Star Trek: Enterprise
Air date: 9/25/2002
Teleplay by Chris Black
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Dan O'Shannon
Directed by James Contner
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"I've been filling out your annual crew evaluation. Just a formality."
"I understand. The High Command has requested my evaluation of you. Just a formality."
— Archer and T'Pol
Note: This episode was rerated from 2 to 1.5 stars when the season recap was written.
In brief: An acting-dependent outing that simply doesn't have the acting it needs.
"Carbon Creek" is one of the quietest episodes in a very long time, which makes for a good change of pace after the action-laden "Shockwave, Part II." It's unfortunate, then, that the episode is such a quietly unfolding road to nowhere. Here's an episode so muted it seems dead.
Episodes like this should be affecting. This one feels more like a meditation upon episodes that are affecting. It's a pretender, an imitation — good intentions not supported by adequate content or performances. The problem is not that it's bad. The problem is that it doesn't have enough in it that's actually good.
The episode is perhaps the series' biggest test yet for Jolene Blalock, and I'm sorry to say that it fully reveals her limitations. She is simply not engaging here — as either of the two characters she plays — and the episode suffers as a result. My most fundamental reaction to "Carbon Creek" is to wonder why Blalock constantly comes across as a bland vessel of robotic Vulcan dialog. There's something wrong when you want to reach into the TV, shake the actress, and shout, "Just speak UP, for crying out loud!" If Blalock spoke any softer, and with any less variation in expression, her dialog would be completely inaudible.
The writers on Voyager would avoid putting Tuvok and Seven of Nine in dialog scenes together because, the writers said, their similar dispassionate style of speech made scenes stall dramatically. There were so few Tuvok/Seven scenes that I would say this was a theory (albeit a rational one) more than an actual fact supported by evidence. Imagine that theory as a truth here, with many scenes comprised solely of two, and sometimes three, Vulcan characters locked in dialog scenes, betraying as close to no emotion as possible. Just cool detachment and prefab opinions. My own theory is that you can watch only so much cool detachment before you start squirming with impatience — and beating yourself over the skull with frying pans to be sure you are still alive — but that's just me.
Blalock plays her part so relentlessly one-note that I longed for anything that would break through the cool detachment. I don't have a problem with Vulcan dispassion per se (though I still maintain that complete dispassion in performance is an unnecessary approach to Vulcans); what I have a problem with is dispassion portrayed in a way that allows for no audience reaction.
Underneath the performances is a story whose main goal is to be a lightweight, pleasant diversion about events long since passed into the realm of legend. The story concept reminded me a lot of Voyager's "11:59," in which Janeway told her crew a story about the turning point for one of her ancestors in the final days of the year 2000. In the case of "Carbon Creek," T'Pol tells Archer and Trip a story about the "real" unintended first contact between the Vulcans and humanity, in 1957 in the Podunk mining town of Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania.
T'Pol's great-grandmother T'Mir (Blalock) was part of a crew of four on a small ship observing the launch of Soviet satellite Sputnik. There was an accident, and the ship crashed in the woods a few kilometers from Carbon Creek. The captain was killed, leaving T'Mir in command of crewmates Mestral (J. Paul Boehmer, who was very good as the title character in Voyager's "Drone") and Stron (Michael Krawic). The story says these characters are forced to go to Carbon Creek so they don't starve to death, but the actors don't play it as if they're the least bit affected by having gone days without food. There's also not an iota of concern that some human out hiking or hunting might happen to come across, say, a crashed alien spaceship in the woods. (Was the ship salvaged at the end of the episode? Destroyed? The story is unconcerned.)
T'Mir is a T'Pol clone that for all purposes might as well be T'Pol, which perhaps hints at Blalock's limits; in Voyager's "Life Line" Robert Picardo played two distinct roles that were believable as two different characters, despite their similarities.
The show is slow to move ahead and instead opts for the slice-of-life approach, including a scene where the script apparently said, "Vulcan plays a game of pool," and was intent on actually seeing this scene drawn out into a highlight montage, as if we cared who won the game. If I wanted to see billiards, I'd watch Jeanette Lee compete on ESPN2. Jeanette Lee is a billiards player of extreme, impressive skill. Plus, she's freaking hot.
Anyway. The problem here is that the episode does nothing at all new or fascinating and is content to fall back on cliché, most especially with the whole "Vulcans are fish out of water trying to blend in" (a scene where T'Mir puts a dress on backwards is just plain dumb) and the "Vulcans among humans begin to learn what humans are about." The latter theme — admittedly palatable despite the lack of depth — is largely filtered through Mestral, who finds he really wants to learn about human society, although I might point out that Podunk Creek, Pennsylvania, is probably not representative of the world.
There's a subplot involving a single mom (Ann Cusack) and her son (Hank Harris), who is smart but might not have enough money to go to college. There are even hints of romance between Mom and Mestral. But this subplot is half-baked at best and we really don't get a feel for these characters as individuals. They're more like obvious local flavor based on archetypes.
There's a big decision the Vulcans must make when there's a cave-in down at the mine. Several local miners will perish if a way can't be found to move tons of rock. Mestral wants to use a phaser to vaporize the rock, but T'Pol — I'm sorry — T'Mir recognizes that as blatantly interfering in human society. And what happens if the humans see the technology and the Vulcans are discovered? It's a legitimate dilemma but, let's face it, hardly given any weight. The story's point is ultimately about Mestral and his obsession to study humanity to the point of wanting to live among us. He even stays behind when the Vulcan rescue ship arrives, leaving his fate up to us to ponder. Vulcans Among Us is, no doubt, how special TV programs like Alien Autopsy became possible in the mid-1990s on the Fox network.
The episode contains a line of dialog that made me laugh out loud ("It might be tolerable if her son didn't insist on calling me 'Moe.'"). It also contains an awful line that made me cringe ("I need to go now; I Love Lucy is on tonight."). The story's big quirky comic notion is that the Vulcans helped us invent ... Velcro. How cute. (Note: "How cute" should be read with the inflection of mildly snide venom along with the image of rolling eyes, and concurrent commentary consisting of "Oh, geez.") The Velcro thing comes across exactly as one of those Bright Ideas that the writers were certainly convinced would be Fun. It seems just a little too calculated to me.
