Original Airdate: October 08, 2004
The episode opens with Tucker and Mayweather descending towards San Francisco in a Shuttlepod, only to be met by a squadron of P-51’s, which promptly open fire. Tucker tries hailing them, but naturally this is a futile gesture, so he orders Travis to get them out of there.
Captain Archer, held captive by Nazis, is being transported in a truck when the convoy comes under fire. In the confusion, Archer is taken prisoner by the ambushers. Meanwhile in orbit, the Enterprise crew are monitoring a recent radio address by Winston Churchill, which along with other radio transmissions, convinces them they are 200 years in the past. Travis theorizes that their presence there may not be an accident. Soon after, we see Silik sneaking around the ship’s corridors. Back on Earth, the aliens in Nazi uniforms are talking about Archer’s escape and their conversation makes it clear that they are from the future and are mucking around with the timeline for some nefarious reason. Up in space, the Enterprise gang have realized that history below has been altered. Answers may soon be coming, as Phlox encounters Daniels stumbling into sickbay, looking really, really bad. In New York, Archer finds himself with Alicia Travers, a member of the resistance. Talking with her clues him in on when/where he is at as well as the incongruities with the history he knows.
The Future Aliens are demanding considerable resources for weapons development, promising their Nazi allies powerful weapons. The Nazis are reluctant, having stretched themselves thin all over the globe, but give in to the demands. On Enterprise, Phlox’s diagnosis for Daniels is grim. The man’s body is in a state of temporal disarray. T’Pol makes it clear that it is important she speak with him. When he comes to, he admits to being responsible for Enterprise’s presence in the 20th century, and explains that the Temporal Cold War has ignited into a full blown conflict, with temporal agents staged throughout the time line now actively trying to change history in order to erase their rivals. In New York, Archer meets up with the local resistance, which seems to be comprised on ex-Mafia members. The Aliens have detected Enterprise in orbit, where Silik reveals his presence by stealing a shuttlepod.
Archer meets with the resistance and tells them he needs to find the Alien Nazi. On Enterprise, the crew is trying to track Silik, puzzling over his decision to remove an unconscious Trip from the launch bay before depressurizing it, and thus saving his life. On Earth, Archer and the resistance are sneaking around, meeting up with a guy who tells Archer of a man who comes to him for information on both the resistance and the Nazis. A man who usually keeps to the shadows, but when seen is obviously not human. Archer insists on meeting this guy and arrangements are made to set up a meeting. Meanwhile Trip and Travis beam to Earth, looking for Silik, and find the stolen shuttlepod. The future Alien shows up for the meeting and is captured by Archer and the resistance. He reveals to Archer that he and his kind are trapped in the past and are using the Nazis to build a conduit to help them find their way home. He also tells Archer that Enterprise is in orbit before being shot by the resistance as Archer and company flee.
Archer and the resistance walk into a Nazi ambush, and in the chaos Archer uses a communicator stolen from the alien to contact Enterprise. He and Alicia are beamed away before being captured by another Alien leading a group of Nazis. Trip and Travis are examining the shuttlepod, setting explosive charges that detonate when some Nazis try to take possession of the craft. Soon after, the two are captured. In sickbay, Archer meets with Daniels. Daniels tells him that the aliens on Earth are part of the most dangerous faction of the Temporal Cold War and are led by a man named Vosk, who developed a form of stealth time travel and was able to defeat the Federation of Daniels’ day. Daniels has sent Enterprise to this time to stop Vosk, as it is in this period that Vosk can be defeated and all of history restored – by destroying the conduit Vosk is building to return to the future. Daniels then dies. On Earth, Trip and Travis find themselves in the clutches of Vosk, who promises an unpleasant stay.
View this episode as a stand-alone story, and it really isn’t too bad. Formulaic, cliched and predictable…but competently produced, acted and maintaining a nice even pace. However, examining this episode as the first following the events of last year, and it only serves to confuse by seemingly digressing into a colossal tangent. Anyone hoping for any type of resolution to the third season’s Xindi story had just better hold tight for the time being.
Of course, one could argue that the events of this episode are mandated by the circumstances surrounding the conclusion of last year’s Zero Hour, and that before the Xindi situation can be properly addressed, this story must be told first. I can totally buy that. In fact, despite the total curve ball thrown at the viewers in the last five minutes of Zero Hour, Enterprise as a series could only open the season in such a way. With a fourth season greenlighted, I’m sure there would have been some type of cliffhanger at the end of last year, with or without evil alien nazis, to entice those dwindling viewers to come back. Thus, this year could only begin by picking up that cliffhanger before returning to the Xindi story. Conversely, one could argue that the viewers were subjected to this story simply because the writers this year had to dig themselves out of the hole created by the writers last year. I suppose its up to each individual to decide how to approach this story. Me, I’m going to be optimistic and go with the former.
Optimism aside, there really isn’t anything about this episode that is fresh or exciting, and thus it instills no sense of excitement in the viewer. Time travel? Seen that. Alternate history? Been there. Nazis? A dime a dozen on Trek. About the only aspect to Storm Front that is somewhat interesting is the notion that the Temporal Cold War has now erupted into a full-scale conflict. Sadly, this revelation seems somewhat subdued, presented as it is through Vosk and gang helping the Nazis. Basically, what we have is a forty-odd minute set up for part two of a story that seems so by the numbers, I’ve already got an idea how it will end.
The truly sad part is this is the story that supposedly will wrap up the entire Temporal Cold War storyline. While I was never a fan of the TCW subplot running through the series, I still enjoyed how that particular thread was woven into various stories. To have the entire affair brought to a close in a couple of episodes seems a real disservice to the idea. Sure, it was pretty much abandoned last year in favor of the Xindi arc, and even before that, two seasons had seen very little progression on the story…but it still seems like it could be brought to a close without such a sense of urgency. Again, almost as if Manny Coto is determined to get it out of the way as soon as possible.
Naturally, there are a lot of questions raised by this episode. Daniels, usually a fountain of information, barely gets the chance to mumble a few nuggets of important facts before dying – and thereby leaving the viewers left to ponder numerous things. I won’t even begin to go into them. Rather, I’ll wait to see if they are address next week before launching into a possible rant. Still, given the track record with this series, I fully expect some to be left by the wayside.
I can’t help but feel that if the ideas for this story were used on a Trek series ten or twelve years ago, it would be hailed as a classic. Now it just seems routine and lifeless. Perhaps an example of how Trek has become the victim of it’s own success, competing with itself. In the end, I’ll most likely come to view this episode (and the subsequent one) as a necessary lull in the series. Something required to help facilitate the changes occurring on camera due to the changes behind the scenes. The third season Xindi arc was the best Trek on TV in years, and if all of Manny Coto’s plans for the fourth season come to pass satisfactorily, then a story such as this an acceptable way to bridge the two. Hey, it could have been worse. Somebody could have stolen Archer’s brain….
Click on the below thumbnails for the full image.
Scott Bakula as Jonathan
John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox
Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery as Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
Connor Trinneer as Charles Tucker
Golden Brooks as Alicia
Jack Gwaltney as Vosk
John Fleck as Silik
Matt Winston as Daniels
Christopher Neame as German General
Steven R. Schirripa as Carmine
Mark Elliot Silverberg as Kraul
David Pease as Alien Technician
Burr Middleton as Newsreel Narrator
Director: David Straiton
Written By: Manny Coto