The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: First Flight

Captain Archer is upset to learn that one of his Starfleet contemporaries, AG Robinson, has died in an accident. Whilst attempting to chart a dark matter nebula with T’Pol, Archer relates the story of how he, AG and Trip were all involved in humanity’s attempt to break the warp 2 barrier.

On paper, First Flight sounds like an interesting glimpse into the development of warp drive between what we saw in First Contact and the events of Broken Bow. In fact, much like many episodes of Enterprise, the whole thing is a bit of a damp squib.

The framing story is barely worth mentioning, as it serves merely as a framework for Archer to relate his story to T’Pol. Much of what we see takes place around nine years previously, when Archer and AG were test pilots for the NX program. AG is meant to be Archer’s rival and a bit of a hothead, but he seems miscast. Keith Carradine feels far too calm and dispassionate to play the role of a passionate test pilot – or maybe I’m just too used to him as Frank Lundy in Dexter.

The story itself is standard stuff – the first warp 2 test goes wrong, the Vulcans want to shut everything down (as per usual), and so Archer, AG and Trip break the rules to prove that humanity can build and fly a decent warp engine. As usual, it’s a story that’s been done before, and done better elsewhere.

Points of Note

  • Whilst I get that Archer was keen to be a test pilot because he wanted to fly a ship using his father’s engine, I don’t get how that put him and AG on track for command. As T’Pol herself commands, there’s more to being a captain than being able to fly a ship, especially as Archer doesn’t even fly the Enterprise himself. I would have though that the career of a test pilot and starship captain in training diverged quite early on.
  • In 2143, Forrest held the rank of commdore. This was a rank that was commonly seen in TOS, but which had been phased out by the TNG era.
  • Ruby, the waitress from the 602 Club, is presumably the same Ruby who dated both Malcolm and Trip.
  • Unusually for a Vulcan, T’Pol is cast in the role of “shuttle passenger who won’t shut up” when trying to get Archer to talk about AG. She’s probably been spending too much time with Phlox.

Summary – First Flight: Archer reminisces about simpler times.

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