Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Awakening”

Written by André Bormanis
Directed by Roxann Dawson
Season 4, Episode 8
Production episode 084
Original air date: November 26, 2004
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. After getting the highlights of “The Forge,” we see Soval appearing before High Command, saying that he concealed his abilities as a melder for the good of Vulcan. V’Las informs him that Stel has been revealed to be a Syrrannite, which Soval finds hard to believe. When V’Las says there’s no excuse for deception, Soval tartly replies that deception is no stranger to this room. He’s relieved of his post, told to turn over all classified data, and reminded that his loyalty oath is still in effect. They don’t actually clip his cufflinks, but it’s implied…

Archer and T’Pol have been taken by Syrrannites. They’re introduced to T’Pau, who assures them that she hasn’t left the Forge in months and couldn’t have set the bomb, no matter what the DNA evidence says.

T’Pau also reveals that “Arev” was really named Syrran, the founder of their movement. His loss is devastating. T’Pol is also reunited with her mother, T’Les, though the reunion isn’t a happy one on T’Pol’s end. T’Pau is annoyed that T’Les led Archer and T’Pol there, but T’Les just wanted her daughter to know she was safe. Archer and T’Pol are put in a cell, with Archer feeling off ever since Arev touched his face before dying.

Tucker is shocked that Soval’s been relieved of his duties. Soval says he can appeal, but V’Las is unlikely to be impressed by it. He also says that High Command is likely to bombard the entire region of the Forge where they think the Syrrannites might be, which is where Archer and T’Pol were headed. Alas, there is no way to contact them…

Archer has a vision of Surak, standing in this same sanctuary, but with a battle happening in the distance. He is seeing the events of eighteen hundred years ago as Surak saw them. Arev/Syrran transferred Surak’s katra to Archer before he died.

Screenshot: CBS

V’Las announces that the flying patrols have located the general area of the Syrrannite camp. He intends to destroy it from the air, which disturbs another member of the council, Kuvak, who thinks they should just be arrested. V’Las says order must be maintained and that’s best done if the Syrrannites are wiped out.

Archer informs T’Pau that he’s been granted Surak’s katra. T’Pau wishes to mind-meld to verify this, which Archer isn’t thrilled about, but he agrees. T’Pau melds with him and is shocked to sense Surak’s consciousness within him. Syrran was the keeper of Surak’s katra, and they had thought it lost. T’Pau wishes to extract the katra from Archer. T’Les objects, as it’s a difficult and dangerous ritual that T’Pau has never actually performed. But T’Pau doesn’t see an alternative.

Archer and T’Pol discuss the situation. When T’Pol laments her mother being a Syrrannite, Archer points out that he no longer believes them responsible for the bombing. When T’Pau comes to him with the notion of relieving him of Surak’s katra, Archer agrees—but T’Pol argues against it. T’Pau says they’ll take the katra by force if he doesn’t agree, and Archer tells her that he’ll do it. This doesn’t do much to make T’Pol think well of the Syrrannites…

Upon being informed that Enterprise is still in orbit, V’Las goes over their heads to Admiral Gardner (who has apparently replaced Forrest), a maneuver that disturbs Kuvak. Tucker, Reed, and Mayweather reinforce a shuttlepod so it can navigate the Forge, and Soval provides a method of bringing down the surveillance satellite so the shuttle can head for the surface undetected. Unfortunately, the patrols still find them, and the shuttle is fired upon and forced to return to Enterprise. V’Las tells Tucker that if he doesn’t leave orbit, Enterprise will be fired upon.

T’Pau tries to extract Surak’s katra from Archer, but it fails—mainly due to Surak himself, who prefers to remain inside Archer’s head, as Vulcans are too wrapped up in their own history. He needs Archer to find the Kir’Shara, which has all the teachings of Surak intact.

Archer is unconscious for some time, and by the time he wakes up, the Syrrannites have observed that the flying patrols are getting closer. They have to evacuate—but Archer now knows where the Kir’Shara is and can lead them to it. Most of the Syrrannites evacuate for their own safety, but T’Pau accompanies Archer and T’Pol to find the Kir’Shara. They do find it, just in time for V’Las’ bombardment to start. Kuvak points out that V’Las is ordering a massacre, but V’Las counters that he’s just eliminating a threat.

After retrieving the Kir’Shara, Archer, T’Pol, and T’Pau leave the hidden cave to find the sanctuary destroyed—and also a wounded T’Les, who remained behind out of concern for T’Pol. She dies in her daughter’s arms, though not before saying she’s proud of her.

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Screenshot: CBS

Three Vulcan ships fire on Enterprise, and Tucker is forced to retreat. Soval has another bombshell: V’Las believes that the Andorians are mounting an attack on Vulcan, using Xindi weapons. Part of V’Las’ reasoning for wiping out the Syrrannites is to eliminate the most prominent group of pacifists on Vulcan as they prepare for war.

Tucker orders Mayweather to set a course for Andoria.

To be continued…

The gazelle speech. While Syrran chose Archer to receive Surak’s katra out of necessity, Surak himself remains in Archer’s cranium by choice, believing that a non-Vulcan is a better choice to find the Kir’Shara, as he won’t be burdened by Vulcan baggage.

I’ve been trained to tolerate offensive situations. T’Pol’s reunion with her mother goes poorly, as all she sees is that her mother joined a dangerous cult.

Florida Man. Florida Man Defies Alien Government!

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Screenshot: CBS

Ambassador Pointy. Soval doesn’t believe for a nanosecond that Stel was a Syrrannite, probably because conspiracy theories aren’t logical. Once he’s relieved of his post, he becomes a very dangerous enemy to the High Command, albeit a valuable ally to Tucker.

