Silent Enemy
airdate 12-18-02

Perhaps it was the plot, or aliens, or the five week break between new episodes, but one thing is for certain: Enterprise has hit the new year with a great powerful stride.

Typically a Trek series' first season is very weak. The first year of The Next Generation was filled with weird episodes, taking place on indoor studio planets. Deep Space Nine's first year was enough to put a Bolian to sleep. And Voyager - well . . . its hard to say. The first season looked an awful lot like the last season. Except for the Borg sex icon, Seven of Nine. But let's let sleeping Bolians lie.

With Silent Enemy we may not need to wait until season two to see some quality episodes.

Everything about this episode felt stronger. T'Pol, who spent a lot of time in the first five weeks discouraging the crew and getting in the Captain's way, was rather helpful, and colored the Trek mythos with some interesting Vulcan history.

Hoshi's search for Reed's favorite food was a little bizarre, but it produced the funniest scene since the series began.

The technology gap closed slightly. Enterprise has been spending a lot of energy making the science fiction of the original Star Trek look like something that could happen in the next few hundred years. The Enterprise herself doesn't have shields, or a super powered warp reactor, or a convenient holodeck. And before Silent Enemy she didn't have phasers. On every other Trek, phasers where just these magical beams of red light that would stretch from a ship and blow things up. This episode we saw what a phase cannon actually looks like.

The aliens were creepy. And very cool. And creepy.

Even the musical score was more pronounced. On Star Trek there were cymbal crashes and long horns. On the first few episodes of ST:TNG that over-dramatic theme was replicated. But by the third season (and in every following series) the music only came into play during grand episodes. Like when Picard was taken over by the Borg, or during the Dominion War, or when Neelix dropped the soup. The score for Enterprise wasn't intrusive to the story, and it flowed right through the action.

Next week's episode looks rather depressing, apparently dealing with a planet of dying people. Maybe Silent Enemy was an attempt to rope fans back in after taking five weeks off, and then it's business as usual. But UPN continues to boast five new episodes back to back. Maybe this week was their raising the bar as far as quality goes, and every episode for the rest of the season will be as entertaining.

Now excuse me while I explain to the editors what a Bolian is.

Kevin Miller

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