Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Enterprise

"Stigma"

**1/2

Air date: 2/5/2003
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You can pull it out now." — Feezal to Trip, eye-roll-inducing sexual reference that proves the writers can't keep a straight face for an entire serious hour

In brief: A reasonable message show, but somehow still lacking, and a little too obvious on its limited-scope terms.

After "Stigma" fades to black, there's a brief insert that provides a toll-free number and explains how you can get more information about HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, this week's episode of The Dead Zone ends with an informational card that urges people to donate blood to the American Red Cross. What is this, Message-Show Info-Card Week?

I tend to resent these informational tack-ons, because they snap me right out of the drama, as if to say: Look, dummy! This is the message! A good allegory or message show should stand on its own; when I see these informational cards I feel like the creators are assuming I'm too dense to realize that there was a message behind the storyline.

But that's just me.

As allegories go, "Stigma" is watchable, well-intended, and earnest — in a zero-subtlety kind of way. It's also a little too by-the-numbers and feels curiously dated in its message and technique. There was a lot of publicity prior to the airing of "Stigma," and I think that's a telling sign. This story has taken up a cause and the Paramount publicity machine seems to see this as the franchise's great return to social commentary. Actor John Billingsley was recently quoted as saying Enterprise should do more allegories and commentary. I am in agreement with him. But when the publicity department has to work overtime to tell people that Trek is going to be making social commentary in an upcoming episode, it's only demonstrating how the franchise has lost some of its relevance.

"Stigma" — which I'm scoring as a near-miss — takes the social commentary route to a point of obviousness that won't much challenge a forward-thinking audience. These days, the best-working message shows are ones that tackle current situations head-on without the need for an allegorical surface (generally because they are set in present time and circumstances). Law & Order: Special Victims Unit recently did a show about stem-cell research on human embryos that was so disturbing in its depiction of ethics while so even-handed in its thematic approach that I was literally amazed. I was not amazed by "Stigma." The message is never in doubt or demanding of much scrutiny; it essentially boils down to "prejudice is bad." Not exactly cutting-edge stuff, and in 2003 it's not like we have to hide behind sci-fi metaphors to deal with current issues like the original show did in 1967.

That said, "Stigma" is, after all, set in the Star Trek universe where we don't face these kinds of problems head-on because they no longer exist in human society. And to be fair, I'm not sure that Star Trek — even Enterprise — has the option to jettison the allegorical framing method to deal with a current-day issue like HIV/AIDS. The metaphor for the disease here is a stigmatized Vulcan condition called Pa'nar Syndrome, and the metaphor for (apparently) the homosexual minority is that of a Vulcan minority who engage in the forbidden practice of mind-melds. We learn that T'Pol contracted Pa'nar Syndrome when she mind-melded with Tolaris in last year's "Fusion."

Let's take a look at the central analogy.

The analogy, if you take it literally, seems to say this: You don't have to be part of a certain "minority" to contract HIV, but HIV is predominantly spread by this certain "minority," which is shunned by an intolerant society. Perhaps I'm taking an unwarranted leap of logic in believing the writers were drawing a connection between the Vulcan minority and the human minority of homosexuals. And perhaps I'm taking the allegorical intent here too literally. Then again, perhaps not.

One logical hang-up with this allegory (as I've interpreted it) is that it doesn't hold true enough to current events. In the United States, yes, HIV is more common among gay men. But that certainly isn't the case worldwide, particularly in countries like South Africa, where HIV is a sprawling epidemic infecting 20 percent of the adult population — primarily because of insufficient prevention programs and resources.

Or perhaps mind-melding Vulcans aren't a metaphor specifically for homosexuals; perhaps they're a metaphor for generally risky behavior like unprotected sex or drug use ... although I tend to doubt it, since the episode takes to task that of Vulcan bigotry — bigotry of a specifically defined minority. (In the story, only those who engage in the taboo are vulnerable to the disease, which is not the case with HIV if homosexuality is the taboo in question.) But then that's the problem with bigotry in the first place, isn't it? Gays are individuals, not a blanket group to be associated with HIV merely because of sexual orientation. The variable in HIV prevention is behavior that puts you at risk, not whether you sleep with the same or opposite sex.

