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ENT: "Fusion" Discussion Thread...
...A group of atypical Vulcans visiting Enterprise subject T'Pol to uncomfortable new ideas. Captain Archer agrees to assist a civilian Vulcan ship with repairs, and learns this group of Vulcans left their homeworld years ago to explore ways to reintegrate emotions into their lives. As the two crews work together and become fast friends, one of the visitors named Tolaris reaches out to T'Pol and urges her to experiment with releasing her own "primal nature."
(Short Version: T'Pol's gonna get some action.)
Enrique Murciano as Tolaris Robert Pine as Tavin Vaughn Armstrong as Admiral Forrest John Harrington Bland as Kov
Director: Rob Hedden Story By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga Teleplay By: Phyllis Strong & Mike Sussman
T'Pol's Nine and 1/2 Weeks
This was a strange episode in many ways.
I found the idea of Vulcan splinter groups exploring other ways of living than that of the mainstream. I had some thoughts about whether it fit into the established Vulcan history but decided it just might. Especially it was a movement that eventually died out. OTOH, I didn't find the individual "balanced" Vulcans all that interesting.
From what I remember of "9 and 1/2 Weeks", Braga accurately compared this episode to that film. (Because he stole the idea from it no doubt.) It wasn't the sexual aspect but just the basic storyline of a man convincing a repressed women into doing some crazy things at his bidding. Until she realized that all new experiences aren't liberating, especially when being pushed into doing them against her will.
However, I found most of T'Pol's dreams and her mind meld with Tolaris unintentionally funny. That actor should watch Spock or even Tuvok doing a mind meld. Their mind melds were intensely painful and hard to control. His meld was like as difficult as chewing gum and about as exciting.
And the story really went downhill when Braga stooped to turning the story into another rape story. One of the most despicable tricks a writer can use when presenting two opposing and roughly balanced points of view is to make the spokeman for one side a crude villain. Braga did it in Body and Soul and he did it here.
Archer is written so darn inconsistently. All I can figure from his actions here is that the writers just made him do whatever served the plot. (Just like with Janeway too often.) First, he's being too pushy shoving T'Pol into spending time with the Vulcans and as soon as she starts enjoying it, he doesn't like it. Given that he could have no idea of what T'Pol was doing at that time, his motivations seemed all wrong.
Did anyone else think the little statue of Surak looked like Mel Brook's character Yogurt in Space Balls. "May the Schwartz be with you!"
What was the point of Archer's confronting Tolaris?
Archer already knew Tolaris was bad news; the viewers knew it; Archer was gonna kick Tolaris off the ship and send his buddies on their way anyway.... so why would Archer stage that utterly pointless fight? Why would the writers put that scene in the show?
Spaceballs' Yogurt?! Egad, Terry, you are sick! --Frighteningly accurate, but sick.
Now I'm going to have to watch this thing again, just for the laugh.
On all other points, I pretty much agree down the line, especially the bad-guy rape cop-out, which was indeed a cheap out for the ep and another disappointment among others.
The one thing I did like about this ep was how Trip and the Vulcan engineer interacted. I did enjoy that much--Trip's explanation of 1. football; 2. regret. Good, underplayed stuff for him. How the engineer (his name slps my mind right now) finally told Trip that he had contacted his father was nice.
Too bad the a-plot didn't get as light a touch.
I agree, Malnitaviva. No point at all.
I guess Archer felt like he hadn't had a nice beating for weeks now. And the casual way he waved that gun so close to Tolaris, he was asking for more.
Fusion : I liked it!
Quick Non Spoiler take : While this was somewhat overshadowed by the Scape Final four this one was AWESOME. UPN's trailer was compleatly misleading as i suspected. _______________________
Ok, T'Pol is now officialy a favorite character of mine. This is exactly what she needed. I hate the Catsuit but i think i am getting over it.
I LOVE the backstory on the mindmeld. This was i think the best part of the story. That it was rediscovered by a rebel faction. VERY cool.
I was terrified when they started the rape story. Voyager almost ruined any hope of them doing a decent story on that subject but they pulled it out of the fire at the end. It was NOT overdone and mangled like Voyager's Retrospect but instead was treated with respect and unlike Janeway Archer actualy does the right thing. This was easily Bakula's strongest episode so far.
Tucker is really earning his "Bones" training. His little B plot with the engineer was nicely played.
