Star Trek: Enterprise


3 stars.

Air date: 12/3/2004
Written by Mike Sussman
Directed by David Livingston

"His name now means 'fool' in our language, just as yours will in Andorian!" — Soval to Shran, the tale of Nirak

Review Text

In brief: Some rough edges and a rushed ending, but a solid ride for most of the way.

The reason Deep Space Nine often worked so well was because of its expansive canvas of governments, societies, and characters with their own agendas. You got the sense that the characters were people populating a whole universe, and the overarching storylines had the will to throw that universe into chaos. And because the characters weren't all playing for the same team, there were plenty of possibilities for some characters to take unpredictable actions that were in partial or direct conflict with other characters.

I think that was ultimately the key to DS9: It wasn't just about Starfleet officers. It was also about everyone else. As a result, a lot more could happen, and we could empathize with more people and situations, even the bad guys and the neutral people caught in between.

That's sort of why this three-part Enterprise saga, which wraps up with this week's "Kir'Shara," makes for such interesting fare. The starship Enterprise feels like a part of a bigger universe rather than simply all of it. This three-parter reminds me of DS9's "Circle" trilogy from the beginning of its second season. Lots of characters, history, and political maneuvering. (Also, lots of names and objects that are spelled with apostrophes.)

That's not to say this Enterprise trilogy is perfect. "Awakening" had some notable logical gaffes (among them is one I didn't mention in my review for that episode, which is the lack of a reason for why Syrran didn't know the location of the Kir'Shara even though he carried Surak's Katra). Now "Kir'Shara" wraps things up with an ending of whiplash-like haste and overt tidiness — although it features a last-second revelation that's intriguing.

So — not perfect, but good.

One big thing in the episode's favor is that it's a mess for everyone involved, and there's disagreement in virtually every camp along the way. "Kir'Shara" has its obvious goals and solutions, but it also demonstrates that there may be various ways of working a problem, rather than just being about one problem and one solution.

For example, we have Trip making the decision to go to Andoria to warn Commander Shran (Jeffrey Combs) about the Vulcan surprise attack. There's a scene where Reed unhappily points out to Trip that warning the Andorians is a flat-out betrayal of the Vulcans — which Reed doesn't think is right. Trip has his own uncertainties, but in order to play the part of would-be peacekeeper, he must contact Shran so the Andorians can set up a blockade to intercept the Vulcan fleet. The thinking is that maybe the Vulcans will be forced to turn back if the stealth assault is revealed. If not, "I'll save you a seat at my court-martial," Trip mutters.

The Enterprise arrives at a nebula where Soval knows (from Vulcan intelligence reports) that Shran and an Andorian fleet are hiding. Shran reluctantly beams aboard the Enterprise and Soval lays out the details of V'Las' sneak attack. This initial meeting shows no signs of trust on Shran's part. Indeed, it could be said that the definition of Shran's character is that he's so paranoid that he trusts no one. He thinks perhaps Soval and the Enterprise are trying to lure his fleet into a trap.

Such distrust makes for scenes of charged drama, and it's in these scenes where the show's best visceral strengths lie. With Combs' performance, Shran is a guy always interesting to watch. Perhaps not as interesting as the very different Weyoun — who was more fun as a slickster politician, equal parts villain and sycophant — but engaging as this angry, distrustful man who needs proof and not just your word.

To get that proof, Shran is willing to take extreme and distasteful measures. He carefully kidnaps Soval from the Enterprise with an undetected transporter beam and puts him in a torture device designed specifically to lower the emotional inhibitions of Vulcans. This is a rather unique form of torture that makes for a series of potent scenes.

Gary Graham gets a chance to step outside the usual boundaries of Soval's character and deliver a memorable performance that shows his fear and anger in this appalling situation. He also reveals a bitter regret for having thought he could put faith in Shran's abilities to trust him in the first place. I especially liked Soval's tale about the Vulcan lookout guard named Nirak, whose incompetent inaction allowed an attacking army to destroy a city. Nirak now means "fool" in Vulcan; Soval predicts that Shran's legacy will be similar. Soval's tale is one of those welcome details that elevates plotting into storytelling.

What's also interesting about these scenes is that the role of the torturer, as angry as he may be, is not to be sadistic but merely pragmatic — to gather the information. Shran simply needs to know that he isn't walking into a trap. I found myself somewhat reminded of the great sequence in "The Die Is Cast" where Garak tortures Odo, although Shran here shows himself as more ruthless, putting his people's agenda first, far ahead of surrender. Combs' and Graham's performances carefully walk the line of being intense and in-your-face without straining to the point that it feels like overacting.

