(written from a Production point of view)
The crew of Enterprise meets a group of outcast Vulcans, who embrace their own emotions, leading to trouble for T'Pol.
Jonathan Archer shows T'Pol his first textbook of astronomy. He's happy that he will be seeing the Arachnid Nebula, something he's wanted to see up close since he was a child. After T'Pol inquires why his astronomy book is property of "Admiral Jonny Archer," the captain's reply regarding his "high hopes" is interrupted by the arrival of a vessel with a Vulcan warp signature.
On the bridge, Archer doesn't recognize the type of vessel. T'Pol explains that the vessel is of a design not used for some time. The vessel hails Enterprise NX-01 and identifies itself as the Vahklas. The captain, Tavin, knows of the Enterprise and greets Archer warmly, surprising everyone on the bridge.
Tavin, not from the Vulcan High Command, says he's on a mission of exploration, and would be grateful for any assistance that Enterprise could provide.
In the captain's mess, Archer, Tavin, Tolaris, and T'Pol are having an introductory meal. After Archer mentions that his chef is getting better at making Vulcan cuisine, Tavin asks to try the captain's chicken. Archer reminds Tavin that the chicken is made of meat (as Vulcans are vegetarians), but Tavin insists on trying it. T'Pol identifies them as being V'tosh ka'tur, literally "Vulcans without logic." Tavin describes how they have found a balance between emotion and logic, one which others are unable to achieve. Tolaris says that T'Pol must know a great deal about emotions, since she's on a Human starship; he then apologizes to T'Pol for the offense of implying she knew emotions. T'Pol replies that she cannot feel offended.
In engineering, Trip Tucker mentions that their engines are heavily damaged and will require many replacement parts. Kov, the Vulcan engineer, asks if the Humans really mate year-round (with anyone they choose), eat six meals a day, and sleep over half the day. Tucker offers to share a meal in the mess with him to clear up some of his misconceptions.
T'Pol gives Archer the request list. The Vulcans want many replacement parts, a thousand liters of plasma coolant, and the recipe for chicken marsala. Archer notes that T'Pol seems to be avoiding the Vulcans. He says he likes how they aren't giving him a hard time like most of the Vulcans he knows. T'Pol says the fusion of emotions and logic is dangerous, and that all other Vulcans who have tried it in the past have failed. Archer says they don't seem dangerous, and encourages T'Pol to keep an open mind.
Later, T'Pol is in the mess when Tolaris enters. He asks her to show him how to operate the food sequencer, asking to have what she is having. He finds her choice of mint tea over Vulcan tea interesting since it is very flavorful. He asks her how long she has lived among Humans. T'Pol says she has spent two years at the Vulcan consulate, and seven months on the Enterprise. Tolaris asks why she stays on Enterprise. T'Pol says she is there to act as a science officer for Archer. He says that her emotions are much closer to the surface than other Vulcans, but she claims it is just because she hasn't meditated for the evening.
T'Pol confronts Tolaris, saying that what they are doing is dangerous. He replies by saying that the Vulcan primal nature is exaggerated, propaganda from five thousand years in the past. He asks T'Pol to have some pizza with him, but she says she has already eaten. However, as she leaves she suddenly turns back to him and does suggest that they do it another time.
Enterprise arrives at the Arachnid Nebula. The captain notes that the nebula is eight billion kilometers across, but his astronomy text said it was six and a half billion kilometers. Tavin offers to help them complete the scanning sooner using their translinear sensors. Archer assigns T'Pol to work on the Vahklas in coordinating the sensor readings.
On the Vulcan ship, Tolaris engages T'Pol in conversation to gauge her emotional control. She replies that it is odd how those who would reject Surak's teachings would display his likeness. Tolaris claims that his people merely interpret Surak differently. He describes logic as a point of view; he used to teach literature at the Shirkar Academy, but that he believed there was more to life than logic and reason. T'Pol admits that she had also felt that way once. Tolaris suggests that she try not meditating, as an experiment, to see what her dreams are like.
In the mess, Tucker continues to clear up Kov's false impressions of the Human race. For example, Tucker tells Kov that football is not about murdering the quarterback – it is just a game, not a fight to the death. After encouraging him to clear up the myths about Humans, Tucker asks him about sex. Malcolm Reed joins just as Kov is about to speak. Kov states that the Vulcan males are driven to mate every seven years, and that his group has been working on methods of speeding up the mating cycles. Reed and Tucker both make faces at the idea of mating so infrequently.
