they are doing this, Reed mentions that he has brought a copy of Ulysses with him to read on the return trip while Tucker remarks that he'd "rather realign every micro-circuit on this shuttle than try to wade through that baby". Reed states that British schools have a core curriculum to provide a well-rounded education, joking that apparently North Americans read nothing but comic books and "those ridiculous science fiction novels." While they are kidding around, Reed spots an asteroid with what appears to be an impact crater and debris on it. The wreckage appears to have been a spacecraft of some sort. As the field of view rotates, the wreckage is shown to have Enterprise's markings on it.
On the Enterprise, Hoshi Sato reports to Captain Archer about the recent rescue of some Tesnians whose ship was destroyed in a recent docking attempt. Enterprise's second launch bay door was also damaged in the accident, and the captain and T'Pol go out in a shuttlepod to inspect the damage. T'Pol theorizes that the loss of control occurred because of microsingularities, and that the Enterprise was not as affected because of its polarized hull plating. Scheduled to arrive at Tesnia in twenty hours, Archer notes that this should get Enterprise to their rendezvous point before Tucker and Reed get there.
On the shuttlepod, Tucker and Reed are discussing what to do. They think that the Enterprise has crashed and is destroyed. With no way to detect the black boxes, no radio to detect a beacon and no signs of their escape pods, they fear the worst. They have only about ten days of breathable air and the journey to the nearest subspace amplifier, Echo Three, would take longer than their remaining oxygen supplies, let alone the time for a replacement ship to come and rescue them. Tucker still wants to go to Echo Three, but Reed insists that it is pointless. They argue, but agree to try and find a way to get help.
Helpless in the face of their apparently hopeless situation, Reed starts to record a log entry, which Tucker finds annoying and interrupts several times. The two eventually end up arguing about what to do: Tucker feels that Reed is being far too pessimistic, recording farewell messages for everyone and giving up so easily, while Reed feels they will never be discovered and should just face their situation. With nine days of oxygen left, Tucker feels that now is the time to get to work so they can be detected and saved. Reed thinks that maybe at warp they would have a chance to find someone but not at impulse speed. At impulse, they are not likely to run into any planets in at least six or seven years. Tucker is not convinced, however, believing that someone could run into them maybe. After some bickering, they decide to have have a meal. They sit down to some rations and a bottle of Kentucky bourbon that Archer left in the shuttle.
Later that night, Tucker is having trouble sleeping as Reed dictates another letter, this time to a former girlfriend. He has been recording these for hours and hours, much to the annoyance of Tucker, who is trying to get some sleep so he can get some more work done later. The friction between the two crewmen escalates as they have another argument. Reed says he wants to tie up some loose ends before his impending death, but Tucker does not want to hear any of it. Reed promises to give Tucker all the time he needs to dictate his own letters, but Tucker snaps off the recorder and tells Reed to go to sleep.
Reed awakens in the medical bay in the presence of Phlox and Archer. The captain thanks Reed for saving Tucker and being heroic. T'Pol then walks up to him and gives him a similar speech – and then begins to get closer to him. She tells him that Vulcans are very attracted to bravery, and that she believes Reed to have been a very brave man. As she leans over closer to kiss him, Tucker wakes him up by telling him that the receiver is online. Reed realizes he was dreaming but doesn't tell Tucker about the dream and works on the receiver right away. They are getting static, and their transmitter is still down. Just as Reed sits down at the conn, the vessel is rocked by an impact of some kind. The cabin begins to lose air pressure. Without sensors, Reed considers finding the source of the leak a near impossibility. Thinking quickly, Tucker vents some nitrogen from the storage tanks and uses the swirling of the gas to find the puncture points. There are two holes in the cabin. Each officer manages to plug one of the holes with their fingers. Reed gets the idea to use Tucker's leftover mashed potatoes from the rations, to fill the holes until they can get some proper puncture sealant. With the emergency temporarily handled, they check on the status. Whatever hit them managed to rupture one of their oxygen tanks, leaving them with only two days of air left.
The next problem they decide to figure out is what damaged the shuttle. The hull is designed to withstand meteorites up to five times larger than the puncture in the cabin. Tucker theorizes that whatever hit the shuttle could have damaged the Enterprise. Unable to find a real answer, they sit down to talk about memories. Tucker mentions that he used to go to a bar, the 602 Club, where he knew a nice waitress named Ruby, who was the girl of his dreams. Reed states he also knew Ruby (apparently very well, to Tucker's chagrin). Nonetheless, Tucker remarks that it is good that they have something in common. He then asks Reed if he'd rather spend the next two days warm or if he'd prefer staying alive for two and a half days but being cold instead; he has figured out how to divert power from the heaters to make the atmosphere recyclers last longer. Reed agrees to roughing it out and lowering the temperature so that they at least get half a day more.