These kinds of situations would be impossible if we didn't have multiple conflicting forces in play, and if these forces and personalities didn't already have established backstories allowing us to identify with all points of view. It's interesting how Shran's character retains a certain self-serving integrity in arriving, via his brutal methods, at a truth that satisfies him. We disapprove of his methods and yet respect (if grudgingly) his eventual level of reasonableness, as he quietly laments, "There's been too much suspicion, too many lies, on both sides."

All the while, V'Las is moving forward with his planned invasion. It's worth noting that most — if not all — of the rest of the Vulcan High Command is initially in the dark about V'Las' plan, which leads me to question the wisdom (and indeed the possibility) of giving so much military control to one man, who then conducts large-scale operations in secret, unbeknownst to the other council members. The council's voice of dissent is Minister Kuvak (John Rubinstein), who is opposed to the invasion and later learns that the Syrrannites are looking for the Kir'Shara. V'Las dismisses the Kir'Shara as a myth.

The plot's other major strand involves Archer, T'Pol, and T'Pau trying to get the Kir'Shara to the High Command. The Kir'Shara, you see, contains Surak's original writings and will lead the Vulcans back to the proper Path. This could defuse the escalating tensions between the Vulcans and the Andorians, but only if the Kir'Shara reaches the capital before V'Las' attack unleashes an interstellar mess. Archer is aware of the Ticking Clock because of memories transferred by Syrran when he received the Katra. I for one would like to know: How would Syrran know anything about V'Las' war plans? (I'm calling it a plot hole.)

Along the way, we get a few insightful dialog scenes. I like how carrying the Katra gives Archer an understanding of Vulcans that he'd never had before.

In another scene between T'Pau and T'Pol, T'Pau explains that T'Pol's Pa'nar Syndrome (see "Stigma") is actually a side effect caused by having melded with an inexperienced mind-melder. It can be easily corrected by an experienced mind-melder (which T'Pau performs). The notion that Pa'nar Syndrome is a permanent affliction is merely a lie spread by the High Command to discourage mind-melds. That's a rather sublime — if simplistically tidy — invocation of the Undo feature on the part of the writers. They easily solve what was purported to be a major character problem while keeping true to the parameters of the story at hand. (Follow-up question: What about the emotional imbalances caused by T'Pol's Trellium addiction? Wouldn't T'Pau have noticed those as well?)

That T'Pol still voices her doubts about the motives of the Syrrannites is good for the sake of discussion, but somewhat dubious in execution: Wouldn't she better understand them after having melded with T'Pau? And doesn't the 180 T'Pol pulls a few scenes later, after she is captured, seem a little confusing? For that matter, it might've been a good idea for the writers to better explore the Syrrannites' belief system. Were they really just another of many sects that claimed to have the true answers? What makes them special and a target for destruction by V'Las?

There are also, of course, the requisite fight scenes after the High Command sends soldiers into the Forge to capture the escapees. I enjoyed the touches in these scenes, especially the gag where Archer discovers his sudden ability to use the Vulcan nerve pinch, as well as the Vulcan soldiers carrying those staffs with the semicircle blades on the end, ported straight in from TOS.

The ending, as I mentioned, is hasty. The crises all climax simultaneously, as they must. V'Las refuses to back down when his surprise attack is foiled, and the Vulcan fleet opens fire on the Andorian fleet, with the Enterprise caught in the middle. Meanwhile, Archer and T'Pau gain access to the High Command with security codes they get from T'Pol's husband, Koss. (The business with Koss' security codes is probably one plot piece too many, especially considering by this point T'Pol is in custody and unavailable to make the plea to him herself.) They open the Kir'Shara and reveal Surak's writings in a light show that impresses everyone except V'Las, who loses his temper in a decidedly un-Vulcan display of frustration as all his plans fall apart. Kuvak finally shows some backbone and stuns V'Las and calls off the fleet.

What feels like only minutes later, V'Las is put under investigation for the embassy bombing, the Vulcans are talking about the dissolution of the High Command, Soval is instantly reinstated, Koss releases T'Pol from her marriage obligation, Vulcan has returned to the Correct Path, and the Vulcans promise to give Earth more leeway in its exploration missions. What a difference a day can make.

I'm not sure what the ideal ending would've been, but it might've involved more extended dialog and just a tad more ambivalence about all this change. This ending is so tidy it's as if the Vulcans had been waiting around for someone to hand-deliver the Kir'Shara so they could usher in an era of change. Perhaps it was that they were all obliviously following V'Las down the wrong path.

