T'Pol is recalled by Vulcan High
Archer and the crew are disappointed to discover that T'Pol has been ordered by
the Vulcan High Command to leave the Enterprise - and equally frustrated at her
seeming indifference to leaving their ranks. T'Pol's last mission as a Starfleet
officer, however, proves eventful when she and Archer are kidnapped by a
militant faction on an alien planet and find themselves once again at the mercy
of the volatile Andorians.
C.A. Voigts' "A View From The
Shuttlecraft" Enterprise Episode
Shadows of P'Jem - spoilers involved.
Ah - a return to normalcy - or at least a better overall episode. While “Shadows
of P’Jem” was not without a few flaws, it was a great improvement over “Sleeping
Dogs.” I admit I was really ready to dislike this episode and was partially
expecting another “let's watch the Andorians beat up the captain” episode.
Imagine my delight when this didn't happen. I was also glad to see the Andorians
given more character development. I think they could become an interesting part
of this series.
The opening sequence set up the story quite well, showing us not only
Starfleet’s growing independence but also another glimpse of Earth. It was
pleasant to see Admiral Forest again, standing up to the Vulcans. Starfleet is
growing up. Also, yet another veiled reference to the prime directive drives
this series towards the future we know must come to be.
Again with the food!!! I am utterly amazed at how many times the members of
this crew have been shown eating. However, since it has been used to good
effect, I will not be surprised at its continued use. I am surprised the other
series didn't use it.
The overall plot moved well with information being given in a natural manner.
It was not without its flaws; however. Let’s face it - did Archer's face
really have to end up where it did in the second fall? For that matter, why did
he and T’Pol have to fall at that particular point in time at all? It seemed a
very sophomoric, needless attempt at humor that did not work at all. That
particular tidbit was much better left out. Also in that scene, as far as I can
tell, there was blood on Archer's face at the beginning when he and T’Pol fell
the first time that mysteriously disappeared when they finally got to their feet
and, yes, also as far as I can tell, it was gone before the second fall. The
rest of the scene worked wonderfully. There was sexual tension but it was not
gratuitous as it was in “Broken Bow.” I must wonder at this tension however.
It seems the writers are trying to build a Kirk - Spock - McCoy relationship
between Archer, T’Pol, and Tucker. Are they, instead, heading toward a menage
I especially enjoy the final scene in Sick Bay. The poor Vulcan captain - he
never suspected a thing. Captain Archer and Dr. Phlox played their parts, quite
well, from the start unto the finish and never even blushed at what they had
done. They weren't as brazenly two-faced as the Vulcans were on P’Jem but they
definitely had a lot of fun. It would be interesting to put Archer, Dr. Phlox,
and Commander Riker in a poker game together - they all seem very talented at
keeping a straight face. I did like the fact that T’Pol was kept asleep during
the interchange. Not only did it keep her from arguing but it also allowed her
to keep her integrity.
Great lines: “I'm here for only one reason. I need a good night's sleep.”
What does this rating mean?
C. A. Voigts starfleetlibrary.com
Copyright 2001, C. A. Voigts. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask... This
article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net compilation
without due attribution and *express written consent of the
Laurie's No-Nonsense Review
I wish the Vulcans were more Vulcan-y, but the cool Andorian antennae made up
for it. I love the way the Andorians look! There was one really great shot when
they were sneaking into the compound where Archer and T'Pol were being held
hostage, and you could see the shadow of the Andorian's head with the antennae
before his head appeared. Nice. The show is looking better every week, on a
purely visual level. The stories and the characters are still catching up. I
always sound like I'm complaining about the show, don't I?
