(written from a Production point of view)
During an investigation of a pre-warp alien planet, Reed accidentally leaves his communicator behind. When he returns with Archer to get the piece of technology, they are captured by soldiers who accuse them of being enemy spies.
Jonathan Archer, Malcolm Reed, and Hoshi Sato are back from a thrilling away mission in a pre-warp culture. In decon, the crew takes off their prosthetics, and Reed suggests writing the report to Starfleet since it's his first time. Unfortunately, as Reed removes his gear, he realizes that he has lost his communicator.
The three look everywhere in the room, the launch bay and in the shuttlepod – it's definitely on the planet. Reed knows he used it at the beginning of the mission, but not at any other point. Sato suggests using the ship's scanners, and, indeed, she pinpoints it to a few buildings and they recognize the area. T'Pol stresses the importance of not contaminating a pre-warp culture, and Archer decides to head down with Reed to retrieve the communicator hoping it hasn't been found by someone else. During, Reed punishes himself but Archer notes it was just an accident.
At the tavern they had been before, they sit at the same table and are approached by the same bartender. He remembers them, and Hoshi, and suggests a certain food. They accept it so that he goes, but he discretely informs three people at another table that they are suspicious. Indeed, Reed tries to keep discrete in using a scanner, and finds the communicator in a room, obviously because someone found it. They go there, but it's locked and they need to wait for them to come out. However, this is the time that the three people get up and confront them. Archer starts a fight, but the two are soon subdued and brought in the back.
There, they find it was a trap set by the local military and are questioned. This time, a lot of technology is found on them, including a phase-pistol and scanners. The leader there, Pell, orders a message to a general named Gosis, believing he has found two enemy spies for an enemy faction called the Alliance.
Tucker gets frustrated, and thinks something is wrong. T'Pol agrees and sees the need to risk detection by hailing them. They don't respond, and Sato sees that they are a good deal away from the tavern. T'Pol orders Sato to isolate their bio-signs as best she can.
Archer and Reed have been brought to a detention center. Reed is further despondent on furthering the damage they've done. He considers telling them the truth, since their current belief is pretty dangerous. The man they met before comes to bring them to an interrogation by Gosis. It appears that he heard T'Pol's hail, and asks which of the two is "the captain." Archer answers it, and that they are not from the military, but no questions about the devices. Gosis suggests they were there to assassinate chancellor Kultarey. While interrogating them, Archer is hit twice to the head, which damages the prosthetic and cuts him. When they see that their blood is red, Gosis orders they be taken to a doctor named Temec for a full examination.
On Enterprise, Sato identifies the compound the two are at and a plan is made to rescue the captain and Reed. Trip Tucker suggests using a Suliban cell ship to rescue them, but says that he will need a little time to get the cloaking device working. T'Pol agrees, and has Sato monitor communications in the meantime. While they try to identify the operation of the cloaking device, however, Tucker has a little accident in the process, and his forearm becomes cloaked.
Phlox tries to scan Tucker, but he can't get any information through the cloak. Tucker feels fine, just a little tingly. Phlox can only guess that he got a "long-term" dosage of whatever radiation the technology uses, and it will eventually regenerate on its own. He'll try scanning again in an hour. He brings him a glove and recommends a fresh uniform to work with.
On the planet, Gosis confronts Archer and Reed again, now with disturbing information that their internal organs are very different from their own. Furthermore, their surveillance has captured a picture of their shuttle and found it traveling at very high speed. Archer and Reed manage to explain their situation without going out of the local social context; they are spies, genetically enhanced prototypes and equipped with prototype devices as well. Gosis can't believe it, and has them taken back to the cell. Following that, Temec notes it's plausible and suggests killing them to study their enhanced organs in more detail.
