How Social Media Saved the World

It cannot be understated that we are living through a history-making difficult time. Hundreds of thousands of people are falling victim to a global pandemic and everyone is else either staying home or acting brazenly stupid. It shouldn't be surprising, though, that one of the upshots of all of this is that there has been a rise in meme-making.

First defined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 as a cultural idea that takes on a life of its own and is passed down through generations much the same way that genes are, the word "meme" has itself taken on a life of its own to define pictures made and passed around on the Internet that often lampoon various aspects of life. I don't think I've seen any new memes in the past few days that weren't about the COVID-19 epidemic. But this isn't the first time a global catastrophe has been made fun of in what could be described as a "childish" fashion. In fact, one of the memes I've seen compared the uptick in Cor…

Star Trek: Asterisk "Shuttlepod One"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E16
Air Date: February 13, 2002
Written by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by: David Livingston

After finding wreckage on a large asteroid of what appears to be the Enterprise, Trip and Reed assume it crashed and burned and head off in their shuttlepod toward the nearest starbase.

Reed and Trip are on their way back from surveying an asteroid field and, apparently, the sensors and communications are down in the shuttlepod. Which is unfortunate, because when they spot the remains of a wreck on a large asteroid with the markings of Enterprise on them, they have no way of knowing that it's not actually Enterprise. Cue sad trombone. Although, now that I think of it, Trip should know that ship like the back of his hand! He should be able to tell the difference between Enterprise rubble and alien ship rubble with a bit of Enterprise mixed in! For shame, Trip. Just one more reason you're not Scotty.

Back on the Enterprise, which is not destroyed, Hoshi talks with Archer about the aliens they were rescuing and how they rammed into the Enterprise's docking bay, crashed into the asteroid and took Enterprise's door along with them. Well, there's the answer to the riddle of the crash. Archer explains that they're going to the alien's home planet to drop them off and should be back in time to meet Reed and Trip. So that's why they're gone. And T'Pol explains that she thinks the accident happened because of microsingularities. So all those knots are neatly tied. That's the end of it, right? Well...

Trip and Reed aren't sure what to do. They think Enterprise is destroyed, they have ten days of air left and the nearest subspace amplifier is too far away for a shuttlepod. They argue for a while about whether to stay or head to Echo 3, but they eventually decide to leave.

There's not a whole lot more to this episode as far as plot action goes. Obviously, the Enterprise has to come back and save them somehow, but the real charm of this episode comes as Reed and Trip get to know each other in what they believe to be their final moments. Or at least, what Reed believes is their final moments. Trip, ever the optimist, whole-heartedly believes they can find a way to be rescued.  Reed, on the other hand, starts recording voice notes to the people back home so that he's able to say his final good-byes.

In these voice notes and in some stories he tells Trip, we learn that Reed was quite the ladies' man back on Earth. He records several notes to different females who he had apparently had relationships with. And besides that, he wakes up one morning after having a sexy dream about T'Pol. This little tidbit is interesting because, as he goes on, we find that he's never had any real close friends. He's not even close to his family. Which was made clear when Hoshi was trying to figure out his favorite food.

Things worsen when those microsingularities that affected the alien ship being helped by the Enterprise come back and wreak havoc on the shuttlepod. They lose a good amount of air until Reed is able to plug up the holes with mashed potatoes. Now they are really in dire straights. With only two days of air left, it wouldn't matter if Enterprise had even been on their way back from the beginning. At a cruising speed, they would never make it back on time, and without knowing the shuttlepod is in trouble, they won't speed up.

You know what that means... Time for the bourbon! After pretty much resigning to their fate, Trip takes out his bottle full of friend-maker and bottoms up. Soon they are very drunk. And that's when Reed confesses that he finds T'Pol very attractive.
Welcome to the club, Limey
Suddenly a transmission comes through the radio! IT'S HOSHI! Huzzah! The Enterprise is going to make it to the rendezvous in two days! They're not dead! Oh, but the shuttlepod has only a day of air left... And with no way to answer the Enterprise, there's no way to speed them up. Well, that victory was short-lived.

Then Trip comes up with a fantastic idea. The answer to pretty much any engineering problem: eject the reactor core! If they set it to detonate, the Enterprise will definitely see that and know something is wrong. They do it, but there's no way to know if it worked until the Enterprise actually shows up.

That's when Trip decides to be heroic. He tries to go out the airlock, but Trip doesn't let him. After a good shouting match, Trip comes back inside and they both wait...

Eventually they wake up in sickbay. This time they're actually in sickbay. Not just Reed's fevered dream of sickbay where he gets to make out with T'Pol. Archer explains that they're plan worked and that the Enterprise arrived just in time. And they all lived happily ever after and learned a valuable lesson about friendship. Oh, also, Reed attempts and fails at flirting with T'Pol.

Overall Thoughts
I thought this episode was going to be boring, but I eventually ended up loving it. Mostly because Reed makes a friend! ::happy crying:: Our little boy is progressing in his arch!