“Cold Front”

Here I am with your eggs. A speaking character who'll have no significance to the plot. What. So. Ever. (wink)
Here I am with your eggs. A speaking character who’ll have no significance to the plot. What. So. Ever. (wink)

Enterprise continues its first-season meanderings and finds a stellar cluster with a ship filled with friendly aliens about to watch “the great plume of Agasoria,” an occurrence that happens in the nursery only once every several years. Archer makes friends with the aliens and invites them to tour the ship, but one is our Suliban buddy Silik from “Broken Bow” (John Fleck) in disguise. Strangely, he secretly saves the ship from exploding. Meanwhile, Archer’s steward Daniels (Matt Winston) tells Archer he’s actually a temporal agent from 900 years in the future, sent to apprehend Silik. He needs Archer’s help (hmmm) to find him. Archer agrees and loops T’Pol and Trip in, but Silik apparently kills Daniels in the process. Silik nearly makes off with a piece of equipment from Daniels’ quarters, before Archer stops him. But Silik escapes.

Why it’s important

Really, this episode is important because it introduces Daniels and what seems to be a Federation presence in the “temporal cold war,” mentioned in the pilot. Silik’s return is of secondary importance, as he really becomes Enterprise’s recurring villain.

I came here to kill you Daniels, chew bubblegum, and explain temporal paradoxes. And I'm all out of explanations... and gum.
I came here to kill you Daniels, chew bubblegum, and explain temporal paradoxes. And I’m all out of explanations… and gum.

What doesn’t hold up

I’m truly confused by this episode — and I fear that the only way to explain it is to use a really hokey and annoying trope that sort of encompasses the entire temporal cold war. I call it the “that darn time travel!” explanation. Here’s why …

Apparently, Daniels was on the ship to stop Silik … who was on the ship to steal Daniels’ piece of equipment. But that’s completely cyclical. One of the events would have had to happen first. Otherwise, the only way to explain this episode is to shrug and say that “time travel is complicated” or some sort of nonsense that basically took hold with Trek and time travel in early DS9 and Voyager. Ugh.

Beyond that, the abilities and knowledge of Daniels and others from the future just don’t make a ton of sense. Silik’s limits make more sense, as he’s not actually from the future and only gets certain pieces of information. But Daniels is another story. That he’d need the Enterprise’s sensors to help find Silik is odd, borderline goofy.

Archer thinks, "I sure wish I could _leap_ onto the catwalk." Get it?!
Archer thinks, “I sure wish I could _leap_ onto the catwalk.” Get it?!

Final thoughts

The temporal cold war clearly was one of the creators’ first attempts to create a sustained storyline. It and the dealings with the Suliban were key throughout much of the series, especially in seasons one and two. But, it didn’t really work, as it was basically too convoluted and/or illogical. Daniels and Silik were actually well acted, but they didn’t amount to much.

And, yes, the temporal cold war appears to connect to the third-season Xindi arc (Silik’s “future guy” overseer actually tells Archer that the Xindi are coming after humanity). But that wasn’t anything all that important. Archer could have learned what was happening in many other ways and the forces we learn are manipulating the Xindi don’t seem like they’re in the same sort of conflict as Daniels, Silik and the rest.

Coming next week …

The first vestiges of the Prime Directive.

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