I can't believe I'm already doing the first Essentials post of the last series. Because I'm now watching at such a fast clip, I actually finished season 1 a couple of days ago and now I'm into season two. It's actually been pretty helpful to take a little time to let it digest but I know I can't keep doing that. Otherwise I'll be writing the Season Four essentials in January!
Anyway, here are my Essential Episodes from Enterprise Season One:
1-Broken Bow (Parts 1 and 2)
This is where it all starts. Though I'm not in love with this pilot, I think there's a lot of stuff to like here. Plus, they do a good job of telling us where all these characters came from, why they're important to the show, etc. The Enterprise crew is greener and more unsure of themselves than any other Trek crew so I think it's important that we understand why they each came aboard.
2-The Andorian Incident
Andorians! I love the Andorians and Shran in particular. This is a great "Vulcans Are Jerks" episode and the Archer/T'Pol solution to what's really going on a P'Jem is surprising and interesting.
I get that this is a controversial episode. I don't even agree with what happens here. And, after reading about the originally intended ending, I think it could've been better. Still, this is a great, character-driven Phlox episode and it gives us one of the first "We need a Prime Directive" conversations.
4-Shadows of P'Jem
Tensions are rising between the Andorians and the Vulcans and when Archer and T'Pol are kidnapped by some third party asshats, Shran surprisingly steps in to help Trip and Malcolm save the day. This one's full of intrigue, phaser blasts, and some great T'Pol/Archer stuff as they start their journey toward BFF-ness.
5-Shockwave (Parts 1 and 2)
The season finale. An Enterprise shuttlepod is (apparently) responsible for the destruction of an entire colony and all its inhabitants. The Vulcans make their case (again) that humans aren't ready for space exploration and threaten to shut down the X-Files. They're recalling Enterprise and her crew. The way everyone comes together with an absent Archer's help is great.
A Ferengi Romp!
7-Two Days and Two Nights-
I don't care how many people tout the calming effects of a vacation on Risa. From what I've seen, pretty much nothing good ever happens there. Still, this one's worth watching just to see someone's else's vacation get ruined.