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Story by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Teleplay by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by: LeVar Burton
While studying a hypergiant, Enterprise encounters another ship orbiting the star. The aliens, Vissians, are very friendly and the captain invites Archer to go with him on their stratopod to investigate the star at a closer range. Meanwhile, Tucker befriends the alien chief engineer, his wife and their cogenitor. The cogenitor is referred to as an "it" and serves only to help in the impregnation of the female Vissian. It is neither female nor male hence is a third gender, has no name, is uneducated, eats only one meal a day and sleeps the rest of the time. When the couple is finished with it, it goes on to another couple.Tucker finds the cogenitor quite interesting and suspects that it is capable of more. With the help of Phlox, Trip discovers that the cogenitor has equal intelligence to the male and female Vissians. This prompts Tucker to try to "educate" the cogenitor. He teaches it to read and lets it watch a movie. It returns to its ship and now calls itself Charles after Trip. Reed in the meantime gets very close to a female Vissian tactical officer. Vissian females it seems like to have sex first and to date afterwards which no doubt pleases Malcolm. Later, the cogenitor returns to Enterprise to request asylum. The couple it serves don't want it to read or do anything other than what it's supposed to do, help them conceive. Archer returns to Enterprise and discovers that Trip has been banned from visiting the alien ship. The couple want their cogenitor back. Archer decides to return it to the Vissians and disciplines Trip. Later the alien captain calls Archer to tell him the cogenitor commited suicide and the couple did not conceive. Archer tells Trip in no uncertain terms that he should not interfere with other cultures in the future.
I normally don't watch the promos or read the spoilers for the show because I like to be surprised. I watch Enterprise on a Canadian station as it doesn't show the promos. Last week I inadvertently had the TV tuned in to UPN and saw the trailer for this week's episode. It looked like it was going to be a light, funny, sexy episode and I was all set for it and yes I was surprised nonetheless. To anyone reading this, are promos always this misleading? I found this very annoying and somewhat insulting considering how serious the episode turned out to be.
Far from being fluff, this episode certainly shows the repercussions of mucking about with other cultures and again reinforces the need for the Prime Directive. Still, it's a wonder that Archer was so angry with Trip or was he angry with himself? Hasn't he also interfered with other cultures? As Trip tells him: "I did exactly what you'd do captain." and rightly so. If I recall correctly, in "The Andorian Incident", Archer exposed the Vulcans' spying on the Andorians. In "Detained" he frees Suliban civilians from the Antaran internment camp. In "Marauders" he helps the colonists fight the Klingons and I'm sure there are other examples. Yet here, even though Trip proves to him that the cogenitor is not a mindless creature and is in fact sentient and basically a slave, he is all up in arms because Trip tried to help it. It makes me wonder if