Category Archives: Suliban

“Storm Front”

It's OK Scott Bakula. We're all sick and tired of the Temporal Cold War story line.
“It’s OK, Scott Bakula. We’re all sick and tired of the Temporal Cold War.”

Part one: Enterprise is in orbit of Earth, but in the 1940s. Archer is alive and on the planet (unbeknownst to the crew) and is quickly rescued by American resistance fighters who assault a Nazi convoy … in New York state. We quickly learn that history’s been changed and that a faction from the Temporal Cold War is working with the Nazis, who have taken over most of the East Coast. A dying Daniels shows up and tells Enterprise what’s going on, and then Silik shows up and steals a shuttle and heads to the surface. Trip and Mayweather follow to try to capture him, and are then captured by Nazis. Meanwhile, Archer works with the resistance and meets one of the aliens, and uses that alien’s communicator to contact Enterprise and return to the ship. The episode ends as alien leader Vosk (Jack Gwaltney) inspects a time conduit he is building with the help of the Nazis.

Part two: The Nazis are growing impatient with Vosk’s dedicating resources to the time conduit and not the war. After interrogating Trip and Mayweather, Vosk contacts Archer and tries to get him to help his cause. Archer refuses and then rescues Mayweather and Trip from the Nazis — but quickly learns that Trip is actually Silik in disguise. Archer and Silik then beam to the surface to stop Vosk and rescue Trip (with the help of the American resistance fighters) before the conduit is destroyed, but Silik is killed in the process. Then, Archer meets Daniels (who died earlier in the episode) in a weird timey reset thing who tells him the timelines have been restored and that the Temporal Cold War is (finally and mercifully) over. Enterprise returns to its own time, with Earth out of danger.

Beam my hipster friend Silik and I down to the craft cocktail and slow food festival.
“Beam my hipster friend Silik and I down to the craft cocktail and slow food festival.”

Why it’s important

Although it’s a reset, I assume that Archer and Co. remember what happened in these two episodes, and in all the previous Temporal Cold War outings. As a result, they saved Earth twice in the span of a year (hell, in the span of about a week!). It is interesting, though, that in subsequent episodes mentioning the crew’s heroism, only the Xindi mission is referenced. Hmmm …

Enterprise was in Brooklyn, and blowing it up, before it was cool.
Enterprise was in Brooklyn, and blowing it up, before it was cool.

What doesn’t hold up

Following up on that point, did the the destruction of the time conduit end the Temporal Cold War to the point where it never happened in the first place? That seems hard to believe, but it’s certainly possible — though it would mean that there’s no explanation for Archer’s return to the ship after the Xindi weapon was destroyed among a myriad of other things in Enterprise’s first three seasons. Considering that the sphere builders were apparently involved with the TCW and that Archer and Co. remember all of season three …

There’s also the matter of how and when Daniels threw Archer and Enterprise back in time. For Archer, it must have happened right as the Xindi weapon exploded, and for Enterprise, when it arrived back in the Terran System — as we see interactions with the Xindi (presumably) in the 22nd century in the closing acts of “Zero Hour”.

Final thoughts

We had to include these episodes, because they’re consequential. But they’re not really good. Science fiction relies too much on Nazis, and the Temporal Cold War stuff just never made much sense. Scott Bakula’s line delivery in the final scene with Daniels almost makes it sound like he (Bakula) was tired of the plot line. That Daniels could die twice in the course of three seasons and end up being resurrected both times is nonsense that undercuts the drama. It’s worth noting that the best two seasons of Enterprise involved the least amount of TCW/Daniels, presuming you don’t include the entire Xindi arc under that umbrella.

As we’ve noted before, the creators of second-generation Trek kind of threw out the rule book when it came to time travel around the time Voyager started airing. Cause didn’t need to precipitate effect, etc. As a result, when time travel became common on Enterprise, it was bound to very little logic.

Moving on, we won’t review “Home”, the follow-up episode that covers the crew returning to Earth where they’re (rightly) greeted as heroes. From a character perspective, it’s important (sort of the equivalent of TNG’s “Family”) so it’s worth watching if you’re a fan. It’s also vintage Enterprise, in that it tried some interesting things but failed on execution. Notably, Archer’s mental anguish over his actions in the Expanse is WAY over the top (even to the point where he questions Starfleet’s existence!) and the T’Pol/Trip drama over T’Pol’s forced marriage wasn’t well done. The most important part of the episode might be the foreshadowing of xenophobia on Earth since the Xindi attacks.

