28 – Carbon Creek

Grade: D+

Carbon Creek (2002) on IMDb


Archer, T’Pol and Tucker discuss the true story of the first time Vulcans visited Earth in the 1950s. Apparently it wasn’t 2063 with Zefram Cochrane as we had been told in the First Contact movie.


I didn’t really care much for this episode – it’s boring and pointless. It seems they’re starting to run out of ideas already. The storyline was OK, I guess, but it didn’t use any of the characters. The episode doesn’t even take place in space. Most likely, this episode was created as a cost-cutting measure. The previous episode must have been way over budget so they come up with Star Trek: The Waltons to save money.

Actually the biggest problem with this episode is that it’s dreadfully boring. Nothing happens in it, aside from T’Pol selling the idea of velcro to some manufacturer so she can get some money. So now we’re supposed to believe that velcro was invented by Vulcans. But there was nothing else to excite us about this episode – there were no close calls, nobody ever discovered that these three Vulcans were on Earth, no other issues with the timeline, and nobody discovered the damaged Vulcan ship. All we have is a new version of the 1996 Star Trek film, First Contact.

Speaking of which, I’m surprised they didn’t try to ruin the established storyline even more by showing that the Vulcans were not only responsible for Zefram Cochrane’s First Contact, but that they also gave him the idea for warp technology in the first place. In all honesty, if that had happened here, I would have absolutely hated this episode, and I would have asked myself throughout the entire show – “how are they going to resolve this storyline without undermining the film?” If they could have pulled that off, it would have at least been unexpected, and maybe the show wouldn’t have been nearly as boring. But by this time in the Star Trek franchise, creativity is dead.

But hey, at least we have Berman’s trademark: T’Pol completely disrobes behind a sheet with a strong light behind her, and we see just about everything in silhouette. It wasn’t as transparent as cellophane, but the shadow made it pretty close. So now this is two episodes in a row with characters who are practically topless. Berman proves yet again that all he cares about is the number of viewers watching these shows and cares nothing about telling good stories.

About the only saving grace to this episode is that the very last scene of this episode makes it pretty ambiguous if T’Pol was telling a true story or just making it up. When Archer and Tucker ask her if this story could possibly even be true, she says “you asked me to tell you a story.” So honestly, I’m going with this story is totally made up and it never happened. I wish I could say the same about the episode.

The only reason I give this show a D+ and not an F is because at least they got some of the historical facts right. Velcro wasn’t technically invented until after these events, but at least they didn’t try to get away with showing how Vulcans gave us cell phones.

Of Note

The actual inventor of Velcro was George d Mestral. This is probably why the Vulcan character in this episode has the same name (Mestral). In previous episodes of Star Trek, it was common for men to have 5-letter names that begin with S (such as Spock and Sarek).

This episode was apparently nominated for a Hugo Award in the category of “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form”. Yeah, I don’t know why either.