Star Trek: Enterprise

"Carbon Creek"

1.5 stars

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

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

166 comments on this post

Sat, Jul 18, 2009, 12:11am (UTC -6)
Easily one of the five best episodes of Enterprise. A wonderful story, a nice splash of humor that is actually funny, and one of Blalock's most nuanced performances on the show. I am shocked by your review.
Tue, Aug 25, 2009, 10:36am (UTC -6)
I've been rewatching the series this year, and checking your site afterwards (thanks!)

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 -6)
I loved this episode. The Vulcans are very interesting characters in my opinion, and as such, I enjoy getting to know the Vulcans better. I like their totally dispassionate attitude to most things, and found it believable that a Vulcan who had been brought up in a logical world would be fascinated by things we would find inane (eg. television, and the local single mother).

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 -6)
Wow I'm astounded at your review. A really fun episode, despite some rough edges. Yes, actors portraying Vulcans rightly do not betray much emotion.

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 -6)
I too thought this episode just fine. T'Pol has Trip and Archer on a string with her storytelling.

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 -6)
It's nice to see I'm not the only one that thinks this way.

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 -6)
I liked this show.

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.
Marco P.
Thu, Nov 18, 2010, 4:05am (UTC -6)
This episode left me very indifferent.

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."
• "half-baked"
• "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 -6)
I really liked this episode, but then I also have a penchant for Vulcans.

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 -6)
I liked this episode a lot. I enjoyed the low key humor. I thought the choice of velcro as the technology sold to pay the tuition was brilliant. It was an invention that an investor could immediately recognize as valuable, yet so harmless and low tech that it wouldn't contaminate human culture. Very logical.
Mon, Mar 14, 2011, 3:05am (UTC -6)
I'm glad that I read other user comments before taking Jammer's star reviews at face value. I found this episode to be one of the more delightful and interesting stories so far. Sure, it isn't really related to their voyage, and that may make some think this is a waste of time with a kind of gimmicky scenario with nothing happening.

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 -6)
I feel so trolled ~_~;; Oh wait, I saw the "you asked me to tell you a STORY" coming uh..... pretty much from the beginning. (That and I'm sure I've heard the "it's simple geometry" line before makes me think perhaps I've seen it before)

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.
Max Udargo
Wed, Aug 17, 2011, 12:18am (UTC -6)
I'm surprised by the amount of love this episode is getting in the comments here. I also read somewhere that the episode was nominated for an award.

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 -6)
I think one thing for this episode must be noted: the soundtrack. It makes the episode a lot more pleasant for a light-weight throwaway with its banjo and guitar versions of the common Star Trek themes. It's what makes this episode 2.5 stars for me.
Thu, Oct 13, 2011, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
I have to disagree (along with others) about your review. I found this a nice, quiet, charming episode. I would give it a solid 3 stars.
Sun, Oct 16, 2011, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
I just finished this episode on NETFLIX since they have all the ST series on demand. Seriously the best thing Netflix has ever done. Well anyways it was such a good episode i can't believe others dont like it. I'd hate to admit but this was probably one of the best episodes so far in ST:ENT. Well i'm gonna finish a few more episodes. I will comment as i go.
Mon, Nov 7, 2011, 4:06am (UTC -6)
I also am watching this on netflix and I was shocked to see the review here. I thought this was easily one of the best episodes not having to do with the story arch. I was engaged the whole time and loved the dynamic of Vulcan's blending into human society and I found fascinating their
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 -6)
I also disagree. I thought it was a good light hearted episode with a few laughs to be had. 3 stars imo.
Captain Jim
Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
I'm heartened to see the many positive comments, because this has always been a favorite episode of mine, one that has long stood out in my mind (in a good way) when I've totally forgotten so many others. I just watched it again for the first time in years and it has lost none of its charm. Three stars.
Wed, Aug 1, 2012, 11:30pm (UTC -6)
I had never seen this episode before until last night so it was all new for me. Keeping that in mind to not let it affect my take on it I do agree it does nothing new for the show or its characters. However I did find it rather entertaining and quite amusing at times. Maybe having it so close to the beginning of the season was not the best choice but then maybe a pleasant diversion such as this after the spectacle that was Shockwave II was what was needed, I don't know.

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.
J. Naquin
Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 3:20am (UTC -6)
Well, at least we know who has a type-A personality.
J. Naquin
Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 3:25am (UTC -6)
What,violence against the native Americans did not suffice; too short,neither Klingon nor Vulcan?
Sat, Sep 1, 2012, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
Warning: I barely watched any of this episode so this is a meta-comment on Jammer's review only.

I can't agree with this more so I'll simply go with "I agree 100%":

Jammer said:
"... 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 -6)
Without Lucy we would have no Trek!