The Vulcans recalled T'Pol (because of what happened with the Andorians at
the Vulcan sanctuary) so Archer went with her alone on what he thought would be
their last mission. On their way to the planet they were visiting, they were
abducted by terrorists who demanded weapons from the Enterprise in exchange for
their safety. There were some fun bits there. I liked when T'Pol tried to
pretend that Archer was the steward so they wouldn't question him, and it was
funny watching them try to stand up while tied up, leaning against each other's
backs. Kind of. At one point, she fell right on him so her giant boobies were
covering his eyes. Ouch! The best was when they were served bowls of gruel but
not untied, and they had to flop over on their sides and eat like a dog would.
Then Archer found a little transmitter in the food and the rescue was under way.
Reed and Tucker teamed up with a couple of Andorians to rescue them --
apparently one was the same guy they'd met on the Vulcan sanctuary and he felt
that he owed the Captain a favor because of what happened there. They ended up
clashing with the crabby Vulcans at the last minute, and T'Pol jumped in front
of a phaser blast to save the Vulcan commander. In the end, they agreed to
appeal to the High Command to let T'Pol stay. Too bad.
But it was kind of fun. Tucker had some fun moments in command, and Hoshi
& Mayweather were left in charge after he went down to the planet with Reed.
I still think they've forgotten to give Mayweather a personality.
And the Vulcans. . .I miss the days when Vulcans were cooler than humans. I like
the fact that humans are usually making fun of Vulcans, but feeling inferior
because they are. In the Enterprise era, the Vulcans are actually the inferior
ones. I miss the old days, which actually take place in the future. Spock and
Tuvok were smarter, stronger, and more resourceful than everyone else -- that's
what made them so much fun. Seven and Data got the same deal; everyone sort of
pitied them for not being human, but they both saved their respective ships a
million times because they were better, smarter, stronger, and unique in a way
that the humans weren't. Maybe though, this is supposed to show us WHY those
humans are so smug about being human. I don't know. I hope so, I hope there's a
reason for it. I'm going to pretend there is.
But next week's preview looks great! Trip and Reed are on a shuttlecraft
explaining how they ended up stranded with only two days of air left and the
Enterprise destroyed. I can't wait.
Land of Laurie
Timothy Lynch's Enterprise Episode Review
WARNING: The "Shadows of P'Jem" are not long enough to hide
spoilers for said episode.
In brief: A continuity-fest, but padded enough to disappoint those with high
"Shadows of P'Jem"
Enterprise Season 1, Episode 14
Teleplay by Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Mike Vejar
Brief summary: The destruction of the Vulcan sanctuary P'Jem leads T'Pol to
question her presence on board Enterprise, while a mission to Coridan goes
I had pretty high expectations going into "Shadows of P'Jem." Not
only was "The Andorian Incident," which first featured the Vulcan
sanctuary P'Jem, one of the more entertaining episodes we've seen so far, but
the very title of the episode suggested that we'd be seeing some of Archer's
past actions impact on future events, which is always a good thing. I still
think that paying attention to consequences is a plus; unfortunately, my sense
of "Shadows of P'Jem" is that it spent a bit too much time on
consequences we *knew* wouldn't play out rather than making us wonder further
about the future.
The episode started off in strong fashion, certainly: although I've still got
my doubts here and there about how well Gary Graham is pulling off the role of
Ambassador Soval, we discovered very quickly that the Andorians have now
destroyed P'Jem (after giving sufficient warning to prevent loss of life) and
that the Vulcans consider Archer and the Enterprise responsible for the
sanctuary's loss. Soval wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of sending
Enterprise out back in "Broken Bow," and now we also hear that Archer
was not the Vulcans' preference for the captain's chair. Soval suspends
"joint fleet operations," and it soon becomes clear that he's also
pulling T'Pol off the Enterprise: by helping expose the intelligence operation
at P'Jem, she's considered partly responsible for its destruction.
The increase in Earth-Vulcan tensions is, if you'll pardon the phrase, a
completely logical consequence of the P'Jem incident, and I'd have been awfully
upset if there *weren't* consequences stemming from that incident popping up
from time to time. What's more, yanking T'Pol off the ship is sensible as well:
though leaving the ship without any Vulcan watchdog is perhaps a bit
short-sighted, T'Pol summarized the reaction nicely when she said that part of
her job was to represent the interest of the Vulcan people, and that clearly her
superiors feel she hasn't done that.
