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The Forgotten

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at April 29, 2004 - 3:59 AM GMT

See Also: 'The Forgotten' Episode Guide

Plot Summary: Tucker wakes from a nightmare about his sister Elizabeth dying in the Florida attack. Later Archer gives the entire crew a pep talk, saying that they will succeed in their mission for the people on Earth and for the 18 crewmembers who have died. He asks Tucker to write a letter to the family of Crewman Taylor, an engineer who died in the attack, but he puts it off as he is terribly overworked trying to make repairs to the ship. In sickbay Phlox tells T'Pol that the Trellium is nearly out of her system but her neural pathways are so damaged that she may never be able to repress her emotions fully again. She asks Tucker when he last slept; he admits that it has been days, but says he's too busy to rest, as they are interrupted with yet another crisis.

Degra hails Archer at the rendezvous coordinates and has Enterprise follow his ship. Once on board, he and a Xindi-Arboreal from the Council ask to see Archer's proof that the future of the Xindi is at risk. Archer shows them the bodies of the Reptilians who died in the past on Earth and the Xindi technology used to build the bio-weapon, but the Arboreal insists that this will not be enough proof for the Council even though the equipment shows chronometric deviation. Archer also explains how the Sphere-Builders plan to transform the Expanse, using data on the test subject from the Sphere-Builders who died on Enterprise. The Arboreal believes that all he has proved is that the Reptilians disobeyed the Council, which they already knew, but Degra wants to hear more about Archer's belief that if humans and Xindi don't form an alliance to stop the transformation of the Expanse, none of them will be able to live there.

Under orders from Phlox, Tucker tries to sleep and has a dream in which Taylor asks him to remember her. Then he tries to write to her parents, but can't find the words. The next day, as T'Pol is showing Degra a map of the Expanse on a viewscreen in need of repair, Tucker asks about the telemetry from the Xindi weapon and starts shouting about his sister before Archer calls Degra away. Then a warp plasma conduit ruptures, creating a crisis that requires Tucker and Reed to exit the ship to make repairs. Reed nearly succumbs to heat from the burning plasma, and when Degra expresses his concern, Tucker demands to know why one more dead human should matter to him. Archer apologizes for Tucker's words but Degra is thoughtful, saying he thought the attack on Earth necessary to save his people. When he learns that Enterprise was designed to be a ship of exploration rather than a military vessel, he promises that if they are successful in their negotiations, it will explore again. He is very impressed with the scans of the inside of a sphere, which the Xindi have never been able to obtain.

A Reptilian ship arrives, demanding that Degra break off his negotiations with the humans. When Archer realizes that the Reptilians mean to destroy Enterprise, he begs for help disabling the vessel; Degra is appalled at the idea of attacking his own people but ultimately fires upon the Reptilian ship and destroys it once he realizes that the Reptilian captain would have told the Xindi Council of his secret alliance with Archer. He believes that Archer must take his evidence to the Council directly and offers to escort him to the Council chamber in three days, showing Enterprise a shortcut through a subspace corridor in a nearby nebula surrounded by a dangerous species. He also gives Enterprise a portable power cell to help with repairs, but Tucker refuses to use it, blaming the Xindi for the death of Taylor and also for killing his sister, whom he has been trying not to mourn. He tells T'Pol that he envies Vulcans their lack of emotion, but she says that Vulcans can be overwhelmed by their feelings, and that it is humans who are to be envied.

Analysis: Though I have some doubts about how quickly Degra chooses to believe Archer over Xindi with whom he has worked for months, I love seeing such a strong character episode in the middle of an action arc. While some important recent events are forgotten in "The Forgotten" - I'm not pleased at how quickly Archer seems to have put his unscrupulous behavior of last week behind him, not to mention how calmly he dismisses the recent brainwashing of Degra to Degra's face - this story gets back to the events that started the season, the human cost of the original Xindi attack.

