Hello and welcome to Truth Or Myth, an informational web series where we take a look at the Truth, or canon, to dispel all the myths that have cropped up surrounding a given topic.
Considered by many to be responsible for the downfall and collapse of the entire Star Trek Franchise, Enterprise would come under fire for what many in the fan base believed were HUGE mistakes, and the biggest mistake often cited was Enterprises treatment of the Vulcan race.
In today’s episode, we’re taking a look at how Enterprise treated the Vulcan Race in the series and why too many of the fan base it was a clear violation of all they held dear in regards to Star Trek.
First and foremost, however, I want to wish a Happy Pride to all my LGBTQ fans out there. And so with all that out of the way, let’s begin…
While I edit these videos I tend to have random Trek Episodes playing in the background, and on this particular day it just so happened to be that the episode that came on my screen was Star Trek: Enterprise’s episode stigma, an episode that is praised by fans of Enterprise as a wonderful and amazing episode that opens up a dialogue about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Already in an unbiased unfeeling state of mind that I was in, as I said I was editing another episode together, I immediately saw that this episode was the prime example of what Star Trek Fans who disliked Enterprise had believed about how Enterprise treated the Vulcan Race.
You see the first alien race ever introduced to the Trek fandom was that of the Vulcans, essentially cementing them as a staple in Star Trek lore.
Presented as a benevolent and intelligent race, the Fan base as it grew immediately took, and took strongly, to the lovable pointy-eared humanoids and through them we could explore the best of humanity and strive to be like these Vulcans as a race.
Enterprise, however, took this beloved race and turned it on its head, making them virtually monsters and the exact opposite of what we had seen in 35+ years that had come beforehand.
Instead of this enlightened race we all came to respect and honour, we got a race that was willing to allow it’s own people to die as they were considered undesirables within the Vulcan society. Where’s the logic in that? Add to that that these Enterprise Vulcans were constantly showing negative emotions all through out Enterprises seasons 1, 2 and 3, more emotion than the male crew members on Star Trek: Voyager were allowed to show and you’ve got a BIG bone of contention to contend with.
Now I know some of you out there in YouTube land are already furiously typing on your keyboard saying, but that was just to show the evolution of their race as season 4 showed. And to that, I say, NONSENSE!
The only reason that we got those episodes in season 4 was because, Manny Coto who became the showrunner for Enterprise was intent on fixing all the problems Enterprise had created, and that included the Vulcans!
In season 1, 2 and 3 there was NO plan to ever have the Vulcans change in the series. So you can’t use something like that as a defence of what we were subjected too. The simple fact is Enterprise broke the Vulcans and Coto did the only thing he could to fix them, the END.
Stigma was just a horrible episode. I mean I grew up in the 80s and 90s and was very aware of the HIV/AIDS crisis that unfolding. But by the time Enterprise was airing this episode it had been over a decade since such an outrageous reaction by Doctors had occurred or by really the public in general.
We were being educated in the disease, how it’s transmitted and various treatments were being developed and utilized by this point. So the reasoning for having this episode as it was in the first place is far beyond me.
I remember when I was about 17 going to a local park with friends during my cities pride event. Now at this time I really didn’t even know what Gay Pride really was, let alone knowing that my city even had one. But while at this park I noticed the pavilion was open and a large crowd of people were entering and exiting the building, obviously to see some type of exhibit.
So my being curious I entered the pavilion and was immediately struck by how silent the exhibit was, I mean you could hear a pin drop if someone had had one to drop that is.
Then in the centre of the cavernous room was what is known as the AIDS quilt. Basically, an extremely large quilt that would and could be added to every year by people who had lost someone in their life to AIDS.
Staring at I broke down and actually began to cry… There were so many patches, it was so large, the sheer size of it, it’s still hard for me to think about today.
So to have this sort episode in Enterprise with the hatred and bigotry portrayed be a race so beloved in Star Trek was simply a slap in the face. there were so many ways they could have better gotten this topic woven into their tapestry but instead, they chose this and that was a complete mistake.
