Impulse (Star Trek: Enterprise)

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"Impulse"
Star Trek: Enterprise episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 5
Directed by David Livingston
Teleplay by Jonathan Fernandez
Story by Jonathan Fernandez
Terry Matalas
Featured music Dennis McCarthy
Production code 305
Original air date October 8, 2003 (2003-10-08)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Rajiin"
Next →
"Exile"
List of Star Trek: Enterprise episodes

"Impulse" is the fifty-seventh episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the fifth episode of season three. It first aired October 8, 2003 on the UPN network in the United States. The episode was written by story editor Jonathan Fernandez from a story by Fernandez and Terry Matalas.

Set in the 22nd century, the series follows the adventures of the first Starfleet starship Enterprise, registration NX-01. In this episode, while investigating the Delphic Expanse for a Xindi superweapon, the Enterprise responds to the distress call of a Vulcan ship. The crew on board have undergone the effects of exposure to Trellium-D, which turns Vulcans into violent zombie-like drones.

The episode was described by Paramount Pictures as "as close to a horror show as Star Trek gets".[1]

Plot[edit]

Previously on Star Trek: Enterprise, the Enterprise enters the Delphic Expanse after Earth is attacked by a prototype weapon sent by the Xindi. The Vulcan (Star Trek) ship Vaankara had previously been sent into the Expanse, but the crew began to attack one another and the ship was destroyed.

Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) carries Subcommander T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) into sickbay, where he and Doctor Phlox (John Billingsley) strap her to a bed. She awakes and threatens to kill Archer, and Phlox sedates her.

The story is told as a flashback.

A day earlier, Enterprise receives a distress call from the Vulcan cruiser Seleya, and Archer orders an intercept course.

Upon arrival, they find the ship adrift in an asteroid belt rich in Trellium ore.

Archer decides to send a shuttlepod across to the Vulcan vessel as the Enterprise is too big to maneuver among the asteroids.

En route, T'Pol informs the other members of the away team that the Vaankara had been sent into the Expanse to find the Seleya. Meanwhile, Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III (Connor Trinneer) and Ensign Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery) decide to take another shuttlecraft to mine some Trellium ore from an asteroid.

Lieutenant Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), Corporal Hawkins (Sean McGowan), T'Pol and Archer board the Seleya, and are attacked by Vulcans who have taken on a zombie-like appearance, and are prevented from returning to their shuttle. Hawkins is injured and T'Pol begins to show the same effects as seen on the other Vulcans.

Meanwhile, Tucker and Mayweather retrieve the ore from an asteroid, but the shuttlepod is damaged in the process. After they return to the Enterprise they begin repairs.

Archer and the away team fight their way to the sickbay to treat Hawkins, and onto Engineering, where the attempt to re-route the bulkhead controls on the ship so they can get back to their shuttle. They discuss a general override, which would unlock the bulkheads but also shut down the containment on the warp core, and T'Pol accuses Archer of wanting to kill all the Vulcans.

The Vulcan crew begin to gas Engineering, forcing Reed to activate the override.

Archer's away team head back to the shuttle, and arrive moments before the Seleya is due to explode, but find they can not leave, as the docking clamps are locked. On their way to the shuttle, they are forced to stun T'Pol with a phase pistol when she becomes uncooperative.

Tucker and Mayweather arrive on the second shuttle, and destroy the clamps and the two shuttles depart, as the Seleya is destroyed.

Tucker announces enough ore was recovered to shield the forward hull from the effects of the Expanse, but Archer orders it stored in a biohazard locker until an inoculation can be created for T'Pol, who is recovering in the Enterprise sickbay but is suffering from hallucinations of her time on the Vulcan vessel.

Production[edit]

Trellium-D[edit]

Trellium-D is a fictional chemical substance from the Star Trek universe. It was introduced in the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise, and became an important recurring plot element throughout the season, exploring the subject of drug addiction.

Physical properties

Trellium-D was rare; a similar but less useful mineral called Trellium-A was more common. With the right equipment, Trellium-D could be synthesized in a liquid state, but it was then explosive, so the synthesizing procedures had to be followed exactly. Despite its volatility, Trellium-D was used in the mid-22nd century for starship insulation in the Delphic Expanse, as it offered protection against the region's dangerous spatial anomalies.

Physiological effects

It also had unusual properties affecting Vulcan physiology. In "Impulse," Trellium-D was revealed to be the cause of severe psychotic effects in that race, which led the crew of the Seleya to go insane and kill each other. Short-term exposure to the compound, which had been used by the Vulcan vessel as insulation, led to uncontrolled emotionalism for Enterprise science officer, T'Pol, and Archer determined that it was too dangerous to use to protect his own vessel from the effects of the Expanse.

T'Pol suffered side-effects and flashbacks from her exposure to Trellium-D, but over the next few months found herself desiring to access more of the new emotions she experienced while under its influence. She secretly devised a way of liquefying small amounts of the compound, which she injected directly into her bloodstream. The result was an increased level of emotion, which initially proved beneficial in her dealings with the crew. However, it also caused her to experience intense negative emotions, such as jealousy. In the episode "Azati Prime," T'Pol's emotions left her incapacitated as a commanding officer, contributing to the deaths of nearly two dozen Enterprise crew members in the ensuing Xindi attack.

In the following episode "Damage," T'Pol's addiction to Trellium-D reached breaking point when she nearly died trying to access some of the compound from a damaged part of the ship. She confessed her addiction to medical officer Dr. Phlox who treated her addiction and agreed not to reveal it to the captain.

Long-term exposure to Trellium-D was said to be damaging to Vulcan brains, and T'Pol's injecting of the chemical caused her permanent damage, to the extent that she was expected to have difficulty controlling her emotions for the rest of her life.

Reception and home media release[edit]

"Impulse" was first aired in the United States on UPN on October 8, 2003. It received a 2.8/4 percent share among adults. This means that it was seen by 2.8 percent of all households, and 4 percent of all of those watching television at the time of the broadcast. Enterprise was the sixth most watched program in the timeslot, behind Smallville on The WB. It was estimated that "Azati Prime" was watched by 4.17 million viewers, which was less than the previous episode, "Rajiin".[2]

Jamahl Epsicokhan at his website Jammer's Reviews described the episode as "sort of a guilty pleasure" due to the "superficial visual qualities".[3] He was positive about the visual qualities of the episode, but said that it lacked substance. He gave "Impulse" a rating of three out of four.[3]

The only home media release of "Impulse" has been as part of the season three DVD box set, released in the United States on September 27, 2005.[4] The set included optional text commentary for "Impulse" from Mike and Denise Okuda.[5] The Blu-ray release of Enterprise was announced in early 2013 and season three is expected to be released in January 2014.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Production Report: Acting on "Impulse"". StarTrek.com. CBS Entertainment. August 22, 2003. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  2. ^ Krutzler, Steve (October 10, 2003). "Final Ratings: #6 "Impulse" Loses Viewers But Posts Gain in Household Figure". TrekWeb. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Epsicokhan, Jamahl. "Star Trek: Enterprise "Impulse"". Jammer's Reviews. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ Douglass Jr., Todd (September 27, 2005). "Star Trek Enterprise – The Complete 3rd Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ Scultz, Paul (October 8, 2005). "DVD Review: Star Trek Enterprise - The Complete Third Season". The Trades. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Enterprise Trekking To Blu-ray; Fans Helped Pick Covers". Star Trek.com. January 7, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  7. ^ Lambert, David (October 14, 2013). "Star Trek: Enterprise - 'Season 3' Blu-ray Announced: Date, Cost, Package, Extras". TVShowsonDVD.com. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]