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Story by: John Shiban & Chris Black
Teleplay by: John Shiban & Chris Black
Directed by: LeVar Burton
Enterprise comes across what seems to be a dark matter nebula. Archer is excited by this and plans on taking a shuttle to investigate it up close. His enthusiasm is cut short however when he gets a call from Admiral Forrest telling him that one of his friends has died. As he is leaving to go investigate the nebula, T'Pol stops him and tells him that according to Starfleet regulations he cannot go "unattended" and that as science officer she should go with him. On the way there, Archer relates the story of how he and A. G. Robinson, his now deceased friend and Trip Tucker helped advance the NX program in years past.
This will probably be my shortest review yet. I really don't have much to say about this episode. It is a nice, quiet story that tells us a bit more about Archer, Tucker and the early warp flights but to be frank I found it somewhat dull and plodding. We learn such tidbits as to why Trip is called by this nickname. He is the third Charles Tucker so there have been "trip"le Tuckers or something like that. To be honest, this is so corny it is to laugh. We meet Ruby who was mentioned (I think it is the same one) in "Shuttlepod One". We get to see why Trip was chosen by Archer and how he became an experienced and qualified engineer.
The best line of the episode spoken by Archer: "Do you remember what Buzz Aldrin said when he stepped on the moon? No one does, because Armstrong went first." This need to be first and to push the boundaries is what I suppose the episode was supposed to be about. Bakula however isn't all that convincing as a "test" pilot type who wants to be THE first. Keith Carradine's character (A. G. Robinson) does come off as a little bit more believable if only because he has a bit of a wild-eyed expression and drive about him but even he is still somewhat subdued for what I would think would be extremely passionate types.
Another good line this time Trip's addressing the Vulcans: "Just because it took you two hundred years to crack warp two doesn't mean it's gonna take us that long!" I would really have liked to finally see more on why the Vulcans are/were so against the humans going into deep space or increasing their warp capability and I wonder why this is always brought up but never explored. What this episode needed was a bit of tension and this would added some meat to the otherwise meager storyline.
Still, we do learn that Archer is obviously a good pilot; that he earned his way to the captaincy and that he has the "right stuff". We see that Trip was very much part of the NX program from the beginning and see how he and Archer met and why Trip was picked as Enterprise's engineer. I like the continuity touches like when Trip mentions Captain Jefferies' engineering team. Is this why the Jefferies Tubes were given this name? And that's about it. The story's a