Reed then starts to shave, stating that an officer at his best is always well groomed and he wants his corpse to look good when they are found. Tucker is glad that Reed has been developing a positive attitude but reminds him (erroneously) that hair and nails keep growing quite a while after death. Upon hearing this, Reed puts down the mirror and stops shaving.
On the ship, T'Pol brings in the results of her investigation of the damage to the Enterprise and the other vessel. She thinks this could be a very important discovery. Archer thinks it is also a reason to signal the shuttle and set a different rendezvous point, since the shuttle is not equipped with the same hull plating that kept the Enterprise safe.
Back on the shuttle, where it is freezing, Reed continues to record his letters to former lovers and girlfriends; letters, which according to Tucker, all sound exactly the same as the previous ones he has been recording. Reed disagrees, stating that there are subtle differences between the girls he is writing to. Then they remember Travis Mayweather and Hoshi Sato, stating that they could not have been more than 24 or 25 years old. Tucker states that they died doing what they loved. The two continue to talk about their lost crew members and before they know it they are arguing once again. Reed tells Tucker that his unfounded optimism is becoming tiresome, to which Tucker replies that his heartfelt letters of farewell to half the girls of San Francisco have been annoying him for hours. Reed believes he is being realistic and accepting his fate while Tucker thinks that it cannot hurt to have some hope. They break off, and Tucker opens the bourbon.
After protesting that he doesn't drink on duty, Reed accepts the drink. Tucker lights a candle and they drink a toast to the Enterprise. Reed mentions that the candle will consume valuable oxygen, and Tucker replies that he won't mind dying five or six minutes sooner, and how it might be just what Reed wants. Reed finally breaks, confessing how important the crew of the Enterprise was to him. He tells Tucker that he has always had difficulty getting close to people: the girls in the letter, friends and even his own family – but that it was different with the crew of the Enterprise. He is saddened that the only one of them who is left thinks that he is the Grim Reaper and the bloody angel of death. Tucker blows out the candle and says that a few more minutes sound kind of nice.
Some hours later, the two are very drunk, and bundled together. Reed and Tucker giggle about how the universe isn't going to get any of their bourbon. Reed confesses he finds T'Pol attractive, particularly her "bum". Just as they're laughing about it, they start to receive a transmission. Reed is practically beside himself with joy as he hears Sato's voice, meaning the Enterprise, and its crew, survived after all. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation dawns on Tucker as he realizes that the rendezvous that is supposed to happen in two days' time will not be soon enough for them, as they have only a little over a day's worth of air left.
Reed enters the new coordinates, but they will be eleven hours short on air. Tucker and Reed start trying to figure out how to signal the ship and get them to arrive sooner. Reed comes up with the idea of jettisoning the impulse engine and detonating it, as a means of signaling the Enterprise. At first Tucker resists, but then agrees that it is probably the only solution since they can't hold their breath for eleven hours.
Adrift, Reed and Tucker take bets on how much air they have left. If it is less than twelve hours, Tucker gets the remainder of the bourbon; more than twelve, and Reed gets it. Reed checks the indicator and sees that they have ten hours left. After drinking, Tucker says that if they had one person, there would be twice as much air left for whoever was left. Reed jokingly suggests that Tucker go into the airlock and let himself out. Tucker agrees, and goes to climb out. Reed tells him to stop, and they have an argument. Reed pulls a phase-pistol on Tucker and threatens him with being stunned if he doesn't stop trying to climb into the airlock. After a shouting match, Tucker gives up and sits down.
Reed wakes up in sickbay. Archer fills him in, explaining that their plan worked and that the Enterprise did detect the destruction of the impulse drive. They managed to get them with just a few hours of air left. Reed asks T'Pol if she's supposed to say something about heroics to make sure it is not a dream. T'Pol tells him to sleep well.
For this episode, there is an extended scene that can be found on the ENT Season 1 DVD. An accurate sign preceding the scene states, "The color portion of the following was lifted from the show – the black and white portion was retained in the final version."
Deleted scene 35
As in the aired version of the episode, Reed and Tucker, bundled together, drunkenly giggle about how the universe isn't going to get any of their bourbon. The officers' discussion then deviates from the one they have in the episode's final version, with Reed commenting that he had begun to suspect Archer was invincible, due to the captain's assuring knack of securing his crew's safety. Tucker replies that Archer has always been reliable and, as an example to back up his claim, recalls coaching him to dive at least once a month, when Archer, by then a member of Starfleet, would travel down to the Florida Keys. Tucker says of the experience that it "really got on my nerves", as Archer was such a quick learner and could soon do everything faster and better than his experienced instructor.
