Matt and Sean talk about the Vulcans deciding to start a war. We continue our journey through Star Trek lore and how the Federation came to be.
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We are currently in season four of enterprise. We’re about one third way through which. I mean, I never thought we’d get it. Get here, Matt, I don’t know about you. No , but we did it. We did it, and we’re gonna keep moving forward. So we’re also talking about the year 2004, and we’re almost done with 2004 in the same way that we’re almost done with the season four of this show.
So we’re in November of 2004. We’re gonna talk about both those things. In this episode, and who are we? Well, there’s me. I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci-fi. I write some stuff for kids. And with me is my brother Matt, and he is the Matt Ferrell of Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives.
Matt, how are you doing today?
Doing very well.
How’s your weekend? So far so good. It’s been a chilly weekend here in New York City and yesterday I took advantage of what were relatively clear skies to go to the Brooklyn Museum and there is a show that is there right now, I believe it is ending rather soon, but it was a showing of fashion designs.
that were very popular in the eighties and early nineties. It was a lot of very couture stuff. Um, but a lot of it was stuff that was recognizable from ad campaigns, from things like George Michael musical videos, um mm-hmm. , all sorts of stuff like that. And a lot of it, as it moved into the nineties, started to take on a real heavy Fritz Lang sci-fi vibe that mm-hmm.
I was completely into. So it was, Outfits that made the models look like they were robots or cyborgs, and it got me really, really excited about getting back and talking about star Trek. So , I’m in the right frame of mind as we usually start every show. We start with comments from you, the listeners on our previous episodes.
So Matt, what have you pulled out from the comments for us? Well, there
was one in reference to . How long it’s gonna take us to get through all this. The shows
a recurring theme in the commentary. Yes, Charles
Fernandez wrote Really love and hoping to, hoping we all get to 2060 together . That’s right. But aside from that, there, uh, from the last episode, which was, uh, episode 81 about the Forge, which was the kickoff episode in this little mini story arc we’re on right now from Dan Sims.
There was a lot of agreement. In our assessment of that first episode, Dan Sims wrote, what a great episode. I love so many aspects, will really miss the admiral character. He always did a great job and really liked the line with him and Saval about how humans are like a bit of all of these other aliens, how fast they are at progressing and asking, and him asking if the Vulcans are scared of it.
Great last line for him. Uh, this story arc is much more interesting than the last one. Yeah. And directly related to that from Pale Ghost was this one being written by actual novelists. Makes sense considering how much lore there, there is. I also love this episode, the conversation about Falcons being scared of humanity is exactly why I don’t like the news track.
or DS nine, Sean . Mm-hmm. , that’s one of Sean’s favorites. . It takes the hope that Star Trek carefully builds and drop, kicks it out. The third story window, it’s like if Voyager never existed and instead, uh, followed the ship that used the Dimensional aliens as a warp booster. Yeah, it’s more gritty, dark, and realistic, but that’s not what I want from Star Trek.
You know, for some people Next Generation and Voyager were the only examples of healthy adults that they could look up to as role models. and I, I don’t know if I agree with PaleGhost completely, but I I definitely have that sentiment. For me, the whole thing about star Trek is there’s that optimism mm-hmm.
and that hopefulness of a brighter future for humanity. in the Galaxy. It’s, it’s, it’s supposed to be a, a have an optimistic take. And I love Deep Space Nine. It doesn’t resonate with me as much as it does with Sean . Mm-hmm. , but that was one of my struggles with that show when it first aired, which was Deep Space Nine, had a real pessimistic kind of a through line through a lot of it.
It was very dark and gritty and just like very foreboding. And it was always felt like, uh, Humana, that we were losing. Footing, like with the whole galactic war and all that kind of stuff. So it’s, I did, I did feel like that one kind of like didn’t, True star Trek to me. But at the same time, it was a really good show.
It was really well written, really well, well-acted. And for me, I’m a little more comfortable with having star Trek come in different shapes and sizes and kind of push the envelopes in ways that pull more of an audience in mm-hmm. . So I, I, I don’t wanna be too prescriptive, which is why, I dunno if I agree with PaleGhost completely, but I get his sentiment completely about, he likes it for
absolutely. I completely, I completely understand what you’re saying and I can also understand what Pale Ghost is saying. Yeah. And Pale Ghost, thank you so much for the comment. I, I think that it’s also a matter of how much optimism do you need in your Yeah. I mean, it’s sort of like how much, how much sugar do you need in your tea in order for it to be sweet enough for you and for me, I’m very comfortable with very, very bitter.
tea . Yeah. It’s, I can find the optimism in the briefest of moments. Yeah. In deep space Nine for me, there’s, you know, elements of a character like Garrick or in the Dominion War, like a moment where you’re like, oh, this is going to a hundred years from now, be a turning point in the relationship with the Klingons or the Cardassians.
It’s that kind of deep buried optimism that I’m very, very comfortable with and I can understand and appreciate how for other people consuming a story with that. Heavily hidden optimism might not hit the right spot for them, and it really does become, that really does become a thrust about personal taste as opposed to being right or wrong about something.
So I, I can appreciate the, the value and somebody saying, this isn’t the flavor I’m looking for. But before we go much further, you’ll notice there’s a sound in the background. That of course, is our read alert, Matt. That means it’s time for you to jump in and tackle. The Wikipedia description, and as I mentioned previously, as we move forward in enterprise, these descriptions have gotten better and better.
Yeah. Okay. And if we have any new listeners who are jumping in right now and don’t quite understand why the Read alert and the the tackle, the Wikipedia description is framed in that way, go back to some of our earlier episodes. Oh boy. When Matt was having to read descriptions that were possibly generated by a.