The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined… When T’Pol tells Archer that katras are mythical—when Archer has a katra bouncing around his cranium—Archer gently reminds her that Vulcans said the same thing about time travel.

Blue meanies. The Vulcan-Andorian conflict is apparently heating up in the wake of Andoria’s obtaining of Xindi weapons tech.

Better get MACO. A MACO joins Reed and Mayweather on their shuttle trip and, true to MACO form, is of absolutely no use whatsoever.

More on this later… T’Pol speaks of katras being mythical, though by the twenty-third century, the rituals involving them will all be restored and katras will be a fact of Vulcan existence, as seen in The Search for Spock.

I’ve got faith…

“Why are you doing this? I never got the impression you cared that much about humans. Seems like you were always finding something new to complain about.”

“I lived on Earth for more than thirty years, Commander. In that time, I developed an affinity for your world and its people.”

“You did a pretty good job of hiding it.”

“Thank you.”

–Tucker and Soval.

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Screenshot: CBS

Welcome aboard. Back from “The Forge” are Robert Foxworth as V’Las and recurring regular Gary Graham as Soval. Back from “Home” is Joanna Cassidy as T’Les.

Kara Zediker makes her first real appearance as T’Pau, after being seen in a picture last time. The character was previously played by Celia Lovsky in a story taking place a century hence, the original series’ “Amok Time,” and was also played by Betty Matsushita as a holodeck re-creation of the character in Voyager’s “Darkling.”

John Rubinstein plays Kuvak; he previously played a Mazarite in “Fallen Hero” and a displaced human in Voyager’s “The 37s.”

And we have Bruce Gray as the image of Surak in Archer’s head. A re-creation of the character was previously played by Barry Atwater in the original series’ “The Savage Curtain.” Gray previously played Admiral Chekote in DS9’s “The Circle” and TNG’s “Gambit, Part I.”

Foxworth, Graham, Zediker, Rubinstein, and Gray will all be back in “Kir’Shara” next time.

Trivial matters: This continues Enterprise’s second three-parter, continuing from “The Forge,” and to conclude in “Kir’Shara.”

Surak was established as the father of Vulcan logic in the original series’ “The Savage Curtain.” Vulcan’s violent, tumultuous past was first mentioned in the original series’ “Balance of Terror,” and the time before Surak was seen, after a fashion, in Spock’s behavior when travelling back in time through the Atavachron in the original series’ “All Our Yesterdays.”

The concept of the katra was introduced in The Search for Spock, as was the ritual for transferring it to another person.

Andorians got their hands on Xindi technology in “Proving Ground.”

Admiral Gardner is, presumably, the same person Soval cited as his preferred candidate to captain Enterprise in “Shadows of P’Jem,” established as one of the final four candidates to get that job in “First Flight.” He will continue to be referenced throughout the series as taking over Forrest’s role as Commander, Starfleet, though he won’t be seen in the mainline universe. However, his Mirror Universe counterpart will be seen in “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II.”

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Screenshot: CBS

It’s been a long road… “You have a lot to learn about Syrrannites.” I wanted to like this episode a lot more than I actually liked this episode.

Part of it is the comedown from the Reeves-Stevenses—whose resumé includes some great Trek novels as well as episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, Phantom 2040, and The Lost World, among others—to André Bormanis, the writer of “Hatchery,” “Extinction,” “The Crossing,” and “The Communicator.” And while I’m stacking the deck with my examples (the Reeves-Stevenses also wrote for the 1996 Flash Gordon and Mighty Ducks animated series, while Bormanis also wrote or co-wrote “Desert Crossing” and Voyager‘s “Waking Moments” and “Fair Trade“), the greater point holds.

Especially because the writing here is not great. Kara Zediker gives no impression that the character she’s playing will grow old into the grand matriarch Celia Lovsky played in 1967, and while I don’t expect her to act the same—she is a hundred years younger—it still behooved both Bormanis and Zediker to at least give a hint of what she was to become, and we’ve got precisely none of it, just a zealot who is mean to our hero.

The scenes with Surak in Archer’s brain meats are a major disappointment, though Bruce Gray does a good job portraying the historical figure. (Unlike Zediker, he echoes his original series counterpart, and improves on Barry Atwater’s performance.) But this epic look back at pre-Reformation Vulcan is, uhm, two guys standing in a cave looking at distant CGI explosions.

V’Las manages to have even less nuance than he did last week, as the only thing he’s missing is a mustache to twirl. Poor Robert Foxworth does the best that he can, but the character is so cacklingly evil it’s impossible to take him seriously. It’s not aided by wasting an actor of John Rubinstein’s calibre to stand around and look concerned by V’Las psychopathy, but not actually doing anything about it. (And he won’t until way way way too late in the next episode.)

And finally, we have the painfully constructed death of T’Les, which makes nothing like sense—if she was concerned about T’Pol’s safety, why didn’t she just go with them to find the Kir’Shara? Instead, she stays in a blast zone to get killed, and you can just see the strings, both to maximize the pathos for T’Pol, but also to clear the way for Koss to release T’Pol from her marriage next week so we can have the cliché-mandated T’Pol-Tucker relationship to barrel forward for the rest of the season.

The episode isn’t all bad. Indeed, the general story is a good one, it’s just the execution of it that falls down on almost every level. The only exception is the stuff on Enterprise, particularly the Tucker-Soval banter. But overall, it’s far less than it should’ve been.

Warp factor rating: 4

Keith R.A. DeCandido has a story in the newly released eighth issue of Star Trek Explorer magazine, “The Kellidian Kidnapping,” a Voyager tale that dramatizes an adventure alluded to in the series finale “Endgame.” There’s also a DS9 story by David Mack, “Lost and Founder.” You can find it at bookstores and comic shops, or order directly from Titan.

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