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    "The Seventh" Scores With Vulcan Intrigue, Powerful Performances and Refreshing Production Design!

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    Typhon Station is a very fastpaced PBeM RPG with skilled, experienced players and a warm sense of bonding and community. We play at the turn-of-the-century, 2400, and are located in the Typhon Expanses, bordering the Neutral Zone, proximate to the Romulan Empire, and near the Iconian Digs, and are on the first warning route of the original Borg Incursion.
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    Posted: 08:13:08 on November 07 2002
    By: Steve Krutzler
    Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews |

    Reviews Ex Deus

    Written by O. Deus, edited by Steve Krutzler

    "The Seventh"

    Summary: T'Pol goes on one final assignment for Vulcan security and experiences flashbacks of suppressed memories on a prior mission. Continuity month on Enterprise continues with Doctor Phlox referencing last week's episode "Marauders."

    Two years ago back when we were all still sitting around and reading the latest tidbits leaking out about Enterprise's casting and premise, everyone had an opinion playing backseat driver with Paramount and Rick Berman. My own loud and vocal view back then was that casting Scott Bakula as Archer was a great idea and casting Jolene Blalock as T'Pol was a big mistake. As it turned out and as episodes like "The Seventh" demonstrate, the reverse has actually turned out to be true. Despite some questionable writing that might have sunk a lot of episodes, "The Seventh" turns in a gripping episode running mainly on Bruce Davison and Jolene Blalock's performances and the frozen atmosphere of the alien locale.

    The premise of the episode follows up where episodes like "Shadows of P'Jem" and "Fallen Hero" left off by positing that the Vulcans effectively arrive on worlds that request their help and engage in secret operations against hostile factions. That premise of course opens up the idea that the Vulcans might have done some similar things on Earth, which would do a better job of explaining the lingering human hostility towards Vulcans than Enterprise has thusfar. Apparently, better than ten percent of the Vulcan operatives inserted there went AWOL, raising some real questions about morale problems at Vulcan security since even the CIA never had quite such a defection rate. As a former member of Vulcan security T'Pol is charged with hunting down the last rogue operative who's running a smuggling market in biological toxins. This piece of backstory for her does help explain her combat abilities (which never really made sense for an employee of the Vulcan Science Ministry) and ties in her connection to the P'Jem Sanctuary.

    When Archer isn't immediately let in on the secret he sulks, falls back on the passive aggressive behavior towards T'Pol we last saw in "A Night in Sickbay" and comforts himself with recordings of water polo. It does seem as if Archer's professionalism is a yo-yo bouncing up and down from episode to episode. He was a competent professional last week but now he's back to behaving as if T'Pol withholding classified information that doesn't involve him is a personal insult and worst of all he responds to it by behaving unprofessionally and what can only be described as childishly in front of his command crew, without having the excuses of insomnia or a dying dog. When T'Pol finally lets him in on the secret and asks him to accompany her, she insists that it's because she trusts him. But it's not clear how much trust you can place in someone who can't wait even one day for that information.

    The frozen moon looking like an alien version of a northern fur trapper outpost is itself one of the more effective uses of cheap sets and a welcome relief from the cliched alien bars popping up since Star Trek III that all manage to look like reworkings of the Star Wars Mos Eisely cantina. The assembled collection of motley aliens in motley fur coats, fire, wooden walls and chaotic close quarters are brimming with atmosphere and serve as a good framework for the tense scenes that follow. Although Bruce Davison is never a plausible Vulcan, he does an excellent job as an intelligent and engaging character who manages to toe the fine line between con artist and victim, without definitively stepping over to one side or the other until the very end. It might though have been more disturbing and effective to have him in Vulcan makeup, rather than an Alien of the Week forehead rig.

