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On TV Today's Date:

Cold Station 12
original airdate: 11-05-04

If you tune into your local UPN affiliate at almost any time, you’re likely to hear a teaser inviting you to watch the “Enterprise epic” continue. With so much noise about it, you’d think it was a mini-series as memorable as Roots. Though Roots and Star Trek do have LeVar "Kunta LaForge" Burton in common, instead we've got Brent Spiner, the actor formerly known as Data. And this week he returns for part two of the three part “epic” which will not end with the Civil War.

Structurally, “Cold Station 12” is the second act, where all the juicy thick meat of a story usually cooks. But, like its title, this episode runs a little cold. Rather disappointing after last week’s lip-smackin’ episode. “Borderland” wove numerous plot lines together in a seamless story. This week felt more like a stalling point before the conclusion.

Cold Station 12 (or “C12” if you wanna be cool) is the convenient home of incredibly deadly biological materials. They’ve got everything on a terrorist’s wish list.

• Thousands of genetically enhanced embryos
• Countless deadly pathogens
• All housed in a facility with no offensive weapons

The only thing going for C12 is that it’s buried deep inside an asteroid, a problem which Soong and his Augment children quickly fly around by commandeering a Denobulan shuttle. But the laughable security issues are only a fraction of the problems with "C12."

First of all, why in the universe would mankind store all of the killer embryos from the Eugenics War on an asteroid far beyond their solar system and thus, their ability to protect it? Second, why would they also store a micro-biological zoo of the galaxy’s worst known viruses, plagues and diseases at the SAME facility? Third, what would a team of scientists be researching on this death-station?

Maybe they’re the real terrorists. It would explain the series of disease release chambers in their main lab. Whatever their real use, the chambers make excellent killers for Soong to use on his hostages. And that, unfortunately, is why the chambers are there.

The concept of a station like C12 is a cool one. But it doesn’t fit in with the current time line. By Kirk’s time it’s believable that such a station would exist. But with Archer captaining the only human warp 5 ship, it just doesn’t add up. And, unfortunately ”Cold Station 12” is a poor example of Enterprise’s budget cuts. The main lab and the pathogen chambers should’ve at least looked like two different sets.

This episode did, however, put a face on Dr. Lucas, Dr. Phlox’s pen pal since the first season. Richard Riehle appeared on a few episodes of Voyager, but he doesn’t quite seem right for this part. That is, until he’s forced to watch his colleague die in the disease chamber. The scene is both gripping and horrific, and Riehle holds it together.

Sorry, we’re here to talk about the second coming of Spiner.

Soong’s character is one of the most complex people to ever appear in a Star Trek show. He’s almost… human! He makes mistakes. He believes Lucas’ lie about not having the embryo access codes. He has honest emotional reactions to his “children’s” choices to kill each other. After all the unnecessary hype, one thing is true: watching Brent Spiner’s character is a treat.

Hopefully next week’s conclusion will actually be “epic.”

Kevin Miller

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