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July 17 2024


An archive of Star Trek News


By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at December 4, 2004 - 5:10 AM GMT

See Also: 'Kir'Shara' Episode Guide

Plot Summary: While V'Las tells the High Command that Vulcan has been using false warp signatures to distract the Andorians from the planned invasion of their home planet, T'Pau leads Archer and T'Pol towards the capital, hoping that Surak's teachings will sway the High Command from its path, though T'Pol expresses doubts about both the artifact and Archer's mental state. T'Pau saves them from the electromagnetic discharges of gallacite, which reacts with metal. Meanwhile Tucker brings Enterprise to the Andorian fleet to find Shran, whom he believes is the one Andorian who might believe himself and Soval. But after Enterprise makes contact with a dubious Shran, he has his crew abduct Soval off the ship to interrogate him; it is hours before Tucker discovers that he is missing.

In the capital V'Las insists to Kuvak that the Kir'Shara does not exist and orders a lieutenant to track down and eradicate the remaining Syrannites. In the Forge, T'Pol quarrels with T'Pau, then apologizes, saying that her mother's death has affected her. When T'Pau offers to meld with her and share her mother's knowledge, T'Pol explains that she has Pa'an Syndrome, which T'Pau says has been known since the time of Surak and is not contagious but caused by improperly trained melders. She offers to help heal T'Pol and performs a mind meld. Later T'Pol quarrels with Archer about Syrannite philosophy, which she insists is radical, though Archer points out that most Vulcans would consider her joining Starfleet equally extreme. Meanwhile he says that Surak's katra is changing him; he may even take up meditation.

Shran uses a neurosynaptic field to lower Soval's emotional threshold, which tortures the Vulcan far more than pain. Soval insists that he has always been honest with the Andorians but Shran keeps demanding the true location of the Vulcan fleet, disbelieving Soval's talk of an invasion from near Regulus. When Enterprise discovers that Soval is missing, the ship follows the Andorians into the nebula where part of their fleet is hidden, eventually locating and firing at Shran's vessel. He agrees to return Soval and moreover arranges to have the Andorian fleet redeployed, having concluded that Soval was telling the truth. He asks Tucker to keep Enterprise with the Andorians to face the Vulcans.

Talok, the lieutenant whom V'Las sent to find the Syrannites, leads a team armed with lirpas against T'Pau, T'Pol and Archer. T'Pol is injured, and T'Pau pushes Archer into a cave to protect the Kir'Shara. After T'Pol comes to, she claims that Archer is taking the artifact to Mount Seleya and claims that as a Syrannite she cannot lie. When Archer and T'Pau find the tracks leading away from the capital instead of toward it, he insists on tracking down T'Pol, telling T'Pau not to bother with the lecture about the needs of the many. They disable Talok's men but Talok tells them that T'Pol has been sent to the High Command, where V'Las is threatening to execute her for treason.

Andorian reinforcements will not arrive in time to protect Shran's squadron from the Vulcan ships closing on it, so Tucker tells Reed to keep Enterprise between the fleets. The Vulcans fire on the Earth vessel when Enterprise moves to defend an Andorian ship, though Tucker has told V'Las that Starfleet knows of their whereabouts. When Archer arrives at the High Command with the Kir'Shara and V'Las demands its destruction, grabbing a weapon, Kuvak shoots to disable V'Las and orders the Vulcan fleet to withdraw from the engagement with the Andorians. When Enterprise returns to Vulcan, T'Pol learns that Archer got the codes he needed to enter the High Command from Koss. He tells her that he is releasing her from their marriage, for he knows she only married him because of her mother, who is gone now.

Archer mind-melds with the priest who performed T'Pol's wedding, giving up Surak's katra to him. T'Pau tells him that the people of Vulcan have heard of his discovery and are in his debt for the Kir'Shara. Kuvak thanks him as well, and Soval says that the High Command has been dissolved; from now on Earth will stand on its own without any Vulcan interference. Elsewhere on Vulcan, V'Las shouts at an unknown contact that he has failed. The contact - a Romulan - refuses to allow him to leave the planet, saying that the reunification of their people is only a matter of time.

Analysis: I have a note typed alongside my shorthand episode summary from early in "Kir'Shara", when V'Las is talking about using false warp signatures to fool the Andorians about the location of the fleet: "Sounds very Romulan." And yet I really did not think the episode would go there. Because it makes Soval and Kuvak look so stupid; because it still doesn't make a lot of sense to have tried to eradicate the Syrannites if the goal was to trigger war between Andoria and Vulcan; because it's gimmicky. Nonetheless, until the moment when we discover what V'Las is really working toward, "Kir'Shara" is an absolutely gripping episode, and the inter- and intra-series continuity makes up even for the ludicrousness of the ending. And, since I suppose the Romulans had to show up at some point, I guess Vulcan is as good a place as any.

The episode does a nice job tying up the plot threads of the arc, giving the major players plenty to do, though as so often happens, everyone on Enterprise but Archer, T'Pol and Tucker get the short shrift. I'm starting to think that maybe I can live with that; at his best Tucker combines the best features of McCoy and Scotty, and it's easy to draw parallels between T'Pol and Spock, though I'm sorry to say that Archer is not and never will be a Kirk (and I don't mean with the ladies, either). This is one of his more interesting episodes, walking around with Surak in his head and a proper sense of the absurd, though I didn't really see enough of that reflected in the characterization: of course, he's being called upon to kick lirpa-wielding butt and other distractions, but Scott Bakula's performance wasn't as nuanced as last week, and I forgot about the fact that he had an ancient Vulcan master sharing his consciousness - let alone Syran's dying thoughts, a necessary plot gimmick so he could know of the planned Andorian war.

