Star Trek 707: Home

707. Home

FORMULA: Family + Prodigal Daughter + not Amok Time

WHY WE LIKE IT: Archer's changes. Phlox's night out.

WHY WE DON'T: Unvulcan Vulcans. No resolutions.

REVIEW: Like TNG's Family, Home is a quiet episode that deals with traumatized heroes returning home after just saving Earth. As in that episode, there are three threads to follow. The first and most involving is Archer's. Though celebrated as a hero, he "lost something" since his initial missions as an explorer, and he knows it. Basically, he betrayed his own principles many times on this mission and feels guilty that he's been rewarded for it. More pragmatic than he used to be, he's now practically espousing the Vulcan dogma that humanity isn't ready to go out into space, and talks a lot about arming Starfleet. His sounding board is the newly minted Captain Hernandez, an old flame who still shares his earlier idealism. And I'm glad to see a female captain very early in Starfleet's timeline, ignoring the most chauvinist and ridiculous notions of TOS.

Though Family stuck to Earth, Home also uses Vulcan (with some pretty spectacular matte shots, where those on Earth tend to be a more video gamey). T'Pol returns to visit her mother, and in Star Trek's ultimate take on Meet the Parents, brings Trip along. T'Pol learns that her actions at P'Jem have caused political problems for her mother, and she now considers marrying Koss (mentioned previously as her rejected betrothed) after all in exchange for his family's influence in restoring her mom to her position. Trip is in love with T'Pol, but leaves everything unspoken between them despite the mother urging him to give T'Pol all the facts. What's pretty impressive is that the show rejects the usual clichés by making T'Pol go through with the wedding. No kal-if-fee challenge, not last minute save, just Trip standing there, taking it. I was, however, perplexed by how unlike Vulcans the Vulcans are in this episode. T'Pol's mother is a condescending hoot at first, but soon turns into Trip's confidant. Koss wants T'Pol to "be happy". And so on.

The third thread, which I'd have liked to see more of, is the new xenophobic attitude having taken hold on Earth. A reaction to the Xindi attack, and a mirror of how Arab Americans might have been treated post-9/11, many humans are now distrustful of aliens, aliens of any stripe or creed. Phlox doesn't quite see the danger until a bar fight erupts around him. Still full of surprises, he reflexively inflates his head like a blowfish, which works, but certainly doesn't make him any less alien.

What's a bit frustrating is that none of these threads actually has a resolution. Archer has a roll in the hay with Hernandez and suddenly he's apologizing to Ambassador Soval for blowing up at the debriefing. It's not hokey (though Soval's response is), but it doesn't really address Archer's underlying problems. Similarly, though Hoshi pushes Phlox to keep going out into public, he runs scared and doesn't. T'Pol's story has a "conclusion", but her relationship with Trip is left hanging. Fortunately, this does set up a lot of storylines for the fourth season. Hernandez, Koss and Earth's xenophobic element will all return.

LESSON: Dr. Lester (in Turnabout Intruder) really was just crazy.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Useful set-up, and good characterization for the cast (if not others), but a little unsatisfying.


De said...

Dr. Lester (in Turnabout Intruder) really was just crazy.

I've dated women like Lester. It's fun for a while before it becomes scary.


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