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 -6)
I honestly think Blalock can act. She's done well in numerous other episodes where she wasn't completely restricted to wooden acting. I'd say it's the writers' and director's fault for this. The writers seem to do a good job destroying the rest of the show. Her performances are to wooden to be believable for sure. Vulcans are not robots, they have interesting character dynamics that make them real people. B & B just don't seem to understand them. One would think they've never seen any Star Trek.
Sun, Sep 30, 2012, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Mine was the first comment on this review back in 2009. I re-watched it again last night, and I liked the episode even more, and am still baffled by Jammer's dismissal. It was nominated for a Hugo Award, so apparently there are others who also thought it was wonderful. And for those who keep saying Blalock was wooden in her, she's playing a Vulcan. That severely limits the extent to which she can use facial expression or vocal inflection to build a performance. Nimoy had more leeway because Spock was only half-Vulcan and at the time the Star Trek rules were still being written. I find T'Pol a far more interesting character than Tuvok.
Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 7:53pm (UTC -6)
Don't Vulcans have a weird tint to their skin? I remember episodes where Spock had to explain his complexion to humans. So why didn't anyone notice these Vulcans looked a bit odd?

So many discrepancies in this series.
Jeff Bedard
Mon, Oct 22, 2012, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
The only comment I'll make regarding "Carbon Creek" is that with the ending shot of the episode the writers seem to deliberately shoot STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT in the foot. If the episode ended on a note of mystery I would have liked it better. But now the episode ends completely revoking what made FIRST CONTACT so special and key to the TREK mythos.
Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
Nimoy didn't have more leeway because Spock was supposed to be half-human. Because he was half-human, Spock's control was even more rigidly enforced - he was always seeking the next level of mastery of the self. Just because a vulcan has no emotion does not mean that he can't change his expression, or that she can't change the tone of her voice. Nimoy had a face built to be twisted about - Spock's brows were always twitching, his lips bowing as he mulled over new data. Neither Spock nor Tuvok's voices were flat in pitch. And they blinked like normal people. T'Pol blinks maybe once per scene and it's always a slow lizard-like blink. It's creepy!

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 -6)
Time to clear the air here regarding Velcro.

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 -6)
I am Yanks' partner in crime on the Velcro research. Not sure if the reviewer was simply having a bad day, but this was one of the plethora of holes and most curious opinions in the above review.

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 -6)
This is an edit to my previous post:
My first Trek episode was, as aired, "The Man Trap." Excuse my error.
John the younger
Sun, Dec 9, 2012, 9:39am (UTC -6)
I'll back you on this review Jammer.

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 -6)
The only way I've managed to get through this many episodes of Enterprise is knowing that I'd get to read Jammer's reviews afterwards, but this is the first time I've felt compelled to comment and respectfully disagree. Indeed, I, like many other commenters apparently, greatly enjoyed this episode - by far and away, the best output of the show to date.

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 -6)
Wow. First you absolutely loved the awful, pointless and flat "Two Days and Two Nights" and now you give the wonderfully entertaining "Carbon Creek" one and a half stars? I think you're way, way off here. The comments above me seem to bear this out--on this episode your opinion is in the minority.

(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.)
Joe I
Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
I came here because I had a problem with another ep. but the person giving the review doesn't seem to like ST:Ent at all. He seems to only want to be a critic of the show and the actors. "Carbon Creek" is a favorite ep. Love the "I love Lucy" reference and the Moe reference. I do not understand why ST:Ent wasn't liked.
Thu, May 9, 2013, 11:15am (UTC -6)
Carbon Creek wasn't just a "filler" episode made to conserve money to make up for other more graphic intensive episodes, it had a purpose. This episode not only revealed some interesting unknown Star Trek history, but provided a needed back-story for the character T'Pol.

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.
Lt. Yarko
Sat, May 18, 2013, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
I, too, liked this episode. But, I agree with Jammer that in the earlier episodes Blalock misinterpreted emotionlessness with being almost inaudible. I have to blame the producers for that as well. They should have corrected her. The other Vulcans spoke plenty loudly while still keeping the emotions low. It's easy to simply blame the actress, but a good actor still needs feedback from the producers. The ball was dropped by everyone on this one.

@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 -6)
I like this episode. The "tall tale by the campfire" only in this case it's true.
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 -6)
@ Lt. Yarko

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.
Anadin Extra
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 3:04am (UTC -6)
In my humble opinion, this is a fine episode.

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 -6)
A low point in my eyes. 1,5 stars mainly for the very good production values (sets, costumes, etc.). Dumb roles, dumb acting, postmodern references. And where was the humor hidden? I could not find any.

