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[ENT] Jammer's Review: "Fallen Hero"

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  • Jamahl Epsicokhan
    Warning: This review contains significant spoilers. If you haven t seen the episode yet, beware. In brief: Further issues of human/Vulcan trust prove
    Message 1 of 1 , May 25, 2002
      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
      easing tension."
      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
      access to?

      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:
      "On paper.")

      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@...
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