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Storm Front, part 2

original airdate: 10-15-04

Developing the Star Trek prequel was a tricky thing. Enterprise takes place 150 years before Kirk and Spock sailed through the final frontier. And while no previous episode of any shows has ever mentioned the fate of Captain Archer and his crew, there are still certain things we know never happened. Like Earth blowing up, or the Vulcans dying off or the Klingons conquering humanity.

The inherent nature of a prequel show makes for a less dramatic series. Earth can never be in danger, a plot used in almost every Star Trek film. How can you write jeopardy into an episode when the audience already knows the outcome?

Time travel.

The very pilot of Enterprise rewrote Star Trek history. The first voyage of the NX-01 became a battle ground for the Temporal Cold War. Over the past three years we’ve watched Temporal Agents pop in and out of the time line, trying to muck up history for their own good. Enterprise spent all of season three trying to stop a temporal faction from erasing mankind from the timeline.

The Temporal Cold War is as much a part of Enterprise as the ship, its captain and the aliens. And now in the second episode of season four they claim it has come to a close.

The season opener revealed a Temporal Faction was trapped on Earth in the 1940’s. They allied themselves with the Germans and had swung World War II into the favor of the Axis powers. The alien-powered Nazis had conquered Europe and now are working on the eastern borders of the U.S.

This is some cool Star Trek. In the second part of "Storm Front," Archer calls upon the aid of Alicia Travers in a plot twist that smells an awful lot like Star Trek: First Contact. Picard journeyed back in time to a pinnacle mucked up moment in history and teamed up with timeline native Lily Sloane.

Unlike Picard, however, Archer also met up with some former Brooklyn gangsters. After the U.S. backed out of New York and the rest of the east coast, the criminal element was about all that was left for the Germans to conquer.

The opening old-fashioned newsreel before the Enterprise theme song sums this up nicely. Watching Hitler take a ‘tour’ of Lady Liberty and Washington DC is like watching someone throwing up. It’s horrific but you can’t turn your eyes.

Star Trek has always stretched the imagination of its viewers. But Enterprise connects with themes like no other show has since the original Trek. It’s actually mind boggling to consider aliens aiding Nazis and owning New York. The concept alone sounds rather goofy – but Enterprise pulls it off.

To correct this nightmare, Archer eventually teams up with Silik, the Suliban leader who has been tailing Enterprise since its first adventure. The Suliban are 23rd century operatives, enhanced by 31st century technology. Silik and others can morph their bodies, survive in space and cling to ceilings.

All these techniques were used by Silik to take the place of Tripp. But true to Enterprise form, Dr. Phlox makes the discovery, but not a big deal. Subtly he alerts Captain Archer, who plays it cool. And after a quick game of cat and mouse, they capture Silik on board. But the thirty seconds of intrigue and mystery is what fuels Enterprise. They don’t hand the audience the answers. They make us wait for it. That’s craft. It shows their patience and expert direction, writing and acting. Little tiny almost unnoticed details separate this show from any other.

Archer and Silik agree their common enemy is the aliens aiding the Nazis. So Silik dresses up as a human (still played by the same actor, John Fleck), and the gangsters cover them as they rush into the alien’s facility. Then Silik’s IQ drops about four thousand points when he turns his back on a Nazi and is rewarded with a body filled with holes.

Here’s a villain who is cunning enough to appear on Enterprise’s viewscreen for four seasons, and he’s taken down by some unknown kid with a gun. Even Silik doesn’t agree with his fate and tells Archer he’d preferred to be killed by him.

But thanks to Silik’s efforts, Archer and Enterprise are able to destroy the alien compound and magically restore history. Lt. Daniels stands with the Captain in a corridor of time and explains the Temporal War, both hot and cold, is now over.


How can the Temporal War be over? The very thread of the entire series ripped from its seam! To eliminate the continual story line of the Temporal War is about as sensible as eliminating the Wormhole Aliens from Deep Space Nine. Those aliens bookended the entire show. And while at times their presence seemed to confuse things they ended up giving the series its purpose.

All last season I asked which cast member would be leaving Enterprise. Instead of a character, the essential Temporal Cold War has been written off. This makes little sense. There are still numerous strands dangling from this storyline.

Season four promises to have several two or three part stories. In a few weeks Brent Spiner (formerly Data) will make an appearance. But mark my words. They can’t kill off the Temporal Cold War. It would be like yanking the very heart of the show from its chest. And not in a poetic Klingon sort of way.

It’ll be back. It’s just a matter of time…

Kevin Miller

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