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Species Vulcan
Home planet Vulcan
Affiliation Vulcan High Command,
later Starfleet
Posting Science officer,
Enterprise (NX-01)
Rank Sub-Commander,
later Commander
Portrayed by Jolene Blalock

Commander T'Pol (pronounced /tɨˈpɒl/) is a fictional character played by Jolene Blalock in Star Trek: Enterprise. She is a Vulcan who serves as the science officer aboard the starship Enterprise.


Concept and creation

According to producer Rick Berman, it was originally intended that a younger version of T'Pau would be the Vulcan officer serving on the titular starship in Star Trek: Enterprise. Instead, after determining there were legal difficulties in using the original series character, the producers created T'Pol.[1]


T'Pol is the first Vulcan officer to serve a prolonged term on a human vessel. The previous record was 10 days; by comparison, T'Pol served aboard the Enterprise for ten years (2151-2161). As a Sub-Commander serving the Vulcan High Command, she was stationed aboard the Enterprise in April 2151, as an observer to Captain Jonathan Archer and his crew, who the High Command insisted were not ready for interstellar space exploration. After the success of the Enterprise's initial mission led to the vessel being given an extended exploration mandate, T'Pol requested to stay aboard.

T'Pol remained aboard the Enterprise despite several attempts by her superiors to recall her to Vulcan. T'Pol's decision brought considerable scrutiny upon her from her superiors, and increasing support for her from her captain; she ultimately resigned from the High Command and accepted a field commission from Starfleet in 2154, resulting in her being given the Starfleet field rank of Commander.

Originally viewed by her crew mates with resentment and suspicion, T'Pol has been forced to earn the trust of fellow officers, Commander Charles Tucker III being a particular focus of friction with her due to his perception of her being a spy for the Vulcans and their very different personalities. The character of T'Pol has developed from that of a "broken record" spouting the dogma of the Vulcan Science Council to that of a questioning scientific mind. Though she does not openly defy or reject the rulings of the Vulcan Science Council, her experiences on the Enterprise have proven to her that they can be wrong.

T'Pol is considerably more emotional than many other Vulcans and has always struggled to control her emotions, something that greatly concerned her mother. Her emotions became even more difficult to control following an exposure to a toxic substance which damaged the part of her brain responsible for emotional control. Nonetheless, T'Pol serves as an icon of Vulcan integrity. Her willingness to question the stale, self-serving decisions of her superiors (at least prior to the Kir'Shara incident), and her respect for Captain Archer position her at the fulcrum of human/Vulcan relations.

Throughout the entire Enterprise run, T'Pol only once said the trademark Vulcan greeting "Live long and prosper". With the exception of the episode In a Mirror, Darkly, T'Pol never rendered the Vulcan salute either.


Before Enterprise

Little is known of T'Pol's early years, save that she was born in 2088 or 2089 (as is reckoned on earth, making her 62 or 63 years old at Broken Bow[2]). Approximately 16 years before joining the crew of the Enterprise, T'Pol served as an agent for the Vulcan intelligence service. It would appear that she gained some stature with the service, as one of the soldiers under her command recognizes her during a visit to Vulcan years later.

During a mission to apprehend a pair of rogue Vulcans, she was forced to shoot and kill one of the fleeing men. She resigned from the service as a result, and the guilt over killing someone face-to-face caused her to suffer a nervous breakdown or emotional collapse which led to her undergoing a procedure, the Fullara, that erased all memory of the incident. This "memory cap" disappeared when she was briefly reactivated as an agent during 2152 in order to capture the last of the rogue Vulcans, and she experienced another emotional collapse which was alleviated by the support of Captain Archer. Given the option to once again suppress her memory of killing, she chose to live with it instead.

Pa'nar, trellium, mind melds, and emotion

T'Pol, who is described by her superiors as a maverick and a rebel, became fascinated with Tolaris, a member of a group of emotionally free Vulcans encountered during the first year of the Enterprise's mission. Tolaris introduced her to the concept of the mind meld, which at the time was considered a taboo activity among Vulcans. She severed her relationship with Tolaris after she asked him to stop the mind meld and he refused, attempting to continue the meld without her consent (essentially a form of mental rape), and causing her to forcefully break the link. She later learned that she had contracted Pa'nar Syndrome from the encounter. This condition, which has some parallels with the human virus HIV, was kept in check with medication and may or may not have played a role in T'Pol's gradually increased emotionalism over the next three years. In 2154, T'Pol, who had been told that Pa'nar was an incurable virus, learned that the condition was in fact caused by an improperly trained melder, and contrary to what the Vulcan High Command had decreed, it was indeed curable by the touch of an experienced mind (in T'Pol's case a service provided by future Vulcan elder T'Pau).