If the Vulcans discover T'Pol's condition, they are certain to recall her just for having contracted Pa'nar Syndrome, even though she doesn't actually belong to the minority of mind-melders. T'Pol would likely lose her career and be shunned by Vulcan society for having engaged in taboo behavior. Furthermore, we find that the Vulcan medical community isn't working to find a cure for Pa'nar Syndrome because they don't approve of those who have it, on the account they're behaving against the norms of Vulcan society. This is a rather harsh policy. After all, it's not as if AIDS research has been halted because governments don't feel a need to cure those who were unlucky enough to contract it, or because they don't agree with the behavior of some who have it. The problem with AIDS is not that we don't care about a cure, but that we are not yet capable of providing one.

One thing that doesn't come across adequately in the episode is how the stigma of HIV/AIDS is not entirely an issue of either behavior or sexual orientation. The Vulcans are more adverse here to the behavior of mind-melds, whereas the stigma of HIV in the real world is about the disease itself — because of fear of death and concern for safety, and because of shame and ignorance, in addition to the other stigmatized issues revolving around gender bias, sexual morality, or homophobia.

Granted, an allegory doesn't have to perfectly mirror its true subject. (Much of this review is for the sake of discussion.) But by making so much of this show about the Vulcans' intolerance for mind-melders, it seems to me this episode somewhat misses a big point it really ought to be making, which is: On a worldwide scale, AIDS is indeed stigmatized, but there are larger issues, with the biggest current obstacle being the lack of adequate prevention programs and education, especially in developing countries. The somewhat tunnel-vision approach of "Stigma" seems to arise mostly from an Americanized civil rights standpoint.

Having said all that, "Stigma" enjoys a certain level of success and is certainly not a waste of time. By wearing its message on its sleeve, it at least can spark some renewed discussion and awareness of an important topic. That alone is worth something. And in terms of the surface storyline, there's a certain shock in seeing this level of intolerance in Vulcan society, which employs some almost police-state tactics in confronting T'Pol. I'm not so sure I like it (it pushes this series' humans closer to the moral benchmark, when humans should be learning rather than teaching), but I'm also intrigued by it, and particularly by a line by Vulcan Dr. Yuris (Jeffrey Hayenga), who says of Vulcan society, "There's more intolerance now than there was a thousand years ago. It has to stop." I'm also interested in learning how the mind-meld will eventually be embraced by the future Vulcan society we know will emerge.

And worth mention is Jolene Blalock turning in one of her best performances to date. T'Pol, facing a grueling situation and stumbling across more Vulcan intolerance than she has the stomach for, looks like she's been hit with a hammer. Blalock's performance is subtle, restrained, and internalized, carefully revealing evident emotion without stepping too far into the realm of the outright emotional. It's impressive work, and watching T'Pol stand her moral ground as the consequences come flying at her is somewhat inspiring.

There's also an amiable but largely irrelevant B-story, where one of Phlox's wives visits the ship to help install a sophisticated microscope in sickbay. Her name is Feezal, played by Melinda Page Hamilton, who has an absolutely irresistible smile that she wears in every single scene. Feezal constantly hits on Trip, which of course Our Southern Gentleman is hugely uncomfortable with. My one question about this subplot was why it wasn't obvious to Trip, as it was certainly obvious to me, that Phlox would encourage Trip to pursue Feezal's advances, seeing as it is common knowledge that Denobulans are polygamists. The subplot is pleasant but slight, and a distraction from the episode's more serious content.

I could've done completely without Mayweather's pointless dialog in sickbay about sports involving melon-throwing and wild animals, which comes dangerously close to insulting racial stereotyping. What exactly is the point of this ludicrous dialog? (The trivial mistreatment or non-treatment of this series' only black character is becoming a constant thorn in my side, I must say.)