T'Pau, on the other hand, is a much stronger character than she was last week, calmly focused and accepting of the role for which the Emissary - oops, I mean Archer - has been chosen. I love the scene where she explains away the illness that had haunted T'Pol and was presumably in part responsible for her drug addiction last season, though that storyline was largely AWOL after "Stigma"; seeing two bright women working together has always made me happy, something we haven't gotten enough of since Janeway and Torres debated engineering, so I enjoyed what little screen time they shared. I loved listening to T'Pol lie about Archer's whereabouts, then lie about her ability to lie, and it's interesting that they made the man who spared her life a former subordinate who recalled her ruthlessness as a former covert operative, a career about which she has since expressed ambivalence. I like to think that it was Surak, not just Archer, who pointed out that she became a radical when she joined Starfleet; becoming a Syrannite is not a much bigger step.

But the most dramatic development concerning T'Pol is the discovery that her husband 1) does care for her, enough to break the law and give Archer command codes, and 2) is willing to let her go, now that it's clear to him that the marriage they undertook in the name of tradition has nothing left to hold it together. It's a sad scene, and a sad moment in that Koss walks away right at the moment when he becomes interesting as a we know something about his politics and his integrity, and that he likes T'Pol enough to take a big personal risk for her with no discernible ulterior motive. At the same time I'm puzzled why he allowed her to marry him in the name of tradition when he knew at the time that she did not wish to go through with it. Did T'Les work on him before she disappeared with the Syrannites? Or did he decide on his own that T'Pol was too emotional for him to wish to remain with? I suppose we will never know.

Now she is free to resume her complicated relationship with Tucker, who has just come off the biggest week of his life - defying a Starfleet admiral, taking command of Enterprise and ordering the ship directly into the middle of what might prove to be an interstellar war. His best friend on the ship thinks he may be nuts for doing this. Soval says he's sure it's what Archer would do, and he's probably right, but this is Tucker's decision. I adore him as Enterprise's engineer, but I think this guy has proven that he's ready for his own command right here. The aw-shucks Tucker is completely absent in "Kir'Shara"; this is a guy who knows exactly what needs to be done and doesn't hesitate. All right, he probably should have had better security on Soval, but who could have predicted that sneak Shran would be so devious!

Speaking of Shran...I am willing to buy that he didn't trust Soval right away, but the emotional torture scenes seemed rather drawn out and moreover rather pointless. If we were going to see Soval emotionally tortured, I would think it should have been before his enormous change of heart about humans - instead the torture really changed nothing either in his personality nor in the plot since we always knew that the Andorians would eventually engage the Vulcan fleet. I suppose it makes him an edgier character, but we already knew that we couldn't trust him. I would rather have seen him more thoughtful, playing mind games with Soval, rather than this cheap nastiness.

My other frustration with the episode is that we have no clue what's written in the neat holographic scrolls of the Kir'Shara, whose projections remind me uncannily of Daniels' 29th-century history machine. After all the discussion of how the scrolls will revolutionize Vulcan, which we know to be true because the Vulcans change so much between T'Pau's youth and old age, we don't get any hints about exactly how or why. For all we know, V'Las could be right and it could all be Syrannite propaganda hidden in the cave by Syran himself. T'Pau says that if they date it, they'll discover its true age, but how can she know? I don't recall them having had time to test it as they fled from the High Command.

And if the vast majority of Vulcans don't believe in katras, why would a respected priest, the guy who performed T'Pol's wedding (I'm assuming it's the same guy since it's the same actor), just accept that Surak's katra is in Archer's head and pop it out without it rocking Vulcan spirituality to the foundation? The Syrannites are radicals, we keep hearing - yet this priest is sitting and melding in the former High Command headquarters. Imagine, say, if Jesus' spirit was alleged to be preserved and deposited in the mind of someone from another planet - can anyone imagine the Pope saying wow, we thought at first that you were a lunatic but now we accept this as spiritual truth? I know they had to condense all these changes to fit within the trilogy but it seems like this aspect could have been greatly expanded, while the earlier efforts to extract the katra last week could have been dropped.

For the most part, these are quibbles in terms of the entertainment value of "Kir'Shara" - the arc is more consistent than many TNG and Voyager episodes that mention Vulcan, and there are some lovely bits of dialogue, from Soval's explanation of the Vulcan word for fool to T'Pol's reluctant defense of the group her mother joined for her sake. I did get a giggle out of T'Pau's sehlat impression - made me think of Hermione in Harry Potter pretending to be a werewolf, and the dopes always fall for it! And then there are the electric rocks, a necessary plot device set up a couple of acts earlier, also entertaining but cheesy in a very Original Series way.

But it's the ending that's both the most baffling and most interesting aspect of the entire arc. So the Romulans are coming, even though we know Archer can't see their faces as such once during the course of Enterprise. And they're talking reunification in an era before Spock knew they were related to the Vulcans. How this leads to centuries of hostilities will be interesting to see.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Michelle Erica Green is a news writer for the Trek Nation. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.

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