"Breaking the Ice"
Page 2 of 3

It seems she is to be married but has postponed the wedding so as to remain on the ship. This has insulted the parent's of her fiance who want an immediate reply. T'Pol holds Vulcan tradition above her own desires and so the dilemma. Trip suggests that the fact she wanted to delay the wedding might be because she doesn't want to follow through with the marriage which would take her away from Enterprise and that to humans, personal choice is more important.

Meanwhile, Archer has invited the Vulcan captain to dinner. Captain Vanik's attitude is well summed up when he says: "Humans have never held much interest for me." The interaction between Vanik and Archer is very telling. Archer and Trip try to be polite to the increasingly rude Vulcan. Archer (Bakula does a great job throughout here) finally loses his patience and points out that a Vulcan ship is always nearby wherever they go and flat out asks why Vanik is spying on them. Vanik smugly replies that if they wanted to spy on the humans they would not be detected doing so. The relation between the Vulcans and humans is shown here to be tenuous at best. Vanik does say that he thinks humans are arrogant and inexperienced. This implies that he sees humans as a nuisance more than anything else and Archer is clearly angered by this.

This comes into play later as Archer risks the life of Reed and Mayweather as they are trapped on the comet after their shuttlepod has broken through the ice and fallen down into a hole in the comet. This brings me to a nit in the episode. How could a comet have Earth-like gravity? Our own moon, much larger than any comet could be, has much less gravity than Earth. How could the shuttlepod have "fallen" through the cracked ice? Leaving this aside, Archer decides to use the "grappler" to pull the shuttlepod out of the hole. Unfortunately and predictably it fails. Vanik offers to help by using his ship's tractor beam but it takes T'Pol's and Trip's insistence to make Archer literally swallow his pride and accept the help. Interestingly, Archer doesn't thank Vanik for his help.

So far it seems that the tensions between the Vulcans and humans is building up. It's too bad that the events of "The Andorian Incident" were not mentioned here. It would have added a great deal to the dinner discussions with Vanik instead of having the filler sequence of the recording for the school children, however charming it was. Thankfully, we didn't have to see the kiddies. Nonetheless, I suspect that this snobbish Vulcan attitude and consequent human resentment is a sort of set-up or gradual build-up for a future confrontation that I hope will come up soon enough as this is getting annoying with time. We have a pretty good idea now of how the Vulcans view humans and vice versa, enough already. Still, showing how dangerous things can get for the humans and how inexperienced they are is still of interest and worth exploring further.

I like the aspect of the "no easy way out" of predicaments and the lack of technobabble and anomalies of the week. This is very refreshing as I half expected, from the previews of this episode, we would come across some silly ridgehead aliens hiding in the comet or some such tired storyline. Instead, we see Archer grow as a Captain, T'Pol becoming influenced by her


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