Archer and his Suliban nemesis meet once again.
When the Enterprise comes in contact with an alien vessel
transporting stargazers to observe a spectacular stellar event,
Archer invites them aboard the ship not realizing that Silik, a
Suliban enemy, is among them. Archer quickly realizes that Silik is
engaged in a nefarious time-travelling mission and must stop him
before he can tamper with the course of history.
C.A. Voigts' "A View From The
Shuttlecraft" Enterprise Episode
Night of the Killer Androids - who picked that movie?
Is this the 22nd century version of Night of the Living Dead?
You would think with all the improvements in life on Earth, the
movies would be improved as well. I guess some parts of human nature
take even longer to change.
It was quite the nice plot twist that Silik was there to save the
ship. It gave Archer a nice little personal conflict to
resolve, though it didn’t take him long to do it. The whole
episode has opened the door (even though Archer thought he had it
sealed) for more visitors from the future to come leaping into the
life of Archer and the crew of the Enterprise. After all, do we know
that Daniels was really killed or just taken out of this time
Ramblings: Again, small details were paid attention to.
Things we needed to know were explained in a natural way. Even
the name of the episode was worked in nicely. The loss of Daniels’
devices was logical and fitted into the story. I do wonder what use
Daniels’ sensors will be put to - after all, they were not
destroyed. The little touches of humor throughout an otherwise
dramatic episode were nicely inserted. Using Porthos to
indicate the presence of Silik in Archer’s quarters was well done.
While T’Pol plays a great devil’s advocate when it comes to
arguing the existence of time travel, I find it hard to believe that
Vulcans would dismiss the possibility so out of hand. There are many
things that are not logical that still exists. Someone should tell
Vulcans about bumblebees. I liked the way Daniels, and later
Captain Archer, were able to pass through the bulkheads and
conduits, though it did remind me of a certain admiral in another
show. Malcolm sounds as if he will be a major player in developing
future Starfleet policy. Nice bridge scene with Hoshi & Travis.
Malcolm has a great tag line! This cast is really getting to be
masters of the throwaway line.
Good lines: There’s a difference between keeping an
open mind and believing something because you want it to be true.
Wizard’s First Rule? Pleased to meet you. What do you want?
In one of his first interviews, Scott Bakula was asked if he had
any sort of tag line, such as “Beam me up” or “Make it so.”
So far, it seems to be a variation of “What’s the problem?”
What does this rating mean?
C. A. Voigts
Copyright 2001, C. A. Voigts. All rights reserved, but feel free to
ask... This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any
off-net compilation without due attribution and *express written
consent of the author*.
Laurie's No-Nonsense Review
The Suliban are back! Remember them from the first episode? They
were bald with weird skin and they could slide under doors and see
in the dark because they were genetically enhanced. They still look
cool but I'm not quite clear what their agenda is. The whole episode
was kind of confusing, to be honest, and even though I enjoyed it a
lot, I kept thinking of ways to make it better.
The whole thing was that this Suliban had sneaked on board and
apparently saved the ship by altering one of the conduits to prevent
an explosion that was about to happen. He was sent on some mission
by his people, but they didn't make it very clear as to what it was,
except that it had something to do with making up for failing in his
mission to destroy the Klingon empire. In the meantime, this crewman
named Daniels who was serving Captain Archer his breakfast every
morning turned out to be a time traveler from 900 years in the
future, and he asked Archer to help him find the Suliban, because
Sulibans are bad. Eventually Archer got locked in his cabin with the
Suliban, who said that they had it wrong, that Daniels was the bad
guy and he (Mr. Suliban) had been sent back to stop him from
changing history. Instead of having this cool scene of trying to
figure out which time traveler is telling the truth, Archer
instantly sided with Daniels.
The Suliban guy killed Daniels and stole the magic holographic
map device thingy that Daniels used to prove his case to Archer, he
called it a "temporal observatory". Archer tracked down
the Suliban, destroyed the device, and nearly got sucked through a
cargo hatch out into space.