That's actually a possibility the very end of the show puts forward, when V'Las is revealed to be conspiring (for decades, it turns out) with a Romulan operative hiding in the shadows. The Romulan speaks of "reunification," a term fans will be familiar with. I must say, this is a cleverly appropriate way to insert the Romulans into this series, since we all know that no human will see a Romulan until TOS's "Balance of Terror." This twist sheds some light on V'Las' motives, actions, and emotionalism — although I'm still not sure how a war between the Vulcans and Andorians would help pave the way for Vulcan/Romulan reunification.

All in all, "Kir'Shara" makes for a reasonable cap to a good trilogy — far more successful and interesting than the "Augments" trilogy. As storytelling it has holes, but as Star Trek it shows the ambition of tying pieces together and providing prequel-worthy substance.


Previous episode: Awakening
Next episode: Daedalus

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Comment Section

55 comments on this post

    They should've kicked out Archer and renamed this series The Soval and Shran Show. ;-)

    Season 4 still had some shaky parts, but it was a huge improvement over the previous three seasons of Enterprise.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Shran beams Soval away to kidnap him, but it was established when Shran took over P'Jem that the Andorians don't ahve transporter technology. Have the just recently aquired it?

    "How would Syrran know anything about V'Las' war plans?"

    You call it a plot hole, why? Is it not possible Syrran has contacts and/or visits Vulcan city's under his other name?

    Doubtful, perhaps. A plot hole-no. You make this episode sound much worse then it really is.

    I've got to get me one of those Vulcan torches. They never go out, even when being used as a quarter-staff!

    Overall I enjoyed this three parter. It certainly helped the Vulcans regain their original stature from TOS. I really wasn't happy with their portrayals up to this point.

    My overall complaint though is that the actors playing V'Las and Kuvak just didn't look Vulcan. Yes, they had the ears and the eyebrows, but their faces, especially the blue eyes, just didn't look Vulcan to me. I didn't buy it. Not to mention that they were emoting all over the place during the trilogy. Simply illogical. At least this trilogy fixed the damage initially inflicted on Vulcans in this series.

    Funny thing about retcons: they only work after alienating the very audience who would care most. Surely when B&B rolled out the "mind-melding is like gay sex" idea, they didn't plan on undoing it later. But Trekkers revolted, setting the stage for this story, which would not have been half as rewarding without the initial misstep.

    Too true Grumpy. Like Jammer said, simplistic yet sublime use of the "Undo" button, and further evidence of Manny Coto's skill at undoing 3 years of B&B bullsh**.

    Without going into too much detail (contrary to my usual habits), I will just say that I second Jammer's thoughts on this three-part "The Forge/Awakening/Kir'Shara" story arc. I completely agree that logical flaws aside, the political relevance within the Trek universe (especially considering all the species involved... Humans, Vulcans (+ separate factions), Andorians, and even a tease of Romulans) is what makes the arc so interesting.

    At the cost of repeating myself, I am so glad at the change of pace & direction that's taken place in season 4. It really turned Enterprise into a different and proper TV show.

    I agree with the posts above in this: This story arc was necessary to UNDO the terrible thing that had been done to the Vulcans in ENT (had you not called it the "Evil-Vulcan-Syndrome".
    Yesterday I rewatched TNGs "Sarek" - it is inconcievable how a man that was a producer at that time could demean the Vulcans years later!

    This trilogy was great; it redeemed my like of Enterprise -- to properly represent the value of ST. Morality is everything in this series. It stands for something. In this case it stands for reforming corruption in the Vulcan gvmt and opposing war.

    Kir'Shara wraps up an excellent trilogy. And the stinger at the end is right on, much better than the bat faced, red eyed, time traveling, Nazi space demons at the end of s3. I’m glad they explained the Vulcans being sort of jerky and showing the path toward the TOS Vulcans who don’t lie and are frequently pacifist. And though I’d like Shran to always be Archer’s buddy, I liked how they made him a dangerous frenemy again by his deplorable torturing of Soval who acted very well. It was cool to see Kuvak nerve pinch that guard with an aggressive sneer - I was like “go, pinch that a-hole guard!” And Kuvak gets to zap the warmongering, jerk-wad V'Las. All the story lines were excellent and it was great to see the migration from mind melds are taboo to mind melds are going to be much more common since by TOS-time Spock was melding left and right. Superb stinger at the end, I hope they get in a few more episodes of this arch. 3.5 for all three - great stuff!

    Very good - what people say about ENT (that it finally gets good just in time to end) appears to be true. Better late than never, but sad nonetheless.

    Great to finally explain and fix the Vulcans!

    I pretty much agree with you here Jammer although those negatives outway the positives.

    In addition: No one seems to have mentioned the inconsistency of having pacifist Vulcans, like T'Pau, fly-kick a guy in the head. And once again we have Archer beating up Vulcans at will even though they are meant to be significantly stronger than humans.