It is shocking how little they sometimes achieve despite such an apparently big budget at that time.
Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 3:23am (UTC -6)
And btw: Nobody ever found that Vulcan ship? Or did the other one pull it our there?
Fri, Jul 19, 2013, 1:49am (UTC -6)
I'm rather suprised how much love this episode gets. It's not horrible, but I can't get over some of the stupider stuff. That velcro scene was just plain insulting. And god, that other Vulcan was such a dick. He's not gonna eat a reindeer and rather risk contamination, but no problem not using their technology and letting people die to not risk contamination, even though he used that technology for minor problem?
Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 11:05am (UTC -6)

Read my posts above concerning Velcro.
Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 10:31am (UTC -6)
I'm also a fan of this episode.

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 -6)
The 50s aspect was charming but frankly, about halfway through I found my attention wandering. It certainly wasn't because I'm unable to appreciate any show that isn't action-packed, but rather that it was all so obvious. As soon as the kid talked about pool I knew the Vulcan would win money that way; as soon as the Vulcan started socializing with the single mother I knew he would fall in love and stay. Now, of course, a show can be both predictable and entertaining; however, in my opinion, it was not exactly a compelling hour of television.
Sun, Nov 24, 2013, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
It wasn't exactly captivating, but I enjoyed it, and it was far more interesting than Voyager's similarly styled 11:59.
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
I actually really liked this episode. It was quiet and calm, however brought Vulcans closer to the viewers. We see three different takes on humanity by the survivors of the crash, one of them again proving that Vulcans are a bit different than generaly percieved. It also had its comic elements which were in most part well executed. I'd give it solid three stars at least. The only thing bothering me with the episode was the ship that they just decided to leave for somebody to find. At least they could've mentioned taking care of it in some way at the end of the episode.

All in all, I enjoyed watching it and left me wanting just a bit more.
Sat, Apr 26, 2014, 11:09am (UTC -6)
Oh, come on, Jammer. This was a quiet, cute, unusual, almost "homey" episode. I like to watch the Vulcans anyway, and it was interesting to see them in this situation, and charming to see how they interacted with the humans. The dialog about "Moe" and "I Love Lucy" was sweet and funny--yes, a little hokey--but so what? And T'Mer going to Pittsburgh with the Velcro--too, too funny. (We have relatives in the 'Burgh--love the thought that Vulcans have been there, if only fictionally.) Every episode doesn't have to be The Inner Light or The Visitor.
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 11:38am (UTC -6)
I also enjoyed this episode. But I'm surprised that no one mentioned that it's surprising that the Vulcans speak perfect English!
Thu, Oct 2, 2014, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
T'Mir "might as well having been" T'Pol isn't really Blalock's fault. She's playing two reserved-by-design Vulcan relatives, not a vain hologram and his hotheaded human creator.
Thu, Oct 2, 2014, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
The "at best these humans live to 60 or 70" seemed a little drastic. Our 2nd president lived to be 90.
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 11:39am (UTC -6)
@ Jack,

Average lifespan for male/female in 1950:

1950 65.6/71.1

Fri, Oct 31, 2014, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
This is an outstanding episode. The humor and characterizations are good as others have noted. The story provides an interesting framework with which to view the strengths and weaknesses of human culture. The episode extols the compassion and kindness that people sometimes display. The episode also presents less admirable aspects of human society; for instance, the miners have to risk their lives in their jobs. However, to me, the episode shines brightest when it celebrates human potential. This depiction of our desire to accomplish greater things is a large part of what makes Star Trek appealing.

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 -6)
The creators of Voyager and Enterprise forgot the main reason Spock was so fascinating: He wasn't Vulcan. He was half-Vulcan. Full Vulcans are, at best, boring. At worst, in Enterprise, they are arrogant, self-righteous jerks. Tuvok was boring. T'Pol was boring and arrogant. If they made either one, say, Half-Romulan, then you would have had a really cool character, with the logic of a Vulcan and the cunning of a Romulan. Or how about Vulcan/Klingon? (Not the annoying witch Belanna Torres was).
Fri, Dec 26, 2014, 10:32am (UTC -6)
It's pretty clear that after getting a speeding ticket, having to change a flat tire, being late for three appointments, stubbing his toe, burning his dinner, and accidentally setting his eyebrows on fire, Jammer sat down to write this review.
Fri, Jan 9, 2015, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
I did enjoy this espiode because of obvious references to everything that occurred in the 50's. I noticed a couple of things:

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 -6)
"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)"

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 -6)
"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."

