Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise
Pairing: Trip Tucker/T'Pol
Spoilers: As of this publication date the entire series has aired in the U.S., so it's safe to say all four seasons will be spoiled for you.
Notes: Thanks to everyone at similitude for sharing their obsession, pain, and fic recs with me. As a general note I'm somewhat of a critic of the flaws in Enterprise, but I tried to keep that out of the manifesto. There are certain things that I ignored when it came to writing it -- like nearly all of the second season -- but I did my best to keep any criticism of the writers and producers out of it. This disclaimer does NOT apply to the finale however, as I'll be making the (very easy) argument to not consider it canon. This is over 6,000 words, so all apologies!
The irritation, the dislike, the rudeness, the differences, the hot and mostly naked-and-covered-in-gel decon scene. It was apparent from the very first episode of Star Trek's fifth live action incarnation Enterprise that we had one hefty interspecies 'ship bearing down on us. Over the four years that Enterprise has been on the air we've watched her characters grow and shape themselves around each other, the most obvious of which has been a good Southern boy and a logical Vulcan.
After four seasons and 98 episodes, Enterprise has taken its cancelled place in the sky. Zip up those uniforms and charge your phase pistols for humanity's first wild ride into deep space.
I've been a Trekkie since I was nine, growing up with a steady diet of first TNG and then DS9. Voyager held my interest for a bit, but I took a vacation and devoted myself to The X-Files for a while after Voyager started to bore me. I came back to Trek for Enterprise, watched the first season and a half, couldn't take the horror anymore, and quit for Law and Order: SVU. I caught a random episode at the beginning of Enterprise's fourth season and promptly ran off to find all the episodes I'd missed. I pride myself on my geekiness and my Star Trek tattoos.
The Star Crossed Lovers
"My dad's Charles Tucker, so is his dad. That makes me the third, so triple…Trip."
-Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker, III, "First Flight" (2x24)
As the chief engineer aboard Enterprise, Trip has most of the responsibility for ship operations resting squarely on his shoulders. He's highly intelligent -- as any chief engineer must be -- and can adapt himself to most any occasion. Holding the rank of full commander, Trip is third in the command hierarchy behind Captain Archer and Commander T'Pol. He has on numerous occasions been forced to assume command while the Captain and T'Pol were either not on board or incapacitated in some way. He has proven himself to be a capable captain, having commanded Enterprise during battle ("Kir'Shara" 4x09) and diplomacy ("The Seventh" 2x07, "Bounty" 2x25, "Awakening" 4x08). While it cannot be considered part of the canonical Trekverse, the Twilightverse Trip served as an excellent captain of Enterprise for eleven years after Archer was injured and T'Pol left the ship to care for him ("Twilight" 3x08).
While he is very responsible with his duties, he can be somewhat reckless in his personal life. While on shore leave on Risa ("Two Days and Two Nights" 1x25) he and Lieutenant Reed fall under the charms of two alien women who turned out to be men and robbed them. Trip also unwittingly got pregnant -- the first and only human male to do so -- while helping repair an alien ship ("Unexpected" 1x05). While somewhat irresponsible, Trip allows his sense of morality to influence him greatly. When they come across an alien species that exploits their third gender and treats them as second-class citizens, he teaches one to read and opens its eyes to its own potential ("Cogenitor" 2x22). When the cogenitor (who names itself Charles in honor of him) later commits suicide because it cannot deal with being exploited any longer, Trip feels it deeply, blaming himself for the cogenitor's death.
The incident with the cogenitor lays bare his close friendship with Captain Archer. They've been friends since they met years ago on the earlier Warp Trials projects ("First Flight" 2x24). Archer wouldn't have anyone else for his chief engineer, and originally as his first officer either. They are fiercely loyal to one another, though their time in the Expanse seemed to test their friendship and Archer slipped deeper and deeper into his obsession with stopping the Xindi. Trip instead became closer to Commander T'Pol.