It’s also interesting that Archer’s more questionable actions from season three are not addressed by his superiors or the Vulcans, at least, on screen.

Coming later this week …

Brent Spiner comes to Enterprise as the season of fan service begins.


“This probably isn’t the best time for an ‘Oh, boy’ joke, is it?”

Part one: The Enterprise apparently destroys an entire mining colony — killing thousands of people — in an accident involving a shuttlepod. The crew is horrified, and then is recalled to Earth where the Vulcans are using the incident to convince Starfleet to delay the ship’s mission for 10 or 20 years. A guilt-stricken Archer initially accepts the decision, but then our buddy Daniels (who didn’t actually die in “Cold Front”) shows up and tells him someone in the temporal cold war faked the whole thing. He gives Archer a way to get evidence of the scheme, which was perpetrated by Silik (from “Broken Bow” and “Cold Front”). Archer’s plan is successful and he brings proof of the con back to the ship, but the Enterprise is then pursued and trapped by Silik’s forces. Archer agrees to surrender himself and then, finds himself 900 years in the future on a post-apocalyptic Earth with Daniels. Silik’s forces then capture the Enterprise.

Part two: Archer and Daniels visit a library on a wrecked Earth and learn that Archer’s disappearance from the timeline disrupted things, apparently causing Earth to basically be destroyed and something called the “Federation” to never exist. The two work to find a way to communicate back in time (hmmm) with the limited resources they have while Silik — who has lost contact with his unnamed boss from the future — interrogates T’Pol for Archer’s location. Eventually, Archer gets a message to T’Pol and puts in motion a plan wherein the crew lets Silik find a piece of equipment that Silik uses to try to establish contact with his boss, who’s gone missing (apparently, the result of Archer’s disappearance). Somehow, the equipment along with Silik’s allows Archer to get back to the 22nd century and reset the timeline. Still armed with evidence of what happened at the mining colony, Archer — with help from T’Pol — convinces Starfleet to continue the mission, despite the Vulcans’ objections.

Linda Park actually gets something to do, and it’s this. Sigh.

Why it’s important

Given what happens in this show’s fourth season, it’s difficult to know whether what happened with Daniels, Silik, et. al was wiped away. But, some of what we learned in the temporal cold war episodes is key for Enterprises’s place in the Trek mythos.

Here, we learn that Archer was a key figure in the establishment of the Federation, and that his disappearance would be disastrous for the fate of humanity and (apparently) other societies, as well. Also, the developing friendship between Archer and T’Pol is important as the series progresses, as it’s unlikely Archer would have been successful in preventing the second Xindi attack on Earth without her (among other things).

And, of course, Archer and T’Pol come together here to allow Enterprise to continue its mission.

“Can you give me a genetic modification that will allow me to make sense of this temporal cold war business?”

What doesn’t hold up

Part one is a very solid episode, among Enterprise’s best. Part two is a very mixed bag, mostly because the creators painted themselves into a corner. It’s just too hard to swallow that Archer and Daniels, with no more technology than Archer’s communicator, could make contact with T’Pol 900 years earlier and a great physical distance away. And, hell, they’re pretty lucky that when they contacted her, it wasn’t during her interrogation by Silik. Speaking of which, it’s remarkable that Silik would do exactly what Archer and Daniels would have predicted with the piece of equipment from Daniels’ quarters.

Frankly, I’m not sure why Silik would have left any of the Enterprise crew — other than maybe T’Pol and Trip for the purposes of information — alive or, at least, conscious. Without Reed, Phlox, Sato and Mayweather, it’s unlikely that the big plan would have worked. And it’s hard to swallow that Trip could so successfully fake a reactor breach and then quickly correct it. The Suliban don’t come across as particularly capable in part two.

Essentially, the only way to let Archer and Co. emerge victorious was to produce a hard-to-swallow scheme.

