Enterprise Review: Fusion

I wonder if the writers came up with idea of mating once every seven years just to make fanboy geeks feel better about their own sex lives? Just a thought…

Fusion

 

Cast & Crew

Director: Rob Hedden
Story By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Teleplay By: Phyllis Strong & Mike Sussman

Starring
Scott Bakula as Captain
Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief
Engineer Charles 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
Enrique Murciano as Tolaris
Robert Pine as Tavin
Vaughn Armstrong as Admiral Forrest
John Harrington Bland as Kov

Airdate Information

Originally Aired: February 27, 2002
Season: One
Episode: Seventeen

Shuttlepod OneWhat
Happened

En route to a visit of the Arachnid Nebula, Enterprise receives a hail
from a Vulcan ship, the Vahklas. They are in need of repairs and would
appreciate any help Starfleet can offer them. What’s most surprising about these
vulcans are their lack of emotional restraint. The vulcan crew, outcasts from
their homeworld, are trying to integrate logic with their emotional core. The
plot revolves, primarily, around T’Pol and the Vahklas first officer,
Tolaris. A sub-plot involves Trip and a Vulcan engineer, Kov, who is interested
in learning more about humans.

T’pol, who, initially, does not want to spend any time with her fellow vulcans,
soon warms up to Tolaris. Intrigued by their lifestyle, she endeavors, albeit
cautiously, to learn more about them. She takes his advice of not meditating
before bed. The result is a vivid (and at time erotic) dream. While trying to
explain the dream to Tolaris, he suggests a Vulcan mind-meld. Apparently Vulcans
in this time have abandoned this technique and only a select few (i.e. the crew
of the Vahklas) are trained in using it. The meld begins slowly, then
takes a turn for the worse. Unable to control his emotions, Tolaris forces his
way deeper into T’Pol’s mind. She manages to break off the attack, but is left
weak and emotionally drained. Archer confronts Tolaris, demanding an explanation.
During the ensuing argument, Archer baits the Vulcan into a fight to prove that
he really isn’t in control of his emotions (and manages to tossed around his
office on top of things).

The sub-plot, Trip and Kov’s friendship begins with an exchange of information.
Trip finds out a little more about vulcans (the seven-year mating problem for
one thing). Kov also learns that humans aren’t the barbarians that they were
originally made out to be. Archer receives word from Adm. Vaughn that the Vulcan
High Council has a message for Kov, his father is dying and would like for his
son to return home. Kov refuses, remembering his father’s words before he left
Vulcan. After a long talk with Trip, he realizes that his decision could effect
him emotionally for the rest of his life (a very long time for vulcans). In
the end, he calls his father and gets an update on his condition, his health
is improving.

The episode concludes with Archer in T’Pol’s quarters, asking her how she feels.
He also comes to an understanding as to why Vulcans are the way they are, and
the fine line they walk between self-control and self-destruction.

Review

What can I say. Those of you that have been with me for a while can probably
guess how I felt about this episode. All to often Star Trek resorts to some
species acting out of character (emotional vulcans, generous ferengi, friendly
klingons, etc.). Sometimes it works…but that rarely happens. Writing a good
story is more than just juxtaposition of standard character behavior and I’d
hate to think that we’re running that low on good story content.

I can’t quite make up my mind about the mind-meld continuity problem. I know
the current timeline never specifies when the technique went in and out of fashion,
I just found it a bit hard to swallow. If someone has something more concrete,
please feel free to post it.

As the season winds down, we all are left questioning where this show is going,
and if Berman and Braga really have the skills to keep the franchise afloat.
I’ve certainly come to question their writing abilities as the episodes they’ve
penned are some of the worst of the lot (something we saw in Voyager
as well).

High Point

Archer’s reverence for his first astronomy book was touching. He’s really just
a big kid at heart who is doing what he’s always wanted to do. Being able to
see the nebula that first sparked his interest in space firsthand is something,
I think, all of us can empathize with and smile.

Low Point

Oh too many to pick from. I hate that. If I had a gun to my head (not a suggestion
mind you) I’d pick the extra boring exchange on the Vahklas bridge between
Tolaris and T’pol.

The Scores

Originality: Some of the worst kind of antistereotypification. 2

Effects: Always the upstanding portion of Enterprise. I really wish
the directors/producers would show those gorgeous Vulcan ships for longer periods
of time. Stand out design work. 4

Story: I kept waiting for something to happen, but I was left without my wishes
fullfilled. I think the writers were hoping the premise would keep it afloat.
2

Acting: What’s worse than a standard wooden Vulcan? An emotional-but-still-wooden
Vulcan (anyone else really miss Leonard Nemoy’s Spock?). Poor choices
for the guest cast all around. 2

Emotional Response: Nothing spectacular, but the mind-meld scene was disconcerting
to watch. 3

Production: The sets are still looking good. The Vulcan ship interior seemed
a little, I don’t know, bland. Maybe it was by design, but other Vulcan sets
we’ve seen were better looking (the P’Jem monastery for one). 3

Overall: Does it stand out on it’s own, no. Does it contribute something to
the whole? Maybe. We’ll see where this mind-meld issue goes. Could be good,
could be bad. 3

Total: 19 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

Next Time on Enterprise (Mar 13, 2001)

Next Time on EnterpriseSilent
Enemy
(Original Airdate: Nov. 7, 2001; Score:
26/42
)

Attacked by an unidentified enemy ship, the crew struggles to get their new
phase canons operational. Meanwhile, Archer realizes that no one knows Reed
well enough to give him a personalized birthday gift.

