"Fallen Hero"

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by Alienesse, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is one of my favorite episodes of the series and I thought it would be nice to hear people's opinions on it. I'll start by giving mine. :)

    "Fallen Hero" is one of those ENT episodes that delivers everything you expect from an ENT episode, much like "First Flight". What we expected from ENT was a look into pre-Federation Starfleet, into how the major relations with their alien partners were forged, and how a Starfleet captain and crew found their way before there were clear rules and procedures for how one should go about exploring space. "Fallen Hero" addresses the relationship with the Vulcans and does so in a much better way than anything we'd seen before.

    Ambassador V'Lar herself is, to me, one of the best Vulcan characters out there. ENT gave us the wonderful Soval, but I also rank V'Lar among my favorite Vulcans, even if we only saw her in one episode. She is genuinely interested in learning about Humans, she appears free of prejudice against them, she's not condescending or patronizing, she has the courtesy of thanking Hoshi for giving up her quarters for her. What I like most about her is that she's authentic, she doesn't go to great lengths in order to hide her emotions. It felt to me like her time on Enterprise was a sort of break from the usual Vulcan stiffness to her. I particularly loved the last scene where she is greeted at the shuttle door by those two Vulcans and she openly admits that it's tiring to always be treated as an official ("Someday I'd like to walk into a room without it seeming like a state visit."). In addition to that, she delivers a line that echoes the essence of what we know the Human/Vulcan relationship to be: "I sense a great bond between you. A bond of trust and respect, but also a bond of friendship. I think it bodes well for the future relations of our two peoples. " Watching Archer and T'Pol look at each other as V'Lar says this to them, I could see the inklings of the future classic partnership between Humans and Vulcans. I could see Spock&Kirk, Tuvok&Janeway, even Sarek&Picard in the making, and that's very rewarding, to actually witness Star Trek history.

    The episode also gives Archer an opportunity to redeem himself of his usual resentful attitude towards Vulcans. As V'Lar's last remark about the future relations between Vulcans and Humans shows, a lot depended on how Archer handled this mission, and he did exactly what had to be done in order to show the Vulcans that Humans could be trustworthy and resourceful partners. I absolutely loved the scene with T'Pol in his quarters, as she comes to ask for his help. Even if he'd initially been determined to hand over V'Lar to the Mazarites, he actually chooses to trust T'Pol's belief that V'Lar is innocent. He actually acts as a friend and accepts risking the safety of his ship and crew in order to keep her safe. Plus, Archer's very human character is what eventually saves everybody: not taking the logical course of action, he takes a risk instead and uses ruse to buy the time they need in order for help to arrive.

    I love "Fallen Hero" because it's the archetypal story of Human and Vulcan working together to achieve success, Human and Vulcan trusting each other's own defining qualities even if they do not understand them. If only we'd had more stories like this.
     
  2. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    Characters (and species) definitely stepped outside their predictable, predefined (from earlier in the series, that is) roles/attitudes. Am only posting on the fly - will return later. :)
     
  3. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am looking forward to your post, jespah! Maybe I'll do a rewatch and see what other ideas I get. In the meantime, I also wanted to post an image that probably best sums up the spirit of this episode.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, and I also loved this moment:

    [​IMG]

    I've always enjoyed scenes showing the senior crew unwinding in their spare time, especially the captains since they are the ones that need to keep the most formal appearance of all the officers. So seeing Archer lying in bed and playing with his dog is a nice touch.

    It's also interesting that his discussion with T'Pol about V'Lar takes place in this most informal of settings, within his personal space, and not in his Ready Room. It establishes T'Pol's request as personal one, appealing to Archer as a friend more than her superior officer. And the fact that she is comfortable enough to do that means that, indeed, a bond has formed between the two.
     
  4. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    Yes! And he has real books! Although I gotta say they look like Law School texts, but at least they're paper and ink.

    It's quite a bit of personal stuff/personal space going on - from V'Lar extending her hand, to the Vulcan (name escapes me) talking about his father with Tucker, to Jon in his quarters, roughhousing with Porthos, to T'Pol going into Jon's quarters in the first place. I figure people gossip on the ship (it's pretty normal to do so), and so below decks characters might see her go in and think hmmm .... Not necessarily maliciously, more along the lines of, did you hear ...?

    In some ways that can also lend some credence to the goings on during A Night in Sick Bay, e. g. where JA is quietly lusting after T'Pol but can't do anything (and so his subconscious is betraying him). After all, first Warp Five ship - plus he's already had a relationship with Erika Hernandez. There's a proprietary question, but JA also wants to be sure that he's setting a good example and doesn't just look like a lust-crazed maniac in space.
     
  5. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Real books! Yes! Imagine that! :techman: Yeah, that binding does make them look like some sort of textbooks. They could also be just old and valuable editions of the classics. But it's nice to see real books still holding an esteemed place in the future. There's nothing like them, really. Kindles and tablets can't replace the touch and smell of an actual book. Glad to see Trek acknowledge that in ENT as it did in TNG with Picard's Shakespeare tome.

