Enterprise has finally made it back to Earth, giving the crew a chance for some much needed rest and recreation. Whilst Archer goes hiking to escape all the hero worship of his peers, Trip decides to accompany T’Pol to Vulcan. Meanwhile, an anti-alien sentiment has begun to grow on Earth.
Although – or perhaps because – it mostly takes place away from Enterprise, Home is actually a pretty decent episode, weaving together a number of strands. Some things follow on from previous events, whilst others start laying the ground for the season to come. Let’s take a moment to touch on them all.
Archer is finally feeling guilty about all the questionable things he did in the Expanse, and the last thing he wants is to be feted as the hero who saved Earth. So instead he decides to escape to the mountains for some soul-searching, accompanied by Erika Hernandez, his former love interest and now captain of the NX-02. We’ll see her again this season, and I find myself almost wishing for a mini-series on the adventures of her ship.
With no home left to go to, Trip instead accompanies T’Pol back to Vulcan to meet her mother. I quite like T’Pol’s mother, even if she does disapprove of both T’Pol’s emotional tendencies and her relationship with Trip. I like that the episode shows that the standard of living on Vulcan is relatively modern, even if they do spend some of their time performing ancient rites and challenges out in the desert.
What I like less about this storyline is the return of Koss, T’Pol’s former fiancé. Koss essentially blackmails T’Pol into agreeing to marrying him, with a combination of “but it’s tradition and who are we to argue” and “you know how your actions got your mother fired – well, maybe my family could get her reinstated”. The Vulcans really are arseholes when it comes to getting what they want.
Meanwhile, everyone else on the crew is just trying to have a good time on Earth, but unfortunately some ugly, racist sentiments have sprung up. The Xindi attack has left a lot of people feeling quite negatively towards aliens in general, and the underlying tension leads to Phlox getting challenged in a bar and an inevitable Starfleet/civilian brawl. Not only is this laying the groundwork for a storyline later in the season, but it’s actually pretty relevant to the racist and insular sentiments that have led to the current political situation. See, even Enterprise can examine humanity and have some relevant things to say.
- When Archer learns that Hernandez’s old high school has been renamed after him, she follows up with “I don’t think Zefram Cochrane has that many schools named after him”. As we know from Star Trek First Contact, Geordi went to Zefram Cochrane High School.
- T’Pol considers invoking the kal-if-fee challenge aspect of the Vulcan marriage ritual, just as T’Pring did to Spock in Amok Time.
Notes and Observations
- This is the first and only time we see Phlox inflate his face, presumably as a defence mechanism – although it’s unclear why this stops the fight instead of making the aggressors want to punch him even more. It would have been far more impressive if he’d actually shot spikes from his face or spat poison.
Also, given that pufferfish can only inflate their bodies a limited number of times before the process kills them, I wonder if it’s the same for Phlox’s face. That would explain why we only see it once in four years – he has to use it sparingly.
Summary – Home: Everyone gets a chance to rest, recuperate and prepare for season four to commence in earnest.