Archer and Mayweather are detained by the Tandarans in a Suliban internment camp. Learning of the Suliban's persecution by the Tandarans, Archer enlists the aid of Enterprise and his crew to look past their own prejudices and free the wrongfully imprisoned Suliban.
Disoriented, Mayweather slowly awakens to find himself and the unconscious Archer inside a dilapidated prison cell, with no idea where they are or how they got there. Trying the cell door, Mayweather is surprised to find it unlocked, but quickly closes it when he hears approaching footsteps, keeping it open just enough to observe two aliens pass by: Suliban.
With Archer out cold, Mayweather spies around the large complex, finding at least thirty more Suliban throughout. When Archer slowly regains consciousness, Mayweather reports what little intelligence he was able to gather, and the two decide to surreptitiously explore the complex together. Turning a corner the two officers run into a Suliban woman and freeze, not knowing what to expect. Surprisingly, the woman doesn't attack, but rather tends to her own business until a loud alarm goes off, signaling some sort of an inspection time, causing her to stand at attention and wait. Archer and Mayweather follow suit, until a group of alien guards and their leader, Major Klev enter the room and roughly take them to see the man in charge of the complex, Colonel Grat.
In stark contrast to the harsh demeanor of Major Klev, the Colonel is quite hospitable and wastes no time in explaining the strange circumstances in which Archer and Mayweather find themselves. The Colonel is a Tandaran, and when the two Enterprise officers were exploring a moon they trespassed into the Tandaran military zone and were therefore apprehended immediately. Taken back to this prison to be genetically tested the officers were found not to be Suliban in disguise, and therefore are not technically prisoners. However, as they did trespass there must be a hearing in three days time due to strict regulations, before they will be allowed to return to Enterprise.
Ensuring the Captain that the hearing is only a compulsory detail, Grat also promises to contact the Enterprise personally to inform them of their missing crewmen's safety and situation. Unhappy at the situation, but at least having had their questions answered, Archer and Mayweather return to their cell to wait out the three days. Grat does indeed contact T'Pol upon Enterprise, and explains the situation to them with his sincere apologies for the delays. Left a little unsettled as to the safety of their crewmen, T'Pol and Trip wait anxiously as Reed and Hoshi try to trace Grat's signal, but find it scrambled to hide his location. Left with no other choice, T'Pol sets a course for Tandar Prime, the planet on which Archer and Mayweather's trial will take place in three days time.
To his amazement, Archer finds small children being held captive in the prison and expresses his disgust at how one little girl's father could involve her in the Cabal organization. To his surprise the father, Danik replies that none of the imprisoned Suliban are members of the Cabal, but rather are victims of prejudice from the paranoid Tandarans. Archer slowly realizes the complex is not a prison, but an internment camp, similar to the Japanese-American camps in WWII. Befriending Danik, Archer learns more of the plight of innocent Suliban, who aren't involved in the Cabal but still suffer the wrath of the Tandarans by being imprisoned for years in these horrid camps. The Suliban homeworld became uninhabitable over three hundred years ago, scattering the Suliban into a nomadic life, settling where they could until the Cabal ruined it for them all.
Interrupting their lunch, Major Klev takes Archer to Grat's office, where he finds the Colonel much less affable. Studying the files onboard Archer's shuttlepod, Grat discovered the Suliban incident with a Klingon on Earth in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Additionally, he found Archer's encounter with Sarin, the head of a Suliban resistance cell on the planet Rigel Ten very interesting. Refusing to comment on Grat's outrageous accusations, Archer only angers the Colonel further, who then demands that Archer shares his knowledge of the Suliban. Refusing to be strong-armed, Archer is defiant to Grat's interrogation, and is taken back to his cell with the threat of indefinite detainment for refusing to cooperate.
