Trek does it. Kirk and Spock followed McCoy into The Great
Depression. Picard and crew went to turn of the century San
Francisco to save Data's head. Odo and a handful of Ferengi
were responsible for the UFO crash landing in Roswell New
Mexico. And the crew of Voyager went way back to 1996 (and
ironically gained 29th century technology).
It took them a year, but the Enterprise finally went into
the past. They didn't use a time machine, Borg vortexes or
even the celestial orb of time (which DS9 used to visit
the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"). No, Enterprise
used the oldest time traveling device in the books: storytelling.
And what a story it was. T'Pol's retelling of her great grandmother's
trip to 1950's Earth was filled with clever conventions. Every
external shot of the retro town, Carbon Creek, was washed
out, looking like an old filmstrip. And quite a few plot moments
happened without any dialogue or any voice-over narration.
be the '50's, but she sure wears make-up like a 21st
But the most interesting element was the uncanny resemblance
between T'Pol and her grandmother. You would swear they were
the same actress. No, but really, this is an overplayed idea.
Why do everyone's ancestors look like whoever is telling the
story? This same thing was done on Voyager just a few
years ago, when Kate Mulgrew played Captain Janeway telling
a story about her great great great great…Grandmother
during the turn of the millennium.
And why is it every time we go into the past we learn the
"truth" about some piece of technology? Scotty gave away the
secret of transparent aluminum. And now T'Pol gave us Velcro.
Where would we be without aliens and time travelers? Probably
still using opaque soda cans and tying our shoelaces like
Just as our history books are being rewritten, so is the Star
Trek timeline. But unlike the Suliban encounters so far,
Carbon Creek's story of the real first contact contradicts
the very premise of the series, launched by Star Trek (8):
First Contact. Sure Grandma T'Pol could have crashed on
Earth, but did she have to? It just muddies the continuity.
Next week we meet the Romulans. Here is the real test. According
to the original series, the humans fought an entire war against
the Romulans and never saw their faces. Let's see if
Captain Archer sneaks a peek at the Vulcan's cousins a hundred
years before The Federation learned about their true identity.
If he does, Enterprise fails the first real continuity
question since the series began.
To be fair, this week's episode was a fun story. And we were
just as entertained as Archer and Trip. The characterization
of a compassionate Vulcan was interesting and well done. But
if the chance arises, I'm going back in time to stop this
episode from happening.