    The scene with the base commander examining T'Pol's "warrant" is a nice touch and the kind of thing Enterprise is often blamed for not thinking through. It helps explain how T'Pol can just walk into alien territory, open fire in a crowded tavern and drag a prisoner off the planet without anyone raising an eyebrow. The explanation for their delay is also plausible enough, at least until T'Pol skirts it by tying some rags to her feet and running across the platform. Trip, meanwhile, has some mildly amusing scenes as he discovers the difficulties of command. But the material has him behaving a bit too immaturely and really there are better ways for Enterprise to showcase how "different" of a series it is without bathroom jokes. It's also a bit jarring to move from T'Pol having a mental breakdown to gags involving Trip and the crew's diarrhea. The recurring water polo lines also seem like a reference in search of a joke.

    T'Pol's mental breakdown does feel a bit forced. After all, the Vulcans in the Enterprise universe fall heavily on the militaristic side, as the episode's entire premise testifies and T'Pol has not shied away from combat in the past. It's also difficult to comprehend why in the world Vulcan Security would send an operative on a mission that last time around caused a mental breakdown forcing her to quit and requiring that its details be erased from her memory. It doesn't seem too well thought out, to say the least. It's the kind of story detail that exists to serve the demands of the plot, but on examination makes no sense at all.

    Blalock's performance, though, is never less than effective. Bakula even manages to play his crucial scene with T'Pol as he convinces her to shoot, just right. Often Bakula overplays trivial scenes and turns in lethargic performances at crucial moments but here he manages to pull it off with just the right amount of intensity without going over the top or being too laid back. T'Pol's final scene with Archer wraps up "The Seventh"'s theme and deepens their relationship.

    Next week: A lost communicator nearly results in Archer being hung as Western theme month continues on Enterprise.

    Opinion Poll: Don't forget to rate "The Seventh" in TrekWeb's episode poll!

    About the Authors

    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 and columns for TrekWeb for over two years.

    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 and contributes reviews when his busy schedule permits.

    TrekWeb Reviews

  • "The Catwalk"
  • "Precious Cargo"
  • "Vanishing Point"
  • "Singularity"
  • "The Communicator"
  • "The Seventh"
  • "Marauders"
  • "A Night In Sickbay"
  • "Dead Stop"
  • "Minefield"
  • "Carbon Creek"
  • "Shockwave, Part II"
  • Season One Re-cap (Deus)
  • "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) Mission Logs

    Season Two (2002-2003)
    Prod #Title Airdate
    128 Shockwave, Part II 9/18/02
    127 Carbon Creek9/25/02
    129 Minefield10/02/02
    131 Dead Stop10/09/02
    130 A Night In Sickbay10/16/02
    132 Marauders10/30/02
    133 The Seventh11/06/02
    134 The Communicator11/13/02
    135 Singularity11/20/02
    136 Vanishing Point11/27/02
    137 Precious Cargo12/11/02
    138 The Catwalk12/18/02
    139 Dawn1/08/03
    140 Stigma2/05/03
    141 Cease Fire2/12/03
    142 Crash Landing2/19/03
    143 Canamar3/??/03
    144 The Crossing3/??/03
    Season One (2001-2002)

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    Second best of the year behind "Dead Stop"
    By Steve Krutzler ( at 09:58:14 on November 08 2002
    URL: | User Info
    "The Seventh" is one of the better episodes of ENTERPRISE, in fact, it's the best episode so far this year behind only "Dead Stop." First, the couple gripes I have with the show. Mainly, if the Vulcans detected Menos on the planet and T'Pol couldn't capture him last time, and furthermore T'Pol had such emotional problems following the failure of her last mission that she had to undergo an unorthodox and obsolete procedure to suppress the memory, why the Vulcans would send T'Pol to finish the job I have no idea. As the episode showed, Menos recognized her on sight so that is yet another reason not have called T'Pol in on this mission. The other chief gripe I have is that Menos turned out to be the baddie the Vulcans painted him as. There was really no reason for that final twist and it just validates the admittedly questionable actions of the Vulcan government in this situation. The larger issue is why the Vulcan government allowed itself to become intertwined in the internal workings of an alien government and that is given relatively little attention here as the focus is on T'Pol's personal angst. Archer should've interrogated this when speaking with T'Pol in his quarters to at least acknowledge that it's something he's thinking about (he ought to, after all, since T'Pol and the Vulcans spend enough time lecturing him on interferring with alien cultures, AND we already know the Vulcans are covertly involved in Andorian politics). I also found the depiction of Menos a little wanting because it's hard to believe that a Vulcan operative would go native so easily and renounce the teachings of his culture and even embrace selling weapons... what kind of psychological screening process did that Vulcan Security Ministry use, anyway?