The unfortunate side of the "T'Pol is being transferred off" part
is that I had difficulty feeling that the outcome was even remotely in doubt.
T'Pol's a regular character, and clearly the Resident Babe [TM] on board the
ship as well -- given those two factors, I not only didn't think she was going
to leave permanently, but would have put good money down against the chance of
her even leaving for a week. (The latter is something the series could certainly
do: if T'Pol's on Vulcan, we could simply follow her for part of one or more
shows.) As a result, I spent much of that plot wondering not "how can they
do this to T'Pol?", but rather "okay, and what heroic act is she going
to perform to get the Vulcans off her back?"
(Frankly, I'm much more intrigued by Forrest urging Archer to be more
careful, saying that Earth "can't afford to get involved in interspecies
conflicts." That's an issue that can have a lot of long- term meat to it,
and which could genuinely make us wonder about the outcome of various crises.)
Where the "Vulcans get annoyed" plot started strong and gradually
petered out, however, I think the "mission to Coridan" plot followed
the opposite path. Initially, the only real draw I saw in Coridan is that of the
continuity-lover: Coridan was the planet whose fate was at the heart of TOS's
"Journey to Babel," which had both a strong Vulcan and a strong
Andorian presence -- so there's certainly the history buff's interest in seeing
how Coridan wound up so central. Archer and T'Pol's kidnapping, however, felt
like more of an excuse for us to see Archer and T'Pol tied up than anything else
-- and when those scenes included some horrifically artificial dialogue about
Houdini and Archer having a face-full of Vulcan breasts land on top of him after
a fall, my main hope was that things would pick up in the near future.
Fortunately, they did. The arrival of Sopek, the Vulcan captain sent to pick
up T'Pol, certainly gave Trip and Reed's interest in a rescue mission a greater
sense of urgency, particularly when it becomes clear that the main issue, in his
mind, is that of assaulting the compound in order to "discourage"
terrorists from ever taking a Vulcan hostage again. If she and Archer die in the
crossfire, them's the breaks. I have difficulty believing that he's truly that
callous (among other things, it'd be a sure way to make sure Earth *never* works
with Vulcans again, which doesn't seem to be the goal), but the presentation
more or less worked for the episode. Of far more interest, however, was the
return of our Andorian friend Shran, who seizes Trip and Reed before they
approach the downed shuttle and are themselves killed.
Shran (Jeffrey Combs) is high on the list of interesting Enterprise guest
stars, primarily because he's so morally ambiguous. His overall goals are
clearly not those of Our Heroes, and his methods are certainly not those of
generally peaceful humans, but if your goals and his happen to coincide it's
clear he makes for an interesting ally. (One of the best lines of the episode is
when he insists that he's only here "for one reason: I need a good night's
sleep.") The last Trek character I can think of who's served both as
villain and as reluctant ally is Gul Dukat from DS9 -- and until he was turned
into the writers' embodiment of evil for the final season-plus, he was one of
the best guest characters Trek ever saw. Shran's not there yet, but I think he's
got the potential to be, and I'm extremely curious to see how he and Archer will
relate the next time they meet.
Trip, Reed, and the Andorians come to an uneasy understanding, and agree that
they need to rescue Archer and T'Pol posthaste. It didn't particularly come as a
surprise that the Vulcan assault winds up making things more difficult rather
than less (though I did think for a moment that Shran wanted to blow something
up in the compound himself for some undisclosed reason), but the scene was
chaotic enough to be exciting while being accessible enough that we could all
follow it. No argument here.
