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Story by: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga and Chris Black
Teleplay by: Alan Cross
Directed by: Patrick Norris
Enterprise is ordered by Starfleet Command to pick up a Vulcan ambassador on the planet Mazar. They are then to rendezvous with the Sh'raan, a Vulcan ship, that will take the ambassador to Vulcan. Meanwhile, a Mazarite ship contacts Enterprise to request that the ambassador be returned to Mazar and when Archer stalls, the Mazarites attack. When Archer questions the ambassador to find out what is really going on, the Vulcan refuses to divulge anything and Archer decides to take her back to Mazar. After speaking with the ambassador, T'Pol convinces Archer to rendezvous with the Vulcan ship. Three more Mazarite ships arrive and attack and overtake Enterprise. After sending a message to the Vulcan ship, it's up to Archer and crew to distract the Mazarites and wait for the Sh'raan to arrive.
There's lots of continuity in terms of character development in this episode as Archer's resentment of Vulcans is again brought up while we see that Vulcans, even friendly ones, are still rather distrustful of humans. Again, the Vulcans keep information from Archer and even Starfleet Command. It's only when things get dangerous that V'Lar finally (with T'Pol's insistence no less) explains the situation on Mazar and her part in it. Still, there is one glaring "discontinuity" when we see Trip and Archer surprised at T'Pol's statement that Vulcans only have sex every seven years. Didn't they find this out already in "Fusion"? Also, little things like "smelly" humans is again brought up but thankfully dismissed quickly by V'Lar.
Veteran Trek guest star Fionnula Flanagan ("Enina Tandro" on DS9's "Dax" and "Juliana Soong Tainer", Data's "mother" on TNG's "Inheritance") does a wonderful job here and is believable as a Vulcan diplomat while also showing us another side of this century's Vulcans. V'Lar shakes hands, tries to make jokes, likes to practice her English and is generally a friendly sort unlike her more stiff and snobbish counterparts of this era. I hope we get to see her again as V'Lar as I think she would make a good Sarak-like (Spock's father) character.
The triumvirate of Archer, T'Pol and Trip continues to be played up as we see them at dinner in the opener. T'Pol is certainly becoming more than at ease with the two as she suggests that they and the crew might need some sexual activity to ease tensions as crew efficiency has gone down by 3%. She goes on to mention the planet Risa as a good place to go. Archer asks: "Is it populated?" to which she replies: "Yes, by a humanoid culture receptive to easing tension." Considering that she had just mentioned that Starfleet protocols prevent officers from rolling in the hay with their subordinates, it seems like a dumb question to me. Why would she suggest the planet unless it was populated? In fact, the whole scene seems a little out of place somehow since as a Vulcan it seems odd that she would even be noticing such things but then again, Risa is followed up in the next two episodes (I love continuity) so I suppose it served its purpose. It's too bad there wasn't some sexual double-entendres thrown