Trip lost his younger sister, Elizabeth, in the Xindi attack on Earth in 2153. The mild xenophobia he displayed in season one resurfaced as he internalized his anger, only to let it explode violently on rare occasions, such as with a Xindi miner ("The Xindi" 3x01). This period of his life is heavily tied into his developing relationship with T'Pol, so most of its discussion will be saved for later. In any case, Trip has shown himself to be a great leader, a good friend, and a capable engineer. He remained loyal to Captain Archer until his death in 2161, when he sacrificed himself to save his captain ("These Are The Voyages" 4x22).
"Why didn't you let them finish treating you on the surface?"
"Have you ever been in an alien hospital?"
"Yes, in San Francisco."
-Subcommander T'Pol and Ensign Travis Mayweather, "Two Days and Two Nights" (1x25)
T'Pol serves as the first officer and the chief science officer on Enterprise. As a Vulcan she uses logic and emotional control to rule her life. Despite her adherence to the teachings of Surak, T'Pol is very emotional for a Vulcan, though her reserve still vastly outstrips the most reserved human. According to her mother she's always been curious and more uninhibited than other Vulcans ("Home" 4x03), and her experiences in the Delphic Expanse have further eroded her emotional control. Her mother also speculated (accurately) that Trip was having an affect on her, though it wasn't until later that T'Pol figured out
No one liked T'Pol very much when she came aboard, mostly because she had been assigned there by the Vulcan High Command as an observer to make sure humans couldn't muck up things too badly. Many of the crew (Captain Archer and Trip among them) believed Vulcans had held humans back when it came to technological advancements. By the end of their first mission however she was so much a part of the crew that the Captain asked her to stay aboard and serve as his first officer permanently. She did stay, and even betrayed her own people in helping Acher and the Andorians uncover a Vulcan spy station at the monastery on P'Jem ("The Andorian Incident" 1x07). She was later recalled for discipline over the event, though was granted her post back soon before she was to leave because of her heroic actions on Coridan ("Shadows of P'Jem" 1x14).
T'Pol continued to serve as an official Vulcan observer on Enterprise until 2153, holding the Vulcan High Command rank of Sub-commander. After the Xindi attack on Earth she was pulled from the assignment to prevent her from going with Enterprise to the Delphic Expanse. Though Enterprise was supposed to drop her off at Vulcan, she requested to stay onboard and resigned her Vulcan commission ("The Expanse" 2x26). While in the Expanse, T'Pol suffered a great deal, the greatest of which was at her own hands. She became addicted to Trellium-D, an alloy that ships use as protection against the anomalies of the Expanse. Archer chose not to use it because it damages the Vulcan neuropathways to the point of insanity and eventual death, but T'Pol injected small amounts into her blood stream to test her emotional limits. She struggled with the addiction until she requested help from Dr. Phlox, who was able to assist her in breaking the habit ("Damage" 3x19).
After the successful completion of the Xindi mission, T'Pol was granted a commission of commander in Starfeet -- the organization's first non-human. She visited home shortly before accepting the commission and ended up marrying the man to whom she had been betrothed as a child. Despite having called the betrothal off in 2151, she agreed to marry Koss in order to assist her mother in resuming her job. She later was instrumental in discovering the Kir'Shara -- Surak's original writings -- and bringing about the dissolution of the Vulcan High Command, though it came at the price of her mother's life. Because she had married to assist her mother, he husband saw no reason to keep her in a marriage she didn't wish to be in and released her from their bond.
The Canonical Relationship
Has my heart loved till now?
The canonical relationship is best divided into two segments: pre-neuropressure and post-neuropressure. When Trip was having difficulty sleeping at the beginning of the Xindi mission into the Delphic Expanse, Dr. Phlox recommended Vulcan neuropressure therapy, which is sort of like acupressure-on-telepathic-crack. After much wrangling (and some placebo subterfuge on the part of Phlox), Trip agreed. To say it had a marked effect on their relationship would be putting it mildly.
