The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: The Forge

When Earth’s embassy on Vulcan is bombed, 43 lives are lost – including that of Admiral Forrest. All the evidence points to the Syrannites, a group of Vulcans who follow an alternative version of Surak’s teachings. But when T’Pol learns that her own mother is a Syrannite, she and Archer head into Vulcan’s hottest to track down the group and find out the truth.

A new trilogy kicks off with The Forge, as Enterprise seeks to bridge the gap between the manipulative and dishonest Vulcans of the 22nd century, and their far calmer and more logical 23rd century descendants. I have mixed feelings about this arc, so let’s get into the details of both the good and the bad.

First off, there is a lot to like about this episode. It’s set on Vulcan, a planet which has always cried out for more attention -for one of the most important planets in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, it’s never quite got its share of screen time. The episode is full of franchise nods for the fans (more on that in a moment), and is overall entertaining and well-paced.

So, why complain, then? Well, I’ll no doubt repeat this sentiment in the next couple of reviews, but it’s a bit hard to swallow that it will only take the events of these three episodes to reset the Vulcans and preserve continuity with TOS. As with the “smooth-headed Klingons” arc later in the season, it smacks a little bit of Enterprise simply trying too hard to neatly tie up every last loose end.

Franchise nods

  • This plotline is all about the teachings of Surak, the father of logic. Surak has been mentioned many times throughout the franchise, and a copy of him even appeared in TOS’s The Savage Curtain.
  • T’Pol and Archer venture out to The Forge, which is presumably the same place as Vulcan’s Forge. As well as appearing in several spin-off novels, hiking across Vulcan’s Forge was one of Word’s vetoed suggestions for his honeymoon with Jadzia.
  • T’Pol and Archer encounter a wild sehlat in the desert. Like T’Pol, Spock once had a pet sehlat, described as a Vulcan ‘teddy bear’, if teddy bears were alive and had six-inch fangs.
  • A young Syrannite named T’Pau is initially framed for the explosion at the Embassy. T’Pau would later become a priestess and preside over Spock’s koon-ut-kal-ifee in Amok Time.
  • This episode mentions katra, the Vulcan essence or soul, as seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • Mount Seleya is mentioned as being at the far end of The Forge. This is where Spock’s katra was reunited with his body in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • Arev tests Archer’s commitment to the study of Vulcan logic by asking who initially said “ Logic is the cement of our civilization, with which we ascend from chaos, using reason as our guide”. Spock was also asked this question at the start of Star Trek IV: The Voyager Home, and correctly answered that it was said by T’Plana-Hath.
  • When Arev transfers his katra to Archer, he says “remember” in Vulcan. Spock similarly said “remember” (in English) when transferring his katra to McCoy in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • T’Pol is given an IDIC from her mother. The IDIC symbol (“infinite diversity in infinite combinations”) has regularly appeared through the franchise – Quark even once tried to sell Vulcan IDIC pins on DS9.

Points and Observations

  • Dr Lucas may have survived his brush with danger, but Admiral Forrest is not so lucky.

Summary – The Forge: Remember.

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