Star Trek: Enterprise: Storm Front, Part II   Rewatch 
January 19, 2020 10:26 AM - Season 4, Episode 2 - Subscribe

[Season premiere; part 2 of 2] It's the end of the beginning of the end, as Archer fights time-traveling Nazi aliens with the help of an old enemy. Well, we don't really know how old he is, because time travel and shape-shifting. But anyway.

Remember this: Memory Alpha can erase you from history as if you never existed:

- The opening alternate timeline "newsreel," featured many images that were synthesized digitally; footage of Hitler in Paris for example, was digitally altered to remove the Eiffel Tower and put the Statue of Liberty behind him. Additionally, it also contained footage from the well-known Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. One clipping however, was not digitally altered, a seldom-seen actual 1930s meeting of the American Nazi Party. It depicts a Nazi rally before a stage bearing Nazi banners on either side of a full-body portrait of George Washington. This imagery was taken from the "Mass Demonstration for True Americanism" event, held by the German-American Bund, which occurred at Madison Square Garden, New York City, on 20 February 1939.

- The actor who performed Silik, John Fleck, appears here without his usual Suliban make-up. In fact, this is his only appearance throughout all his Star Trek appearances where he has not worn any facial prosthetics.

- This episode marks the death of Silik (John Fleck). However, as the timeline resets, it is possible that he, like Daniels, is still alive and well in the 22nd century.

- This episode marks the final appearances of Silik (John Fleck) and Daniels (Matt Winston) in the series.

- This is the final episode in the Temporal Cold War arc and the last Star Trek time travel episode where a member of the main cast travels though time.

"I think I've pinpointed where the timeline changed. Someone assassinated Lenin in 1916."
"Who took his place?"
"No one. So without Lenin, the Bolsheviks never gained power, Russia didn't become communist, and Germany never considered it a threat."
"Hitler was able to concentrate on the West."
"Yeah. After France, Belgium and the Netherlands fell. Hitler quickly took England, and then the eastern United States."

- Reed and Captain Archer

"You've proven a worthy opponent, captain. I would've preferred to die fighting you, but I suppose I can settle for this."

- Silik, to Archer, as the Suliban breathes his last

"It's quite a sight. The timeline's resetting itself. You did it. Vosk is dead. He didn't make it back. All the damage he caused, it never happened."
"And you're here to give me a pat on the back."
"In a way."
"Well, I don't want it. I want you to leave me and my crew alone. We're done with you and your damn Temporal Cold War."
"It's coming to an end because of what you did. You have no idea how many lives you've saved."
"I'll take your word for it. Just send us home."
"It's almost ready. Goodbye, Jonathan. Captain. It's been a privilege."

- Daniels and Archer

Poster's Log:

Well, this episode was fairly non-suspenseful for one that had a fair bit of action in it; I don't think that there was that much doubt about the outcome, even if the Na'kuhl did have a decent amount of defenses with the force field, plasma cannons, and the ray-gun-armed Stukas. (On the one hand, the episode did do a good job of setting up the Stuka squadron with the previous discussions between the German general and Vosk, before revealing exactly what they were; on the other, Reed knew a surprising amount of information about the historical Stukas, although if anyone on board would...)

The main point of the episode seems to be to clear the board for S4; the Xindi-Expanse arc of last season isn't mentioned except by implication with the still-heavily-damaged Enterprise and Silik remarking that Archer has changed, something that will be discussed in more depth in the next episode. In the second volume of The Fifty-Year Mission, the cast and crew seem pretty happy to have finally ditched the Temporal Cold War for good. It's interesting that Silik, who had been their primary enemy, or at least the primary named one (we never did find out who the mysterious humanoid figure was...), ended up being so important to their defeat of the Na'kuhl--Archer clearly couldn't have infiltrated the facility without him. (Speaking of The Fifty-Year Mission, another interesting tidbit of information is that Rick Berman had suggested that the entire fourth season should have been the crew fighting alternate WWII; Manny Coto simply refused to even consider that, thankfully. It's similar to the proposal described earlier in the book where the showrunners for VOY were considering having that ship's crew spend an entire season in late 1990s LA, which eventually became the two-parter "Future's End", also about the entire ship being transported to the past and fighting someone whose plans threatened all of time.)

