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Breaking the Ice (episode)

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"Breaking the Ice"
ENT, Episode 1x08
Production number: 008
First aired: 7 November 2001
7th of 97 produced in ENT
7th of 97 released in ENT
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 97 released in ENT Remastered  
635th of 728 released in all
Archers comet Ent TiMur
Written By
Maria Jacquemetton & André Jacquemetton

Directed By
Terry Windell
Unknown (2151)
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With a Vulcan ship on their tail, the Enterprise decides to investigate a comet.

Summary Edit

Enterprise discovers the biggest comet ever observed by Humans – or Vulcans. An away team consisting of Malcolm Reed and Travis Mayweather is sent to collect samples, as the comet is found to contain a rare substance under the surface. The Vulcan ship Ti'Mur mysteriously appears out of the blue, asking that they be allowed to observe while the Enterprise investigates the comet. Captain Archer is not happy about the Vulcans looking over his shoulders, but in the interest of cooperation agrees.

Meanwhile, Trip Tucker discovers that T'Pol has received secret encrypted transmissions from the nearby Vulcan ship and is suspicious. Captain Archer is especially disappointed that T'Pol has apparently been in touch with the Vulcans behind his back. He has Hoshi Sato decrypt the data, who gives it to Tucker unread. It turns out, though, that the transmission was not correspondence concerning the Enterprise but a personal letter for T'Pol regarding her arranged marriage. Archer, embarrassed at having intruded on T'Pol's privacy, does not ask Tucker to reveal its contents. Tucker feels guilty, however, and, as the one who actually read the letter, decides to tell T'Pol what he did.

On the bridge, a recording to some Earth school children who go to a school in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, is dispatched, containing comments about ongoing events on Enterprise and answers to the many questions the popular crew previously received. Tucker is extremely uncertain about answering a question about ship sanitation as he is worried that he will be assumed to be a sanitation engineer.

Tucker apologizes to T'Pol for having read her message from the Vulcan ship by mistake, telling her that an encoded letter just looked suspicious. T'Pol is upset and asks Tucker to keep the contents of the letter to himself.

Meanwhile, Archer decides to invite the Vulcan captain, Vanik, to dinner aboard Enterprise to "break the ice" so to say, hoping to establish some level of trust between their species. He is not successful, however, as the Vulcan is disrespectful, does not share Archer's enthusiasm and viewpoints, and otherwise is very dismissive and patronizing. It appears to Archer that all he can really prove to the Vulcan is whatever stereotypes he already has of Humans. Upset at Vanik's attitude, Archer concludes the meal by accusing the Vulcan of spying on the Enterprise and then asks him to leave.

Archer notes that an explosion triggered on the surface of the comet by the away team has altered the comet's rotational axis, resulting in the shuttlepod facing the star in two hours, causing temperatures to shoot up a couple of hundred degrees. The away team promises to be out of there as soon as possible.

Later, T'Pol invites Tucker to her quarters to discuss her planned marriage. Doctor Phlox had advised her earlier that it might be helpful if she discussed her problems with someone instead of keeping it inside. In the interest of sharing her predicament with as few people as possible, T'Pol decides to talk to Tucker, since he already knows about the contents of the letter. Apparently, the impending marriage is causing some concern for her, since she would have to leave Enterprise immediately and remain away for at least one Vulcan year. She wants advice from Tucker, who does not share her views on Vulcan culture and tradition, stating that arranged marriages have been discarded at the same time as slavery was abolished – a comparison T'Pol does not appreciate. Whatever advice Tucker gives T'Pol is met with resistance, as she believes that he simply does not understand her culture and commitment to tradition. At the end of the conversation, Tucker is frustrated at T'Pol's insistence on devotion to heritage above all while T'Pol feels that it was a mistake altogether to consult Tucker's help.

Meanwhile, the away team runs into complications and is stuck on the comet due to a malfunction in their shuttlecraft. Unable to rescue Mayweather and Reed on their own, the Vulcan ship offers to help. Archer is reluctant, but T'Pol tells him that Vanik expects Archer to refuse his offer as he sees Humans as arrogant and prideful, and that accepting his offer would be the perfect opportunity for Archer to prove the Vulcans wrong. Archer swallows his pride and lets the Vulcans help pull the shuttle out with their tractor beam – a technology Starfleet does not possess. When the away team returns, attempts by Archer at friendliness are blocked by Vanik, who has no interest in receiving the data Enterprise collected on the comet.

T'Pol chooses to reconsider her marriage and obligations to her culture, showing that her discussion with Tucker wasn't as fruitless as it first appeared.

Memorable Quotes Edit

"For those of you who aren't near a window, you might want to find one. There's something pretty amazing off starboard."

- Archer, to the crew of Enterprise


"Once he realizes we're not going to blow up the galaxy maybe he'll leave us alone."

- Archer


"Wow! That's one big snowball!"

- Tucker, on Archer's comet


"Perhaps they're simply curious."
"Curious? That doesn't sound very Vulcan to me."