The bottom line is, as message shows go, this one is pretty average, and might've benefited from some wider perspectives. Writing this review felt like time well spent, as did doing a little Web research to remind myself of the current global impact of AIDS. But I didn't really get those benefits from the episode itself, if you see what I mean. "Stigma" stakes out precious little new territory, especially compared to what else is on television today.

Maybe it's enough that the episode is a catalyst for thought rather than a deep or subtle analysis in its own right. Maybe I'm being too hard on a sincere allegory. I don't know. I just invariably find myself thinking back to that stem-cell episode of L&O:SVU. That was a show where moral positions were not so clear-cut and obvious, where problems were complex, controversial, difficult, and unsettling. It was a show that was daring and original as issue shows go — something that "Stigma" is not.

In that regard, it's sort of a shame that "prejudice is bad" is about the only message "Stigma" ends up with. The message isn't bad (and, indeed, the intentions are good), but it's too obvious and typical of Star Trek. AIDS in the real world is a social issue where the stigma is only part of the problem, and not even the most important part.

Footnote: In the spirit of sending non-subtle messages, I will end this review with my own informational tag, and encourage readers to visit www.avert.org for more information on the global impact of HIV and AIDS.

Next week: A new Vulcan/Andorian conflict, with Archer in the middle.

Previous episode: Dawn
Next episode: Cease Fire

Season Index

25 comments on this review

Stef - Mon, Sep 10, 2007 - 3:51am (USA Central)
I pretty much agree with your review. But I wonder if you've missed the point slightly? I got the heavy-handed and obvious allegory regarding homosexulaity and AIDS, but I thought it was talking about attitudes back in the mid 1980s. Way back then, AIDS was a "gay disease". According to the media and general thinking, only homosexuals could catch it. T'Pol is obviously not of the 'minority', and yet has contracted the disease. THAT is the allegory I thought this episode was about. It was about society discovering that anyone is capable of catching it, and attitudes had better change.

This is similar to Far Beyond The Stars in some respects. It is supposed to be showing how far we have come (Or that we still haven't come far enough, depending on your views).

None of this detracts from the mediocrity of the episode however.
robgnow - Wed, Jul 9, 2008 - 8:01pm (USA Central)
As Stef points out, my impressions when I first watched this episode was that this was an allegory for the 80's view of AIDS with the "mind-melders" standing in for the gay population (of which, I am one). It led me to not really enjoy the episode much for its own merits, because it feels like the 'message' was one that we've gotten and moved on from (or at least any ST fan had already gotten and moved on from, and who else would be watching the episode). It also has that feeling of being a toss to the gay fans who have lamented for ages (since at least TNG) that there has never been a gay crewmember included in any of the series or movies. And as per usual, it's not appreciated. I'd rather they just ignore the gay issue completely than half-heartedly throw a metaphor out there to us... it's insulting in this post QaF, post Will & Grace era.
Jakob M. Mokoru - Wed, Oct 8, 2008 - 4:35am (USA Central)
Well, I didn't notice an allegory - perhaps because I've been too annoyed about Enterprises portrayal of Vulcans. They are not at all comparable to the great Vulcans I grew up with: Spock and Sarek. (Tuvok was good, but not great!)

I begin to see the point of Roddenberry insisting in NOT having a regular vulcan in TNG because Spock set the standard so high that you could hardly tell anything new. Enterprise proves this. What's this mind-melding-minority - nonsense anyway?
Rachael - Fri, May 15, 2009 - 12:45am (USA Central)
Agreed with the other commenters that the allegory seemed to be much more about the original 80's attitude towards AIDS. I thought this was a decent episode, but I kept thinking to myself how courageous and edgy it would have been if it had aired in 1993 instead of 2003. As it is, our attitudes towards AIDS and homosexuality - though FAR from perfect - have come so far as to render the social commentary here a bit dull.
Noam - Tue, Jun 30, 2009 - 5:59pm (USA Central)
I actually kinda liked this episode and would have given it 3, maybe even 3.5 stars (it's certainly better than the few previous ones).