Yes, but Matt, take a peek at this one for the current episode, which is of course, awakening. All right,
set. In the 22nd century, the series follows the Adventures of the First Star Fleet, Starship Enterprise Registration NX oh one. In this episode, the Vulcan government seek to make the enterprise leave orbit so they can attack a renegade faction of Vulcans, and afterwards, the longstanding enemy of the Vulcans, the endurance.
Meanwhile, captain Jonathan Archer and Commander T’Pol have been captured by the Syrrannites, and it’s discovered that Archer has the ca katra of Surak he has visions which lead him to find an agent, Vulcan artifact called the Kir’Shara as the group come under attack from the Vulcans. That’s actually a very accurate description.
thought so too. Well done Wikipedia. Well done Wikipedia. You win Again, should change the name to Win-ipedia. Uh, so this is episode number eight of season four. It’s directed by Roxanne Dawson. She’s back. For her 10th go at directing a Star Trek episode in this series and it will be her last, so Roxanne tip of the hat.
Always great to see her name in the opening credits. She’s a really, really strong director and I really appreciate her work. This episode is written by Andre Bo. We of course, have seen his name many times at this point in the show. He started as a science advisor. He eventually became this, uh, writer on the show himself.
And I thought it was interesting that the names of the previous writers on the previous episode appear as co-producers on this episode. Mm-hmm. . So it is highly likely, I think, that the two of them crafted the entire story. And then individual episodes, they wrote the first one. This one’s written by Andrea Burma.
Another screenwriter will probably write the next one. The original error date of this episode, November 26th, 2004. And guest appearances include Robert Foxworth as Administer Valles, Gary Graham as Ambassador Soval. Again, John Rubenstein as Minister Kuk, Bruce Gray Assoc and Kara Ze as T’Pau. Matt, I’d like to start off our conversation about this episode focused on the two of them.
Joanna Cassidy is also in this as Toles, which is T’Pol’s mother. Mm-hmm. the conversation I want to have right out of the gate about the two guest stars who play T’Pau and Surak. That’s Bruce Gray and Kara Zeeder. They were cast as a result of similar appearances. To the actors who play those characters in the original series, in the original series T’Pau scene in Amok time where the enterprise goes to Vulcan because of Spock’s needing to deal with his betrothal and classic episode, and the character of Surak appears in an episode where members.
History are recreated by aliens to work with or against the enterprise crew. And in that episode, Surak appears as a result of the aliens saying the major figure from Earth history who will work in allegiance with the crew will be Abraham Lincoln and on the Vulcan side it is Surak. So Surak appears in the original series for that reason, Matt, on our show notes, , I’ve included some pictures of the actors who play the original characters.
So we had originally Celia Lobwski played T’Pau in the original series. And I’m curious, in my estimation, the role of Surak. The actor who plays the older version, which is the one that appears here in the enterprise. Not bad as far as similar appearances, no,
he’s not bad. Yeah, but you can tell it’s.
Not, it’s not the same guy.
It, it, you know, it’s like it never was going to be, because we’re talking about a span of 40 years. The actor likely passed away well before then. Mm-hmm. . But I’m curious about your take on T’Pau because she was cast specifically because of a similar appearance as the original actress. And again, that Celia Lovsky, played it T’Pau originally to.
I see no similarity between these two actors. Neither
nothing. I see nothing about the younger woman, Kara Zediker, that would have led to her getting this role. And in fact, I found, and here’s the difficult, this is the main difficulty I have with this episode. I do not mind the story. I do not mind. The, the thrust of what they’re doing with the Vulcan government and the Syrranites and all of that.
I found all of that storytelling really great, but I was consistently distracted by the fact that Zediker, not only does she not look like the original actress, and to me that’s not important. No. What is important is that she sounds nothing like Celia Lovsky because Celia Lovsky was Austrian. And when they put together the original series, they cast, Celia Lovsky to give this high priestess of Vulcan society a different, unique accent.
It was intentionally done so that here came this, this high priestess of Vulcan society and she spoke with a Shakespearean thou and thine and with a, with a noticeable accent on top of. . Mm-hmm. . And here comes a younger T’Pau who’s basically like, Hey guys, what’s going on? Yeah. . And I found myself disappointed and distracted throughout the episode that this was not, I would’ve appreciated if there had been a more, none like quality to T’Pau, something that evoked the idea that she viewed herself in almost religious.
As a member of this society, and it especially becomes highlighted for me when in the notes on this episode, it was suggested by Manny Coto that one of the approaches they took on this was, this was almost a sci-fi depiction of the Protestant Reformation that took place in the Catholic church where Martin Luther split off from the Catholic church and.
the Protestant movement, and which would eventually grow into Lutheran, the Lutheran Church. The idea of Vulcan being ca, the Catholic hierarchy, and the Syrrannites being the Protestants. Yep. I found myself scratching my head as to. Why there didn’t seem to be a deeper use of religious iconography. Not necessarily making it about religion, but just evoking the idea of a kind of spiritual journey.
Because as it is in this episode, I find myself thinking the Syrrannites almost seem like refugees just to be out in the wild as opposed to. a really clear like, oh, symbolic difference from the Vulcan hierarchy, the Vulcans, who are shown as being members of the Vulcan High Council. Mm-hmm. . Are wearing all sorts of religious looking garb.
They’re wearing lots of robes. I found myself thinking it would’ve been more interesting to show these individuals struggling to survive in the forge. Also wearing something monastic and evoking the kind of images that we saw. Even in the, the motion picture. When you see Spock on Vulcan on his own religious journey, he is wearing robes.