    So a good change of scope for Enterprise, yes. But aside from The Forge this is another wasted oportunity; An action romp that could have been so much more.

    This trilogy gives me mixed feelings. On one hand it was a great voyage into Vulcan culture and politics. On the other hand, it gave a lot of deja-vu, because a lot of story elements where taken from some of the nest DS9 episodes.

    Blowing up the embassy to trigger an investigation, was taken from Garak blowing up his own shop in Improbable Cause. Creating fake evidence to be found after an explosion, that's taken from In the Pale Moonlight. And one character torturing another character, while begging to please give answers before he has to inflict permanent damage, that's Garak & Odo in The Die is Cast.

    I agree: political imbroglios are often the best for arcs and entertaining shows.
    When episodes are good and give me substance, character and thoughtful dialogue, I tend to put aside some of the plot holes, particularly when they are manufactured to get the viewers to stay on edge. Although the end was too fast and it would have been great to ponder about the consequences.

    However Ives, you can take almost every episode on any series and draw parallels to other shows. If you take DS9 as example, well, it was a rip-off of Babylon 5's premise (B5 was written years before DS9, but Straczynski was never given the chance to produce it before DS9).

    I also don't agree with the fact that the story has anything to do with the Prophets. You could get the feeling, but Surak was/is a vulcan who's witnessing his people being led astray. Also, what Archer saw weren't visions, but memories of Surak. The Prophets were aliens who had almost no idea of what being humanoïd meant and didn't give a damn about bajorans. Surak was very well aware of vulcans flaws and that's why he deliberately chose to give an outsider the location of the Kir'Shara (and not half a descendent to fulfill a prophecy in order to ensure their own survival).

    You can blow apart the bad episodes, but please, give a little credit when it's due. Here, we have a fulfilling, introspective, innovative-in-a-prequel-way and very trekkian three parters.

    And Surak said: "Don't be douchebags". And lo, it was done.

    I appreciate all your reviews. What you forgot to mention is that the whole, "pre-emptive war" metaphor here clearly reflects the Iraq War arguments. They (Iraq/the Andorians) have weapons, or the potential of weapons, so let's kill them now!!

    I gotta say, after being slightly bored by the first two parts of this trilogy, "Kir'Shara" really did it for me. I enjoyed every second of it. The pacing just seemed frickin perfect. Pretty much all of the actors did an excellent job on this one and the action scenes just worked brilliantly. Throw in the fact that all of the events in this episode feel highly relevant to the overall Trek universe and you have a total winner. Oh, and by the way: Did I mention Jeffrey Combs was in it? IMO this was easily the best episode of season 4 yet. A full 4 stars from me.

    "What feels like only minutes later, V'Las is put under investigation for the embassy bombing, the Vulcans are talking about the dissolution of the High Command, Soval is instantly reinstated, Koss releases T'Pol from her marriage obligation, Vulcan has returned to the Correct Path, and the Vulcans promise to give Earth more leeway in its exploration missions."

    Also, Tal from TOS "The Enterprise Incident" performs a katraectomy on Archer, moving Surak's "living spirit" into himself. Which raises the question "Where is Surak's katra now?" ("Now" being TOS era and TNG era.) How long do those things last, anyway? If Surak's katra was still around at the time of "The Savage Curtain," wouldn't Spock have known about it?

    As for the logical flaw Jammer mentions:

    "... which is the lack of a reason for why Syrran didn't know the location of the Kir'Shara even though he carried Surak's Katra"

    I think because Surak wanted Archer to find it and solve the conflict as a human mediator. Didn't he even say something like that to Archer in a vision?

    What if Surak was in Sarek during the TOS and TNG era?

    Just grappling at straws, but Sarek, Spock's father, has always struck me as the most stoic and logical vulcan in Star Trek film/TV portrayals.

    If that is the case, then when Sarek passed on his memories to Picard before he died, he could have passed on the katra of Sarek and it eventually ended up in Spock.

    Just a guess and theory, there is no proof that this was how the Katra moved to the TNG era.

    I had to laugh at the tunnels...leading to the big nicely marked door. So in all the time the Syrran were hanging out in the cave system, they never went down that particular tunnel (it had cobwebs)? Never found that door? Really?

    Even funnier was at the end, when they're coming out, it felt like they were going in circles. Probably walking through the same two sets over and over.

    That said, I got a kick out of the use of the katra (though heartily agree with "the lack of a reason for why Syrran didn't know the location of the Kir'Shara even though he carried Surak's Katra"). I also enjoyed seeing a young T'Pau. It took me a bit to get that this was THE T'Pau from "Amok Time," but once I did, I was totally into it. I had to do quick mental math to make sure they weren't just reusing that name, and figured it was definitely possible for it to be the same woman. The actress had the right attitude, for sure. Any TOS references that expand our knowledge of those characters and situations get big kudos from me. Plus, she ends up being the new minister, which makes sense. Interesting that she started out as a member of a rebel faction--love it.

