Star Trek: Enterprise – “The Forge”

A Vulcan civil war is brewing.

The Forge

Cast & Crew

Director: Michael Grossman

Written By: Judith Reeves-Stevens & Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Starring
Scott Bakula as Captain
Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief
Engineer Charles "Trip" 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

Guest Cast
Robert Foxworth as V’Las
Vaughn Armstrong as Admiral Forrest
Gary Graham as Soval
Michael Reilly Burke as Koss
Michael Nouri as Arev
Larc Spies as Stel

Episode Information

Originally Aired: November 19, 2004
Season: Four
Episode: Seven
Production: 083

What Happened

The Earth embassy on Vulcan is bombed, killing 31 humans and 12 Vulcans. Enterprise is called to the planet to help investigate, but the Vulcan High Command already suspects a dissident religious faction known as "Syrrannites." T’Pol learns from her husband Koss that her mother T’Les has been forced into hiding to avoid arrest – because she is a Syrrannite. Koss also brings her a mysterious heirloom containing a map. Believing this is a message from T’Les, T’Pol and Archer set out to follow that map across a treacherous desert, without the High Command’s knowledge.More from StarTrek.com

Review

Finally! Now we’re getting to the core of what this show should be about. We can finally put an end to this weird un-Vulcanness that’s polluted this series. And the spin is worthwhile (at least so far).

High Point

The nice thing here was it was fairly consistant start to finish. If I had to single something out (which I do) I’d say it was Soval’s dramatic shift in character (mind meld and helping Trip and company).

Low Point

While I understand Admiral Forest’s sacrifice adds to the story (and Soval’s sudden appreciation for the human race), it seemed a shame to lose him.

The Scores

Originality: Sure there’s nothing new about conspiracy theories, but when it involves Vulcans, well, now you have our attention. 4 out of 6.

Effects: The embassy explosion was well-done, but the storm looked downright cheesy. 4 out of 6.

Story: Hooking in from events in “Home” and the past few seasons, we’re treated to a good story clearing away a lot of the junk that’s come before and setting the stage for the birth of the Federation. 4 out of 6.

Acting: I like the new angier Archer, it makes for a better show. 5 out of 6.

Emotional Response: I’d all but forgotten about the teaser piece (Vulcan finding Surak’s katra) so the revelation at the end did surprise me a bit. I imagine someone paying closer attention would’ve figured it out however. 4 out of 6.

Production: Oh look, caves. Missed those? 3 out of 6

Overall: A good episode that looks to be the start of a great 3-part arc and leads into an even better one next year. 5 out of 6.

Total: 29 out of 42

Next Week on Enterprise (November 26, 2004)

The Forge

On a quest to learn the truth behind the bombing of the Earth embassy on Vulcan, Archer and T’Pol track down the Syrrannites, a revolutionary faction hiding in a desert sanctuary which includes T’Pau — the prime suspect in the bombing — and T’Pol’s mother T’Les. The rebels are on the verge of being crushed by Vulcan High Command leader V’Las, but they are stunned to learn that Archer might hold the key to their survival.

While Vulcan’s state of unrest grows more violent, former Ambassador Soval reveals to Trip that the High Command also plans to launch a massive sneak attack against rival planet Andoria, an act that could pull Earth into interplanetary war. More from StarTrek.com

Additional Notes and Comments

If you’re interested in what’s in TheAngryMob’s review queue, check out my What’s Coming page.

TheAngrymob

31 replies on “Star Trek: Enterprise – “The Forge””

  1. viceclown says:

    Story Hooks
    Between the Augments story arcs and this one, Im really digging the hooks they’re putting in to setup the future star treks. It just proves that you don’t have to mess up the timeline in order to find good stories! This season has been great so far. There should be tons of meat to write more stories leading up to the birth of the Federation, too. I say keep up the good work!

  2. Jethro says:

    CSI:Enterprise
    Wow, is there anything thse people can’t do?

