The A-Story: T’Pol tells Trip and Archer the story of the real first contact between humans and Vulcans, involving her ancestor. The twist? It’s in 1957 and not right after World War 3!
(I had a lot of work this final week of school, so I didn’t get to go more in-depth with the header than I would have liked, but I look forward to reading y’all’s thoughts on the episode.)
I enjoyed that the story wasn’t the typical time travel shenanigans, and it was instead a telling of a tale set in the past. Though Voyager had a similar episode, “11:59,” that used this framing. (I’m only on Season 3 of my Voyager rewatch, so I haven’t got to it yet.) The three surviving Vulcans that crashed on Earth reluctantly, some much more reluctantly, become members of the Carbon Creek community. Mo (I mean Stron), and T’Pol (I mean T’Mir) are the two most resistant to interfering with the humans. Not the third member though, Mestral, who takes a shine to humanity.
Is this ABBA?:
The episodes has some interesting moments, particularly the mining incident where Mestral wants to help his new friends, and T’Mir and Stron push back. T’Mir criticizes Mestral’s compassion towards the humans. Eventually Mestral wins them over and they help the miners. It’s been a long time (getting from here to there) since I’ve watched Enterprise, but I seem to remember them often portraying the Vulcans as straight up douches, so I guess the episode is trying to set up the idea that to these early Vulcans, compassion is illogical.
Eventually T’Mir connects with humanity, especially a young man she helps get into college. She even allows Mestral to remain on Earth.
I never knew what to make of Jolene Blalock. Her performance of T’Pol (or T’Mir) can come off as bad acting, but then again acting like a Vulcan can make a lot of actors look terrible. It’s why Leonard Nimoy was so good as Spock; he made that role so complex, which also made it a hard act to follow. In rewatching Voyager, I think Russ as also done a pretty good job making Tuvok more than just an emotionless robot. But Blalock, at least here, doesn’t really do that. Maybe she does as the series progresses, I really can’t remember. But I do remember always feeling bad for her that they male gazed her so much. Even in this episode, where she has to change behind a sheet, we see a lot in that silhouette.
My other random thought was that I really liked how the town looked. I’m sure it’s because I’ve watched a ton of TNG, DS9, and Voyager, but Carbon Creek looks like a real town. It helps that they aren’t just shooting on a backlot. The town feels so much more real than in other Treks adventures set in the past, and I know that has a lot to do with filming in a real place.
Overall I enjoyed this episode, That might be because the main crew is barely in it.
The B-Story: Velcro is invented! Named after the real inventor of velcro, George de Mestral
Mestral and Maggie, sitting in a tree.
MAGGIE: Well, I’m due back at the Pine Tree. Will I see you later?
(He nods. There’s a pause then she kisses him.)
MESTRAL Oh, I didn’t mean to. I thought, I thought. Oh, God.
MESTRAL: Please, I was simply surprised. It was very pleasant.
MESTRAL: Wasn’t that an appropriate response?
MAGGIE: Well, it’s been a while since I kissed a man, but still, I was hoping it’d be a little bit more than pleasant.
MESTRAL: I did say very pleasant.
(The pair walk out of Johnnie’s Market store with two brown bags full of groceries.)
(A frozen meal in a packet.)
MESTRA:L Do you suppose they’ve experimented with protein replicators?
T’MIR: Why didn’t you ask the merchant? You seemed willing to engage everyone else in conversation.
That’s cold, T’Mir…