On the bridge, Hoshi Sato picks up a transmission from Starfleet via Echo Three. Admiral Forrest wants to talk to Archer about his guests; it seems Ambassador Soval knows about the Vahklas being docked with Enterprise. He mentions that Kov's father, a minister in the Vulcan High Command, wants to talk to his son. He has been unable to contact him since the two of them had a falling out nine or ten years ago. Forrest tells Archer that Kov's father is dying, and wants to talk to his son one final time before he dies. Admiral Forrest reminds Archer that the Vulcans let him keep T'Pol, and that it would be good to return the favor.
Meanwhile, T'Pol has just gone to bed. She starts to dream, and finds herself walking along a street in San Francisco, following jazz music, and entering a jazz club named Fusion. Her point of view shifts between conversations with Tolaris, mating with Tolaris, music, the Arachnid Nebula, and finally the destruction of a statue with the likeness of Surak. She wakes up with a gasp.
T'Pol visits Phlox in the medical bay. She complains of a headache. Phlox says that she has much higher blood pressure than usual and unusual synaptic activity. He wants to run a more detailed scan, but T'Pol says that won't be necessary. She mentions that she didn't meditate and woke agitated, and that it requires 25 milligrams of inaprovaline to be treated.
Phlox is surprised that she would stray from her routine, and she mentions it was an experiment that Tolaris told her to try. She complains that contrary to what Tolaris said, the dreams were unsettling. Phlox says she shouldn't be so dismissive; he says that she has only been changing her routine for two days, whereas they have had years to perfect the technique.
Archer invites Kov to his ready room. After making small talk about the repairs with Tucker, he mentions that his father is very ill, and wants to talk to him again. Archer offers the services of Hoshi Sato to assist in the communication. Kov thanks him, and gets up to leave. Archer asks if Kov will speak to his father. Kov reveals that the last time they spoke, his father said that he'd brought shame to fifteen generations of his family. He tells Archer to relay the message that they said goodbye a long time ago.
On the Vulcan vessel, Tolaris brings chamomile tea to T'Pol. He asks how her dream experiment went. She says she won't discuss them, and he says that they'll get easier. He asks T'Pol about the details, but she refuses to talk about it. Tolaris insists. T'Pol describes the dream: she left the compound on Earth and went into the streets of San Francisco. She describes how she went out of the compound and walked until she heard music. She was drawn to the unusual music, and entered a restaurant where musicians were playing. Tolaris asks how this made her feel; she described how she felt invigorated by the music. She does not tell Tolaris that he also appeared in her dream. Tolaris says that emotion isn't difficult and isn't something to be afraid of, and that he can help her.
Archer goes to engineering and talks to Tucker, asking him to help Kov talk to his father. Tucker agrees to try. Archer then asks Tucker about Tolaris. He is curious about what's going on, but Tucker dismisses his fears, saying that if he was the only Human on a ship full of Vulcans, he'd spend as much time as possible with the Humans.
Meanwhile, in T'Pol's quarters, Tolaris describes a mind meld to T'Pol. He describes it as a good way to release and deal with emotions; much more effective than guided meditation. He gives her the choice, and she agrees to the meld. Initially, she resists the meld, but it succeeds after she relaxes. Tolaris directs her to remember the details of her walk in San Francisco. T'Pol relives the experience. Tolaris joins her vision. He describes all the other emotions he sense: her fear of getting caught, the exhilaration of breaking protocol. T'Pol tries to break off the meld and Tolaris tries to hold her to it. She breaks free of it, and refuses to go any further. Tolaris leaves in disgust. T'Pol collapses and contacts sickbay.
In engineering, Tucker is trying to convince Kov to talk to his father. Kov politely refuses. Tucker asks if Vulcans dance. Kov replies that it only happens as part of tedious ceremony. Tucker launches into a story about his first time he wanted to dance with a girl. He talks about all the preparations he did, and how he didn't ask her to dance – and how he regrets it twenty years later. He mentions that regret is one of the strongest emotions, and that Kov is pretty close to having to deal with regret on a personal level.
Archer invites Tolaris into his ready room to have a discussion about the ship repairs and the survey. He thanks him for all of his help in charting the nebula. He also reveals that T'Pol won't be joining Tolaris on the surveying that day. Archer says T'Pol is in sickbay because of the mind meld, and accuses Tolaris of assaulting T'Pol. Tolaris denies the charge, and says that he's trying to help her to shed years of repression. Archer goads Tolaris, and Tolaris shoves him against a wall and lifts him against the ceiling, demonstrating the clearly superior physical strength of Vulcans as compared to Humans. After being thrown across the room, Archer grabs a phase-pistol and tells Tolaris that his friends are no longer welcome aboard Enterprise.