T'Pol was told that she is genetically incapable of initiating mind melds herself, however following the 2154 overthrow of the Vulcan regime that stigmatized mind-melding she learned otherwise. She performed her first mind meld upon Hoshi Sato, with the assistance of Jonathan Archer, who had learned details about mind melds during a period of time when he held the katra of Surak. In fact, not only is T'Pol telepathic, but the episode Affliction revealed that she is able to communicate with Charles 'Trip' Tucker, III over great distances using her new-found mental abilities. It was established a year later (in Bound) that this is because of a mating bond between the two.

During T'Pol's early years aboard the Enterprise, she demonstrated an unusual (for a Vulcan) willingness to explore human culture and customs, although she stated that certain human foods do not agree with her. After a discussion with Commander Charles Tucker, she sampled pecan pie, a dessert she initially dismissed as being "mostly sugar". She began attending the ship's weekly movie night social event (with Captain Archer), and expressed particular admiration of the film Frankenstein. She was reportedly less successful at mastering the art of eating with chopsticks, to the amusement of her crew mates (in one episode, Trip refers to her efforts as "dinner and a show"). Prior to her posting aboard the Enterprise, T'Pol on at least one occasion left the Vulcan Compound in San Francisco and visited a Jazz music club; the chaotic music generated an emotional response that came back to haunt her during a brief period when she abandoned her nightly meditation ritual (concurrent with her experimentation with mind-melding).

T'Pol also became adept at "play acting" which she found was often needed in order to successfully fulfill a mission. For example, she once pretended to be a slave when Ferengi pirates hijacked the Enterprise (Acquisition), distracted a group of Suliban invaders by acting deranged (Shockwave (Part II)), and pretended to be a domineering Vulcan commander preparing for an execution (Precious Cargo). In the latter example there is a clear indication that T'Pol enjoyed taking part in this sort of deception.

On several occasions during her first two years aboard the Enterprise, T'Pol resisted efforts by her family and the Vulcan High Command to get her to leave the ship and return to her Vulcan obligations. When pressed for a reason by Vulcan Ambassador Soval, T'Pol replied that she found working aboard the Enterprise "gratifying", for which she was chided for engaging in an emotional indulgence.

In 2153, after being ordered to leave the Enterprise and return to Vulcan, T'Pol resigned her commission with the Vulcan High Command in order to accompany the crew of the Enterprise into the Delphic Expanse to find the Xindi, a mysterious race accused of killing seven million humans on Earth. Despite being technically a civilian, she remained as first officer of the Enterprise and the crew continued to refer to her by her High Command rank of Sub-Commander during the mission.

While investigating the Vulcan ship Seleya (Impulse), which had become trapped in The Expanse, T'Pol experienced the side-effects of Trellium-D, a compound the ship had used to protect itself from anomalies within The Expanse, but which had the side-effect of creating psychosis in Vulcans. T'Pol's brief exposure led to her experiencing extreme paranoia and losing control of her emotions. She recovered upon returning to the Enterprise. The compound, which Commander Tucker brought aboard, was necessary to line the ship so that the Enterprise could traverse the Expanse. Captain Archer, rather than line the ship with the concoction (lethal to T'Pol), stored it in a locker in the cargo bay.

T'Pol, however, found herself wanting to experience more of the emotions the Trellium-D had unlocked. She discovered how to liquefy small, safe amounts of the compound and began to secretly inject herself with it, beginning approximately three months prior to the Enterprise's arriving at Azati Prime (Azati Prime). This led to what she felt was improved relations with her crew mates, in particular chief engineer Trip Tucker, which led to a sexual relationship in Harbinger where she experienced jealousy when Tucker began making romantic overtures toward a MACO onboard. In the same episode, she referred to it as an exploration of human sexuality. However, this one-time encounter resulted in the formation of a psychic bond between Trip & T'Pol which doesn't manifest until the second half of Season 4.

Over time, as T'Pol became addicted to the Trellium-D injections, her emotions began to flow more freely. This came to a head when the Enterprise reached Azati Prime (Azati Prime) and Jonathan Archer chose to undertake a suicide mission in order to complete the Xindi mission. T'Pol's emotional reaction toward Archer's departure and presumed death incapacitated her as a commanding officer (ending up in crying and an attempt to recover him). She attempted to hide her condition, and the Enterprise was nearly destroyed in a subsequent Xindi attack which may or may not have been made worse by T'Pol's state.

