Most of Season 1 is about the first Warp 5-capable Earth vessel venturing out into uncharted space. The Vulcans have been taking very cautious steps in helping humans expand, and Archer has been pushing for Earth to take a more aggressive, risky approach. The season shows early attempts, selecting a crew, venturing out, and a series of bloody noses as they meet both friendly and less-than-friendly allies. The Vulcans give them T’Pol, which helps and hurts with the Andorians, Klingons, and a host of other smaller races. But throughout it all, there is a hint that something bigger is going on, as Crewman Daniels teaches Archer about the Temporal Prime Directive.
Episodes That I Liked
The two best episodes of the season are about time travel, including EP11 Cold Front where the Time War becomes more apparent and answers a few questions while opening a host more. EP26 ShockWave Pt 1 brings time travel back to the fore as well and serves as the cliffhanger for the season.
Six other episodes are rated 4/5, including a two-parter (EP01 and 02 kick off the series with Sulibans and Klingons on Earth); E10 where you get to meet Nausicaans with predictable results given their history of attacking merchant vessels; E12 with a lot of focus on phasers; E17 with Vulcans who embrace emotions rather than suppressing them; and E20 with an old crashed ship sending out an SOS with seemingly no survivors on board, yet there is…something.
Episodes That Were Watchable
Fourteen more episodes are rated 3/5, and it is the reason why the whole season is similarly rated. E03 deals with Hoshi having trouble adjusting to being on a ship; E04 has a planet that causes hallucinations; E05 rises to okay which is surprising since the premise is that Trip gets pregnant; E06 looks at a lost colony; E07 and 15 deal with Andorian / Vulcan relations, and other than the main Andorian, they’re kind of a wash; E09 has interactions with a pre-warp society and the start of the “Prime Directive”; E14 is about rescuing a Klingon ship while E16 is about rescuing a shuttlepod; E18 has a rogue planet drifting through space; E19 and 22 show Malcolm isn’t doing a very good job with security since the Ferengi and a spider manage to take over the ship; and E25 is a trip to Risa where lots of little adventures happen for everyone. Of all of the mid-range ones, E13 deals with a week in the life of Dr. Phlox and while it was a great premise, there wasn’t enough “oomph” to get above 3/5.
Episodes That I Didn’t Like
Four episodes really weren’t that great…”thawing” relations with Vulcans (namely T’Pol, E08), an internment camp (E21), a disgraced Vulcan Ambassador (E23), and a trip through the desert (E24).