He is in the midst of the forge. Yeah, in that kind of monastic style. and I found myself thinking they really didn’t kind of scratch the right itch with the casting, with the voice work or with the imagery of how these people live. Yeah. How did you feel about all of that? I, I, I don’t
agree with you on all that.
None of that jumped out at me. But things that jumped out at me were, were the costuming. It’s like how we complained about the costuming on the one, about the complaining on the character’s names, where they were, the, uh, superhumans. Yeah, the augments. How they were all wearing these tattered clothes, and it like, it felt like, oh, they’re wearing costumes.
And it was like, it didn’t feel right. Same thing here. It’s like it would’ve. Different if there had been some kind of costuming to kind of give the Syrrannites kind of a, a feel, but it was just like everybody’s kind of wearing random stuff. Yeah. And it was just like random people and it kind of did feel like a refugee camp.
But other than that, that for me, that’s a minor nitpick. Yeah. Uh, I didn’t, I didn’t get hung up on it. It’s been a long time since I saw the episode of the original series with T’Pau. So for me, I completely forgot that she had an accent. Yeah. So it didn’t jump out at me. Um, obviously she looks nothing like her, so that wasn’t, I didn’t care about that at all.
So it’s like, for me, it didn’t jump out at me like it seems to have jumped out at you, but the fact that they called this out as we cast her because
of , I find myself really, it’s one of those things, you focus on the wrong thing. It doesn’t, it doesn’t distract me from enjoying the episode, but it’s something that every time I see it, I’m aware.
Right. So it’s a little bit like every time she opens her mouth, I’m just like, it’s T’Pau uh, no. Nah, it’s T’Pau no no. So I ping pong back and forth between, yeah, this is a great episode. And, uh, wasn’t there any Austrian actress available who could have anyway, on this day in history, November 26th, 2004. . It goes back again, Matt, to something that’s happened on this show a number of times when they put a new episode right up against Thanksgiving.
Yeah. I found myself, like at this point it really, reading between the lines, I’m like, the network knew they were ending this. Yeah. They didn’t care. They didn’t care. It’s been moved to Friday nights, which is. Low point night in any week of television because lots of people who watch TV are not home on Friday nights and on this date, November 26th, the day after Thanksgiving in 2004, this would be a low point for enterprises.
Viewership, but what else was going on in the world? Well, we’ve already talked about this over and over. The song that Matt was dancing his little heart out to was over and over Nelly, featuring Tim McGraw, and as I’ve said before, over and over, over and over will be playing over and over. Until the end of the year, at the box office, the movie National Treasure, which is of course Nicholas Cage in the 2004 American Action Adventure Heist film.
From Walt Disney Pictures, it made 35 million out of the 347 million it will go on to make and on television. On this day, people were watching on ABC eight Simple Rules and Complete Savages. Those were getting about 7 million viewers and 5 million viewers. Joan of Arcadia was getting nine. The Phlox movie special, Mr.
Deeds was getting about 7 million viewers. Dateline NBC was getting eight. U P N was showing Star Trek Enterprise to 3.4 million viewers. And what I like about you and grounded for life, were on the wb. Remember the wb? Oh yeah, yeah. Nobody does. Hmm? They were getting about 2 million viewers and those were both repeats.
So here we have a brand new episode of Star Trek, the second of a three part storyline about Vulcans. So you’d think like original fans of the original series are gonna be like, oh, this is a thing for me, and no, no, they’re not building any new audience in the network is not helping them by putting it on immediately after Thanksgiving and in the news.
I have two tidbits that I wanna talk about. One because I think it’s interesting from a current events perspective, and one because I think it has an interesting take on the point of the episode. The first tidbit is about the Ukrainian presidential election in 2004. in which there was a vote, and the Donetsk region, which is the most Pro-Russia section, had tried to vote that it was independent and wanted the Russian Federation to recognize it.
And on the other side, the government was saying, no, no, no, that election doesn’t work, so we’re gonna have to redo the election. Because the opposition leader was claiming the votes had all been rigged. And Vladimir Putin weighed in to say clearly. , this election tells everybody, everything they need to know about Ukraine.
Remarkable. I think, to see that it’s, yeah, decades in the making, leading to where we are today with Russia having invaded Ukraine and the current turmoil in that region, the Donetsk region, which Russia still is claiming well, the people there want to be a part of Russia. The other tidbit I wanted to talk about, On this day in 2004, Alberto Abadi, a professor at the Harvard University School of Government, released a paper in which he theorized that the level of political freedom, not poverty, explains terrorism.
areas with intermediate levels of political freedom, experience the most. Terrorism, while societies with high levels of political freedom or authoritarian regimes have low levels of terrorism. An interesting model and an interesting argument, I think, given the subject of the current episode that we’re talking about, in which we have what has now been exposed as an extremely authoritarian Vulcan government.
Dealing with an insurgency from pacifists and an interesting plot twist that the insurgency is not one that is violent, but that it’s forcing the government to take what are extreme reactions to their presence in the forage. So onto the episode, what happens in this story? Well, we’ve picked up almost immediately at the beginning, right where we left off previously.
Soval has been summoned before the high counsel. In which he is defending his use of a mind meld and basically explaining how come nobody knew I could do this in the first place. This is a plot point from previous episodes or anytime Vulcans have talked about. Mind melds, it has been, there’s a small group of Vulcans that are able to do this.
