Original Airdate: November 26, 2004
Soval appears before the Vulcan High Command, where he is stripped of his station for his previous actions, which include a mind meld. He insists that Stel planted the bomb that destroyed the Earth embassy on behalf of the High Command, but it seems they are now using Stel as a scapegoat and have labeled him a Syrannite.
Archer and T’Pol, having been captured by the Syrannites, are taken to see T’Pau. Archer accuses her of the bombing, but she says she has not left the desert for two years. She then asks how the two survived The Forge. T’Pol admits that they had helped from a Vulcan named Arev, who is now dead. T’Pau reveals that Arev’s real name was Syrran and that he was their leader. T’Pol is reunited with her mother, T’Les while Archer is feeling the after effects of whatever it is Arev did to him before he died. On Enterprise Soval warns Trip that the High Command, under V’Las, is intent on wiping out the Syrranites in The Forge. Back on Vulcan T’Les tries to explain to her daughter that the Syrranites recognize how far Vulcan society has strayed from the teachings of Surak. In his cell, Archer has an internal exchange with Surak’s Katra, which was placed in his mind by Arev.
In the chamber of the High Command, V’Las outlines his plan to bombard the Syrranite camp with photonic weapons. There is some resistance to the idea of using such deadly force, but he manages to steam roll over the opposition. In The Forge, Archer tells the Syrranites about his encounter with Surak. They believe him, as Arev had been carrying Surak’s Katra and must have passed it to Archer. T’Pol is still dubious about the idea of Katras and T’Pau performs a mind meld with Archer to confirm his story. On Enterprise, the crew is preparing a shuttle for a rescue mission to The Forge while Soval gives Trip information on how to avoid detection by surveillance satellites. V’Las contacts Trip and makes it clear he wants Enterprise to leave orbit. Archer and T’Pol talk about Katras and he admits that he wants whatever is in his head removed.
Archer is beginning to think that the Syrranites are innocent of any wrongdoing and agrees to T’Pau’s idea of a procedure to remove Surak’s Katra, though there are risks involved. On Enterprise, the crew has received orders from Starfleet to leave, but they continue with their preparations. On Vulcan, V’Las realizes that Enterprise has not left and that they must be sticking around for a reason. Back in The Forge, T’Pau attempts the ritual to remove Surak’s Katra from Archer, but the procedure doesn’t work as Surak makes it clear that he wishes to remain where he is after telling Archer to find the “Kir’Shara.” In space, the shuttle is launched from Enterprise and manages to make it through the recon satellites. However, they come under fire from Vulcan patrol ships. Despite their best efforts, they are forced to return to the Enterprise. V’Las contacts Trip again and tells him to leave or his ships will open fire.
Archer recovers from the failed procedure and mentions the Kir’Shara, an artifact the Syrranites have been looking for since coming to The Forge. Patrol ships have been spotted overhead, so they prepare to leave, but Archer insists that he knows where the Kir’Shara is hidden. In space, the Vulcans fire warning shots at Enterprise. V’Las again orders them to break orbit. Despite being cautioned against firing on an Earth vessel, he orders his forces to drive Enterprise from orbit, using any means necessary. On Vulcan, T’Les leaves with the Syrranites while Archer, T’Pol and T’Pau go searching for the Kir’Shara. In orbit, Enterprise makes a stand but is forced to withdraw. In The Forge, Archer locates the Kir’Shara but the bombardment has begun. They manage to escape but come across a wounded T’Les, who dies in her daughter’s arms. On Enterprise Trip wonders why the High Command would frame pacifists for the bombing. Soval informs him that V’Las feels they are dangerous at this time as the High Command is planning a strike on Andoria, fearing they may be developing a new weapon based on Xindi technology. Trip orders the Enterprise to Andoria…
This seems the type of episode that has the potential to polarize the fan
community even further. It is no secret that since it’s beginning, Enterprise has come under fire for (among other things) it’s portrayal of Vulcans. Many have felt the Vulcans of this era do not behave like Vulcans of the TOS and TNG time periods. Lying, emotions, deception, spying, commando squads – all were things that revealed a species far removed from the peaceful and logical people seen elsewhere. On the other hand, many felt that until now, Vulcans where not properly developed as a species and that these facets were just natural aspects of any race of people and the Vulcans were no exception.
For better or for worse, Manny Coto has decided that the former scenario is true and that it needs to be addressed. Personally, I agree with the assessment that Enterprise era Vulcans are decidedly different from other series (though I felt differently at first), but it seems that in the effort to show why they have changed and to bring them into better alignment with TOS Vulcans, their image is even further tarnished. V’Las, leader of the High Command, is far too similar to other Vulcans on Enterprise in that he is so obviously emotional. What happened to the stoic Vulcan? This guy seems like he’s about to launch into a tirade at any moment. His overwhelming desire to use deadly force, and the High Command’s willingness to go along with his ideas, also seems WAY out of character for the species. It is hard for me to believe that a Vulcan society, even one as far removed from Surak’s teachings as this one is supposed to be, could so readily accept the massacre of innocents and a preemptive strike on Andoria.
Even the Syrranites, who claim to be adhering to Surak’s teachings, display emotions all too often, which seems contradictory to their proclaimed nature. T’Pau seems a far cry from the woman seen later in TOS. Hell, even the Katra of Surak seems to display more emotion that one might expect. And speaking of Surak’s Katra…what is up with him? He sits inside of Arev for who knows how long and never reveals where the Kir’Shara is located, but Archer has him for a few hours and all of a sudden he knows exactly where to go and exactly what to do in order to retrieve it? That seemed a little too convenient. Speaking of Archer, at one point he tells T’Pol that he has a gut instinct that the Syrranites are not guilty of the embassy bombing. Hello? Didn’t you mind meld with T’Pau? I’d think the whole “our minds are one” thing would have made it clear to him that not only was she innocent of the crimes she was accused of, but the Syrranites as a whole would be revealed as blameless and (mostly) pacifist.
One refreshing aspect was the interplay between Trip and Soval. Getting past Soval’s total one-eighty when it comes to his attitudes towards Humanity, and these moments were well done, which only illustrate to me how much better an actor Connor Trinneer is than Scott Bakula. I just can’t see the same type of scenes between Archer and Soval play out with the same balance of levity and seriousness.
Getting past the entire “Vulcan debate,” and this episode plays out adequately enough, it just seems to missing that special “oomph” that would make it shine. The look into Vulcan society that this current three-parter brings is quite welcome and the all the subtle nuances that help integrate established Trek lore is great as well. Still, the proceedings seem too predictable. I don’t know if that latter aspect is just me or if it was that way for everyone. Perhaps it is because it is the middle segment of a three part series and as a consequence, cannot really build to a climax on it’s own. Next week’s wrap up certainly looks good and the conclusion may in hindsight make this installment look a bit shinier.
the below thumbnails for the full image.
Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer
John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox
Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery as Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
Connor Trinneer as Charles Tucker
Robert Foxworth as V'Las
Gary Graham as Soval
John Rubinstein as Kuvak
Bruce Gray as Surak
Kara Zediker as T'Pau
Joanna Cassidy as T'Les
Director: Roxann Dawson
Written By: Andre Bormanis