6/25/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Cold Front"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E11
Air Date: November 28, 2001
Written by: Stephen Beck & Tim Finch
Directed by: Robert Duncan McNeill

Premise
While religious pilgrims board the Enterprise to view the Great Plume of Agosoria, Archer learns a little bit more about the Temporal Cold War.

Review
We open on Silik, the Suliban who almost killed Archer earlier, meeting with the shadowy figure behind the time distortion field who orders that Silik get some of his abilities taken away. As you can imagine, Silik  is a little bit upset by this. I can't imagine why he screams so loud when the drill runs so closely to his eye. The shadowy figure is adamant, though, that since Silik failed in killing Klaang, and since the Klingons are still at peace (or whatever is the Klingon equivilant) it's time for a new mission. It's time to take his face... off...
And then he went back in time and ruined Nick Cage's career
And then we meet Crewman Daniels who is almost certainly a guaranteed redshirt. His uniform even has red trim this time. He brings breakfast to Captain Archer and explains that he's taken another crewman's shift. Then he asks some questions that are quite vital to the exposition of the plot. Were it not for the fact that Daniels does something pretty important later on, this would have been the absolute worst scene ever. As it stands, their conversation is really uninteresting and seemingly pointless. Seemingly.

Also pointless is a rather awkward moment when Mayweather is temporarily given command of the bridge and Sato convinces him to sit in the captain's chair? Do we need this scene? I mean, it's mildly humorous, but...

The real story begins when, on the way to a stellar nursery, the Enterprise encounters a transport ship piloted by a surly alien individual who says he's carrying a load of religious pilgrims. And, of course, Archer wants to meet these guys. As the Enterprise's mission is to initiate peaceful relations with alien cultures, the good captain invites the pilgrims aboard. This is where we learn exactly how much of a nerd Phlox is. While studying Earth religions, he practiced several different religious observances and was quite excited to learn a new one.
And I never had a proper girlfriend until I was 35 Earth-years old
While Archer takes the pilgrims on a tour, Enterprise runs into a bit of a plasma storm. They are assured it's normal and that everything should be fine. It should pass soon. So, obviously, nothing will be fine and it will last forever. Luckily, someone had the foresight to unplug an antimatter conduit, or else an antimatter cascade caused by the plasma storm would have destroyed Enterprise completely.

This is where Daniels crops back up. AND WHEN THINGS GET AWESOME.

Crewman Daniels pulls Captain Archer aside and explains that he's not actually a member of Starfleet. HE'S AN AGENT FROM THE FUTURE! He's been monitoring the 22nd century as it appears to be an important front in the Temporal Cold War. This, my friends, is the kind of thing I live for. This will be the storyline that glues me to whatever horribleness Enterprise can throw my way. Daniels says that when time travel was developed it became clear that rules should be made. And as soon as rules were made, people tried to break them. And that was the beginning of the Temporal Cold War. Silik is the foot soldier of a bad-guy agent and Daniels, who is from a farther advanced future, is a good-guy agent.

The best part? Daniels explains all of this wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff while turning his own quarters into a holodeck using a tiny futuristic device!
Yeah, it's pretty cool, but it keeps dropping my calls.
Well, now Silik is called out. He's the one who saved the Enterprise, but, apparently, his intentions are evil? We tend to want to trust Daniels because he's Human (more or less). But what if Silik is the good-guy? Archer takes about two seconds to run through these doubts, and then takes action.

The Great Plume of Agosoria is about to happen, and some of the pilgrims want to view it from Enterprise's officer's lounge. The problem is that Silik is masquerading as one of these pilgrims. So, while they all come aboard, Archer, Trip and T'Pol, the only two people Archer told about Daniels, are on the lookout.

Sadly, Silik ends up in engineering where Daniels is helping out with some repairs. When he makes himself seen, everyone is evacuated until it's just down to Daniels and Silik. Silik makes the 22nd century Daniels' final resting time. Establishing Daniels as the most noble redshirt of them all.

When Archer fails to find Silik, he goes back to his room to pout. But Porthos the Wonder Pooch knows what's up. He barks over at a corner, alerting Archer to some danger, but the danger doesn't materialize until Silik turns off his personal cloaking device and attacks Archer.

Archer recovers and then Silik plants some seeds of doubt in rocky ground. "Everything he told you is a lie," he lies. And then stuns Archer. NOTE: That's Stun, not Kill. I guess that throws some more doubt on the situation. He has both saved the Enterprise and failed to kill the captain. Whatever the bad-guy agent's plans are, the Enterprise is a part of it.

Meanwhile Phlox is praying with the pilgrims...

The episode ends with Archer acknowledging that they don't know what kind of stuff could be lurking in Daniels' now-vacant quarters, so he orders it to be locked up. And we end on a slow, creepy pull away from Daniels' locked door. Because... I mean, obviously, they couldn't search the room... and find... like... time stuff... They just had to lock it up... 'cause of the Temporal Cold War... and stuff...

Overall Thoughts
Ok, look, obviously, this episode had some problems. But I stand firmly by the Temporal Cold War. This is my story. I am a sucker for a time-travel story. And if I have to wade through a pile of rubble to find this gem of a plot-line, I will!