The Enterprise Docks at
Ent 006 - "Unexpected"
airdate 10-24-01

Again with the tiny teaser. At least last week's brief scene-let was funny. All the information dispensed in the first 30 seconds of the show gets completely re-introduced after the title sequence rolled. Why have a teaser if there is nothing to tease?

At any rate, the crew of the Enterprise takes a break from exploring the unknown to visit the first deep space human colony, Terra Nova. Excited to solve the mystery of the disappearing colonists, Captain Archer and team take a shuttle pod to the planet's surface and walk through its ghost town remains. We know it is a ghost town because the director, Star Trek veteran LeVar Burton (The Next Generation's visor-wearing Geordi La Forge), took the time to add a single rolling tumbleweed.

Weapons officer Lt. Malcolm Reed finds "something" on his tri-corder (in this time period it may just be a bi-corder) and with Captain Archer at his side, they chase "it" into a near-by cave. After gathering space-flashlights from the shuttle-pod the two of them burrow into the cave and find a small community of about 50 hostile "aliens." Before Archer and Reed can even say, "we come in peace," the "aliens" shoot at them (with guns) and take Reed captive. Just before the commercial break, T'Pol reveals why the "aliens" could speak English. They're human. (dun - dun - DAH - DAH!)

At this point the convoluted back-story of Terra Nova becomes even more confusing. Humans colonized Terra Nova 70 years earlier. Shortly after, another group of humans set off for the planet, and for some odd reason the Novans didn't want neighbors - on their planet. It's a planet. Not an island, or even a small moon, but a planet. Why couldn't these new 200 humans colonists set up their own colony on another continent, or even another hemisphere? A planet is so big there could be 2,000 more people living on it, and no one would know. But the Novans were simply greedy, or perhaps there wasn't enough space wood to build a picket fence.

Somehow the second convoy of colonists crashed into the planet's surface, either because they were attacked by the Novans, or they hit an asteroid, or they didn't see the big planet in their way. The impact sent the Novans running into the caves for their lives. And when the starship slammed into Terra Nova it created a low-level radiation fall out, killing anyone over the age of 5 without the proper immune system. After 70 years and three generations, the Novans have lived in caves, with the social IQ of 5 year olds.

But over time, as the loveable Dr. Phlox discovers, the water supply near the caves had become contaminated by radiation poisoning. Now the Novans are dying.

Captain Archer hatches a plan to evacuate the Novans and help give them the medicine they refuse. At the same time he feels they have lived under the soil for too long, and they should re-join the population on Earth. But the Vulcan T'Pol reminds him that such actions would destroy their culture, and he should instead allow them to live on their planet the way they want to live.

T'Pol neglects to remember that the Novans never chose to live in caves and eat wild "digger meat." They were forced into this way of life by radiation poisoning. It was either live in caves or die in the ghost town, to be eaten by ferocious tumbleweeds. Does T'Pol really think that a band of 5 year olds would WANT to grow up in a cave, frontier a community eating dirt and digging holes? Maybe on Vulcan T'Pol always wanted to live alone in cave and never got the chance.

After heroic acts of teamwork Captain Archer bonds with the leader of the Novans, and strikes a deal. The Novans agree to be re-located to a safe part of the planet, free from radiation, and return Lt. Reed.

Before the Novans have a chance to ask any questions about multi-generational inbreeding, the Enterprise zooms back into space, to continue exploring strange new worlds.

This episode as a whole coasted at about warp four. It was difficult to keep up with the backlog story, and the moral dilemma with the Novans was so unevenly weighted it was hard to decide what really was the right thing to do. Perhaps next week's run in with the long-missed Andorians will be more interesting than tumbleweeds and radiation.

At least they have antennae.

Kevin Miller

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