North Star

Episode Report Card
Keckler: B- | Grade It Now!
Blazing Furrows

The camera pans down from the sky, which bleaches out the color to almost make it look like it's a black-and-white film. As the episode goes on, it's obvious they muted most colors to get that same effect. It's a pretty unique feel. Unique? Always good. Quantum is standing by a tree, all duded up in western duds complete with a nice wide-brimmed hat and a duster. Okay, I'll have to reluctantly concede a "yum." Now, if he can only keep his mouth shut and just vogue around, I might actually start to like him. He nods at Homespun as she walks by, but she doesn't pay him any notice. Joining T'Pol -- whose costume tonight is a tailored, flat-ruffled blouse with flared trumpet sleeves and a flared hem, paired with a brown corduroy skirt -- Quantum asks what she's got. I assume he means besides that scarf tied Rhoda-style over her ears. T'Pol says there's no doubt they're human. Trip falls into step with them and says, "Looks pretty authentic, Cap'n. Right down to the spittoons." "And the hangings," Quantum comments, and wonders how the hell they all got there. Ducking into an alley, Quantum comms Reed for a report. Reed tells them that there are six thousand humans on the planet, all clustered in settlements within a few hundred kilometers of where they are. Of the aliens, Reed reports he found fewer than one thousand of them, and that their closest encampment is ten kilometers away. Reed can't find any sign of technology or ships; his "Quantum Scans" (I know it's not a real shout-out, but I still do a double-take whenever I hear it) show their oldest structure to be over two hundred years old, and every material used is indigenous to the planet. Quantum sends Trip and T'Pol to check out the alien settlement, and warns them to keep all talk of flying saucers and little green men at such a minimum as to be non-existent.

By trading in his precious harmonica and his gun and holster (hey, people? Where'd he get the gun and holster? They don't have a replicator on the ship yet!), Trip manages to rent him and T'Pol a horse for a few hours. You know what's so great? Trip's "aw, shucks" accent finally fits in somewhere! This scene was filmed looking out of the stables into the sun, which puts all the characters in West Wing-like shadow. However, instead of it being impenetrable as it is on that show, it actually gives the scene a nice bit of realism.

As the happy horse dealer blows "My Darling Furrowtine" on his new toy, Trip gets on the horse and puts his hand down to help T'Pol up. I know he's being gallant and all, but the fact that T'Pol accepts his help without pulling herself up with her own SUPERIOR VULCAN STRENGTH kind of ticks me off. T'Pol warily asks if Trip "[has] any experience riding these animals." Trip makes a Western movie reference which is totally lost on T'Pol and swings her up behind. "Better hold on," Trip says, and T'Pol awkwardly puts her hands one on each pec. Instead of galloping off in a cloud of hope and glory, they sit there as a fiddle saws. Trip makes faces and tugs a bit at the reins. Dude, if you've watched all the John Ford movies, I'd think you'd at least have picked up that you gotta use your heels. Somehow, with all Trip's slapping and jerking of the reins, the horse figures out that Trip means "gee up!" and ambles off. I sure as hell hope he knows how to stop the poor beast.

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