Enterprise faces repercussions for a past mission and things get a bit dicey. Originally broadcast on February 6, 2002 this is Shadows of P’Jem.
Captain’s Log Date undetermined
It seems that the monastery that the Vulcans were using as a listening post has been destroyed by the Andorians and they feel it is partially Enterprises fault for the incident. Due to this, the Earth-Vulcan fleet has been suspended Admiral Forrest pays Archer a call to tell him that Enterprise is losing T’Pol.
After informing T’Pol, she and Archer travel to a nearby planet to have one last mission together before her departure, however their shuttle is shot down and the two are captured. When they awake they find themselves prisoners of a local revolutionary group who are not very thrilled with a Vulcan being on their planet.
Back on Enterprise, the ship assigned to retrieve T’Pol arrives and it’s Captain is not pleased to hear that T’Pol has been captured. He insists that they will handle the rescue. Reed and Tucker take matters in their own hands and are also captured but but none other than Thy’lek Shran who still feels a debt to Archer due to previous events. Shran agrees to help save Archer and T’Pol before they are assassinated. This leads to a rescue attempt where T’Pol is seriously injured while saving Vulcan Captain Sopek from a blast, and they all managed to escape. Ignoring the demands of Captain Sopek regarding the return of T’Pol, Archer takes her back to Enterprise where Phlox works to save her life.
Once she is saved, Sopek demands her return but Phlox is insistent that her recovery will take some time and should not be moved. T’Pol discusses the matter with Sopek getting him to agree to speak to the High Command on her behalf so that she be allowed to remain on Enterprise for a long time. In the end, she remains in the infirmary and tells Archer that she has no intention of leaving.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
T’Pol has really come a long way in the series so far. Starting off as what was essentially a Vulcan Spy, she has grown to recognize most of the crew as not only crewmates but as friends as well. In fact, the crew have begun to recognize her as a friend too.
One of the things that makes this episode work so well is how T’pol has begun to recognize the changes in herself from being with a human crew while Archer has come to realize just how important T’Pol is to the crew. He makes it abundantly clear that he has no intention of relinquishing T’Pol to the Vulcans as he see’s her as part of the Enterprise crew, which is kinda funny as it wasn’t so long ago that he was very suspicious of her.
One thing I find very interesting is just how sneaky the Vulcan people are at this point in their history. The Vulcans we have come to know from STOS, STNG and on have presented themselves as a stoic and rather honorable species but, as it appears here, they are a rather suspicious species who are distrusting of, well, pretty much everyone. It is also interesting with how they use logic to take over and run other civilizations but don’t seem to care about the people involved themselves. To say that the Vulcans have a long way to grow is certainly an understatement as, if these were the Vulcans we met at the beginning, well, I don’t think anyone would have particularly like Spock.
The main thing that makes this episode work so well is that it is an episode of repercussions, specifically tied to the encounter at the P’Jem monastery and the introduction of the Andorian species. While I do enjou a good ‘alien of the week’ story, I have to say, having episodes that have actual repercussions for choices made really makes for some solid story telling. I particularly love the return of Shran and his debt to Archer, which really makes me wish this series would do more of this sort of thing instead of making it the exception.
Overall, this is an excellent episode that really makes the series feel like more than just a jumble of random incidents with the same characters involved time and again. While that worked for STNG quite well, DS9 and, to an extent, Voyager, showed us how a series can build on each episode making for far better developed characters and stories. Will this trend continue…well, you’ll just have to wait and see…
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that other Vulcan’s have served on Human ships, only they tend to not last very long.
- It seems there is a cold war between the Vulcans and the Andorians, but the Vulcans dont seem to be interested in ending it, at least not peacefully.
- We see the return of Jeffery Combs as Shran, this will not be the last we see of him.
- You also might recognize actor Jeff Kober in the role of Traeg, Kober also appeared in Voyager as Iko in Repentance and has been in a considerable amount of television including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alien Nation.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Shuttlepod One
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Late To The Game 5/26/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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