It is seen as taboo. It is seen as improper. Nobody should do it. And Soval is standing there and. Yeah, I didn’t tell anybody cuz it would’ve cost me my job. And he’s defending the use of it to expose a traitor amongst the staffing of the high council. And it’s here that we learn that T’Les, the person who was revealed as having planted the bomb in the previous episode.
is basically being used as a scapegoat. Did you pick up on, did you, did you read those lines? The way I did that, Blas is basically saying, yeah, that guy, we’ve now arrested him and he’s been exposed as a Syrrannite, so they’re continuing to double down. Yep. On framing the Syrrannites at this point. Meanwhile, Archer is still in the forge with T’Pol and he, it’s a weird way that they frame the whole mind meld with a Syrran found myself thinking in the previous episode, he claimed, I think he punched me.
Yep. And now he’s saying, well, he touched me and he said something, and it seems like there. A little bit of a confusion either on his side or on the writer’s side. I found it. Confusing as to why it was being depicted in both ways. I didn’t, it, it felt
to me like it was like he was slowly remembering, like, cuz when he was talking about like, the first time it said, it felt like he punched me, maybe mm-hmm.
and, but he was not clear about it. And this one, it was like, I, he did touch me. It was like he was slowly remembering bits of it. So it didn’t come out to me as a inconsistency, just it felt to me like Archer was slowly starting to piece together what
had happened. I feel like this story moves at, it doesn’t move fast.
New, but it moves in a very direct line from Yes. Start to conclusion. And I think that we can kind of hopscotch around without worrying about having to hit every plot point because in talking about it in whatever shape or form, I think we’re gonna hit all the important parts. Yeah. What I mean by that is in the desert we have Archer and T’Pol.
We have Archer. Slowly coming to the realization, something happened to me, I’ve got something in. T’Pol debating that a little bit, but eventually the Syrrannites also saying, yeah, you’ve got this thing and we need it, so we need to get it back. And on the high council, we have V’Las who is in full blown eradication mode.
He is trying to stamp out the cite movement in one fell swoop. He sees an opportunity here. That has driven him to bring the full force of the military onto the forage. He just doesn’t want any witnesses, so he needs the enterprise to get out Between those two storylines, we go back and forth between them.
What did you think about how each storyline unfolded? What did you think about the depiction and the ultimate thrust of each storyline? Let’s start with the high council. attempts Okay to, to shut everything down. The
storyline I had the biggest problem with was this storyline, mainly because it felt a little ham-fisted.
It felt a little obvious the way, how can I put this? The, here’s Vulcans and the head Vulcan is acting like a Romulan like he is. So chewing the scenery over the top, emotions brimming over. yelling at people getting irate. It’s clear this guy is unhinged , and yet people are very quick to say, humans emotions are getting outta control.
It’s like, yeah, but your leader over here is freaking like chewing. He’s chewing the scenery. It’s like he is so over the top, you know, twirling this mustache. It’s obvious he’s trying to hide stuff and nobody around him is questioning it. I get an authoritarian. , that’s kind of par for the course. That’s kind of how it works.
It’s how, you know, you get author authoritarians that take control of governments and, and rule. I get that. But it didn’t, it didn’t jive. It felt, it felt too. It felt too obvious and it felt too stark. Like it felt like it should have been more, a little more subdued to feel believable for Vulcans specifically, um, where it just felt a little like dialed up to 11 when it should have been at like an eight or a nine.
Cuz for me it was just like, it was so, , you’re painting him as the villain. It’s clear there’s something not right with this guy and the giant question mark over what is wrong with this guy? We’ll find out. It’s like it’s one of those, you know, it’s gonna come in the next couple episodes. So for me, this was the one I had the biggest problem with.
Just basically cuz of the portrayal, the, the, the portrayal of the actor and the writing around him. It was, it was just a
little too ham-fisted for me. I think that for me, I agree, I agree with you first of all, but I felt like it was a bit of a depiction of like the march to war that preceded Iraq. It was basically Iraq.
no, it, it, it, it looked
like it was lifted from the headlines. Yeah, it was lifted from the headlines, but it felt like the real world was more Vulcan than this story. We had members of the Bush administration going on television, going in front of Congress, going in front of the UN and making logical arguments as to X, Y, and Z leads us to war.
We are gonna have to go do this thing because of these reasons. And it was more measured, although it was based on false premises, the real world seemed more Vulcan like. in a very cold and calculating like, we’ve got these reasons. Let’s go to war. Yeah. Then this depiction, which feels a little bit cartoonish.
You mentioned mustache twirling. I agree with you. This goes back to something we’ve talked about earlier in the season. It feels very much like the Friday night TV has kind of tainted what they’re trying to do. Mm-hmm. . I also really like Reanne Dawson as a director, but I feel like some of this lands on her.
Mm-hmm. , she needed to pull back on this guy. , it felt like the way to get all of this across. They could have done one of two things, had him come across. He could have said the exact same lines, but delivered them with a cold, calculated right logic behind it, and he could have just been. Saying these things like a cold delivery of, they’re all in one place right now.
If we stamp them out right now, we get them all. If we will lose them, it will be harder for us to find them in the future. We won’t be able to stamp them out then saying that coldly Yep. Is in some ways more menacing than it is to say it the way he said it, which was kind of rah. Yeah, and the other part of it for me would’ve been to have him be cold and calculating and then in some moment, some subtle moment, show him like almost I, I’m remembering in the movie, the Abyss, the Navy Seal, who’s slowly cutting his arm underneath the table because he’s suffering from the bends and he’s releasing the nitrogen from his blood.
That’s why you do that. Give us a moment with. V’Las where it’s that level of stress relief. We see him in a moment by himself, maybe with one other advisor, let him bend a piece of metal or punch a screen or do something to show like it’s all a facade. Like he’s got this logical facade, but underneath it, he’s rolling in his anger.