I think the main problem of the allegory is that it is kind of "in the middle" - on the one hand, it's a too obvious AIDS/Gay allegory. On the other hand, the discrepancies with this specific allegory (some of which you've mentioned) are not enough to make this episode into a more general discussion on bigotry (but still saves it from being totally uninteresting).
This episode reminded me strongly of TNG's "The Outcast", which at the time was very significant but now (I watched it not so long ago) would have gotten just about the same response.

What did bother me somewhat was making people of this minority not only the ones practicing, but also the only ones capable of initiating a mind meld. it seems inconsistent with what we've seen in previous series. however, this could be explained as a mistake due to the shunning of the practice and loss of knowledge.

This time I really liked the portrayal of the vulcans. It shows us part of why humans have become so dominant in the federation. The humans might not be the most advanced technologically but they do have something to bring into this mix besides a good appetite for knowledge and adventure.

And I also really liked the B-plot because I think it fitted very well in this episode. On the A-plot we think "oh, humans are so open-minded about sexual practice" and than we're given polygamy on the B-plot... and while trip doesn't disapprove of it, he still cannot see himself fitting into it. I think that's a very nice contrast (and it also makes this episode lighter).

And my god, they don't even let Travis finish his story!
Remco - Mon, Nov 2, 2009 - 12:34pm (USA Central)
Luckily, I was still a baby during the 80s, so I didn't really get the gay metaphor. I only got a generic discrimination theme. Maybe that made me enjoy the episode more, because it rings true on its own terms. The way Vulcans react is believable because of some very good use of continuity. The storylines of the past season and a half set this episode up very well.
Elliot Wilson - Thu, Feb 18, 2010 - 8:01pm (USA Central)

@Remco: So was I? What year were you born? I was 11/08/87.

I'll have to watch this. While not gay myself, I still think they should have the same basic rights as anybody else. As for the Vulcans appearing OoC, well the creators of DS9 said they had to let the series evolve or it would have died out (which might explain why it's floundering now...) and Gene would have understood even though I think he would NOT have and kept back the really great things about DS9 ("In the Pale Moonlight,", "Tacking into the Wind," etc.)

However, I think their mistakes here was it was not done... well smoothly. From what it sounds like anyway. I'll watch this episode and get back to you...........
Josh - Fri, Oct 22, 2010 - 7:02pm (USA Central)
I thought this was a pretty good episode, albeit I agree the message is dated.

Whether you agree with certain lifestyles or not, everyone is entitled to basic compassion. I think that is what T'Pol's message is. And it is a perfectly wonderful message.

The funny thing WAS the B-Story that said that Trip was too worried about "human morality." Someone hit on this already. This was odd and it seemed to counter the argument that we humans want everyone to be treated equally and have the same opportunities. So, I found this interesting.

I would easily give this 3
Carbetarian - Fri, Dec 17, 2010 - 10:49pm (USA Central)
Poor Travis... Reduced to babbling on about melons and monkeys. Yeah, I agree with Jammer. His treatment is starting to bother me too.
driverdown - Wed, Mar 23, 2011 - 3:03am (USA Central)
I can see your complaints, but the fact is that there is still a huge social stigma surrounding the virus everywhere but in enlightened left-wing and politically correct discourse, and you are right to say it largely has to do with a lack of education on the subject. That said, the reality remains this: The reason why the gay community is more at risk is tangible and scientifically proven. It does not mean anything about homosexuality or say that a straight person cannot get it, but there are actual physiological reasons why certain practices but you more at risk and anal intercourse is just about as risky as you can get. The episode handled the allegory as smoothly as they could by having it be possible for those outside of that minority to get it despite the fact that they are not in the most at-risk group, and rape is one of the reasons why HIV is so prevalent in Africa. Sexual violence is a huge problem in almost all areas that the virus has spread, and rape is more likely to transmit it because it is more likely for the friction to draw blood similarly to anal. In many places in Africa people lie to themselves and others about having it, perpetuate lies about it being limited to gays and sometimes even believe that sleeping with an uninfected person can cure it. These are all facts, and I think, all things considered, that the writers incorporated a fair bit of depth into the allegory and did a better job than I expected. The fact that they addressed rape as being a common method for transmission showed that they actually had some understanding of the subject and were trying to go the extra mile by not having a two-dimensional or typical angle. Hope this clarifies things for some.