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.
W Smith
Mon, Apr 6, 2015, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
Count me as another one who liked this episode, and would give it a solid 3 or even 3.5 stars. I actually like Blalock as T'Pol, and the character is probably my favorite on the show; she's certainly the one with the most sense on the bridge. I really liked the soft banjo music in the episode as well. It was a sweet episode with some nice characterization and reflections on humanity by "aliens." Nice nod to Lucille Ball for Desilu Productions too.
Mallory R.
Wed, Jul 8, 2015, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
When I first watched the series, I really adored this episode. It gave me chills and made me love T'pol. Ten years on, there are a few oversights in the script that I felt should have been fixed - but overall, it just fell flat for me. Unlike the tension in Dear Doctor (and its lack of easy answers) this one ignores some easy questions that could have wrought a missing tension.
Thu, Jul 9, 2015, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
Mallory R.,

Would you mind explaining?
John G
Mon, Jul 20, 2015, 10:46pm (UTC -6)
I liked Blalock's performance as a Vulcan. It seemed like a more accurate interpretation of what a race that totally restrains its emotions would be like than Spock (who was half human) or Tuvok (who always seemed to be trying to be emphatically unemotional). At any rate calling a performance as a Vulcan wooden and monotone should be considered a compliment.

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 -6)
All I can say about this episode is, "WoW." An outstanding effort. Several messages were here not the least of which is that maybe history is not what you think it is. Three Vulcans crash land on Earth in 1957. TPal's character and one other Vulcan seem to have a low opinion of Earthlings. Their superiority and condension are evident. They think of Earth as a primitive planet filled with near savages. But one sees Earthlings in a different light. He sees the positive aspects of our society and recognizes that we are on the verge of startling advances. When one of his shipmates notes that most of our technology is devoted to destroying each other he has to remind him the Vulcans did the same hundreds of years ago.
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.
Paul Allen
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
I read your reviews after each episode, and I'm stunned that you hated tis episode, it's heartwarming, fun, and I LOVED the velcro bit. :)
Thu, Nov 19, 2015, 1:54pm (UTC -6)
It is great, especially I liked that it did not try co catch to many funny points. I agree it was more a story over Vulcans, showing a variety of personalities. It was calm and the decontamination with the velcro fastener was .... logical.
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 10:54pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks,

Exactly, so a better line would have been "typically these humans live to be 60 or 70", not "at best..."
John Stobbart
Fri, Jan 29, 2016, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
Haha, this was like the Trek version of Third Rock From The Sun. Brilliant!
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
The Velcro bit was dumb but kind of fun; pretty much everything else was a very, very painful cliche.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Apr 10, 2016, 8:09am (UTC -6)
You can see the pitch for this a mile off - "Vulcans in 1950s American small town". And it actually works, despite that rather unlikely premise. It has a light, deft touch and a smattering of whimsy that makes it fairly unique in terms of atmosphere.

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 -6)
Wife and I really liked this episode. We never watched first run and are finally seeing this via netflix. For the most part I agree with your reviews but not this one. It was light, funny, touching in places and did not mess up the story or waste time IMO.

Regardless, love the site and thanks for all the work you put into it.
Sun, May 29, 2016, 2:44am (UTC -6)
Well, apparently some people cannot appreciate acting if it is not in-your-face shouting and explicit emotional outbursts.

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 -6)
My view of quality entertainment is if the story continues to live in my imagination. From the first time I saw this episode, it has been with me... all the what ifs! My background is in anthropology so I find this fascinating. Also, it demonstrate that Vulcans can improvise and adapt, something they do not always demonstrate. I think Jolene Blalock does excellent job differentiating the characters. Finally, her back story allows us to understand how she so successfully integrated on Enterprise, which is the point of the dinner party...
Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
Not that I really NEED to put it here.

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 -6)
I remember thinking that a group of highly intelligent beings that can go much longer than humans without eating, sleeping or drinking would end up starving in a lush forest, especially after a few days.
Sat, Sep 17, 2016, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
Velcro was a Swiss invention and the Velcro company has never, ever been American.

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 -6)
What I would really love to see at the end of this episode, would be if at the end it somehow appeared that the nerd guy was grandfather, or great grandfather of Zefram Cochraine... That would be nice touch.

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 -6)
Pro: It had humor and showed Vulcans, especially Mestral in a more sympathetic light. I liked Jolene Blalocks understated performance and the fact that Archer and Trip didn't know whether to believe her story in spite of the "Vulcans don't lie "trope.
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 -6)
Got to disagree with the harsh review on this one. I found it pretty good and would give it three stars.