So give us that kind of thing. The other way you could have gone, I would’ve appreciated. . What if Trip started calling out in their call? Like you don’t sound all that logical. Yeah, you sound pretty emotional. You seem awful. Emotional. Emotional. You seem like you’re barely holding on. Let it be trip as a stand-in for the viewer to say, we all see that.
This doesn’t make sense. We see through this because what ends up happening is he has a call with Tripp in which he is. Clearly barely holding himself together and the call ends with him hanging up on trip and trip is just more confused about what’s going on as opposed to calling it out, and I would’ve loved if in that call.
The reason that V’Las hangs up on him is Trip saying. , you don’t sound all that logical. In fact, you seem pretty emotional to me. And then have the call in that way. Yeah. And have trip then turn and say like, looks like we’re gonna have be fighting the Balkans now. Like that would’ve fit, I think the tone of what they’re going for.
Better than having the mustache twirling, but nobody’s calling it out. And the room is filled with Vulcans and none of them bat an eye about the fact that their leader is storming around looking at battle plans. The scene where he’s looking at the battle plans and it’s got all sorts of animation and little arrows and it’s impossible to decipher what’s going on.
It looks like flight patterns and attack patterns and all this. And he looks like he’s practically going . And I’m just like, this is not, this is not the point. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like the
other Vulcans could have been giving each other side-eye. Yeah. Like what the hell’s going on? Any kind of something subtle that would’ve said to us, the viewer.
They all recognize something’s not right here. But the fact that nobody does makes me as a viewer go, what the heck? And your, your idea for trip, acknowledging it and saying that, and then after that call being like, okay, it looks like we’re gonna have to do some stuff. Yeah. Would help to explain why Trip does what he does later, because there’s that other plot line where they send that shuttle to try to land.
And they end up getting in a firefight with the Vulcans. And I wrote a note of like, this plot point doesn’t a hundred percent make sense. No. This trip is basically, here’s a, an ally and he is basically will willing to risk war with the Vulcans, doing what he’s doing, going against the direct order of his of Starlee, makes no sense what he’s doing.
If he had acknowledge. Said that comment that you just talked about and the call ended, it could have been like, okay, there is something seriously wrong. , we gotta take some extreme measures. Yeah. It would’ve made more sense for what he did. That follows, but it it, it was kinda sloppy storytelling. It
was sloppy storytelling.
And they could’ve Yeah. Another way that they could’ve handled the, the moment that you’re talking about, like, why is Tripp willing to do this? And I thought it was gonna come up in the call and it didn’t. And I was like, why didn’t they write that in? Yeah. It’s the moment where he is like, we’ve, V’Las says we’ve finished our investigation.
You guys can. The previous episode, they set up the idea that it was understood that because this was considered earth territory, mm-hmm. , it was humans responsibility to investigate. Yep. In that moment when Velas says, we have conducted and completed our investigation, you guys should go. Tripp could have said, hold on a moment.
We haven’t finished with our investigation and since this is considered Earth territory, we need to complete our side of this before we go anywhere. We’re not leaving. You are breaking an agreement, have that be the point where trip is actually correct, like lay it down as trip is Right. As opposed to what it currently is.
Which is it comes across as trip, like you just mentioned. Willfully ignoring Yep. All sorts of commands. And it needed to be, which it needed to be laid out a little bit different. , which up until
this point, I want to say I did write this down that I did like to see the evolution of Tripp in the, in these episodes.
Yeah. Because he’s in command of the enterprise and I like the way they show that he is much more comfortable with that position now. Like he is
early on the series, they laid it out as like he was always going on the missions. Yep. And, and did not like being left in command. And they’re definitely showing a grooming of showing him as a commander.
Yeah. He’s, he’s growing into that role and he looks comfortable in it, but it was a shame that they had him make these like, yeah, I’m gonna risk war with the Vulcans. Why? Because it was like, that didn’t make sense. If they had just explained that it would’ve, I think, benefited him as a character more because I did enjoy what they’re doing with him otherwise.
And ultimately, just to wrap up the, the conversation we’re having about the high council, it leads of course to the space battle between the Vulcans and the enterprise. I found myself liking the special effects of that. I liked the battle sequence, the, and leaving it at that. Tumultuous moment I thought was a, a worth a worthy payoff to the building up of tension.
Now, to the other element of the story, and this is one of those cases where we don’t really have an ALOT and a B plot. Mm-hmm. , even though they’re in different places doing different things, they are all part of the same thrust. So on the forge on Vulcan T’Pol and Archer and their interactions with T’Pau and the other Syrrannites.
Who are the ones who reveal that the Vulcan, that Tepa and Archer had met in the wilderness was in fact Syrian. He was their leader and now that he has gone T’Pau is in charge and we have a bit of confusion amongst the Syrrannites as to what to do next. They do not really know how to continue without their, their pivotal leader, and it is slowly.
Revealed to everybody involved as Archer keeps complaining like something is going on, that in fact he is now carrying the katra of Syrran with him. And this goes back to something that we talked about last week, which is if your philosophical teachings are not about learning and regurgitating, but actually mind melded conveyance of understanding from generation to generation.
his relationship now to having CIN brings with it Surak, because CIN had found the Katra of Surak. There is some interesting discussion from T’Pol around artifacts similar to this attempts to. Reveal earlier from scientists, the attempt to break through into these containers that were supposed to hold the katra and the science says none of this is actually real, but here, Archer is hallucinating and.
I’m just curious, what’s your take on how they depicted archer’s interactions with Surak? What is your take on how that entire ideological aspect of Vulcan history and philosophy is conveyed in this episode? ?
