Precious Cargo (Star Trek: Enterprise)


"Precious Cargo"
Star Trek: Enterprise episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 11
Directed byDavid Livingston[1]
Story by
Teleplay byDavid A. Goodman
Featured musicPaul Baillargeon
Cinematography byMarvin V. Rush
Production code211
Original air dateDecember 11, 2002 (2002-12-11)
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"Vanishing Point"
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"The Catwalk"
Star Trek: Enterprise (season 2)
List of episodes

"Precious Cargo" is the thirty-seventh episode (production #211) of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise airing on the UPN network. It is the eleventh episode of the series' second season.

Set in the 22nd century, the series follows the adventures of the first Starfleet starship Enterprise, registration NX-01. In this episode, the Enterprise answers an alien distress call and Commander Tucker (Connor Trinneer) is kidnapped and then escapes with a spoiled and beautiful alien princess Kaitaama (Padma Lakshmi).

The episode is noted by technologists for its depiction of the universal translator, one of the technologies real-world experts are interested in realizing.[2]


Firek Goff, the captain of a Retellian cargo vessel, docks and asks Captain Archer for help; a passenger-carrying stasis pod is malfunctioning. Archer then offers Trip's services, while also extending an offer of Enterprise hospitality to both the captain and his brother, Plinn. When Tucker enters the cargo hold inside Goff's ship, he notices a beautiful female alien beneath the stasis canopy. Goff tells him that she is a passenger traveling home from a planet where she was studying medicine. He explains that because his ship can't travel over warp 2.2, she has to be kept in stasis because there is not enough food to support them all.

As Tucker starts working on the stasis pod, it begins to fail, and fearing that the occupant will suffocate, he releases her. Tucker is then knocked unconscious by Goff, who then flees from the faster Enterprise by disabling her engines and ionizing its warp trail, but Plinn is left behind. The female passenger, Kaitaama, is initially hostile. Tucker uses the translator Ensign Sato left with him, and he learns she is a high-ranking soon-to-be First Monarch being held for ransom. Tucker has a plan for escape, and though she believes that her status will keep her safe, she joins Tucker in an escape pod.

Meanwhile, Archer and Sub-Commander T'Pol use a ruse similar to "good cop/bad cop" to persuade Plinn to tell them how to locate Goff's ship. The plan works and Plinn reveals the warp core's signature frequency. After finding an island on the planet, Tucker and Kaitaama soon set up camp in a swamp, and their mutual antipathy eventually gives way to burgeoning sexual tension. Goff soon locates them using the homing beacon on the escape pod. Tucker and Goff fight until the latter is subdued by Kaitaama, just as an Enterprise rescue team also arrives. Kaitaama is later collected by a battle cruiser from her home world of Krios Prime, and suggests she will invite Tucker to visit her in the future when she is in power.


Actress and model Padma Lakshmi guest stars as an alien princess.

Writer David Goodman wrote the script based on the story idea presented by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. Goodman notes that there had been a lot turnover after the first season with writers, and the one writer, Chris who had helped him on his draft was sad about this.[3] Goodman later joked that he was "proud of the fact that I've written one of the most hated episodes of Star Trek ever", he conceded that he was new to the staff and that many of the problems with the episode were his fault, but that the bad script he wrote was not the bad episode that aired.[4]

The episode guest stars the Indian-American actress and model Padma Lakshmi, who also appeared in ABC's The Ten Commandments (2006) and went on to host Top Chef.[5] Her character Kaitaama is from Krios Prime, the same planet as Kamala from the Star Trek: The Next Generation ("The Perfect Mate").[6][4]

The Retellian's cargo spacecraft was designed by John Eaves.[7]


"Precious Cargo" first aired on UPN December 11, 2002. The episode was watched by an audience of 4.67 million viewers, putting it among the lowest rated episodes of the season.[8][9][10]

The good cop/bad cop scene with T'Pol and Archer was noted as one of the better parts of the episode.[11][12] Michelle Erica Green of TrekNation was critical of the episode calling it a rip-off of the episodes "Elaan of Troyius" and "The Perfect Mate", and "offering no plot twists that the viewer can't see coming."[12] She also drew comparisons to the film Star Wars (1977), with the character Kaitaama being analogous to Princess Leia and the overall theme of rescuing a princess, flirtatious one liners, and crash landing on an exoplanet like Dagobah.[12][13] Jammer's Reviews gave the episode 0 out of 4.[14]