Last Time on Enterprise (Mar 6, 2001)

Next Time on EnterpriseCivilization
(Original Airdate: Nov. 14, 2001; Score:
24/42
)

The Enterprise crew encounters a pre-industrial society that is afflicted
with a plague caused by exploitative secret visitors.

9 replies on “Enterprise Review: Fusion”

  1. fiziko says:

    Mind meld scene
    I just want to chime in on the mind meld scene. I’m
    also unsure about how well that’ll be worked into the
    final continuity, but I have to command the way that
    scene was edited, acted and filmed. It felt like
    watching a rape scene to me, and I never thought I’d
    see anything that intense on any form of Star
    Trek
    .

    • Jethro says:

      Re: Mind meld scene
      I think that was the whole idea. But I recall at least one Mind-Rape scene in TNG (don’t recall the episode), so it’s not really original.

      • fiziko says:

        Re: Mind meld scene

        I think that was the whole idea. But I recall at least
        one Mind-Rape scene in TNG (don’t recall the episode),
        so it’s not really original.

        I remember similar scenes in other
        Star Trek series, but most of them used long shots
        showing the reaction of the person involved. The
        rapid editing in this one was, in my opinion, far more
        effective. I worked much better than the other
        scenes I’ve seen.

  2. scharkalvin says:

    mind meld
    My thinking on the mind meld.
    IIRC Spock was the only Vulcon to use the technique in the 23rd century, so maybe he picked up on it and brought it back into the main stream. We did see it used on Voyager, so it was accepted by mainstream Vulcons in the 24th century. Remember, Spock was a ‘halfbreed’ and he probably did some experimenting himself to come to terms with this, and to accept himself as Vulcon, rather than half human.

    • dcheesi says:

      Re: mind meld
      What about the episode with the Medusan? IIRC, Spock goes nuts and the blind Vulcan woman has to do a mind meld to save him. Besides, in TOS they always seemed to treat the mind meld as if it were the standard Vulcan technique.

  3. jbrecken says:

    Emotional Vulcans
    Does someone more in touch with Trek Lore know if we’re far enough before the Original Series that these guys could go off and become the Romulans?

    • eclectric says:

      Re: Emotional Vulcans
      I seem to remember something in either the Encyclopedia (it could have been a non-canon book as well) that claimed the romulans and vulcans split when the vulcans went emotionless. I think it unlikely (if this is the case) that these vulcancs became romulans, but if it’s not the case, then that may be the setup they’re going for.

    • Daemonik says:

      Re: Emotional Vulcans

      Does someone more in touch with Trek Lore know if we’re far enough before the Original Series that these guys could go off and become the Romulans?

      By Tek lore, the Romulans attack the four founding species of the Federation prior to humans having such niceties as viewscreens and phasers. In fact, the Romulan war was mostly fought by small intercepter craft carrying missles and dropped into hostile areas by low warp carrier ships.

      The Romulans also had yet to develop warp capabilities of their own. Indeed, by this shows standards I expect a micro-singularity driven bird-of-prey to decloak itself any time now. What’s that? Romulans didn’t develope cloaking till TOS? Well, what are details, we’re making a show here.

      Considering that the writers of this show have seen fit to not develope what could have been seriously interesting material about the birth of the Federation and have instead turned to this weekly crap of “oooo, here’s some neat tech that the humans wish they had” or “oooo, we’ll show some Vulcan boobies” (not in and of itself a bad thing, mind you *g*) or “oooo, rather than develop one of the practically unknown species in the Federation, let’s throw the standard bad guys like the Klingons and the Ferengi at them”.

      I mean, what about the Orions? Where are the new or rarely seen species? If Enterprise was supposed to be a break from the old series and a fresh start, then why do they seem compelled to keep dragging in the old enemies? Why the need for this so far weak story arc about the temporal cold war?

      Considering the TCW, I’m seriously wondering if at some point when Enterprise is facing cancellation or retirement if it makes it that long, we’ll find out that this was merely an alternate time line that gets snipped off by some future party.

      • Cerberus7 says:

        Muahahahahahaaa!
        That’s it! The whole first season is supposed to suck! That “temporal cold war” we’ve heard so much about? It’ll be revealed that none of what we are seeing will really happen. The season finale will be Archer stopping whoever the “bad guys” are in this cold war, and we go back to ep 1 and start over. This time, without so much suck. It’s genius!

        I don’t really understand where this show is going, either. They’ve got good to excellent casting, good to excellent effects, good to excellent set design, and crap to very good stories. Maybe they really do need to find a stride, but maybe they just need a fresh crop of trek-lore junkie writers who know where the story is and where it’s supposed to go. A fresh look at Trek is a good thing; re-writing the history of it is bad.

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