According to Memory Alpha's In Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
Detained : Vox Sola : Shockwave Part 1.


On board Enterprise, the Universal Translator has resulted in a minor diplomatic incident with the Kreetassans. Later, Ensign Sato analyzes their language and finds that each word can have a dozen meanings depending upon its context. As the Kreetassan vessel departs, a clear, amoeba-like entity crosses to Enterprise, and systems begin to malfunction on a ship-wide basis. Crewmen Rostov and Kelly are both trapped in a cargo-hold by the entity, which has now grown tendrils. Captain Archer, Commander Tucker, Lieutenant Reed go to investigate, and are all caught as well, except Reed who escapes through the cargo-hold-hatch, severing one of the tendrils in the process.

Ensign Mayweather suggests tracking the Kreetassans down to ask about the entity, while Doctor Phlox examines the severed tendril. He determines that those entrapped are becoming symbiotically linked together through the entity. Sato wants to communicate with it, but Sub-Commander T'Pol decides to neutralize it instead. Mayweather manages to find the Kreetassans, asking for any information they may have. They agree to share the location of the entity's home world, but only after Mayweather apologizes for the earlier incident. Apparently the "misunderstanding" occurred when the Kreetassans were taken to the mess-hall to find many of the crew eating in public, which they regard as vulgar.

T'Pol, Sato, and Reed make their way to the cargo-bay to attempt communication. Reed assembles experimental force-field-emitters, which are able to protect them from the entity's tendrils. Sato uses the Universal-Translator to modulate a frequency that the entity can understand. After several attempts, the entity responds. It gives them new, more precise coordinates on its home-world, and Phlox notices that the bio-signs of the trapped personnel are stabilizing. The entity then releases the personnel, shrinking back to its original size. On the entity's planet, both organisms are released and are quickly re-absorbed into a larger alien body. As the shuttle-pod returns to Enterprise, dawn breaks and the entire area is revealed to be covered with a single huge organism.

Errors and Explanations

Ex Astris Scientia


  1. It is bothersome that Reed casually invents the forcefield and therefore introduces yet another technology that better should not exist for another one hundred years or at least a couple of decades. As with the transporter too, the remark that the improvised device still needs refinement does not excuse that it is already indistinguishable from the advanced routine technology used 200 years later. The forcefield shown here is created through improvisation, which means years of research would be needed to develop a dedicated unit.
  2. Something that I don't understand is that the creature is said to be "highly photosensitive" on one hand, but the concentrated light pulse of a phase pistol does not have any effect on it. Maybe the areas not affected by the phase pulse are compensating for this.
  3. I am surprised that suddenly a phase rifle shows up (with the same visual effect as the phase pistol) that has never been mentioned before and probably didn't exist so far, as especially "Blow-it-up" Reed should have preferred this more powerful weapon over the pulse rifle. The pistols may have been deemed adequate until this point.

Internet Movie Database

Character error

  1. When examining the part of the creature severed by the door, which is still alive, Dr. Phlox compares it to an earthworm. It is a misconception that if an earthworm is cut in half, both parts will survive. There is a chance the head section may survive, however, the tail end will die. Perhaps there are cells similar to those in the brain spread throughout the creature's body.


  1. When Malcom goes to sickbay to test the lifeform's tolerance to E.M. fields he places a device on the observation window of the creature's enclosure. This device changes position at least once between shots during this scene. Malcolm may have adjusted it.

