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Story by: Phyllis Strong and Mike Sussman
Teleplay by: Phyllis Strong and Mike Sussman
Directed by: Mike Vejar
Captain Archer and the crew discover a fully inhabited, civilized though less advanced Earth-like planet. Disguised to look like its inhabitants, they pay the planet an exploratory visit where they learn that a pernicious illness is afflicting the local population. As Archer seeks to help them find the malady’s source, he finds himself in a close encounter with a comely female alien. ~ StarTrek.com
While continuing to explore the galaxy, Archer and crew come upon a Minshara or Earth-like planet inhabited by humanoids known as the "Akaali". Although this is a pre-warp civilization, T'Pol discovers that there are neutrino emissions coming from the planet. Archer wants to investigate but T'Pol suggests that as this is not an advanced species that their presence on the planet could alter the evolution of the society; the precursor to the Prime Directive?. Archer then asks Dr. Phlox to alter his appearance and that of Trip, T'Pol and Hoshi so that they can visit the planet incognito.
What follows is a fairly standard plot. Archer and the landing party discover that the emissions are coming from an anti-matter reactor located under what appears to be a curio shop in the city. The owner of the shop, Garos, is an evil alien who is using the reactor to power a drilling complex that is extracting "veridium isotopes", used mainly to make explosives. An industrial lubricant that is very toxic is being used for the drilling and is seeping into the groundwater and making the inhabitants sick. With the aid of an Akaali scientist, Riaan, Archer and crew manage to destroy the reactor and send the bad guys packing. Of course, the inhabitants in the end are cured.
Regardless of the formulaic plot, this episode is entertaining albeit in a low-key sort of way. They put Hoshi and the "universal translator" to good use here. In fact, this episode should have been shown before "The Andorian Incident" as that would have explained more easily why the Andorians and the humans could communicate so quickly. Although we see T'Pol slip what appears now to have been translators into their uniforms, it was not clear whether they were communicators or translators. Nonetheless, the translators in this episode are very evident and aren't foolproof. As a result, we get a very cute scene of the Captain kissing Riaan in order to distract her so he can fix his malfunctioning translator. Bakula fits the role of leading man very well and the scene is surprisingly quite natural and not forced.
Having remained on the planet, Archer with the aid of Riaan sets out to discover what is going on in the shop while the landing party has returned to Enterprise. Meanwhile, Garos, back on his ship is attacking Enterprise. T'Pol competently handles the situation despite Trip's (McCoy-