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Story by: John Shiban
Teleplay by: John Shiban
Directed by: Allan Kroeker
Captain Archer and Trip Tucker are arrested and put on a prison transport headed for the Canamar penal colony. Enterprise finds their empty shuttle and returns to Keto-Enol where Archer and Tucker had been visiting. An Enolian official informs T'Pol and crew of Archer's and Tucker's fate. Meanwhile, the prison ship is taken over by two of the inmates. The Enolians know one of the prisoners who they deem to be very dangerous and plan to destroy the transport. Enterprise must find the prison ship before the Enolians do.
This is a tired story. We've seen so many Trek "prison" episodes that you'd expect this one to be boring but it's surprisingly interesting and engaging mainly because the focus is on a clever and controlling Captain Archer and a desperate yet capable villain Kuroda (very well-acted by Mark Rolston). Kuroda is ready to kill his way out of his predicament but Archer is able to maintain control and prevent the death of both the Enolian patrol ship officers and the prisoners on the transport.
Trip on the other hand must contend with a most irritating fellow prisoner, Zoumas (well done by Sean Whalen) who is seated next to him. Zoumas is the typical comic relief for the story but Whalen does such a good job that although he is an annoying character he comes off as believable and somewhat likeable in his naivety. He also adds a touch of poignancy as he seems rather helpless and this complements Archer's comments at the end about how some of the prisoners might be innocent. Connor Trinneer is as charming and funny as ever as the frustrated Trip Tucker. His facial expressions are worth a thousand words as they say.
Scott Bakula stands out here as well as his acting is right on. The final scene establishes and emphasizes that he is in control and as such the one in charge, the Captain. The lines are worth noting. Enolian Official: "Captain, my superiors will want a report." to which an angry Archer tersely replies: "I'll give you one right now. Kuroda's dead. The other eleven prisoners are under guard. As you're aware, my engineer and I were falsely arrested. We almost wound up in Canamar. Makes me wonder how many others don't belong there. You wanted a report, you got one." It's a powerful scene and adds a great deal to the character of Archer. This is the way I'd like to see Archer portrayed from now on. Bakula is certainly up to the task. Now if the writing can be as good as this then Bakula and Archer should soon stand out as one of the best Trek Captains yet. Not that I want a "perfect" captain. He is supposed to be new to the job and this should also show but he should never be seen as so inexperienced that he ends up looking stupid as has been the case in some previous episodes.
The dialogue, the directing and acting are all top notch in this episode. The action is well-