Enterprise comes to the aid of a very different Vulcan ship – one whose crew have chosen to embrace their emotions instead of burying them. Whilst at first reluctant to interact with them, T’Pol finds herself drawn to these unusual Vulcans, and reminded of her past brushes with her emotions.
Fusion is an important episode, in that it kicks off a chain of events that will shape T’Pol’s development over the next few seasons. We learn that T’Pol isn’t as disinterested in emotions as we’ve been led to believe, and she starts to explore the world beyond logic. Unfortunately, it all goes a bit wrong when she essentially gets mind raped by another Vulcan, something that will have far-reaching consequences.
All in all, it’s a solid and engrossing episode, with T’Pol’s story backed up by Trip’s friendship with one of the Vulcan engineers. All the elements of the episode are standard plot building blocks, but they hang together well, offering us a Vulcan episode that’s a little different to the usual logic-fest. It does leave me wondering, though, would the writers ever be able to do a good job of writing for a Vulcan who didn’t have secret emotional leanings? I guess Tuvok came pretty close to being a standard logical Vulcan, but even he got stripped of his control from time to time.
This episode introduces the Vulcan mind meld, not as something that everyone knows about and performs whenever the plot requires, but as an ancient and little-used technique. In fact, we’ll learn in later episodes that not all Vulcans can perform a mind meld, and that the technique is generally considered taboo and frowned upon. Anyone who has participated in a mind meld is shunned.
This episode also mentions the teachings of Surak. The emotional Vulcans may be right in saying that Surak didn’t want Vulcans to completely purge and bury their emotions, just to master them and not be ruled by them.
Unlike most others, these Vulcans are also willing to speak openly about pon farr and the seven year mating cycle. They seem keen to research ways to speed up the mating cycle, even though general consensus is that Vulcans can have sex at any time, they just have no choice during the pon farr. Maybe they just want to experience the intensity of feeling and release that pon farr brings.
By the 23rd century, it seems that humans have forgotten all about pon farr, no doubt thanks to Vulcans suppressing any spread of that knowledge.
Summary – Fusion: In which T’Pol gets mind-raped.