From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Star Trek: Enterprise episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 22
Directed byLeVar Burton
Written byRick Berman
Brannon Braga
Featured musicDennis McCarthy
Production code222
Original air dateApril 30, 2003 (2003-04-30)
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Breach"
Next →
Star Trek: Enterprise (season 2)
List of episodes

"Cogenitor" is the 48th episode of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the 22nd episode of the second season. Set in the 2100s of the Star Trek science fiction universe, the NX-01 Enterprise lead by Captain Archer (played by Scott Bakula) encounters a tri-gendered Alien race.


While exploring a hypergiant star, Enterprise makes first contact with an advanced and very friendly alien race known as the Vissians. The two starships' crews are happy to intermingle. Commander Tucker becomes intrigued when he meets a Vissian couple in the mess hall accompanied by a third member of their race, and learns that the being, which has no name, is a "cogenitor" - a third gender in Vissian biology. Cogenitors are needed to complete reproduction: they do not genetically contribute to offspring, but supply an enzyme required for fertilization. Since cogenitors only constitute 3% of the population, Vissians must apply to have a cogenitor assigned to them when they intend to conceive a child. Cogenitors are considered mentally deficient, and are not citizens on equal terms with men and women.

Elsewhere on the ship, Lieutenant Reed finds himself the romantic focus of a female Vissian crewmember - their tactical officer. Captain Archer bonds with the alien captain while on a three-day reconnaissance of the star in a small probe. Tucker becomes increasingly intent on the rights of the cogenitor and learns, with the help of Doctor Phlox, that they are actually equally intelligent. On the alien vessel, without the couple's knowledge, Tucker secretly encourages the cogenitor to learn to read, while building a friendship with them. Despite having a near-total lack of education available, she is an insatiable learner. Soon learning the importance of names, she asks to be called Charles (Commander Tucker's own first name). Tucker entertains her on the Enterprise, showing her the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.

'Charles' soon realizes that future life in Vissian society would be unfulfilling. She requests political asylum. Archer now returns to find himself in the middle of a first contact diplomatic crisis, with the Vissians confused and defensive at Tucker's interference in their traditions. Tucker appeals to Archer's sense of justice, but he sides with the Vissians. With the cogenitor returned, the Vissians hope good relations with the humans can continue. Later communications reveal that Charles has committed suicide, thereby delaying the birth of the Vissian's child, and straining the relations between the two species. Archer summons Tucker and severely reprimands him for his lack of professionalism and judgment.



The guest cast in "Cogenitor" included the return of Andreas Katsulas in the role of the Vissian captain. Katsulas had previously appeared in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, playing the part of Romulan Commander Tomalak, and is also known for his role as Ambassador G'Kar in Babylon 5.[1][2] Katsulas also appeared as the "one-armed man" in Harrison Ford's 1993 film "The Fugitive".[3] Shortly after filming "Cogenitor", Katsulas was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer.[4]


When Tucker chooses a movie to show to the cogenitor, two of the options that appear on the screen are "Dixon Hill and the Black Orchid" and "The Bride of Chaotica", which refer to holodeck adventures of characters from other Star Trek series - respectively, Jean-Luc Picard's Dixon Hill and Tom Paris's Captain Proton.


Michelle Erica Green, writing for TrekNation, described "Cogenitor" as the best episode of Enterprise up to that time and noted similarities to The Handmaid's Tale and the Xenogenesis trilogy (Lilith's Brood).[5] Jamahl Epsicokhan, on his website Jammer's Reviews, said that it was "the best and most probing episode of the season".[6] Some of the audience was confused about Archer's apparent complicity with oppression of the cogenitor and subsequent dressing down of Tucker.[7]

In 2012, TechRepublic included the episode on its list of the 5 best episodes of Enterprise.[8] In 2013, Slate magazine ranked "Cogenitor" one of the ten best episodes in the Star Trek franchise.[9]

In 2014, The A.V. Club included the episode on their list of the 10 episodes that best represent the show, and called it "Probably the best episode of Enterprise's first two years".[10] TechRepublic included it on their list of the five best Enterprise episodes, praising it as a fine example of Star Trek at its best, using sci-fi allegories to tackle real ethical quandaries.[11] Vox included it their list of the top 25 essential episodes of all Star Trek in 2016.[12]

In 2021, The Digital Fix said this was a morality play about gender identity.[13]

In a 2015 SyFy interview Dominic Keating, who played Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, commented "I always say that the best episode we ever did was 'Cogenitor'."[14]


  1. ^ Hayward, Anthony (2006-04-29). "Andreas Katsulas". Independent. Retrieved 2021-05-04.
  2. ^ "Production News: Three's Company". 2002-03-27. Archived from the original on 2003-03-05.
  3. ^ "Andreas Katsulas, 59; Had Roles on 'Babylon 5' and in 'The Fugitive' Film". Los Angeles Times. 2006-02-21. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  4. ^ Grant (August 9, 2013). "Enterprise: "Cogenitor"". The Angriest. Grant Watson. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Green, Michelle Erica (May 1, 2003). "Cogenitor". TrekNation. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  6. ^ Epsicokhan, Jamahl. "Star Trek: Enterprise "Cogenitor"". Jammer's Reviews. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  7. ^ "Just finished Star Trek Enterprise: 2x22 "The Cogenitor", and it is driving me up the wall".
  8. ^ Jay Garmon (July 12, 2012). "The five best Star Trek: Enterprise episodes of all time!". TechRepublic.
  9. ^ Yglesias, Matthew (2013-05-15). "Star Trek Movies, Series, and Characters Ranked". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
  10. ^ Alasdair Wilkins (2014-08-06). "Enterprise was forever torn between our future and Star Trek's past". The A.V. Club.
  11. ^ Jay Garmon (July 12, 2012). "The five best Star Trek: Enterprise episodes of all time!". TechRepublic.
  12. ^ Siede, Caroline (2016-09-06). "Star Trek, explained for non-Trekkies". Vox. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  13. ^ Baz Greenland (2021-03-22). "Star Trek: Enterprise Revisited - A Look Back At Season Two". The Digital Fix. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  14. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (2015-05-13). "Scott Bakula and Dominic Keating look back on Star Trek: Enterprise's best episodes 10 years later". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2021-04-01.

External links[edit]