Pre-Neuropressure: Seasons One and Two
Their mutual dislike was evident from the beginning when she disdainfully refused to shake his hand in greeting -- and some fanwanking speculates that he offered his hand knowing Vulcans hate to touch others. She had to touch him later in the episode when we were treated to the first of the Decon scenes. The scenes became somewhat sexually exploitative, featuring various combinations of the crew in blue underwear rubbing gel all over each other. This first one though was charged with an argument as they fought over what their course of action should be while the Captain was incapacitated ("Broken Bow" 1x01/02). They argued a lot, and it wasn't until the episode "Breaking the Ice" (1x08) that the tension broke and they started down the path of friendship; just the week before he and Archer treated her like crap while visiting a Vulcan monastery ("The Andorian Incident" 1x07).
"Breaking the Ice" worked on three levels. The first was literal: breaking through the ice of a comet. The second is that T'Pol convinced Archer to accept the help of a Vulcan ship, breaking the figurative ice on both sides. The third is the most important to this manifesto, and that is the breaking of ice between Trip and T'Pol. They've had their mistrustful issues before; while under the hallucinogenic effects of an alien pollen Trip nearly shot T'Pol, accusing her of treason ("Strange New World" 1x04). Despite their reconciliation at the end of the episode, it isn't until the events of "Breaking the Ice" that we begin to see mutual respect forming on both sides.
Trip discovers a secret transmission from a Vulcan ship intended for T'Pol. After consulting Archer, he has Hoshi decrypt it, though she doesn't read it. Trip does however, and is very embarrassed to discover it's a letter demanding she return to Vulcan to marry the man to whom she's been betrothed since childhood. We later meet Koss (and he's really not such a bad guy), but for now he remains a nebulous threat. Trip, plagued with guilt over having read her personal letter, confesses to T'Pol, his anguish evident. Though she is initially upset, she eventually follows Dr. Phlox's advice to talk to someone about
what's bothering her.
Interestingly enough, she chooses Trip when Phlox or even Archer would have been a much better choice. She says it's because she doesn't want anyone else to know about the situation, but Phlox is the only other alien onboard and hold various degrees in psychology. He's a much more ideal and logical choice, and you can't help but wonder why she would confide in an unruly human she's had issues with in the past. Speculation aside, Trip advises her to do what she wants, not what others want of her. Frustrated as she is by Trip's apparent lack of regard for the customs of other cultures (an issue he'll repeatedly display), she eventually stays on Enterprise breaking -- or so she thinks -- her engagement. Archer asks Trip what their exchange was about after T'Pol leaves to send the message back that she will not be returning, but Trip just gives him a knowing and enigmatic smile and says "It's personal." The most telling part though is that the episode closes on T'Pol trying a piece of pecan pie, the not-so-subtle symbol of Trip and all the humanness he represents.
So now that I've torn that episode apart, let's just skip through bits and pieces of other episodes from seasons one and two, our more subtext-reliant seasons.
"Fusion" 1x17 - Trip inquires about Vulcan sexual practices from one of the Vulcans who are exploring their emotions. Now why would he ask such an intensely personal question if he didn't wonder about
someone in particular?
"Acquisition" 1x19 - Trip's in Decon (completely isolated from the rest of the ship) and is consequently the only one left awake when four Ferengi knock out the crew. Who does he wake up first? Not the the doctor. He wakes up T'Pol. Interesting choice.
"Oasis" 1x20 - Trip, T'Pol, and Archer are dining with a merchant who offers to trade them "Triaxian silk." Trip gives T'Pol and impetuous look and says "I'd bet you'd look good in Triaxian silk." She glares at him, and he grins and ducks his head adorably. I recall squealing a bit when I first saw that scene. This was the most obvious of their flirtation in the first season.