I was also glad to see Hoshi's pride in getting to update the textbooks on Earth.
This week Mayweather was compleatly missing i think. I think they should just kill him off and offer Cutler full time status.
I think i will give this one a 9/10.
I guess I'm unobservant...
but this ep was the first time I actually noticed that T'Pol's eyebrows arch. Has this been discussed, and is there an official explanation for why she has non-Vulcan eyebrows?
At least that's how Suzy spells it.
The Trip/Kov interactions were nicely done, and leads one to hope the "shouting Trip" scenes are over for now.
It took me a while to figure out what the dream sequences were meant to convey (yeah, I'm slow). Initially I thought the Vulcan was already manipulating T'Pol via some "long distance mind meld" in order to put her in a receptive frame of mind for his advances. When I finally realized the reason why she was meditating nightly was to use her logic to control those inner dreams/passions, it made more sense. Especially the Vulcan's repeated comments that her emotions are on the surface.
Little things I didn't like...
Like Terry, I didn't like the way this guy does mindmelds. Picky, I guess.
I didn't like the fact that this faction of Vulcan society seems to have rediscovered the mind meld. The way T'Pau used it so effortlessly on Spock "a hundred years from now" always gave me the impression it was a long held/long used tecnique in Vulcan society.
I wondered at the ease with which T'Pol succumbed to his suggestions. I suppose because she did, we are to assume she is much more pliable than the average Vulcan... and that's why she stayed on Enterprise months longer than any other Vulcan?
Although I approve from a "nonStartrek" viewpoint of the ease and quickness of T'Pol's call to the Doctor both times... it doesn't quite go along with what we know of (our) past (her) future Vulcans habits. Spock was nearly dying before he turned to McCoy for help in "Amok time"... It was B'Elanna that forced Vorik into sickbay in "Bloodfever", and Tuvok looked like he was ready to explode before he called in Paris in "Body & Soul". Granted... T'Pol wasn't suffering from Ponn Far, but she was suffering from the effects of experimenting with her passions which would seem to be something else she'd want to hide from "outworlders".
Archer was trying to prove
That Tolaris had not achieved a balance between his emotions and his logic. Tolaris could (and did) argue that the only reason there was a problem with T'Pol in the mindmeld was because T'Pol panicked and disrupted it. (Blaming the victim, yet again.)
By letting Archer provoke Tolaris into getting angry, Archer was able to establish for himself that it was Tolaris who was the problem.
Personally... liking my Captains to be the Whuppers instead of the Whuppee's... I would have preferred it if TPTB had given him a weapon in the first place, and let Archer draw it on Tolaris as he was held up against the rafters... rather than letting him draw it after he was tossed across the room.
But that's just me.
I've been wondering about the brows too!
Thanks for bringing it up, Joyce.
Actualy the confrontation was VERY important....
....and it also shows the problems with a Prequel. We know Vulcans + Emotions = Bad Day but these characters do NOT know that (besides T'Pol, but even she didn't know HOW bad).
Archer knew that T'Pol had been attacked somehow but not how or why.
Confronting Tolaris was needed since he needed to see for himself and i think personaly he wanted to see if Tolaris would own up to it.
And i was CHEERING when B&B remembered that Vulcans are MUCH stronger then us! They seemed to have compleatly forgot that with poor Tuvok!
So tell me, Eric,
why couldn't Archer just take her word for it? And it seemed that T'Pol was able to talk and explain what was going on.
Re: ENT: "Fusion" Discussion Thread...
Interesting that mind melds are not common knowledge among the Vulcans of this era. Understandable if they are associated with the sort of violence the meld here causes. Presumably when they are reintroduced it is only after discoveries in how to use them in beneficial ways (though we've certainly seen some violent ones - ST: VI).
The Captain and engineer seemed OK, pleasant and apparently somewhat successful in their attempts to integrate some emotions without resorting to violence. I liked that they were willing to talk about and clear up some of the Vulcan misconceptions about humans and vice versa, though I'm surprised football's still being played while baseball has practically disappeared. Unfortunately what will be remembered is Tolaris and the trouble he caused T'Pol. Actions like his make it clear why this group is distrusted. If I were the Vulcan Captain I'd kick him off.
So T'Pol is a bit of a rebel. Not really surprising - we've seen her ditch her fiancé and support Archer in the Monks v Andorians confrontations. My guess is this is partially more set up for her to occasionally break out of stereotypical Vulcan mode.