Mayweather and Tucker continue to work on the cell ship, with only steady progress. When she learns of the execution plan, T'Pol decides to rush things a little and Trip has to finish his work on the cloak on their way to the planet. Meanwhile, back in their cell, Archer and Malcolm discuss the implications of their actions. Archer notes that T'Pol will certainly be able to retrieve the technology and their bodies when they are dead. The two briefly entertain the idea of telling the truth, but Archer concludes that it is the wrong choice, even at the expense of their lives. Reed assures Archer he isn't afraid to die, but also expects a rescue at any moment.
T'Pol, Mayweather and Tucker launch and are intercepted by three local aircraft when the warp power fails with transfer of power to weapons, apparently an automatic action by the ship. Mayweather does his best to steady the ship as Tucker fixes the problem and the ship cloaks again.
Meanwhile, Archer and Reed are taken to the hanging platform. Archer tries to plead for Reed's life, saying they don't need to kill them both, but Gosis doesn't respond and they're both taken up. They have the noose around their necks as everyone hears, but can't see, a ship descending. Tucker and T'Pol jump out, stunning several of the aliens and, through the firefight, are able to untie their crew. However, Archer must go back to get their equipment. He successfully does so, as their weapons easily subdue most of the aliens. Archer finally joins the crew in the cell ship and they take off. Only Gosis stands now, in disbelief at what he is seeing.
Back on the Enterprise, Archer and T'Pol have a conversation about the recent events in which they both conclude that they contaminated the civilization no matter what they tried, making the faction they had contact with believe that their enemies were far more advanced than they were. T'Pol also informs the captain she would not have expected them to sacrifice their lives to protect the inhabitants of the planet, indicating that she is impressed by Archer's selflessness.
"What about it?"
- - Reed and Archer
"Captain, my carelessness was inexcusable. I'm prepared for whatever reprimand you feel is appropriate."
"How about thirty years in the brig, or maybe a good flogging?"
"It was an accident, Malcolm. It could have happened to any of us."
- - Reed and Archer
"You won't be seeing your friends in The Alliance for a long time."
- - Pell
"We came down to retrieve my communicator. Now, we've lost two of them. Not to mention my phase-pistol and a pair of scanners!"
- - Reed
"Visitors from another world? There's no way to know how they'd react."
- - Archer, when Reed suggests they tell Gosis who they really are
"Someone calling herself T'Pol seemed very concerned about her captain's well-being."
- - Gosis, when he receives a transmission from T'Pol on Archer's confiscated communicator
"You've been surgically altered!"
"General, his blood – it's red."
- - Gosis and Pell, after taking off Archer and Reed's alien disguises and seeing Reed's wound
"Guard towers, gun emplacements – it's not a hotel."
- - Mayweather, when Sato locates where Archer and Reed are being held
"Are you all right?"
"Ugh. Just got the wind knocked out of me a bit."
"Maybe a little more than that…"
- - Mayweather, when Tucker's hand and part of his arm disappear while working on the cloak for the Suliban cell ship
"Can you, uh, move your fingers?"
(Moves his invisible hand) "How's that?"
"You tell me."
- - Phlox examines Tucker after the accident
"I ran every imaginable test. If I were to extract the organs, I could study them in more detail."
"You'll be in charge of the execution. I'll inform the prisoners."
- - Temec, on Archer and Reed's biological "mutations" and Gosis, to Pell
"It might be helpful on movie night if you bring a date… (Tucker looks at him) In case you wanna steal some popcorn!"
- - Mayweather, to Tucker on the advantages of having an invisible hand
"You don't have to leave technology behind to contaminate a culture."
- - T'Pol
"Dr. Temec has a theory about where you come from. I found it hard to believe until I saw this; it was taken by one of our reconnaissance pilots early this morning. He said the craft was traveling at very high speed."
"None of the other planets in our system is capable of supporting life. Where do you come from?"
"Our scientists tell me it's unlikely a craft of this size could have traveled from another star system. They suspect a larger craft must be nearby, perhaps even orbiting our planet. TELL ME YOUR ORDERS! Have you made contact with The Alliance?"
