Storm Front Part II
Original Airdate: October 15, 2004
By Diesel Micky Dolenz
The episode opens with a black-and-white German propaganda "newsreel." The German spin on the situation is that the US and Germany are allies. Hitler is shown touring New York City, with parades and thousands of people "welcoming" the Fuhrer. Cue cheesy theme song.
On return from commercial, the head of the German contingent (giving him an actual name would have made writing a recap entirely too easy, I suppose), demands a promised squadron of ion cannon-equipped planes. When the General threatens to withhold any further materials, Vosk lets him know that the Germans are just along for the ride, here, threatening first to give their weapons to the Allies and then to wipe the Germans from history entirely.
On the Enterprise, Archer offers to return Alicia to Earth somewhere that the Nazi's don't control. She, of course, prefers to return to her own neighborhood, but agrees to try and help Archer locate Commander Tucker and Ensign Mayweather. Both were captured by the Nazi's in part I. Through interrogations, Vosk and his men determine that Trip and Mayweather are not, in fact, temporal agents. Vosk has a change of plans and orders medical attention for the prisoners. We see the two crewmen deposited on the floor of their cell, then see Silik drop from the ceiling on top of Cmdr. Tucker.
Lieutenant Reed pinpoints the divergence in the timeline. It seems that Lenin was assassinated in 1916, preventing the Russian Revolution from taking place. A non-Communist Russia was not regarded as a threat by Hitler, and he focused all his energies to his west. After sweeping through all of western Europe and the British Isles, it was on to the eastern US. Lenin's assassin was rumored to vanish into thin air, much like someone from one of the factions of the Temporal Cold War might. The idea that Reed could learn this from orbit doesn't seem to trouble the rest of the crew, but something else does. Vosk has only been on Earth a few years, meaning that someone else killed Lenin and the timeline had already been altered. You'd think this would be an important point that would need to be addressed before the end of the episode. You'd be wrong.
Vosk contacts Archer to arrange a meeting. At the rendezvous point, Vosk releases Trip and Mayweather. Archer promptly has the two beamed back to the Enterprise. In return for releasing Archer's crew, Vosk wants help in completing his time conduit. Vosk insists that it is the temporal agents that are the bad guys in the TCW, but admits that his people have rejected the temporal accords, and feel it is their right to travel through time, “improving” societies. If Sam agrees to help, Vosk will make sure that the next leap will be the leap home. No harm, no foul, no Nazi’s.
Back onboard the Enterprise, Phlox is examining the former prisoners, and Archer is debriefing them. Through his scans, Phlox discovers that “Trip” isn’t Trip at all. Turns out it’s Silik in disguise (shocker!). He makes a run for it from sickbay, but get zapped by the MACOs before getting far. Later, Archer meets with Silik in the brig. It’s his first chance to try out the bad cop routine on someone from outside the Expanse. Silik is mildly impressed, but not enough to let slip any information. No problem. Silik had a disk with him that contained everything you ever wanted to know about evil alien Nazi time conduit facilities, but were afraid to ask. Archer theorizes that Silik was sent by Future Guy to stow away on the Enterprise before Daniels sent it back in time. Silik’s job would be to bring Vosk’s time travel technology back to Future Guy, allowing him to do more than hologram himself through time. The fact that Silik knows when the NX-01 was temporally displaced but we don’t bugs me, but I’m getting used to such things.
Vosk discovers that a massive amount of data was taken by one of his former hostages, and calls up Archer to file a grievance. Archer rats out Silik, and Vosk mentions dealing with the Suliban’s faction before (weren’t we trying to stop the TCW from starting? Never mind). Archer refuses to let Vosk speak with Silik, and also refuses not to peek at the stolen data. Vosk whips out his big gun and points it at the Enterprise. Not to be outdone, Archer brandishes his own cannon and points it at Vosk. Claims of who’s dad can beat up who’s are exchanged. Shots are fired. Surprise, 29th Century weapons are stronger than 22nd Century weapons. Vosk has a shield which the NX-01 cannot penetrate. The Enterprise is force to move out of range, but sustains significant damage before it can do so. Lesson of the week: never bring a phase cannon to an ion cannon fight.
Archer convinces Silik to help him get into Vosk’s facility. Whatever Silik’s endgame, he doesn’t want Vosk to succeed, either. T’Pol uses the data disk to derive a procedure for shutting down the facility’s shield (like I said, everything you wanted to know). The two transport down and look for Alicia. Silik notes how much more aggressive 20th Centry humans were than 22nd Century, but also how quickly Archer reverted to those old ways with the Xindi.Now we get to the part where Daniels’ status as good guy gets affirmed. Despite the fact that both Vosk and Future factions are enemies of the temporal agents, the two would never join forces. It turns out that Vosk once tried to eliminate the Suliban by preventing their species from ever becoming sentient. I can see how that might put a damper on future relations. The temporal agents foiled Vosk’s plans, so the Suliban owe Daniels’ faction their existence, but they’re still enemies since the agents oppose Future Guy’s meddling, too. Advantage: Daniels.
The Germans start getting antsy about US troop movements, and the Fuhrer himself orders the squadron transferred to German control. Vosk stalls for time by claiming it will take six hours to prep the planes for transport. Colonel Klink falls for it, and gives Vosk his six hours. Vosk is determined to make the conduit work before his time is up, despite the fact that every attempt to operate it has failed within seconds.