I also wonder — just a little bit — if this all tracks with what we know of T'Pol. One would think that if T'Pol had this great-grandmother who passed down this tale of contact with humans, T'Pol might've been more interested in human culture from the outset. Come to think of it, maybe this does track with T'Pol's recent support for Archer and the Enterprise's mission, but it's an odd detail that seems like it would be more defining for the character than it actually is.
But I'm rambling. "Carbon Creek" is the sort of lightweight story that wouldn't be "riveting" even in the best-case scenario. It could've come across as quietly engaging, however, had it contained engaging performances. Unfortunately, it does not, so it's a bit of a bore and I find myself reduced to taking potshots at it for entertainment value. I didn't find this episode the least bit offensive, but when I spend an hour watching Trek and the only emotion I feel is indifference (is indifference an emotion, and perhaps the only emotion Vulcans express?), that's not what I call an episode getting the job done.
Next week: The Enterprise gets blowed up real good!
Previous episode: Shockwave, Part II
Next episode: Minefield
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163 comments on this post
Sat, Jul 18, 2009, 12:11am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 25, 2009, 10:36am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode too. It's memorable, and develops the character of the Vulcans. It was 3 stars IMO. I thought the "I Love Lucy" line was well done and appropriate.
I generally agree with your reviews though.
Wed, Jan 20, 2010, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Jolene Blalock could be said to be performing excellently, if you assume that she is actually portraying a Vulcan. Why would T'Mir have to speak up if at that point the Vulcans have had little contact with other species, and even under extreme pressure, they would still speak calmly and rationally?
I am however biased to the calm episodes of Star Trek, where it is a normal day, filled with the utopian ideals of mutual cooperation and understanding. The explosions and violence are to me an ancillary part of the Star Trek experience. I can see how this episode may seem boring and pointless to an audience that may prefer things to be faster and louder.
As for the hook and loop 'invention', I enjoyed the character transformation, showing how Vulcans do not always follow the 'greater good'.
As an aside, when do humans stop being morons in the Star Trek universe? I'm sure Commander Charles Tucker XII, or however many unimaginative families he is down the line, has a jug in his quarters with three crosses printed on it.
Thu, Jun 17, 2010, 12:15am (UTC -5)
The Velcro thing though - everyone knows Velcro was invented by George de Mestral after seeing the burrs on his dog after a hike. That part was pretty lame.
Wed, Sep 1, 2010, 4:36am (UTC -5)
The vulcans were nicely differentiated - Mestral was keen to interact with the locals, perhaps more than was wise, T'Mir was initially cautious but eventually came round to the idea of helping them, and Stron wanted nothing more than to leave throughout.
The only discordant note for me was that Mestral did not appear to find the smell of humans disgusting, as Vulcans are supposed to. Perhaps he had a bad cold.
Wed, Oct 13, 2010, 9:49am (UTC -5)
You know, this is easily one of the best episodes of Enterprise. It seems to me, by reading the review, that it appears that you are just looking for something to tear it down. ANd since you said that yourself... ;-)
In the end, T'Pol says: "You asked me to tell a story." That's what this story was, and brilliantly told.
Mon, Nov 8, 2010, 4:46am (UTC -5)
It linked vulcans, humans, and the audience. We all know what I Love Lucy was. To me this episode echoed the TOS 'City on the Edge of Forever.'
Star trek was never about the future. It is about our present, how we got here, and where we could potentially go.
Thu, Nov 18, 2010, 4:05am (UTC -5)
I never actually thought to put the blame on the concurrent presence of three Vulcans on screen, but I admit your comparison to Voyager's Tuvok/Seven of Nine scenes rings true. The problem isn't that the Vulcan-Vulcan interactions are bland (they are), but rather that there's nothing interesting happening to these characters.
• "The problem is not that it's bad. The problem is that it doesn't have enough in it that's actually good."
• "quietly unfolding road to nowhere"
A lot of comments which could easily be applied to the entire ST Enterprise series. "I Love Lucy"? Ugh.
Fri, Dec 10, 2010, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
If 11:59 (which was much more bland than this in my opinion) got three stars, this deserves four stars.
Tue, Feb 1, 2011, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 14, 2011, 3:05am (UTC -5)
However, I found Jolene Blalock's acting to nicely portray "Vulcan compassion", kind of like what T'pol's own current personality is like. Furthermore, I really liked the idea of 3 vulcans adapting to the 1950s.
Fri, Jul 1, 2011, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
And thank goodness it was, otherwise it was all sorts of weird and really quite an annoying shake-up of our history.
Obviously it does have that moment right at the end, but I don't really read much into it... there could be any reason she has the handbag thing.
Far from exciting, and not quite what I had in mind with T'Pol's apparent development of humour and emotion, but entertaining enough. 2 stars works for me, 1.5 is maybe a little harsh but not by much!
Could've sworn I'd seen that Mestral before in roles other than the ones listed on Memory Alpha... obviously not... I'm not sure who, maybe he reminded me of that engineer off Voyager.
Wed, Aug 17, 2011, 12:18am (UTC -5)
Really? This episode?
"Half-baked" sums it up well. In fact, it's like an episode of Mork & Mindy heavily diluted by an episode of The Waltons. It takes a stab at every joke you'd find on the former, but quickly snuffs out any maniacal joy that might result by wrapping the jokes in quilted layers of folksy nostalgia from the latter.
This story never follows through with anything. It dabbles in everything while committing to nothing.
I felt like I was watching a summarized version of a story I was expected to know already, a kind of recap. "Then the Vulcan falls for the human and yadda yadda... then the bookish lad discovers the Vulcans have surprising knowledge of math and astronomy and yadda yadda... then the Vulcan engineer with advanced skills in space-flight technology gets a job as a plumber and yadda yadda... then the intellectual Vulcan becomes obsessed with TV pablum and yadda yadda..."
It was like I was supposed to fill in most of the story myself. Which I'm thinking suggests it wasn't all that original a story.
Tue, Aug 23, 2011, 8:13am (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 13, 2011, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 16, 2011, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 7, 2011, 4:06am (UTC -5)
low-key use of technology in their Earth jobs and when Mestral said he was going back to the ship to get a waveform discriminator to enhance the reception of I love Lucy, it got a huge laugh from me.
