Monday, May 20, 2013

TWITrek Character Insight No. 52: T'Pau

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, we continue Vulcan Month with T'Pau, from Enterprise and TOS.

(Insert clip of T'Pau British rock band ) - No, not that T'Pau. However, the British rock band was named after this character thanks to the lead singer watching the TOS episode Amok Time when naming the band.

T'Pau was a leader of the Syrrannite movement on Vulcan, a movement seeking to reform Vulcan society based on the true teachings of an ancient Vulcan philosopher Surak. When she takes over as leader of the movement following Syrran's death, she is farily quickly framed for a bombing of the United Earth Embassy.

While the crew of Archer's Enterprise investigate the bombing, T'Pau initially does not trust these officers. However, Syrran had transferred the katra of Surak into Jonathan Archer, and T'Pau immediately accepts them and tries to force Archer to undergo a procedure for removing the katra from him. This was unsuccessful, but Archer was not killed by the process, which was a precursor to the successful removal of Spock's katra from Dr. McCoy in Star Trek III.

T'Pau ends up curing T'Pol of Panar Syndrome, which was caused by the previous mind meld. She helps Archer prove the teachings and peaceful history of the Syrrannites, which helps her off the hook for the bombings. This also lofts her to one of the high ranking ministers in the new Vulcan government following the dissolution of the Vulcan High Command.

T'Pau later serves as the officiating priestess at Spock's formal Vulcan wedding in the episode Amok Time. She established the disdain for outsiders in this episode, a theme that is picked up by Jolene Blaylock as she played T'Pol in Enterprise. In fact, the role of T'Pau was highly influential on many future actors who played Vulcan characters.

Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Kir'Shara:

T'Pau: [to Archer] You may be witnessing the start of a new era, not only for Vulcan, but for Earth as well.
Vulcan Ambassador Soval: The Minister intends to pursue a less aggressive policy toward your people. The High Command will be dissolved.
T'Pau: You'll no longer have us looking over your shoulder. It's time for Earth to stand on its own.
Actor: As noted above, Kara Zediker played young T'Pau in Enterprise after Celia Lovsky played the character in Amok Time. Zediker has played in the TV show 24 and the movie Contagion.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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