In my Enterprise was it really that bad episode I concluded the video with how much nowadays I love Enterprise. And it’s true, even this episode doesn’t change that. But what I’m pointing out here is that every fan that dislikes Enterprise because of the treatment of the Vulcan Race has a very valid point.
Take Archer, for example, he’s constantly bashing the Vulcans and the reasons for his hating of the Vulcan race? they wouldn’t share warp technology with humanity. Wow, it’s really a spoiled brat thing to do. It’s like the kid who wants to play with his neighbour’s toy but the neighbour says no. It is a ridiculous argument to hold against an entire race, and it’s like the series knew that.
So to re-enforce Archers ill feelings they had the Vulcans condescend to humanity at every turn. they would spy on humanity, give them orders, try to undermine them by using ANY situation they could to get the Enterprise recalled and their mission of exploration terminated.
They would also attempt to have T’Pol pulled off Enterprise if someone sneezed in the wrong direction.
These are not the Vulcans that we had seen in ALL other iterations of the Franchise. And if you think a Century would be enough time to turn the Vulcans from what we see in Enterprise to what we see in Star Trek The Original Series then I suggest you look at the past 100 years and see how far we’ve come.
It’s simply ridiculous to believe that that level of change would come after only 100 years.
Then to muddy the waters a little more we’ll take staples of the Vulcan Culture such as the mind meld and make that a horrid thing to be able to do and make you an outcast for even considering it. What?
So we’ll go from Fusion, an episode where the mind meld is introduced to T’Pol who had NEVER heard of it before, to Stigma where everyone knows about it and it’s a crime to indulge in the practice, to suddenly every Vulcan or Half Vulcan is doing it on a whim with very little side effects. Does this make sense to you?
I applaud Manny Coto for attempting to fix the mistake, and it’s unfortunate that Enterprise didn’t continue because I have no doubt that Coto would have continued to Bring Enterprise more in line with TOS, but there’s no surprise in my mind of how fans felt and the reasons Enterprise became a lost cause and a rating nightmare.
Enterprise didn’t even come close to the ratings Voyager had and Voyager was even on the same Network and time slot as Enterprise. And before you blame Paramount Television or UPN for the ratings disaster, it really isn’t their fault.
If the show was good, the fans would have watched it. If Enterprise hadn’t of ticked off the fan base, then they still would have tuned in every week. And that’s not Paramount’s Fault, that’s the showrunners fault, no one else. Paramount isn’t sitting there running up saying this is how the show will be, that’s the job of the showrunner.
And if you want to blame Berman, well then yes, the failure lands directly on his shoulders and he bears the weight of it.
Enterprise took what could have been a special moment in human development and turned it into negative garbage. We could have explored the differences between the Vulcans we knew and the Humanity that was just a few steps above us and saw the development of a deep respect between the 2 races. Instead out of the negative adversarial system we witnessed it could have been forged on misunderstanding and incorrect preconceptions.
But no, instead we get a race willing to allow it’s own to die around them simply because of religious views, so much for enlightened…
Thank you for watching today’s episode of Truth OR Myth, how do you feel about the way Enterprise treated the Vulcan race? Well leave your comments below and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel hitting that little bell icon so you don’t miss a single video we release.
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Thanks again for watching, Dif-tor heh smusma…
Watch episode 80:
SHOP LGBTQ+ TREK
READ MORE LGBTQ IN TREK ARTICLES BELOW
- LGBTQ+ In Trek – “WWJD: What Would Janeway Do?”
- LGBTQ+ In Trek – Still, The Stigma
- LGBTQ+ In Trek – TO BOLDLY GO: My Love Letter to Star Trek
- LGBTQ+ In Trek: The Ally Among Us – How Star Trek Made Space For Everyone
- LGBTQ+ in Trek – What Star Trek Means To Me
- Truth OR Myth- Enterprise, The Vulcan Problem
- LGBTQ+ In Trek – The Data Of Me – Why Relating To Data Is Not That Weird
- Asexuality in Star Trek
- LGBT in Star Trek: We Are Ready and We Have *Been* Ready
- LGBT in Star Trek: We Are Not Ready