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.
Mads Leonard Holvik
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 11:01am (UTC -6)
I just watched this episode and loved it! It is filled with humanity and wonder. One of the best Enterprise episodes I have seen so far. 😃
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 4:34pm (UTC -6)
I had no clue we could use Emoji's on this site.
Sat, Jan 7, 2017, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
Not a bad episode, just not a great one - and another one of those great great ancestors who just happen to look like the present day actor, Man I hate those (and I just finished watching 11 59 from Voyager - irony).
Another good review.
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
Heartfelt engaging episode....loved it!
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
I also was reminded of 3rd Rock from the Sun and maybe even SNL’s Coneheads during this episode. At one point, I expected T’Mir to perform sock-puppet theatre—when she was silhouetted behind the clothes line. And since I think most history books are filled with sanitized and wholesale false concoctions, I was happy to see a story explaining how the history books had it all wrong about the 1st Vulcan-Human encounter.

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 -6)
Though utterly inconsequential, this outing was far more enjoyable than Voyager's 11:59. It was endearing, awkwardly charming and well styled, though except for the vintage automobiles and TV, 1957 felt a little like the late 1800s.

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 -6)
Judging by how many comments this episode got, it's a good one. Myself, I liked it. I think -- as many others here do -- that Jammer is off the mark on this review, far too harsh and critical.
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.
WC Chen
Mon, May 8, 2017, 8:02pm (UTC -6)
I was looking for some extra information about this episode when I stumbled here. I watched S1 on Netflix and just started S2. I positively rate this episode as one of the best of "Enterprise". I was really amused with most of the lines -- particulary the one about the idiotic device (TV set), because I myself grew up watching "Star Trek" on a CRT TV.
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 -6)
3 stars!

I enjoyed this one. It gave me the warm fuzzies with its quiet comfortable sweet little story
The River Temarc
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 2:00am (UTC -6)
It seems to me that the people who say T'Mir was too much like T'Pol are missing the point. Carbon Creek was T'Mir's story *as T'Pol told it.* She was imagining herself in T'Mir's place, since her fascination with Earth clearly owed a debt to T'Mir and, like T'Mir, she was living among humans.

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.
The River Temarc
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 2:01am (UTC -6)
Love your captcha, BTW, although it doesn't respond to the word "Jellico." :)
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 8:46am (UTC -6)
HAHA 'The River Temarc'.

... and I agree about Jolene's performance as T'pol. She did a wonderful job.
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -6)
I like the plot of this episode very much. I always like the quieter episodes, and I thought it was a fairly inoffensive rewriting of history, in terms of Vulcans having been on Earth before "first contact". I like Vulcans in general, and seeing three of them react in three different ways to their situation was interesting.

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.
Ton Loc
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 6:47pm (UTC -6)
This is the review that completely removes Jammers credibility with me. This was an effing masterfull episode. 4 stars easy. Sez Me.
Baron Samedi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
This episode has so much heart. Probably my biggest disagreement with Jammer since "Balance of Terror". Strong 3.5 from me.
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 9:35am (UTC -6)
I expected a terrible episode, but I found it interesting, specially because it shows that not all Vulcans are boring-some love exploring, otherwise why should they develop spacecrafts at all.
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 -6)
Good thing a black Vulcan wasn’t part of the crew that crash-landed in whitesville in the 1950s.
Tue, Feb 27, 2018, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
This review is laughable. You obviously completely missed the point that the entire thing is relayed as told by T'Pol. The reason it falls on cliche and stereotype and shows so little personality is because that is how she sees it, she has so little concept of real emotion that she is unable to convey it in story form even if she was able to know about it in the first place.

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 -6)
Great episode. Not one of Jammer's best reviews.
Daniel Bolger
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 3:50am (UTC -6)
Easily one of the best Enterprise episodes of them all. At least a 3 star rating, if not 3.5 stars out of 4.
John Harmon
Sun, May 20, 2018, 11:50am (UTC -6)
I was expecting to hate this episode based on your review. I quite loved it. I thought it was endearing and it was nice to a Vulcan in this series not being obstinate for no reason.

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.
Peter Swinkels
Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
Just one question: Why would T'Pol's age be classified?
Mon, Aug 20, 2018, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
I must say I strongly disagree with the low rating here. This is definitely one my very favorite episodes of the series. One thing I've wondered, how did T'Pol know that one that Mestral stayed behind on Earth? When they were rescued they told the Vulcans that he had died along with the captain (also I thought Vulcans didn't lie). Unless they later revealed this secret there's no way anyone else could have known what happened. Although I assume since she was T'Pol's great great grandmother that she passed the secret down through her family.

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 -6)
Peter Swinkels
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 -6)
After watching every episode I like reading your thoughts. I was quite surprised to see that this episode got such a poor review from you.

Loved all of it (except for the velcro part).

Solid 3 stars!
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
I thought this was pretty good, not a clunker like the 1.5 star episodes in season one. I generally don't like the undercover Trek episodes but actually thought this one worked pretty well. Jolene Blalock seems to have improved in acting as well.
Sun, Jun 9, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -6)
I was an on-again, off-again ENT fan while the show's first season was originally airing, and I have to say THIS was the episode that convinced me to tune in every week. I thought it was cute, and I still love it 17 years later.