Archer and Silik meet up with Alicia. She’d let Carmine in on Archer’s origins when he found her communicator. Again, another plot point that’s going to cause problems down the road? Nah. Alicia agrees to help Archer with or without Carmine. Good thing, too, because the Americans launch a counter offensive, and Vosk is looking to leave town soon. He give his people a speech about how they’ve conquered time, and have one last enemy to defeat. Trip has managed to free himself, catches part of the speech, and apparently decides to wander about the facility.
Carmine and a few of his goons attack the German installation that houses the time conduit. Apparently, those shields work great at stopping phase cannons, but aren’t so hot against Ford trucks. It’s not looking good for the mafia boys, but Alicia shows up with reinforcements. Archer and Silik manage to get inside the facility and find the controls for the shields. Archer contacts the Enterprise. Their weapons are back online, but the targeting array is shot. They’ll have to fly low enough to target visually. Finally Archer gets the shields down. The Enterprise is free to begin her bombing run. Silik remarks that Vosk is trying to activate the conduit, so there’s not much time. Suspense builds.
Shutting down the shields set off an alarm, and Archer and Silik are pinned down near the shield controls. Silik manages to sneak up on a couple German soldiers, and dispatches both of them, but then takes two rounds in the chest from a soldier he’d overlooked. Loose end, consider thyself wrapped up. Trip happens upon Archer, but thinks it’s Silik in disguise. Trip threatens to shoot Archer, but a quick look at Silik’s body convinces Trip that his Captain is alive. Archer tells Trip that the building is about to blow up, avoiding any additional homoerotic subtext.
Vosk’s men detect the Enterprise approaching, but they can’t afford to divert power from the conduit to the ion cannons. Instead, he orders the squadron to attack the NX-01. Who’s available to fly these things? Heck if I know, but the German General picks that moment to grow a pair and demand that the squadron and the entire facility be handed over to him. A few bullets later, and the German isn’t demanding anything, ever again.
Outside the facility, Archer advises Carmine to fall back before the bombing begins. He says his goodbyes to Alicia. We’re supposed to be moved. We aren’t. Archer shows up on the bridge next. The squadron opens fire with their ion-based weapons, and we get a rather cool sequence of the NX-01 in a dog fight over the skies of New York City. Finally, photonic torpedoes tear into the facility just as Vosk is stepping into the conduit. An obligatory “Nooooooooooooooo!” ensues.
Sam leaps into the imaging chamber with Daniels, who is looking surprisingly good for a dead man. Seven lives left, I suppose. Daniels tells Archer that the timeline is repairing itself, and we see scenes from US history playing out. It’s not quite the Guardian of Forever, but it’s a start and this year’s budget wasn’t cut that much. Archer isn’t interested in being thanked, he just wants to go home and never hear about the TCW again. The audience responds with a hearty “Amen!” Daniels says his goodbyes and Archer finds himself back on the bridge. The Enterprise is back in space, approaching Earth. Hoshi confirms signals coming from Earth and various space installations. A small fleet of ships converges to welcome them home.
I was disappointed, to say the least, with this send off to the Temporal Cold
War. I understand why this thread was wrapped up so quickly, but I think the
audience deserved more. From "Broken Bow" on, we've gotten glimpses of various players in this war. We've been teased with both attempts to save and destroy the NX-01 or Captain Archer himself. Daniels, Silik, and Future Guy had become a part of Enterprise lore. Each new episode touching on the TCW created more questions than it answered, but there was always the unwritten promise that by the end of the series, we'd get it. Somehow, someway, we'd know who the good guys were, if any. We'd find out what Daniels meant when he said he was somewhat human (or whatever term he used), or how these factions fit together and how Earth's history was important to them. In the rush to get on with new material, all of that was brushed aside. Archer's insistence that he didn't want to know any more about Daniels infernal war conveniently allowed the writers to escape the need to create a plausible explanation for any of it.
So how much blame for this belongs to new show runner Manny Coto? I'm not entirely sure. He didn't create the TCW. He didn't stick the Enterprise in 1944 and pit it against an alien Nazi, a situation that couldn't possibly have a satisfying resolution. He took the reigns in a horrible position. In an attempt to draw back lost viewers, he wanted, I believe, to "get on with it." Clear out the remnants of the TCW and get down to the business of being a true prequel to Star Trek. I commend him for the direction in which he says he want to take the show, but I can't help but feel that there was a way to get past the stupid Nazi idea and on with his own ideas without giving such a staple of the series short shrift. Surely the TCW could have been concluded later in the season.
At any rate, it's done now. It was rather like a root canal: painful to endure, but probably necessary. Now that the infection has been cleaned out, we can move on. I hope Coto's original ideas work out better than what we got for a wrap up of Berman and Braga's. I also hope, for the series sake, that enough viewers are willing to give those original ideas a chance, and didn't give up after this two-parter. Remember, the last Trek series to narrowly escape cancellation, only to move to a Friday timeslot opened the season with "Spock's Brain." "Storm Front" wasn't that bad, but it wasn't exactly "Best of Both Worlds" either.
Grade: C- (6/10)
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