Soval says that Vulcans are worried about how fast Humans are advancing because it took his people 1,500 years to recover and travel to the stars after their wars. Later on they say Surak lived 1,800 years ago. So Vulcan made it into space about 300 years ago. So... how did they found the P'Jem monastery 3,000 years ago, as claimed in "The Andorian Incident"?
We see a Sehlat, and learn that T'Pol had one as a pet when she was young, just as Spock mentioned that he had in "Journey to Babel".
We get mention of the Vulcan inner eyelid which protects against high intensity light, as mentioned in "Operation : Annihilate".
We learn a new fact about Vulcans - they need only drink once every several days. Although this was not officially established in TOS, it was extremely rare to see Spock or any other Vulcan drink anything during that series.
Another nice inter-series link - the T'Karath Sanctuary where the Vulcan rebels are hiding is the same place where Picard and the mercenaries beamed down with the psionic resonator in TNG's "Gambit, Part 2". Incredibly, a line of dialogue in the TNG episode even states that the caves were used by one of the factions in the last civil war, centuries ago! A truly amazing bit of continuity there!
Both the questions Archer is asked are directly from the computer test Spock took in "Star Trek IV". The answers are "Logic is the cement of our civilization with which we ascend from chaos, using reason as our guide" was said by T'plana-Hath, Matron of Vulcan philosophy; and Kiri-kin-tha's First Law of Metaphysics is "Nothing unreal exists". And yes, I knew both of these without having to look them up.
However, Coto is going further that this. Not only is he stacking fun facts into his episodes, he is actually going out of his way to re-write Enterprise's previous sins! One of the most irritating and even outright offensive features of Enterprise to date has been the "evil Vulcan syndrome" which I've mentioned a few times now and which culminated in the episode "Stigma". In that episode we learned that the Vulcan government was so obsessed with hating those who practiced mind melds that it was willing to allow them to die off from a disease which was being spread through the practice - essentially practicing a form of eugenics. It was a truly horrific thing to depict the Vulcans as doing, and although the episode was actually well intentioned (it was an analogy of the attitude that some people display towards HIV/AIDS today), it left a terrible taste in my mouth. You couldn't look at the peaceful, civilised species which valued "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" we saw in TOS and picture them as being the same people we saw in "Stigma".
Clearly, Coto thought along much the same lines. This arc seems to be dedicated in large part not only to explaining that discrepancy, but to actually showing us at least some of the transition from "evil" to "good" Vulcans. You can't imagine that Berman and Braga would ever have even thought of trying something like this; Coto is not only doing it, he's doing it well. It's a major achievement that deserves a lot of kudos.
So the episode has excellent intentions. How well does it fulfil them? Very well, I think. Everybody is acting in character and the plot hangs together well, with no obvious gaps in logic, or at least none that sprang out at me. It's not the most fast-paced or exciting of episodes, with what little action or danger there is having to be manufactured out of natural threats like the Sehlat and the fire storm, but it's none the worse for that - Vulcan has long been one of the more mysterious of Trek planets, and it's nice to learn a little more about it. Having Archer pick up Surak's katra is an interesting development, and I'm looking forward to seeing where they are planning to go with that.
All in all The Forge is an interesting episode which delivers a lot whilst promising even more for the future. I heartily enjoyed it.
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