This is the episode that should have come first in the fourth season. It contains
the real payoff to the previous year's Xindi saga; the response from characters such
as Ambassador Sevol and Admiral Forrest, and the Earth population at large. It is also
a story far superior to "Storm Front", one that fans are actually interested in following.
The tale seems to be fulfilling the same function as TNG's
"Family", which directly
followed on from their epic battle story
"The Best of Both Worlds". In other words,
this is a more quiet tale examining the emotional places of the regular characters
after their big adventure. Although centering mainly on Archer, T'Pol, and Trip,
we also see interesting snippets for Dr. Phlox and the others as well.
I think I like this story better than "Family". I had great difficulty understanding
where Picard's brother was coming from, and since his perspective was the main fuel for the
story's biggest conflict, it kind of fell flat for me. Archer's issues make more sense
in this one I think. Even if his issues with Vulcans still seem weird, they're well-established
by now, and in fact function here as a smokescreen for his own guilt at abandoning his principles
on too many occasions during the past three years. I wasn't too impressed with his friend
the female captain as a romantic interest with chemistry, but there's a believable and enjoyable
bond of friendship there supporting him through his issue, and the crucial turning point scenes
are well done.
One of the bonuses of this story is T'Pol and Trip's visit to Vulcan. Star Trek has rarely
done much with this planet (arguably one of the most important in its history), particularly in
portraying the civilized portions of it. The animated episode
"Yesteryear" pretty much held the record for fleshing the
planet's main society out visually until the fourth season of "Enterprise" came along.
"Home" begins to lay some new groundwork here both with architecture and with some characters
of importance in T'Pol's family. The expansion of character that we get here is very welcome,
and is no doubt planting seeds for later stories as well. It seems to me that this is also
the first time that we learn that Vulcan is only 16 light years from Earth, making credible that
they should be our first and primary contact in the Trek universe.
The subject matter here seems like it is steering towards a repeat of the episode
"Amok Time" from the original series, but "Home" manages to be both more civilized in what it
chooses to portray, but also a bit behind the times in how it handles issues of truth vs. secrecy,
an ongoing struggle for Vulcans. Many Vulcan rituals are shown here to be locked into the state
established for them on 1960's television, and "Home" pays homage rather than try to advance
them to keep in step with its New Millennium audience. Vulcans don't seem so enlightened when
tackling their traditional sore points.
The ending is a bit abrupt and bizarre - less than what most people probably hope and root for,
but perhaps indication that this story thread will no doubt be picked up again in later stories,
when the time for yet another chapter is more ripe.
"Home" is the first indication of a good, new, unique direction for "Enterprise" during its
fourth season, and one that does look promising.....
Read the next In-depth Analysis Review:
"In a Mirror, Darkly"