    However, all this notwithstanding, "The Seventh" is one of ENTERPRISE's finest. I don't know where Deus got the idea that Archer was sulking in this episode. After reading his review I was expecting something along the lines of what we saw in "Shockwave" or "Sickbay" and here he completely cooperates and understandly shows some frustration at knowing what the mission is about. He never questioned T'Pol's authority in front of the senior staff and Archer made a small quip to her in private when she came to his quarters, something understandable since he was being kept in the dark. Frankly, I think Archer was written very well in this episode, even if I think he should've been a little more inquisitive about the Vulcan operations.

    One of the first things I noticed about this episode was the score, which I don't think anyone's touched upon, surprisingly. I didn't catch who composed this week but there was a clear distinction from most ENT episodes and the score really helped set the mood for a dark, cold, startling cover ops/psychological introspection story. The piano was particularly effective.

    The side plot with Trip was very effective, especially with the captain's mess scene. I object a little to painting Trip as an idiot but I thought it was quite funny how he was trying to imitate the captain by watching water polo and the Vulcan ship's message from Admiral Forrest was very funny. The delivery of the word "stand ford" by the Vulcan was hilarious.

    The main story is interesting enough, with effective flashbacks to convey the mental turmoil T'Pol's going through and Blalock played the part pretty well though I must say I if she didn't have pointed ears there was really no way to know she was a Vulcan in this episode. But I suppose that can be explained by her resurfacing memories, which were destabilizing her normal calm. T'Pol started acting strangely from the moment she got the communique and frankly I have to wonder whether that would be enough for the memories to resurface. Clearly T'Pol had perfect memory of Menos so if she had thought of him in passing at any time previously would she have suddenly broken down and tapped into the represed emotions? Why not wait until she encounters him to start the mental breakdown?

    The alien locale was pretty well done, even if as usual, all the aliens looked exactly alike. Mayweather was also very underutilized. I believe in the original script he apprehends Menos personally, although obviously the director didn't think that worked very well so he changed it up. The other thing that popped to mind was the use yet again of holotechnology--Menos has a personal holo-emitter in his cargo hold in a mid 22nd century freighter? Once again a return to a tried-and-true plot device of previous TREK without even considering the fact that holodecks are a relatively new technology for humans in the 24th century and their repeated casual use in ENT undermines its believability as a prequel.

    All in all the show worked with some interesting revelations about T'Pol. True to ENT fashion, the focus was on the personal battle of T'Pol rather than the obvious broader questions of political intrigue and Vulcan duplicitiousness, which while personally of more interest to me, certainly wouldn't fit in with the vein of ENT as a "smaller, more personal" series. I understand the need to make the story revolve around a central character who goes through a character arc, but why not tie in the institutional questions, with T'Pol coming to question her own government's tactics (by leaving Menos an innocent convert as he claimed to be) and feeling raped by the priests of P'Jem? I think there's a lot about Vulcan society in the 22nd century that is nasty and using it as the backdrop for a story like this without addressing the larger issues at work again limits ENT to the realm of the personal and precludes it from weaving a more intricate tapestry.