Another dimension to this that is a little more fringe but still relevant - there is some evidence to support that the government has withheld information about a cure and/or been partially responsible in the spread of the virus. If you compare transmission rates with the actual prevalence in certain areas, the numbers simply don't add up, and even if this isn't true, it is certainly in many western powers interests to diminish the population of their previously occupied territory that is chock full of what is left of the Earth's dwindling natural resources. I'm not saying I have a concrete theory on this or that I necessarily swallow any conspiracy thrown my way, but I think that the episode references the urban folklore and circumstantial evidence surrounding the spread of HIV by hinting at goverment involvement or indifference was ballsy and refreshing - the second time I really think someone behind the scenes was trying to rock the boat at all after "Dear Doctor".
Kate - Sat, Sep 17, 2011 - 10:21pm (USA Central)
I thought this was a decent episode. I did not expect for T'Pol to refuse to admit how she contracted the disease. I found her reasoning interesting, to say that if she used the fact that she was coerced be a way to avoid punishment, she would be indirectly supporting the belief that mind-melds are wrong.

An issue I had was that in the prior episode where she actually engaged in the mind meld, she did so willingly. It was only after the meld had begun that she wanted to want to stop the meld, but he wouldn't let her. So, to me, this was a continuity issue, to say she was forced. Also, when I went back to the episode, she acted like she had never heard of a mind meld before, which seems to go against her present knowledge of her culture's distaste of this practice.

Anyway, yes I guess the message wasn't so ground-breaking, but it was still interesting. I thought that it was a good point by one of the commentators that the subplot was sort of the other side of the coin. Humans being open-minded in the main plot, compared to humans not being so open-minded in the sub plot.

I found it amusing when the two Denobulans said "Humans" and laughed together, after Trip acted so uncomfortable about the doctor's wife's advances towards him. Even though, I very much so do not approve of Polygamy. I don't because of the fact that I have heard of many first or second wives being upset when hearing of an additional wife. I believe that due to our human nature, we are hurt when there is an additional spouse. Moreso though, the fact that polygamy is allowed for men but not for women in these cultures is what I find the most indicative of it being unfair and wrong. Of course, if a culture handled it such as the Denobulans do, with obviously no hurt feelings and polygamy with both genders, then I could support it. But from everything I've heard of it currently in our world, I don't.

Anyway, ultimately, I think this episode was good. While it may seem obvious in its "Stereotyping is bad" message, you can see from some of the comments that it did bring up some dialogue. If an episode can bring up dialogue, then I think it's a good one.

I wasn't aware of the homosexuality reference. I do remember thinking "this seems familiar" but didn't quite connect the dots. Also, I don't think we've had a Star Trek episode before that dealt with this particular social issue, so that is another reason I think this episode was good.
Cloudane - Sun, Sep 25, 2011 - 2:51pm (USA Central)
I like what this episode tried to do (the allegory to HIV and homosexuality was glaringly obvious whether intended or not, and the general anti-bigotry message is appreciated) but it brings back the same complaint I've always had about how homosexuality is handled in Trek - always indirectly.

It seems to me that homosexuality has been "cured" in the Trek timeline (but quite notably not in DS9's 'dirty' mirror universe, mind you!) as it's only ever vaguely and indirectly handled - be it Riker and the female-looking androgynous species, Dax with a previous host's wife, Odo doing a link with a male changeling etc - none of these are really direct, there's always an excuse... she looked female, they're feelings of a previous host, links are intimate but not necessarily sexual by any of our definitions... etc etc.

