Published Oct 19, 2023
Favorite Captain Archer Episodes
We've got the perfect Scott Bakula-led episodes for you to enjoy.
By Christine Dinh
Star Trek: Enterprise finally gets its due this year.
The third and final season of Star Trek: Picard revealed Captain Jonathan Archer and his Enterprise NX-01 crew's first mission holds a significant milestone in the Federation's history, which is celebrated with Frontier Day. On Pike's Enterprise in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Uhura and Ortegas gush over the expertise and importance of Hoshi Sato and Travis Mayweather. Not only that, it's the NX-01 itself that helps a pair of wayward time-traveling ensigns return home to their correct timeline. And just this summer, we find an Archer action figure among Boimler's box of his prized possessions when he moves up from the lower decks to his own quarters in Star Trek: Lower Decks.
We can't think of a better time to highlight some of our favorite Captain Archer episodes during its entire Enterprise run.
On Earth at the Bay Stadium, Captain Archer and his senior crew are celebrated for the Enterprise's successes in the Delphic Expanse, including saving the planet from the Xindi, in the fourth-season episode, "Home." The captain tempers the praise by reminding everyone about the 27 crew members who didn't make it home with them; it was their efforts and sacrifice that ensured their safe return.
Uncomfortable with the hero's welcome and fanfare, Archer comes to grips with how much the Expanse has changed him, not just the previous year with the Xindi, but across his tenure on the NX-01, as he reluctantly advises Captain Hernandez and the Columbia's maiden voyage.
Reflecting on the realities of his duties, grief, and choices he made, he tells Hernandez, "I look at you, and I see the person I was three years ago - the explorer that my father wanted me to be. I lost something out there. And I don't know how to get it back."
Akin to Captain Janeway's Tuvok dilemma, "Similitude" forces Archer into an ethical quandary — when Commander Trip Tucker is near-fatally wounded, the crew cannot afford to lose their chief engineer during a critical moment. Dr. Phlox proposes an unorthodox solve to their issue at hand. Using one of the larvae in his arsenal, they create a mimetic symbiote aka 'clone' of Trip to harvest its organs to save Trip.
Over the course of the episode, Archer struggles with the ethics of actions, as they witness the "Sim" age from a kid to adult, who develops his own memories and relationships with the crew in addition to possessing the original Trip's experiences and memories. Despite his two-week lifespan, Sim argues for his right to live. In addition to weighing the life of his friend, Archer must consider Earth's overall survival.
Where it all began. "First Flight" takes us back to Archer's early days as a warp-speed test pilot, as well as provides context to his devotion to his father and his friendship with Trip. Here, we get to learn more about their warp program and his father's groundbreaking but flawed warp engine designs. This episode shows how Archer came to be in command of the Enterprise.
I'm going to ask all of you to think back to the day when this ship was first launched. We were explorers then. When all this is over, when Earth is safe, I want you to get back to that job. There are four hundred billion stars in our galaxy; we've only explored a tiny fraction. You have a lot of work to do. Of all the captains who will sit in this chair, I can't imagine any of them being more proud than I am right now.
Captain Jonathan Archer, "Azati Prime"
When the Enterprise discovers the Xindi's plans for a super weapon, Archer sets out on a suicide mission in "Azati Prime," believing himself to be on a one-way trip toward enemy territory.
While a time agent shows him that history needs him alive for the United Federation of Planets' formation, Archer is resolved to go through with his mission despite the odds. Held captive by the Xindi Reptilians, Archer demonstrates his captaincy — strengths, flaws, and all — courageous, confident, yet impatient with the leader Dolim while also showcasing his resilience, intellect, and diplomacy with the Xindi Primate, Degra.
Up until about a hundred years ago, there was one question that burned in every Human, that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them. Are we alone? Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers driven to know what's over the horizon, what's beyond our own shores. And yet the more I've experienced, the more I've learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They're within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other. A final frontier begins in this hall. Let's explore it together.
Captain Jonathan Archer, "Terra Prime"
"Terra Prime" delivers another masterclass Captain Archer speech, which highlights the fragile origins of the United Federation of Planets and his crucial role within the organization as president.
When the xenophobic Terra Prime threatens to destroy Starfleet Command, Archer manages to unite humans and other species alike in not letting the terrorist group's message continue on with his inspiring speech. The episode is just as relevant today as it was nearly 20 years ago, and is clear in what is needed — tolerance and compassion — in the face of hatred and mistrust to achieve our ideal universe.