I’m curious to see if this like , if this is different from your interpretation. I like this a lot.
I really did like how they portrayed it as. Kind of a pseudo hallucination where it’s kind like this dreamlike state where he’s like in a room and then suddenly he’s still in that room, but in a different dreamlike state. And so it’s very disorienting. I like the way they portrayed it and the conversations with Sarah where he was saying like, it’s, it’s like a waking dream.
It’s like it’s, he’s having a conversation with this kind of like memory from through the eyes of Sarah when he was seeing. , the bombing of explosions and the nuclear war that was happening on Vulcan. I really, really star Trek, geek in me was eaten this up. It was like, it’s really cool to get a small, itty bitty taste of what Vulcan went through at some point in their history.
I thought that was amazing. And I also like the depiction of how he is transcending time because he’s getting passed down through, through Vulcan to Vulcan, to Vulcan, to Vulcan. where this is a way where in, in our history you have the Bible and you have different villages, texts, and then depending on who’s reading it and who’s
interpreting it, you can.
bend it. You make it say what you want almost. Yeah. Right. And this
is so cool because it’s like, well, in Vulcan it’s like you can actually pat the guy who came up with the principles and or who knows the principles, like better than anybody. He’s literally getting handed down. So it’s like, . It’s harder to come up with a misinterpretation when it’s like literally like he’s in your head and somebody can express, well, that’s not the true meaning of what this is supposed to be.
Yeah. It’s like that to me, I thought was so cool and so alien and different. It’s like you can see how Vulcan is supposed to be like, this is, it was such such a novel, interesting sci-fi kind of concept of how they are. Pass religious texts down versus the way we do it. Mm-hmm. , I loved it. I always, I just ate this part up of the whole story.
Yeah. I, I agree with you. Mm-hmm. and I do have some differing opinions. There’s, there’s something that I read, which was, I do agree with, which the fact that it’s Archer. As the vessel, the fact that it’s Archer as the human coming to rescue the Vulcan people. Yes, that is an error that has happened. Uh, the white savior principle again and again, and again, and again, and again, and again and again, and, and it just continues.
And here it is on full display again where, uh, thank goodness Archer shows up so that he can save the Vulcan people from themselves. And I’m like, it wouldn’t it have been just as good if it was T’Pol? It should have been T’Pol, you know, and. Archer saying like it would have made from a storytelling perspective, I would’ve really relished their conversations being reversed.
Where archer’s like T’Pol, how can you possibly have somebody’s spirit inside you? Yeah. That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. And her saying, I agree with you, but I’m going through something that I don’t understand. And having T’Pau walk in and say. You are now carrying the katra of our leader. I need that.
And T’Pol, her mother, is right there and saying, but if you do this, you could kill my daughter. Like suddenly the stakes are like, are very different, pushed up in a way that I think would’ve really benefited the show from a storytelling perspective. Having said all of that, I agree with you, the elements of Surak
talking to Archer. I liked the way they talked to each other. I like the fact that Surak is basically like my mind to your mind, right? Like we’re on the same page here. It’s not like, oh, you strange human. It’s just like he’s talking to the vessel he’s in. I really like that. I would’ve liked a little bit bleeding the other direction as well.
I kept thinking, wouldn’t it have been interesting if in. The difficulty of a human having this in him. We’ve seen this with McCoy after Star, Trek two Spock, does the Remember and McCoy begins to effectively go psychotic as a result of it? Yeah, I would’ve liked to see a little bit of bleeding into.
Archer’s reality. Some of the group scenes where all the Vulcans are showing up and saying, you’ve got this contra, we need to get it out. If Surak was subtly in the room, if you had moments of him saying like, I’m going through a thing and it’s that guy, and everybody’s like, there’s nobody there, and just like kind of a fight.
Clubish sort of, yeah. Like Tyler Durby, I’m losing my mind. I don’t like, I don’t understand how I can understand what I understand. Um, especially since it was planted in the previous episode, Archer’s experience of going through the forge, he’s kind of instinctively becoming Vulcan, but if in this one he’s more conscious of, oh, it’s this thing that’s in me.
Yeah. Having that projected outside of him and bleeding back and forth, the whole Suk is aware of the present. He is saying to Archer, Vulcan is going to tear itself apart again. You need to get them back on the right. . So I think by having a projection of Surak into the present would’ve worked. It wouldn’t have, it wouldn’t have changed anything.
Yeah. And I think it would’ve added something to the experience for Archer, and it could have added a level of the instability of their relationship, because Archer needs to be depicted as in danger from this. Right? Because we know what it was doing to McCoy. There was a, there was an element in Search Resach where McCoy was in danger.
as a result. Mm-hmm. of this. Yeah. He was basically breaking down, so they had to say, so I think that that would’ve added something here. And there’s also the plot points of T’Pau’s desire to get this out. Yeah, I was gonna bring that up. I’m, there’s a, there’s aker of this that is just the same. My problem with V’Las and his depiction, yes.
I would have really appreciated if T’Pau’s reasoning and all of this was coldly calculated again, like just came
across as slightly emotional. Yeah. That didn’t seem like, it seemed like she was either hungry for power. It seemed like she her, her bias towards humans. Is indirect Conflict of the teachings.
Yeah. Of Surak. Yeah. So it was like if she’s says cite, she wouldn’t actually be doing what she’s doing or saying what she’s saying. Yeah. They could have come up with more cold and calculated logical reasoning. I, that’s one thing I wanted to bring up about T’Pau. Yeah. I didn’t like this specific instance of her portrayal.
And it’s the writing, not the acting.