Wed, Feb 8, 2012, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 1, 2012, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
Quite a few things I would like to comment on have already been commented on by others so I will just say three stars from me.
Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 3:20am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 3:25am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 1, 2012, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
I can't agree with this more so I'll simply go with "I agree 100%":
"... I'm sorry to say that it fully reveals [Jolene Blalock's] limitations. She is simply not engaging here — as either of the two characters she plays — and the episode suffers as a result."
"... Blalock constantly comes across as a bland vessel of robotic Vulcan dialog. There's something wrong when you want to reach into the TV, shake the actress, and shout, "Just speak UP, for crying out loud!" If Blalock spoke any softer, and with any less variation in expression, her dialog would be completely inaudible."
"Blalock plays her part so relentlessly one-note that I longed for anything that would break through the cool detachment."
For me, this perfectly describes the issue with Blalock as T'Pol. Maybe it's the writing, maybe the director is constantly saying "more wooden, speak quieter, make your face more emotionless!" I don't know.
But what I see on the screen is a manikin (at best) mouthing lines. Spock (TOS and 2009) and Tuvok brought character to their supposedly emotionless roles unlike Blalock's T'Pol. The same can be said for the many guest star Vulcans. But she comes across so wooden and monotonic it makes me think she's a robot. Actually Data was a robot and he had way more color than T'Pol even without the emotion chip. I wonder if B&B casting an attractive actress with more acting range would have energized not just the T'Pol character but the Archer-Trip-T'Pol "big three" trio that the show features. Kirk/Spock/McCoy and Picard/Riker/Data were strong big threes - they blew it with ENT and Blalock.
So in summary, I barely watched any of this episode but as a review of T'Pol I completely agree with Jammer's comments.
Tue, Sep 4, 2012, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Besides being a harmless joke in an episode that's meant to be fun, the "Lucy" reference was a nod to Lucille Ball's critical role, as chief executive of Desilu Studios, in approving and supporting the original Star Trek.
Sat, Sep 15, 2012, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 30, 2012, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
So many discrepancies in this series.
Mon, Oct 22, 2012, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
I say Enterprise Vulcans are not Vulcans. Any episode featuring this strange fascimile of Vulcans is an automatic flop from me.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 11:25am (UTC -5)
The first Velcro was completely made from cotton when Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, patented the zipperless zipper 1955. The problem was the cotton hooks quickly stopped doing what Velcro does as they quickly wore out. It wasn't until shortly after Velcro was patented de Mestral discovered that nylon worked much better than cotton (circa 1958) because it didn't wear out nearly as fast with use.
What was presented in Carbon Creek was perfect because Earth science already had nylon (invented in 1935). All T'Mir possibly did was present an improvement on Velcro using that nylon which would have been very valuable. Because of the timing, T'Mir would have made only the smallest influence on Earth science/progress.
A friend of mine did this research, so there should be no more heartache with regard to Menstral and velcro in Carbon Creek.
If more folks educated themselves as opposed to just spewing self promoting vitriol, there would be lots less hatred towards episodes like Carbon Creek and Enterprise in general.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
I watched WNMHGB at the age of 11 when it first aired and have watched every first run Trek episode since. No 'ears', but I am somewhat of a Trek buff.
Jolene Blalock was one of, if not the best actor of the series. I was often impressed by her subtlety of expression as she played the Vulcan persona. Her glance would speak volumes. Her timing of a slightly raised eyebrow, when used, was inspired. Her capture of the character was apparent from her first scene in "Broken Bow" - not even taking the three or four years Nimoy took to establish Spock. Could be Nimoy's 'Spock' was her inspiration.
T'Pol's interest in human culture should not be in question with someone who had a clue about the character, especially her emotional response to jazz.
At the conclusion of "Carbon Creek" I 'shouted,' "Now THAT'S Trek!" The handbag was an emotional touch of pure Trek gold. This Trek fan was most pleased. The episode is easily in my top ten from all of Trek productions.
As my friend alluded, the reviewer appeared to be going for self aggrandizement rather than showing an understanding of what most fans express as important to a good Trek story. There was, indeed, a total failure with the Velcro remarks.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
My first Trek episode was, as aired, "The Man Trap." Excuse my error.
Sun, Dec 9, 2012, 9:39am (UTC -5)
Although I personally felt the Vulcans were far too emotional for what their species is meant to be. Still, I take your point about having too many monotonous drones on screen at one time - hence they tried to spice it up by making 2 of them passive-aggressive and impatient and 1 of them compassionate.
Note: Can someone please explain why Vulcans openly lie on Enterprise? (Unless this is explained later in the series)
Sun, Feb 3, 2013, 12:25am (UTC -5)
My biggest beef with "Enterprise" to date is that so many of the crew are actually kind of stupid and/or are placed in stupid situations by the writers. This was the first episode where no one was downright idiotic. It was incredibly refreshing that people were just being normal to one another, trying their best to be helpful, and not going out of their way to antagonize someone just for the sake of plot machinations.
No other episode has engaged me as much as this one because for the first time, I didn't have to do a mental eye-roll at something on the screen (well, maybe with the exception of the handbag reveal at the end for being such a blunt instrument, but I was so surprisingly pleased already that I forgave that). For me, this was a lovely little story with likable characters and reasonable acting.
Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 10:22am (UTC -5)
(Although I am also a bit torn on Blalock's acting choices. Leonard Nimoy proved that it's possible for Vulcans to be more than automatons and Blalock doesn't quite seem to have found her stride yet. I don't think her performances are anywhere near as limited as you seem to think though. Her T'pol is just rather ascetic.)
Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 9, 2013, 11:15am (UTC -5)
This is a wonderful, heartwarming story. At this point in the series, T'Pol continually takes abuse for being 'Vulcan' even though she has time and time again proved unwavering loyalty to her Captain, the mission and the crew of Enterprise. So why does she put up with this? Until this episode we really had no idea and didn't know much about her background at all.
While she doesn't reveal the 'truth' to Archer and Trip over dinner, she does indicate to us by revealing her "mother's mother's mother's" purse that the story she has told us is true. One can only imagine the impact her grandmother had on a young T'Pol, telling stories of her experiences with humans, etc. Now we can surmise why she volunteered to serve on Enterprise and moreover why she decided to remain aboard when she has had the opportunity to leave. T'Mir was an explorer that ended up gaining firsthand experience with humans while being stranded on Earth in 1957. Humans intrigued her and she passed that curiosity and interest on to her granddaughter.
