If you are seeing this paragraph, the site is not displaying correctly. You can see the content, but your current browser does not support CSS which is necessary to view our site properly. For the best visual experience, you will need to upgrade your browser to Netscape 6.0 or higher, MSIE 5.5 or higher, or Opera 3.6 or higher. If, however, you don't wish to upgrade your browser, scroll down and read the content - everything is still visible, it just doesn't look as pretty.
reviewed by Kevin Thomas Riley
I can't begin to express my feelings after seeing this episode. It was just excellent. One of the best episodes Star Trek: Enterprise has offered us thus far. This bodes well for what the new show-runner Manny Coto has envisioned for the season. My main gripe was that it was too short. Too much needed to be said in too little time. This really should've been the two-parter instead of Storm Front but I gather that they thought that a purely character driven story would be too slow paced. And this really should have been the season opener.
Despite this and some other very minor nit-picks I must give this episode a full mark - a 10 on my patented grading scale. I can't think of a time when I have been so moved by a Star Trek episode before. This was amazingly great stuff indeed.
It was just heart breaking to watch what happened to poor Trip and T'Pol. They've really come a long way and when they're about to finalize some kind of romantic relationship this happens. It was obviously a strong indication of her deep feelings when T'Pol decided to bring Trip along to Vulcan. Being her mother, T'Les was quick enough to pick that up immediately. I loved every scene with T'Les. She saw that her daughter had fallen in love with the Human Engineer and she was also perceptive enough to see that Trip had feelings for T'Pol as well. Another great continuity tidbit is that Trip admitted that he felt drawn to T'Pol from the very beginning when he said how much he enjoyed their bickering (from Broken Bow onwards).
Those who have complained throughout the past three seasons that T'Pol's motivations for acting they way she has, has now been given an answer, even if it's an unnecessary belated one. T'Pol's emotions have always been close to the surface (way before Trellium-D was a glimmer in the eyes of B&B) and she's always been curious about other worlds.
It might come of as cruel to enforce this Vulcan version of a gunshot wedding but from T'Les's perspective - indeed from a Vulcan perspective - it's not. "This is the Vulcan heart, this is the Vulcan soul, this is our way". Trip didn't factor into the equation. T'Les didn't even know about him when the wedding plans with Koss were arranged. Still, she changed her mind in the end, urging Trip to come clean with his love for her daughter but by then it was too late. Trip, the perfect Southern gentleman, didn't want to put an extra burden on T'Pol, and you could see that that really impressed T'Les.
As for the reasons for the wedding, they remain a bit murky. The reasons spelled out don't seem to hold water and they will undoubtedly be addressed in upcoming episodes. It was a nice bit of continuity to refer to the actions of P'Jem (in The Andorian Incident) in showing that T'Pol made enemies in the Vulcan High Command there. Thus the forced early retirement of her mother as a means of revenge. But how does the Koss family factor into this? What possible thing can they gain from a marriage that will make Koss's influential senior minister father to reinstate T'Les at the Academy? Spoiler hound as I am I have an idea but this is not the place for it. True love between Trip and T'Pol doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of Vulcan power politics. With that in mind it is still touching that T'Les in the end is prepared to forego that because she as a mother cares for her daughter.
T'Les seemed to read Trip very well when she called on his attraction to her daughter. And after seeing their last scene together I got the nagging suspicion that she's a touch telepath. She put her hands on Trip for some time (to help him readjust the Vulcan robe) and you could see her demeanour change after that when she bluntly stated that he loved T'Pol. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is addressed together with the mind meld issue, frowned upon by the current Vulcan rulers, in episodes to come.
Trip and T'Pol are mostly oblivious to the things going on behind the scenes, or the motivations for it in any case. T'Pol is visibly upset about the whole thing. This is surely not what she expected and the same goes for Trip. Considering how utterly devasted he probably was he behaved with remarkable restraint. This shows how much he has grown as a character. He was there for T'Pol, showing support even at the sad end. And that kiss on the cheek that T'Pol gave him in front of everyone before the ceremony was an utter act of defiance if ever I saw one. It said "this is the man I love and want to be with but you're forcing me to go through with this marriage to someone else". It was her choice but with the facts given, and her heritage, it was really no other cause of action she could've taken. And all the more heart wrenching for it. And T'Pol looked so beautiful in her Vulcan wedding robes. Too bad it was the wrong groom!
I have to admit that the other storylines in this episode took a backseat for me, which is a pity because they were also very good. We saw Captain Archer wresting with himself after all the actions he had to take while in the Expanse. It was nice to see that they didn't just shrug it away but made him deal with it and his lost innocence. I liked him reacquainting with a former lover/colleague. The interaction between Archer and Captain Erika Hernandez (who I believe wasn't named in the episode) - now the commander of the next warp 5 starship - was a bit uneven at times but mostly good. She really helped him confront his inner demons. A good match for Archer.
The board of inquiry also showed that the crew never acted in a vacuum. Actions have consequences. Archer blowing off to Soval was nice to see. He might have restrained himself if it hadn't been for the fact that he'd just returned after saving everyone's butt and was now being questioned about it. And both Soval and Archer made a peace gesture towards each other in the end. Those two antagonists have begun their relationship on a new foot.
We also had small scenes dealing with the supporting cast confronting xenophobia on Earth, which goes to show that old Human prejudices has not been eradicated. The bar fight was maybe a bit clichéd but Malcolm and Travis sticking up for their friend Phlox was nice. And Phlox's impersonation of a blowfish was absolutely hilarious. Hoshi's short scene with Phlox in sickbay was also a small gem. She was very protective of him and it was sweet (as was she).
All in all it was a great piece of Trek. The Vulcan situation could've benefited from having an entire episode dedicated to itself and the other B- and C-plots wouldn't feel as rushed had they been dealt with separately. But that's about as far I can go in criticism.
Return to Miscellany