Contacting Enterprise, Grat informs them the hearing has been postponed, and that they will simply have to wait further. Hoshi is finally able to trace the location of Grat's signal, which Trip uses to convince T'Pol to set a course for the planet. Always thinking of contingencies, Archer speaks with Danik of possible escape from the prison. As three prisoners previously died trying to make it to the hanger where the confiscated Suliban ships are held, Danik is initially against the idea, but slowly considers it as he thinks of his daughter growing up in a prison, and eventually agrees to rally the other Suliban for the attempt. Mayweather tries to make friendly contact with Sajen, Danik's friend, but finds Sajen bitter over Mayweather's preconceptions of the Suliban due to the Cabal's influence. Left to face his prejudices, Mayweather focuses on the escape, while Sajen refuses to risk being killed by a foolish dream of freedom.
Asleep late in the night, Archer is awakened by a communicator being transported into his cell. Finally able to talk to his crew, he informs them of the escape plan to free the Suliban. The next day Archer is taken into Grat's office to reconsider the Colonel's offer. Standing firm, Archer is disheartened when a badly beaten Mayweather is dragged into the room, and Grat holds up the communicator Archer used the previous night from his cell. Still refusing to cooperate, Grat has Archer beaten and thrown into one of the isolation cells. The Colonel then uses the communicator to contact T'Pol on the Enterprise, and warns that his patrol ships will open fire if the Enterprise comes any closer to the planet.
Having Phlox cosmetically transform Reed into a Suliban, T'Pol hails Grat and stalls just long enough to both jam the Colonel's sensors and transport the disguised Reed into the complex with weapons and explosives. While Reed gets Danik and the others prepared inside the prison, T'Pol engages Grat's two patrol ships, sending them packing with two direct torpedo hits. Dropping the Enterprise out of orbit and into the atmosphere, T'Pol goes low enough for Trip to drop-launch his shuttlepod and head towards the prison.
Simultaneously, inside the complex the prisoners line up for their routine inspection from Major Klev, waiting for the right moment when the Major and his guards are in front of the wall to the outside. Detonating the explosives, Reed knocks out Klev and the guards, while creating their door to freedom. Trip swoops down on the camp in his shuttlepod, firing weapons and destroying the camps exterior defenses. Deep inside the complex Reed hurries to locate Archer in the isolation cells, but just as he opens the cell door he is blindsided by Grat! Dazed, Reed goes down as Grat levels his weapon at Archer, furious at releasing the Suliban not to their freedom, but to their doom as he feels they will either die of starvation and persecution or be forced to incorporate into the Cabal.
Undetected, Reed slowly regains his senses and lunges at Grat's legs, enabling Archer to grab the weapon and take control. Locking Grat into the cell, Reed and Archer head to freedom along with the rest of the Suliban. Watching as the various Suliban ships head off into the depths of space, Archer, Mayweather and Reed wonder about their chances.
You decide: "Detained" is either (1) a reasonable social commentary that sells out to superficial action by the end, or (2) an average action show elevated by an underlying foundation of social commentary. Is there a difference? Perhaps. It seems wrong to take relevant allegorical themes and wrap it all up with a safe and simplistic action conclusion - whereas it seems almost admirable to create an action show that actually tries to insert relevant social points. It's all in how you look at...
Trek, in pretty much any form, has often been known for its morality tales - sometimes thickly cloaked, sometimes delivered with all the subtlety of mortar fire. It's no surprise, then, to see Enterprise taking a cue from its predecessors. Where "Detained" tries to moralize, I think it falls a bit short of the mark - but unlike some of its predecessors, it provides a fairly entertaining story along the way.
The story puts Archer and Mayweather in a prison camp after their shuttle is attacked...
Enterprise could hardly have done a more timely episode than 'Detained,' which brings to mind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the post-September 11 abuse of Arab-Americans in parts of the U.S., and the fate of Afghan nomads under a government whose name rhymes with 'Suliban.' Though the episode directly references the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, one can draw parallels to the Holocaust, the Inquisition, the maltreatment of Native Americans by the fledgling U.S. Army,...