Sometimes it's treated like a joke. Q appeared in Picard's bed, ho ho! Quark dressed up as a woman, ho ho! Note how they are always very clear that male-male relations would be highly unusual and unthought of, and always laughed off or treated by the character as icky.

It didn't need to be Torchwood and turn the gay into the majority and completely drown viewers in homosexuality, but for a supposedly forward-looking franchise it's disappointing to see that Trek was so backwards as to constantly allege to this "issue" instead of doing what it would have done in the TOS era with black people: deal with it directly. Just put homosexuals in there, acting normally, and do not bat an eyelid. Just "hey, in the future, they're treated as equals and nobody gives it a single thought"

Episodes like this with the strong allegories or DS9's mirror universe, really wave the "homosexuality has been 'cured' in our universe and timeline" thing in your face (even if that's not intended), and that rubs me the wrong way.

I'd give it about the same rating.
Scott of Detroit - Thu, Aug 2, 2012 - 7:33am (USA Central)
I like this episode. I know that it's not a completely compatible metaphor, but I think the message is still completely applicable to the AIDS\HIV situation as well as other situations.

In the early days of AIDS\HIV it was thought of a homosexual disease. Then it turned into a disease of homosexuals, drug users, and the promiscuous.

Even today there is still a great stigma when it comes to AIDS\HIV. All though it's manageable it's a diagnosis that still caries a shorter lifespan.

AIDS\HIV is very preventable, and that combined with its profoundly negative health consequences account for the present day stigma.

This episode has some valuable lessons in it, including tolerance, acceptance, and wanting to reach out and help people even if some of those people are part of a lifestyle you may choose to not be a part of.

I also very much liked the moral lesson with Flox and Trip. To Flox it was completely normal for his wife to pursue Trip. And in the inverse it was perfectly normal for Trip to not want relations with a married woman. In the end they both understood and respected the moral differences between the two cultures.

This also applies to a society where polygamy and homosexuality is so hated. The moral lesson applies, if you don't want to have multiple partners or if you don't want to engage in relations with someone of a certain sex, then it's your choice, as it's the choice of others to do contrary.

I never watched this episode on TV, so I never got to see the HIV\AIDS hotline part at the end. However, I can see where that might be a little too "in your face" of a message. I think it also might narrow minds on what this message could apply to.

But more to the episode, I agree with others about the glaring continuity issue. T'Pol willingly started the mind-meld, so she got the disease willingly. The facts were changed to fit the plot of the episode, and they didn't even really need to be.

So really, T'Pol was the one damaging the minority more with her false mind-rape claim.

I'm also still frustrated by how much of an ass that Archer is, and how he has no respect for T'Pol's personal space. His short temper comes up again in this episode. It's so frustrating to watch this bumbling hothead-idiot commanding humanity's most prized possession.
CeeBee - Wed, Aug 29, 2012 - 5:57pm (USA Central)
Is it just me or is the combination of the A- and B- story less than optimal? The A-story tells us something about prejudice against people with a HIV-like infection, and the B-story tells us something about how you should enter casual sexual contact without too much pondering about the consequences. I wonder if the writers realized how these diseases spread.

Another thing that baffled me was that Archer didn't seem to know that she was "assaulted" by the Tolaris guy from the Vulcan renegade ship. Didn't he fight it out with the guy? Aren't the gears all turning in his head or did I miss something? I found his amnesia disturbing, let alone that of the writers.

Third thing I didn't understand is the knowledge about mindmelts. I can remember T'Pol didn't have a clue what mindmelding is, now she not only knows it - as she was obviously a victim of it - but she also knows it's a taboo on Vulcan. It's like knowing how to get the influenza virus but not knowing what the flu is. Weird.

And I don't like the way the Vulcans were portrayed here -again. I thought they were logical and unemotional, not bigoted and full of anger.
Annie - Sun, Nov 18, 2012 - 8:05pm (USA Central)
I thought it was a bit of a cheat how the Vulcan minority told the panel that T'Pol didn't consent to the mind meld, so that T'Pol got to take the high ground but didn't face the consequence of losing her commission.