Final thoughts

As stated above, this episode is important for the continued development of the rapport between Archer and T’Pol. By the end of the second season, T’Pol is willing to give up her career to try to help Archer save humanity — something that would have been hard to imagine when the series began. To the show’s credit, the relationship between the two of them grew over time, with some notable milestones. It was one of the strengths of the series.

Coming next week …

As our old buddy Worf would say (with trademark disdain): Romulans.

“Broken Bow”

“We don’t take too kindly to bumpy-headed Klingons in this century.”

A Klingon is running through a cornfield. He’s pursued by some weird aliens with apparent shape-shifting abilities. After the the Klingon kills the aliens, a human farmer shoots him with some sort of gun. Turns out this all happened more than 200 years since last we saw Trek (when Voyager was last seen being illogical and goofy) and more than a century before Kirk was knocking boots with hot alien females. There’s no Federation yet, but Starfleet is close to launching its first deep-space mission on the starship Enterprise (NX-01), captained by Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Archer is called to a meeting where Starfleet brass and their Vulcan advisers are discussing the the injured Klingon. Archer uses the opportunity to return the Klingon, Klaang (Tommy Lister) to his homeworld to launch Enterprise ahead of schedule, despite the Vulcans’ objections. In exchange for some Vulcan star charts, Archer takes on Vulcan T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) as his science officer. En route, the ship is boarded by more of the weird aliens (the Suliban, we learn) and Klaang is captured. Unwilling to give up, Archer takes some information passed on from Klaang (pre-capture) and heads to Rigel X. There, he learns that the Suliban, Klaang and others are part of a “temporal cold war,” and that the Suliban are trying to destabilize the Klingon Empire. Eventually, using information from Rigel, the Enterprise finds where the Suliban are keeping Klaang, rescue him and — after a short battle — take him to Kronos. With its first mission accomplished, Starfleet tells Archer that the Enterprise should keep going and begin its historic mission.

Some men find baldness, and genetic enhancement, sexy.
“Some men find baldness, and genetic enhancement, sexy.”

Why it’s important

Well, as this is humanity’s first step toward what we would see in the previous series and movies, it’s a huge, huge part of the Tapestry. It largely explains how humanity got from its first use of warp technology and encounter with the Vulcans in “Star Trek: First Contact” to its first step toward a new frontier (to quote another Trek captain).

It’s interesting, too, that we see humanity’s first dealings with Klingons (which will have huge, huge consequences) and the introduction of the Suliban, the main bad guy for this series over its first two seasons (notably Silik and his weird shadowy overseer, too). Plus, we see the strained relationship between humans and Vulcans, which is one of the major underpinnings of this series.

What doesn’t hold up

Enterprise did a nice job of trying to appear less technologically advanced than TOS while not forcing viewers to look at 1960s-era sets and effects. That said, there were obvious items where the creators were too lax — notably that Kirk and Spock were so puzzled by cloaking technology in “Balance of Terror” when Archer and Co. see it here and throughout the series.

Beyond that, it’s a little surprising just how close Kronos apparently is to Earth. Archer says it’s a four-day journey at maximum warp, which, at this point in time, is warp 5. So, in other words, a Klingon ship traveling at high warp could get to Earth in LESS than four days, possibly much less? Somehow, that seems off.

And, of course, there’s the big-picture question as to why we’ve never heard of this Enterprise before, or Archer, or the Suliban, etc. I sort of hate head cannon, but I always thought the easiest explanation was that some time travel in previous Trek (the events of “Star Trek: First Contact”, perhaps?) changed what would have been the history as it stood in TOS and after — and a similar method was used in J.J. Abrams reboot. Of course, the real answer is a lot easier: The idea for the prequel wasn’t around before 2000-01, so writing a mention of Archer et. al into any Trek filmed BEFORE then was impossible.

Such prequel. Much continuity questions.
Such prequel. Much continuity questions.

Final thoughts

This is a pretty solid pilot with some nice nods toward continuity (despite the conceit mentioned above). It’s interesting to see humans who are less refined and not the galactic leaders that they would be in other series.

It’s worth noting that Enterprise, as a prequel could be arguably the most Tapestry-worthy series of them all. With respect to not reviewing every episode or every other episode, we’ll be extremely strict about our criteria and review episodes in bunches where appropriate (especially in the more serialized seasons three and four).

Coming next week …

Archer can’t get “My Blue Heaven” out of his head.