After the attack, T'Pol's supply of Trellium-D became difficult to reach (being located in a heavily damaged part of the ship) and she nearly died during a clandestine attempt to retrieve it. Soon after, she lost her temper with Archer (who had since returned to the Enterprise). He indicated he needed her for a difficult (and morally questionable) mission. She was nearly killed while trying to recover more Trellium-D after experiencing an erotic dream involving Tucker. This led her to seek medical help from Dr. Phlox to whom she confessed her addiction.

Although T'Pol subsequently overcame her addiction, Phlox determined that she had permanently damaged her brain, and as a result might never achieve the same level of emotional control she once had. A subsequent encounter with an elderly version of herself (due to an Expanse-related anomaly seen in the episode - an alternate universe episode) indicated that she will live with the after effects of her Trellium-D exposure for the rest of her life. The older version of T'Pol served aboard an alternate time line version of the Enterprise, which had been transported into the past. Aboard the alternate Enterprise, T'Pol and Trip Tucker had married and conceived a son, Lorian, who at the time of the encounter was the captain of the alternate Enterprise. The older T'Pol advised her that Trip Tucker could provide a safe outlet for her newfound emotions if she could learn to trust him. She also advised her younger self that she could not imagine what her life would have been like without him. However, T'Pol did not take up such a relationship.

Following the Xindi mission, she continued to experience difficulty controlling her emotions and became particularly emotional following the death of her mother (as seen in the episodes Awakening and Kir'Shara).

T'Pol, who (at the time) holds the record for the longest time a Vulcan has spent serving with humans, has demonstrated her ability to adapt. Originally, she required a form of medication in order to tolerate the odors given off by humans and Captain Archer's pet dog Porthos (because of Vulcans having a sensitive sense of smell).

It's revealed that she has a sense of humor, one she can demonstrate (as she has in "Future Tense" and other shows, including Bound). And, in a case of "when in Rome, do as the Romans do," she has also begun eating some types of foods (fruit, popcorn) with her hands, breaking a long-standing Vulcan taboo in the process. (This last has never been explained fully on screen, however.)

Following the death of her mother (see below), the divorce of her husband Koss and the discovery of the Kir'Shara, T'Pol began to re-evaluate Surak's teachings and what it means to be Vulcan. As a result, she began to distance herself from some from her crew mates, choosing to spend her free time studying the newly found word of Surak. Her decision had an adverse affect on her relationship with Commander Tucker. (In Bound, however, she re-established her romantic relationship with Trip. T'Pol asked Trip to return to the Enterprise and, when he replied that he "would think about it" she showed her emotional commitment by pursuing him down the corridor and kissing him.)

She has also experienced some success in controlling her emotions to a greater degree than she had over the two years. T'Pau's therapeutic mind-meld cured the Pa'nar Syndrome and may have helped restore some of her emotional balance as well. This, combined with the fact that T'Pol no longer has the added stress of living with an incurable, potentially fatal condition, may have calmed her mind sufficiently to maintain control. Despite this, she has admitted to Phlox that she had never before felt so unsure of herself.

Relationship with Charles 'Trip' Tucker, III

The relationship between T'Pol and Trip Tucker is a complex one. Initially, the two had a somewhat combative association.

During the third season of Enterprise, while the ship was engaged in pursuing the Xindi weapon in the Expanse, T'Pol and Trip Tucker became increasingly intimate. This process began because Trip had trouble sleeping (due to his sister's death when the Xindi first attacked earth with a prototype of the Xindi weapon). Dr. Phlox urged T'Pol to assist Trip by using Vulcan neuropressure, a system of massage that T'Pol referred to as "intimate" and which is frequently conducted in a semi-clothed state.

A few episodes after this, starting in Impulse, T'Pol begins to take Trellium-D, which has the result of lowering her barriers and producing greater emotion.

In Harbinger, a few months after Trellium-D usage and neuropressure sessions, T'Pol learns that Trip is attracted to a MACO aboard the Enterprise. T'Pol begins to display signs of jealousy regarding Trip's activities with another woman aboard the Enterprise and, ultimately, she and Trip have sex. Afterward, T'Pol attempts to distance herself from the act by referring to it as an exploration of human sexuality. After they engage in sex in Harbinger, they do not engage in the act again in season 3.

In Zero Hour, T'Pol reveals her age to him, which she indicated she considers "intimate" information. At the end of the Xindi mission, when Trip tells her he has no home left to go to, T'Pol invites him to accompany her home to Vulcan.

