First Flight

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Alienesse, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I recently rewatched "First Flight" and I wanted to share my growing enthusiasm for this wonderful episode.

    I love this episode because it's a precious piece of Trek history. That's one of the great things about ENT as a series, that it gave us little moments like this.

    It was so exciting to witness the beginning of the Warp Program, and to see Archer as he was years before getting his command - a dedicated officer, almost too dedicated, but oblivious as to what it took to captain a starship. I also loved the chemistry between him and Robinson (the actors deserve a lot of the praise for that) and the way their relationship evolved into friendship and mutual respect. This also provides a nice moment in the shuttle between T'Pol and Archer as T'Pol learns about the somewhat strange dynamics of human relations. It's great to see that, by the end of the episode, she actually begins to understand how it all works.

    The T'Pol/Archer scenes are also quite powerful in that they show the two growing closer to each other. I loved the fact that T'Pol reaches out to Archer and makes him talk about his distress, even if, as a Vulcan, she herself is not prone to discussing emotions.

    Going back to the Robinson/Archer part of the story, I felt that Robinson was a sort of mentor or role model for Archer. In spite of his recklessness, Robinson seemed to have become captain material before Archer. At least he was aware of what the "necessary skills" were and was able to advise Archer on that. From what this episode shows, Archer's association with Robinson seems to have been essential in his transformation from by-the-book commander to risk-taking captain. Which makes me wonder, what made Starfleet choose Archer over Robinson for commanding Enterprise? Any thoughts?
     
  2. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    I think Archer was chosen, at least in part, because he was probably more diplomatic/palatable to the Vulcans, despite the "I oughta knock you on your ass" statement in Broken Bow. I figure AG wouldn't have said that; it feels in a lot of ways like he would have just done it.
     
  3. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :lol: You're right, it does feel that way. AG definitely seems like the kind of guy that take matters into his own hands. I guess that would not always be regarded a good thing by Starfleet.
     
  4. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    They could have made more flashback episodes. Where we would see how/if he Vulcans hindered or helped in the development, either of Earth or warp drive.

    But as to who would become the captain of Enterprise, I don't understand why the writers/the producers, Forrest or anybody at all has to think about who would become the captain of Enterprise. After all when the episode starts - post-title - Archer IS the CO of Enterprise.

    He is a captain, is assigned to Enterprise, oversees the construction, has a crew picked up...
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This was an episode I enjoyed too.

    Really they seemed polar opposites if you go by this episode alone. Robinson being the impulsive risk taker that people naturally like and Archer being the by the book guy who works twice as hard. Robinson said Archer didn't have what it takes to be a captain, and to be honest I really didn't even start seeing it myself until season 3 or 4.

    The prototype ship was also a great nugget. You could look at that thing and just -see- it's descended from the Phoenix and that an Enterprise ship might be the next step. T'Pol showing that she was getting over Evil Vulcan Syndrome, by suggesting naming that nebula after Robinson was a nice touch too.

    As for why Archer became captain? Honestly I always attributed that to old fashioned nepotism, being his father designed the engine.
     
  6. I am Surak

    I am Surak Captain Captain

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    YES! That and the fact that science always needs to be made palatable to the masses by having a good story about it.
    "Son of designer becomes captain" is a good headline.

    I also believe that the first man on the moon was chosen for his all American and easy to understand last name. Buzz was definitively just as qualified. Its always all about the story....
     
  7. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    Jim Lovell is my favorite astronaught. Always thought it was something of a tragedy that he never got to walk on the moon.
     
  8. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If that's true, then shouldn't he have also been chosen to pilot the warp 2 flight as well instead of Robinson? When giving him the bad news, Forrest clearly acknowledges Archer's personal investment in the warp program, but it didn't seem to influence his final decision.
     
  9. Delsaber

    Delsaber Commodore Commodore

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    This was easily one of the best episodes of the second season, and the series overall, as it sticks to the premise so damn well. Enterprise's oft-forgotten mission statement, or at least a large part of it, was to show us the history of Earth, Starfleet, and the Federation, and First Flight did a great job of contributing to that.

    It just makes me wish there were more episodes like this. Perhaps even without the framing device... In a Mirror, Darkly worked exceptionally well even without any of the show's primary characters; a few more stories like First Flight comprised entirely of flashback material with none of the current day shenanigans? I would've eaten that up with a spoon.

    Also, I'm a sucker for historical flight stories, fictional or otherwise. Voyager's episode about the lost Mars mission, From the Earth to the Moon, even that dumb CBC docudrama about the Avro Arrow, whatever. Giving us more of that, maybe with Stephen Root talking about hitting baseballs with rocks...
     
  10. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^Agreed, completely.:techman: "First Flight" was only a taste of what ENT should have done. I wish we had seen Starfleet and Federation history take a more prominent role in the series.
     
