Enterprise encounters a ship full of Vulcans who act…unlike any Vulcan they have ever seen before. Originally broadcast on February 27, 2002 this is Fusion.
Captain’s Log date Unknown
While Enterprise explores the Arachnid Nebula, they come upon a Vulcan ship who, when they are contacted, act unlike what they were expecting. Instead of the clinical and seriousness that most Vulcans exhibit, Captain Tavis is friendly and pleasant. Coming aboard, Tavis explains that he and his crew are not from the High Command and would love to get to know the Enterprise ship and crew. Soon it is clear that T’Pol is uncomfortable around these Vulcans who have embraced their feelings and, although Archer encourages her to keep an open mind, she can not help but be concerned.
Before long T’Pol begins to experience interesting emotions and dreams from being around one of the Vulcans named Tolaris. This begins to concern her and she consults Dr Phlox who is uncertain as to what the problem is and is bewildered when she asks for 24 milligrams of inaprovaline. Phlox is concerned that she is not keeping to her usual schedule of meditation and sleep but to not be overly concerned about her dreams as they are knew to her.
Soon Starfleet contacts Enterprise concerning one of the Vulcan crew, Kov, who’s father happens to be a Minister in the Vulcan High Command. Before he dies, the minister wants to speak to his son but Kov is reluctant at best. Tucker discusses the matter with him, explaining that Kov may regret never speaking to his father again once his father has passed.
T’Pol and Tolaris continue to explore her ’emotional side’ and he introduces her to a technique known as the Mind Meld. She goes along with it until it soon becomes uncomfortable for her. When she attempts to break it off, Tolaris tries to keep her in the meld. She succeeds but is clearly hurt from the process. When Archer confronts Tolaris about his assault on T’Pol, Tolaris becomes violent and Archer informs Tolaris that he is no longer welcome aboard Enterprise.
As the Vulcan crew leave, Kov thanks Tucker for encouraging him to contact his father, indicating that they are on speaking terms again. After the Vahklas departs, Archer checks on T’Pol as she recovers from her experience. She tells Archer that she in envious of his pleasant dreams.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
The idea of a Vulcan who has not embraced Logic is not a new one. We have seen this before with people like Sybok and even some significant moments with Tuvok on voyager, but, this is the first time we have seen a crew of Vulcans who are purposefully exploring a balance between Emotion and Logic. Known as the V’tosh ka’tur, they are essentially outcasts to the Vulcan people representing a part of the society that embrace something Vulcans have spent their entire existence repressing. The interesting thing about this story is that, chronologically, this is before Starfleet has encountered the Romulans who split from the Vulcans in an attempt to reject Vulcan Logic. So for the crew of Archer’s Enterprise, the concept of a logic-less Vulcan is quite strange.
Fusion also takes a very serious subject head on using the idea of logic and emotions as it’s base. The subject, Personal violation, or more crudely, rape. In the story T’Pol encounters Tolaris who is adamant to get T’Pol to explore her emotional side. While she is unsure but willing at first, it is when Tolaris get’s frustrated with her cautiousness that he decides to force the matter. This is where Tolaris makes his mistake. Had he actually cared about T’Pol and her journey into learning to harness her emotions, he would have stepped back and accepted that she had changed her mind. In fact, she might have been willing to try again at a later time. Instead he completely disregarded her personal choice and, when she no longer gave consent, he decided that her initial desire was enough to essentially rape her. While the episode tackles this issue initially, this is also where it stumbles. While Tolaris, and his people, are removed from the ship due to this assault, there are no further repercussions for the rape and we barely get to see T’Pol manage through the pain and difficulty associated with it. Had they been serious about discussing this subject, the episode would not have needed the secondary and tertiary stories about the nebula or Tov’s reluctance to talk with his dying father and could have been one of the most impactful tales this season. Instead, Archer sends the problem away and T’Pol just…deals with her own difficulties by herself. Sadly, this is probably a lot more realistic than it really should be.
Overall, this episode had some tremendous potential to be a significant story along the lines of STNG’s Measure of a Man, but due to it’s ham fisted nature, it stumbled across the story only to become a rather forgettable story among other fairly forgettable stories. To add insult to injury, this is the first and only time we hear about the V’tosh ka’tur when it would have been a tremendous opportunity to bring in the origins of Sybok and his attempt to find Sha Ka Ree. Lots of great ideas and story elements, poor overall follow-through.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Trip and Reed find out that Vulcan males are driven to mate only every seven years.
- We see a Vulcan eat meat! Yeah, it was chicken because of course it was.
- You might recognize the captain of the Vulcan Vessel as none other than Robert Pine father of future Kirk Chris Pine.
- Archer dreamed of being an Admiral as a kid…with the rumors of Archer returning to Star Trek in the near future….maybe he will finally fulfill that dream.
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: Rogue Planet
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Late To The Game 5/31/2021
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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