    I really enjoyed seeing Vulcan, and Sehlats! I remember an animated series episode with young Spock and his Sehlat pet.

    I also really appreciated the explanation for why Vulcans were behaving so badly in the early ENT episodes. They had gone off the rails and needed a course correction.

    V'Las was such a Bush/Cheney, what with his plans for a preemptive strike to take out a WMD -- but with a secret agenda. Ugh. Almost too close to reality for entertainment.

    I agree about T'Pol's easy illness cure. Glad that disease is out of the way, but the lack of addressing her emotional imbalance from the trellium-D is worrisome. I hope it isn't forgotten. Also odd was how quickly Koss decided to end the marriage he was so insistent on a few episodes earlier. But at least that's over with!


    Something I haven't seen addressed that I thought was interesting (given the references in the review to DS9) was the use of Robert Foxworth as V'Las. If you recall the other role he played in Trek: Admiral Leyton in DS9's Paradise Lost and Homefront.

    In both that 2-parter and this 3-parter, he plays a leader who takes matters into his own hands and performs a false flag attack on his own people to solidify his control/authority. And while there are real threats to his people out there, Andorians and Changelings, he magnifies their apparent threat for his own purposes.

    There are other parallels in his methods as well, though the Founders made up both the local and external threats in DS9, the Syrrannites in this existed to bring the threat home as it probably would have been much harder to hide a bunch of Andorians in the desert.

    I just thought that there were interesting parallels between the two sets of stories, utilizing the same actor. I don't mean to offer any opinion on the effectiveness of the stories or Leyton vs V'Las as characters.

    "Where is Surak's katra now?"
    Good question.
    Well a couple of places. He could be stored in.a katric ark(apple sized crystalline structure. ) in the the Hall of Thought on Mount Selaya. Could be passed to a Monk. If he was in Sarek and then Spock, that would be intriguing. Sarek preffered Terrans.

    Of course the show ends too quickly. Nearly all of the Enterprise episodes do, which I attribute to the shorter run time that they had (42 min vs. 50 on TOS and 45 on DS9). To me, this is one of the most frustrating things about Enterprise.

    How would war with the Andorians serve the reunification goal? Several reasons: war inevitably damages the Vulcans which makes them prepared to accept an offer of help from their long-lost Romulan cousins when they really need it against the very capable Andorians. Further, the Romulans are not looking for an equal partner in reunification; they'd prefer a weakened, dependent Vulcan that's just happy to be on the team.

    Overall for the trilogy - yes rushed, yes unnecessary martial arts, but I really appreciated the smart efforts to show that this planet Vulcan grew into the Vulcan of Spock's time. This looks much more like the same universe at different times, unlike JJ Abrams' alternate universe. Liked seeing a fiery (for a Vulcan) T'Pau who could age into the only person to turn down a seat on the Federation Council. Loved seeing Vulcans using the lirpa. Liked them fixing the stigma of the mind meld, and curing T'Pol's syndrome while still leaving her obviously suffering from being emotionally unmoored from her addiction.

    Good storytelling (not great but very good) and good to see this level of respect for the ST universe.

    The arc was far from perfect, but overall this is probably my favorite story arc in Trek since the beginning of DS9 season 6. After seeing the Vulcans turned from one of Trek's most fascinating (hee) races into a bunch of sniveling, uptight control freaks just to induce artificial conflict, it's nice to see the Vulcans placed on a path to how we know them from TOS onward. Thank you Manny Coto for fixing Berman and Braga's screwups!

    A lot of it felt too close to the headlines for my comfort (e.g. embassy bombings) since I watch Trek to get away from that stuff for a while, but I suppose that was rather the point, to show that 22nd century Earth is still rougher around the edges than the near-utopian Federation of Kirk and Picard.

    Lots of little references to TOS too - the Vulcan guards using lirpas, the IDIC medal, the selhat from the animated series. Fans appreciate these little things.

    My theory as to why the Romulans wanted a Vulcan/Andorian war is that such a war would have weakened the Vulcans enough that they would have been forced gone to their Romulan cousins for help, thus ensuring reunification. Pity we never got to see that play out in season 5; in some ways I wish that season 3 had focused on the Romulan War instead of the Xindi (although I liked season 3 overall).

    I agree with Jammer, this was the best story arc of ENT season 4.

