If you showed this episode to someone who has never seen Star Trek before and then told them what it was, they probably wouldn’t even believe you. For one, First Flight features no alien species with the exception of the Vulcan first officer, T’Pol. While most of the different species and races in Star Trek have some pretty crazy looks, Vulcan’s look like us with the exception of the ears. Even though there’s been some fatigue with origin stories and they have experienced severe fan backlash, I still love them.
This is a prequel to the prequel and shows how Starfleet first broke the Warp 2.5 barrier. It doesn’t really say how much younger Captain Archer really was but it’s assumed that it was not too long before Enterprise headed off into the unknown. We spent minimal time on the Enterprise as Captain Archer immediately is informed by the Admiral that his one time rival Robinson has passed away. This sets the rest of the episode up as Archer and T’Pol spent the entire episode on a shuttlepod observing a space anomaly.
T’Pol notices how much the death has affected her Captain and so she attempts to comfort him as we see their relationship grow closer. Now of course the T’Pol/Trip relationship is looming and the seeds have been planted for it since the beginning, but for me the Archer/T’Pol pairing has always seemed more intriguing. T’Pol actually addresses the attraction and tells the Captain how it’s a good thing that he is her superior officer since that will all but guarantee that nothing will ever happen between the two.
Flashbacks are always welcome for me and I just found myself smiling while watching how certain events unfolded. Archer was still bitter at the Vulcans for withholding information so that’s certainly not just glossed over. I found it interesting that Robinson was chosen for the first Warp 2 trial since I didn’t really picture him as a viable candidate for leading the Enterprise. We know of course that even though Archer was skipped over for the Warp 2 assignment, he was the one chosen to be Enterprise’s first ‘skipper’ as Robinson put it.
I also liked how much Archer played it by the book at one time and how he needed Robinson to see several things. Namely, that being the captain of a starship requires much more than just playing it by the book. It was also a nice touch throwing Trip in the flashbacks and seeing how he fit into things. Overall, as I said this was a great episode that you could pass off as many different things. Star Trek fans or non-Star Trek fans, above all this is just great science-fiction. You can never have too much of that.