    For instance, since T'Pol and Archer are obviously becoming close comrades and I'm sure we've seen the last of their conflicts, they might as well unite them both against the obstructionist activities of the Vulcan government. As it stands, I think the effect on T'Pol would've been much more if Menos was indeed an innocent operative gone native because it would force her to question her government. Instead, the Vulcan government was right and so its actions in these circumstances are justified away because Menos was, in fact, a biotoxin smuggler. So the personal story identifies the "evil" from the "good" and thus takes all attention away from the questionable activities of the Vulcan government in alien affairs.

    I know I just wrote a lot about what was wrong with the episode but honestly it was one of the best of the season. I wish they'd focus more on broad issues but the character story this time around was quite effective. Good music, good production design, good acting, good sideplot with Trip et al. Again, this isn't ground-breaking sci-fi but it is good character drama and at least Archer seems to be getting better.


    -Steve Krutzler
    ==V/-/== Rocks

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Yet Another One...
    By Noxmagic () at 22:18:55 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info
    The Seventh was yet another solid episode for Ent., although I'm underestimating it. Simply put, The Seventh was an excellent episode. I've always been a huge fan of the Trek "cloak and dagger" episodes (DS9 section 31, TNG Klingon/Romulan conflicts, Ent. Andorian Incident) so it was nice to see this type of episode done so well yet again on Ent. As has been posted already, Blaylock did an excellent job with T'Pol. She was able to show a Vulcan in emotional turmoil, without seeming too un-Vulcan like. Also, the way Archer was portraid by Berman/Braga was well done. As Archer has been shown since Broken Bow, he flashed his anger, impulsivness, and in the end, level headedness that helps to save the day. The scene between him and T'Pol in his quarters where she asked for his help was well done (yes, showing some of his un-professionalism, but then, that's the point) as was the final scene where Archer and T'Pol reached a new level of mutual respect. Actor Davison's renegade Vulcan was well played. He did not seem in any way a Vulcan, which is what was intended. Like Spock's brother, this Vulcan had renounced traditional Vulcan ways, and genetic leanings, and embraced his emotions. I spent much of the episode trying to imagine Davison as a Vulcan, and could not. In the end, Davison's Vulcan proved that the Vulcans were right in wanting him, and his fellow renegades, captured. Usually Vulcans on Ent. have been shown to be lying manipulators, but not in this case. It was a nice touch, however, to show why T'Pol felt so terrible after having killed his partner years before, although I do have to agree with Deus that it was illogical for the Vulcan High Command to send a former security agent who had bugged out years before. The B-story line was amusing (Tripp struggling with being in command) and the overall look of the episode (make-up of the extras, sets, F/X) was, as usual, outstanding. My only real gripe was with everyone being able to run freely on the landing pad despite its suppossidly having a deadly layer of acid across its surface. Showing T'Pol protecting the soles of her boots with strips of cloth was hookie. I guess the magic cloth from the renegade Vulcan's coat was somehow tougher than the material of her soles. However, with this being the largest drawback to this episode, I can live with it.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    A nice little bow
    By dropdeadnelix () at 22:12:36 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info

    I thought Blalock's acting was strong in this ep.

    My question is, why did they have to clear up the most interesting aspect of the story; the moral ambiguity? Why show us at all that he was in fact a bio-toxin drug smuggler? It undermined the T'Pol/Archer "trust" scene, amongst others.

    Life is rarely that black and white and ST is at its best when the grey areas are left grey....when the moral ambiguity is left ambiguous.

    Tying it up in a nice little bow did nothing for me.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    By compupc1 ( at 16:52:41 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info
    Did anyone else notice the Reman in the bar? Nice to see some continuity touches.