    So V'Las is a Romulan or a Romulan sympathiser?
    I think we could have done without that tease at the end of this episode.
    A great three-parter that didn't really need the silly fisticuffs or rather tired space battles.
    Seriously is there anyone out there Archer can't beat up?
    He kicks the crap out of Klingons and Vulcans--hell I bet he could have bitch-slapped the Gorn Captain from Arena with one hand behind his back.

    Okay, now we know the Vulcans of Spock's era sprang from these Syrannites. Good. But my big problem was V'las. He was completely unhinged by the last act. The ranting and hysterics were just too un-Vulcan even for this era. The paralells to the Bush adminstration's WMD fumble was a little too heavy-handed. The bat-upside-the-head way Manny Coto delivers his moral messages (think "Stigma") could use a bit of subtlety.

    Very good triplet of episodes, probably the best thus far. It makes me more sad that this show suffered and died by Paramount's attempts to compete with prime time TV and the prime time show-advert combo (which is rapidly loosing its dominace). By today's standards, competing with shows like Game of Thrones, we'd no doubt be treated to a solid hour with conflicts which could play out fully. And hopefully with writing to tell a story...which poor Enterprise is just now getting a little breathing room to do so.
    I was fine with what they did, but like Picard in The Inner Light, I think Archer should have experienced a lasting effect. (A more Vulcan Archer would be a good compliment to a more human T'Pol.)
    And Porthos....what the heck!? I can't believe his lack of scenes. Sigh.
    It's neat to see I'm not the only one on these boards currently watching the show. I'd seen most of it before - perhaps all - but long ago in a very different life. I'll be curious about other fan reactions as the show winds down.

    If this show had continued, I hoped it would have done what the novels are now doing. If you the ENT novels "Rise of the Federation" and "Romulan War", it explains away a lot of things.

    According to the novels, V'Las was Romulan deep cover agent, he wasn't even Vulcan to begin with. Archer does mellow out with some vulcan mindscaping thanks to Surak's Katra.

    As for the Romulans and their method of waging wars, quite ingenious parallel to our modern use of Drone warfare instead of actual troops. If that were continued, it could have been a nice Trekkian social commentary on the unwise nature of inhuman warfare.

    Definitely a solid conclusion to the arc and one that as others have noted did much to put the Vulcans on the path to where they would be in TOS in a sensible and well presented manner.

    Interesting that perhaps the best scenes were between Soval and Shran - it hasn't really been since DS9 that the secondary cast have been able to put on a compelling show so it's noticeable that Enterprise has at least evolved to a point where this can happen. Although given the Archer-Emmisary parallels in this perhaps the aping of DS9 was more considered.

    Good moment right at the end too. 3 stars.

    This trilogy offers perhaps the best tribute to Roddenberry's vision that vast, positive societal changes can happen in a short time. By showing the "anti ST" Vulcans in the earlier parts of enterprise, we can see the effect of what is called a "significant emotional event" on a society.

    I find it plausible that that the high command as pictured in Error could move logically down this path because of the way Spock behaves in the Mirror universe.

    I don't know the backstage bickering or rights of whether this trilogy was planned from the start. It's immaterial because this trilogy puts the work of previous episodes in harmony. And it offers a hopeful message that determined, relatively nonviolent activists can move a society toward more skillful methods of governing.

    "Overall I enjoyed this three parter. It certainly helped the Vulcans regain their original stature from TOS. "

    Oh really? They original stature from TOS? You mean like the less than diplomatic Sarek or the female betrothed to Spock who forced him and Kirk to fight to the death?

    If T'Pau was able to cure T'Pol's Panar Syndrome with a "corrective" mind meld, couldn't the sympathetic Vulcan doctor from "Stigma" two years ago have cured T'Pol too?

    Greatly enjoyed this three parter sets up TOS and has a good balance of intrigue, exposition, action, and thoughtfulness.

    If only Enterprise had carried this through from season 1. Then I think the show would have lasted the seven years.

    A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy that put Enterprise, belatedly, properly into canonical Trek territory and finally opened its local universe up into a real place where interesting characters do meaningful things. All the same it's perhaps by a slight margin the least of the three episodes - which is surprising since Shran is back. In fact there was something ever so slightly unsatisying about Shran this time. Was it just that the show had improved to such a degree that he wasn't automatically the most exciting character in the episode? Very possibly.

    Jeffrey Combs is as outstanding as always, but I think part of the source of my misgivings is just that I don't really buy that Shran would torture Soval - or if I do buy it, then I think perhaps it damages Shran a little. But I'm sure Combs can recover Shran from this discrepancy unless he's given some truly stupid material in later episodes.

    The final scene, introducing the Romulan conspirator is a sweet moment, ripe with all sorts of potential for future plot arcs, even if, like Jammer I'm confused as to how war with the Andorians does anything much to foster Vulcan/Romulan reunification (or at this juncture why that's the object of a conspiracy at all).

