Who knew? Those emotionless pointy-eared people tell lies, too
Scott Bakula, Enterprise
Credit: Enterprise: Ron Tom/UPN

Sneaky Vulcans tick off alien invaders

The great thing about ”Enterprise” is how the show’s writers seem to sweeten the pot with a new twist each week. Sure, every series makes a valiant attempt at a surprise. But the results are rarely as successful as the jaw-dropping Oct. 31 episode, ”The Andorian Incident.”

In it, the Enterprise crew pays a friendly visit to an ancient Vulcan spiritual sanctuary (which, oddly enough, resembles a Shaolin monk temple), despite Sub-commander T’Pol’s (Jolene Blalock) concerns that her human colleagues will be a disruptive presence there. She gives Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) and the other crewmembers the ABC’s of Vulcan customs, and off they go. Upon landing, they discover that the sanctuary has been taken over by a ”paranoid and volatile” race of aliens with a long history of conflict with the Vulcans. The Andorians look like your garden-variety aliens: blue skin, enlarged heads, and antennae, which, for all we know, serve no purpose except they wiggle around with the changing of attitudes and emotions. Though I must admit that these blue aliens are much more sophisticated looking than the ones in a previous episode, ”Journey to Babel.”

Captain Archer and the crew, taken hostage, have to MacGyver their way out of this pickle. However, the deeper dilemma lies with the Vulcans, who practice a life of peace, solitude, and reason. They find the Enterprise crew’s ”violent” tactics inappropriate. Okay, respecting pacifism is one thing — but when your immediate circumstances warrant a fight, you’d think they’d want to put those ethical beliefs aside. As usual, Archer and T’Pol have their own conflicts with each other, understandably, because she’s a Vulcan among humans.

We also learn that Vulcans are LIARS. That’s right — liars. It seems that the reason the Andorians came to the Vulcan spiritual sanctuary in the first place was because they believed that the Vulcans harbored a long-range sensor ray that veered from a Andorian-Vulcan treaty they had agreed upon. Until now, the Vulcans had been harping about how the monastery is a spiritual place where the purging of emotions takes place. They attest that it’s a haven for cultural relics and artifacts, and a scared burial place for their most revered brethren. At one point, the Vulcan Elder (Bruce French) attributes the Andorians’ hostility to the crew’s arrival. But if the Vulcans had shared their technology with their alien neighbors from the start, as their treaty requires, would there be ANY hostility?

In one magnificent moment — albeit one that echoes the sweeping scene in ”The Matrix” when Keanu Reeves wakens from his sleep in the pod, only to see that his pod is only one of millions — someone inadvertently opens a door and reveals what the Vulcan spy-tech project’s all about. ”They’ve got enough equipment down there to see what any Andorian is having for breakfast,” says Lt. Commander Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating).

I’m admiring the acting much more lately, now that the characters are clear. Lt. Commander Reed is taking the reins more confidently when Captain Archer is on land, and in trouble. Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley) has become more developed as a whimsical personality with sage-like wisdom to impart. Meanwhile, there seems to be a bit of turmoil within T’Pol, something I can’t put my finger on. Maybe there’s yet another plot twist to come.

What did you think of this week’s ”Enterprise”?

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