Poster's Log, supplemental: There's a big unanswered question in the episode--who shot Lenin--but we can probably assume that it was one of the other unnamed and really unnumbered factions in the TCW. Silik mentions that the Na'kuhl tried to wipe them out as well. I'm still a little disappointed that we didn't see anyone from the time-traveling 29th century Federation as seen in VOY (in the above-mentioned "Future's End" and also "Relativity"). I also wonder how Earth would have turned out with an entire alternate timeline based on this episode's continuity, although we don't know if that's even possible, given Trek's confused approach to time travel, attempts to rationalize and unify it notwithstanding.
posted by Halloween Jack (9 comments total)
 
One minor gripe: Archer's communicator conveniently not working during Silik's big death scene, because of "ionic interference"? DUUUUMB. Dumber than the similar VOY excuse they went to all the time—radiogenic something or other? I mean, Vosk communicated with Enterprise just fine. Not to mention that the big alien weapon was charging at that moment—they could've said it was ambient interference from THAT.

The main point of the episode seems to be to clear the board for S4; the Xindi-Expanse arc of last season isn't mentioned except by implication with the still-heavily-damaged Enterprise and Silik remarking that Archer has changed, something that will be discussed in more depth in the next episode.

Yeah, there's something a little strange in how they spent all of last season on the Xindi, so after beating them, we would naturally expect some sort of TNG "Family"-ish episode (IIRC, the next one is sort of that), rather than another huge immediate crisis. It's an odd and awkward flow for the overall story, one I can't think of other precedent for outside of (arguably) TOS or its films.

That said, I was satisfied by the actiony stuff here, and I found that the character of Silik finally seemed to have some dimension. I loved his dismissive attitude toward the mafiosos.

I'm still a little disappointed that we didn't see anyone from the time-traveling 29th century Federation as seen in VOY (in the above-mentioned "Future's End" and also "Relativity"). I also wonder how Earth would have turned out with an entire alternate timeline based on this episode's continuity, although we don't know if that's even possible, given Trek's confused approach to time travel, attempts to rationalize and unify it notwithstanding.

Hah, nice callback to my DTI thing. But yes, this COULD have been more than two episodes, given the storytelling opportunities that the hook introduces; the reason it wasn't is clearly, as you noted above, "clearing the board"—a feeling I had when I first saw this 2-parter and knew almost nothing about the behind-the-scenes details. In fact, I think what really hurts the suspense of this 2-parter, moreso this one, is the combination of that "let's wrap up the Temporal Cold War pronto" feeling and the metaknowledge that these timeline changes are so colossal that it's gonna take a wave of Daniels' magic wand to get the show back on track (absent a decision as bold as DISCO season three's, which was never gonna happen on ENT).

There's a big unanswered question in the episode--who shot Lenin

Obviously, it was a time-travelling Natima Lang.

Speaking of The Fifty-Year Mission, another interesting tidbit of information is that Rick Berman had suggested that the entire fourth season should have been the crew fighting alternate WWII; Manny Coto simply refused to even consider that, thankfully. It's similar to the proposal described earlier in the book where the showrunners for VOY were considering having that ship's crew spend an entire season in late 1990s LA, which eventually became the two-parter "Future's End", also about the entire ship being transported to the past and fighting someone whose plans threatened all of time.