As Archer's comeuppance, Tucker decided to introduce his student to "Old Waldo", a male green moray eel. While Archer was wearing protective titanium mesh, Tucker led him into the eel's hole, hoping that he would be a little frightened when he pulled "old Waldo" out of the hole. After Tucker told him that there were some beautiful starfish inside the hole, Archer reached inside and pulled the eel's entire body out. As the creature clung to his arm, Archer found a pressure point under its lower jaw and the eel let go, returning to its hole. Although Reed suspects that, from then on, Archer would have refused to go diving with Tucker, he instead found the entire incident funnier than his instructor, whom he took out to dinner that night. Tucker remembers that they had steaks, lobsters and Kentucky bourbon before the scene returns to the aired version, with Reed confessing that he finds T'Pol attractive.
- "Personal log, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, November 9, 2151. By the time anyone hears this – by anyone, I suppose I mean anyone Human – Commander Tucker and I will be long dead. It's my intention to recount the events that led to the destruction of the starship Enterprise, and to express my deepest feelings regarding my short but memorable service with Starfleet. In order to test the targeting scanners on Shuttlepod 1, Commander Tucker and I had to get at least 20,000 kilometers from Enterprise. During our third trial, we experienced a brief but sizable jolt. And shortly thereafter, realized that our sensor array had gone off-line. We had no choice but to head back to the asteroid field where Enterprise was involved in a mapping project. We found the ship… destroyed… its debris strewn across a square kilometer of one of the larger asteroids. Had our sensors been working, we certainly would have done everything possible to determine the cause of the disaster. But as it was, with only a short-range distress beacon and limited air, we had no alternative but to set a course for Echo Three where, someday, this vessel – eventually, this log – will be found. May God have mercy on our souls."
"Astrometrics detected what could be microsingularities in the vicinity of the asteroid field."
"Microsingularities are a Vulcan myth. There's no scientific evidence that they exist."
- - T'Pol and Archer
"Sometimes, I think you North Americans read nothing but comic books and those ridiculous science fiction novels."
"Well, I'll have you know that Superman was laced with metaphor. Subtext layered on subtext."
- - Reed and Tucker talking about literature
"I don't suppose you have a sextant handy."
"I left it with my slide rule."
- - Reed and Tucker
"See you around, captain."
- - Tucker, as they make a final pass over the debris field presumed to be Enterprise
"Mr. and Mrs. Reed… I realize you have just begun a period of mourning and that I'll never get an answer to this question but I gotta ask it anyway. Was Malcolm always this cynical?"
- - Tucker annoyed with Reed's pessimism
"Captain Archer would be quite annoyed with me if I told you of your heroics… I believe he's looking forward to doing that himself in the morning."
"I had no idea you could be so selfless – in the face of such danger, most males of your species would've given into their fear."
"Well, since you're obviously not going to tell me what happened, I suppose a simple 'Goodnight' will have to do!"
(Moving toward him) "Vulcans could never ignore courage… (moving in even closer) …and this Vulcan will never ignore Lieutenant Malcolm Reed again!"
- - T'Pol and Reed, in Malcolm's dream
"Is it alright if I call you T'Pol?"
"Yes – may I call you Malcolm?"
"I suppose so… but if the truth be known I've… never much cared for the name Malcolm. Always seemed a but too… stuffy."
"I think it's a lovely name – 'mol-kom' is the Vulcan word for serenity."
"Well then… perhaps I won't change it!"
- - Reed and T'Pol
"I was rather growing fond of the name… Stinky!"… (T'Pol grins at the joke)… I can't believe you just did that!"
"You smiled…I saw you smile!"
"Vulcans don't smile."
"This one does!"
- - Reed and T'Pol
"I beg your pardon?!"
"You were talkin' in your sleep – kept callin' for some guy named 'Stinky'."
- - Tucker and Reed, awoken from his dream
"Yeah. The captain was planning to give that to somebody. I can't remember who. Guess it's ours now!"
- - Reed and Tucker
"The skin of this pod is designed to deflect a meteor five times the size of this hole."
"Well, in that case, I'd guess it wasn't a meteor. I wonder if something like it destroyed Enterprise?"
"Hmm. We'll never know."
"Always the optimist."
- - Reed and Tucker
"To the brave men and women of the starship Enterprise."