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 -6)
Yeah, I have to echo the sentiments above: This is plausibly the best episode of Enterprise (though I myself prefer In a Mirror, Darkly).

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 -6)
Very strong episode. I would have given 3 stars after first seeing it, but easily 4 after seeing it again. This episode effectively delves into dissenting Vulcan personalities with subtlety, which is as it should be.

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 -6)
Yeah, this is pretty terrible but I still laughed a lot.

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!
Jason R.
Wed, Aug 21, 2019, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
I love how Archer and Trip refuse to take T'Pol's story seriously, like she just made it up as a joke. Cause that's T'Pol alright, always pulling their leg for a laugh.
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 11:27pm (UTC -6)
This was a very good episode in my view. I'm glad others agree with me.
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 11:35pm (UTC -6)
Great episode. I am watching it now.

Jammer’s reviews are pretty much hit and miss. This was a big miss.
Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
Am I the only one with the takeaway when she takes out the purse at the end that T'Mir WAS T'Pol? I actually think that's a great twist, if so. Perhaps it's too far back to fit in with Vulcan lifespans, but the setup of the episode seems to be hinting that T'Pol is much older than anyone on board Enterprise realizes.
Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 1:18pm (UTC -6)

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 -6)
After several rewatches, this is still my favourite Enterprise episode (and by the way, ENT is my favourite ST series). So it always breaks my heart to see Jammer's low rating of it :-(
Sun, Jan 12, 2020, 11:12pm (UTC -6)
I'm assuming she dealt with Mestral by killing him and incinerating the body. You don't leave loose ends like that on an uncontacted planet.
Mon, Jan 13, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -6)

Welcome!! Look forward to your ENT episode reviews.

I love the series too.


That didn't happen.
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 3:15am (UTC -6)
I am way late on this one, as I am just working my way through all of Star Trek on Netflix before probably rewatching Babylon 5 and Expanse.
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 -6)
Finally, after all of these years, I've managed to watch/rewatch all episodes of ENT. My career, my travel, other obligations kept me from watching much of it 20 years ago, but I did watch enough to become fond of Trip, Malcolm, and T'Pol and to enjoy at least a few of the episodes. Now, I can say I appreciate all of the series. Yes, some episodes are silly or even boring, but I feel like that about most of TNG and Voyager. I've grown to like DS9, but it has it's fair share of clunkers. I'm a fangirl of TOS since 1966 and I will admit ENT ranks second on my list of Star Trek TV show. And this particular show I find it low key, but engaging and interesting, showing a "sweeter" side of them. It's one of my favorites.
Fri, May 29, 2020, 6:37pm (UTC -6)

Hello and congratulations on finally seeing them all. :D

Cody B
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -6)
This is easily the most I’ve disagreed with a rating. Not sure how DS9’s “Far Beyond the Stars” gets 5 stars and lauded as possibly the very best ds9 episode and the Carbon Creek gets 1 and a half. Yes Far Beyond the Stars is a better episode but is the gap THAT wide? No it’s not. This is a great episode that had some really sweet moments and kept me entertained the entire time. Easily 3.5
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 7:12am (UTC -6)
It is certainly bewildering to hear that "Far Beyond the Stars" got 5 stars, when Jammer's scale only goes from 0 to 4. ;-)

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.
Cody B
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -6)

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 -6)
Am I the only Pennsylvanian Trekker? Carbon Creek is in the Poconos, their is a trip to Doylestown for a baseball game... but T'Mir goes to Pittsburgh, the whole way across the state, to sell the Velcro? Philadelphia would have been a much more logical choice.... Don't you think? Yes, I'm re-watching Enterprise... LOL
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
Oops... Sorry for the grammar mistake. I'm usually much better at writing than that! Of course it should have said "there is a trip..." or more precisely "there was a trip..."
Tommy D.
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
This episode is mediocre as they get, and yet I really enjoyed it. I guess I'm just a fan of the fish out of water scenario with Vulcans.
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 6:18pm (UTC -6)
I liked this one quite a bit to be honest, overlong pool scene and all. Definitely in the same wheelhouse as '11:59', but far more engaging for my money.
Sun, Oct 11, 2020, 1:00am (UTC -6)
The one thing I liked about this episode is how they compared human aging with Vulcan aging, and how that would pretty much rule out a romance. It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to show us both a grown woman and a teenage boy develop crushes on Vulcans to really drive home the point that both humans are basically children to the Vulcans.
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 8:38am (UTC -6)
I agree with the commenters who rate this episode very highly, and especially with this comment from Yanks:

"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.
Sean J Hagins
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 1:31am (UTC -6)
A very entertaining episode! I like the 1950s small mining town atmosphere-reminds me of home! Also, I think the idea of Vulcans in our past was handled well. So, from the last scene, it appears T'Pol's story is true-in that case, I guess the Vulcan guy who stayed behind lived to see first contact! (Unless he was sadly killed in WWIII)

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 -6)
So I'm watching Enterprise for the first time, although I'm not watching the episodes in any particular order. It's all very inoffensive, undemanding stuff, which is fine for 2020. This episode fits that bill perfectly. Bland, comfort food. That's ok.

