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Story by: Chris Black
Teleplay by: Chris Black
Directed by: Patrick Norris
While on their way to a trinary star system to investigate a black hole, Archer and crew succumb to the radiation emitted by the singularity. It causes them to become mentally unbalanced and obsessed with whatever they are doing at the time. Meanwhile, T'Pol, who is unaffected must find a way to save the ship and crew.
We've seen this storyline before (TOS' "The Naked" and TNG's "The Naked Now" are some examples) but despite the fact that the end is predictable, it's a heck of a lot of fun getting there. I really enjoyed this episode.
I loved the way the characters gradually changed from extremely focused to preoccupied and then obsessed with "trivial matters" as T'Pol puts it. Being stressed out these days, I could really identify with them. You have to feel for T'Pol who tries to tell an uninterested Archer: "The crew's behavior has become erratic even by human standards". Now that's what I call a typical Vulcan understatement.
Archer's obsessing over writing a preface (he's up to 19 pages) to what is supposed to be a one page biography of his dad; Sato is freaking out about a too salty recipe; Trip can't tear himself away from saving the Captain's a** by making a better chair for him to sit in; Reed is even more weapons-happy than usual and Phlox goes from a dedicated doctor to a determined to get his man, demented, mad scientist. I'd say that's a little bit more than erratic.
Everyone puts in a solid performance here. Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather) does an excellent job as the innocent, wide-eyed young ensign although he spends most of the episode unconcious once again. Even Linda Park's (Hoshi Sato) usually expressionless face is animated this time.
But the best part of the episode has to be Mayweather's interaction with Dr. Phlox. We don't know Phlox well enough yet and this adds to the uneasy feeling that he may go too far and Mayweather's vulnerability makes him the perfect victim. John Billingsley (Phlox) is downright scary in his scenes. I'm really, really starting to like him.
I also love how the outcome of the episode adds to the storyline. We discover that it is Reed who developed the idea for the "red alert". It's a cool and original way to add this bit of the Trek universe to the show and Reed's work ends up improving security for the ship. Well