In 2011 Star Trek Magazine rated "Precious Cargo" 1 out of 5 and named it the worst episode of the season. They said that although there were many worst episodes to choose from, it was the worst because we had seen-it-all-before and called it "boring, without merit, and almost unwatchable".[15]

In 2016, fans at the 50th anniversary Star Trek convention voted "Precious Cargo" as the 10th-worst episode of any Star Trek series.[16] In 2018, CBR included this episode on a ranking of episodes of Star Trek they stated were "So Bad They Must Be Seen".[17] WhatCulture ranked this episode the 7th-worst episode of the Star Trek franchise.[18] In 2017, Screen Rant ranked this episode the 11th-worst episode of the Star Trek franchise.[19]

John Billingsley said it was his least favorite episode of the series "It just didn't come together."[20] Brannon Braga considered it one of the worst episodes of Star Trek.[21][22]

In 2021, The Digital Fix said this episode was not terrible, just that "these stories have been done before. And better."[23]

Home media release

The first home media release of "Precious Cargo" was as part of the season two DVD box set, released in the United States on July 26, 2005.[24] A release on Blu-ray Disc for season two occurred on August 20, 2013.[25]

See also


  1. ^ "Production News: 10.22.02 Connor Gets Cozy with "Cargo"". Archived from the original on 2002-10-24.
  2. ^ Lasbury, Mark E. (2016). The Realization of Star Trek Technologies: The Science, Not Fiction, Behind Brain Implants, Plasma Shields, Quantum Computing, and More. Springer. p. 169. ISBN 978-3-319-40914-6.
  3. ^ Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (2016). The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek. Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-250-08946-5.
  4. ^ a b Walker, Adam (23 November 2012). "Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years - David Goodman Interview Part II •". Well 'Precious Cargo' – that was their idea. They included those references to TNG 'The Perfect Mate'.
  5. ^ "'Top Chef' Host Padma Lakshmi Cooks Up New NBC Sitcom". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  6. ^ "Krios". Archived from the original on 2003-08-05.
  7. ^ John Eaves (18 September 2009). "starship mish mash from the series, Enterprise!!!". Eavesdropping with Johnny.
  8. ^ Caillan (29 December 2002). "Underwhelming Ratings For 'Cargo' & 'Catwalk'". Trek Today. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  9. ^ Steve Krutzler (12 December 2002). ""Precious Cargo" Overnights Recover After Holiday, But Still Low Overall". Archived from the original on 2013-12-13.
  10. ^ Brian Lowry (December 18, 2002). "Rudolph guides CBS to victory". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2002-12-20.
  11. ^ "Enterprise Review – "Precious Cargo"". Bureau 42. December 12, 2002. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Michelle Erica Green (December 12, 2002). "Precious Cargo". Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  13. ^ Darren (April 15, 2015). "Star Trek: Enterprise – Precious Cargo (Review)". the m0vie blog. Precious Cargo seems to owe as much to Star Wars as it does to Star Trek.
  14. ^ Jamahl Epsicokhan (2002). ""Precious Cargo" | Star Trek: Enterprise". Jammer's Reviews.
  15. ^ Star Trek Magazine (2011) Volume #1 Issue #37 (UK #164) "The Ultimate Guide Part II" Page 82. ISSN 1357-3888 TMN 11714
  16. ^ Amanda Kooser (August 5, 2016). "10 worst Star Trek episodes, according to the fans". CNET. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  17. ^ "Star Trek: 20 Episodes So Bad They Must Be Seen". CBR. 2018-12-12. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  18. ^ Kmet, Michael (2014-01-26). "Star Trek: 20 Worst Episodes Ever". Retrieved 2019-07-18.
  19. ^ Matthew Byrd (2017-05-22). "15 Worst Star Trek Episodes Of All Time". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  20. ^ "John Billingsley Answers Fan Questions - Part 1". August 17, 2010. after that episode our numbers just plummeted and we never got the audience back again
  21. ^ ENT Season 2 Blu-ray "Destination: Unknown" special feature
  22. ^ Hercules Strong (August 21, 2013). "A UPN Exec Wanted Boy Bands To Sing On The Enterprise Every Week!!". Aint It Cool News. Braga remembers Goodman's first script
  23. ^ Baz Greenland (2021-03-22). "Star Trek: Enterprise Revisited - A Look Back At Season Two". The Digital Fix. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  24. ^ Ordway, Holly E. (August 7, 2005). "Star Trek Enterprise – The Complete Second Season". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on July 28, 2015. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  25. ^ "Enterprise Season: Two Blu-ray Available August 20". May 23, 2013. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-15.

External links