    You're quite right, yes. The whole episode revolves around people's personal space, even Hoshi giving up her quarters. Wasn't that Vulcan talking to Tucker about his father in another episode, though? Wasn't that in "Fusion"? Anyway, I also thought about the fact that T'Pol has no problem going into the captain's room. If that's not feeling comfortable with somebody, I don't know what it is. Also, the fact that she's willing to talk to him about her history with V'Lar. That's again a confession of a personal nature.

    Yeah, and sleeping with your first officer really doesn't seem right. Maybe when she's not your first officer anymore, but while two people hold the most senior positions on a ship, it doesn't seem like the right thing to do.
     
  6. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    Eek, it probably was Fusion (I blame creeping senility).
     
  7. NeedsOfTheMany

    NeedsOfTheMany Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    One of my favorite episodes for most of what has already been listed. This is one of the first encounters with Vulcans that Archer starts to see them on an individual basis. With his past dealings he's really lumped them together as being a race that they cannot trust completely. It's over the course of the first two seasons that we see the crew overcome a lot of preconceived notions..

    A lot of the series really centers around developing relationships, expanding our horizons and tearing down preconceived notions of people, lots of eliminating prejudice.
     
  8. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nah, I think your memory is biased into only remembering episodes with Steven Culp in them. :p

    Thanks for joining the discussion, NeedsOfTheMany! Glad to hear from another fan of this episode. :techman:

    Yeah, one of the main strengths of this episode is that Archer grows up and manages to overcome his established dislike of the Vulcans. But I think he is willing to do so because VLar gives him reason to by acting as free of prejudice herself. She begins by treating him with courtesy and, aside from hiding certain secret aspects of her mission, she always keeps herself on the same level with the Enterprise crewmembers that she meets. She doesn't act like a superior being like the other Vulcans do, and I think that's what made Archer change his mind. With T'Pol making all sorts of preparations for V'Lar's visit, he was obviously expecting the annoying, stuck-up Vulcan that he was used to (remember the Vulcan captain in "Breaking the Ice"?). Instead, he's visibly surprised when V'Lar extends her hand to shake his, observing the customary Human greeting. The fact that she's willing to treat him differently is what makes him overcome his own prejudice, I believe. He just needed to be given a chance.
     
  9. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    Is it that obvious?

    But seriously - I agree, NeedsOfTheMany, the whole series is about overcoming prejudice. And that's kinda how our current society will need to change (more than ending disease or poverty, as those will likely be byproducts of this) in order to, eventually, get to Gene's vision and to how TOS was (at least within the ship). In TOS, Uhura tells Lincoln that the word "negress" doesn't bother her, that it's just a word. That's a far cry from how we act these days.
     
  10. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed; this ep is one of my ENT favorites also, right up there with "Fusion", "The Catwalk", "Dear Doctor", "Regeneration", "Cogenitor", and, yes, "A Night in Sickbay". It's a modest, inexpensive and family-friendly little ep that was one of the few to really fit in nicely with the series' concept.

    Now, this sort of ep was never going to make the show any new fans, nor would it stem the loss of old ones. Though charming, it's also kinda bland, and, now that we've seen Polly's brightly-color catsuits, her original one postively screams boring! rug store! reject! every time it's onscreen. Overall, the ep is canned chicken soup, ordinary but comforting.

    If this sounds like kinda faint praise, it is; still, the ep's not boring, banal and pointless, like much of S1-2, or mean-spirited and off-putting like most of the over-balleyhooed S4. I don't think the writing was ever sharp enough to overcome franchise fatigue, but to pass the time on a cold and rainy day, one could do a lot worse than "Fallen Hero".
     
  11. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not really a huge fan of the episode as written (esp the tortuous pursuit plot). But I am real sucker for unorthodox Vulcans and this and Fusion are two of best. Plus I love Flanagan's performance, which for me is the real heart of the episode. She's kinda like how'd you imagine a Dame Judi Vulcan :)
     
  12. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    Fallen Hero is one of my favorite episodes .You ceratainly can see a contrast between T'Pol and V'Lar goes out of her way to tank Hoshi for the use of her quarters you can tell Hoshi wasn't too thrilled about T'Pol's attitude about clearing out all her belongings when Valar needed the use of her quarters.That V'Lar wanted to talk and visit with Enterprise creewmembers.You can see T'Pol is starting to change her attitude about her ideas about humans and the they want to be work closer with the Vulcans
     
  13. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought the episode was fairly average. I can't say I listed it among my favorites. It wasn't overly bad, but just cliche in places and to me it seemed more frosting to less cake in the content. The whole Risa teaser is just familiar ground to the Trek audience by now, and the only eyebrow raising part was T'Pol asking them about sex.

    V'Lar was a breath of fresh air. One of the few Vulcans not afflicted with Evil Vulcan Syndrome. You'd think it would be.... logical... for a diplomat to learn the customs of other species so you don't piss them off, especially considering they are "emotionally handicapped" after all. But so many Vulcans in delicate positions do their best to throw a wall up between their differences and humans in their behavior like say Soval.

