Sussman Discusses 'Twilight' In PodcastBy Michelle
October 5, 2005 - 7:36 PM
See Also: 'Twilight' Episode Guide
Star Trek: Enterprise writer Mike Sussman sat down with StarTrek.com's Tim Gaskill to discuss the third season episode "Twilight" in a podcast that is now available to go along with the release of the complete season three DVD set.
Available for download at StarTrek.com and on iTunes' podcast service, the commentary includes Sussman's praise for the optical effects in the episode and the performance of Jolene Blalock playing an older, more emotional T'Pol in the alternate future. "Some people pointed out what a terrible life it must be for Archer to wake up every day and learn the Earth has been desetroyed, but how equally bad for T'Pol to have to wake up and deliver this news every day," he observed. The episode, which originally aired on November 5th, 2003, was directed by former Star Trek: Voyager actor Robert Duncan McNeill and filmed over the anniversary of 9/11, which Sussman said the crew was aware of while they were filming an episode about the future destruction of Earth.
Sussman joked that the episode's apparent popularity with fans stemmed from his mother's having voted for it over and over in a StarTrek.com poll, noting his tendency to give Blalock's character long hair whenever possible - he would do so again in 'Civilization' and 'In a Mirror, Darkly' - and pointing out Trip Tucker's reference to the ship as a garbage scow, a nod to "The Trouble With Tribbles" when the original Star Trek's Scotty began a bar brawl over insults to the Enterprise.
The teaser, explained Sussman, came about late in script development, because the writing staff agreed that the most powerful moment in the storyline would be destruction of Earth in the future timeline but it wasn't depicted in the original draft. "It makes for a very disorienting opening," he observed. "The audience is basically in Archer's shoes at this point. We don't know what's going on; he doesn't know what's going on."
Gaskill pointed out that "Twilight" offers the first view of the Xindi weapon, which is aiming directly at the Atlantic Ocean. Sussman calls the shot a "terrific optical, the best planet explosion I've ever seen", noting that the blast is inspired by Teaser inspired by Brannon Braga's Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect" which starts with the Enterprise-D blowing up. The first view of Archer's ship contains a bit of a continuity glitch, added Gaskill: "When you first see the Enterprise in space, both engines are glowing normally, but when you see the ship a little bit later, the starboard side gets messed up because of a collision."
The wig worn in the episode by Scott Bakula was developed for Soval, played by Gary Graham. Sussman said that they had concluded that T'Pol probably cut Archer's hair and would likely do it in the Vulcan style, while Gaskill noted that Vulcans appear to be proud of their gray hair: "They obviously don't have Grecian Formula." Originally a very old Porthos was supposed to be in the episode, and in his scenes the makeup artists put gray fur on the dog playing Porthos. Sussman said it looked very cute and he was sorry the footage was not included.
Earlier drafts also called for a more emotional T'Pol who had lived among humans for many years, but when Blalock read a scene in which her character was eating eggs, she objected on the grounds that she would not eat eggs so she ate fruit instead. Sussman and Gaskill discussed the question of whether Vulcan women are as strong as Vulcan men, since on several occasions Archer appeared to be stronger than T'Pol. They also discussed her devotion to the captain, with Sussman saying they had talked about holding the show until later in the season as a might-have-been, but he thinks it was good that it aired when it did, "to show what the stakes were, what was potentially going to happen if Archer and his crew were not successful in the mission."