"Singularity" 2x09 - When the crew becomes obsessed over minute tasks, Trip refuses to do anything but work on Captain Archer's chair. Except of course to come visit T'Pol in her quarters when she requests it. Why would he refuse even the Captain, but not her?
"Bounty" 2x25 - T'Pol in Pon Farr had to happen some time, and she was stuck with Phlox in Decon at the time. But Trip brings them food at one point and she eats ravenously until she catches sight of him. Then she goes all sex kitten and undresses him with her eyes until Phlox pushes her back and closes the door on her. Though I included them, pictures do this scene no justice.
Neuropressure: Season Three
Season three saw the start of their neuropressure sessions and the beginning of the slow dance toward romance that has been burning for two years now. Jealousy, flirtation, sex, rumors, innuendo; season three's Xindi arc was packed. As for the actual plot, the Xindi are five distinct species (humanoid, reptilian, insectoid, arboreal, and aquatic) that were informed by Transdimensional beings that humans would destroy them in the future. In reality the Transdimensional beings knew humans and Xindi would be eventual allies in the Federation and would present a united front to defeat them. They were in the process of transforming that area of space into a place they could live. The result was the anomaly-ridden Delphic Expanse. Archer and crew were sent into the Expanse to find the Xindi super weapon being constructed to destroy Earth. This wild conflict provided enough continuity and character development to keep me satisfied for years.
Trip lost his younger sister Lizzie in the initial Xindi attack that killed seven million and left a path of destruction from Florida to Venezuela ("The Expanse" 2x26). He was understandably angry at first, hell-bent on vengeance. He roughs up a recalcitrant Xindi miner for information ("The Xindi" 3x01) and struggles with insomnia and nightmares about the death of his sister. Phlox suggests Vulcan neuropressure and away we go.
Trip has to be manipulated into accepting the neuropressure treatment, and the skill with which T'Pol gets him to acquiesce suggests she knows him all too well ("The Xindi" 3x01, "Anomaly" 3x02). To make up for putting off sessions he brings her Georgia peaches, which she proceeds to eat with her hands ("Extinction" 3x03)! As T'Pol has more than readily displayed in the two years previous, Vulcans do not eat with their hands, finding it distasteful and messy. For her to eat with her hands in front of Trip could be construed as an intimate act, especially when placed in the context of all the other "intimate" things she does in his presence.
The very act of Vulcan neuropressure is considered intimate and their only session thus far has seem them both shirtless and touching each other. Vulcans are weak touch-telepaths, as exemplified by the
infamous Vulcan mind meld, and physical contact is frowned upon because it's considered impolite. Imagine brushing up against someone and accidentally catching a stray thought or feeling. There is a high leve lof discomfort for Vulcans in the simple act of touching another, and to willingly do what neuropressure requires displays a high level of comfort with the other individual in question. Indeed, T'Pol even goes as far as to allow Trip to practice neuropressure on her, and as a novice he can inflict serious nerve damage ("Harbinger" 3x15).
In any case, their neuropressure brings them much closer together, and they usually spend the session chatting amiably about anything and everything. That is until an accident in Engineering puts Trip in a
coma ("Similitude" 3x10). In order to save him Phlox injects one of his creatures with Trip's DNA. The creature mimics his biology, essentially creating a clone that ages rapidly. He names the clone Sim, and raises a Southern boy who remembers Trip's life as his own.
Sim develops somewhat of a crush on T'Pol as he ages, trying to get her to go out on a date as a teenager, and finally confronting her with deep feelings as an adult. He tells her "What drives me crazy the most is I don't know if these feelings are mine or his." It's a moment that will have repercussions in the future because Sim basically tells T'Pol that Trip is attracted to her, and the idea that he probably would have been attracted to her at any point in his life is a somewhat heady prospect. When Sim goes to his death to save Trip's life, she gives him a farewell kiss, telling the audience that perhaps she does have feelings for him too. T'Pol has a distinct advantage over Trip as a result of the incident, because while she knows about his feelings, he doesn't discover hers yet.