- - General Gosis and Dr. Temec, interrogating Reed and Archer
- The final draft of this episode's script was issued on 7 November 2002. The script specified that, during the scene in which the Suliban cell ship first appears in this installment, Tucker and Mayweather had "been working for over an hour," and that the episode's penultimate scene, with Archer and T'Pol in the captain's ready room, was set "a day later" than the scene before it.
- This episode explores the importance of not introducing technology to civilizations which are not yet warp-capable. This would eventually be adopted by the Federation as one of its highest laws, the Prime Directive, a topic, coincidentally, explained in "A Piece of the Action".
- According to this episode's the original Star Trek." This, more specifically, was in the end of "A Piece of the Action", when Doctor McCoy confesses to having left behind his communicator on Sigma Iotia II, and Kirk jokes it "upsets the whole percentage." "'The Communicator' picks up on this idea, but with a far more serious tone," the production report commented. , this installment "explores a premise hinted at in
- Somehow, the Suliban cloaking technology used to rescue Archer and Reed was lost to the Federation by the time of Kirk's USS Enterprise.
Costumes and props
- The weapons the alien soldiers use were Heckler & Koch MP5SD sub-machine guns, modified with drum magazines, Heckler & Koch G36 stocks, and silver-coated sound suppressor forearm. (citation needed • edit)
- The civilian costume worn by Linda Park as Hoshi Sato was later sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
- The chairs in which Archer and Reed are sitting during the interrogation are the same design as Julian Bashir's interrogation chair on Romulus in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges".
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
- Ron Balicki as alien soldier
- William Bebow as alien soldier
- J.J. Bennett as operations division crewman
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Travis Cohen as alien soldier
- Mark DeAlessandro as alien soldier
- J. Mark Donaldson as alien soldier
- Evan English as Tanner
- Scott Green as alien soldier
- Aldric Horton as operations division crewman
- Joseph Jagatic as alien soldier
- Bret Kiene as alien soldier
- Michael Lodovico as alien soldier
- A.J. Pomeroy as alien soldier
- Jessica Vash as command division ensign
- John Wan as opeerations division crewman
- Paul Zies as alien soldier
- Unknown performers as
- Shawn Crowder as stunt double for Connor Trinneer
- Mark DeAlessandro as stunt double for Jason Waters
- John Dixon as stunt double for Tim Kelleher
- Marty Murray as stunt double for Dominic Keating
- David Anderson – stand-in for Anthony Montgomery
- Dominic Calandra – hand double for Scott Bakula
- Evan English – stand-in for Dominic Keating
- J.R. Quinonez – stand-in for John Billingsley
- Richard Sarstedt –
- Hand double for Francis Guinan
- Stand-in for Scott Bakula and Francis Guinan
- Jessica Vash – stand-in for Jolene Blalock
- Mark Watson – stand-in and hand double for Connor Trinneer
- Susan Yee – stand-in for Linda Park
- Unknown performers as
ability; Allakas malt; Alliance, The; alloy; appendage; assassination; atom; avian lifeform; Battle of Britain; biological weapon; blood; bloodhound; blue giant; car; carrier wave; chemical weapon; Churchill, Winston; city block; cloaking device; communicator; computing instrument; cultural contamination; deformity; diffraction relay; Disputed city; district; dose; Earth; Epsom salt; flogging; floor plating; fountain; gallows; genetic engineering; Gosis' species; Gosis' species homeworld; gymnasium; hemoglobin; hotel; immune system; internal organ; iron; kidney; kilometer; Klaang; Kultarey; lung; liver; magician; meter; military aircraft; military officer; missing in action; particle radiation; phase-pistol; pocket; polarized hull plating; pleasure boat; popcorn; pre-warp culture; propaganda; redundant organ; report; scar tissue; Shuttlepod 1; Shuttlepod 2; square kilometer; star; statue; street; stomach; Suliban; Suliban cell ship (spherical); Suliban helix; surgically altered; tavern; thoracic vertebra; temple; train; Vulcan; warp relay; World War II; X-ray
- "The Communicator" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Communicator" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Communicator" at Wikipedia
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