On a routine shuttlepod mission to investigate an asteroid field, Trip and Reed find themselves suddenly cut off from the Enterprise and become convinced that the mothership has been destroyed. With a limited oxygen supply and almost no chance of being rescued, the opposite-minded twosome must battle their annoyance with one another while also coming to terms with their impending demise.

In short — great episode. 4.5 out of 5.

Okay, I’ve gotta admit it, I’m impressed. The ‘Powers That Be’ managed to take what was basically a budget-saving episode (no new sets, no aliens, and most of the show taking place within the shuttlepod), and managed to craft one of the best episodes of Enterprise I’ve seen yet. We finally got a clearer look at just who Malcolm Reed is, and both Reed and Tucker got some truly wonderful moments over the course of the episode. Good writing and characterization backed up by some very impressive acting by Dominic Keating and Connor Trineer.

Some highlights….

For Reed — the fantasy scene with T’Pol, and the subsequent drunken commentary on the fact that “she’s got a nice bum.” Both of these scenes had me quite literally laughing out loud. I thought it was a fun way for Enterprise to show something that I haven’t seen on Trek before — guys being guys admiring pretty girls (though I’ve got to admit, Hoshi‘s much more my type…but hey, diff’rent streaks for diff’rent freaks, right?). Also, the final closing shot, with Reed quietly asking the unconscious Tucker if he can call him ‘Trip’, was quite sadly sweet — a very nice touch after the two had butted heads during the course of the show.

Tucker also came across quite well during the show, from doing everything he can to refuse to give into believing that there was no hope for them (a tough job in the face of Reed’s dismal attitude) to finally being willing to sacrifice himself to allow Reed a better chance of returning. Plus, the story of the snails and the turtle was impeccably delivered. In short, quite excellent performances from both of them.

But — and there’s always a but — those had to be some horrid mashed potatoes if they could patch a hull breach with them, no matter how temporarily! I’d say I’d never tease my mom about her mashed potatoes after that…but, then, that’d be no fun. ;)

Mashed potatoes notwithstanding, I’m quite happy with this weeks episode. 4.5 out of 5.