Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Unexpected”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Mike Vejar
Season 1, episode 5
Production sequence 005
Originally posted on October 17, 2001
The captain’s star diary. company suffers from several disorders including the artificial gravity which fails and the beverage dispenser does not deliver what is requested. It quickly becomes apparent that there is a problem with their plasma suction. Archer orders Reed to ignite the plasma exhaust, and they find the silhouette of a cloaked ship in the flash point of the exhaust ignition.
They make contact – and the translator magically picks up their speech in about half a minute – and discover that the Xyrillians are using the plasma exhaust to recharge their defective warp engines. The Xyrillians apologize for accidentally causing these malfunctions, and Tucker offers to go over to them and help them with repairs. The Xyrillian atmosphere is very pressurized, so Tucker has to go through a three-hour adjustment period to switch between the two environments. His first reaction to being on the Xyrillian is to be sick and feverish, but he wants to go to work and so declines the Xyrillian offer to take a quick nap before he starts.
This turns out to be a bad idea as he begins to hallucinate and lose his marbles. Archer has to order him to take a nap and he’ll be much better after that. He befriends Ah’len, a Xyrillic engineer who shows him the ship. They grow plants and vegetables directly on the ship and have eels on board.
Ah’len also introduces him to a holodeck and shows him a game in which the two participants can put their hands in a bowl of crystals and then read each other’s thoughts.
Once the repairs are complete, Tucker will go through another decompression stop to adjust to normal Earth pressure. He enjoyed it very much and is very grateful to have had this experience.
Then Tucker discovers a strange growth on his arm. Believing it was an allergic reaction to something, Phlox explains that it is a nipple and that Tucker is pregnant. In his chest, very close to his heart, a child is pregnant. Apparently, Xyrillians reproduce by women putting their genetic material into a male, even though the male does nothing genetically to contribute to the process, just incubating the embryos. T’Pol is appalled that Tucker couldn’t keep it in his pants, but Tucker insists he was a perfect gentleman and had no sexual relations with anyone on the Xyrillic ship he knew about. Phlox’s hypothesis is that the telepathic game may have been the source for the transfer of genetic material from A’len to Tucker.
company searches for the Xyrillic ship and finally finds it eight days later, chasing a Klingon ship and doing the same thing it did company– Apparently Tucker’s repairs didn’t last. Tucker – who at this point wears baggy shirts to hide his bump – wants to get in touch with them, but when he discovers that a cloaked ship is playing with them, the Klingon captain Vorok wants to destroy them. Archer tries to talk them out of this since they need something from the Xyrillians, but the only thing that makes Vorok pause is T’Pol pointing out that Archer is the captain who brought Klaang home and prevents a civil war from breaking out has Klingon Empire. That at least makes Vorok hesitate and listen to Archer. Tucker says the Xyrillians have holographic technology which is great, and also says he needs to address a family problem. When he shows his pregnancy bulge, the Klingons all laugh out loud.
Tucker is forced to sit in decompression with the Klingons for hours, then the Xyrillians show off their holographic technology and agree to give this technology to the Klingons in exchange for not killing everyone. Vorok agrees and later tells Archer that he thinks the debts are paid and that Archer shouldn’t meet him again.
Ah’len apologizes for getting Tucker pregnant – it was completely accidental – and they can transfer the fetus to someone else. They repair the ship one more time and everyone leaves happily.
Can’t we just reverse the polarity? The Xyrillians seem to be able to suck electricity into their ships through the plasma exhaust.
The gazelle speech. Archer does a really good job of reassuring the Xyrillians when he contacts them and goes out of his way to make it clear that he is not mad at them and wants peaceful contact.
I am trained to tolerate abusive situations. T’Pol spends a large part of the episode telling Tucker all kinds of shit about being irresponsible enough to get himself pregnant, which is both completely unfair and completely hilarious.
She also saves the lives of the Xyrillians by berating the Klingons for Archer’s status with the Klingon Chancellor.
Florida man. Florida man tied up by scaly alien temptress!
Optimism, captain! Phlox at some point encourages T’Pol to try something other than volcanic food, a notion T’Pol resolutely opposes since it is apparently bad enough to smell it.
