But the most important thing that this episode heralds is some good old-fashioned universe building. Actions here will have consequences, these aliens will be important later, and Shran will take on a bigger role in galactic affairs. This is the first episode since the pilot to try and define this universe, I just wish it hadn't been yet another hostage episode.
Quoted for absolute truth. This is one thing that I loved about Enterprise. I didn't really love this episode, though, because it was a bit slow, boring, and contrived (although it made the top 5 Enterprise episode list, iirc). But this episode is something you can look back from in the fourth season and still find a point. You can't do that with Broken Bow (even though I found BB to be a very entertaining pilot).
BTW, I see some people commenting on how it was back in the day. When I get a chance to, I'll join in. Unfortunately, I wasn't here from the beginning, so I'll have to wait until TheGodBen gets to the second season at least.