|Star Trek: Enterprise episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||David Straiton|
|Written by||Mike Sussman
|Featured music||Paul Baillargeon|
|Original air date||January 28, 2005|
"Babel One" is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise, and originally aired on January 28, 2005. The episode was written by Mike Sussman and André Bormanis, and directed by David Straiton. "Babel One" was the first of a three-part story which continued in the episodes "United" and "The Aenar". The arc was intended to precede the Romulan War which had been mentioned in previously aired episodes of the franchise, while "Babel One" was a reference to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Journey to Babel".
Set in the 22nd century, the series follows the adventures of the first Starfleet starship Enterprise, registration NX-01. In this episode, the Enterprise is escorting a Tellarite Ambassador, when they respond to an Andorian vessel under attack. Pursuing the attacking vessel they begin to uncover a plot to disrupt relations between the Tellarites, Andorians and Humans.
The guest cast included several actors who had previously appeared in the franchise, including Lee Arenberg, Brian Thompson and Jeffrey Combs. It also featured Molly Brink for the second time as Lieutenant Talas. The episode required extensive make-up for the guest cast, with Brink undergoing more than four and a half hours of work prior to filming for her first day on set as she had to be painted blue head to toe in addition to the normal prosthetics. Reviewers were positive of the episode, calling it an improvement on the previous week's "Observer Effect", and praised the ending. Although Nielsen ratings of 1.7/3 percent showed an improvement over the previous episode, the number of actual viewers was the lowest yet for the series with 2.53 million watching the episode on the first broadcast.
Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) and Ensign Hoshi Sato (Linda Park) spend some time preparing for a visit by the Tellarite Ambassador and discuss the argumentive nature of the Tellarites. Sato tells Archer to keep Porthos out of the way as Tellarites think canines are a delicacy. After receiving a transmission from an unknown Andorian ship under attack, the Enterprise alters its course to assist. Upon arriving they find that the ship's Captain is Shran (Jeffrey Combs) and that his ship has been destroyed by what he claims to be a Tellarite vessel.
After Shran and the other Andorians (along with the Tellarites) are on board the Enterprise, the ship is attacked by an Andorian ship. When communicating with the ship fails, the Enterprise returns fire. Shran tells Archer where to fire on the Andorian ship in order to knock out its shields, but the attack is ineffective - the ship's shields are still at full strength. The Enterprise is saved only when the Andorian ship has to retreat because of internal damage. After some tension between the Tellarites and Andorians, the crew manages to track down the "Andorian" ship which is revealed to look completely different from their previous encounter.
Security Chief Lt. Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating) and Chief Engineer Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III (Connor Trinneer) beam aboard the ship to get readings on it. It is revealed that the ship is not being piloted by either Tellarites or Andorians, but instead it is a group of Romulans using a telepathically controlled ship capable of disguising itself (via holograms) to attack assets of different worlds in an attempt to destabilize the sector. The story picks up in the next episode, "United."
The episode was written by Mike Sussman and André Bormanis. The duo had previously collaborated on several episodes, the most recent of which season three's "Hatchery". Meanwhile they had written episodes individually, with Sussman writing three episodes so far during season four and Bormanis penning "Awakening". "Babel One" was directed by David Straiton, his third in season four after the second part of "Storm Front" as well as the stand-alone episode "Daedalus".
Filming began on November 2, 2004 and lasted until November 10. The first scene filmed was on the Andorian bridge, which had been used in previous episodes but was made to look battle damaged for this episode. Other sets used included the standing sets to represent the Enterprise, as well as new sets showing the interior of the Romulan vessel. The title of the episode was an intentional reference to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Journey to Babel". The three part story was intended to represent a precursor to the Romulan Wars which had been referenced in "Balance of Terror" and "The Defector".
Casting and make-up
The guest cast included a number of Star Trek alumni. Jeffrey Combs returned to his recurring role of Shran, for his second appearance during season four. Joining him as a returning Andorian, was Molly Brink who had previously appeared as Talas in the episode "Proving Ground". Brian Thompson played the Romulan Valdore, having previously appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as the film Star Trek Generations. He is better known for portraying the Alien Bounty Hunter in The X-Files. Another Deep Space Nine actor who portrayed a new character in this episode was Lee Arenberg. He had previously appeared in a variety of roles across the franchise, three times as a Ferengi in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine (including one, coincidentally also named Gral, no relation to the Tellarite Gral he plays here). He also appeared as a Malon, Pelk, in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Juggernaut".
The guest cast required a variety of levels of make-up to portray their alien characters. Combs' make-up took around three and a half hours each day, as did the Tellarite prosthetics. The Andorian female cast members took around four and a half hour each day to get into make-up and costume, but on the first day Brink required further make-up time as that day's shoot required her to appear in-character in her underwear. This meant that after the normal make-up schedule, she was sprayed blue from head to toe. At the end of that day's filming, the shower facilities at the studio's executive gym was used to remove the paint. Meanwhile the Romulan make-up took three hours to apply, with all the relevant scenes completed in a single day.
Reception and home media
"Babel One" was first aired in the United States on UPN on January 28, 2005. The episode received a Nielsen rating of 1.7/3 percent. This means that it was seen by 1.7 percent of all households, and 3 percent of all of those watching television at the time of the broadcast. This was an increase in ratings compared to the previous week's episode, but saw a lower overall number of viewers. "Babel One" was watched by 2.53 million viewers, the lowest overall number of viewers to date for a first run episode of Enterprise.
Michelle Erica Green in her review for TrekNation enjoyed the interaction between Shran and Graal, and thought it was an improvement over the previous week's "Observer Effect". She also compared it to The Original Series episode "Journey to Babel", which she watched immediately prior to the Enterprise episode. She said that "On the surface "Babel One" has a very similar plot, yet it plays out like an original take on the situation rather than a retread." Jamahl Epsicokhan at his website Jammer's Reviews thought that the majority of the episode was "passable" but ultimately ended on a "good note" due to the twist in the ending. However, he criticised the promotional campaign by UPN, as he felt that the trailer for the episode had the "unfortunate effect of making the first 30 minutes of the plot extremely obvious to us, forcing us to watch in frustration while the characters put the pieces together". He gave the episode a rating of three out of four.
The only home media release of the episode is on DVD; having been released as part of the season four box set on November 1, 2005 in the United States. The Blu-ray release of the fourth season of Enterprise is due on April 1, 2014.
- "Star Trek: Enterprise Series 4 - 12. Babel One". Radio Times. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- "Production Report: Romulan Wars Presaged in "Babel One" (UPDATE)". Star Trek.com. November 16, 2004. Archived from the original on December 11, 2004. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
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- Kurtzler, Steve (January 29, 2005). "Fast National Ratings Trickle Up for "Babel One", First of Three-Part Romulan Arc". Trekweb. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Krutzler, Steve (February 1, 2005). ""Babel One" Struggles Against Sci-Fi's Friday Line-up, Overall Viewers Down Again". Trekweb. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Green, Michelle Erica (January 29, 2005). "Babel One". TrekNation. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Epsicokhan, Jamahl. "Star Trek: Enterprise "Babel One"". Jammer's Reviews. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Schultz, Paul (November 8, 2005). "DVD Review: Star Trek Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season". The Trades. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- "Final Season Enterprise Blu-ray Set Available April 1". Star Trek.com. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- "Babel One" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Babel One" at TV.com
- Babel One at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- Babel One at StarTrek.com