Bakula & Berman Talk Mind-Meld TwistBy Caillan
February 3, 2003 - 9:35 AM
See Also: 'Stigma' Episode Guide
Enterprise's upcoming AIDS allegory, 'Stigma', will introduce an interesting revelation about the Vulcan mind-meld that will surprise some fans, Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) said recently.
"What's great about this episode is it turns the whole Vulcan mind-meld on its ear," Bakula told Kate O'Hare at Zap2it. "It's just going to freak people out. Their favorite thing about Vulcans, forever, has been this mind-meld ability, and [now here's] the fact that, in its genesis, it was not perceived on a good light in Vulcan. It's great lore to add to the collection."
The episode reveals T'Pol has contracted a terminal disease known as Pa'nar syndrome, which is only transmitted among the minority of Vulcans who are genetically able to perform a mind-meld. As executive producer Rick Berman explained, the stigma associated with mind-melders changes in later centuries. "This is all something that would be different in the age of Kirk or Picard, but in our century there is definitely a stigma against people who go against normal mores and policies and attempt this very emotional and intimate act of mind-meld."
Bakula said Captain Archer is surprised when he discovers the prejudice against sufferers of Pa'nar syndrome, especially since the Vulcan medical community actively suppresses information about the disease. "Archer is a little bit unprepared to encounter this from the Vulcans because they've presented themselves as the elite, the best, the smartest, and we've lovingly turned them upside down in this franchise. I'm thrilled about it, because they can only go up from here. They're shooting for Spock. They've always been snotty, but they've always been P.C., and this is very, very bad."