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Saturday, December 4, 2004
PoliReview: Enterprise

By Steven Taylor @ 11:10 am

(Warning: Some spoilers insisde, if for some reason you haven’t seen the episodes yet.)

Regardless of anything else one can say about the recent Vulcan trilogy on Star Trek: Enterprise, there is one above all else that makes those episodes an unadultered success: they fixed the Vulcans!

One of my biggest gripes about Enterprise is that, from the beginning, the Vulcans were screwed up. It was clear from the first episode that the pointy-eared dudes on screen weren’t the same guys as Spock, Sarek, Saavik, Tuvok and company. Yet, they it a three-episode span they have managed to undo that damage and more or less satisfactorily fixed the problem.

And certainly the character who benefited the most from the explanation/transformation was Soval (amazing what some good writing can do for a character and an actor). I certainly hope we see more of his character, who went from an annoying prop to the pantheon of important character in the history of Trek.

Really, this season has been a huge improvement-kudos to Manny Coto. For the first time in Enterprise’s run I have actually looked forward with anticipation to the next episode. I haven’t felt that way about Trek since back during the middle of DS9. (Of course, having TiVo to record the show without me having to remember it helps-but even during the end of the third season, when I first got TiVo, I still wasn’t especially interested).

In regards to the final installment, Kir’Shara, here are some reactions:

  • I was pleased that the Kir’Shara itself didn’t turn out to be some mystical-magical artifact (I feared a Deus ex machina kind of device). Having it be the original writings of Surak made a lot of sense and could help explain a transformation of Vulcan society. Although why there was a holographic light show associated with the object, I couldn’t explain. It that a logical way to store data? I think not.
  • I never was fully convinced by the actress playing T’Pau. Still, it was nice to see the TOS tie-in.
  • The Romulan connection at the end was inspired-as the combination of Romulan influence and deviation from Surak’s teachings provides a (dare I say) logical explanation for the behavior of the High Command. (Minor Trek gripe: although speaking of the Romulans, I have never liked the additional of the forehead ridges to the Romulans-I prefered it when they looked exactly like Vulcans. I mean, why would leaving Vulcan have led to the evolution of weirdo foreheads? It makes no sense).

    I think it works because if Spock was dedicated to Vulcan-Romulan re-unification at the time of TNG after a couple of centuries of hostilities between the Federation and the Empire, it isn’t a stretch to think that a Vulcan of Enterprise’s era (especially one who denied substantial portions of Surak’s teachings) would be prone to be interested in unification, especially a Vulcan clearly obsessed with the security of Vulcan in a realpolitick kind of way.

  • I liked Trip’s Kirk-like willingness to eschew orders and gamble to do the right thing.
  • Love the Andorians-one thing Enterprise has done well is the Andorians. And this episode clearly laid the foundation for movement toward the Federation. I look forward to the Andorian-Tellarite arc early next year. Jeffrey Combs continues to do an excellent job as Shran.
  • Kos’ release of T’Pol from the marriage was logical, but also a bit weak. Of course, part of the reason that I thought it was weak was that Vulcan marriages are supposed to involved mental bonding and so it seemed to me too easy. However, it just occurred to me that in the pre-Syrannite revival, I guess that such mental bonding did not take place. So maybe it wasn’t so weak after all.

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  1. Re: “Dead Sea Scrolls” with Surak’s teaching, and why they were holographic: they didn’t explain it, but my thought on seeing it was that the holographic technology of Surak’s time might have included arts that were lost in their great war, and that had not yet been fully recovered. If so, then the exhibition would have demonstrated that the device was clearly a real ancient artifact and not a modern hoax, thereby justifying the council’s acceptance of it.

    Re: the Romulans’ forehead ridges, they could have been caused by random genetic drift, if the time of separation were long enough. Since it’s apparently only a couple thousand years that’s unlikely, especially with Vulcan generations. If I had constructed the history I would have put Surak’s life much farther in the past, maybe 20,000 years, just on general principles; but even that wouldn’t justify much change in appearance.

    Comment by Mark — Saturday, December 4, 2004 @ 12:34 pm

  2. Oh my God! I can’t believe you blogged so much about a television show, and that you seem to know the characters on the show as if they were real people.

    The same is true for Mark.

    It is a TV show.

    Comment by John Lemon — Saturday, December 4, 2004 @ 7:37 pm

  3. I love Enterprise (aside from the temporal wars shite). I’m very surprised it’s turning out this good. It IS amazing what good writing can do.

    Comment by misterhung — Saturday, December 4, 2004 @ 7:42 pm

  4. Be glad that JL is really, realy druink right now. Like when I’m drunk I would really lay into you trekkies, but Is’m so drunk that I can’t think of anything creative tos ay. That’s really druink. But wwow was it a cool party or what. whoa.

    Comment by John Lemon — Sunday, December 5, 2004 @ 2:03 am

  5. were taling like $200 bottles of wine and like every dessert emaginable. I think i drank $1000. never tasted wint this good and then there was the aged scotch like whoa.

    Comment by John Lemon — Sunday, December 5, 2004 @ 2:06 am

  6. Steven,

    It appears PoliBlog has its own troll. I do hope you’re not feeding it.

    Comment by misterhung — Sunday, December 5, 2004 @ 7:45 am

  7. Yep. For whatever reason, the show has done a major turnaround this season. The Sung Trilogy was also superb.

    Comment by James Joyner — Sunday, December 5, 2004 @ 8:15 am

  8. We had to wait until after we saw this last night before we came back and read the post. Agreed! It is amazing what they are doing. It’s pretty much what people expected of the whole Enterprise prequel concept.

    While ToS didn’t refer back specifically to most of the events of Enterprise, on the current track it certainly explains why captaining The Enterprise, and having a ship of that name, is such a big deal.

    Comment by Jay — Sunday, December 5, 2004 @ 12:08 pm

  9. I’m a happy and witty troll who has been around since the beginning of this blog. You need to buy the “History of Poliblog” book, my man.

    Comment by John Lemon — Monday, December 6, 2004 @ 12:46 am

  10. I have generally assumed you were a figment of my imagination.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Monday, December 6, 2004 @ 6:56 am

  11. It looks like Dr. Lemon has enough to say that he should reactivate his blog, methinks.

    Comment by Chris Lawrence — Monday, December 6, 2004 @ 8:23 am

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