A Trip-centric Review
Enterprise encounters an older Vulcan ship carrying a group of V’tosh ka’tur, or Vulcans without logic. The Vulcans need help with their ship, and Archer offers to assist. We meet the captain of the Vulcan ship, who is very Archer-like – affable and friendly and he likes a good meal – and two of the crew: innocent, straightforward Kov and the manipulative Tolaris. Kov goes to work with Trip to repair the ship while T’Pol is assigned to help Tolaris take scans and chart the section of space they are in.
In the B story, Kov and Trip soon bond over discussion of food and sex and football. Archer discovers the Kov’s estranged father is very ill and convinces Trip to talk with Kov about opening up communication with the dying man. Trip does so, and Kov, though unconvinced, eventually contacts his father and finds him to be recovering. The two are reconciled and Kov thanks Trip for his advice.
In the main story, Tolaris tempts T’Pol to experiment with her sense of being Vulcan. He guesses that she is intrigued by humans, and questions her motives for remaining on Earth and then on Enterprise for so long and not returning to Vulcan. T’Pol is wary of Tolaris, but in the end she does succumb to his suggestion that she not meditate one night to see what she will dream. She has a dream about a night on Earth when she left the Vulcan compound and walked around San Francisco. Discovering a jazz club called “Fusion” – hence the title of the episode which she enters and listens to the music. Tolaris is interwoven into the dream. She hears him say the Vulcan primal nature isn’t as dangerous as she thinks. He stands very close, speaking into her ear, suggesting she has learned a great deal about emotion and questioning why she is staying on Enterprise. She sees herself in bed making love with Tolaris. Disturbed by the dream, she is determined not to experiment again. However, again Tolaris tempts her by revealing that an ancient profoundly intimate Vulcan ritual – the mind meld – will allow them to explore their emotions together and gives another wordplay on “fusion.” She agrees to the mind meld and again she is transported to the jazz club. The emotions are too intense for her, and she asks Tolaris to stop, but he doesn’t. He wants the emotions he knows she is feeling and the mind meld allows him to experience her emotions. It is a drug he needs and he uses T’Pol to get it, all under the pretence of freeing T’Pol to experience her own emotions. In the end she forcibly pushes him away and orders him to leave. He does, and T’Pol collapses, drained. She pulls herself to the comm and calls sick bay. Archer, discovering what happened, calls Tolaris to his office. Archer goads Tolaris into throwing him across the room to demonstrate that Tolaris is not capable of controlling his emotions, that he is dangerous. Archer accuses Tolaris of assaulting T’Pol and orders him to take his friends and leave Enterprise. At the end of the episode, Archer visits T’Pol in her quarters. She asks him if he dreams and when he says he does, and often has pleasant dreams, she tells him she envies him.
This was a powerful, intriguing episode. We learned a great deal about Vulcans, both how they perceive themselves and how they perceive humans. The intensity of the story involving T’Pol and Tolaris was balanced by the humor and charm of the secondary story involving Kov and Trip.
T’Pol is definitely very interested in humans. In her dream, she recalls how she left the Vulcan compound because she was curious to learn about human recreation and she hears Tolaris ask her about humans, about her motives for staying on Enterprise. She doesn’t apparently know why she is staying aboard. Tolaris is creepy and snakelike, closely observing T’Pol and manipulating her in order to access and exploit her emotions. In the process of telling T’Pol about herself, we discover what makes her different: her sense of humor and her willingness to drink human tea both are evidence of how different she is from a normal Vulcan.
Kov, on the other hand, was delightful in his innocence and directness. Almost immediately he reveals to Trip all the stereotypes Vulcans have about humans and their mating, eating, and sleeping habits. Logical as Vulcans are, the exchanges between Trip and Kov reveal that Vulcans aren’t accurate scientists – a Vulcan anthropologist interprets a football game as a ritual to kill the quarterback. Trip, for his part, learns about Vulcan mating habits, which appalls him. When he tries to convince Kov to contact his dying father, Trip also shares with Kov that not all emotions are wonderful, that regret is one to avoid at all costs. (I wish he had chosen a more meaningful event in his life to regret than not asking a girl to a grade school dance, but perhaps that reveals how sunny and pain-free Trip’s existence has been.)
In the end, Archer finally begins to understand T’Pol better, to see why Vulcans have to control their emotions and the role meditation plays. T’Pol is unable even to dream because of the possible consequences. Humans are fortunate to be able to indulge their emotions without fear of being overwhelmed by them.
Trip Rating System: Modified to reflect myst123’s interests
#1-4: Trip’s hair and stubble: 0 (Trip was very clean cut in this episode)
#5: Trip eats or discusses food (I’m giving 10 points for each instance!):
Invites Kov for lunch to discuss Vulcan misconceptions about humans: 10 points
Tolaris tells T’Pol that Commander Tucker recommended pizza: 10 points
Trip and Kov eat: 10 points
A myst123 modification:
Trip and Kov discuss Vulcan mating practices while eating: 10 points
#6: Reed blows something up: 0
#7: Trip does something especially cute: WELL, the little dance!: 10 points
#8: If you automatically go AAAWWWW add on 10 points: 10 points!
#9-10: Trip scarcely appears: this was a great Trip episode
#11: Trip has major screen time: 20 points
#12: Porthos: I’m not sure, I don’t notice Porthos
#13: Reed smiles: not only did he smile, he laughed!: 20 points
#14-#17: No clothing was removed
#18: We see Trip’s wonderful profile first left, then right, at the very end. He says goodbye to Kov, then turns and pauses. We get to see both sides of his profile in quick succession. Sigh. 20 points
#19: Trip has major chemistry with yet another alien: 20 points
TOTAL: 140 points. Supremely wonderful episode both in terms of story and Trippy -ness.