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STM Trip and T'Pol article Feb 2011 .pdf


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R

elationships are a complicated business but Star
Trek: Enterprise’s human chief engineer and Vulcan
first officer had a harder time than most. Trip and
T’Pol’s early interactions were defined by their
mutual distaste for one another. They were more likely
to be trading insults than making romantic overtures
and, even though their confrontations eventually
mellowed from open dislike to friendly bickering, they
never entirely let down their respective guards. Their
lingering mistrust of one another remained a stubborn
hindrance to their future romance.
Since her arrival on Enterprise T’Pol showed an
increasingly un-Vulcan willingness to consider the

84

human perspective but when it came to Trip she just
couldn’t read between the lines. As a Vulcan, T’Pol
was ill-prepared to deal with the human tendency
to conceal the truth to save face. Trip’s tell-tale
defensiveness or hurt expressions may be a dead
give away to a human but T’Pol was totally out of
her depth. For his part, Trip was all too ready to
believe T’Pol’s façade of emotionless Vulcan logic.
His prejudice against the people he felt had held
humanity back led him to constantly assume the
worst. Neither was prepared to risk admitting their
feelings first and their relationship was plagued
by misunderstanding.

Season 4’s “Bound”
in which Connor Trineer
and Jolene Blalock
bring the star-crossed
lovers together at last.
And it’s got Orion girls
as well!

STAR TREK MAGAZINE

STM32_TRIP_TPOL_84_87.indd 84

15/12/2010 15:10

T’POL & TRIP

“Do you really believe that a human and
a Vulcan can have a future together?
Imagine the shame your children would
endure, assuming that the two of you
could have children.”
– T’Les (T’Pol’s mother) – “Home”

STAR TREK MAGAZINE

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85
15/12/2010 15:10

In fairness, Trip got burned first. Implying he
was “some kind of experiment” on the morning after
the night before didn’t exactly encourage uninhibited
declarations of undying affection. On that fateful
night when they finally stopped pretending that
their scantily clad, candlelit neuro-pressure sessions
were just platonic sleep therapy between colleagues,
Trip admitted that he was jealous of whatever had
happened between T’Pol and Sim. T’Pol followed this
confession through to its logical conclusion and what
followed was an abrupt departure from her usual
Vulcan stoicism. Unfortunately, Trip’s readiness to
gamble his pride waned overnight and T’Pol was
already teetering too far out on a romantic limb for
Vulcan comfort. Before long the whole incident was
labeled a mistake best forgotten.
Having apparently had all of his worst suspicions
about Vulcans confirmed, Trip refused to leave himself

vulnerable again. While quick to confront T’Pol about
her feelings he was less willing to reveal his own.
When they encountered the future Enterprise in the
Expanse he berated her for not admitting she could
have feelings for him. After his transfer to Columbia
he demanded that she confess wanting him to return to
Enterprise for personal reasons. But when she similarly
challenged him, whether about “unusual daydreams,”
his transfer to Columbia or his objections to her trialing
the telepresence unit, he denied any feelings beyond
those of a fellow officer. T’Pol’s decision to end their
fledgling romance in order to marry Koss hurt Trip but
even then, with nothing to lose and everything to gain;
he played it safe and said nothing.

“BOUND”
T’Pol admits she wanted Tucker to come back to Enterprise for more
than purely professional reasons and even seals the admission with
a kiss! After four years of misunderstandings, hurt feelings and deliberate
mistruths finally they seemed to be moving in the right direction.

“BOUND”
“Commander, have you been experiencing any unusual day dreams?
Accompanied by intense auditory and visual sensations. They would
involve me.” T’Pol.

86

STAR TREK MAGAZINE

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15/12/2010 15:10

T’POL & TRIP

Although often puzzled by Trip, especially when
he said one thing but his behavior indicated another,
T’Pol did try to meet him in the middle. Her endeavors
to connect with Trip on a more human level led to
her experimentation with Trellium D and during her
withdrawal from the drug, despite her first instinct
being to push him away, she instead turned to him for
support. She eventually told him her age, admitting
that to a Vulcan it is considered intimate information
and after the discovery of the Kir’Shara, and her
decision to focus on rediscovering what it means to be
Vulcan, she made a point of explaining her choice to
him. However these small but positive steps were not
enough to bridge the gap between them.
Trip and T’Pol’s romance appeared to be something
of an open secret on Enterprise or at least the subject
of much speculative gossip. Phlox was aware of their
relationship, much to T’Pol’s surprise, and so was
Malcolm Reed. Whether Hoshi ever made the connection

between her post-mind meld dreams of Trip, and the
first officer is unknown but Sato was no intellectual
slouch and it’s reasonable to assume the penny
eventually dropped. Possibly the most interesting
question is whether Archer knew. Archer had confronted
his own attraction to T’Pol earlier but put it aside in
favor of a professional relationship. Neither Trip nor
T’Pol discussed their romance with Archer on-screen
and so it remains unknown whether he was aware of the
ongoing tension between two of his senior officers.
Despite indications to the contrary during season
four of Enterprise, the final episode in the series,
“These Are the Voyages…,” suggested that Trip and T’Pol
were not able to make their relationship work in the
long term. If they could only have brought themselves,
just once, to admit their feelings then perhaps the lines
of communication would have been opened enough to
allow them a real chance as a couple .
Bernice Watson

The impressive narrative contortions of Andy Mangels and Michael
A. Martin in the Star Trek: Enterprise re-launch novels (starting with
The Good That Men Do) reunite Trip and T’Pol. Their complex reinterpretation of the events depicted in “These Are The Voyages…”
sees Commander Tucker faking his own death in order to go behind
enemy lines into the Romulan Star Empire. In the books that follow he
and T’Pol continue their relationship both in person (where possible)
and through the telepathic bond they still share. What the future
holds for them as a couple is yet to be seen but as it stands currently
their relationship is stronger than ever.

STAR TREK MAGAZINE

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15/12/2010 15:10


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