We see how important education is to T'Mir and we see how she just can't fathom that a brilliant kid wouldn't be afforded an opportunity to receive a higher education. T'Mir's introduction of Velcro technology fit nicely into history as we know it. The first Velcro was completely made from cotton when Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, patented the zipperless zipper 1955. The problem was the cotton hooks quickly stopped doing what Velcro does as they quickly wore out. Nylon had been around since 1935. It wasn't until shortly after Velcro was patented that Mestral discovered that nylon worked much better than cotton (circa 1958) because it didn't wear out nearly as fast with use. Seeing Maggie's expression as she found the money in the tip jar realizing her son could go to college was priceless.
Listening to baseball on the radio, bus rides, 'I Love Lucy', 'Moe', old vehicles, frozen fish sticks, family owned restaurants, the small coal-town atmosphere all added to the realness of this episode. The lighter tone during the encounters between humans and our Vulcans was fun.
It would have been nice for the series to revisit Mestral, but they did not. We can only assume he melded in nicely and contributed to human advancement where he could.
So this episode links Star Trek's future with humanities past and provides back-story for a main character that gives some justification for her continued interest in serving with humans on a star ship. All done with humor and knowledge of our real past that makes this occurrence as plausible as they come in trek.
Well done, Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Dan O'Shannon, well done. So the next time to see T'Pol unveil her Grandmother's purse, I hope you give this review a thought and I hope you might appreciate it a little more.
Sat, May 18, 2013, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
@Joe I: I believe most of the dislike of Enterprise comes from jadedness and unrealistic expectation. None of the ST productions have been perfect, yet most Trek fans generally rate the original episodes much higher than the rest of the series. I don't think this has anything to do with the original episodes being of any better quality. (All but a very few are really just about godawful.) For example, this review dings Blalock for not being dynamic enough, but nowhere in any of Jammer's reviews does he ding Nimoy for being too emotional when he shouldn't be. (Watch the Uhura singing scene in Charlie X to see Nimoy showing plenty of emotion, which bugs me every time I see it.) In my opinion, he is harder on Enterprise than he is on the original series, and I don't know why this is. The fact is that most Trek fans are biased toward the series they first watched and nothing else can possibly compare. Is Enterprise perfect? By no means. But it is still good Trek as far as I am concerned.
Aside: I have noticed a lot of complaint about this series from what I consider to be the extreme nerd end of the fan spectrum that there are terrible problems of continuity with the other series. Some people have claimed that this problem caused them to stop watching the show. Of course, people are free to dislike what they want to dislike, but I think that to not watch the show for this reason is silly. There have to be continuity problems! In the original series, Kirk wrote with a PEN for gods' sakes! This show would totally suck in a major way if Archer had to use pre-60s technology all the time. There is no way a Trek show made in the 2000s could possibly be successful if it truly tried to be a real prequel. It's too bad that people can't just enjoy the show for what it is - a loose interpretation of the earlier timeline. In this respect, I really like it. It's fun. To nitpick continuity seems really - Vulcan.
Fri, May 31, 2013, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
However, in all fairness I am biased: I'm from Pennsylvania. So to see an episode set in a coal mining town from the 50's appealed to me greatly. There is no Carbon Creek, Pa, however at one point one of the Vulcans mentions going to Doylestown to see a baseball game. There is a Doylestown in Pennsylvania, but you couldn't really drive from a coal mining town in the Poconos and back in an afternoon to watch a ball game there.
Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Glad you enjoy Enterprise and agree with your "nerd" comment. I believe over time the series will "get its due".
As for Jolene's intial interpretation of T'Pol. All the Star Trek actors in all the series had to grow into their parts. Jolene is definitly not alone in that department.
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 3:04am (UTC -5)
Plus the I Love Lucy comment could be seen as a direct nod to Desilu studios who made that show and TOS. And the Velcro bit seems to me to be a big reminder of the good Mr Bakula's wonderful last ever episode of Quantum Leap, where he tells those 50s bar people about his newly invented Velcro wallet.
I wonder if the two of the above were deliberate.
Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 3:21am (UTC -5)
It is shocking how little they sometimes achieve despite such an apparently big budget at that time.
Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 3:23am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 19, 2013, 1:49am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Read my posts above concerning Velcro.
Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Redeems the Vulcans somewhat and gives an interesting outsider's perspective on the fifties, and at least wasn't the usual trip back to the nineties!
Mon, Sep 9, 2013, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 24, 2013, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
All in all, I enjoyed watching it and left me wanting just a bit more.
Sat, Apr 26, 2014, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 2, 2014, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 2, 2014, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 11:39am (UTC -5)
Average lifespan for male/female in 1950:
Fri, Oct 31, 2014, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
It's too bad Jammer didn't like the show, but he's entitled to hiw own opinion. I do disagree though with his appraisal of Blalock's acting range. I also think this character was clearly a different character than T'Pol. She was much more "Vulcan" in this episode; she was more emotionally restrained in her reactions and more oriented towards tradition than T'Pol typically is.
Tue, Nov 4, 2014, 1:19am (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 26, 2014, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 9, 2015, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
1) T'Pol's great grandmother was T'Mir so logically, it appears that her grandmother's name would have started as T'N and her mother would have started as T'O, thus resulting in T'Pol being her name. To me, that had to be intended by the writers.
2) I was left wondering if the boy did anything of significant since he was able to go to college?
3) This was brought up by Trip, how was Menstral able to stay under the radar for 150 years? He would have had to reinvent his identify every 5 to 10 years and move at that time. When he passed away, it would already have been past 2063 so humans already knew about Vulcans at that point.
4) T'Mir lied to the captain at the end, wasn't Vulcans incapable of a complete lie? (except only with interest of the mission aka Tuvok when he was undercover with the Maquis)
Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Vulcans are quite capable of lying, though they find it distasteful so they rarely do so unless necessary.
I was surprised to see this rated so low, I believe it is probably my favorite episode of Enterprise. I found it very enjoyable, much more so than the usual drek this series served up about evil time traveling frogs.
The only thing that really bothered me was that they never mentioned what happened to the ship, or that in all the time they were there no one happened to find it. This was Pennsylvania after all, not the Alaskan wilderness.
