[ENT] Jammer's Review: "Fallen Hero"
- Warning: This review contains significant spoilers. If you haven't seen the
episode yet, beware.
In brief: Further issues of human/Vulcan trust prove reasonable, and I
thought the chase plot was pretty well executed.
Plot description: Tensions arise and questions go unanswered when the
Vulcans ask the Enterprise to transport an expelled Vulcan ambassador from
an alien world.
Enterprise: "Fallen Hero"
Airdate: 5/8/2002 (USA)
Teleplay by Alan Cross
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga and Chris Black
Directed by Patrick Norris
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Rating out of 4: ***
T'Pol: "It's my understanding that [human] mating ritual is effective in
Trip: "That hasn't always been my experience."
There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about the storyline in "Fallen
Hero," but it does a good job of using its characters, creating some
conflict, and ultimately finding its way in an extended, well-directed chase
The dialog and character interaction is good enough and nicely acted, but
it's not the real selling point of this episode, in my opinion. Where
"Fallen Hero" proves best is on the level of its understated action and its
chase, where the Enterprise is tested on the basis of its engines and its
crew's tactical ingenuity.
The mission: Escort a Vulcan ambassador from the planet Mazar and deliver
her to a Vulcan ship with which the Enterprise will rendezvous. The catch:
It turns out the ambassador, V'Lar (Fionnula Flanagan), has been expelled
from the planet for committing an unspecified act of misconduct, something
about which she's not at all forthcoming in disclosing. The Vulcans weren't
even willing to explain why they needed V'Lar picked up when they asked the
Enterprise go on this mission in the first place.
Archer certainly isn't happy about being left in the dark by the Vulcans yet
again, but things get more complicated when a Mazarite ship comes after the
Enterprise and requests -- no, demands -- they turn the ambassador back over
to them to answer for unfinished business. When the Mazarite ship opens
fire, Archer flees the scene, but V'Lar still won't reveal why she was
forced from Mazar. Archer subsequently turns the ship around with the
intention of handing V'Lar back over to the Mazarites. After all, why should
he risk his crew's lives for a mission whose details he's not even granted
One nice moment is Archer's discussion with Admiral Forrest (Vaughn
Armstrong), who understands Archer's situation and his decision to abandon
the assignment. Forrest's acknowledgment, "I'm not out there; you are. It's
your call," seems quite reasonable given the reality of Enterprise's
situation -- alone, and solely facing the immediate consequences of what
goes on out here.
If there's an aspect of the episode I didn't quite find convincing, it's
V'Lar's refusal -- given Archer's new decision to turn her over -- to share
the truth with him, especially given that it's not particularly sensitive
information from where the Enterprise stands. It doesn't seem logical so
much as simply distrusting -- perhaps too much so -- of humans.
What we have here is a continuation of one of this season's themes, which is
the issue of the strained relationship and mutual distrust between humans
and Vulcans -- a situation that slowly is getting better. The theme is
revisited in a mostly believable matter that proves consistently watchable,
if not entirely absorbing. Also here is a personal complication for T'Pol,
who regards V'Lar as one of her heroes of youth (although she wouldn't admit
it in so many words). The topic of V'Lar having possibly committed a crime
on Mazar is something that is unsettling for T'Pol.
V'Lar explains that the Mazarites have corrupt politicians in their midst
that are responsible for her current predicament, and after a personal
request from T'Pol -- an action worth noting -- Archer reluctantly agrees to
protect V'Lar so she can eventually testify against the corrupters on behalf
of the legitimate Mazarite people. This is all fine and good, though the
issues of Vulcan/human trust are not explored in especially deep or subtle
What's more exciting is the story's execution over the Enterprise being
chased by the corrupt Mazarites, who have a ship that isn't much faster than
the Enterprise, but is just fast enough to maintain a slow and steady gain.
The pressure of the situation builds slowly and quietly, until we realize
that a fairly standard action concept has been supplied enough momentum to
be genuinely entertaining. We've seen the Pushing the Engines to the Limits
[TM] routine before, but it comes across effectively here because of how
untested the Enterprise is. (Archer: "They call it a warp 5 engine." Trip:
The final act -- as the tempo increases and the game goes down to the
wire -- features some top-notch directing/editing/cinematography. Patrick
Norris, a director I haven't seen in Trek before, keeps the camera on the
bridge moving around with a semi-chaotic fluidity (an oxymoron, I know, but
that's the best description that comes to mind). It has the effect of upping
the pace without calling too much attention to itself -- very well done.
Also enjoyable are the various exchanges between Archer and the Mazarite
captain (John Rubinstein), including the way Bakula answers terms of
surrender with, "I have a better idea: Why don't you slow down before your
engines explode." Archer's stalling efforts once the Enterprise is trapped
also prove fun, probably because they are simultaneously desperate, amusing,
and convincing. (The Mazarite captain isn't always fooled, which is also
As Vulcans go, V'Lar is a pleasant departure, showing that Vulcans need not
always be portrayed in the same emotionless monotone and with unilateral
disinterest in human traits. Indeed, V'Lar is the most individual-seeming
Vulcan in some time, and still comes across as a Vulcan. The qualm I've
sometimes had with T'Pol is that she doesn't come across as an individual so
much as an iteration on an archetype: the perpetually cool and calm
character speaking in monotone. It might be a good idea to somewhat head
away from that since we've seen enough of it over the years. Heck, Voyager
had two of them.
Next: Archer and Trip take a desert vacation they weren't intending.
Copyright 2002 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this article is prohibited.
Star Trek: Hypertext - http://www.st-hypertext.com/
Jamahl Epsicokhan - jammer@...