All of that was very action-packed, but I still didn't understand
what the Suliban guy was doing there in the first place. And T'Pol
had one good moment when she wasn't sure that they should trust
Daniels, but spent the rest of the episode posing and pouting as
usual. She doesn't act like a Vulcan, she doesn't speak like one,
and she doesn't dress like one. She's all pouting lips and jutting
breasts, it's a little silly. They really need to find a reason to
put her in a less ridiculous uniform.
I liked the time travel idea, though, and T'Pol's reason for
questioning Daniels was dead-on: why didn't he come in one more day
earlier, so he could prevent whatever the Suliban was going to do? I
always ask that. I just kept thinking they could have done a better
job with it. I should try to be more grateful that there were a
whole bunch of new aliens who were neither Vulcans nor Klingons, who
had spiky boney heads and brought gifts and a goofy language they
used to chant at the "plume", some kind of space
phenomenon. But if they'd just added a BIT of a debate about which
time traveler was telling the truth, and maybe given a a more
specific evil motivation for the Suliban guy, it would have been a
lot more fun.
(FYI: Tonight's show was directed by Robert Duncan McNeill,
Voyager's Tom Paris.)
Land of Laurie
Timothy Lynch's Enterprise Episode Review
WARNING: If spoilers for ENT's "Cold Front" make you
shiver, then you'd best be advised to avoid this article.
In brief: Best of the season so far.
====== "Cold Front" Enterprise Season 1, Episode 10
Written by Stephen Beck & Tim Finch Directed by Robert Duncan
McNeill Brief summary: The "Temporal Cold War" heats up
when Suliban agent Silik arrives on the Enterprise. ======
Back when "Broken Bow" first aired, I considered the
"temporal cold war" angle the show raised to be a somewhat
mixed bag: it certainly opened up the field for potentially
interesting stories, but it also opened up the field to throw any
and all established Trek lore out the window just for the sake of an
individual episode. Up until now, there hasn't been a chance to see
which avenue the series might wind up following, since the war
apparently hasn't involved our characters at all.
With "Cold Front," that changed -- and so far, I'm
pleased to say that the positives are far outweighing the negatives.
One can certainly argue that in part, that's because nothing
"historical" has actually been threatened of yet ... but a
lot of the strength of this episode, at least, is more due to some
intentional, and surprising, ambiguity on the part of the writers.
That ambiguity, simply put, is that so far we don't really know
who to believe. "Crewman" Daniels is certainly presented
as the more sympathetic character (probably in part because he
*looks* like a good guy, as opposed to the more snakelike Silik),
but he rarely gives any sort of straight answer to Archer and Trip,
and Silik's claim that Daniels' group is merely "another
faction" in the war rather than a set of above-the-fray
"good guys" is left utterly unanswered. Do I honestly
think that the Suliban and their mysterious benefactor are on the
side of the angels in the war? No. Do I think it's possible that
neither side is particularly interested in the 22nd century for its
own sake, or particularly interested in preserving history? Yes,
very much so -- and as I didn't expect the waters to be this muddy
this early, that's a pleasant surprise.
(Of course, it's arguable that I simply *want* to see this
ambiguity where it doesn't exist -- after all, T'Pol chastises Trip
for much the same reason at one point. However, even given my likely
bias towards John Fleck's nice performance, I still think the
The episode was also effective in the way it kept the characters
in the dark. We knew from the outset that Silik and the Suliban were
going to be involved; they're the only characters that appear in the
teaser, after all. (Said teaser has to be one of the shortest on
record, by the way -- a whopping 37 seconds.) However, the
Enterprise crew isn't on their guard, and doesn't even have a clue
that the Suliban are around -- the first Archer hears of it is when
Daniels comes and finds him, more than a third of the way into the
show. Letting the viewers figure something out ahead of the
characters can be risky, as you risk making the characters look like
idiots -- but simply letting the viewers in on something before
letting it all play out can be very effective, and it was here.