It isn't until a few weeks later that the tension comes to a head (for both Trip and T'Pol, and Reed and Hayes) when Trip begins giving neuropressure to one of the MACOs (Military Assault Command Operations), Corporal Amanda Cole ("Harbinger" 3x15). She kisses him after one session, though Trip seems oddly uninterested in pursuing it at the moment. She has headaches and goes to Phlox, who believes they may be caused by the neuropressure. He asks T'Pol to speak to Trip about not continuing them, to which she replies "gladly" in a somewhat hostile tone. He also asks her to perform corrective neuropressure on Corporal Cole, which she seems less thrilled about -- understandable given its intimate nature.
Before she does that, however, they have another training session for the senior staff with the MACOs. She watches Trip and Corporal Cole so closely, that after effortlessly wiping the floor with her unfortunate MACO partner, she somehow misses a very straightforward punch aimed at her jaw and goes down. Hard. Trip, of course, stops mid-fight to give her a concerned and confused look. Later Trip and T'Pol have a neuropressure session of their own. Trip notes that T'Pol is unusually quiet and wonders aloud if she's still mad at him over Corporal Cole. They exchange barbs, and T'Pol's command of sarcasm is on full display as she parrots and manipulates Trip into admitting that he's attracted to her, aided by Sim's confession. And then -- the big joyous pay-off -- she seduces him.
The shipper's paradise is short-lived however, as the next morning finds an awkward Trip trying to talk to T'Pol about it, only to have her tell him he was essentially an experiment in human sexuality. They agree that there's no reason not to continue their neuropressure sessions, and the subtextual flirtation is all over the place on their exchange. While they don't realize at the time, their sexual encounter will have lasting repercussions in the future.
The rest of season three has them dancing around each other, neither willing to admit how much the other means to them. T'Pol has a most revealing dream, and it tells you more than her actions ever will because she keeps her emotions under such heavy wraps ("Damage" 3x19). Her dream begins with her in the shower, but hands soon find their way to the back of her neck and shoulders as Trip joins her. He rubs her back for a moment -- which I found oddly reminiscent of their first Decon scene together ("Broken Bow" 1x01/02) -- before she turns and they start making out in the shower. It lasts for a few moments before she throws him against the wall and turns into a nasty zombie Vulcan cracked out on trellium-D (as the Vulcans were in "Impulse" 3x05). She starts to choke him before she wakes up, gasping and going through severe withdrawal symptoms. The meaning is clear: she fears hurting someone she cares deeply about, but her addiction is overwhelming. Her increasingly violent behavior and her dream force her to go to Phlox by the end of the episode, and he promises to help her break her addiction.
Trip finally has his breakdown over the death of his sister as Enterprise is nearing the end of its mission in the Expanse ("The Forgotten" 3x20). He has to write a letter to the parents of a dead crewman while the ship is falling apart around the crew's ears. T'Pol demonstrates a great deal of concern for Trip, even "tattling" on him to the doctor about how little he's slept. He finally breaks down with her in a corridor, crying and confessing how he's tried to suppress his reaction. She puts a hand on his shoulder to comfort him and he clings to it. Her facial expression says she wants to do more, but she's unsure of where the boundaries in their relationship lie.
As Enterprise prepares to meet the Xindi council to dissuade them from launching their weapon, they're met by another version of Enterprise, one crewed by their descendents ("E²" 3x21). Due to some technobabble, this Enterprise was thrown over one hundred years into the past. Realizing they couldn't ever go home (Zefram Cochrane hadn't even launched the Phoenix yet), they decide to try and stop the Xindi from launching their first weapon against Earth. It is a job for their children and their children's children however, and Enterprise becomes a generational ship. And who do you suppose gets married and has a son? Of course it's Trip and T'Pol. While Trip enjoys getting to know Lorian -- their son and the captain of the other Enterprise -- and hearing all about his and T'Pol's life together, T'Pol is less than enthusiastic. They snip back and forth at each other while doing repairs, and Trip tells her she just doesn't want to admit that under the right circumstances she might have feelings for him. This is quite accurate and seems to hit a nerve, though she tosses it off with angry comments.
