"Broken Bow" is the pilot episode of the science fiction television series Enterprise (later renamed Star Trek: Enterprise). It originally aired as a double-length episode, but has been split into two segments for syndication. A novelization of the episode, written by Diane Carey, was published in 2001. The episode won the 2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, and was also nominated for sound editing and make-up.
On Earth in 2121, a young Jonathan Archer is painting a model spaceship with his father, Henry, principal designer of Earth's first Warp 5 engine. Although not fully understanding the reasons behind the Vulcans' constraint, he believes that there must be an explanation for holding the Human space program back.
30 years later, in 2151, a Klingon named Klaang crashes in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. He kills his two Suliban pursuers, but is then critically wounded by a farmer. Archer, now Captain of the soon to be launched NX-class starship Enterprise, is called to Starfleet Headquarters, where he discusses the incident with Admiral Forrest and Vulcan ambassador Soval. The Vulcans wish to delay the launch of Enterprise. Archer, after consulting with the Denobulan Doctor Phlox, convinces Forrest to allow the new ship to take Klaang to Qo'noS.
Prior to departure, Archer seeks additional crewmembers, including Phlox, and linguist Hoshi Sato, while Sub-Commander T'Pol is assigned as their "Vulcan liaison". Meanwhile, on a Suliban vessel somewhere, Silik, leader of the Suliban Cabal, speaks with a mysterious, nameless humanoid figure from their future. The 'man' orders Silik to recover Klaang. On Enterprise Klaang regains consciousness, but the universal translator does not allow Archer and Sato to communicate with him effectively. Suddenly, Suliban attack the ship and main power is disrupted. During the chaos, one intruder is killed and Klaang is kidnapped.
Later, in Sickbay, Phlox shows Archer the autopsied Suliban corpse, and points out several genetic enhancements. Sato completes a translation of Klaang's speech, and keywords reveal that T'Pol has been withholding information about the Vulcan investigation, including the fact that Klaang had been on Rigel X. Meanwhile, an alien officer aboard the Suliban complex interrogates Klaang in Klingonese. Arriving at the Rigel X Trade Complex, Archer, Sato, Tucker, and T'Pol are seized by Suliban agents.
Sarin, once a member of the Suliban Cabal, tells Archer that she gave Klaang a message regarding proof of Suliban involvement in recent attacks on Klingon factions, to be delivered to the High Council. The enhanced Suliban are following orders in a Temporal Cold War, and Suliban from the Cabal show up and attack. Silik kills Sarin, and Archer is shot, but the away team escape back to Enterprise. T'Pol modifies Enterprise's sensors to track the Suliban vessel that attacked them, and they follow it to a gas giant. Meanwhile, aboard the alien complex, Silik talks with the mysterious figure again.
Within the gas giant is the Helix, a Suliban aggregate structure composed of hundreds of Suliban ships, which they scan to find Klaang. Using the grappler, Enterprise successfully grabs an attacking Suliban ship, the pilot ejecting. After studying the captured ship and its controls, Archer and Tucker pilot it to the Helix. Becoming separated, Tucker returns with Klaang to Enterprise. After a brief physical confrontation between Archer and Silik in a temporally altered audience room, Tucker uses Enterprise's new transporter to beam Archer out of the Helix.
They successfully deliver Klaang and his message (via the DNA in his blood) to Qo'noS and the Klingon Chancellor and Council. Archer tells Tucker and T'Pol that Starfleet has ordered them to continue their mission. After reconsidering his preconceptions of Vulcans, he also invites T'Pol to stay on board, and she agrees to seek permission to do so.
The premiere of "Broken Bow" was at the Paramount Theatre on September 20, 2001. It was attended by the cast and crew of Enterprise as well as several from Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was first aired on UPN on September 26. The broadcast saw the episode come in first place during the timeslot, with 16 million viewers watching, with an average of 12 million. It was the best ratings that the channel had received since Voyager, while also an increase of 42% over the finale of that series, "Endgame".
Berman, R. (Writer), & Braga, B. (Writer), & Conway, J. L. (Director). (2001). Broken Bow [Television series episode]. In Berman, R. (Producer), & Braga, B. (Producer), Star Trek: Enterprise. Hollywood: Paramount Pictures.