I'm really warminv up to Trip. I think Connor has great timing. Travis... what is the point?
Peremensoe - Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - 8:03am (USA Central)
I believe everyone is misusing the term "polygamy" above.

Polygamy (multiple wives) and polyandry (multiple husbands)--forms of plural marriage--and polyfidelity (mutually committed relationships with more than one person, which may also be a plural marriage)... none of these describe what Phlox and his wife are doing here.

The Denobulans practice plural marriage, yes, but they *also* do not link marriage with sexual exclusivity. Phlox's wife wanted to jump Trip's bones, not marry him, so the "polygamy" really has nothing to do with it. In Earth terms they have an "open marriage"--except that there's no significance in that; apparently all Denobulan marriages are that.

It's just an entirely different cultural institution. As far as I can tell, Denobulan spouses also have no assumption of any shared householding. It's not really practical, given that there's no limit on the number of people who can be linked as spouses, and spouses-of-spouses, and so on. Basically their marriages share only two elements with our own prevailing culture's understanding: they are formalized relationships of love, and they sometimes produce children. That's it.
Peremensoe - Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - 8:20am (USA Central)
Oops, that should be "polygyny" to start the second paragraph above. Polygamy includes both polygyny and polyandry, in which the plurality is only for one gender, as well as more flexible polyfidelitous forms.

In any case, the point about the Denobulans stands: Phlox's wife coming on to Trip was not a function of their approach to marriage. Non-procreative sexual partnering is *unrelated* to marriage.
mark - Mon, Feb 18, 2013 - 2:36pm (USA Central)
ENT's continuing portrayal of Vulcans as smug assholes is becoming tedious. And I would go so far as to add that it was one of the big factors that turned off the audience.

And though I liked Jolene's performance here, when T'Pol was informed she would be taken away from Enterprise I found myself asking, "Why is it such a big deal to her? Why exactly does she even want to remain aboard Enterprise anyway?" I've been watching the entire series in order and I still haven't seen a moment in which T'Pol seems genuinely comfortable among the crew and really content to be serving aboard this ship. I blame the writers for this, I guess, but Blalock's style has taken aloofness to unheard of levels, and that has to be a contributing factor.
Nebula Nox - Mon, Apr 15, 2013 - 11:27pm (USA Central)
For various reasons, I'm watching this for the first time now.

I think Enterprise suffers from the fact that we know where it is going. So it tends to be pleasant, but we have already peeked at the end; we can't help it, we know where it's going.

Lt. Yarko - Wed, May 15, 2013 - 1:21am (USA Central)
I thought this was a great episode, although, yeah, most of the world was past needing this lesson when the episode came out. Now, of course, I feel like I'm watching a years old show. Oh wait... I am.

I'm a little pissed about what they were doing to the Travis character as well. In another comment someone suggested that the producers might have figured out that the actor wasn't very good so they limited his screen time. But that turns him into just a token (reference to south park intended). I don't care how bad his acting is. It can't be as bad as Checkov's was in that terrible original series episode The Apple. Watching Chekov fawn all over that woman was embarrassing. Certainly they could have Travis do SOMETHING regardless of how bad his acting is. I really hope to see him do something before I finish watching this series.
Sintek - Mon, Jun 3, 2013 - 8:17pm (USA Central)
I prefer T'Pol here over the late S3 and S4 puppy dog eyed T'Pol.
Sintek - Mon, Jun 3, 2013 - 8:20pm (USA Central)
Lt. Yarko,

the best use of his character, and the best performance by Montgomery, is in the 4th season episode "Observer Effect".
Trevor - Sat, Jan 11, 2014 - 6:26pm (USA Central)
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Phil - Sat, Jan 11, 2014 - 6:27pm (USA Central)
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Nigel - Sat, Jan 11, 2014 - 6:27pm (USA Central)
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