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Steve Perry's "Breaking The Ice" Review: Quieter Story Delivers With Innovation and Characterization

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Posted: 14:52:27 on November 12 2001
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews |

Trek In Review
Written for TrekWeb by Steve Perry, edited by Steve Krutzler

"Breaking The Ice"

"Enterprise" is hitting sweeps month, and it is hitting on more and more cylinders. "Breaking the Ice" didn't break any molds, but it was across-the-board a very solid episode, offering some fantastic character work.

What a strange episode... did it have an A plot? A B plot? A Q plot? I liked its nebulous plotting. It told several stories without letting any one dominate. That felt more natural. Unless the show moves to a more strictly arc-based structure, I don't think every episode should be plotted like this, but one out of every few (maybe three or four) seems like a good idea. Making it nicer, all the stories really were about "breaking the ice" - T'Pol getting to know Trip better, Archer dealing with the Vulcans, the crew talking to Earth, and Reed and Travis mucking around on the comet. While the title tied everything together in words, what really connected it all was that it continued to remain very conscious about how it was developing the characters. Me like.

The main plot, I suppose, was T'Pol's story. It gave us more insight into Vulcan culture, but more importantly, it allowed for great work between Trip and T'Pol. At first I thought Trip's decision to tell T'Pol seemed out of character, but then it began to make sense... he really does seem to be that kind of guy. I do wonder what his feelings are toward T'Pol, yet I am not bothered by this, as in the past where we'd get debates over Janeway and Kim, or whoever, hooking up; or the boring, completely lacking in sparks relationship between Riker and Troi; or even worse, the forced relationship between chunko Chakotay and Seven, which had all the charm of a creepy boss harassing his secretary. They're actually laying the groundwork for *something* here. I also liked how tough of a decision it really was for her, and how Archer probably will never know or appreciate her dilemma.

I loved the shot of the pie at the end, but it gave me some qualms, and not just because I don't like sugary foods. My concern is two-fold. One is that this is too much, too fast. On a certain level this makes sense. Think no farther than the good little kid who goes off to college and a month later is a little hellion. If T'Pol is going to be influenced it might happen faster than you'd imagine. At the same time, this is suppose to be a seven year show. I don't want seven years of Data-like "what does it mean to be human?" behavior, but I don't want a character arc ending after one season either.

The other concern is that this may be following down an all-too-familiar road - namely, the one labelled "humans are right about everything and have the right perspective about the universe." I hope somehow T'Pol finds a happy (for the viewers) medium. One of the reasons Spock remains one of my favorite characters of all time is that what he did didn't feel like it was fitting into a stereotype. I've always felt Spock tried to be more Vulcan than Vulcan, because of his relationship with his father (think of him in Unification Part II). Saying T'Pol should behave in x manner because she is one race is a little simplistic. But if she goes all the way over to the human side, it's too simplistic too. I want to know why, what the fascination is, and I hope it's more than we humans have some sort of sense of curiosity that appeals to her. Sarek has always intrigued me because he took a human wife. Why? Wouldn't she be illogical? Perhaps we are about to get a similar story, between T'Pol and Trip. We'll see.

The comet stuff almost felt added in, to give the episode a little action. It had playful moments, the science wasn't absolutely horrible (I can forgive the gravity issues), and it set up the situation with the Vulcans. That they aren't quite as IDIC as they want to pretend is enticing - who is perfect, after all? I also liked how Archer had to swallow his pride and ask for help when that great dinner scene had set everything up in the opposite direction. When did Picard or Sisko ever do that? About as close as I can come to that is Picard in "Q Who."

The best single scene was, without a doubt, the crew talking to the children back on Earth. It was funny, its answers will hopefully shut up some fanboys for awhile, and it revealed some interesting stuff about our characters. I would have never guessed Sato was so good in front of a camera after the second episode, but there you go. Across the board the character work was terrific - I liked Archer's playfulness about it all, and I liked Trip's dislike of the "poop question." It was a scene not like anything we've seen before, so it's by default a good thing in my book.

All in all, then, the episode felt fresh. I already know these characters better than I knew any other Trek character at any point in the show's run thus far. The series is developing themes and storylines along with these characters. Not only do I have few complaints, but I'd go so far as to say that it's the best new show on TV this year. Perhaps there is little competition (Inside Schwartz, anyone?), but it's showing that the writers have done their homework, and that Enterprise wants to be good TV. This show has some real critics on the bulletin board, but I'd ask they look at this as a show, not as a Trek show, or one written by Berman and Braga. You might just surprise yourself over how much you like it.

About the Authors

Steve Perry is not the former lead singer of Journey. He is, however, a long time fan of all Trek, yes, even Voyager. He is currently in law school.

O. Deus has been a TrekWeb visitor since the site's 1996 inception. Along with being an ardent poster, he is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Deus has written reviews for TrekWeb for over a year and shares the duties with Steve Perry.

TrekWeb Reviews

  • "Shockwave" (Deus)
  • "Two Days and Two Nights"
  • "Fallen Hero" & "Desert Crossing" (Deus)
  • "Vox Sola" (Deus)
  • "Detained" (Deus)
  • "Oasis" (Krutzler)
  • "Acquisition" (Williams)
  • "Rogue Planet" (Deus)
  • "Fusion" (Deus)
  • "Shuttlepod One" (Deus)
  • "Shadows of P'Jem" (Deus)
  • "Sleeping Dogs" (Deus)
  • "Dear Doctor" (Deus)
  • "Silent Enemy" (Deus)
  • Mid-season 1 (Deus)
  • "Cold Front" (Krutzler)
  • "Fortunate Son" (Perry)
  • "Civilization" (Perry)
  • "Breaking The Ice" (Perry)
  • "The Andorian Incident" (Perry)
  • "The Andorian Incident" (Deus)
  • "Terra Nova" (Deus)
  • "Unexpected" (Perry)
  • "Unexpected" (Deus)
  • "Strange New World" (Perry)
  • "Fight or Flight" (Perry) Mission Logs

    Season Two (2002-2003)
    Prod #Title
    128 Shockwave, Part II
    127 Carbon Creek
    129 Minefield
    Season One (2001-2002)

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