- - Tucker toasts his "fallen" comrades
"Is that modulated enough for you?"
"The radio! Or is it just the galaxy giggling at us again?"
"It can giggle all it wants, but the galaxy's not getting any of our bourbon!"
- - Reed and Tucker
"What are you going to do, kill me?!"
"It's set to stun. I don't want to use it but I will!"
- - Reed tries to stop Tucker from going into Shuttlepod 1's airlock with a phase-pistol
"Who the HELL do you think you are?"
"YOUR ARMORY OFFICER, and perhaps your friend."
"FRIENDS DON'T SHOOT EACH OTHER!"
"Do you know, I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure you use up a lot more oxygen WHEN YOU SHOUT LIKE THAT!"
- - Tucker and Reed
"So what are you saying… That you'd rather have Enterprise… find the two of us dead in here?"
"That's EXACTLY what I'm saying. If there's one chance in a thousand… that they saw our impulse drive explode, that they increased their speed, I'll take that chance… I've invested FAR too much time trying to figure you out, Mr. Tucker… I'm not about to accept that it was all for nothing."
- - Tucker and Reed, refusing to let the engineer sacrifice himself
"You must have seen the explosion."
"Hard to miss! You know you guys only had two or three hours of air left."
"You don't say."
- - Reed and Archer
"We saw debris from Enterprise on one of the asteroids… we assumed… we thought you were all…
"I'll tell you all about it in the morning."
- - Reed and Archer
"Sub-Commander… isn't there something you're supposed to say to me?"
"Heroics… something about heroics…"
"Good night, lieutenant."
(Reed smiles, knowing he didn't dream of that response)
- - Reed, with help from T'Pol, knowing once and for all he truly had been rescued
Script and cast
- The final draft script of this installment was issued on 15 November 2001.
- This episode includes no guest stars or background performers. In fact, this is the only Star Trek episode which features no background cast or stunt performers. Only the seven main actors appear in this episode, and only six of them are actually seen on-screen, as Mayweather (played by Anthony Montgomery) is only heard over the comm. The episode is so simple that, in a 2012 interview, Rick Berman reckoned, "[It] could have been done on a stage," and Brannon Braga joked, "For all we know, those actors have taken it on the road." ("In Conversation: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
- Despite believing that his character of Reed likely "notched up a few relationships back on Earth that would be worthy of a 'last letter'," actor Dominic Keating sympathized with Reed's action of recording audio messages for various females. "Really, what we're seeing about Malcolm is that he does have a problem getting close to people," Keating reckoned, "and I think that would explain his 'shyness' around girls […] To them, these women, they'd probably be surprised that they got this letter from this man they've forgot about because they never really knew him. But for him, he's on his last 10 hours of air and he's going to die. It's rather sad, in fact, that he's writing these letters to people he barely knows." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 60)
- Dominic Keating found the making of this episode to be thrilling. "We put some good hours in," he enthused, later in the first season, "and I have to say that as an acting experience it's certainly second to none that I've ever had […] This was something. I'll tell you it really got the juices going. The great thing for me is that Malcolm Reed becomes a three-dimensional, living, breathing Human being who – I tell you, as I talk about it I kind of well up – it took some soul-searching to find all that stuff. What can I say? It just made the hairs go up on the back of my neck as we were filming it […] and God I never wanted it to end." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 60)
- Although Dominic Keating had been left with the impression that an audition he had once done for Star Trek: Voyager had been entirely unsuccessful, his involvement in this episode included learning this was not exactly true. "It wasn't until we were shooting 'Shuttlepod One' that Rick Berman came up to me and said, 'You know, I had your photograph on my desk for two years, Dominic, after that audition for Voyager?' I'm like, 'You could've called,'" Keating remembered, with a laugh. ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
- This is a "bottle show", which accounts for its absence of guest stars and background performers. The installment also does not incorporate any unique, episode-specific sets. It was filmed to lower the production costs of Star Trek: Enterprise's first season. (Inside Shuttlepod One, ENT Season 1 DVD special features)
- The Kentucky whiskey bottle that Reed and Tucker drink from is labeled "Dorton's Best," a reference to Louise Dorton, the show's art director. Frïs Vodka was the original, real-world content of the distinctive bottle.
- The instrument that Tucker uses to scan the systems of the shuttlepod is a RayTek MiniTemp infrared thermometer, slightly modified.
- This is the first episode in which no scene takes place on the bridge of the Enterprise NX-01. Another episode which excludes the location is the third season installment "Carpenter Street", which is set mainly in 2004.