    All in all a very satisfying three parter, which perhaps doesn't have quite the emotional clout of the outstanding three episode run towards the end of season three (the sequence which included 'Damage'), but is ultimately more important and significant.

    Incidentally Manny Coto intended for Shran to become a permanent member of the Enterprise crew (an adviser' of some sort) in season five. The things we missed out on because of those addled opening seasons...

    Is it really so hard to comprehend or believe that B&B made the Vulcans the way they did in the beginning for the express purpose of giving them this arc later? I for one would like to think they had a rough outline of a full 7 season show before it began, leading into the Earth-Romulan war and concluding with the Federation's founding. I believe those first two seasons may have been better received if 9/11 hadn't happened, and then we would've gotten 7 seasons. Another criminal act to blame on bin laden-HE killed Enterprise!!!

    A good conclusion to the 3-part tale -- plenty of stuff going but it's hard to believe Archer/T'Pau make it on foot all the way to the Vulcan high command. Also hard to believe how far V'Las nearly got with his plan. Interesting that he's working with a Romulan operative and the whole pre-reunification thing.

    "Kir'Shara" is a good story but I guess I'm still miffed at how the Vulcans were portrayed throughout the whole thing. But it does fill in some Star Trek cannon holes somewhat adequately.

    Enjoyed seeing Shran again -- he's got an interesting character in that he is ultimately trying to do the right thing but he can be pretty brutal (pragmatic is a more polite way of saying it) in getting there. The torture scene with Soval was good -- 2 good actors here going at it.

    Must say, T'Pol's ongoing skepticism of everything is a bit annoying. Also thought Archer after walking in the desert outfighting Vulcans a definite stretch.

    I agree with Jammer's rating of 3 stars for "Kir'Shara" -- it does wrap up awful quickly and conveniently after like 3 or 4 decent subplots come together. Overall a good few episodes for ENT that did have a bit of a DS9 feel to it.

    Oooooo! A Romulan! How I wish there had been a season 5, 6 and 7 to build on that promising scene...

    I can't decide if V'Las was a rubbish Vulcan because he was supposed to be (ie he'd spent too much time hanging around Romulans or was even part Romulan) or because the actor was rubbish.

    Love the Shran and Soval scenes.

    After the Forge/Awakening = explosions, csi and philosophic travel (which I love, being a fan of cops movies and kung fu series), could this get even better? It seemed difficult but...
    OH YES!!!
    Shran! And not out of the blue/laughable, but the really dangerous (and in the end honest) Shran of the first season!
    Soval, honest at no matter the cost, for his planet and for his debt with Forrest. He might have been a jerk in the past, but he was never corrupt and his world is at stake, so his change makes sense.
    Trip risking his career (and maybe his home planet, if thins go wrong), just like Soval: on a really tough decision to prevent a war between Vulcano and Andoria. And he's not moving anymore out of anger like at season 3, but for peace. He's a commander, but he's starting to think like a real captain of something bigger than his world - a real captain of the Federation!
    Surak as a Buddhist-like but understandable wiseman.
    Archer as someone not posessed, but wise and open to toughtful ideas.
    T'Pau as a brave and understanding leader with the rare quality of overcoming her initial fanatism.
    T'Pol so tender and protective towards Archer - he is her true love, and not sexualized, just best friends - so brilliant!
    Koss, such a good guy, ready to help when Archer exits the Forge and contacts him.
    Corrupt government ala Game of Thrones, not too well portrayed but still enjoyable.
    And ROMULANS!!!
    The end of the Xindi arc was great. But the Forge/Awakening/Kir'shara is pure genius!
    Best Enterprise arc ever !!!!

    This trilogy is certainly a high point of the series so far. There are lots of problems with it (Among them: the object was too easy to find---right down this tunnel!; Archer being able to beat up anybody at any time is boring; I would like to see a bit more restraint from some of the Vulcan actors). It probably would have been better to do this story over two different blocks of episodes (say, introduce the divisions within Vulcan in the first one and come back for the embassy bombing in the second). Still, for anyone who's a fan of the world-building of Star Trek, this is an entertaining three episodes.

    I don't really have much to add that hasn't already been said by Jammer or by the commenters. There's lots I could nitpick, but Enterprise again does well when it sticks to diplomacy and world building (like DS9). I do have a few comments on what others have said:

    -Remember, "reunification" doesn't have to happen peacefully. If Romulans want to conquer Vulcan, it's much easier if they're already at war with the Andorians. If they do want to reunify peacefully, they'll have more influence over a Vulcan at war.

