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Still, as a one time episode, this one was interesting if only because it gives us insight into the variety of Vulcans of this time. There are the monks who strive to purge all emotion; there are those at the Vulcan High Council who seem to be slightly emotional but try to maintain logic and then there are these new Vulcans who want to work emotions into their lives while still maintaining their hold on logic. Even with this new group there are variations. Kov seems well adjusted while Tolaris almost borders on being psychotic. It would have been interesting to see Kov or Tavin get angry if only to see the difference between them and Tolaris. I'd also have liked to see T'Pol explain what the "risks" are that she mentions to Dr. Phlox if Vulcans allow themselves to explore emotions as I think it would have helped to clarify what we see in this episode.
Tolaris (Enrique Murciano) does a good job as the "angry" Vulcan albeit comes off as a bit of a pervert in his persistence to experience T'Pol's dream. The scene where he mind-melds with T'Pol is disturbing if only because it seems more like a mind-rape than anything else. Moreover, T'Pol is so affected by it that she ends up in sickbay where we find out later that she almost suffered from neurological damage.
I also wonder why Tolaris was written this way. It's almost as if they are trying to explain why Vulcans must "consciously" control their emotions or else they succumb to them or to their primal nature. But with Tavin and Kov we don't see this. Tavin for instance enjoys eating meat and doesn't seem to be the worst for it so somehow the point of the episode seems lost. In fact, they seem more like humans than anything else rather than "emotional" Vulcans, hence why an explanation from T'Pol would have helped.
Yet it does have an effect on Archer. At first he doesn't see how these emotional Vulcans can be dangerous but at the end tells T'Pol he thinks he now understands why she meditates and by extension why Vulcans need to repress their emotions. Still, it doesn't quite make sense somehow as only Tolaris seems negatively affected.
The subplot with Trip and Kov (John Harrington Bland) also explores emotion as Trip explains about "regret" to Kov. Some cute scenes here as well as they discuss the differences between the two cultures at dinner. There's also a nice touch of continuity as we see a less reserved Reed join Trip and Kov for dinner.
An interesting episode but for some reason it makes me miss action driven episodes.
I give this one a C+.
Gisele La Roche,