Rather than worrying about the Suliban, the Enterprise crew are
off trying to ingratiate themselves with the locals, stopping by a
stellar nursery to say hello. (Just once I'd love to see someone
tell them, "Hey, we're in the middle of filming something and
you're blocking the shot -- bugger off!" but that could just be
a symptom of having spent eleven years in Los Angeles.) It turns out
that the one of the protostars sends off a flare of sorts at regular
intervals, and this "Plume of Aggasoria" is considered a
sacred event in some cultures. Naturally, Archer invites some of the
pilgrims aboard ... and one of them is a disguised Silik.
Rather than hopping into the crisis straightaway, we then see
Archer giving a tour, which while potentially frustrating from a
plot standpoint actually allows for some of the most natural
character interactions we've seen in a while. Reed leaves Mayweather
in command for a few minutes, and Hoshi immediately coaxes him into
trying out the captain's chair. A bit childish? Sure. In character
for two relatively green ensigns, at least one of whom is quite
young? Absolutely -- and true to form, as soon as Travis is sitting
in the chair he can't resist playing with some of the captain's
toys. Hell, it's probably what I'd do. :-) Phlox, meanwhile, takes a
substantial interest into the pilgrims' beliefs, and the pilgrims in
turn ask Archer where he stands on the question of faith. Those
moments, along with other ones like everyone grousing about the
horrible movie shown the previous night, really help an awful lot to
make these characters seem like people rather than caricatures or
plot points. More, please.
(The one exception, perhaps, is Trip's "lecture" in
engineering which is interrupted when he realizes he's talking to
experts. It turned the image of these pilgrims as simple people on
its head, perhaps, but the volumes and volumes of technobabble
blunted the edge.)
In any event, soon afterwards a plasma storm causes an antimatter
cascade, and Enterprise is only saved from annihilation by Silik's
earlier act of sabotage. Apart from the really cheesy effect the
cascade had on ship's systems (panel after panel blowing up in a
shower of sparks -- yes, yes, move along), this did a nice job of
making Archer and Trip wonder who their reluctant savior was, while
making us all wonder, "Silik *saved* the ship? What the
Daniels' big "revelation" scene to Archer could easily
have come off as a lump of exposition, but generally managed to
avoid that, primarily by *not* telling us anything. Daniels doesn't
know who Silik's working for (or claims not to), but knows they're
from a time that predates his own -- that still gives a timespan of
several centuries to play with, so these could be people concurrent
with "modern" 24th-century Trek, or it could be a
civilization well past that time. Daniels is human ("more or
less"), but says as little as possible about the actual
organization he represents. The only thing we, and Archer, can
definitely be sure of is that Daniels wants Archer's help in
stopping Silik. My suspicions were certainly roused here, but I
might well have done the same things Archer did: decide to help, but
check with some of the crew first.
Trip's and T'Pol's reactions are about what you might expect:
Trip's fascinated by the idea of talking to someone from another
time, looking for some inside dirt on the immediate future and any
information about Earth 900 years hence. (Daniels' "that
depends on how you define Earth" is a beautiful throwaway line,
though it's one I suspect we won't see followed up for a long time,
if ever.) T'Pol, meanwhile, is profoundly skeptical of Daniels'
claims, saying that Vulcan science has never seen any hint of time
travel. I'm ever so slightly skeptical about that -- given that Kirk
seemed to come across means of time travel every six months or so,
you'd think the Vulcans would've found *something* by now -- but can
buy it for the moment. (It's also possible that T'Pol is keeping
that knowledge hidden, or that some of the Vulcans know about it and
Once Daniels gives his side and Archer reluctantly starts
searching for Silik, Silik beats Archer to the punch by waiting for
him in his quarters. Silik looks like he's being groomed as a very
personal nemesis for Archer, and I'm not entirely certain I like
that -- after all, the last time we saw someone become an
Arch-Nemesis it only came about by ripping Gul Dukat's
characterization to shreds -- but for now, both characters and
actors seem to be playing off one another nicely. The fact that it
really *wasn't* clear where Silik stood this time was a big plus --
he was an antagonist this time, but not necesarily a villain. (He
never, for instance, made any serious effort to kill Archer, even in
the heat of battle.)
