Sunday, August 21, 2022

Enterprise, Season 2: The Seventh

Enterprise, Season 2
"The Seventh"
Airdate: November 6, 2002
32 of 97 produced
32 of 97 aired


T'Pol is contacted with a secret mission for the Vulcan High Command, to apprehend an at-large fugitive that she could not apprehend when she was a part of the security service.

 Could you apprehend the owner of this douchey face?


Matthew: I think this was one rewrite away from being a really good script. The idea of T'Pol needing to repress an incident in her past, especially one which she has a hard time dealing with ethically, is a very solid one. I also really like the idea of not quite knowing whether the fugitive she is sent to apprehend is guilty or not. The third theme of T'Pol's trust in Archer was also pretty good. I think each theme was a bit of script-tightening or scene lengthening away from really getting nailed. With respect to her repressed angst over killing another fugitive, I think we needed to get more from her in terms of philosophical pacifism, and a greater discussion on her cultural perspective on self-defense. When is a killing ethically justified? This was a great conversation that just never happened on screen. And hey - T'Pol got to suffer without ever really being tied up, disrobed, or otherwise exploited. So good job, Berman/Braga!

Kevin: I think my issue is this story feels a little out of nowhere. I certainly don't mind the idea that people on Vulcan have more than one career, but the idea that T'Pol used to do wetwork for the Vulcan CIA just doesn't mesh for me. I may be overreacting prematurely, but I'm getting this vibe that they are using T'Pol the way Voyager used Chakotay, where personal history and interests magically appear and disappear based on the needs of the episode. Taken with her recently revealed deep personal connection to Earth and humans, it just feels like while we are doing character development for T'Pol, it's not as connected to the character we've been watching for the past season or so as it could be.

Matthew: As far as knowing whether Menos was a good or bad guy, the episode did an admirable job of keeping it unclear... until it didn't and spilled the beans in the final 5 minutes. I wish they hadn't, and I have to think others in the writers room argued for keeping it a secret as well. The much stronger theme was Archer's statement that it was not her job to judge Menos, just to apprehend him. This should have precipitated a debate on when "following orders" is or is not justified. Again, that conversation didn't happen.

Kevin: I agree the better focus is T'Pol dealing with her uncertainty rather than letting her off the hook. I honestly could have done without the flashbacks too. It disjointed the episode and I think holding the story on T'Pol recounting it would have been better character work, and again with just her story, it would have enhanced the uncertainty quotient. Also, I feel like the Eternal Sunshine of the Vulcan Mind thread was a little odd. It just feels like another customized Vulcan mind ritual reverse engineered for the script.


Matthew: Jolene Blalock really crushed it this time around. She was handed the unenviable task of portraying emotional turmoil within a member of a repressed species, and I thought she hit just the right notes. I was able to empathize with her but never felt she was "out of character." I also thought she communicated the horror of killing for a pacifist that was kind of missing in the script. So her performance elevated the proceedings.

Kevin: I'll agree here. The story is a little less certain under her than I would like, but Blalock found all the right beats. Even in her scene with Archer asking for his help, she balanced being vulnerable with her established character quite well.

Matthew: Bruce Davison is one of those guys who, every time I see he'll be in something, I think "Oh, Bruce Davison," in sort of a mildly derisive way. But I don't really know why, because every time I'm done with the show or movie, I'm thinking "Bruce Davison was really good." I think it's because he keeps getting cast as low-key douchebags, and I instinctively flinch at them (including in VOY "Remember," a review in which we both remark on the Bruce Davison-ness of it all) - but he humanizes them and really delivers nuance. He does so again here. I believed him when he talked about his family and his innocence. I also totally believed it when they found the biological weapons on his ship. I'm going to have to resolve from now on to simply look forward to Bruce Davison performances.

Kevin: I think Davison was good here, while only slightly telegraphing by his mere presence he is a bad guy. He is a good character actor, and obviously there's a reason he's a 'hey, it's that guy." He keeps getting hired because he is a good actor who will turn in a dependable performance.

Production Values

Matthew: The cold planet on which they apprehended Menos looked like a straight up re-use of the sets and mattes from "Broken Bow." At least it wasn't set on a desert, I guess? Either way, it was visually boring. On the other hand, there were an impressive number and variety of Westmoreheads on display in the bar.

Kevin: I was thinking of the planet from Shadows of P'Jem, just dark and bleak and snowy. I wasn't a huge fan of the bar, which felt too confined and depressing. I get the setting, but Enterprise has a problem with turning in bland sets.


Matthew:  This is a solid episode that could have been more. It is anchored by two very good performances, but a lack of follow through and risk taking in the script. I think it's pretty much the Platonic Form of 3.

Kevin: The story's broad strokes are there, but I don't think it ties together like it needs to, and the eventual reveal of the Bruce Davison of it all does kill some stakes. That said, I think Blalock anchors the episode quite nicely and the range of emotions, through the Vulcan lens, really work. I think this is more of a "squeak into 3 on the strength of the acting" than the center of a 3, but a 3 it is, for a total of 6.


  1. That's a good resolution, Matt. I agree that Davison deserves to be taken quite seriously.

    I don't have much of anything to add. It always struck me as not very 'logical' to send T'Pol on a mission that was so likely to rip her wounds open again. I seem to recall it's said to be a matter of honour (or is it dignity?) to allow her to do it, which doesn't much fit in with intelligence agencies and how they do things.

    Maybe they could have leaned on how she studied Menos for so long, and that nobody else would have her ability to see through his wiles. Maybe he did a number on the agent currently on his trail, and someone needed to step in.

    But it is what it is.

    1. I guess it could be the case that the intelligence agency was unaware of what sorts of treatment T'Pol sought on P'Jem. Or, alternatively, that the Vulcans would view PTSD as something to be repressed, along with any other emotional response, and thus did not assign it much weight in their analysis.

    2. It /would/ be interesting to see how Vulcan patient confidentiality stacks up against government agencies' desire to know how their agents are doing. Usually, our logical friends take privacy matters quite seriously, but then they also have a DNA register of all births.