I haven't gotten that far in Volume 2 yet; yikes. I can't help but suspect budgetary motives.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:10 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


I'm sure that lack of money was a big motivator. Various elements of the franchise have cut corners as much as they possibly could; TOS reused the same shots of the Enterprise circling planets and the shuttlecraft taking off, and any number of populated planets (including those isolated from all other cultures) used the same distinctive doorways that were shaped like the cross-section of a Lava Lamp. Sometimes they even became running jokes, as with the replica of the "oscillation overthruster" prop from Buckaroo Banzai that kept turning up in different Trek episodes. And, of course, any opportunity to shoot on a pre-existing set--western, street set, whatever--was way less costly than making up yet another alien culture from scratch. (UPN's love of stand-alone episodes contributed to the budget drain, of course.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:13 AM on January 20


First, to get it out of the way: The plasma cannons on the Stuka squadron planes sounded ridiculous. squirt squirt squirt squirt squirt squirt squirt squirt squirt

The weird part of doing this two-episode arc to start the season is it gives absolutely no idea what this season is going to be about. Mission over: now we do the Federation? I can't imagine that would be an entire season. P.S. I don't actually remember anything from this season, so this maybe will be fun? Or drag on with baddie-of-the-weeks like most series do about this point?

Still don't think an end of the Temporal Cold War was necessary. Considering we basically tossed it away last season, seems like if anybody cared, they could have just have Daniels show up and be like "Turns out taking out the baddies in the last season also ended the TCW. Don't ask me how." Especially since they didn't even really take this time to explain what it was or what it was all about.

But it was fun, lots well done action sequences, and I guess it was nice that Silik got a curtain call.
posted by General Malaise at 12:23 PM on January 20


General: not to worry. Season 4 seems to generally be considered better than the others. Much better, in the eyes of at least some, myself included (IIRC).
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:00 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Since I've caught up, I have been watching these episodes with my SO, usually after we watch something else that turns out to be bad, or good-but-depressing. This show really shines as a palate cleanser! It's really kind of amazing.

As a result, I think I'm watching the show way less critically. There's not a lot I can say about this two-parter. It reminded my of the Scourging of the Shire, maybe an effective way of ramping down the drama, and maybe NOT writing a tedious hero's homecoming. If they start next episode "two months later" and Trip's halfway through his beach tour, we won't feel like we missed something.

Silik's "worthy adversary" demise was corny as heck and not really earned... a strange generic send-off that really didn't give any closure to all the stuff Silik believed or was trying to do, as far as I can remember. It was fun, though, so whatever.

I suppose it would have been funnier if the Vulcans did get involved and they were like, "Wow time travel exists, the Vulcan Science Directorate is arguing about this right now this is going to change everything!" and we see T'Pol's deadpan reaction as then the timeline resets and none of that happened.

Though, I guess if you know time travel is real, but you also know that the best way to avoid your civilization getting derailed by timefuckery (like the Xindi did) is to make sure all your scientists firmly believe time travel is impossible.
posted by fleacircus at 10:07 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Still don't think an end of the Temporal Cold War was necessary.

I've always thought that it had a lot more possibility than that of having some shape-shifting, cloaking aliens skulking around the ceilings of the NX-01. They could have even brought it back in some form later on by saying that, well, the thing about time travel is that nothing ever really ends, even if you make it so that it never existed in the first place.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:45 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I've watched this 2-parter several times and it still doesn't make any sense to me. I think they could have made Daniels and his "It's coming to an end..." speech the teaser and then skipped ahead to a totally different story. I don't think the audience was invested enough in the Temporal Cold War to need to spend two episodes resolving it with whatever this was. Fortunately, it all gets better from here!
posted by Servo5678 at 4:39 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


This is the final episode in the Temporal Cold War arc and the last Star Trek time travel episode where a member of the main cast travels though time.

Surely this is no longer the case given Star Trek Discovery season 2, right?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:15 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


General: not to worry. Season 4 seems to generally be considered better than the others. Much better, in the eyes of at least some, myself included (IIRC).

Me three. The beginning of the fourth season was the first time since DS9’s autumnal years that I (as a contemporary viewer whose fandom ran back to childhood-era TOS syndication viewings) actually began kind of looking forward to watching Trek again. The reference above to Coto clearing the decks is apt: suddenly it ceased being a vaguely Roddenberry show (like Andromeda with occasional mentions of Klingons) to being Star Trek again. The fourth season of Enterprise is to this day the only boxed set of Star Trek I have ever bought.

Really, arriving at a nominally Star Trek show and realizing you have to find a way to write your way out of an actual cliffhanger about time-travelling alien space Nazis...
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:37 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


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