Nit Central

  1. Jason on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 7:02 pm: Does anyone else find it strange that Hoshi heard the thing making noise before T'Pol with her superior Vulcan ears? Hammer on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 7:06 pm: Hoshi probably heard it first because she is more in tune with her equipment.
  2. SMT on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 7:18 pm: If Archer is such a fan, and hails from one of the competing colleges (Stanford), why does he not know players' names? He keeps referring to them by number. Josh M on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 9:24 pm: I remember he referred to a Texas guy as a number (#8 I think). Did he refer to a Stanford guy? Besides, he been out in deep space for about 9 months now. I doubt he can keep up with sports on Earth. He didn't seem to know that Stanford and Texas faced each other in the Regionals until Trip showed him the file.LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: Archer says, "Number eight on Texas just fouled one of my boys" in Act 1, so he was referring to Texas, not Stanford, and Trip said the Texas goalie couldn’t block to his right because he keeps his hands to deep in Act 3.
  3. Reed pulls out a tricorder, waves it at Crewman Kelly, and declares "She's alive." This would have been news, if we hadn't heard her give a loud moan several seconds before. Guess all that practice on the target range has done a number on Reed's hearing. :-) LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: I reviewed the scene, and Kelly lets out a couple of very low exhales, (not a "loud moan"), and since Reed was standing some distance away, I don’t find it impossible that he didn’t hear her.
  4. Less than a year ago, phase pistols were brand new to this crew. Now we see someone toting what we must assume is a phase rifle, when the ship has had no opportunity to restock. Of course, it might be one of the older weapons, but then we should have heard Reed saying that this weapon had no effect either. (Or was it even fired?) LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: Yes, it was fired. The other security guy who didn’t get a name or dialogue fired it, and it at one of the two tendrils holding Archer, and it worked! The other tendril then pulled him up.
  5. So, phase pistols(and rifles) are useless against the creature, but a sustained burst of EM radiation will do it harm? What do you think EM radiation is? The term refers to, basically, any kind of photons, from gamma rays through visible light and onto radio waves. Phase pistols are putting out EM radiation. Claiming otherwise is just an invocation of technobabble. Now, if they had said "broad-band EM", then I could buy it, since a phase pistol presumably works on a narrow frequency range. A little more thought, guys … Josh M on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 9:24 pm: Perhaps the devices they were using transmitted the entire spectrum or only part of the EM spectrum injures the creature (I don't know if that's even possible though). We know that it was at least sensitive to visible light. Considering that the pistols do have some light emitted it should have had some effect.
  6. PaulG on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 8:51 pm: When Sato, Reed and T'Pol are debating whether to communicate or blast the alien, T'Pol sides with Reed. Then Sato apparently does no further work with the language until T'Pol asks her. Why don't they pursue BOTH avenues? If the aliens can eat and mate at the same time… Josh M on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 9:26 pm: I noticed this too. While I wouldn't expect Hoshi to work on the other without orders, I'm surprised that T'Pol doesn't ask her to in case Reed's plan fails.
  7. Josh M on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 9:24 pm: What about Reed’s wishy-washiness not only as a security officer, but as a link in the chain of command. He allows Phlox to disobey him in sickbay, even though crewmen’s lives are at stake by the very lifeform Phlox wants to protect, and Reed, who is supposed to be this professional tactical officer, backs down just a bit too easily. When it comes to protection of a patient, Phlox, like the doctors of previous Treks, can probably override the authority of a higher ranking officer. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: A patient? The tendril of an alien animal is a patient? Yeah, I know Phlox said he thought it might be intelligent, but nothing afterwards indicated it had anything beyond the intelligence of a dolphin. (Which, of course, is another problem with this episode, as Trike pointed out.) If it did, why didn’t the crew stay on the planet to study it and learn from it?
    Plus, if Reed, had attacked Phlox, I really don't think that would be very in character at all. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: How so? There’s only been 22 episodes so far, and we’ve gotten so little on most of them. Silent Enemy actually made the point that not only do the viewers know little of Reed, but so do his shipmates. Character is created by the actions taken by the characters, and if the creators weren’t so determined to play it safe with these lukewarm, cardboard vanilla personality types, and maybe shake it up a bit, we could see just what Reed is capable of.
    I don't think a "professional" security officer would attack a colleague in these circumstances. Getting in their face and arguing it, that's a different story. (I thought Reed did a little of that) LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: Part of writing serialized fiction like this is taking a character and putting him in circumstances that in which he may be forced to act out of character, or in ways contrary to his initial instincts or outward appearance. (The reason the phrase "out of character" exists is because people do behave that way sometimes. :)) Think about it: Reed’s captain and other crewmen are in mortal danger. Phlox himself said they have a few hours left, and the procedure Phlox wants to do may take about an hour, maybe less. Reed’s instincts and training are to protect his captain and crew. Pacifism and deference to alien lifeforms probably wasn’t a part of his training (at least not the way it may come to be for TNG or DS9 crews, because guys like Reed are so new to alien life—a point that this series should emphasize). He might feel (as I do) that Phlox’s assertion that Archer said he is the ranking officer in sickbay is a load of bunk. If he feels Phlox is endangering the captain for what Reed feels is just an animal, he may feel justified in politely telling Phlox to remove his hand from his device, and then removing it himself if Phlox refuses. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t twist Phlox’s arm around and flip him over, but he grabs his hand and steadfastly swipes it away from his force field prototype device with a stern tone of voice. Would this be professional or realistic? I’m not sure. I think it’s debatable. It was pointed out that the mutiny aboard the submarine in Crimson Tide was implausible, but of course it was. It was a character-driven thriller, and IMHO, a good one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Was it believable? Well, it was at least believable enough for me to suspend my disbelief, and so it would have been had Reed taken a strong-arm approach in this episode, and had Archer and the characters in general were a little less wimpy when pushed around in Fortunate Son and Acquisition. The fact that some might feel as you do, Josh is precisely why doing so might be a provocative plot point, make for interesting character conflict, and spark discussion among viewers—something Star Trek USED to be about.
  8. Steve Oostrom on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 10:23 pm: Okay episode, and a cool scene at the end when the shuttle left. Of course, I wonder if this story could have happened at all if the Enterprise had made sure the hatch was closed before the Kreetassen ship departed. One would think all hatches would be sealed before the ships would separate. The sensors may have indicated it was sealed.
  9. Exactly how did the Kreetassens get access to the Enterprise database so that they could develop a method to communicate with the crew in English? Did Archer simply give it to them? Did they sneak a look when nobody was looking? LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: I assumed there had to be such an exchange in order for both sides’ universal translators to work.
  10. Chief Sharky on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:23 am: Poor Hoshi, too bad she had to slog through learning those aliens language when it seems they picked up English in a snap! LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 1:57 am: How is it in a snap? Hoshi only had whatever amount of time the Kreetassans were on the ship up until dinner. The Kreetassans had the time to go over the Enterprise’s database for hours, perhaps a day, after they left. They may also have more sophisticated translators.

Enterprise Season 1
Broken Bow I Fight or Flight I Strange New World I Unexpected I Terra Nova I The Andorian Incident I Breaking the Ice I Civilization I Fortunate Son I Cold Front I Silent Enemy I Dear Doctor I Sleeping Dogs I Shadows of P'Jem I Shuttlepod One I Fusion I Rogue Planet I Acquisition I Oasis I Detained I Vox Sola I Fallen Hero I Desert Crossing I Two Days and Two Nights I Shockwave
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