    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    • RE: Reman by giventofly462 @ 01:00:23 EDT on 8 Nov
      • RE: Reman by Steve Krutzler @ 09:13:45 EDT on 8 Nov
        • RE: Reman by compupc1 @ 12:18:34 EDT on 8 Nov
          • RE: Reman by Steve Krutzler @ 12:34:15 EDT on 8 Nov
            • RE: Reman by compupc1 @ 12:49:27 EDT on 8 Nov
              • RE: Reman by DiLune @ 19:57:47 EDT on 8 Nov
    • RE: Reman by Locutus @ 20:52:24 EDT on 7 Nov
      • RE: Reman by compupc1 @ 22:30:09 EDT on 7 Nov
    • RE: Reman by Steve Krutzler @ 18:51:23 EDT on 7 Nov
    By Red Shirt () at 15:32:05 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info
    While the unprofessional Archer irked me in the at in the first couple of scenes he straightened up and actually acted like a competent starship captain by midway through the ep. B&B need to remember that Archer is 15 years older than they are and more mature so stop making him act like a 30 year old snot nosed rich boy.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    • RE: Seventh by Steve Krutzler @ 15:54:35 EDT on 7 Nov
    Dues is being a little too rough on Archer
    By Tbar ( at 10:35:28 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info
    I agree that you can say Archer was pissed off and acting very emotional when he was shut out by T'Pol, but I don't think it was as bad as Dues was leading on. Honestly, in light of how emotional of an individual he is and how much he cares about T'Pol I think they played it fairly well. First off, he's being order for no reason to park in front of a Gas Giant for 3 to 5 days and sit and wait. And that came from T'Pol and the Vulcans, whom he has issue with anyway. So that has to tick any "emotional" captian off. But I think he is also starting to feel closer to T'Pol lately and it is possible they were trying to show him as being upset about being shut out by someone he is starting to think of as a friend.

    So was it a little dramatic a response from Archer, yes. Was it necessarily as bad as Dues says it was for his character, I don't think so.

    I think overall it was an excellent episode and the work of both characters was handled well.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    You can't satisfy everyone
    By Hbasm () at 10:20:11 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info
    It's strange but true. Some people are continuously bored. It's like they can't keep themselves excited over Star Trek for so many years. It's like music. There are different styles of music and people have their preferences that change over time.

    Actually Star Trek has also changed over the years, back and forth. It's no surprise if some people don't like the current style, but this shouldn't confuse those of us, who LIKE the show. It shouldn't scare away potential viewers because Enterprise is a show with many great qualities.

    If you think it's predictable, maybe you should focus on something else than if a species is going to turn out a friend or an enemy. Try to focus on something else than you're used to. Find some parts you like about the show and cherish them. Or switch the channel and realize how awful all the other shows are.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Ho Hum
    By B'Jem () at 09:57:10 on November 07 2002
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    It was a middling episode and entirely predictable. Yes, Blalock was (as usual) effective. But Trip's character gets sillier every week (he's the chief engineer, for pete's sake, and he can't make a decision?) Archer remains a loose cannon, and Mayweather continues to be woefully underused. I gave it a 5. "A Night in Sickbay" (which viewers either loved or hated) at least had humor, plus the wonderful Phlox. I'm beginning to look forward to the end of season 2. This has been one very disappointing series. If this is how inept Trek humans are in a hundred years, take us back to the 24th century!



    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    atlast some hope
    By psp1 () at 09:40:56 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info
    Finally, it happened. I have been waiting for some episode that showed an inkling of hope.
    Sure, there are glaring flaws in the episode. Some of them have been pointed out in the review. Yet the overall story managed to actually engage the audience.
    The relationship between Archer and T'Pol is working. They need better dialogue and plots to flesh this out and emphasize it.
    Archer's petulance must go- there is no place for it on a starship. There is a difference between being emotional and intense and being unprofessional and childish. Kirk was an emotional, intense guy- but he managed to stay professional. They need to make Archer a bit more professional without losing his emotional edge.
    Overall,though, it's the first episode of Enterprise that caught my attention.



    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    63 votes for bad!?!
    By Weyune () at 08:51:33 on November 07 2002
    URL: | User Info
    Did you all watch the same episode as me? This was a very well done episode and well acted by most the characters. Normally I don't vote excellent for an episode - but I had to this week.

    Jolene just keeps the solid acting coming.


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