The Andorian Incident
Our intrepid Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker III faces off with the volatile, violent Androrians, repairs an outdated Vulcan (and you can imagine what outdated means in Vulcan terms!) transmitter, and bravely defends his captain against harm (although Archer still managed to get beat up TWICE! - maybe three times? - in one episode).
Trip and others (Archer and T’Pol) decide to visit a Vulcan monastery called P’Jem on a remote planet. Unbeknownst to them, the monastery has been seized by Andorians, members of a paranoid and suspicious species, who believe the site is really a spy station. Taking the situation at face value, Trip and the other two act to rescue themselves and the monks only to discover that the Andorians are neither as paranoid nor as suspicious as they seem. There are secrets at P’Jem which reveal the Vulcans of this era to be liars and the monks to be undercover agents. The episode proves to be a revelation to Trip, and other humans involved, that Vulcans are not as honest as the day is long. T’Pol is agitated at the discovery of her species duplicity.
Trip is adorable, brave, resourceful, sharp-tongued, loyal, respectful, and all around adorable this episode.
Although he allows others to take central stage this episode, Tucker’s comments add spice and humor to the action/mystery story. At the beginning the poor viewer is subjected to the vision of OMT being chastised and berated by T’Pol, the Vulcan schoolmistress. This unnecessary railing against Trip - and humanity’s - ability to act with decorum causes our hero to agree with Archer that each “thought Starfleet training was tough.” Clearly T’Pol needs to take a chill pill.
Trip, as always, brings truth and revelation for the grateful viewer: “You're thinkin' of the Blarney Stone, Cap'n, or when ya pat the Buddha's belly,” to explain to Archer the subtle meaning of the bestowal of Vulcan religious relics to visitors to the monastery; “Don’t get your antennas in a twist,” in a diplomatic plea for peace between humans and Andorians; “For people without emotions you sure have a flair for the dramatic” in a revolutionary statement revealing the unbelly of the Vulcan psyche as not entirely nonviolent; “Sum 'n sure smells” to illustrate his ability to tie together the Vulcan distaste for human smell with the stench of the appallingly weak pickup lines Andorians use in hostage situations towards uninterested Vulcan women and bring comprehension of the extreme distaste of both to T’Pol; and finally “Fellas,” the respectful acknowledgement he bestows upon the sacred remains of the Vulcan ancestors lining the walls of the catacombs.
Two classic Trip stances warm the heart of the avid Tuckerite: hand on hips to display that bold Trip determination to overcome the horrific odds of being held hostage and arms crossed to display nonchalance in the face of the Andorian intimidation of the imprisoned contingent. A subtle what-the-fuck look, although not directed at T’Pol but at the Vulcan who crassly and hypocritically accuses the brave men and women of Enterprise of “endangering us all,” allow the viewer to participate in the moment and feel the frustration any Tuckerite, I mean human, would feel if OMT, I mean a human, were so unjustly accused of inflicting harm on another. Gestures and glance establish Trip as the man capable of conveying archetypal human emotions which resonate with all who see him and bring understanding of ourselves as being human.
Trip comes to the rescue by repairing the transmitter, which he modestly calls a radio to alleviate any concern on his Captain’s part that the task was at all daunting. He accurately portends Reed’s response to the hostage situation as one involving lots of armour. He wordlessly works with his captain to first of all apprehend the Andorians (not the wisest move made during the episode) and then to pinpoint the triangular light seen by both men but from different perspectives. Trip displays his abilities to communicate both verbally and wordlessly in this episode filled with references to the need for such forthright communication and the implications of the subversion thereof.
The urge to tidy up the monastery after its ransacking proves what a gentleman he was raised to be by his loving mother.
The captain, as always, has Trip’s interests at heart when he states, as the two men are about to tackle the Andorian hiding behind the screen at the entrance of the monastery: “Too bad we didn’t bring a camera, huh, Commander?”
Score, using the patented EntEp Scoring Guide:
Hair: 0 (never mussed! How is this possible with all he went through? I have in my mind the words of David Lindley: “kinda like shellac!” (Werewolves of London))
Stubbly face: 0 (again, no accounting for no facial hair)
Food: 0 (None! What is this? A conspiracy?)
Reed blows something up: 10!!!!!
Trip is especially cute: 1000 (there were at least 10 incidents of Trip being cute in this episode. 10x10=1000 going east at y speed with z as the destination)
Trip gives T’Pol WTF look: 10 (BUT, because he managed this look with a Vulcan NOT T’Pol when T’Pol was IN THE SAME ROOM!: 100!
Trip major screen time: 20
Reed smiles: didn’t notice
Trip removes any clothing or shows any hair or hair on his chest or any other part of his anatomy: 0
Sigh. I tried: 1030 (if I added correctly)