Sunday, August 7, 2022

Enterprise, Season 1: Fallen Hero

Enterprise, Season 1
"Fallen Hero"
Airdate: May 8, 2002
22 of 97 produced
22 of 97 aired


Enterprise is ordered to escort a disgraced ambassador back to her Vulcan comrades.


Teaching the secret Vulcan handshake.



Matthew: The main thrust of this episode seems to be that T'Pol has a childhood hero who is now accused of malfeasance. This story worked pretty well to give us some insight into T'Pol as a person. While it didn't play out in the most dramatic fashion (see below), there was a functional arc of expectation-disappointment-redemption with respect to T'Pol's relationship with V'Lar.

Kevin: I agree. It was also nice to see a Vulcan who wasn't an asshole. It really helped shade in the Vulcan people of this era. It also really helped give T'Pol a little depth as well. I agree they could have spent more time on it, but what we had worked pretty well.

Matthew: The Mazarite politics angle was underdeveloped for my tastes. When I learned that Ambassador V'Lar was accused of something juicy, I was sort of hoping for a trial or an investigation. Nope. She uncovered corruption and they wanted to get her before she "testified." Aw, come on! If it's going to be Mazarite Watergate, give us the Deep Throat scene in a Mazarite parking garage or something. Instead, all we know is that "these people are corrupt."

Kevin: This is the classic Alien of the Week problem squared. We just don't know anything about these people, so their corrupt government is really a bit inert dramatically. I think had the found a way to tie this to the Suliban arc, it would have juiced a little. Maybe the government is secretly helping the Cabal or something. It would help make the outcome matter to the crew just a little.

Matthew: The space chase aspect of this story was pretty entertaining. It's about time they actually got the thing to Warp 5, and it gave us some nice "she canna' take much more of this" style scenes. I also enjoyed the ticking clock/travel speed aspect of things, hearkening back to distance problems in middle grade mathematics. I think it was bit unclear why the Vulcans didn't simply send their faster, better armed ships to pick her up, but whatever. I also thought the Sickbay fakeout was a bit on the lame side - Dr. Phlox really oversold his part, and then having her be smug (and alone) right outside the door seemed like it was inviting one of these burly Mazarite dudes to just try to break her neck or something.

Kevin: I'm on record as preferring a nice talky episode to an action one, but I can't deny that this one was well executed. Even Archer's quips and delaying banter worked. The slow overtaking talk was really quite effective. I agree that the Sickbay fakeout was a tad too cute all around, and yeah, they just let the armed henchmen stand around for a while before disarming them. Still, it was nice to see most this plot executed so well and at a satisfying but not uncontrolled tempo. We've critiqued several episodes lately for unfolding a little too slowly, so it's nice to see that they can do it.


Matthew: This episode marks Fionnula Flanagan's third and final Trek acting gig, and she was just as good here as she was in "Inheritance," that episoe just had a better script. Anyway, she brought great energy to her role, without going too far beyond the boundaries of typical Vulcan behavior (and deviations can be explained by her job, too). She had a nice rapport with Jolene Blalock, which made me want more scenes of them together, perhaps film noir scenes investigating corruption on the planet. Blalock also delivered good "under the surface" emotional acting.

Kevin: Give me a legendary Irish stage and screen actress any day of the week and twice on Sundays. From the moments she stepped onboard, she was just committed at a 10. The precise, slightly awkward way she held out her hand of the handshake was just comedy gold. I liked the emotional shading of her performance, and it reminded me of later, movie-era Nimoy. It kind of implies that Vulcans loosen up a little with age. She didn't break the Vulcan mold, but definitely gave it some organic variation. And I agree on Blalock as well. Their back and forth was really nice to watch. 

Production Values

Matthew: This was a pretty "meh" episode visually, mostly a bottle show with a few bland Mazarite ships, some pretty good fires in engineering, and the bad guys shooting up sickbay. All in all, nothing particularly noteworthy.

Kevin: Yeah, nothing was great, but nothing was bad. This was pretty much a bottle show.


Matthew: The emotional character story here was good, and there were some thrills to be had in the chase scenes. The intrigue aspects of this tale were under-developed, though, and prevented this from becoming a truly memorable genre exploration. I think it's a solid 3, mainly on the strength of the acting.

Kevin: Maybe its my residual affection for Flanagan that is carrying the episode, but that doesn't really bother me. She crackled with life and humor and it bounced off everyone else quite nicely. I enjoyed rewatching it for her scenes, and that makes a 3 from me for a total of 6.

1 comment:

  1. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but... These aliens of the week should have been the ones from Shadows of P'Jem that took T'Pol and Archer captive (I don't even remember their names). They should have received some development back then that could be built on and expanded now. It could even have been foreshadowing the 4th season Vulcan arc, but that's even more unreasonable of me.

    I'm willing to forgive smugly standing in front of the bad guys after the reveal. Maybe it's just because it's Flanagan doing it. :) But these guys were criminals, not ideologically motivated soldiers willing to die for a cause. Once the bigger bully stepped into the room, they lost their swagger. (And who knows, she might just have kicked all their behinds if they tried somethng after their shooters were confiscated.)

    And yes to seeing the actual investigation! Make this a double feature when the multiverse gets a make-over. One with the actual conspiracy-busting, and then this sort of action-packed second episode to conclude. There, I'm done unfair making demands for now.