Hoshi has finally caught the exploring bug - send the findings to the publisher so they can correct the text book . A lot of texts will need to be revised before their mission is over.
Retroactive continuity: Something we've know since Spock but this crew has yet to realize - Vulcans do have a sense of humor. Different races may not like one another's foods but everyone drinks everyone else's teas and coffees. And deserts seem to be universally popular regardless of planet of origin. Trip was in grade school in the Panhandle, not the Keys - that explains the accent and pecan pie
Nits: Since when don't Vulcans dream? Tuvok certainly seemed to. UPN's promos - once again they took something totally out of context (T'Pol's dream) to make a racy preview. I'm really tired of the story lines about sons alienated from their fathers
WAS she awake?
I remember T'Pol crawling in pain across her quarters and calling Phlox then i think we went to commercial and when we came back Archer was waiting for Tolaris.
Archer also mentioned that T'Pol was in farely serious condition be treated. I took that to mean he was unable to talk to her and knew only what Phlox told him.
Did i miss a part of a scene? It's possible i went to get some popcorn during the break!
But even if she was able to speak to him, if you were Captain wouldn't YOU want to get both sides of the story? Really his plan was a good one i think, it's just that he didn't know about the Vulcan's greater strength (which i can see, Vulcan's are very private and probebly hid their full strength).
Braga is fascinated by rape, isn't he?
This is about the 100th time that he has done an episode about rape without having the b@lls to actually DO a rape story!
Can we say "sublimation?"
Obviously, TPTB wanted to do a story exploring T'Pol's personality, which is a great idea, but once again it devolved into a rape fantasy, and not even a good one. If only they had the nerve to have Tolaris actually rape T'Pol, it could have been one hell of a story about the explosive and dangerous nature of Vulcan emotions...especially as opposed to Terran emotions. But no, they had to skirt around the issue.
Then the scene between Tolaris and Archer would have been powerful and made sense. My feeling is that Braga threw that in because he is still catering to the eight-year old boy in his head...and the suppossed audience.
Given what she had in the script, I thought Jolene did a fine job, btw. And imho, the script was very, very weak.
However, there were some really good points...the friendship that developed between Tripp and Klav...now that was adult and an exploration of the differences between Vulcans and Terrans in a quiet, adult way...WAAAYYY more interesting than the "A" story.
And I liked that Malcom found out about P'onn F'arr, considering his hots for T'Pol. If they're smart (and sometimes they are), they'll use this later on.
Otherwise, it was pretty disappointing, especially after last week's SHUTTLEPOD ONE and the repeat of COLD FRONT. Why, oh why, are they able to put stories like that together, but unable to sustain it?
Oh, btw, I read, maybe in TV GUIDE, don't remember for sure, that Ryan and Braga are splitsville. I would not be at all surprised that, if this is true, we shortly read about Braga and Blalock...well, that is, if Blalock is willing.
Oh, and as an aside, and since I brougt up Ryan, does anybody here watch BOSTON PUBLIC? Ryan is excellent! She really is one fine actress.
Mind melds and TPTB
In my not-so-humble opinion, they just don't get it. I don't blame Blalock here, I blame the bosses. If I was Jolene, I'd contact Nimoy or Cattrall (spelling?) and talk to them about how the mind meld and how they acted it out....
The mind meld has not been accurately portrayed since the TOS cast left the screen, again, in my not-so-humble opinion. It's not about trick camera work or foggy dream sequences, it's about the two people involved...it's all in the acting and the script, guys.
BTW, I also don't agree with what Tolaris said about the Vulcans "abandoning" the mind meld...it just doesn't make sense to me...especially as, since this sect is forbidden and outcast, I see no way that their rediscovery of it would spread into the general population.
I didn't have a problem with T'Pol going to Plox...just because Spock and Sarek avoided medical care doesn't mean she has to...besides, she seems to be developing a respectful relationship with Phlox, because she knows he will keep her confidentiality...what does surprise me is that Archer knew about it...certainly that seemed odd to me...it would indicate that (a) T'Pol told her captain, which seems to me to be VERY out of character; or (b) Phlox broke the patient-doctor confidentiality and told Archer. It would have made a lot more sense if Phlox had confronted Tolaris...it just bothered me.
