The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Carbon Creek

Everyone knows that humanity’s first contact with the Vulcans took place in Montana in 2063. But over dinner with Trip and Archer, T’Pol tells them that in 1957, her great-grandmother and two other Vulcans crash-landed near the town of Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania. T’Pol explains how the three Vulcans interacted with the natives of this mining town, all the while searching for a way home.

I have mixed feelings about Carbon Creek. In set up, it’s very similar to Voyager’s 11:59, with one of the main actors playing their own ancestor in a story set on 20th century Earth. Unlike 11;59, however, Carbon Creek’s past story is actually absorbing and entertaining.

That being said, I still feel a bit uneasy about the existence of this episode. By the end of its run, Enterprise has retconned things right and left, and whilst I could accept that three Vulcans hung out in an obscure US city for a little while, and even that one lived out the rest of his days there, Carbon Creek has to go one step further. Are we really supposed to accept that Velcro was invented by T’Pol just so that one kid could go to college? That just feels like lazy and cheap writing to me. It would have been a lot more satisfying if the Vulcans had just donated all the money they earned whilst on Earth to Jack’s college fund.

Points of Note

  • Wouldn’t it be great if the handbag we see at the end didn’t actually belong to T’Mir, but was just some souvenir that T’Pol bought on Earth and used as inspiration for her story?
  • The patent for Velcro was actually granted two years before T’Mir and the others landed on Earth. With that in mind, maybe her impact on Earth’s development wasn’t that great after all.
  • Mestral enjoys I Love Lucy, show filmed at the same studios as TOS.
  • This episode features Vulcans both eating food with their hands, and freely lying. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • Of course, first contact with the Vulcans really took place around 1930, when Spock went back in time in The City on the Edge of Forever.

Summary – Carbon Creek: Vulcans on 20th century Earth – again!

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