Star Trek 713: Kir'Shara

713. Kir'Shara

FORMULA: The Siege + Cease Fire + Unification

WHY WE LIKE IT: Vulcan's transformation.

WHY WE DON'T: The padding. V'Las' OTT performance.

REVIEW: As Archer's group heads for the capital with the Vulcan True Bible, a book of Surak's teachings that could transform Vulcan, the High Command attempts to stop them AND launch their offensive against the Andorians. There's a lot going on, and it's a little sad, after the first two chapters, so little of it happens on Vulcan proper, and that what does sometimes translates as padding. For example, while Archer's race to the capital has some fun moments like his use of a nerve pinch, there's also a major runaround with T'Pol being captured, leading his captors astray, but Archer still following. If you're not going to respect her ploy, why even give her one?

Meanwhile, Enterprise is disobeying orders and heading to warn the Andorians of the High Command's intentions. Shran is again our man, but he is so mistrustful of Vulcans that he kidnaps Soval and tortures through loosed emotions to get at the truth (or confirm it, since Soval IS telling the truth about the invasion plans). Both actors do an excellent job, especially Jeffrey Combs as the tortured Shran, but it's a good showcase for Soval as well. He gets a good speech and is brave throughout. However, the torture scenes do go on for a bit, and this feels at times like more padding.

Eventually, Shran believes him and his fleet goes off to blockage the Vulcan attack force. Because he wasted so much time, however, reinforcements won't get there in time for the battle. Enterprise puts itself in harm's way, hoping the High Command won't dare fire on a Starfleet ship. Trip's resolve and leadership really shine through in this episode. The battle isn't great, just an exchange of phaser beams between ships, but the implied threat of an interstellar war in Near Space is enough.

By the end of the episode, V'Las has gone totally off the rails and has become a raving lunatic. It's wayyyy too over-the-top, not just for a Vulcan, but for any character in a similar circumstance. The High Command may eventually strip him of command, but it's hard to believe it takes them that long considering his behavior. There's a nice dig at Bush's fictional weapons of mass destruction, as something similar is used to justify the attack on Andoria. The last straw, of course, is Archer's opening of the Kir'Shara in front of their eyes, a properly climactic moment (opening a book could have been a lot less spectacular). At least there's a surprise ending featuring a Romulan influence that helps explain V'Las' agenda, a unification plot that will likely rear its head again before the end of the series. The Nemesis-era uniform is suspect, but not a big problem.

Other resolutions... Archer gets the katra taken out of him, of course, but T'Pol also benefits from new Syrranite techniques and is cured of Pa'nar syndrome, something she's ailed from since Fusion (without any real effect, we should say). Kos, a truly nice guy, releases her from marriage, knowing full well she only went through with it to save her now dead mother. His involvement in the climax - getting Archer the codes to get into the High Command - was more than slightly fortuitous, and the on-again, off-again marriage seems like wasted time and opportunity, but we won't really miss him. And more importantly for Star Trek's timeline, the High Command is dissolved and Earth's progress no longer to be interfered with. Only something as major as the Kir'Shara could transform a world so quickly.

LESSON: Books can change the world.

REWATCHABILITY - High Medium: After such a great start, Kir'Shara disappoints slightly thanks to too much padding, too many fortuitous coincidences, and a terrible performance by the guest villain. It's still a satisfying climax with lots to like, but not really on the first chapter's level.

2 comments:

Jeffrey said...

I always thought that the Temporal Cold War wasn't really over. And these Nemesis era uniforms kind of proved it to me. Then they reused them, which means we're going to need an episode to explain why the Romulans don't have ridges in the TOS era and why they changed the uniform to the TOS model, and then back. Or did I just reveal too much about what's coming up?

De said...

One of the running hypotheses about the Romulan head ridge is that some of the Romulans mated with the Debrune (race mentioned in "Gambit" [TNG]). Also, we have no idea if the dudes in the helmets have them or not :-)

 

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