Fri, Mar 27, 2015, 5:15am (UTC -5)
I recall one scene involving Seven of Nine & Tuvok.
the two-part episode Year of Hell. They showed more chemistry and spark in that one scene than anyone in this entire episode.
Mon, Apr 6, 2015, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 8, 2015, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 9, 2015, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Would you mind explaining?
Mon, Jul 20, 2015, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
As for Vulcans not being able to lie, that was a myth. Spock lied and Tuvok infiltrated the Maquis by lying continually.
As for the complaint that this totally invalidated "First Contact", I disagree. The limited, accidental contact with a primitive, pre-warp Earth was as T'Pol put it merely a "footnote" in history. The "real" First Contact with Zefram Cochrane was still the one that radically altered history and began the relationship between Vulcan and Earth.
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
Several moments of humor here when one of the Vulcans remarks that a child keeps calling him Moe.(As in Moe of the three stooges.) There is also a nod to Lucile Ball and as most fans might recall she was the one that ok'd the money to make Star Trek:TOS Remember the first season was shot at Desilu.
After interacting with a young man that is obviously intelligent but without the means to go to college TPol somewhat modifies her opinion of humanity and provides the money for him to attend.
The episode ends with the Vulcans being contacted for pickup and one of the Vulcans deciding to stay on Earth due to his facination with humanity. Best episode of the second season and one of the best of the series.
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 19, 2015, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
Exactly, so a better line would have been "typically these humans live to be 60 or 70", not "at best..."
Fri, Jan 29, 2016, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 10, 2016, 8:09am (UTC -5)
Overturning the point of First Contact however, made me a little uncomfortable, which was why the penultimate scene delighted me - and why the last scene didn't. Leaving it as 'just a story' would have been the perfect whimsical end - putting a full stop to it went just a little too far for my taste. 2.5 stars.
Wed, May 25, 2016, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Regardless, love the site and thanks for all the work you put into it.
Sun, May 29, 2016, 2:44am (UTC -5)
Because that's all I see in this review. Hating because the acting is not dramatic enough.
Or maybe someone is just anti-Vulcan and can't see the obvious humor in an all-Vulcan episode, with all their coldly emotional behavior.
Tue, Jun 21, 2016, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
My review says it all, this is a 4 star episode IMO.
Top 10 trek episode for me.
Thu, Aug 11, 2016, 1:50am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 17, 2016, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Yet another example or the weird American provincialism constantly on display in Enterprise, from the airbrushing out of Yuri Gagarin in the opening credits sequence to every first alien contact taking place in the USA, even when the aliens crash while monitoring a Soviet satellite launch.
Mon, Oct 17, 2016, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Well, anyway. Can't disagree more on this review as well... It was one of the best of Enterprise
Sat, Dec 17, 2016, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Con: It's hard to imagine the crash and crash site wouldn't be discovered and they made no attempt to cover those tracks. Not very logical.
I thought it was entertaining and deserved a higher rating.
Tue, Dec 27, 2016, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
First, T'Pol/T'Mir is pretty good in her Vulcan portrayal. It must be tough for any actor to show a lot with expression and limit any emotional display. It was something Nimoy absolutely excelled at, and I'm sure it must be difficult. She mostly does it, especially when her skin-tight leotard instead of a Starfleet uniform doesn't distray this viewer's focus.
I also liked the little reference to I Love Lucy, which I immediately recognized as a nod to Desilu, the studio that developed TOS. The naming of one character Mestral after the actual inventor of Velcro was also pretty clever.
The 1950s small-town setting reminded me of stories such as The Iron Giant and October Sky, and I appreciate being reminded of films like those.
All in all, this was an enjoyable episode, especially as a one-off not related to the ongoing storyline.
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 7, 2017, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Another good review.
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Since T’Pol was repeating a story she’d heard presumably before she had interactions with humans, I’m thinking some of the details of the story she may have originally misunderstood and others, she may have simply been “telling a story”, perhaps knowing some details were inaccurate or unlikely. Then again any inconsistencies were probably just the usual ST plot holes.
One might suspect that the young man who T’Mir helped to go to college may have altered the course of history more than the Velcro contribution. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t identified ;)
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
One question is left unanswered: what about the language barrier? Did the Vulcans already have universal translators back then? And if so, how could it have included Earth English when they just showed up in orbit because of Sputnik?
Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
It is a charming story and I don't think T'Mir/T'Pol's acting is an issue. I also don't have an issue with the 3 Vulcans interacting and despite being almost emotionless, it is clear that they all have distinct personalities, which is refreshing.
There are a number of very compassionate scenes, which the cynical will criticize, but most folks will appreciate. It's a nice change of pace for the show coming after "Shockwave".
I really liked the "I Love Lucy" line, but I too am baffled by how the Vulcans lie in letting Mestral stay behind. Perhaps between ENT and TOS they evolve to not lie although Spock got away with a few.
Of course, with almost every Star Trek show, there are a few holes. The biggest in this case is what happened to the remains of the crashed Vulcan ship which was only a handful of kms away from Carbon Creek.
But overall, an interesting hour of ENT which does have some of the charm of arguably the best Star Trek episode ever "The City on the Edge of Forever". For me, I'd rate it 3/4 stars and can see why some people absolutely love it.
Mon, May 8, 2017, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
This episode is about nostalgy, so forget plotholes and whatever people disliked about "Carbon Creek". Enjoy the jokes. (4*/4*)
Wed, Jul 19, 2017, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this one. It gave me the warm fuzzies with its quiet comfortable sweet little story
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 2:00am (UTC -5)
I've been rewatching key ENT episodes in anticipation of DISCOVERY. Blalock is one of Trek's more underrated actors. Her performance is much more subtle than Tim Russ', and it's up there with Nimoy and Lenard. In fact, in terms of expressing Vulcan kinethestics, I think she tops them.
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 2:01am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 8:46am (UTC -5)
... and I agree about Jolene's performance as T'pol. She did a wonderful job.
