**** (4 stars out of 5)
At last- a friendly face! The technologically advanced and genial Vissians welcome Captain Archer. Their Captain Drennik exudes none of the menace of his identical cousin Tomalak, though he shares certain similarities with former Narn arms dealer G'Kar. It seems this first contact was essential in gaining Enterprise some shiny new photonic torpedoes! Pa-chew!
But words can be weapons as well. While Reed is putting his patented moves (like Jagger's: old and tired) on the Vissian lady with the nice torpedoes, Trip sees a wrong that needs righting and ruins some poor bastard's life.
Well, a poor soul, neither male nor female. Vissians are like the Tenctonese in that regard: it takes three to tango. Unlike the good folks on Alien Nation, however, we see the affluent male and female couple trying to conceive, and the third gender cogenitor who makes it all possible. A tiny minority, essential to the very fabric of life, but kept nameless, uneducated, and in the back of a closet. Treated with no more respect or dignity than a dildo in a drab jumpsuit.
Much as the primarily human audience does, Trip finds this state of affairs deeply uncool. And yet his efforts to set things right could not have failed more tragically if this were a teen drama on the WB.
"Cogenitor", like Trek classics of yore, got me passionately WONDERING things! In the words of Q: "Shall we discuss your rapid progress?" The Vissians were a thousand years between breaking warp and diving into suns. We know humans will achieve this in only 200. Is there a reason humans are doing better, faster, or are they simply en route to Professor Galen's "dull and bloated empire"?
Is it informative that Archer casually compares Vissia to Singapore?
Trip seems to be pushing for reasonable, just, and equal treatment. But it's the pushing itself that costs the cogenitor's life. I'd rather blame the Vissians than Trip, myself. If a DAY of someone being NICE to them is enough to send one over the edge, I'm surprised they have any left at all.
But then again, the Cogenitor didn't ask for a new belief system. The Prime Directive seems very, VERY necessary today, not just that arbitrary suggestion Captain Kirk always stepped over whenever he knew best. The scene between remorseful Tucker and enraged Archer is always painful viewing. It's a sobering story, surprisingly effective.