"The Catwalk" (S02, E12) is the thirty-eighth episode (production #212) of the science-fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise. The entire crew of the Enterprise is forced to shelter inside one of the starship's warp nacelles to survive a radiation storm that the Enterprise encounters. As the time passes, tensions rise and the motives and strange behaviour of the passengers they took on are questioned.
|Star Trek: Enterprise episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||Mike Vejar|
|Written by||Mike Sussman |
|Featured music||Jay Chattaway|
|Original air date||December 18, 2002|
This episode aired on December 18, 2002 on United Paramount Network UPN).
Enterprise is hailed by a trio of aliens, who warn that a deadly neutronic wavefront, many light years across, is approaching at a speed close to warp 7. Since the ship is only capable of warp 5 and cannot outrun the storm, everyone must shelter in order to survive the storm's radiation. The one heavily shielded place on board that might suffice for the eight-day ordeal is the catwalk, a maintenance shaft that runs the length of each nacelle. Commander Tucker must take the main reactor offline, as the temperatures on the catwalk can reach 300 °C (573 K) degrees (572 degrees F) when online.
With only hours to prepare, everyone evacuates to the catwalk. The crew entertain themselves watching old western films, gathered around a small screen. The storm envelops the ship, and as the days wear on, nerves fray, particularly with the alien guests who start up a barbecue near a flammable conduit. Tucker and Archer discover a problem as the injectors have started to come online. Tucker must return to Engineering to shut them down again, and his EV suit will only protect him for 22 minutes. He discovers an alien ship has docked and intruders are interfering with the ship's systems. Doctor Phlox deduces that the aliens must be immune to the storm's radiation.
When confronted, the trio confesses that the other aliens are looking for them, explaining they deserted from the Takret Militia when they learned their commanders were capturing other ships and killing all onboard. T'Pol and Reed work to shut down the warp reactor, while Archer hails the alien leader, pretending to be the sole surviving crewmember. He demands they leave and threatens to destroy the Enterprise rather than let it be taken, and sends the ship straight for a plasma eddy. As the reactor shuts down, the intruders abandon ship. When the Enterprise clears the storm and the crew return to their quarters, Tucker invites T'Pol to join their movie night every Tuesday. The trio of alien visitors apologize for the trouble they brought and depart.
In a 2013 review of the season 2 Blu-ray box-set, The Morton Report felt this was one of the standout episodes of the season, and called it a "successful example of the writers combining a "ship episode" (lo-tech and talky) with a suspenseful, somewhat more action-oriented approach."
In 2014, The A.V. Club noted this episode as one of ten of this series that epitomize what the show is about, with the crew "operating at the very edge of their knowledge and their technology" and praised its fascinating premise.
In 2021, The Digital Fix said this episode was "entertaining", and one of the 'good episodes' from season two.
The first home media release of "The Catwalk" was as part of the season two DVD box set, released in the United States on July 26, 2005. A release on Blu-ray Disc for season two occurred on August 20, 2013.
Jay Chattaway's music for the episode was released as part of the four audio disc box set Star Trek: Enterprise Collection on December 2, 2014, including the orchestral piece "Taking Back Enterprise / Captain A Captain / Core Is Down" on compact discs.