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Story by: Taylor Elmore & David A. Goodman
Teleplay by: David A. Goodman
Directed by: James L. Conway
Captain Archer is put on trial and brought before a Klingon tribunal. He is charged with conspiring against the Klingon Empire for aiding rebels escape and attacking a Klingon ship in the process. Kolos, his advocate, tells him that he must be quiet and not try to defend himself during the trial. The Klingon prosecutor, Orak, calls on Duras, the captain of the ship that Archer is accused of attacking, to testify. Duras' version of the events is not what Archer remembers and the captain speaks out. He is quickly silenced. Back in his cell, Archer asks Kolos to give him a chance to tell his side of the story. Kolos later confronts the court and demands that Archer have his say. In summary, Kolos recounts how Archer helped prevent a Klingon civil war by twarting a Suliban plot and how the captain saved a Klingon ship once before. He suggests that Archer this time is more of a nuisance than anything else and should be judged on that rather than on what he is charged with. The judge commutes the death penalty but sentences Archer to spend the rest of his life in the Rura Penthe prison. Kolos protests that this is the same as sentencing Archer to death and is himself sentenced to one year in the same jail. Meanwhile, T'Pol makes a deal with a correction official at the prison so that Archer can escape. Kolos remains in the jail as he wants to try to change the justice system and would not be able to if he were a fugitive.
J. G. Hertzler is the quintessential honourable Klingon. Whether he is the excellent Martok of the equally excellent DS9 series or Kolos the defense attorney here, he adds a touch of class to any show he is on. Scott Bakula is no slouch either. He plays the captain with conviction and Archer fights back for once. John Vickery plays Orak, and does a good job as the haughty prosecutor. In fact all the guest cast is quite good here.
The recreation of the Klingon tribunal hall is quite striking and harkens back to the movie Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country and brings back many memories. At first it was a bit of a distraction because I couldn't help but think about the movie but as the story evolved I found myself forgetting about the film. Still, I was wondering why Archer didn't have a translator as he was being tried. I also wondered how he got captured although focusing on the capture would have taken time away from the interaction between Archer and Kolos which was quite engaging. My only real complaint is the way that Archer was able to escape so easily and how small the prison looked. The sets of the prison also looked somewhat fake. They lacked the grunginess of the Rura Penthe of Star Trek VI.
Nonetheless, this show establishes how the Klingon Empire is becoming more warrior-like and that in the past it wasn't always so. It provides some insight into how the Klingons become ruthless conquerors. As Kolos tells Archer: "There is no honor in victory over a weakened opponent." We also get to see an ancestor of the Duras family and how even in the past they