Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Enterprise 4x9 "Kir'Shara"


Like "Awakening," but in different ways, "Kir'Shara" stands out in the Surak Trilogy as potentially a classic episode, particularly for its work with some recurring characters from the series.  Regard it as nearly essential viewing.

For a while, actually, "Kir'Shara" was one of my personal standout episodes from the series.  It is, however, necessary to see the previous two episodes to understand what's going on, and the flaws in the previous entries are part of the overall experience, which means if the first two acts have flaws, so too by extension does "Kir'Shara."

Vulcan intrigue continues as Archer and T'Pol continue their desperate quest to redeem the faithful of the original teachings of Surak.  To further complicate matters, the Andorians arrive on the scene.  Remember that in the first season, Vulcan-Andorian relations were an essential ingredient of the ongoing story of the series.  And as always, the Andorians are represented by Shran, whose importance to Enterprise would've finally been acknowledged in the aborted fifth season, in which he would have been elevated to regular cast status.

In "Kir'Shara," however, Shran has his darkest moment, against another recurring figure, Vulcan ambassador Soval.  In contrast to Shran, Soval had routinely been viewed as a quasi-villain, always getting in Archer's way, the very embodiment of the somewhat cruel nature of the Vulcans that many fans saw the Surak Trilogy as correcting to more closely match later characterizations, notably Spock and his father Sarek.

The highlight of the episode is Shran's interrogation of Soval, reminiscent of Garak's with Odo in the third season of Deep Space Nine ("The Die is Cast"); in hindsight it only loses some of its luster because it is tangential to what leads to the resolution of the story.

As I said in my thoughts on "Awakening," the whole point of the Surak Trilogy, aside from a redemption of sorts for Vulcans in Enterprise, is to set up the menace of the Romulans, which would play out in later episodes, but would also have theoretically have led to a full-blown Romulan War arc, had the series lasted past this season.

If you watch only one episode in this trilogy, "Kir'Shara" would be that episode.  But watch "Awaking," too, and then you might as well include "The Forge," too.  But there are other episodes you need to watch, too, to understand what these stories are really gearing toward.  So half of what this trilogy accomplishes is really only half the story...You may enjoy how that works itself out, or you may consider it a headache you can do without, and that's part of why I cannot fully endorse the whole story.  But it's definitely worth consideration.

In truth, I'm still working on this season myself, so I don't think it's too much a stretch to assume others probably should be doing the same.

franchise * series * essential * character

Notable guest-stars:
Jeffrey Combs
Gary Graham
Robert Foxworth

Memory Alpha summary.


  1. You convinced me. That would be my one episode then. I wish it was on Netflix.

    1. Catch it when you can. It's seven years old now!


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