The Forge (1)

Episode Report Card
Keckler: B | Grade It Now!
Enterprise IV: The Trip for T'Pol
Big props to Gytha Ogg for the index page headline, and for then inspiring the homepage headline.

We're on Vulcan, and it's seventeen years ago. Deep in some caverns (CAVE SET!), Ind'iana Jones ferrets around in the dust while holding a lightsaber for light. He picks up a small stone bust and dusts it off with one of those special archaeology makeup brushes. "Surak," he breathes. All he needs is a bag of sand of the same weight and Alfred Molina drooling in the background.

Warren bastard! You killed my song!

Admiral Forrest makes an entry in his Diary of Evil, saying that he's on Vulcan to see if the Vulcans want to start taking road trips with Starfleet. Apparently, Vulcan promises to pull over at Wall Drug as long as Starfleet stays on its side of the car. They're still discussing what songs will be allowed, however, and that's really been the stumbling block in these negotiations. Starfleet wants campfire oldies, but Vulcan is insisting on Broadway show tunes. Oh, and Forrest's first name is "Maxwell," and if that isn't proof that he's evil then I don't know what is. As the Evil Admiral Forrest (no relation to my husband) tries to pump Soval for information, he learns that Soval has been kept in the dark about the negotiations as well. Soval decides to tell Forrest exactly what Vulcans think of humans: "You have the arrogance of Andorians, the stubborn pride of Tellarites -- one moment you're as driven by your emotions as Klingons and the next you confound us by suddenly embracing logic." Well, there's only one thing to do after a speech like that -- one of them has to die. They go through a security retinal scan. You know, with just a minor altering of letters, that could be "rectal scan." That's what I call tight security. The Evil Admiral Forrest realizes that Vulcans are afraid of humans. "There is one species you remind us of," Soval says. Wait, "one"? He just listed three. "Vulcans!" the Evil Admiral Forrest crows. Soval gives us a mini-back story of fifteen hundred years of wars, embracing logic, and developing warp. "You humans do the same in less than a century. There are those on the High Command who wonder what humans will achieve in the century to come and they don't like the answer." The Evil Admiral Forrest insists that they aren't like the Klingons, which...seems neither to support nor blow apart Soval's argument, and says they only want to be partners with the Vulcans. Oh, so that's how he feels about Soval. There's a distant boom, and the Evil Admiral Forrest whips around, assesses something, and then turns and tackles Soval to the ground. Yup, that's how he feels about Soval. There's an explosion that busts a big hole in the Earth embassy on Vulcan.

Enterprise. Reed, all sweaty in a gray tank top, runs somewhere. I think the idea was that we were supposed to believe he was running to tell the captain about the explosion, but it turns out he's just playing basketball with Quantum, Hoshi, Trip, May-Mickey, and Phlox. I'd wonder where T'Pol is, but I just assume that they've punctured enough basketballs on her hips to know enough not to ask her to play anymore. Hoshi sucks, by the way, and Trip stuffs her in a really aggressive play. The ball gets into Phlox's hands, who looks like he's just hanging out on the sidelines. Not so much. With barely any effort, Phlox tosses the ball sideways and makes a basket. Trip and May-Ugly are clearly Phlox's teammates as they celebrate "another" victory. Trip even grabs at Hoshi to tease her. She jerks away and says, "Time to switch sides again, Doctor." Hee -- Phlox is a ringer and the rest of them suck! Even funnier is the fact that they've all soaked through their gym clothes but Phlox, who is wearing a peculiarly thick and all-concealing track-suit thing, is not even breaking a sweat. Phlox professes himself to be quite thrilled with the game, and compares it to some animal's fertility ritual. As Quantum listens to this with furrowed and unsmiling brow, the rest of the players tease each other behind him. Hoshi can even be heard to say, "I'm good," while smacking Trip with a towel. As much as I liked that normalcy, I didn't like that it makes Quantum look all the more stiff and humorless by comparison. But that's Bakula's fault, not anyone else's. T'Pol the Puncturer steps in and requests a serious word with Quantum. "Except that we're fully clothed, which I suppose is for the best," Phlox adds awkwardly in reference to the fertility ritual. Quantum steps into the corridor and furrows through his sweat. Can I ask why Bakula has dyed his hair so dark? At first, we all thought it was dark because it was supposed to be wet with sweat, but it's very clear in the rest of the episode that he's washed that grey right out of his hair.

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