T'Pol subsequently pushing Sopek out of the way of a plasma bolt and taking
the hit herself had its moments, but also jumped me back to the "so which
contrivance will let T'Pol avoid being transferred?" question, which as
I've already mentioned didn't thrill me. Standard plot contrivances aside,
however, both the attack and the follow-up were fairly well executed. T'Pol's
decision not to pursue Sopek (since leaving sickbay would be "against my
doctor's orders" was okay, but I preferred Phlox's noncommittal "I
wish I could say [whether she'd live]" in response to Sopek's question,
which translated clearly meant "I wish I were ALLOWED to say" rather
than "I wish I knew."
Fundamentally, I guess "Shadows of P'Jem" was reasonably good for
what it was: I just wanted it to be a fair bit more. We *still* haven't seen one
of Archer's decisions really blow up in his face -- this one hasn't qualified
yet, since all Forrest did was suggest he be careful. (It does, at least, mean
that someone seems to be *noticing* how reckless he is, which is a big plus.) We
spent far too much time on endless dimly lit "let's tie Archer and T'Pol
together" scenes and not enough on what any of this actually *meant*. Not
bad, but certainly not what it could have been.
Some other thoughts:
-- The closing shot (the wide view of sickbay with T'Pol lying at the heart
of it) is vintage Mike Vejar, for anyone keeping track: he's used similar shots
both on B5 and on DS9. Not that I'm complaining, mind you...
-- All the dimly lit scenes of the hostages certainly lent themselves to
MSTing. "I don't suppose Vulcans are double-jointed?" led to an
immediate "bucka-wow" in our neck of the woods, and many of the
responses during the "Archer gets a faceful of T'Pol" sequence were
even less printable. (Some of them weren't so much MSTings as open scoffing,
though -- how much more blatant could that scene have BEEN?)
-- From a character standpoint, I did appreciate that T'Pol seemed actively
uncomfortable having to eat the prison gruel with her hands.
-- I also got a big kick out of Archer's little joke on Trip -- telling him
he can't come along, then musing about how incredible Coridan ships are from an
engineering standpoint. That's just *cruel*.
-- So T'Pol's not the first Vulcan to serve on a human vessel. Interesting.
-- Given that T'Pol was about to return to Vulcan in disgrace, wouldn't it be
interesting if she threw herself in front of that plasma bolt in the hopes of
actually being killed in the line of duty? I don't think that's her true
motivation (a Klingon, yes; a Vulcan, no), but one could certainly pursue that
inquiry down interesting lines.
That should cover it. "Shadows of P'Jem," like "Sleeping
Dogs" last week, isn't really bad, but it smacks more of lost opportunities
than of real progress. I'm hoping that the next "Archer faces the
consequences of his actions" involves more interesting ones.
Wrapping up, then:
Writing: Good early on and during the Andorian moments; heavily padded
elsewhere, and titillation just shy of the pilot in terms of being exploitative.
Directing: Mike Vejar did a great job in spots, but some scenes definitely
dragged. Acting: Enterprise is still having difficulty finding convincing
Vulcans; the regulars were basically fine, though, and Jeffrey Combs was
marvelous as Shran.
OVERALL: 6.5, for now: we'll see how it ages.
Reed and Trip come face to face with disaster.
Tim Lynch (Castilleja School, Science Department)
"I'm here for only one reason: I need a good night's sleep."
-- Copyright 2002, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to
ask... This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net
compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the author*.
Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.
Where to Watch - Local channels and
VHS, Laserdisc and DVD availability.
Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief Engineer Charles Tucker III
Jolene Blalock as Sub-commander T'Pol
Dominic Keating as Lt. Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox
Jeffrey Combs as Shran
Vaughn Armstrong as Admiral Forrest
Gregory Itzin as Captain Sopek
Gary Graham as Ambassador Soval
Jeff Kober as Traeg
Steven Dennis as Tholos
Barbara Tarbuck as Chancellor Kalev
Director: Mike Vejar
Story By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Teleplay By: Michael Sussman & Phyllis Strong