See my feelings about T'Pol, Tolaris, Phlox and Archer in my "Mind Meld" post above. (nim)
WOW!!! Great point, Joyce!!!! But I have no answer. (nim)
My big hope for ENT was that TPTB would be inspired by
shows like BUFFY and FARSCAPE and do really powerful, dark episodes on occasion. I would hate to see any character experience rape, but I agree with Mindy that just to go through the symbolism again was ho hum. I also preferred the B story.
Okay, since I finally had time to sit down and watch it...
My take was a little different than everyone else's. I thought it was not only a story about violation, but about trying to make the alien human, as they tried to do with the Dooc and Seven in Voyager all the time. I hope this doesn't turn into "Enterprise...starring T'Pol." If it does, then Star Trek has lost a devoted fan.
P.S I also thought that Trip's comment about the Cap'n being jealous was out of line.
Re: P.S I also thought that Trip's comment about the Cap'n being jealous was out of line.
And the Captain didn't even react to the comment! And it WAS out of line.
She's already proved herself a trusted officer...
and I understood Archer got the story from T'Pol herself. Plus all the offending Vulcan got was a take-your-toys-and-go-home reprimand. I found the confrontation poorly written and acted, and demeaning to both Archer and T'Pol.
I agree, Mindy.
Mindy: I didn't have a problem with T'Pol going to Plox...just because Spock and Sarek avoided medical care doesn't mean she has to...besides, she seems to be developing a respectful relationship with Phlox, because she knows he will keep her confidentiality
--Exactly. As the two resident aliens on board, T'Pol and Phlox have been developing a mutually respectful relationship, and she has been shown talking to him about difficult subjects before. In fact, their interactions are often the most interesting ones on the show, particularly since Trip and T'Pol aren't getting any time together lately.
Mindy: ...what does surprise me is that Archer knew about it...certainly that seemed odd to me...it would indicate that (a) T'Pol told her captain, which seems to me to be VERY out of character;
--Actually, Mindy, Archer told Tolaris that T'Pol had told him what happened. I can only imagine she did so, because Dr. Phlox either insisted, or she saw it as a potential security issue. OR...she told him, specifically in the hope that Archer would confront Tolaris, castigate him, and kick his ass off the Enterprise. Personally, I like this one, because I think it helps explain why Archer had the confrontation at the end. Which didn't bother me, at all. I would have been mightily disappointed, if, in the same situation, my captain hadn't done a little ass-chewing (or worse) on my behalf.
Trip's comments to Archer are often out of line.
This one was no different--using a little hyperbole to drive home the point that Archer was acting like a worried nanny. And in the episode *I* watched yesterday, Archer did react to the comment. He just didn't dignify it with a prolonged discourse on why he wasn't really jealous.
You and me, Eric. You and me.
I found this ep very entertaining. And I didn't expect to, having read all the negative comments on this thread before-hand.
Jolene did a really nice job as T'Pol. Of course, I've liked her from almost the beginning and have thought that she is steadily growing into the part. I was pleased with the explanation for the meditation, and I, like Eric, thought the idea that mind-melding had been rediscovered by a rebel faction was very provocative, but workable within what we already know about the practice.
The Trip-Kov story was nicely done. What a relief that Trip didn't feel the need to raise his voice and stamp his foot in this ep. The only thing I regetted was that we didn't learn a little more about what motivated this splinter group of Vulcans. For Tolaris, it was clearly about thrill-seeking, but I suspect that it may have been otherwise with Kov and the Vulcan captain.
And one final comment--why does everyone insist on calling this a "rape" story? I think we're getting a little too reactionary with that term. Tolaris assaulted T'Pol, no question about that. But every assault on a woman is not rape. It was an assault when Tuvok forced a mind-meld on that guy in Random Thoughts. But no one referred to it as a rape when we were discussing that episode, and the only substantial difference between the two instances is the sex of the participants.
Makes a body wonder...
I concur, G'Inny.
T'Pol had a sexual fantasy about Tolaris, but nowhere did we see Tolaris finding out about that fantasy. He manipulated her, and ultimately assaulted her; but I was surprised to hear it called "rape," because what *I* saw was a cultist fanatically trying to "help" a potential convert.
Which, come to think of it, scares me worse...rightly or wrongly, it does. I don't know or really care what Braga intended to do in this episode, and I haven't seen the film that many people are referencing ("9 1/2 Weeks"). Perhaps if I'd come in with his comments and that movie as background, I'd have seen it differently. But coming in cold, so to speak, I put T'Pol's obvious attraction to Tolaris in the same place as her curiosity about his beliefs and her one flirtation with human entertainment. As one more powerful motivation for her to listen to him, and try what he was urging her to try.