After arriving on Vulcan, T'Pol is blackmailed into marrying her original betrothed, Koss, in order to save her mother's career; although her mother, T'Les, suggests to Trip he should express his feelings to T'Pol before the ceremony so that she could have all available information. Trip declines, saying that she is under enough stress and he cares about her too much to make things even more difficult for her.

Following the discovery of the Kir'Shara in season four, T'Pol's husband divorces her and Trip attempts to reconnect their relationship. T'Pol is studying the original teachings of Surak, and disregards that request. Hurt, Trip decides to make a new start and transfers to another NX-class starship, Columbia. While he is away on Columbia both he and T'Pol experience telepathic contact in the form of both waking daydreams as well as dreams while sleeping.

An emergency requires Trip to return to the Enterprise. While he is aboard an attempted takeover by Orions reveals that Trip is the only human aboard who is immune to the pheromones used by the Orions, which proves to T'Pol they have bonded. An undetermined amount of time after the two learn of their bond, their relationship undergoes a shocking set of circumstances during the Terra Prime episodes when Trip and T'Pol learn that they have a child. The baby was born using DNA samples obtained of the two and bred by a terrorist group headed by a radical separatist, Paxton, who believed Earth should defend itself from alien worlds. The child was a girl and was named Elizabeth, after Trip's sister (who was killed in the Xindi attack). As stated by Doctor Phlox, the child has Trip's eyes and T'Pol's ears. The child does not survive due to a flawed procedure during the cloning process. Trip revealed this to T'Pol when he went to her quarters to try to console her.

Relationship with Jonathan Archer

T'Pol also grew very close to Captain Jonathan Archer, to the point of crying during the Xindi mission when she believes he has been killed in Azati Prime. She also grieves in Zero Hour, when she believes he's dead, by holding close a book of his and pets his dog, Porthos (whose smell, as mentioned above, she originally could not stand).

In one alternate time line (depicted in Twilight), T'Pol devoted her life to caring for Archer when parasites robbed him the ability to store long term memory (the same ones he was infected with while saving her life).

Starfleet service

Near the end of the Xindi mission, T'Pol revealed to Archer and Tucker that she was considering enlisting in Starfleet. Following the Xindi mission, she accepted the commission and received the rank of Commander.

In May 2154, T'Pol officially assumed duties as a Starfleet officer. However, as she does not wear a standard Starfleet uniform, it is suggested that her relationship with the organization is a unique one. (There is precedent for a Starfleet officer to not wear a regulation uniform, however: Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation did not wear a regular uniform until the last couple of seasons of that series, whilst Worf wore a Klingon sash with his uniform throughout most of his Starfleet career.)

The finale episode These Are the Voyages... reveals that T'Pol remained Archer's first officer aboard the Enterprise for a total of 10 years. Her relationship with Trip allegedly ended at some point within a year of the death of their cloned child in 2155 (see "Family", below), although she remained emotionally attached to him and expressed concern that she would never see Trip again after the decommissioning of the Enterprise in 2161. Trip's death on a minor mission just prior to the decommissioning affected her deeply, and she expressed a desire to meet his parents.

She also grew comfortable in confiding in the ship's Chef during the years prior to the finale. Dialog in the finale suggests that T'Pol was to be reassigned to another vessel following the decommissioning of the Enterprise, implying that she remained a Starfleet officer for some time after 2161.

T'Pol's ultimate fate has yet to be revealed. Given a Vulcan's life expectancy of approximately 200 years, it is possible that she is still alive at the time of Star Trek: The Original Series and subsequent movies.


Little is revealed of T'Pol's family until the episode Awakening, in which she was identified as an orphan. Her father (who has yet to be identified by name) is deceased. T'Pol's mother, T'Les, who resigned from the Vulcan Science Academy in 2154, died in her daughter's arms during an attack on a Syrranite encampment in the desert region known as The Forge that same year. T'Pol grieved upon her mother's death; following the death of Trip in 2161, she confessed to Archer that she missed her mother more as time went by. Her father is mentioned only briefly, in the episode Home.

T'Pol has no siblings, and the only other known "family member" is a pet sehlat she had as a child.

T'Pol was engaged to marry a Vulcan named Koss prior to the start of the Enterprise's mission, with the marriage scheduled for 2151 (about a week after the events of Breaking the Ice to be precise) but elected to delay her marriage indefinitely. The fourth season episode Home saw T'Pol having to deal with the consequences of her decision, when she chooses to marry Koss in order to save the reputation of her mother. She appears to be unaware that Trip has fallen in love with her (although in The Augments it is clear that she is beginning to realize his feelings). Prior to her marriage, she negotiated with Koss' family to defer the one-year Vulcan residence obligation required of newly-wed Vulcan females, in order that she could join Starfleet as a commissioned officer and stay aboard the Enterprise. Only a couple of months after their marriage, Koss released T'Pol from their marriage arrangement (effectively granting her a divorce) following the death of her mother. The marriage was officially annulled some weeks later (as per the episode Babel One).