But my question is...why does the Enterprise have tablecloths? What was the design decision that lead to this?
Debeli Svinjo
Wed, Dec 30, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
A beautiful, low key, storytelling episode. The acting was great all around, and even though it has a few silly moments (like the Velcro thing), I still loved it. Easily 3/4 stars.

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 -6)
For anybody who had the same question

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 -6)
Sorry, correction. It means fat pig in Serbian and Croatian.
Infinite Pest
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 6:29am (UTC -6)
@ Yanks

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 -6)
@Infinite Pest

@ Yanks

"Regarding "average" lifespan,..."


T'Mir was comparing human lifespan to Vulcan life span.
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:00am (UTC -6)
@ Infinite Pest

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.
Bill H
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 12:19am (UTC -6)
I liked the episode and agree with Debeli's comments. Many of the best all time Star Trek episodes, in all of the series, were not action packed. One thing though with the game of pool, if he didn't know the rules, how did he know to call the 8-ball shot? How'd he know not to scratch?
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Love your reviews, and visit the site often. On this one I must disagree. Not perfect, but with some terrific low-key humour and a few touching moments. Three stars.
Thu, Feb 4, 2021, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode. It's almost like Enterprises first holodeck episode but told as a story. Probably my favorite of the series so far. Light-hearted and charming.
Thu, Feb 4, 2021, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
This is the last episode I watched during the original run before giving up on the series. I liked it better after rewatching it recently.

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 -6)
I agree about the ending. I think it would have been better left to the imagination.
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 7:52am (UTC -6)
"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.
Frake's Nightmare
Thu, Feb 18, 2021, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
This was a great episode and a big boost to my self-esteem, 'cos everyone's always saying I look just like my great-granmother - even though I'm male (and not a Vulcan). Made a nice change from the idiot squad blundering around and f***ing things up for some hapless aliens.
Bob (a different one)
Thu, Feb 18, 2021, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
So, Frake's Nightmare, where do you fall in the "possibly true tall-tale ending vs definitely true forgotten history ending" debate?
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 4:11am (UTC -6)
The "I Love Lucy" line comes close to setting up a paradox.
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
It is possible the slightly tipsy T'Pol made the story up as an allegory of HERSELF warming up to humans.

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 -6)

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?

Good episode.
I Am Nomad
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 7:32am (UTC -6)
I watched this one last night and almost entirely agree with Jammer's review. I only read a few comments and am *really* surprised by how much love this episode is getting. Imho it could have been good but failed on mostly poor acting and clichees that are outlined on the review, so it had potential it failed to meet. But here are what I saw as the pros and cons (and reasonable minds can differ of course):

-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.
Iain Scott
Sun, May 16, 2021, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
The only problem with this production is that it should have been movie length. This was the best Feel-Good presentation in the whole Star Trek genera.
Peter Swinkels
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
@yanks: that does make sense.
@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 -6)
It’s weird that this is easily my favorite ENT episode. We get (besides Klingons) so little perspective from non-humans characters that this felt new. It’s no Far Beyond the Stars but ENT was the watered down booze punch left over after 13+ straight years of trek. Grading on a curve. 3 stars maybe?

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 -6)
I liked this episode too. Granted, it borrowed heavily from TNG Time's Arrow, a TOS episode (I forget the name), the Voyager episode about Janeway's relative, and Star Trek IV.

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 -6)
Jammers review of this ep was awful, glad to see so many disagree. Also the fact that he constantly groans at lines line, "I Love Lucy is on tonight" makes me think Jammer is devoid of humor in real life. Same reason he hates all the Ferengi episodes of Deep Space Nine. Imagine being this stiff.

Episodes are allowed to be fun.
Ensign Walsh
Fri, Dec 24, 2021, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
With reviews like Jammer's, no wonder the series was cancelled. This episode was intriguing and a lot of fun; I'm glad to see others agree. 3.5/4
Tue, Apr 26, 2022, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
I love this episode for its quirky charm, humor, and just...well...niceness. It is probably my favorite Enterprise show. I just re-watched it to get a pleasant Star Trek fix after cringing through Discovery and Picard. Jammer, with all respect: You got up on the wrong side of the bed the day you wrote this review.
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 10:58am (UTC -6)
Amtep said: "I'm assuming she dealt with Mestral by killing him and incinerating the body. You don't leave loose ends like that on an uncontacted planet."