Interesting that she "went for broke" and tried the mind meld after she'd been weakened (as Tolaris gleefully noticed!) by neglected meditation and a major nightmare. And I rather think T'Pol has a tendency (although she might not be pleased to realize this about herself) to go for broke, once she's in a dangerous or challenging spot and decides that playing it safe no longer makes sense. I'm a bit tired tonight about coming up with specifics, but hasn't she pulled off some interesting and chancy battle maneuvers? I found choosing the meld right in character for her - and I thought Tolaris did a realistically sleazy job of telling her she already wasn't like other Vulcans, that being able to get along with humans made her (by implication) already more like his group than like the majority of her species...stopping major run-on sentence now. Anyway, if Braga doesn't know anything at all about how cults operate then he really lucked out; because I kept thinking about a college classmate who got sucked in by the Moonies during the last month of junior year.
Them's my thoughts on this one. My favorite so far. And good for Archer, at the end! He took care of his own, and I had a feeling that the only reason he didn't do anything more than throw the creep off his ship was that the Vulcan High Command wouldn't have done anything if he'd held Tolaris on assault charges. And Starfleet, I'm pretty sure, would have turned Tolaris over to them if he'd been held and charged.
NOW I'm done. Really.
Good call, G'in! I didn't even think of the "cult" aspect!
That's a very, very, very interesting and good take on this episode.
I guess I jumped on the "rape" bandwagon because I do think that Braga has T'Pol acting a bit too much like Seven at times, and the episode reminded me of the episode that was came at rape through the backdoor...sorry, you know me and title, can't remember it.
I also thought of the episode on TNG when Deanna was "mind-raped." Again, I can't think of the title, but do you recall it? That was also about violent intrusion into personal privacy, and there was a scene in it that really drew the parallel of rape...he made her think it was Will getting rough with her, and then she realized it was him. Remember?
BTW, I don't know if Braga was involved with TNG at that point, or if he had anything to do with that episode.
I wish I could take credit for the cult idea. Mindy...
...but that was Nina's. And an excellent take, I might add. I hadn't thought about it in those terms, but Tolaris as a zealot proselytizing for a cult makes a whole lot more sense and fits the facts of the story better than the rape scenario.
And the whole "9 1/2 Weeks" comment was a red herring. I've read the book, which is about a woman who willingly allows a man to lead her deeper and deeper into sexual submission, until he finally crosses a line she cannot accept, and she walks away from the relationship. Quite frankly, one could argue that "Fusion" has about as much in common with John Grisham's "The Firm" as it does with "9 1/2 Weeks".
You know, I think maybe they were using that too.......
set up that last scene between Archer and T'Pol. Archer said that he thought he now understood why T'Pol meditated everynight. I think Tolaris' anger and strength were both key to helping Archer come to that understanding.
Fusion is a very troubling episode
I really dont know how to react to Fusion.
I really liked the idea of rogue Vulcans..though they generally seemed more like big dazed nerds than trippy Vulcans.
i liked the lead Vulcan a lot--that actor had a disquieting erotic intensity...i liked the early scenes he had w/Tpol, where he tries to break down her defenses...i really like TPol so i relished the opportunity to see her.
In the mind meld scene, i was impressed by the erotic tension generated--and how intently the Vulcan melder seemed to monitor the experience--and the real sorrowful rage in the scene.
I gotta wonder though--melds not being known to TPol or other non-trippy Vulcans? really?
i also have to wonder...had TPol been male, would this ep have ever been made? I think there's a genuine rape fantasy thing going on here that is, i hate to say it, offensive. The ep gets off on humilating TPol, even under the guise of sympathizing w/her...i would have been much more moved if the ep had actually dealt with yearning feelings awakened in TPol which she had to struggle through. Instead, we get a "he violated me" episode that secretly revels in the perverse thrill of seeing TPol in the metaphorical buff.
Similarly, i am--i should say--why was I not more impressed by Archer's heroic defense of TPOl? could it be that this played like a reactionary "dont touch my property, boy!" scene, to me?
God, i wanna like this series. i wanted to like this episode. but i think there's a crudeness at the core of ENT.
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