    But a likeable Vulcan? We can't have that so the plot has to try and kill her off as quickly as possible. I really don't get why they just let the Mazarites go... Starfleet or the Vulcans... but reset button is pushed, everything is as it was before and we never hear for anyone or anything in this episode again... except Risa because sex planets just define Star Trek.
     
  14. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks, everyone, for contributing your opinions to this thread. It's lovely to see people appreciate this episode, in various degrees, of course. :p

    Yes! Fionnula Flanagan's presence adds immensely to the character of V'Lar and to the episode as a whole. I really wish we could have seen more of her.

    I think T'Pol feels the added pressure of having one of her heroes aboard, besides the normal degree of stress involved in receiving the visit of an important official. She doesn't admit to Archer that V'Lar is her hero, but it's clear to everyone that she is. In fact, I loved the way Archer says, "No, I'm sure they don't" to T'Pol's "Vulcans don't have heroes." The expression on his face and the tone of his voice both indicate that he doesn't believe her and that he knows she doesn't believe herself. The status quo of Vulcans as aloof, restrained creatures unaffected by emotions must be kept as a facade - T'Pol says what she must, and Archer must agree - but that facade is wildly transparent.
    Anyway, I've digressed. I think that T'Pol really wants V'Lar's stay on Enterprise to be perfect because she regards her so highly. Hence the almost ridiculous degree to which she devises rules of conduct for the crew. At least those rules sound ridiculous as read by Archer: "Don't address the ambassador unless spoken to first. Don't offer to shake hands. Refrain from laughing in her presence." Funny shaking hands should be mentioned on the Not To Do list, since V'Lar herself is the one who offers to engage in this most Human greeting.

    I think T'Pol also comes off as mean to Hoshi as she tells her to remove the sole personal object remaining in her quarters - the framed photo. Hoshi is actually to be commended for her patience and grace. She displays almost a Vulcan brand of self-control.

    It is interesting how the episode juxtaposes two types of Vulcans that eventually converge. One is T'Pol especially at the beginning of the episode - the rigid, arrogant Vulcan that looks down on Humans. Another is V'Lar - the unconventional Vulcan that deals with Humans from the same level. T'Pol is visibly surprised at V'Lar's attitude and even seems to disapprove. But her actions and finally her pleading with V'Lar to reveal her mission to Archer show her own willingness to compromise and move to a more equal relationship with Humans. On the other hand, V'Lar, although less rigid in her social interaction with Humans, is still unwilling to share her secret mission with Archer until T'Pol convinces her to. So in the end, they both learn from one another and change their behavior for the better.

    Trust seems to be the catalyst of this episode. Things move forward because characters choose to trust each other. T'Pol trusts V'Lar and asks for Archer's help on the bases of that trust. But she also trusts Archer and asks V'Lar to open up to him. She ultimately manages to make the two trust each other, which leads to the success of the mission and, more importantly, creates positive ground on which to grow future relations between Vulcan and Earth. I think the end of the episode also brings some form of resolution to T'Pol's own conflict of loyalties between Starfleet and the Vulcan High Command.

    There's one more thing I wanted to bring to the table, one more nod to the already established Trek canon. The moment when Archer asks T'Pol how far the Vulcan ship is and she replies that the sensors aren't working. Archer says, "Then use their last known position and do the math. Take a guess." That sounds a lot like McCoy saying, "Guess, Spock. Your best guess." in The Voyage Home.

    Oh, and reaching Warp 5 marked a rather nice milestone. :techman:
     
  15. bluedana

    bluedana Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is one of my favorite eps, too. I particularly love the moment when Archer is refusing (rightly, imo) to change course yet again, and T'Pol simply says, "In all the time I have been aboard Enterprise, I have never asked you for anything. I'm asking now." And he just looks at her and orders the course change. That's a beautiful moment, where he puts his whole ship on the line because he trusts her.
     
  16. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic Phloxist Moderator Moderator

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    What a great thread! Wonderful insights and fond memories.

    More episode appreciation threads, pretty please :)
     
  17. Alienesse

    Alienesse Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ :techman:

    I wanted to add something about the significance of this episode in terms of the Vulcan/Human relationship.

    I was thinking that one of ENT's flaws is the framing of these little pieces of Trek history. Take our current topic, for example. Human and Vulcan finally decide to take a step towards each other and lay the foundation or a future partnership. As I've already mentioned, the last scene where V'Lar talks about a bond of trust and friendship between Archer and T'Pol is of monumental importance to me in the greater design of Star Trek. But the framing of this character dynamic with a diplomatic mission of very little consequence involving an alien race we've never heard of before or after was probably uninspired. Maybe if it had been something that had to do with Humans, or with another of the great Trek races, maybe if V'Lar's mission had been more significant in the greater scheme of things, the importance of the character development taking place in this episode would have been more visible.

    The same happened with the warp 5 thing, or the "Reed" alert - things that make up the core of Star Trek were treated as secondary elements at best.
     

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