Tucker hasn't mentioned his sister's name in weeks when he dreams of her. There's a lovely segue from "previously on Enterprise into the nightmare, which has been seen previously, but then the new footage of Tucker waking flows seamlessly from that point. We can't tell whether he was dreaming only of Elizabeth or of the long living nightmare of recent weeks in the Expanse, as the Xindi near completion of their deadlier new weapon. The continuity flows nearly as seamlessly for all the subplots, with T'Pol walking into sickbay to express concern about her heightened emotions just as she did at the end of last week's episode and Archer grimly expressing his commitment to meet with Degra no matter the risks of the rendezvous. Structurally, this arc is beginning to remind me of the climax of the Dominion War, which I mean in the best possible way.

Unfortunately for Degra, this series has not had time to develop his character the way DS9 developed Damar's slow-growing distrust of the Dominion and his change of alliances. He seems to be seizing upon excuses to betray the promises he has made to the other Xindi, and while we as viewers know that this is logical, it's an awfully rapid shift for a man who designed a weapon that has already killed seven million people, as Tucker keeps reminding him. The Arboreal Xindi's skepticism makes more sense, but he seems subordinate to Degra; in the end he is taking orders from him.

Degra's motivations, however, aren't what's really relevant here, important as they are to the conclusion of this arc. It's Tucker's and T'Pol's emotions that are on display this week, and while I still have reservations both about her addiction and the effect it's allegedly had on her, which flies in the face of much of what we've learned previously about Vulcans, the storyline is used to undeniable effect during her scenes with Tucker, who is on the verge of a breakdown from the first minutes of the episode. He won't sleep; he claims it's because the ship may fall apart around him, and we've seen such behavior from him in the past, but we know as well that it's because he's afraid of his dreams, not because he really doesn't trust his teams to hold things together for awhile. He can't control his temper around Degra (though I must say I think that he and really the entire crew do a fairly admirable job; this is after all the man who designed the weapon that killed seven million people). In his single-mindedness he doesn't notice how much trouble Reed is in on the hull.

Archer doesn't have time to see what a mess Tucker is becoming - he snaps at him over comments on his command and orders him to write a letter he's not ready to face - but T'Pol can see. It's hard to say whether this is because of her newly heightened emotions or not, as she and Tucker have always had a closer rapport than most of the crew we've seen. She's clearly interested in how he's coping, both in terms of her own need to learn how to deal with strong emotion and because she cares about him. Ironically, she seems more in control of herself with him than she does in sickbay telling Phlox of her fears. I never thought I'd say this, but I think they could both use a good neuropressure session.

It's a powerful scene, that tearful admission amidst the wreckage, with T'Pol's face streaked with soot and Tucker sweating and clutching at her hand. Connor Trinneer has never failed to deliver the punch in a big emotional scene, and he's superb throughout this entire episode, going from jittery anger and exhaustion to the confused tenderness of his dream about Taylor to the sheer misery of realizing that he must find a way to mourn for his sister - and to let her go. Blalock, too, gives a strong performance, though I greatly prefer her T'Pol when she's maintaining that veneer of control that has defined Vulcans throughout Star Trek rather than playing the inexplicably hysterical creature who would seem unprofessional were she human or even Klingon.

Archer's back in Captain form this week; he doesn't question himself or his tactics, he simply presses ahead with Degra. If he has feelings about the fact that this is the man who killed seven million humans - or about the fact that this is the man he abducted and manipulated - he doesn't show it. And Mayweather and Sato are back to playing Uhura and Sulu, with about the same number of lines per usual. Which, I suppose, in an arc like this, is perhaps inevitable; their skills are used as support for the people making the vital decisions about the ship. Even the MACOs seem to be absent, when one would think that with Degra on the ship, there would be a quiet guard presence hovering around.

I loved the scene with Tucker's ghostly memories of Taylor: we see so little of the lower decks during this mission, these young people who have been sent off to defend the planet, knowing that many of them will probably die, and to hear this woman we've never noticed describe her things for which she'd like to be remembered has great poignancy. The visuals in this episode are functional as always, and the pacing is strong, but this is a story about people, not the space battles they're fighting; and as such, it's probably my favorite of the recent war stories.

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Michelle Erica Green reviews Enterprise episodes and writes news for the Trek Nation. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.

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