- T'Pol discussing the sudden arrival of the Ti'Mur with Archer


"You're easily impressed."

- Vanik, to Archer


"It might not be good for the body... But it sure is good for the soul."

- Tucker, defending his favorite dessert – pecan pie – to T'Pol


"A POOP question, SIR?!"

- Tucker, answering a question from children on Earth


"I always wanted to chase a comet."

- Archer


"I've only seen snow twice in my life."

- Mayweather


"I hope I never see snow again!"

- Mayweather


"You are Human. You are free to choose."

- T'Pol, trying to convince Archer to ask the Vulcans for help


"If Vanik's the kind of guy who likes to watch... let him."

- Archer


"I feel like I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar!"

- Tucker


"I have more letters in my quarters. Would you like to read those as well?"

- T'Pol


"What was that all about?"
"It's personal."

- Archer after Tucker and T'Pol speak about her deciding not to leave Enterprise for Koss (last lines)

Background Information Edit

Vulcan snow man

The Vulcan snowman

  • The revised final draft script for this episode was dated 31 August 2001. Although an early version of the script referred to the Vulcan ship depicted herein as being of the "Surak class", the revised final draft referred to the type of ship as "Suurok class". The change was made for reasons which Mike Sussman wasn't privy to. (info from Mike Sussman, Talk:Suurok class#Correct spelling?)
  • This is the first episode of Enterprise which did not have Rick Berman or Brannon Braga writing the episode or its story, at least according to the credits of this installment and the previous episodes in the series. However, Braga once referred to the idea of depicting people walking on a comet as an ambitious challenge that came about as a result of him continually trying to push the limits of what the series' creative staff could do. ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • Enterprise staff writer Chris Black was amazed, while planning this episode, by the flexibility of the series' production crew. "That was when I realized they really pull out all the stops for this show," he said. "It just feels sometimes like there's virtually nothing that they can't do! 'Guys!, can you turn Stage 9 into the surface of a comet?'–'Yeah, when do you want it by?'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 143, p. 29)
  • Dominic Keating found his work on this outing to be particularly extensive. "I did a whole ten days in that suit, man, on that comet [set]," he stated. Meanwhile dealing with the difficulty of removing the costume he wore to represent an EV suit, Keating experienced some stress due to Anthony Montgomery's energetic and talkative behavior. "There'd just come a point in the day, on that particular episode, when I'd just go, 'Anthony! Shut up, mate!'" Keating laughed, recalling his shouting. "And you could hear, 'Oh, Domi. I'm sorry, man. Sorry, dude.' Hard work, mate, in that EV suit, pretending to be weightless." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
  • This is the only episode of Enterprise to be directed by regular Star Trek: Voyager director Terry Windell.
  • This episode features the Ti'Mur, the first major Vulcan High Command starship seen in all of Star Trek.
  • Koss, who later appeared in "Home", "The Forge" and "Kir'Shara", is first mentioned in this episode.
  • This episode effectively begins the T'Pol/Tucker personal relationship, and its title is thus a double entendre. It is the first time Tucker enters T'Pol's quarters and the first time she shares personal information with him. The pecan pie she has in her quarters at the end of the story is also the first time T'Pol is seen to eat unambiguously Human food for her own enjoyment. It is noteworthy that she signals her personal rebellion from Vulcan tradition with one of Tucker's favorite desserts.
  • This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.9 and was watched by a total average of 7.36 million viewers. [1]
  • This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for its visual effects, but it lost out to Enterprise's pilot episode, "Broken Bow".
  • Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide" rated this episode 3 out of 5 arrowhead insignias. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 78)
  • The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 361) comments about this installment, "An episode that was probably designed as a showcase for Reed and Travis is hijacked by the far more intriguing T'Pol subplot. The twist that T'Pol isn't plotting against the ship ought to be predictable, but it comes out as something of a relief."

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Guest star Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt double Edit

References Edit

Archer's Comet; bio-matter resequencer; Brennan, Liam; caffeine; Chef; comet; County Kerry; dark-matter nebula; Denobula Triaxa system; Denobulans; drill bit; drilling rig; Earth; eisillium; EV suit; "First Contact (art)"; Gaby; germs; grappler; drink dispenser; green tea; Haley; hydroponics; Ireland; Kenmare; Kimball; Koss; logic; magnesite; Malvin; Maymora-class; McCook, Molly; Miles, Geoff; milk; Milky Way Galaxy; O'Shannon, Chloe; peanut butter sandwich; pecan pie; planetary nebula; plasma torch; pok tar; Polycocyx astris; poop; protein resequencer; sanitation engineer; sculptor; snow; snowman; Suurok-class; Ti'Mur; toilet; Tok; tractor beam; turkey; universal translator; Vanik; Vulcans; Vulcan database; Vulcan Space Program; Vulcan survey ship; water; Witty, Gabrielle; Worley Elementary School; Yarahla; Zariphean tea


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"The Andorian Incident"
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 1
Next episode:
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