    And the whole “technology doesn’t work” thing? What the hell is that? There’s no low-tech mostly mechanical VEHICLES? Or maybe animals?

    My low-point – what’s his name getting hit by the rock in the cave – oooh, that was shocking. And the katra thing… I mean. Uh. Stop.

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: CSI:Enterprise

      For an advanced species, the Vulcans certainly farked up. First, they attack the Earth Embassy, which means Earth will be responsible for the investigation. Then, they use younger DNA as a plant. (Even I have heard of telomeres link to aging.) And though they went through the trouble of suspiciously (even for a Vulcan) cloaking the bomb planter, they used someone the guard could easily identify.

      Bravo, nitwits. Long live the Syrrannites.

  3. hck says:

    Now we move from Star Trek 2 to ST 3+4
    Fun refs to the ST movies continue with questions to Archer, and something to remember. Bonus points for a Jeopardy:
    “Nothing unreal exists”

  4. valen1260 says:

    coming after the break

    Why are they wasting our time with “after the break” teasers? It’s bad enough they show us most of the good parts in previews for next week, but now they’re teasing us with things that will happen in the next 40 minutes.

    • y42 says:

      Re: coming after the break

      Why are they wasting our time with “after the break” teasers? It’s bad enough they show us most of the good parts in previews for next week, but now they’re teasing us with things that will happen in the next 40 minutes.

      I tuned in for a show last week, they showed the minute long spoilerriffic ad RIGHT BEFORE, on purpose (they introduced it that way). That is just plain wrong. We’re already tuned in, you have us, stop harassing us, and for the sake of all that is good, stop blowing the punches in your damn ads!

      I say when the revolution comes, we go for the marketing people once we’ve run out of lawyers to slaughter mercilessly…

      • pachyderm says:

        Re: coming after the break

        Why are they wasting our time with “after the break” teasers? It’s bad enough they show us most of the good parts in previews for next week, but now they’re teasing us with things that will happen in the next 40 minutes.

        Its gotten to the point where I’ll avoid the TV till about 2mins before the show’s supposed to start, and even avoid the “next week on enterprise” section of the reviews on this site.

        so, for this weeks show, I didnt know the bombing was comming – and wow! did it come as a surprise when it went off. Made the show a whole lot more enjoyable.

        • valen1260 says:

          Re: coming after the break

          so, for this weeks show, I didnt know the bombing was comming – and wow! did it come as a surprise when it went off. Made the show a whole lot more enjoyable.

          It was a nice surprise. Since Enterprise is the only time I watch UPN, I can just stop my DVR before I see next week’s preview and continue to enjoy the episodes. :)

  5. valen1260 says:

    ST fumbles another religion storyline

    For the most part, ST has avoided religion in its stories. You can tell good, moral stories without throwing the fear of eternal damnation around. That’s not to say that the Federation was devoid of religion, just that it no longer drove people emotionally. Contrast that with present day, where conservatives use religion for political gain.

    The biggest exception is, of course, the Bajorans. But, while they were a spiritual people, they were not (for the most part) zealots. DS9 also had some mention of God, but only as throwaway lines and figures of speech.

    The point is, now we have turned Vulcan logic–a pilar of ST canon–into a religion. Logic and cultism/religion just seem diametric. Add to that the different sects that seem to be following the “true” logic, and it gets rather absurd.

    But maybe, that’s the point. At any rate, my money is on the Syrrannites, for the simple fact that a mind meld has never been taboo before (or is that since?). (Hmmm… at least, not with Vulcans within Starfleet….)

    • y42 says:

      Re: ST fumbles another religion storyline

      For the most part, ST has avoided religion in its stories. […]

      The biggest exception is, of course, the Bajorans.

      The Gene Rodenberry ST had an implied lack of religion on earth as part of the rational eutopia he showed us. The Berman and Braga Star Treks, starting with DS9, brought back religion, because Berman is the devil.