Once Silik breaks into engineering and kills Daniels, the rest of
the show is pretty much action through and through, but meaningful
and very well-directed action. Archer uses the walk-through-walls
McGuffin Daniels left behind to pursue Silik through the ship, and
after various fights decides that while he won't kill Silik
directly, he also won't let Silik take Daniels' information back
with him, and destroys the information. (An obvious solution,
perhaps, but nicely shown.) Silik's final escape plan took full
advantage of what we knew about the Suliban: he opens a shuttle bay
to space and dives out into vacuum, guiding himself ever so slightly
towards his escape pod. Only Silik could get away with doing that,
and the whole scene made the Suliban far more impressive than they
were the first time around. (It would've been a *huge* shock had the
preview not already spoiled it, too. Hmph.)
Did the heroes win? Not really -- the immediate threat was
resolved, but they know almost nothing more than they did before,
their one alleged connection to the Good Future Guys is dead, and
they have every reason to believe that they might be targeted at
some future date. Not very reassuring to them, perhaps, but
definitely indicative of a long-term story ahead for the show, which
is generally a good sign.
-- If Daniels *was* legit, he missed a better way to get his
point across. When Archer muses that he hasn't heard of any
organization doing what Daniels does, my immediate reaction was,
"Yes, and if we do our jobs correctly no one *should* ever hear
about us." Daniels' "That's because it hasn't been
invented yet" is probably true, but glib.
-- Okay, technically once the air left the launch bay during
Silik's escape we shouldn't be able to hear Archer banging around on
the catwalk, but I'm willing to give that the benefit of the doubt
-- and the generally lousy shape he was in afterwards was a welcome
-- For a change, all the guest characters seemed well-sketched as
well. Captain Fraddock wasn't exactly three-dimensional, but
certainly came off as not much more than a neutral party in all this
... and Prah Mantoos, the main pilgrim, felt extremely sympathetic.
There's not much cause to see him again, but I wouldn't mind.
-- Dr. Phlox's eagerness to embrace the rituals surrounding the
Plume of Aggasoria felt like something which could eventually
rebound on him -- the danger of wanting to try everything is that
eventually you try something that's probably none too good for you.
I'll be interested to see if this goes somewhere.
-- For an instant, when we closed on the shot of Daniels'
quarters I thought we were going to see some Spooky Evidence [TM] of
something else going on. I'm glad I was wrong.
-- Speaking of which, how many of you think Daniels really *is*
gone for good? I wouldn't put money on it, but I suspect we might
see him again.
That pretty much covers things. "Cold Front" is a nice
way to head into rerun season, and a good way to whet appetites for
the rest of the season -- if nothing else, it's guaranteed to spark
a lot of conversation. Sounds like a plan to me!
So, wrapping up:
Writing: Very few false notes -- I'd like to have seen a little
more of Daniels before he died, but very solid overall. Directing:
Slow spots were few and far between -- well paced and well
presented. Acting: No complaints.
OVERALL: 9.5 -- it didn't blow me through the wall, so I have to
hold off on the 10 ... but very, very good work.
NEXT WEEK: Reruns, for several weeks. See you all in January.
Tim Lynch (Castilleja School, Science Department) email@example.com
<*> "And you didn't grow up in Illinois?" "Oh,
I'm from a place called Illinois, sir -- just not the one you're
familiar with." "It's good to know Earth'll still be
around in 900 years." "That depends on how you define
Earth." "Beg your pardon?" -- Trip and Daniels --
Copyright 2001, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free
to ask... This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in
any off-net compilation without due attribution and *express written
consent of the author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors,
Where to Watch - Local channels and
VHS, Laserdisc and DVD availability.
Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief Engineer Charles Tucker III
Jolene Blalock as Sub-commander T'Pol
Dominic Keating as Lt. Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery as
Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox
John Fleck as Silik
Matt Winston as Daniels
Michael O’Hagan as Captain Fraddock
Joseph Hindy as Prah Mantoos
Leonard Kelly-Young as Sonsorra
Director: Robert Duncan McNeill
Teleplay by: Steve Beck & Tim Finch