T'Pol visits the much older version of herself, however, who urges her to turn to Trip. The older T'Pol couldn't imagine her life without him, but our T'Pol is unsure of what she wants to do. It is the first time we actually see her articulate her uncertainty when it comes to Trip; she's always evaded the subject when it comes up with Dr. Phlox. She genuinely doesn't know what she wants, though after her talk with the older T'Pol she seems a bit more certain of herself and her actions towards Trip, though she doesn't seem to realize exactly how much she relies on him until the aftermath of the Xindi mission.
The action picks up after the incident with the other Enterprise, and T'Pol and Trip are left in charge a good deal of the time with Archer off the ship trying to negotiate with the Xindi and eventually stop the weapon ("The Council" 3x22, "Countdown" 3x23, "Zero Hour" 3x24). By the time they've destroyed the Xindi weapon and the Spheres that were creating the Delphic Expanse, T'Pol has finally accepted her closeness with Trip. She reveals her age to him, information that he's been pursuing for three years now. When he asks her why she finally told him, she says that "To Vulcans, certain information is considered...'intimate.'" Unfortunately, where they would have gone from there is a total unknown, as they're cut off by the return of the team that destroyed the weapon and the news of Captain Archer's "death."
And Beyond: Season Four
Season Four is like a bone tossed to old skool Trekkies. It's continuity porn that probably went just a little too far in trying to connect Enterprise to the other Trek series. Regardless, to say that Trip and T'Pol's relationship was a rollercoaster would be a bigger understatement than saying Dax had a bit of an odd love history on DS9. Enterprise is thrown back in time to an alternate version of WWII where temporal faction of aliens were helping the Nazis win, and thus postponing Enterprise’s return to Earth ("Storm Front" 4x01/02). Once they returned to their own time, the crew let loose and get to really relax for the first time in a year. They are given extended shoreleave and T'Pol takes the opportunity to visit her mother on Vulcan. She invites Trip to join her when he gets morose about not really having a home to go back to. Unfortunately
T'Les, T'Pol's mother, confronts him about his feelings for her daughter. He confesses that he's in love with her, though he didn't know it until she told him of her impending marriage. The anguish Trip is feeling is evident, made so much worse because he didn't fully appreciate what he felt until he had lost her. T'Les later advises Trip to tell T'Pol about his feelings, because she believes her daughter should have all the information before making her choice. Trip can't do it, and simply stands by and watches her marry another man. As the ceremony starts T'Pol gives him a kiss on the cheek, essentially communicating him she wishes circumstances were different.
Once they get back to the ship, they're awkward and unable to resume their easy friendship. Neither are able to simply discard their feelings, and T'Pol subtlety assures Trip she has been faithful to him by telling him that she went alone to Mount Seleya to meditate after her wedding ("Borderland" 4x04). Trip remains protective of her, and even Dr. Arik Soong -- a complete outsider -- picks up on it ("The Augments" 4x06). After T'Pol helps overthrow the Vulcan High Command and recover the Kir'Shara, Koss offers her a divorce, saying he understands that she only married to help her mother and that their marriage is pointless (“Kir’Shara” 4x09). It's here that the Trip/T'Pol dynamic really starts to pick up again.