    -I do think Berman & Braga would have eventually done something to bring the Vulcans in line with the other Trek series. They introduced the idea of Andorians & Vulcans being close to war, but they also had Future Guy talk about a future with a Federation, which Archer would be instrumental in forming. So it was clear they were going to do something to change the status quo, though I'm guessing they hadn't even sketched out how they were going to do it.

    Am I the only one irked by the fact that the writers here got the mind meld words wrong? It's "your thoughts to my thoughts" not "my thoughts to your thoughts".

    Jez: Further evidence of the need for knowledgeable editors/proofreaders in all areas of writing. An interest of mine.

    TO ALL POSTERS: I greatly appreciate reading the comments on how certain elements of the plot fit into Trek canon. I’ve been watching the series solely for its entertainment value, which has upped the game this season. Learning the lore here is an added benefit. Thank you.

    Just a remake of Ds9 Homefront and Paradise Lost. They even used Robert Foxworth to play the exact same character. It was decent to watch, but hard not to notice the similarities.

    3 stars

    A pretty solid outing that would have benefitted from
    A little more polishing by the writers to smooth the rough edges

    It was neat to bring in the Andorians to the Vulcan trilogy but the torture of Soval was boring and went on too long. Shran came off as very one note. And the Vulcan Andorian fleets facing off against one another possessed a certain cool appeal but it also didn’t help that it reminded me of far superior such engagements from DS9 that had more suspense and unpredictability attached to them than a prequel will allow here

    I liked the episode remedies Tpol’s panar disease. The reveal of the Kir’Shara’s writings was a good moment.

    The best moments though were the last few minutes of the hour when the relationship beywwwn Vulcan and Earth takes a more friendship and less adversarial turn followed by the closing scene where we learn V’Las wasn’t just a Vulcan who was opposed to Surak’s peaceful teachings but also someone actively allied with Romulans for decades trying to undermine Vulcan progress and restore the society to a more militant Romulan philosophy which sets them up as a genuine threat

    In fact, the Romulans were never as threatening as in ENTERPRISE.

    Fun fact: the actor who played V'Las and the actress who played T'Pol's mother played a husband and wife on Six Feet Under (they played Rachel Griffiths' character's parents).

    So Emperor Palpatine is actually Darth Sidious ???? Sorry must have been watching something else. Can't think why I said that.

    If you had "T'Pau breaks some heads" on your Star Trek fanfic wishlist, well, Enterprise has you covered.

    Seriously though, this trilogy did more than anything else to fix Enterprise as far as fans are concerned. Without it, I don't know that much of the fandom would accept Enterprise as "real" Star Trek at all!

    It's amusing that everyone's beam weapons are the same color as their blood.

    Best ENT arc. 3.5 - 4 for the arc, 4 for this episode.

    Nitpick: Archer goes from being beat up in every episode (Seasons 1 & 2) to kicking butt and taking names -- even outnumbered against Vulcan security forces, who you'd think would be extremely well trained. But, I must admit, seeing him use the nerve pitch was great.

    Nitpick: The Kir-Shara itself appeared to be metal. It certainly appeared to be high-tech -- which I thought was a no-no.

    Why are high-tech societies so dependent on high-tech? Any pre-1970 car would have had no problem driving in The Forge -- no electronics to fry. No energy weapons? How about a hand gun -- they work via primitive chemical explosive, and
    have a much greater range than the lirpa. Can't have metals? Fine, make it all out of ceramics.

    And what makes you think the Romulans really wanted unification? As opposed to simply wanting warfare among their neighbors?

    I enjoy this trilogy, and this episode in particular, even if it does suffer from devolving the intellectual plot of the first two episodes into a much more mundane action stuff.

    Although most of my thoughts have been covered in Jammer’s review and the comments, I feel obligated to point out a bug pet peeve of mine.

    In normal circumstances, I get taken out of TV/film when a single or small group of characters out battles a half dozen others. Particularly when two of the small group are women who don’t appear to have any extraordinary strength (and one who is a pacifist and ought not have much fight training compared to dedicated soldiers/law enforcement staff.

    But Trek often goads me one step further when it comes to Vulcans. They are supposed to be several times stronger than humans. So even the otherwise most qualified fighter of the group, Archer, ought to be easily smacked down by the multiple Vulcan attackers. This is not the first episode of Enterprise to include this anachronism.

    Awesome three-parter!

    Like an earlier poster, I saw a Dick Cheney type allegory in the V’Las character, with his false WMD claims. I kept waiting for reveal of a Vulcan version of Halliburton, and V’Las to be exposed as some shabby war profiteer. When that didn’t happen, I was still confused by his motivations. Then right at the very end we get the surprise Romulan connection, loved it!

    This trilogy is a series high point! Bravo!

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