- Tucker mentions that the bottle of whiskey Reed finds in the Shuttlepod was put there by Archer with the intent to gift it to someone, but that he doesn't remember who. The episode never reveals what the whiskey was intended for, but the most logical candidate for this would be Archer and T'Pol's aborted diplomatic trip to the Coridan capital city in Shadows of P'Jem (episode), two episodes prior.
- Because Reed's first choice of emergency ration is sea bass, this episode appears to contradict a comment that Mark Latrelle makes in the earlier first season Enterprise outing "Silent Enemy": that Reed "hated fish." However, Reed is also noted to have always eaten "whatever was put in front of him," and may, on this occasion, be keeping a stiff upper lip.
- When Reed attempts to shave away his beard stubble, Tucker derides his actions as pointless. He says that nails and hair continue growing after death, citing his Honors Biology class. Reed accepts the statement as true, but this concept is slightly misstated. The skin around hair and nails recedes, causing the illusion of growth.
- Ruby, a waitress at the 602 Club that Reed and Tucker mention they were both involved with, is later seen in the second season episode "First Flight", in a flashback to 2143.
- Tucker shows no interest towards T'Pol in this episode. Later in the third and fourth seasons, he becomes romantically involved with her.
- The act of jettisoning and igniting the impulse engine, sacrificing propulsion in the hope that it would draw the attention of Enterprise and result in a rescue from otherwise virtually certain death is reminiscent of TOS: "The Galileo Seven".
- This episode became the favorite episode of several cast and crew members, including Rick Berman. (Inside Shuttlepod One, ENT Season 1 DVD special features) During production of the later season one outing "Rogue Planet", Dominic Keating noted about "Shuttlepod One", "Rick Berman just today rang up Connor [Trinneer] and me to say that of all the shows he's ever produced, this is the one he's most proud of." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 60) Brannon Braga also thought this outing "was good." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features) He characterized the installment as "one of the episodes that really captured the spirit of the show best" and went on to say, "There were emotions in there that Star Trek characters just didn't normally have about being out there [such as fear and anxiety] […] And I thought that was really successful." ("In Conversation: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
- At Dragon Con in Atlanta, Dominic Keating cited this as his favorite episode.
- Manny Coto once fondly referred to this installment as "a really terrific episode," and he wrote a small reference to this outing in season three's "Similitude". ("Similitude" audio commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD)
- On the first broadcast of this installment, the episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 3.4 and was watched by a total of 5.33 million viewers. 
- This episode was featured in the Sci Fi Network's August 2008 Fan Favorites Marathon. 
- The "Ultimate Guide" in Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 79 rated this episode 5 out of 5 arrowhead insignias and named it the best installment of Enterprise's first season.
- The unauthorized reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 365) states about this episode, "Another of the episodes that feels like the writers are still desperately trying to figure out Reed. A nice twist on the lifeboat-type show, and a nice contrast between Reed and Trip."
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.8, 19 August 2002
- As part of the ENT Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the ENT Season 1 Blu-ray collection
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 (voice only)
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
602 Club; "add my two cents"; AM; ass; asteroid; asteroid field; autopsy; away kit; biology; black box; black hole; Blood-alcohol level; body temperature; boron; bourbon; Brit; bum; CO2 filter; Catelin; centigrade; Chicago; Chilean sea bass; Cochrane, Zefram; comic book; common cold; crewman; cowboy; curriculum; day; Deborah; distress beacon; Dorton's Best; east; Echo Three; Enterpise inspection pod; escape pod; family line; Fred; garden snail; God; gremlin; Grim Reaper; Hess; high warp; hypothermia; inspection pod; Italian; Kentucky bourbon; laughter; lifeboat; Malaysia; Malcolm; mashed potatoes; meat loaf; Milky Way Galaxy; micro-detonator; microsingularity; Mill Valley; mol-kom; Montana; mood lighting; moo goo gai pan; name; New York; nitrogen; Nobel Prize; O2 cylinder; obituary; oxygen; planetesimal; polarized hull plating; pressure gauge; Rochelle; Royal Navy; Ruby; San Francisco; science fiction novel; scientific discovery; scientific evidence; sea bass; Serbo-Croatian; sextant; Sherry; shuttlepod; sleep; slide rule; snail and turtle; "Stinky"; suffocation; Superman; Tesnia; Tesnians; Tesnian starship; thermostat; train; troubleshoot; toast; Ulysses; veal marsala; viewer; Vulcan language; wedding; west; white noise; Xyrillians
- "Shuttlepod One" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Shuttlepod One" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Shuttlepod One" at Wikipedia
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