T'Pol informs Trip that she needs some time to find herself and explore the Kir'Shara after an incident with the transporter ("Daedalus" 4x10), and for a short time they seem to do their best to ignore each other. Trip and Hoshi have a brush with death shortly thereafter, and when he isn't expected to wake up, she asks the Captain to call her if he does ("Observer Effect" 4x11). She seems to regret that she hasn't communicated her true feelings for him directly, a situation that she doesn't remedy for a while, even after he recovers. After an extended incident with the Romulans that unites the squabbling Andorians, Vulcans, and Tellarites ("Babel One" 4x12, "United" 4x13), Trip decides that he can't handle being on Enterprise and having to deal with his feelings that he thinks T'Pol doesn't truly reciprocate ("The Aenar" 4x14). He requests a transfer to the USS Columbia, Enterprise's sister ship which is preparing to launch. Archer grants it, but Trip refuses to discuss his reasons with him. It's a sign of how much their friendship has deteriorated, through Archer's own actions and Trip's increasing closeness to T'Pol.
While on Columbia, Trip begins to experience daydreams of a white room with T'Pol in it ("Affliction" 4x15). He thinks he's just got her on the brain, but in actuality T'Pol is experiencing these daydreams with him. T'Pol begins to suspect there's something else going on between them other than just strong feelings. He returns to Enterprise to save it when the Klingons lock it at high warp and ends up sticking around to oversee repairs ("Divergence" 4x16).
Fortunately for Enterprise he's still around when Orion slave girls manage to take over the ship with their pheromones ("Bound" 4x17). It turns out he and T'Pol are the only two immune to them on the entire ship, and he's puzzled as to why until T'Pol informs him that she believes they have a Vulcan mating bond, initiated by their sexual encounter ("Harbinger" 3x15). They manage to save the ship, though their own future is somewhat up in the air. Trip leads T'Pol to believe he's returning to Columbia, so she stops him and finally shows him what she feels by kissing him in the middle of the corridor. He smirks and informs her he requested a transfer back to Enterprise three days before because he realized it was where he belongs.
Shortly thereafter they discover a xenophobic group has used their DNA to create the first Vulcan-human hybrid and plans to use the "abomination" to get all aliens off Earth ("Demons" 4x20). They embark on a recon mission, bickering the entire way like an old married couple. Trip has some anxiety over their bond, getting tired of her knowing everything he's thinking. Once their daughter is rescued however, they discover that her human and Vulcan halves aren't compatible and it's killing her ("Terra Prime" 4x21). They have to watch their child die, helpless to do anything about it. Her death brings them closer because for the first time they are dealing with the same problem and can find mutual comfort. The episode ends with the revelation that it was a mistake in the cloning procedure that killed their daughter, and that Vulcans and humans really can have children together. T'Pol clutches his hand and together they grieve. Though they mourn and express their grief in different ways, they are able to find comfort in each other.
It seems a fitting end to the series, or at least their onscreen relationship. A poignant moment, you feel as though they finally see past petty bickering. It’s a dangerous universe and a dangerous job and they can cling to each other for refuge. It probably made the finale that aired five minutes later look like worse shit than it actually was.
Deny Thy Finale
The finale of Enterprise seems to be nearly universally reviled as a terrible episode and a huge disrespect to the cast of Enterprise. The biggest change for the crew in six years is that their hair grows. Trip sacrifices himself so his captain can make a speech, there's no apparent grieving for him (apart from a brief scene in his quarters between T'Pol and Archer), and even worse for this manifesto there hasn't been a relationship other than friendship between Trip and T'Pol in the six years between "Terra Prime" and "These Are The Voyages" (and no mention of the bond either). Continuity-wise it's terrible, and bracketing the episode with TNG-era shots and characters cheapens the closure for the Enterprise characters.