    • Babbster says:

      Re: ST fumbles another religion storyline
      The teachings of Surak and the foundation of Vulcan logic have had the trappings of a religion for quite a long time. Take another look at Star Trek: TMP and TSFS. The Kohlinahr (sp?) folks are clearly religious in their reverance for Surak, the rituals practiced, and even the ornate robes worn by the high clerics. Even the mindmeld as shown in TOS had a ritualistic feel to it in that the same words were spoken each time it was used, despite the illogic of needing to use speech when initiating telepathic contact. The Vulcans in ST:I&III also reflect the concept of “competing” Vulcan sects – not every Vulcan follows the path of “pure logic” practiced by the Kohlinahr.

      If it walks like religion and quacks like religion, it’s probably a duck-type religion. :)

    • TwistyHat says:

      Re: ST fumbles another religion storyline

      For the most part, ST has avoided religion in its stories.

      You can’t have paradise while there is still religion ;)

      The point is, now we have turned Vulcan logic–a pilar of ST canon–into a religion. Logic and cultism/religion just seem diametric. Add to that the different sects that seem to be following the “true” logic, and it gets rather absurd.

      Not quite. Most of those who rule know have only their own notions to go by and some mouldy and contradictory writings.
      But Syran found the Katra in the dessert 17 years ago. The Katra contains the … don’t call it Soul, because then it becomes the religion … it contains an image of the electric patter of the brain of Surak. And Syran could merge with that and thus learn first hand (in his mind) what Suraks philosophical reasons and insights were. Remember Picard had mind melded (deeply) with Spocks father – and when his father died Spock melded with Picard to learn about his father (since the two had been estranged for many many years) – And this is the point, Syran starts his movment because he can tell other Vulcans what Surak REALLY ment, not vauge notions or copies or anything like that – Syran mindmelds with a new Vulcan and that Vulcan can touch the mind of Surak and learn first hand the teachings of philosophy, reason, logic and insight. And that is why they have no problem with mindmelding, it spreads the word from the horses mouth as it where. And that might be why the current Vulcan government have tried to ban it (it is probably logical to try and hold on to your power ;) because they know, in the end, if the gates open – this is a flood that will overwhelm them all.

      At any rate, my money is on the Syrrannites, for the simple fact that a mind meld has never been taboo before (or is that since?).

      As i write else where, with this episode they have said that Spock is a Syrannite – and to me that means they are rapidly retconning the previous 3 rather lame years….

      One wonders if it is too late – the ratings are not good. A lot of potential viewers have long since let because they couldn’t stand it, and no amount of advertising is going to get them back – only word of mouth from people they trust – and that takes time…

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: ST fumbles another religion storyline

        The Gene Rodenberry ST had an implied lack of religion on earth as part of the rational eutopia he showed us.

        You can’t have paradise while there is still religion ;)

        Those were my points, but I didn’t want to lay flamebait, especially with the current state of US politics. :)

        • Eldhrin says:

          Re: ST fumbles another religion storyline

          The Gene Rodenberry ST had an implied lack of religion on earth as part of the rational eutopia he showed us.

          You can’t have paradise while there is still religion ;)

          Those were my points, but I didn’t want to lay flamebait, especially with the current state of US politics. :)

          I would argue that you can have paradise with religion, but given the state of most religions and, more importantly, those people who profess to follow them, it’s really not very likely.

        • Dr Caleb says:

          Re: ST fumbles another religion storyline

          Those were my points, but I didn’t want to lay flamebait, especially with the current state of US politics. :)

          But I think that is exactally the point!

          The Ambassador said something like “when you don’t have the complete text, you fill in the blanks with whatever you want”

          Archers comment “That seems familiar”, I believe is exactally what the authors are alluding to.