This is a good comment.
Tue, Aug 16, 2022, 12:58am (UTC -6)
JB dressing behind a sheet with a backlight: Gratuitous cringe!

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 -6)
Not really all that fair that the quiet Carbon Creek comes in for so much criticism. Having just read Jammer's blistering review, I dissent, respectfully from his framing, saying that CC was a good story and that the actors in it delivered good performances... yes, even Jolene Blalock. Mistral's role had an intelligent emphasis: on learning compassion, and appreciation of others, which are talents we all should try to cultivate and can easily do should we decide to be a little less jaded once in a while. T'mir learns this lesson by the conclusion of 'the story' T'pol tells. No doubt in my mind that the events recounted had occurred. The purse in T'pol's quarters proves it.

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 -6)
Mestral ... not Mistral, and hat's off to De Mestral of Velcro patent fame.
Ricky B
Tue, Feb 14, 2023, 11:27pm (UTC -6)
As to your review of Carbon Creek, I am from that podunk little town that the show was referencing it's not Carbon Creek it's called Carbondale just outside of Scranton, Pa. Jolene Blalock was wonderful in that episode and the entire series. I have a review of you, I am holding up three fingers read between the lines.
Sat, Feb 18, 2023, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
Good ep in classic Trek tradition.

Should have been funnier! Still good.
Justin V
Wed, Jun 28, 2023, 9:53am (UTC -6)

This is one of the most accurate comments I've ever read about its topics. I saw a few TNG episodes as a child, but didn't understand it so it was dismissed until an ex-gf convinced me to watch more Voyager because I loved the cast besides Chakotay.

TOS is absolute garbage. It's either earth history stories or them in danger from a powerful dictator-like being. Shatner, his massive jerk ego taking all the lines, and the terrible writing is why I'm insanely bored and still haven't watched the last six episodes of TOS. The 1-4 and 6 movies are epic. The director's cut of 1 is great. The original, not so much. The reason the films are superior is the writing and they let someone besides Shatner talk. TOS is all Shatner, all the time.

Back to ENT, TNG is the gold standard that actually created Trek and took it to another level. LGBT issues aside, Rick Berman is responsible for TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise's quality. He created Trek and deserves a lot more respect. He had his hand on the wheel and largely nailed it. Roddenberry didn't have the Trek idea fully formed. Kurtzman Trek is laughably unaware of Trek history, horribly written and plotted. J.J. Trek is also LOL funny bad.

This episode was the turning point. Enterprise was generally solid, even in the first season. Ugh, Trip pregnant and maybe two others.

TNG is the gold standard that birthed real Trek. 1987 to 2005 are the only real Treks to me. However, I honestly think Enterprise is the best Trek show due to T'Pol, Hoshi, Phlox, and the major story arcs. The Xindi especially and the temporal cold war are brilliant long stories.

1. Enterprise. 2. TNG. 3. Voyager (Janeway and the EMH, Tuvok) 4. DS9 (don't love the cast besides Garek and Odo. Jadzia, Miles, Quark and Jake all had big moments though, yes, I like Jake.)

Okay, so haha, this actual episode. I've read 150 ST books and 'Strangers From The Sky' by Margaret Wander Bananno is canon IMO and the best version of Vulcan first contact. You can argue canon is strictly limited to shows, but if you haven't read it, please do. It's worth your time. This tv canon version of Vulcan first contact is excellent in a different way. I Love Lucy and all of the other references to 50's culture are understated and spot-on. Inventing modern velcro fit well. The comments about T'Mir being too close to T'Pol's character are correct, though I love the actress. This episode has a lot of heart. It does what 'The Inner Light' failed at in a way. TIL is one of the most overrated TNG episodes, again IMO. Four stars from me for Carbon Creek.

And one more time, we should all appreciate Rick Berman more. He created Trek.
Sun, Oct 8, 2023, 8:21pm (UTC -6)
I laughed at the love lucy line, shrugged at the moe, cringed at the blatant use of blalock changing twice
Pretty boring episode. Hard to believe the guy could stay unseen for a hundred years with just a cap. Nicer if the shuttle had enough power to make them at least look human.
I guess this episode was a way to make us see tpols connection to/sympathy for humans
Sun, Oct 8, 2023, 8:24pm (UTC -6)
I did enjoy archer’s indignant/embarrassed look about tpol doing her review of him. I like bakula. Why don’t they write him as a captain instead of this weak, insecure guy. I used to think janeway was too emotional but this guy is worse.

Submit a comment

I agree to the terms of use

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2023 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. Terms of use.