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On TV Today's Date:

original airdate: 11-19-04

Now this could just be a fluke, but it looks like the writers of Enterprise have actually watched a couple of episode of Star Trek. Like static electricity, this comes as a pleasant shock.

Last season Enterprise went boldly down a time line never recorded before. It would seem as if the authors of the prequel Trek have had intentions to rewrite all of Star Trek history. But this season we’re experiencing a real return to solid Star Trek story lines. First with the three part post Eugenics War (episodes; “Borderland” “Cold Station 12,” and “The Augments”) and now with the second three parter dealing with the restoration of Vulcan (“The Forge” and this week’s “Awakening”).

Last week, Archer and T’Pol landed in the hostile Vulcan terrain searching for the religious radical and accused terrorist, T’Pau. Sound familiar? About 110 years after this episode T’Pau stands over Spock's arranged marriage. She’s known for being the only Vulcan (at the time) to turn down a seat on the High Council.

As if T’Pau’s presence wasn’t enough to make hard core Trekies shriek with glee… Archer is carrying Surak’s Katra!

Get your nerd on.

Katra: n. origin – Vulcan. Believed to be the soul of a Vulcan. Able to be passed from one person to another incase of accidental death. McCoy carried Spock’s Katra in Star Trek II and III.

Surak: n. Vulcan philosopher, revered as the founder of Vulcan logic. Died over 1,800 years prior to episode "Awakening."

Trekkie: n. A Fanboy (or girl) who has memorized the definitions of Katra and Surak and is therefore really annoyed by these tedios definitions for the rest of the world. Most likely owns one or more Star Trek costume piece. See also Trekker and virgin.

Archer spends a great deal of this episode battling Surak’s Katra. He sees it as a blessing and a curse. Sort of like a Vulcan’s One Ring. At the end of “The Forge” Surak’s memories seem to lock into Archer. He remembers, with odd Vulcan-like confidence, how to find T’Pau’s hiding place. But at the top of “Awakening” he reverts back to being unsure about the Katra. T’Pol is even able to convince him that having bizarre visions is more likely than him playing host to a 1,800 year old ghost.

T’Pol also struggles against her mother T’Les’ association with the radical Syrannites. Their fights are pretty brutal, by human standards, and downright horrific by Vulcan. Of course everything is resolved in the end when T’Les explains how much she cares for her daughter – and then dies.

T’Pol tears aren’t a surprise to viewers. She’s always had problems with her emotions. Which, interestingly enough, are T’Les’s final words. Knowing T’Pol has struggled with repressing her emotions since childhood sheds a flood-lamp of light on her character. Suddenly her visible anger, sexual attraction and addition to Trillium D all become more believable.

T’Pol’s mother has been a thin thread strung through every episode this season since “Home,” when T'Pol married to keep her mother employed. Enterprise should win an award for tricks like these. To regular fans the continual plots are meat to chew on. But casual viewers aren’t left out of the loop.

However, this episode's ability to transform casual viewers into regular fans receives the LAME award. All the real action happens in the B-story line, above Vulcan. Ambassador Soval, who was kicked off the Vulcan High Command for mind melding with a dead man last week, helps Trip retrieve Archer and T’Pol from the surface. But Vulcan High Command Leader V’Las stops them at every turn.

It’s REALLY hard to ignore the political commentary in this episode. Try as you might. V’Las works for his own agenda – wiping out the Syrannites. Then he turns his eyes to Vulcan’s long standing reveal, the Andorians. He claims they have Xindi technology, AKA Weapons of Mass Destruction. He wills the High Command to validate an unprovoked assault on Andorian space. The only parallel missing is V’Las’s father starting a war with Andoria over dilithium crystals.

The Xindi story line of season three was accused of being a political commentary on 911. But Star Trek has always excelled at exposing the human condition. It’s really the secret to its success. This isn’t JUST about time traveling aliens and cool looking ships. There is something deeper going on. So, if Enterprise reflects America’s political climate, then it’s doing its job.

That being said, this is still fiction. And V’Las makes an excellent villain. Members of the High Command ask him direct questions, and he answers them by rewording the question to prove his point. He never denies accusations, merely reinforces his position.

V’Las will return next week for the wrap up of the Vulcan trilogy. Trip and Soval zoom to Andorian space to warn the blue skins of the Vulcan surprise attack. And Archer will attempt to save the Vulcan homeworld by sharing Surka’s true teaching. And I will now go put on my Star Fleet Uniform.

Until next week…

Kevin Miller

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