Tucker escorts Kov back to the docking point, reviewing the engine status and repair methods. Kov mentions that his father is getting better, and may live a few more years. He says he knows this because he contacted him the other night. He thanks Tucker for encouraging him.
As the Vahklas departs, Archer visits T'Pol in her quarters. He asks her if she feels better, and she asks if the Vahklas has left. Archer says he thinks he finally understands why she meditates every night. Before he can leave, T'Pol asks him if he dreams. He says he dreams sometimes in color. She asks if they are enjoyable, and he says they are – most nights. T'Pol says she envies him.
""From the library of Admiral Jonny Archer"?"
"I had high hopes when I was a kid."
- - T'Pol reading the cover page of Archer's childhood book The Cosmos A to Z
"My name is Tavin, captain of the Vahklas. It's very good to meet you."
- - Tavin, a Vulcan, introduces himself to Archer
"Just because they smile and eat chicken, doesn't mean they have learned to master their emotions."
- - T'Pol
"They're not trying to kill the quarterback."
- - Trip Tucker
"Well, I've learned about your marriage customs, how your parents arrange the whole thing when you're young, stuff like that. But, what about… you know?"
"Ah, you mean sex!"
- - Tucker asks Kov about Vulcan mating practices in Enterprise's mess hall
"Vulcan males are driven to mate once every seven years."
- - Kov, Tucker and Reed
"Our primal nature isn't as dangerous as you think."
- - Tolaris
- - T'Pol during her mind meld with Tolaris
"T'Pol's right. You've got a temper."
"Go to Hell."
- - Tolaris gets into a confrontation with Archer in his ready room
"Captain, do you… dream?"
"Sure. Sometimes, they're even in color."
"Is it enjoyable?"
"I envy you. Good night."
- - T'Pol and Archer (last lines)
Title and script
- This episode had the working title "Equilibrium", a name otherwise previously shared with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Equilibrium". (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 366)
- According to a system of alternative episode names that T'Pol actress Jolene Blalock assigned to each script as part of her dramatic preparation, this installment was called "Stone". The actress additionally attributed special characteristics to each alternative title and said about the example of this episode, "Stones represent strengths and weaknesses. One stone may be where you are presently, one for what you will learn, another for what you aspire to. That's some of how T'Pol will grow." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 137, p. 34)
- The final draft script of this episode was issued on 7 February 2002.
- John Harrington Bland, who portrayed Kov, replaced actor Kelly Connell, who was first cast as Kov but was unable to play this role due to illness. ("Fusion" call sheet, Kelly Connell) Actor Matt Malloy also auditioned for the part, and the role was offered to him too, though he couldn't commit himself to accepting it since the production period for "Fusion" conflicted with a movie he was doing. Malloy later described this episode as "the one where the hippy Vulcans show up." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 28)
- Robert Pine (Tavin) is the father of Chris Pine; the actions of his son's character bring out the emotions in another Vulcan during a memorable scene in the film Star Trek.
- Although the fact that Jolene Blalock did not have many scenes in this episode with other members of the series' regular cast meant that there was less joking around on the set than usual, Blalock still enjoyed being made responsible for much of the acting in this episode. "This is the first time we really get a glimpse into T'Pol […] This shows what T'Pol is made of and where her core beliefs lie," the actress commented. "I hate to sound biased, but it was so much fun to do. It was the first T'Pol spotlight episode […] It was really cool." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 137, p. 34)
- During the flashback scenes set in the jazz club, the grating behind T'Pol is a reused set piece that has appeared on Risa in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Let He Who Is Without Sin...", aboard Ru'afo's flagship in Star Trek: Insurrection, and aboard the Reman Scimitar in Star Trek Nemesis.
- The exterior San Francisco street scenes were shot on Paramount Pictures' New York Street backlot, which has appeared numerous times throughout Star Trek.
- The limited set used as the captain's ready room aboard Enterprise had an effect on the filming of this episode's fight scene between Archer and Tolaris. Shortly after the sequence was shot, Stunt Coordinator Vince Deadrick, Jr. remembered, "I wanted to double Scott Bakula in one of the shots, where he gets thrown over his desk. But it's such a small room, and when you're in small areas it's very difficult to use doubles." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 42)
- Echo Three is referred to in this episode; it is also mentioned by Tucker in the previous episode, "Shuttlepod One".
- This episode marks the first time the interior of a Vulcan ship is shown.
- This is the first reference, in Star Trek: Enterprise and chronologically, to pon farr, though it is not named on this occasion. Kov states that Vulcan males are driven to mate only once every seven years. This is an essential point to the plot of TOS: "Amok Time". In reality, that episode introduced the concept of pon farr.