Yeah. I think it’s the Redding, not the acting. And it’s, and it goes back to what I was saying before about. in amok time. The next time we see T’Pau, she’s going to be this high priestess who is carried around like the Queen of England. She is literally, she’s supposed to be ancient, so she’s very carefully taken care of and she shows up and is basically refers to Kirk’s involvement as in this cryptic way of like, we’ll let a human be here for this one.
Mm-hmm. . This experience can explain why she looks at a human and it’s just like, yeah, it’s okay that they’re there, but she’s depicted as not quite as Vulcan as she will be, which I can understand. Yeah, there’s growth there for the character, but she needed to be more. Of what she would become. The seeds of that needed to be reflected more.
She needed to be saying things that were along the lines of, it’s an impossibility for, for what is in Archer, to maintain itself in Archer. We don’t know if a human can actually be the vessel in this way. It’s imperative that we rescue that, like that message would have. That like, like Archer. I’m not trying to do anything to you.
You don’t, you don’t strike me as a bad guy, but we don’t know what a human mind can do for or with this vessel, with this, with this katra. We need to get it outta you because what if you. Can’t hold it. What if you die and it’s lost? What if you taint it? It’s damaged. Yeah. What if it’s damaged? Like we, we need to get it outta you for all those reasons.
And I do not want to kill anybody here. But if your death gets us the katra back, it is worth it. That message would be right. More in line with the the cite message as opposed to what really comes across and is actually vocalized as like, do
you expect us to follow a human? Yeah. It was like,
And T’Pol’s mother even says like, you’re letting your dislike of humans taint your approach to this. And like, yeah, I get. Dealing with a Vulcan society that isn’t the Vulcan Society of the Original series, or even beyond that, I get that. But the cite should be closer to what we anticipate than any other Vulcans.
And so the fact that they aren’t, the only one that we’ve seen who actually seems Vulcan is Surak and Syrran yep. You know, Syrran was wandering in the desert and was, you know, saying all the things he was saying and was just like, well, we’re trying to get back to first principles here and now. T’Pau needs to be the one saying those things.
And you would expect that she would have melded with cin. and would have that aspect with her a little bit more than is on display. But ultimately what we see in the story is her making the argument, we need to get this out of Archer. They try to do a procedure which he agrees to. It is I, I did like the fact there was the whole debate of like, it could kill him.
But he does make the choice. Yeah. So they try to pull it out of him. It does not work. And that happens to be the same moment when the Vulcan government is finally like, we can’t wait for the enterprise to leave. We’re gonna start carpet bombing. And we see, uh, a devastating attack on what is effectively a religious temple.
Yep. Um, and as I was watching it, I found myself actually moved by the fact that here was a bombing of a religious site, and this was something that was happening on earth here in the war against Baghdad, the war in Afghanistan. Some of the things that were done by in Afghanistan, the religiously motivated leaders prior to nine 11 were known to be blowing up religious artifacts that predated Islam’s place in the region because they didn’t want any signs other than Islamic ones.
And so this kind of thing happens, and I found myself moved by the fact that they were showing this Forge village, this sanctuary, being destroyed in this way. Yeah, I thought it was very effective. Me too. The Vulcans and Archer scramble around. There’s some discussion around the fact that the Syrrannites have been looking for an artifact for quite a while, and this is the Kir’Shara and the Kir’Shara as an artifact.
We are not told what it will do or what it is, but it’s just incredibly important to them. And Surak in reference to this, in one of the visions that Archer has mentions. Yeah, the Kir’Shara, you need to save this. So Archer says, I know how to. And this is a point of criticism from people who have reviewed this episode.
The Syrrannites have been looking for years for this thing. It is down a series, easy of catacombs, that if they had that much time and nobody was looking for them yet, they would’ve found it because it was basically behind a door that says important stuff behind. It’s just like, it’s kind of a ridiculous moment.
He doesn’t walk up to what looks like a wall. He doesn’t walk up to a boulder. He doesn’t move something that looks like, oh, oh. He goes
down a hallway turns and like, Hey, here’s a door.
Yeah. He goes up to the door. He knows how to unlock it. Yeah. And his unlocking of it is supposed to be the mysterious moment, but it really kind of, Sounded like the air coming out of a balloon.
As I was watching that scene, I was just like, oh, come on. Like, yeah, like all the vecan are, like I told you, we should’ve looked behind that door. So they could’ve made it look just like,
it was, like something carved into the rock, like, like, you know, like a, a series of like tablets engraved into the wall.
So it looks like it’s just some
kind of. Or even, even better, what if it wasn’t hidden in a way that they would’ve anticipated? Because as they’re walking Yeah, he, they find in one of my favorite moments in that that sequence of them walking through the catacombs, they find a mummy and he is like, oh, this is such and so, and Vulcans, there are like, how would you know that?
And he’s like, oh, he was a student of Crocks, so this is who he is. What if he had moved the mummy’s body and behind the mummy, which would never be disturbed by a Vulcan. They found a little chamber, and in that chamber was the Kir’Shara. I thought like something as subtle as like hiding it in plain sight.
Nobody will think to look behind the tomb of one of our accolades. Right. We’ll put it there. So it’s like the Kir’Shara could have been in some sequence like that where as he starts to move the body though, like we don’t disturb. A burial site like this, and then he’s just like, , and they’re like, Kir’Shara.
And then they have to flee. And as they’re running some interesting choices, again, I, I love her Rex and D as a director, but some interesting choices in the two women running with Archer keep deferring to him to not only carry the artifact, but also the torch. Some very strange moments of like, yes, somebody f he puts the torch down to pick them up and then he gets the torch handed back to him so that he can carry the torch.