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -5)
But as you said, the performances and emotional beats fell short all over the place. The only actor who I felt really lived up to the character they were asked to portray was the guy who played the most open of the Vulcans, Mestral. The other non-T'Pol Vulcan was ok, considering he WAS playing a Vulcan, and his part wasn't too big. But Blalock, the bar owner, and her son were not satisfying. Blalock is just unfortunately still terrible at playing a Vulcan. Not that I can picture the actress as being good in any role, from what I've seen. She equates emotionless with quiet and unassuming, but still with some detectable traces of random emotion in her voice. Vulcans should be calm, but still very self-assured. Someone needed to buy her the Voyager box set and tell her to try to study and imitate Tuvok or Seven. I think Tim Russ is the best Vulcan ever. He does allow a bit of emotion into his voice from time to time, sometimes a bit of condescension or amusement when speaking with Neelix or Paris, sometimes a real feeling of friendship when he speaks to Janeway or Kess. It's subtle, but adds to his presence on the screen. The one thing he always does is sound confident. Jeri Ryan, even though she is technically playing a human, also does a much more believable "Vulcan" than Blalock. By the way, I loved every single time that Tuvok and Seven shared the screen. They were pretty damn funny together, dispassionately remarking on the rest of the crew's antics.
The bar owner and son, on the other hand, aren't necessarily bad actors. But they certainly should have been directed to seem a little MORE interesting and emotional. And speaking of injecting emotions into the episode, the entire mine collapse situation could have been made more interesting if we had had more interactions with and affection for the men who were trapped in there.
In terms of plot, this one is more interesting than 11:59. But 11:59 was a more affecting episode, based on performances. The character Mulgrew plays feels like a similar personality, but still a noticeably different person than Captain Jainway. The man and son she meets both have more memorable personalites than the woman and son in this episode. Just wanted to point out, that one wasn't actually a "story" told by Janeway. It was a true flashback/exact portrayal of events. The story Janeway knew about her ancestor, which had been passed down to her through her family, turned out to be a complete exaggeration. Throughout the course of the episode, Janeway learns some of the truth through her historical investigations. But we, the audience know the whole story, whereas it's unlikely that her research would have revealed the level of detail which we learned.
I liked this episode of Enterprise. I would rate it more than 1.5 stars. But I did come away from less moved than I ought to have been, considering how much I normally enjoy this type of episode. I blame mostly Jolene Blalock, and somewhat the writers (who should have added a bit more to get us to care about the characters in Carbon Creek) and somewhat the guest actors/director, whoever could have given those characters a bit more umph.
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 9:35am (UTC -5)
2,5 stars for me.
Btw, if Vulcan lifespan is 200 years, and the Vulcan remaining on Earth looked not old (rather in the middle of his life), he might well live a few years after the First Contact, and therefore his ears wouldn't be so amazing to anyone after death.
(Or he might just self-inflict damage at the top of his ears and get rid of hats, that's another option, a wound is not so difficult to explain)
Fri, Dec 22, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 27, 2018, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
The point wasnt to tell the story itself (though knowing the Vulcans landed earlier is nice), it was to deep dive into T'Pols psyche and her developing relationship with her team.
Mon, Mar 5, 2018, 3:15am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 3:50am (UTC -5)
Sun, May 20, 2018, 11:50am (UTC -5)
At first, I thought that kid was going to stumble upon their ship and find out they were aliens. And with his love of space I swear I thought they were going to reveal the kid’s name was Gene Roddenberry and I was getting ready to destroy my television. I missed when they said what year it took place though, and luckily they revealed the kid’s name quickly haha.
Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 20, 2018, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
It's hard to believe that it would not have been discovered in the time they were there or that no one in that entire town saw the ball of fire shooting across the sky or the sound of the crash. How did they retrieve it when they were rescued, beam it up? Surely they couldn't have left it there. The velcro thing was pretty silly too, I thought she was looking through the ship for some precious metals to sell or something, like Alf's gold plumbing he used to by Lynn a Ferrari.
Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 11:52am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
"Just one question: Why would T'Pol's age be classified?"
It's not.... it's Archer humor. Officially I'm sure it's privileged or "CO's eyes only".
Sat, Sep 8, 2018, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Loved all of it (except for the velcro part).
Solid 3 stars!
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 9, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
Dare I say, this episode is the main reason ENT holds more "sentimental value" to me than even TNG or VOY. I love the latter two shows and watched them fervently as a boy during the early '90s, but today I keep coming back and watching ENT almost every day--whereas some episodes of TNG and many episodes of VOY seem like drudgery to sit through a second time. Maybe I'm just a shallow viewer, or I'm losing my attention span as I grow older. But I digress.
The one MAJOR plot hole that my brain refuses to ignore is the setting. I've passed through towns like Carbon Creek and spent enough time in them to know there is NO WAY three individuals who are "new in town" would be able to keep such a low profile for so long. They would've been invited to dinner, church, sports events, etc. by half the families in town AT LEAST several times a week. To refuse and stay cloistered in their apartment would invite extreme suspicion--and, during the '50s, murmurs of espionage or illegal activity from the townsfolk.
Maybe the writers were trying to move in a different direction, but if you're going to make the scene a small American town and keep it believable, there are certain things you just CAN'T leave out. A more believable setting might've been a location that in the '50s was "out of the way", but still heavily populated enough for the Vulcans to interact with only a chosen few people as they did in this episode without being suspicious--Staten Island, NY comes to mind.
That minor gaffe aside, it still gets 3.5 stars from me.
Fri, Jul 26, 2019, 9:08am (UTC -5)
I don't get the people who want Blalock spilling emotion around like a drunk juggling a dozen bottles of beer. Early in season 1, her acting was a little clunky, but by this point it's pretty much perfect (apart from Travis, everyone seems to have settled nicely into their roles)
Mon, Aug 5, 2019, 9:42am (UTC -5)
This is one of the few episodes of Star Trek nominated for a Hugo award(others have been DS9's "The Visitor," or TNG's "The Inner Light," and "All Good Things"
Wed, Aug 21, 2019, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
T'Pol from the past has no control over her team. It is hilarious. I also laughed hard when T'pol old says something like: "They (Humans) live only 60, 70 years at best is it worth to save them to give them a few more years." Hahaha that's cold!
So many stupid conversations. Fantastic. And the scene when T'pol 1957 is naked behind a sheet I only thought what I always think in bad Enterprise episodes because they all have scenes like that: Oh, wowser! Titties!
It is also great to see that officers on the Enterprise have zero chemistry. Unbelievable.
i get it because of Spock we will have a Vulcan in (almost) every show but god are they not the most boring species ever?!