But I really don't see all that as a problem because as far as I'm concerned the events depicted didn't actually happen, and if they did it wasn’t the way it played out on screen. The premise of the episode is that Commander Riker on the Enterprise-D is struggling with an issue and therefore plays on the holodeck in a program about the founding of the Federation. Nothing can be considered historically accurate, or even canon by the laws of the universe, because Riker lives almost 200 years after the crew of the first Enterprise completed their missions. I would compare this to knowing exact conversations between the officers aboard the USS Constitution during the War of 1812, or knowing for absolute certain who died and who loved each other under Napoleon in France. The point is they're too far removed from the events to guarantee any kind of accuracy, and there are no absolutes in history. It's even easier to imagine that the holoprogammer who devised the program dramatized events. It's like watching a Lifetime TV movie that was "based on actual events" and trying to accept that as what actually happened. It just doesn't work, and it seems that a good many Enterprise fans believe that "Terra Prime" was the real finale and they don't pay much attention to "These Are The Voyages."
In any case I rest easy ignoring the finale, safe in my little world where it never happened. The end of "Terra Prime" was appropriate for a finale and I'll stop there. Trip and T'Pol helped each other through their sadness over the death of their child and went on to have a relationship as it seems they would. Come float the denial river with me.
For never was there a tale of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Trip and T'Pol are very much like Spock and McCoy of the Original Series: a wildly opposite human and Vulcan, yet somehow able to be good friends in their differences, no matter what bumps come up along the way. Their relationship is characterized by good natured ribbing, mostly from Trip's side, though T'Pol isn't above the occasional snide or teasing comment and they play the comedic angle off each other well. Their relationship operates on so many levels, and the actors behind them really make you believe you're watching two people who are incredibly conflicted about one another.
In the end the reason I love this 'ship so much is because it's so damn hopeful. The galaxy presented in Enterprise isn't a very friendly one, and in the beginning even Vulcans and humans fight and argue. Trip and T'Pol mirror these galactic political squabbles, a perfect microcosm of the Vulcan-Human relationship. The beginning was rocky and argumentative, but over the years they develop a healthy respect and dependence on the other. Vulcans and humans go on to form the cornerstone of the Federation. The fact that Trip and T’Pol can get over their differences enough to fall in love would bode well for the future of humans and aliens, even if we didn’t know the intergalactic outcome already.
And honestly? They’re really hot in the shower together.
Like any popular (and canon) het 'ship, there's a lot of spectacularly awful fic to wade through to find the good stuff. I'm sure I haven't discovered it all yet, so if you have anything else to add please let me know. Be warned a fair number of these also feature Pon Farr in some manner or another. The plot point is understandably popular.
One and Two and Dessert
Rhythm and The Firebrand (two of my absolute favorite T/T'P fics)
Shorter and written earlier in the series, Cincoflex's set of stories are a delightful set of NC-17 hotness. Passionfruit features Archer/Other, Reed/Other, Sato/Mayweather, and Phlox/Other in addition to Trip/T'Pol.
One of the best T/T'P series, starts with A Logical Proposal and goes on from there. It was started in between seasons one and two, so the depiction of events is based on their earlier interaction. Multiple endings (happy and sad) and dynamic plot lines. Highly recommended.
Cry Havoc picks up where "Harbinger" left off and goes from there. NC-17 and how! (Not to be confused with the "Cry Havoc" of ShouldKnowBetter's series.)
Differential is amusing, endearing, and engaging. It’s part of a series, but I believe it stands alone well.
Miscommunication, for when you’d love to see Trip struggling to learn the Vulcan language.
Repairs is so good it’s hard to believe it’s her first fic. Come Twilight is a poignant, unfinished Twilightverse fic. One of the ones that will make you curse whoever first posted a WIP.
A bit of romance and a lot of mystery make The Thin Man Beams Aboard a great fic.
Websites and LJ
TripT’Polers at the House of Tucker is the definitive website for Trip/T’Pol. A massive archive of fic,
shipper guides, videos, and a message board only begin to describe everything they have. It should be your first stop for anything in this ‘ship.
similitude is the only Trip/T’Pol community of which I’m aware. They more than make up for it with friendliness and
willingness to discuss anything Trip/T’Pol. Join up and be sure to sign the Trip Lives petition while you're at it.