Okay, so Trip is dead… wait, back up. I hate this theme song.
Let’s have a look.
I’m going to have a whole post someday about what a terrible decision this was.
Back up again. “Two Weeks Earlier.”
Trip and T’Pol are in the middle of Ratings Porn, and I wish I was kidding when I say that, but… well… yeah. I mean, come on, I’m as much of a shipper as the next person but… seriously? This is just wrong. T’Pol is the most scantily clad Vulcan ever and I know, UPN, but… UGH!
Trip is all excited about his technobabble that will boost their speed and boost their chances blah, blah, blah. He’s very passionate about his machines. Then they talk about their neuropressure sessions (read, the excuse for the ratings porn) and how they haven’t gotten to the “more challenging postures” yet. UH HUH.
I just… I like Trip/T’Pol ships. I admit it. They’re fun! But this is just stupid. We never heard of “neuropressure” before. Like, couldn’t we have used some lame excuse that they’d actually mentioned before right now? No? of course not. That would be wrong.
My feelings are conflicted.
So Trip gets his technobabble working and of course the test goes great until it doesn’t because we already saw his corpse in the teaser. Fluctuation, compression, blah, blah, blah. Intake manifolds, flare-up, shutdown, sparks, explosion, dramatic music.
For the three seconds that it works, the engine makes a sound like the Enterprise-D‘s warp reactor. Beautiful.
Anyway there’s a big explosion and Trip bonks his head on the deck, the ship is stalled in a “polaric field” and there’s fires on B and C decks, no helm control. Mostly minor injuries but Trip is in sickbay.
T’Pol supervises the welding of things back together. The field they’re in caused the problem and if Trip hadn’t shut down the reactor they could have had a breach. T’Pol isn’t sure how long it will take to fix things, but Trip isn’t going to get better anytime soon. In fact he might die.
Cue the trailer?
So Archer goes back to Sickbay and Phlox has a plan. Shockingly, he has an animal that can fix Trip. He can grow a clone that will become a current version of Trip very quickly, harvest the neural tissue from the clone to save Trip, and then… well… it’ll die in about 15 days.
This is morally tricky at best.
Archer is conflicted, and the stuff they’re caught in is sticking to the hull, which does not help. They need to get out of there. She also asks if Archer has decided what to do about Trip, even though using these creatures for this is banned on their homeworld, presumably for a reason. Archer’s rationale is basically that they have to complete the mission, they need Trip, there’s nobody that can take his place (seriously, you maybe could have brought a backup engineer on this one, JUST SAYING).
“Earth needs Enterprise. Enterprise needs Trip.” That’s the end of it, really.
Every day, people are called to make choices.
Some of those choices are good ones, and some are not. There are no easy answers. Archer is making a choice here in this episode to both create a life and destroy it. Several times this week, a choice was made to do the same, by people who had a few different reasons why they might have made the choices they did.
The beauty of television is that we can distance ourselves from what is happening and still witness the emotions, but I ask you to go deeper this time. Just for a minute, be Archer. The stakes that were faced this week weren’t the same, but it’s close enough – and frankly, far enough – that we can draw some parallels without throwing stones.
What do you do?
What is the right choice?
Is the right choice the moral choice?
Remember, they’re alone. Just like those police officers who fired bullets this week were alone. There’s no one else coming, just whoever you brought with you. You don’t have the luxury of time to wait and see. You don’t have the luxury of calling for help.
You don’t freeze.
You make a choice.
The beauty of TV, and especially Star Trek, is that it gives us a non-threatening window into how our choices play out. This is a great episode for that, ratings porn and all. Take some time. Think about how you can apply this episode, and your reaction to it, in your own life, your own beliefs.