          In the old tradition of TOS, where ‘He’s a lesser being because he is white on the right side . . ” I think the authors are trying to allude to what is happening with both Islamic and Christian extremeism; undermining the minority at the cost of innocent lives. Look at the paralells – The ruling (Vulcan high command) authority is passing these religious ‘nuts’ as a force from within that may destabilize them. Even the ambassador is to be called before the Council ‘to account for his actions’ in mind melding with the comatose human to get evidence that the DNA of the religious leader was planted. Mind melding has been an obvious genetic inheritance, but has been supressed as ‘subversive’ activity.

          I think this story will lead to the crumbling of the ‘Council’ and the rise of the more peaceful Syrannite way of thought. But the whole story line has current cultural undertones, like TOS and TNG had.

  6. valen1260 says:

    Re: review

    Emotional Response: I’d all but forgotten about the teaser piece (Vulcan finding Surak’s katra) so the revelation at the end did surprise me a bit. I imagine someone paying closer attention would’ve figured it out however. 4 out of 6.

    Wait… what did I miss? I was too busy thinking about that episode where Picard plays pirate and finds a Vulcan hate-ray (“Gambit, part II”).

    Production: Oh look, caves. Missed those? 3 out of 6

    Haven’t we been in this cave at least twice before, in “Final Mission” and “Time’s Arrow”.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: review

      Jethro and valen put their fingers on what didn’t work– forgetting only the necessary, but stupid point of earth not sending a qualified detective of some sort with the Enteprise.

      But I do like the fact that they’re explaining why the Enterprise Vulcans are such total pricks, compared with the noble, logical beings of TOS. I also liked the fact that the Vulcan they meet in the Desert of Convenient Plot Devices, I mean, The Forge, was written to recall Spock. I think it was obvious ten seconds in that we are seeing the true series Vulcans in the renegade group, but it’s a good idea, script silliness aside.

      • madhack says:

        Re: review

        But I do like the fact that they’re explaining why the Enterprise Vulcans are such total pricks, compared with the noble, logical beings of TOS. I also liked the fact that the Vulcan they meet in the Desert of Convenient Plot Devices, I mean, The Forge, was written to recall Spock. I think it was obvious ten seconds in that we are seeing the true series Vulcans in the renegade group, but it’s a good idea, script silliness aside.

        Yeah, maybe I’m just going easy on Manny Coto because he’s not one of the Wonder Twins, but I’m willing to give him some leeway as he un-fucks the Star Trek universe for us.

        • GrimSean says:

          Re: review

          Yeah, maybe I’m just going easy on Manny Coto because he’s not one of the Wonder Twins, but I’m willing to give him some leeway as he un-fucks the Star Trek universe for us.

          I second that – although the last three episodes wouldn’t have been as good without Spiner, they were well done, as was this one. I haven’t enjoyed this show this much in a long time, and if Coto keeps dropping the veiled references and continues to push Enterprise back into something resembling continuity with the other series, he can take as long as he wants.

          Also, I’m really digging these mini-arcs. I think it’s really adding to the sense of the show going somewhere.

        • TwistyHat says:

          Re: review

          Yeah, maybe I’m just going easy on Manny Coto because he’s not one of the Wonder Twins, but I’m willing to give him some leeway as he un-fucks the Star Trek universe for us.

          Well look at what he has done, did you notice who had written this episode? Judith Reeves-Stevens & Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Now those two are real writers, over the years they have written a ton of books (just try searching on Amazon) and some stuff for movies, and several of those books have been set in the StarTrek universe.

          Which may also explain the references in this episode, there were a lot of references to the original show, they other series and even books apparently.

      • TwistyHat says:

        Re: review

        I also liked the fact that the Vulcan they meet in the Desert of Convenient Plot Devices, I mean, The Forge, was written to recall Spock.

        Precisely, but it seems most overlook that, or don’t remember (or aren’t nerds ;) – the questions the man in the dessert asked of Archer, are the questions Spock was being asked by the teaching computer in “The Voyage Home” (after he had lost his memory)

        Which means Spock was also a Syranite – which means that the government on Vulcan by Kirks time is Syranite (and no longer outcasts).

