Enterprise Episode 8 Summary:
Breaking the Ice
Caution: May contain spoilers!
In this episode the crew discovers a previously un-charted comet, and decide to follow it. They discover that it has a certain type of mineral in it that is quite interesting and possibly valuable (for science) as it's never been able to have been studied before. They decide to send down a survey crew to blow a hole in 20 meters of comet to retrieve a sample. A Vulcan ship arrives and sits and watches, assuming that the humans need some watching over. In an attempt to foster friendship or understanding, Archer invites the captain of the Vulcan ship for dinner. He basically acts like a prick the entire time and is quite unpleasant to the crew.
While this is happening, a hidden encrypted message is discovered that turns out to be from T'Pol to the Vulcan ship, under the impression that T'Pol is not being true to her word of not talking to the Vulcan's behind their backs, Archer orders Trip to decode it. He does this, and after doing so discovering it's a very personal letter. He regrets doing it and confesses to her, apologizing profusely. As she's having stress headaches, and has been advised Dr. Phlox that it might be a good idea to talk about it (whatever is bothering her that is), she decides to talk to Trip, as he's the one who already knows about it.
Turns out that she's got an arranged marriage back on Vulcan, and needs to leave the ship in a couple of weeks to make it an honor the tradition of her world. The only thing is, she doesn't really want to. Of course that's hidden in Vulcan stubborness and talk of "tradition", "honor" and "logic", but it's very obvious that she doesn't want to get married.
In the end a shuttle accident leaves Mayweather and Reed stranded in a hole in the comet, and Archer decides (after some prompting from T'Pol) to ask the Vulcans for help (they use a tractor beam). T'Pol (of course) decides to stay on the Enterprise.
This seemed to be a very TNG-ish episode of character development. There is stuff going on behind the scenes (the comet) but the core focus of the episode is getting under the skin of T'Pol a bit. I'm not sure if it's just me, but the Vulcan captain was more than a prick, he was a royal prick. It's very illogical to treat people the way he did, and I'm not sure if it's a matter of bad writing, overacting, or what, but it was a bit overboard.
An interesting point was brought up by N-Wing about the encryption and presumption of guilt. Basically the captain said that if the message had gone through the proper channels, no suspicion would have been raised. However, because it was encrypted, they assumed it was something to be suspicious of. Very interesting take on it actually, good social commentary.