And I’m just like literally making the human, the light bearer and artifact holder like, like it’s almost. Doubling down on like this human is gonna say Vulcan society, instead of him just being a part of a trio scrambling to survive. I, yep. I thought that was just kind of silly and a little too obvious to me.
Like, why do they keep handing the torch back to Archer? But they get out of the catacombs and unfortunately they find to, Paul’s mother has been severely injured in the attacks. , which leads to a rather tender moment between the two characters. Did you, what, how did you feel about their, their scene where at the end T’Pol is effectively saying goodbye to her mother?
I liked it.
But at the same time I didn’t, cuz I felt like, I don’t know, I, I felt like using her mother, I don’t know the, the, the tension and the relationship of the mother and using her death to try to push T’Pol’s character forward. I, I, I don’t know. I felt like you could see it a mile coming. It’s like, it’s like a red shirt beaming down to the surface.
It’s like when her mom’s part of the storyline and they’re in this dangerous territory, it’s like, oh, they’re gonna use her mom to you. Yada, yada, yada. Yeah. She’s gonna die. Yeah. I remember thinking that the first time I ever saw this episode, it wasn’t just because I’ve seen it before . Cause I knew it was coming, but it’s, it’s, it felt a little, um, obvious.
But putting that to the side, I thought it was a very nice tender moment of her mom saying, I’ve always been proud of you. You know, basically it’s saying to her, I love you, essentially. Yeah. In a very Vulcan way. Yeah. And then I also enjoyed the portrayal of T’Pol where she’s crying, the emotion hits her, and then you see her just, in a Vulcan way, just stop.
Yeah. She stopped a tears going down her face, but she stops crying. Yeah. It’s just like clamping down those emotions. Yeah. It’s
an interesting touch. Yeah. It’s an interesting depiction of T’Pol who’s been described as having an emotional barrier lowered permanently as a result of the. Uh, semi addiction from the previous season to the material that she was using in order to keep herself from, to basically unlock emotional response.
And she’s damaged herself in a various, in a very specific way. And to see that on display in this way, I think was the best use of that. The, the Vulcan crying, who then is able to regain that control. But there is the crying. It doesn’t, it doesn’t happen to anybody else in that scene. And I agree with you.
The moment you see the mother is at the temple, you’re like, oh, dead woman walking. She’s gotta like, there’s, there’s, there’s, there’s no doubt that something is going to happen. But ultimately, if you’re going to have a character pass, I’m so much happier that they had. Her in previous episodes so that, yes, this wasn’t introducing her at the beginning of this episode to kill her, cuz that would’ve been glaringly obvious that it was coming
But there was, there was also the aspect of it of like, , they came through to me. It was in the subtext of like, you remember the guy that you married to try to save my career? Well, my career was screwed no matter what you did. So thanks for that anyway. Died . You know what I mean? It was kinda like, yeah, no, the marriage was completely meaningless.
Yes. That’s great.
Yes. Yeah, yeah. . Yeah, the like, so you let me marry that guy.
Knowing you were gonna come out , you knew that marriage wasn’t gonna help at all. You
still He was basically throwing away the love of my life for no reason. Uh, , yes. But in the event the bombing is seemingly effective against a large group of the Syrrannites, there appears to be a lot of death as a result of this.
They knew it was coming just early enough that some of them were able to get away. T’Pau’s alive T’Pol is alive, Archer is alive. They have the Kir’Shara and meanwhile in space, the Vulcans make the statement to the enterprise like, look, you know, you’re outnumbered. You know you’re outgun. We are just gonna blow you outta the sky unless you leave immediately.
And that’s what they do. They end up saying like, okay, we gotta go and trip orders that the ship head to Andoria. So we see now the beginnings of what has to become. the Federation. Mm-hmm. , the prime players are in place where we see like, okay, something positive is going to come out of this, but it’s at a flashpoint right now before it can get there.
And this is the destination because they basically have figured out, oh, what’s coming is Vulcan is looking for a first strike opportunity. To go up against Andoria. This is a authoritarian regime that is looking to stamp out enemies at home and away. And they’re not afraid to start a interstellar war to do this.
That will effectively pull in everybody, which would include Earth and whoever else is in this region of space. Mm-hmm. . So the end of this episode is the most cliffhangery of cliffhanger. As they jet off to Andoria so any, any bets as to whether or not we see Shran next episode. Well,
I would say yes,
There’s a strong chance of Shran
in our forecast. There’s a forecast with high, high chance of Shran, which is always good news in my book. Hello, pink Skin. Yes. So we got the pink skins. We get the The green blooded Vulcans, and we get some potential storytelling in the next episode, which is going to be Kir’Shara
and before we sign off, , is there anything you’d like to remind our listeners about that you have coming up on your other channel?
Well, by the time this episode’s out, uh, on my undecided channel, I have a video about the big fusion breakthrough that was announced right at the new year time. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced basically hitting nuclear fusion ignition point, which has never been done before.
Major milestone with a ma massive asterisk after it that was not well reported. Mm-hmm. At all. So the, the hype of the announcement, kind of like, uh, uh, kinda missed Mark A. Little bit. So I have a video all about that. That’s I think, kind of interesting topic.
Mm-hmm. Interesting. I don’t think I can recall any time ever before in history that a headline misrepresented a scientific breakthrough.
I know, I know. Fascinating. Never happened. Never. As for me, you can check out my website, sean Ferrell dot com. You can also go directly to your favorite bookstore, favorite book seller, like Amazon or your public library. You can look from the books there. And coming up later this year, you’re gonna be able to find my new middle grade series starting off with book one of the Sinister Secrets, which is the Sinister Secrets of Singe.
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