        And of cause the Syranite they were blaming for the bombing (T’Pau) is someone we have heard about and met before (in the original episode “Amok Time” she officiated at Spocks (forced) wedding) – she will grow to become vildly important in the Vulcan government, and by Kirks time she is the only ever to turn down a seat on the Council of the United Federation of Planets.

        • babasyzygy says:

          Re: review

          Which means Spock was also a Syranite – which means that the government
          on Vulcan by Kirks time is Syranite (and no longer outcasts).

          I think that by the time of TOS the Syranite philosophies have become the
          dominant Vulcan culture. We’re seeing part of the emergence of those ideas,
          sort of analagous to the rise of abolitionism in the youth of the United States.

          But one thing they never seem to learn is never to trust an authority figure
          played by Robert Foxworth.

          • valen1260 says:

            Re: review

            But one thing they never seem to learn is never to trust an authority figure
            played by Robert Foxworth.

            Those changelings are tricky. ;)

  7. babasyzygy says:

    Some great lines
    I laughed out loud a few times, which is a new experience for me in
    Enterprise. Some very good dialogue:

    “Vulcan children are never late feeding their sehlats.”
    “My species evolved on this planet.” (dummy!)

    I also loved that they’re picking up on small details (like sehlats) from earlier
    Trek. This is rapidly turning into the best Trek in years.

    • TwistyHat says:

      Re: Some great lines

      I laughed out loud a few times, which is a new experience for me in
      Enterprise. Some very good dialogue:

      “Vulcan children are never late feeding their sehlats.”
      “My species evolved on this planet.” (dummy!)

      I also loved that they’re picking up on small details (like sehlats) from earlier
      Trek. This is rapidly turning into the best Trek in years.

      Indeed. And there is a double reference, because in the original series Dr. McCoy finds out that Spock had a Sehlat as a child, and he mocks him – ooh, Spock had a pet – and Spock points out it had teeth THIS LONG! And here we find out T’Pol had one and Archer is a bit jesting in what was, for many people, the first intentional funny line ;)

      • Timeshredder says:

        A few points:

        1. The 3-ep arc strikes a balance between the season-long story-arc, which often leads to whole episodes being devoted to Nothing Much while turning away occasional viewers, and the stand-alone ep, which tends to end with a reset button. Good approach.

        2. The Sehlat also appears in the Animated Series which, crappy though it was, respected continuity.

        3. Since two people have made the same error, I shall be a pedant. *Coughs.*

        desert: one of those sandy places
        dessert: the tasty, fattening thing you eat after a meal
        desert (pronounced like “dessert”) that which one deserves, as in the phrase, “just deserts.”

        Archer and T’Pol were not wandering in a Vulcan dessert, though it’s a great image.

        • theangrymob says:

          Re: A few points:

          Archer and T’Pol were not wandering in a Vulcan dessert, though it’s a great image.

          There’s always room for Jell-o!

          • bombadil says:

            Re: A few points:

            p>There’s always room for Jell-o!

            Mmmm, decontamination gel…

            • yodapez18 says:

              Re: A few points:
              Judith and Garfield Reeves stevens are good, but who i think one of the best trek writers, ESPECIALLY of prequels is Diane Carey, anyone who wants to know how enterprise should ahve been written, go read Final Frontier by diane Carey and tell me I am wrong

              • Babbster says:

                Re: A few points:

                Judith and Garfield Reeves stevens are good, but who i think one of the best trek writers, ESPECIALLY of prequels is Diane Carey, anyone who wants to know how enterprise should ahve been written, go read Final Frontier by diane Carey and tell me I am wrong

                Couldn’t agree more. I haven’t read a new Star Trek novel in years, but Final Frontier was, if you’ll pardon the phrase, the “shiznit.”

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