- Kov talks openly and freely about Vulcan mating practices, while stating that most Vulcans are extremely uncomfortable talking about it. Therefore, in "Amok Time" (set in the 23rd century) the mere existence of pon farr is initially unknown to both James T. Kirk and Leonard McCoy and even in the 24th century, according to The Doctor, the Starfleet Medical Database contains very little information about it.
- Chronologically, this is also the first time the Vulcan mind meld is shown. This episode also establishes that melding is extremely uncommon among Vulcans in the 22nd century, compared to later centuries and that at least some Vulcans have never even heard of the practice.
- T'Pol contracts Pa'nar Syndrome from the forced mind meld in this episode; this isn't revealed until the Season 2 episode "Stigma". She is ultimately cured in Season 4's "Kir'Shara" by another meld with T'Pau.
- This is the only reference in Star Trek to V'tosh ka'tur. However, Sybok could possibly be considered V'tosh ka'tur.
- Jonathan Archer's childhood hope of becoming an admiral is revealed to later in his life be fulfilled, according to a biography seen in "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II".
- Tucker mentions at one point in this episode that he has a brother. This brother is never mentioned again; later episodes only mention a sister, Elizabeth, who dies in the Xindi attack in "The Expanse".
- Executive Producer Rick Berman once referred to this episode as "a very interesting story." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 137, p. 85) In retrospect, fellow Executive Producer Brannon Braga stated, "I thought 'Fusion' was good." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
- On the first broadcast of this installment, the episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 3.0 and was watched by a total of 4.49 million viewers. As such, this was the least-watched installment from the whole Enterprise's first season (on first airing). It had even lower audience figures than "Detained" and "Desert Crossing", the only other episodes from the season to have a Nielsen rating as low as 3.0. 
- Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide" rated this episode 3 out of 5 arrowhead insignias. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 79)
- The unauthorized reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 366) regards this episode's atypical portrayal of Vulcans as "intriguing" and comments of the episode, "It cleverly plays with our sympathies – starting off by suggesting that these emotional Vulcans are in the right, before reminding us just how dangerous they could be."
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.9, 2 September 2002
- As part of the ENT Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the ENT Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Adam Anello as operations crewman
- Michael Braveheart as Fusion patron
- Amy Kate Connolly as sciences crewman
- Evan English as Tanner
- Stacy Fouche as operations crewman
- Lindly Gardner as operations crewman
- Glen Hambly as operations ensign
- John Jurgens as command crewman
- Martin Ko as command ensign
- Linda Lane as Fusion patron
- Shauna Lewis as command crewman
- John Mullen as Vulcan scientist
- Monica Parrett as command crewman
- Kavita Patil as sciences crewman
- Josh Sher as Fusion patron
- Thelma Tyrell as operations crewman
- Cynthia Uhrich as operations crewman
- Michelle Van Den Broeck as sciences crewman
- Mark Watson as operations crewman
amusement; Arachnid Nebula; Archer, Henry; Archer, Jonny; astrometrics lab; bacterial infection; Bayshore Elementary; blood pressure; chamomile tea; Chef; chicken; chicken marsala; Cosmos A to Z, The; cover; cranial scan; cubic kilometer; cubic meter; disodium; Earth; Echo Three; elder; emotional response; ethylchlorate; expedition; Florida; football; Fusion; garden variety; generation; headache; inaprovaline; kilometer; Kov's ancestors; Kov's father; logic; Lyles, Melissa; mating cycle; meditation; Milky Way Galaxy; milligram; mind meld; mint tea; Panama City; pizza; plasma coolant; plasma relay; pon farr; propaganda; quarterback; San Francisco; science officer; sex; Shirkar Academy; Soval; Surak; translinear sensor; Tucker's brother; Tucker's buddies; two-step; Vahklas; Vahklas-type; vasostimulator; virus; V'tosh ka'tur; Vulcan (planet); Vulcans; Vulcan anthropologist; Vulcan beverage; Vahklas-type; Vulcan Consulate; Vulcan dish; Vulcan High Command; Vulcan mating rituals; Vulcan tea; year
alien; April; astronaut; backyard; candy; computer theory; costume; Earth Day; Festival of T'Plana-Hath; Fire Plains; First Contact Day; fried chicken; fruit; gravimetric shear; Halloween; hospital; Kal Rekk; Mount Seleya; navigational sensors; nuts; party; Riaax; Science Directorate; stomachs; telescope; (trick or treat); Trip's brother; Trip's mother; turbulence; Vulcan finger-touching; Yridia; (Yridian); Yridia Prime
- "Fusion" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Fusion" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Fusion" at Wikipedia
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