The last of the classic “Star Trek” shows, “Star Trek: Enterprise” was abruptly canceled in its fourth season. The cancellation was so sudden that the cast found out while they were still filming episodes for the fourth season, as StarTrek.com reported at the time. According to the same article, many of the cast and crew had been “cautiously optimistic about renewal.”
In fact, the writers and producers were so optimistic that they’d already begun planning the show’s fifth season. In an interview with StarTrek.com, writer Mike Sussman revealed that T’Pol’s secret backstory would have been a major part of the fifth season if it had ever aired.
Revealing T’Pol’s Father
Though T’Pol’s relationship with her mother was a major part of the later seasons of “Enterprise,” little information was given about her father. In the first episode of the third season, “The Xindi,” T’Pol revealed that her father was dead and that she didn’t have any brothers or sisters. She implied that she was close to her mother because it was just the two of them. This vague backstory left the door wide open for a big reveal in the fifth season.
Sussman told StarTrek.com that the major storyline in season five was setting up the Romulan War and that he had an interesting way to connect T’Pol to the Romulans. He wanted to introduce T’Pol to her father, who was not actually dead… or a Vulcan. According to Memory Alpha, Sussman planned to reveal that T’Pol’s father was actually a Romulan spy who’d infiltrated the Vulcan government and faked his own death as part of the mission.
Explaining T’Pol’s Un-Vulcan Tendencies
Giving T’Pol a Romulan father could have been a great in-canon explanation for some of T’Pol’s decidedly un-Vulcan behavior.
Vulcans are all about logic and reason over emotionality. The early episodes of “Enterprise” established that Vulcans often had a hard time dealing with humans because they were such an emotional species. Though she was initially repelled by and judgmental of the emotionality of her human crewmates, T’Pol quickly got used to their mercurial feelings. She even began to envy their ability to feel.
Unlike a typical Vulcan, T’Pol was interested in exploring her emotions. This was likely because she always had a hard time controlling them. In the fourth season episode “Home,” T’Pol’s mother revealed that T’Pol had always been more outwardly emotional than a typical Vulcan.
Eventually, her interest in understanding and experiencing emotions turned into an obsession. After being exposed to trellium-D, a neurotoxin that caused Vulcans to experience irrational emotions, T’Pol became obsessed with releasing her emotions. She developed a way to take the neurotoxin as a drug, and she became addicted to it. Repeated exposure to trellium-D permanently impacted her experience of her emotions, leaving her much more emotional than any typical Vulcan.
According to Memory Alpha, many fans weren’t happy with the storyline because they couldn’t understand why a Vulcan would become a drug addict in order to get in touch with their emotions. The storyline seemed to contradict what it means to be Vulcan.
However, the storyline — and T’Pol’s emotionality in general — would make much more sense if T’Pol were half Romulan.
The Romulan species was born out of a dedication to feeling emotion. According to StarTrek.com, the Vulcans and the Romulans were once the same species. When the ancient Vulcans chose to commit themselves to the path of logic and suppress their emotions, some rejected this path. They shunned those who chose the path of logic in order to keep their emotions. This faction eventually became the Romulans.
So, if T’Pol’s father was Romulan, it would explain why she always had trouble concealing her emotions and adhering to the path of logic. Unfortunately, Sussman never got the chance to tell this story.
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