Off to the next terrible Enterprise episode!
Wed, Aug 21, 2019, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 11:35pm (UTC -5)
Jammer’s reviews are pretty much hit and miss. This was a big miss.
Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
No, T'Pol can't be T'Mir.
T'Pol said to Trip in 'Zero Hour': "I'm not old. I will only be sixty six years old on my next birthday."
Tue, Dec 31, 2019, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 12, 2020, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 13, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Welcome!! Look forward to your ENT episode reviews.
I love the series too.
That didn't happen.
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 3:15am (UTC -5)
I also really liked this episode and now in 2020 the discussions between the two vulcans about the nature of humans almost seems like a meta discussion between the pessimistic contemporary Star Trek and the optimistic Star Trek of old.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 29, 2020, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
Hello and congratulations on finally seeing them all. :D
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 7:12am (UTC -5)
As for Carbon Creek: For some reason it's a polarizing episode. I don't really know why. I've seen some reviewers giving it a perfect score (some even lauding it as "the best episode of Enterprise) while others give it a low rating like Jammer.
It's funny because to me, personally, this episode is the epitome of mediocrity. It's gimmicky (in a good way) and fun, but that's all it is. Either 2.5 or a low 3 from me.
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
I noticed I typed 5 right after I hit submit. You weren’t supposed to notice ;). I see from the comments this is a polarizing episode and I don’t understand why. This episode episode held my attention and had me entertained the whole time. I see how one could say things like “Velcro is proven to be invented by so and so” or “the Mestral love plot seemed to happen too quick”, those are MINOR gripes. You can find something wrong with just about any Trek episode. Idk I just can’t agree with anything lower than 2.5 and I think even that’s being unfair. Loved this episode it came out of nowhere
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 11, 2020, 1:00am (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 8:38am (UTC -5)
"We see how important education is to T'Mir and we see how she just can't fathom that a brilliant kid wouldn't be afforded an opportunity to receive a higher education."
A brilliant scene, and contrary to the complaints about Blalock's wooden acting, we can see that T'Mir is not only shocked, but outraged (or would be outraged if Vulcans had emotions) and wonders what sort of barbaric planet would refuse to let its best students attend college.
So shocked and outraged that she decides to interfere (just a little bit, as commenter JohnG says) with human technology by introducing velcro, because she can see what a waste of human talent it would be for that kid to be consigned to spend his life sweeping floors.
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 1:31am (UTC -5)
And the actors! For one thing, that role was played by Paul Boehmer! He is the audiobook reader of one of my favourite series! I kind of recognised his voice, but it was QUITE different than what I was used to. (An audiobook requires extra vocal gesturing and emotion-something of course that is the opposite of playing a Vulcan!)
And Joan Cusack's big sister as Maggie! I think she's pretty. And a good actress. I also got a kick out of the "Moe" reference-there actually IS a resemblence! Hehe!
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
But my question is...why does the Enterprise have tablecloths? What was the design decision that lead to this?
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Jammer's review made no sense to me, until I took a look at his ratings of the dreck that is Discovery. It seems that brainless action-packed flashy stuff with shallow characterization and blatantly politically-correct undertone, is more to his liking. Fair enough. I prefer more subtlety and depth to Star Trek, and this episode of Enterprise fits the bill.
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Debeli Svinjo is Croatian and means fat pig, it apparently could also mean pig fat (lard?) in Serbian. I wonder which it is.
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:29am (UTC -5)
Regarding "average" lifespan, the idea that our lifespans have seen some dramatic increase in modern times is a nonsensical myth. The increase in average lifespan is due to decreased infant mortality, if one looks at average lifespan starting at those who first lived to be at least age 5, the average life expectancy has been in the mid 70s for thousands of years. Obviously thats assuming no war, famine, plague, etc,
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:06am (UTC -5)
"Regarding "average" lifespan,..."
T'Mir was comparing human lifespan to Vulcan life span.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:00am (UTC -5)
It's not just infant mortality rates dropping that have raised the average life span in the last century. America has had static rates for i.m. for decades but still the average life span has increased.
Not only should credit be given to medical advancements (such as sanitiation, new drugs and anesthesia) but to the overall push for greater safety and a better understanding of nutrition.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 12:19am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 4, 2021, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 4, 2021, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
There is just something a little "off" with the script or direction or both. The Vulcan uniforms are cool. JB looks good in the 50s clothes even when she's wearing them backwards. I don't care for the ending; I wish they had left us to wonder if T'Pol was just telling a tall tale.
An ok episode over all.
Thu, Feb 4, 2021, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 7:52am (UTC -5)
"I agree about the ending. I think it would have been better left to the imagination."
Don't agree at all. I much rather know this was a true story.
Thu, Feb 18, 2021, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 18, 2021, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 4:11am (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
After all, in her story, all the three Vulcans do feel their own "humanity" grow. T'Mir helps the miners (where she at least has the fig leaf that she doesn't want Mestral to mess up and give them away), and then helps the kid for no logical reason. Mestral chooses to stay on Earth in an act of supreme love for the planet. Even the cool Vulcan feels enough concern for his regular customer to be fixing her vacuum just before taking off for his home planet!
This can be read as a fictionalized version of T'Pol's story. Though she can't bring herself to admit it, she loves staying with humans. She will act emotionally when no one is looking, and it is freeing to her that in a ship full of emotional beings, no one is going to judge her for allowing her emotions to decide her actions once in a while.
The 1950s spaceship crash is an allusion to how she initially sees her assignment as an accident, how she sees herself as stuck among ancient savages. The fictional romantic ending is the closest T'Pol will get to expressing her love for the Enterprise and her crew.
= = = =
Yes yes, I know someone will read the above and say "What about the handbag?" (A) You are missing the point. And (B) in my version, since there is no great grandmother, the handbag was a whimsical souvenir she bought in Carbon Creek, which mixed with the wine and her emotions triggered the story.
= = = =
It is neither true that "Vulcans are unemotional" nor that "Vulcans cannot lie". Vulcans suppress emotions, even full Vulcans. These emotions may not exactly be the same as human emotions, but Vulcans evolved with a full range of animal emotions, emotions that we will never clearly see. I find it odd that people expect two Vulcan portrayals to be the same. We don't expect that with portrayals of humans, do we?
