"Desert Crossing"
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Story by: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis
Teleplay by: Andre Bormanis
Directed by: David Straiton

While on their way to Risa, the Enterprise receives a distress call from a nearby ship. After Trip and his engineers help repair it, the ship's captain, Zobral, invites Archer for some hospitality. Archer and Trip go down to what is essentially a desert-like planet and enjoy themselves but soon find that not all is as it seems. They get a call from T'Pol who informs Archer that a government official has contacted Enterprise claiming that the alien captain and his men are terrorists and for Archer to return to the ship. Zobral stops Archer from leaving and tells him that there is another side to the story. The alien captain thinks that Archer is a great warrior as he had heard from a Suliban transport captain that Archer and his men had liberated Suliban civilians from the internment camp on Tandar Prime and he wants Archer's help. When government ships start attacking the encampment, Zobral has Archer and Trip hide underground. As the attacks worsen and the underground hiding place becomes unsafe, Archer and Trip leave it and proceed to cross the desert to find their shuttlecraft. It's up to T'Pol to find a way to retrieve Archer and Trip from the planet.

The episode starts off with what appears to be a political story but winds up being an Archer and Trip damsel in distress one instead. The problem is that the political story is by far more interesting. We only really get the one side of the story and while it seems like Zobral is being honest, we don't really know what "terrorist" acts he and his men have committed. This reminded me a great deal of TOS-like episodes. In TOS, we would have had Archer meet up with Chancellor Trellit and would have found out along the way that the "terrorists" were indeed an oppressed people. Somewhere along the lines, Captain Archer a la Kirk along with T'Pol would have resolved the problem and a moral statement would have been made about why the so-called terrorists were forced to resort to violence and how oppressors and their ilk are evil.

Now I wouldn't have wanted to see such a story but it would have been interesting to see Trellit, the city and what was going on from their end instead of watching Archer and Trip stumble across a desert. Archer's statement at the end to Zobral: ""Zobral, even if I were the warrior you thought I was...that's not why we're out here." pretty well sums up the story. Archer finds out that there are repercussions to actions he has taken in the past and this is wonderful in terms of continuity. How many other people has this Suliban transport captain told the story of the liberation of the detainment camp to? T'Pol's remark at the end of the episode also reinforces this: "Decisions to get involved in the conflicts of other worlds should be left up to governments, not starship captains." Ah, the burgeoning Prime Directive, ho hum...

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