In the episode Carbon Creek, set in the 1950s on Earth, T'Mir (T'Pol's great grandmother) was involved in an unplanned first contact mission in 1957 when her spacecraft crash landed on Earth. She and two crew members were forced to live among humans for several months, hiding their Vulcan identity. During her stay, T'Mir provided a patent office with a revolutionary method of adhering things -- Velcro, in order to raise college tuition money for a human teenager she had befriended. Although she admits to "telling a story," the episode ends with T'Pol privately producing an apparently cherished artifact of her great-grandmother: the purse into which T'Mir had placed her cash upon emerging from the patent office.

In the alternate time line seen in , T'Pol marries Trip and they have a son, Lorian, who becomes the captain of the Enterprise upon the death of Captain Archer. The fate of Lorian following the restoration of the time line is not known (the writers having left a door open for a later return by the popular character). In this same episode, T'Pol met an older version of herself (of age approximately 180 years). The fate of "Old T'Pol" is also unknown.

The fourth season episode Demons revealed that T'Pol had a six-month old daughter, the father being Trip. It was later learned that a terrorist group called Terra Prime had created the child by cloning a sample T'Pol and Trip's DNA, which had been stolen from the Enterprise. The cloning procedure, however, was improperly done, and the child — whom T'Pol named Elizabeth in honor of Trip's deceased sister — died soon after being rescued from the Mars facility where she was being held.

The existence of a psychic bond between T'Pol and Trip is revealed during the fourth season; no such psychic bond is indicated between T'Pol and Koss. The final episode, These Are the Voyages..., mentioned that T'Pol and Trip ended their relationship within a year of the events of Terra Prime. However, subsequent novels based on the series have retconned this, saying that the two are still involved with each other.

Mirror Universe

A two-part episode in the fourth season, "In a Mirror, Darkly", introduced a Mirror Universe version of T'Pol. This version is more cynical and openly emotional than her "real universe" counterpart, and is also openly sexually manipulative, particularly of Commander Tucker.

The Mirror Universe T'Pol underwent pon farr at some point in the recent past (it is not revealed if this was a natural occurrence or the result of the same virus affecting the "real universe" version of T'Pol in Bounty), and Trip mated with her in order to get her through it. Physically, she differs from her real universe counterpart in that she has long, blonde hair and, like other female officers in the Terran Empire, she wears a two-piece uniform with a bare midriff (although after transferring to the captured USS Defiant (NCC-1764), she adopts a TOS-style miniskirt uniform temporarily until she is able to obtain a more standard Empire uniform).

Mirror-T'Pol's mind meld abilities appear to be somewhat more advanced than those of her counterpart, as she is capable of placing a form of post-hypnotic suggestion into the minds of those with whom she melds; since the real universe T'Pol had only recently learned how to meld, it is unlikely she had yet achieved this level of melding proficiency. She also appears to be more emotional than her counterpart, showing open sarcasm and contempt for Archer, and is seen to either grin or snarl (depending on one's point of view) during a brief bout of hand-to-hand combat with Hoshi Sato.

Eventually, Mirror-T'Pol is forcibly transferred from the Defiant to the ISS Avenger when Jonathan Archer attempts to rid his ship of all alien crew members. T'Pol becomes convinced that Archer will never allow Vulcans to be equals, and tries to stop him from taking over the Empire. Mirror-T'Pol was inspired by reading the historical logs of our universe's Defiant, which revealed a universe where Humans, Vulcans, and other aliens lived as equals in a benevolent Federation. After recruiting the ISS Avenger's alien crew members to the rebellion, T'Pol is caught and interrogated by Archer. Her ultimate fate is not revealed; although both Archer and Hoshi Sato express a desire to have her executed following her interrogation, the Defiant immediately enters battle and this does not occur on screen.

During the episode's stated date of January 2155, T'Pol foreshadows future events, such as the fall of the Terran Empire after several centuries (which would be chronicled in the Mirror Universe episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.)

See also


  1. ^ Hinman, Michael (2001-08-08). "New Enterprise writers onboard". SyFy Portal (The SyUniverse Group). Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  2. ^ According to actress Jolene Blalock, the original "series bible" for Enterprise indicated that T'Pol was 67 years old at the time of Broken Bow.

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