  11. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree that there's a lot to like in the flashbacks - B&B have claimed that they wanted the whole first season to be pre-deployment, presumably along these lines - but the dialogue in the framing sequences is awfully trite. The West Wing was far more artful in transitioning between time periods with its own story about remembering a departed friend in "Two Cathedrals".
     
  12. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Whenever ENT focused on being a genuine 22nd series it worked well.
     
  13. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

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    Funny that those Buzz Aldrin and nepotism were brought up, because Buzz's father, an influential colonel who'd been friends with several noted aviators, including Orville Wright, tried to insert himself into the issue and get his son the privledge of getting out first, despite Buzz specifically asking him to stay out of it.

    There have been number of reasons given. The technical reason given is that since the LM hatch swung inward towards the LMP's side the two astronauts would have to switch places, which isn't possible after they put on the hard outer suits. (Though Al Bean, the Apollo 12 LMP has pointed out, they could simply switch places before putting on the gear).

    There was also some rumors that since Armstrong was a civilian and Buzz was still air force, they preferred it be the civilian. I've never heard anything about Armstrong getting it because of an "all-American" name (whatever THAT is).

    There have been some conflicting accounts of how much of an issue this really was. Gene Cernan (Apollo 10 LMP and Apollo 17 commander) wrote in is book that Buzz was pushing the issue a lot, though Dave Scott (Apollo 15 commander) wrote that he thought any controversy over the issue has been blown way out of proportion. Aldrin himself has written that he thought "the matter had been weighing on him (Armstrong) as well", but I think Buzz may have been projecting, because everything I've read about what kind of guy Armstrong was says that he wasn't concerned with that at all.

    Me, I prefer to think it was simple protocol: The commander gets out first. Simple as that. Not to mention he had seniority. Remember that if it hadn't been for the Apollo 8 and 9 switch, Pete Conrad and Al Bean almost certainly would've had the first landing, and it's hard to imagine them letting Bean, a rookie on his first mission, get out before Conrad, a veteran on his third mission.
     
  14. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I had always assumed that on the Apollo missions, the commander always gets out first, as a matter of procedure.
     
  15. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

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    Of course, since that was the first one with a landing, it would set the precedent for subsequent one.

    It might be worth nothing that on the Gemini missions (as well as Alexei Leonov's Voskhod mission), the commander remained inside while the pilot performed the EVA. On the lunar surface, of course, is a different story, however, as the spacecraft is essentially "in port".
     
  16. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    "First Flight" is my favorite ENT episode and it constantly makes me wonder how different the series would have been with Robinson in command of the NX-01.
     
  17. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It definitely has one of the best ass-kicking speeches I've heard, when Forrest lays the smackdown on Robinson and Archer for running off with the NX prototype.
     
  18. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

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    Agreed. Reintroducing elements that haven't been focused on since the original series (like the Andorians) usually worked really well.

    True. From what I've read, he came to be much more enthusiastic about the science aspect of the mission than Alan Shepard. In fact, it was partly because of Shepard that Lovell lost his lunar ticket: When Shepard was returned to active flight status, he wanted the next available flight, which was Apollo 13, but some at NASA felt he hadn't had enough training time to catch up, so Lovell (then expecting to command Apollo 14) was asked to move up a flight.

    In fact, some strange twists of fate had something to do with almost all the flights he was assigned to (Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8)

    Archer seems like someone who might be sensitive to such an accusation and would work hard to prove he was worthy in his own right. (Robinson did talk about how Archer spent long hours in simulators and "did everything by the book").

    Actually now that I think about it, I notice some parrallels between Archer and Robinson and John Glenn and Alan Shepard.

    Glenn, like Archer, seemed to be the "good boy". He was the all-American, church-going family man, faithful to his wife, but also an exceptional pilot (besides being a veteran of two wars, he set a trans-continental speed record in the late 50's). In at least one instance, he chastised some of his fellow astronauts for their frequent drinking and partying with women. (He later wrote that he wasn't trying to enforce morality, but prevent a scandal that could hurt the then-fledgling program).

    I found Robinson similar to Shepard, on the other hand. He was notorious for flat-hatting (flying at extremely low altitude) before joining NASA, which got him in serious trouble on occasion. He was more open to parties and women, and while he was one of the few astronauts from that era that didn't end up getting divorced, he did stray at least once or twice. (Ironically, when a reporter learned of one such incident, it was Glenn who convinced him to keep the story to himself).

    And like Robinson, Shepard managed to bag the prize of the first flight. Of course, like Archer, Glenn would earn even greater fame on his mission (the NX-01).
     
  19. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A risky move - suppose the Moon People are in a shootin' mood?