Damage is perhaps the most powerful episode of Star Trek: Enterprise because it makes us look at Starfleet, and ourselves, in a very unfamiliar way.
One of the strengths of Star Trek is that it constantly challenged the viewer to think about things in a new way. On top of that Trek usually did a fantastic job of fleshing out motivations for the antagonists. Alien cultures might have had a strange way of thinking to us, but why they felt the way that they did was usually very clear. Even species as alien as the Borg had a clear motivation.
The reason that Star Trek: Enterprise’s “Damage” is a great moment in Star Trek is that it takes that one step further. In Damage it’s Starfleet and the crew of the Enterprise that are the villains. Instead of an alien vessel attacking their ship, they attack an alien vessel.
Enterprise needs a warp coil, and if they don’t get a warp coil and finish their mission to stop they Xindi then earth, and billions of people, are going to die. So they have to resort to stealing a warp coil from an alien ship.
It’s one of those moral dilemmas that makes Star Trek great, but instead of just worrying about the prime directive there are real lives at stake.
“Damage” is essentially the famous trolley problem. You have two tracks, one has one person on it and one has a group of people. You control a switch that can move the trolley to the second track, but you will kill the single person in the process. Are the lives of the group worth the life of the single person?
What’s really great is that Enterprise gives us no solid answer to the question; the viewer is left to decide for themselves if they think Archer made the right call.
So what do you think, is Star Trek: Enterprise’s “Damage” a great moment in Trek? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.