Good boy, Porthos! Porthos appears briefly in Archer’s quarters and is very cute and all.
No sex please, we are Starfleet. While Archer takes a shower, gravity goes out, allowing viewers several lingering glances at Scott Bakula’s wet, naked body.
More on that later… This episode has the first encounter with humans, Vulcans and Klingons using sophisticated holographic technology, suggesting the later holographic technology we see in the various Trek Divisions that took place afterwards were based on those of the Xyrillians.
I have trust…
“I am the chief engineer! I spent years earning this position! I never intended to become a working mother! “
–Tucker laments his pregnancy.
Welcome on board. Three Trek Veterans this one: Julianne Christie plays Ah’len; she was in Dexa Voyager‘s “homestead”. Christopher Darga plays Vorok; he was in kaybok DS9‘s “The Way of the Warrior” and Y’Sek in Voyager‘s “Think Tank”. And Randy Oglesby plays Trena’L; he was one of Riva’s choir in TNG‘s “Loud as a Whisper”, both Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel in DS9‘s “Vortex”, Pran in DS9‘s “The Darkness and the Light” and Kir in Voyager‘s “counterpoint”. Oglesby will star in the recurring role of Degra in company‘s third season.
Insignificant things: T’Pol refers to the events of “Broken Bow” when she convinces Vorok to listen to Archer, despite exaggerating the Klingon Chancellor’s reaction to Archer’s delivery of Klaang – which later conforms to Klingon custom.
A’len reads in Tucker’s mind that Archer once saved his life, which was described in the previous episode “Strange New World”.
Archer says he has known Tucker for eight years; this first meeting in 2143 is dramatized in “First Flight”.
It was a long way… “I’m not sure if congratulations are appropriate, Commander, but you are pregnant.” Hahaha! A man gets pregnant! This is funny!
When I gave up company Two decades ago, and I was asked why, one of my main answers was that every time I saw the show, it felt like the last thirty years of television never happened. I think this particular complaint was primarily sparked by this episode, which feels like a plot from one of the many stupid science fiction shows that littered the television landscape in the years between the original Star Trek and TNG.
It’s bad enough that there is no thought about how this should affect Tucker. I mean, the fetus conceives in a strange body that was not made for it, right near the heart, even somehow grown nipples on its arm, a part of the body that does not produce milk – I mean, that should probably kill it. But there’s no thought that this is an alien species beyond “the men get pregnant,” so writers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga resort to tired old pregnancy stereotypes about hormones and morning sickness and such.
But the absolute worst thing about this stupid episode is that it boring. You could have done some fun body horror things to Tucker’s body, who tried to do what the xyrillic fetus wants it to do and fails. You could have gone nuts with it and made Tucker go through all the crazy changes that pregnancy brings. Instead, they settle for a boring approach that leads to a big who-cares. It’s not treated with the severity it deserves, nor is it actually played for laughter. It is only there.
The misdirections don’t even work. The Xyrillian insistence that Tucker just need a nap is hammered home so thoroughly that it makes you think they wanted to harm him while he slept. But that expectation is disappointed when we find that the pregnancy is accidental and easily reversible. So there’s no real conflict, no real fight, other than convincing the Klingons not to kill the Xyrillians, but all that’s good is for Vorok to go to the Xyrillian holodeck and say, “I can mine See the house from here. “I have no idea why this is so funny, but it is absolutely …
Connor Trinneer deserves a lot of credit for doing his best with this terrifying script. Though I credit the script for the part of the episode that includes Tucker’s first voyage to the Xyrillic ship. His initial difficulties with the pressure changes and his later enthusiasm for visiting an alien ship and helping them repair their broken engine are played out beautifully. And I love the scenes between him and Julianne Christie’s Ah’len when she shows him the ship.
It is not enough to save this episode, which, ironically, is completely lifeless for an episode about pregnancy.
Warpage factor evaluation: 3
Keith RA DeCandido‘s latest work in fiction is the short story “Unguarded” in the anthology Devilish and divine, edited by John L. French & Danielle Ackley-McPhail, which was recently launched on eSpec Books. The anthology contains stories of angels and demons; Keith’s story is an urban fantasy set in New York City about guardian angels of both Muslim and Christian beliefs. More information can be found here.