Critics Awakening to Praise for 'Enterprise'By Michelle
December 3, 2004 - 9:53 PM
See Also: 'Awakening' Episode Guide
Online reviewers mostly agreed that "Awakening" was not quite up to the standards of "The Forge", but for the most part found things to praise in last week's episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, particularly the interaction between Soval and Tucker and Archer's scenes with the katra of Surak. Most were also moved by T'Pol's reaction to the loss of her mother, though some found T'Pol in particular and Vulcans in general to be far too emotional to believe even within the context of a disruption to their philosophy of logic.
- Section 31's Erik Dardan Ymeraga awarded "Awakening" the same grade as "The Forge", an A-, calling it "a slight letdown, but so slight as to be nearly immeasurable." He was impressed with Archer's interactions with Surak and his confusion over finding someone else living in his head, as well as with T'Pau's realization that her arrogance may have kept her from receiving the Katra of her revered leader. Like many reviewers, he noted Gary Graham's skill at portraying Soval's turnaround from an adversarial relationship with humans to a great supporter, and he appreciated the fact that T'Pol remained with Archer even though she doubted his ability to find the Kir'Shara. "Regardless of the corruptness of the Vulcan government, seeing Enterprise fired upon by Vulcan ships hit hard, as did Trip's surrender and retreat. Speaking of Trip, it was great to see him in command," he added.
- Save Enterprise's Dr. Phlox rated "Awakening" an 8, down from the 9.5 he awarded "The Forge", because he found the ending so rushed that "the significance of the Kir'Shara was lost on me during my first viewing." He found the scenes between T'Pol and T'Les very moving, however, and noted that since most of his emotional responses was to dramatic scenes involving Vulcans, he thought it was time to give the scenes between characters who regularly express overt emotion more depth.
- TrekWeb's O. Deus gave the show only a 6 overall, dropping the grade from the week before and complaining that if "The Forge" had little going for it, "Awakening" had even less, trying to stretch a thin plot over 40 minutes just to drag out a trilogy. He describes "the incredibly weak and pointless suspense" over the attempt to transfer Surak's Katra from Archer's brain by T'Pau, "a character about as interesting and compelling as wet gravy", in scenes that lack even "the energy and sense of wonder of 'The Forge's explorations of the Vulcan desert." And when V'Las orders his minions to comb the desert, he can't help but think of the scene in Spaceballs when stormtroopers drag a giant comb through the sand.
- Michael Sheridan of Tail Slate rated the episode slightly higher than last week, giving it a 4.8. Though like many reviewers he found V'Las' portrayal to be over the top, he liked getting to see Surak and found T'Les' death appropriately moving.
- By contrast, The Great Link's Michael Marek dropped his rating considerably from the five out of five he gave "The Forge", awarding "Awakening" only a three out of five. "I have rarely been a fan of scripts written by Andre Bormanis. As science advisor to several incarnations of Trek, I think he deserves great credit for keeping the science element of the science fiction believable. But the character development of his scripts tends to be lacking," he stated. In this case he found both V'Las and T'Pau, the two key guest characters, underdeveloped and difficult to accept as Vulcans.
- Ian J. Slater also reviewed "Awakening" for The Great Link with an equivalent score of three out of five. "The choice to make Vulcans emotionally volatile was disappointing," he wrote, complaining that by making the aliens too human, the show does away with diversity and explorations of difference. He did like the twist on Trek canon in which it takes an emotional human to bring Vulcans back to the path of logic.
- TrekPulse's Guy gave "Awakening" warp four out of five, calling the episode "thinly veiled antiBush propaganda with spaceships" and snickering about "starting a pre-emptive war based on evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction." Other than what he labeled the "liberal clot", however, he loved the episode, raving about Graham as Soval, Archer's fearlessness when confronted by T'Pau and the well-filmed scenes with Surak.
- Shadowfyre of Lower Decks gave the episode a 7/10, down from the 8.5 awarded by the site last week, expressing the concern that the episode would even further divide fans of Vulcans:
I agree with the assessment that Enterprise era Vulcans are decidedly different from other series (though I felt differently at first), but it seems that in the effort to show why they have changed and to bring them into better alignment with TOS Vulcans, their image is even further tarnished.Both V'Las and the Syrannites seemed to emotional to Shadowfyre, though Soval was more impressive in scenes with Tucker.
- Chris of Xenoclone said that he had a mind-meld hangover after the episode, in which unfortunately very little actually happened. "In the grand scheme of things, nothing happens until the end. (That is, the katra transfer fails, the rescue mission fails, etc...)," he wrote. On the plus side he found the political parallels relatively sophisticated and T'Pau "cute."
- IGN FilmForce's KJB gave the episode four stars out of five, calling it "an exciting and entertaining hour of television that makes you anxious for the next episode" and stating that he would be happy to see Soval replace T'Pol as the Vulcan on Enterprise's bridge.
- Television Without Pity's Keckler has recapped the episode, calling it "Mind-Rapers of the Lost Ark" and explaining T'Pau's plans for a katra-ectomy.