It is all too ironic that Jolene Blalock is called "wooden" and Shatner is called a "scenery chewing ham". Kirk and T'Pol are two of my favorite characters in ST, and I seem to have no problems understanding the emotions being portrayed by either of the actors. I think people mistake the suppressed emotion of (alternatively the bombastic nature of) a CHARACTER with the ability of an actor. Strange.
= = = =
I am all too glad that on the discussion board of this particular episode, all the ENT lovers have converged! The rest of ENT episodes on Jammer's site read as if the fandom just hates ENT. Glad that's not the case. I love the quiet, small-stakes world of ENT.
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 7:04am (UTC -5)
It really gives you the possibility to chose between two things.
It is true but the Vulcans did not consider it important enough,
T'Pol is pulling their leg.
To me the first one is more likely, the other one is more fun as it it showing an un Vulcan behaviour.
Now my problem, the first one with T'Mir lying is also (or should be) unlikely.
Both answers are "unsatyfiing" . Both are unlikely ..... or?
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 7:32am (UTC -5)
-I thought Mestral was pretty good (well... maybe that's an overstatement: solid) and his amusing moments delivered. He didn't seem dickish and I didn't think he was boring either so that's not bad (not a resounding endorsement, I know) (that fact about Tuvok and Seven is really interesting btw: I always wondered why they weren't together more since they seem to think alike: prioritizing logic and efficiency. I was never bored when they were together. I thought both were great characters and actors, but I can see the logic there).
-The other male Vulcan had a few moments of levity too-- I did enjoy his Moe joke. The I love Lucy joke amused me too.
(that's it for pros)
-T'Pol/T'Mir/Blalock is the biggest "con" of all. I 100% agree this episode exposes all the weaknesses, if not of the actress then of the character. It seems extraordinarily lame that T'Mir and T'Pol are identical in every facet, down to the cheesy scene where she gets undressed behind a sheet and leaves exactly nothing to the imagination. That is not subtle. The only way it could be less subtle is if she stripped in front of the camera. She's got the same blank face, the same unmodulated, monotone voice, and the same dead eyed-expression. I have to disagree this is just how Vulcans are. Sarek, Tuvok, and Spock were not like that, and I disagree Spock's cool engagement can be chalked up to being half human for reasons already brought up by others above. I can see how Blalock could be limited by the producers/writers giving her bad material, her own acting limitations (esp. for a difficult character), or both. Whatever the case, it was just T'Pol in a new setting, a blank spot on the screen per usual. To me that is too weak to have a whole episode premised on it. [Although I will note it led to one of the unintentionally funniest scenes where Mestral and the lady who owns the restaurant make out and then she says "Uh-oh, we have company" and they look across the street to see "T'Mir" standing there staring at them. With the blank expression she looks like a sociopath, which CANNOT be what they intended. I laughed so hard.]
-The clichees were hard and heavy (the pool scene etc.): a lot of them were explained already so I'll just agree with those comments/reviews.
- How did T'Mir/Pol et al know how to speak English? I didn't catch an explanation for that on the show.
-How did no one ever find their ship?
- Pure speculation, but why is it that whenever first contact is made it's in some rural part of the US? You'd think the US took up 80% of the planet. I would love to see an episode where the Vulcans land in, say, a Tibetan monastery, which the bookish kid mentioned. Maybe their opinion of humans would be different. I think the interpretation they give "humans" generally seems very America-centric. That also makes me wonder why the Vulcans contemporary with Archer and crew have such a narrow view of our species: have they never been outside the US? (I realize it's just a limitation of this show, but it's still interesting: there were non-Americans on other ST crews; Picard being the obvious example. Or what about Reed here? Interesting)
-The patent business was absurd. I suppose as a funny name check for the actual inventor of Velcro it's a cute joke, but you don't just walk into an office (a law office? unclear) and hand over an item the guy has never seen and then get a big chunk of cash in return. You can't get a patent unless you go through a very onerous, time-consuming process with the US Patent and Trademark Office and even then, that's not how you make money on it. If she had told him to register the patent in the kid's name I could have swallowed it, since a lot of Trek requires *some* suspension of belief, but this was waaaayyy too perfunctory and convenient a solution to the problem of funding his education. I guess I may have misunderstood, but in that case the whole scene was unclear. Con!
So yeah, I agree with Jammer on the rating, even if some of the details mentioned weren't *quite* so bad (imho), others were much worse. 1.5* and not great.
Sun, May 16, 2021, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
@jammer: I just watched this ep again and while it's quiet, one and a half stars is way too harsh. Two and a half stars seem appropriate.
Thu, Oct 28, 2021, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
The plot is dumb but that’s what it’s supposed to be. I actually cared about the characters and they found a way to utilize T’Pol that didn’t feel like ‘model reads from cue card.’ To comments above, feel like she got a bad rap. Character is poorly written and she’s clearly there just to be eight of nine. She regularly made chicken salad out of chicken shit with the one dimensional scripts, especially in this episode.
Tue, Nov 2, 2021, 12:23am (UTC -5)
It was refreshing to see another species as the fish out of water encountering humans. Mestral was wonderful in his exploration of humanity and his efforts to convince his stern colleagues of our potential. I agree with Jammer that Blalock plays her character too monotone, but it can't be easy to play a character with no emotions. She was great in her parting line "you wanted to hear a story" and injected subtle humor and cleverness into the scene.
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
Episodes are allowed to be fun.
Fri, Dec 24, 2021, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 26, 2022, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 10:58am (UTC -5)
This is a good comment.
Tue, Aug 16, 2022, 12:58am (UTC -5)
T'Mir being *indistinguishable* from T'Pol: cringe!
Crashed Vulcan ship being abandoned (for later discovery) in PA: cringe!
(At least "Little Green Men" had them land in Roswell NM)
Aside from that.... I have to admit I liked the episode....
Sun, Feb 12, 2023, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
I particularly like the use of Vulcan Velcro as the college funding solution, one of many nice touches served up. It would have been interesting to see the bright student in a later episode, or indeed Mistral himself, just once again. I enjoyed Carbon Creek thoroughly; it warrants 4 stars easily.
Sun, Feb 12, 2023, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 14, 2023, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 18, 2023, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
Should have been funnier! Still good.
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