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Some people are not happy with the way the Vulcans are characterized on the show. I agree up to a point. In my review of "The Seventh", I already felt that the Vulcans were being humanized too much. This episode adds another level of humanization that I hope will decrease with time. It's great to see the Vulcan race explored and developed but they have to maintain their alien persona because otherwise they will lose their uniqueness. We haven't seen enough of the Andorians to really judge how they are being represented in Enterprise but I hope next week's episode will shed some light on the culture. And like I say above I hope we get to see the other races that founded the Federation.
The third of the above options (mentioned in the first paragraph) is what made Trek special in the past and this episode is a good example of classic, allegorical Trek. We have T'Pol with a stigmatizing illness akin to today's AIDS. Of course the homosexual lifestyle is what is most alluded to in this episode although it could also be related to drug users and those with sexually promiscuous lifestyles.
Interestingly enough, the Denobulan culture is shown to have such a way of life. They are very much into "free love" it appears. Moreover we see that Trip is uncomfortable with this as many people still are with homosexuality. I found this aspect of the show interesting in the way it was represented. For instance, the whole of the subplot (well developed for a change) is a kind of sex farce. While there is a subtext of sexual harrassment the interaction between Feezal and Trip is hilarious. Some of the sexual double-entendres are subtle: Feezal to Trip: "I wasn't exactly pulling your leg was I?" to which Trip replies: "No, not exactly". Trip to Feezal: "Well I've got to get back to my warp engine. The plasma is running a little hot." to which Feezal replies: "I know how it feels." Some weren't so subtle like when Feezal is showing Trip how to initiate the neutron stream by "inserting" a rod-like device into the microscope and Trip says: "You're going to have to help me with this one." and Feezal stands very close to him. I'm glad they used Connor Trinneer for these scenes as his facial expressions are priceless. Melinda Page Hamilton as Feezal was a hoot. She managed to portray a sexually aggressive woman without engendering the associated (double-standard) attitudes that come with it.
But on a more serious note, I liked how at least one of the Vulcans was depicted. Dr. Yuris (well-acted and believable by Jeffrey Hayenga) who helps T'Pol, comes off as the kind of Vulcan I hope we start seeing more of. It's fine to show that Vulcans aren't the perfect alien race that we come to see in TOS and later but to focus only on the negative aspects of Vulcans is not altogether realistic so it was nice to see him. Which reminds me of Ambassador V'Lar (Fionulla Flanagan) from season one's "Fallen Hero". I hope we see her again too.
There were also some nice continuity touches like Hoshi speaking Denobulan as we saw her learning the language from Dr. Phlox in a previous episode. T'Pol of course was infected with the disease when she was "violated" by Tolaris in "Fusion". We see that Travis is very athletic in more ways than one. In a previous episode he was rock climbing. In this one he is playing some sort of sport and we get to see his washboard abs. Reed's and Trip's friendship is still