That time we learned that Vulcans invented velcro. Originally broadcast on September 25, 2002, this is Carbon Creek.
Captain’s Log date April 12, 2152 oh and the late 1950’s too!
Celebrating her first year on Enterprise, T’Pol tells Archer and Tucker a story about the true ‘First Contact’ between Vulcans and Humans when a Vulcan survey ship crash landed in Carbon Creek Pennsylvania. We then flash back to the Vulcans T’Mir, Stron and Mestral, seeing their time on Earth trying to acclimate while not drawing attention to themselves. Managing to send a distress signal, the team end up saving the lives of some miners who are trapped in a mining collapse and T’Pol’s great grandmother sells some of their ships ‘Velcro’ to a manufacturing plant in order to help some of the local humans go to college. When help finally arrives, Mestral decides to remain on Earth to study humanity and T’Mir decides to tell the Vulcan Government that both he and the Captain died in the crash.
In the end Trip and Archer believe that T’Pol is telling them a tall tale but when she goes back to her quarters we discover that this story was in fact true as she still has her great grandmothers handbag from 1957.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is probably one of my favorite episodes of this series. While it plays a bit with the timeline it does so in a way that works perfectly within the confines of canon giving us a tremendous tale of Alien visitors in a small American town. Carbon Creek separates itself from the normal ‘alien of the week’ story by giving us a chance to explore a moment in the past that somewhat explains the multiple ‘Alien’ sightings that we experience on a normal occurrence. I love the idea that Vulcans have been watching us and studying us, waiting for the moment for us to finally reach maturity as a species. It really only makes sense as how else would they know to hang around our solar system in case we happened to launch a warp vessel at some point. Sure, they claim that the Vulcans that detected Cochrans ship was ‘just passing by’ but, after watching this episode, I have to wonder.
One other thing this episode explains is T’Pol’s affinity for human kind. It has been noted that she has ‘broken the record’ for a Vulcan serving on a human ship and we also saw that she was attracted to Jazz while living on Earth herself. It is very possible that she picked up her love of Human culture from her grandmother T’Mir as it seems T’Mir has a significance to her seeing that T’Pol has her grandmothers purse. One other possibility, although very unlikely, is that T’Mir and T’Pol were not just played by the same actor but were, in fact, the same person. There is a question as to T’Pol’s actual age in the series at this point with Archer even noting that ‘it is classified’. So…maybe this story means more to her than anyone really realizes.
Overall, this is a tremendous episode that really opens the door for some other cool stories, especially with the fact that Mestral chose to remain on Earth. What did he do on the planet? Did he live long enough to witness First Contact, was he somehow involved with the rather sudden technological boom in computer technology? Honestly, I would love to see a few more stories about him and his time on Earth. If you want a really well done one off episode that really proves some fantastic back story for the Trek Universe, this is one you should absolutely watch.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- There are some interesting parallels between this episode and one of my favorite Star Trek books entitled ‘Strangers From the Sky’ which also told a story of how Vulcans visited Earth before official First Contact.
- The idea that Vulcans invented and provided Velcro to Earth is amazing but also implies that T’Mir had no issues violating the Vulcan Prime Directive…even just a little.
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: Minefield
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Late To The Game 6/25/2021
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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