706. Storm Front, Part II
FORMULA: The Killing Game + Cold Front + First Contact
WHY WE LIKE IT: The newsreel. The dogfight. The end of the Temporal (Cold) War.
WHY WE DON'T: The stock guest characters.
REVIEW: First off, great teaser. A newsreel that Forrest Gumps Hitler into New York and sets the standard for the effects in the rest of the episode. Finally, Archer is reunited with his crew (Trip going the longest thinking his captain is dead). He brings Alicia aboard Enterprise as a sort of Lily character (from First Contact), but I find myself losing my patience with both her and the rest of the American Resistance. After some fair introductory scenes in Part I, they don't do anything original here. Alicia is largely jaded to future tech and the mobsters act as cannon fodder in the final battle, but that's it. Their reality is eventually wiped from existence without so much as a goodbye.
The aliens are more interesting. Well, Vosk is. He has a nice speech about destiny, and earlier makes Archer a reasonable offer, promising to restore the timeline once he's eliminated the other factions in exchange for some of Enterprise's technology. Archer seems to go along and is all set to trick Vosk somehow, when Silik is discovered, and then it becomes about a direct assault. I don't quite get how Silik's presence changes things, really. The Suliban's goal is to steal the time tunnel technology for the mysterious "Future Guy", and Vosk wants him and the data back, but it seems to waste a good plan in favor of a rather standard shoot-em-up.
The infiltration of Vosk's facility at least gives John Fleck (Silik) his first opportunity to be in Star Trek without any kind of make-up. Silik has a few cool fighting moves, though I've always found the CG contortionism a bit silly. In case you're not sure if the Temporal Cold War arc will end, Silik dies. An opportunity to convincingly wipe the Suliban from the timeline (to answer critics who'd never heard of them in modern Trek) is ignored, and in fact, had they wanted to, the timeline reset could have given Silik a new lease on life. While that's going on, Trip ingeniously escapes his cell and almost kills Archer, believing him dead and here replaced by a Suliban. It makes their reunion some tension and humor.
The frontal assault deactivates the facility's forcefield as Enterprise flies into the atmosphere to fire point blank at it. It strikes me now that we didn't know the ship could do that (and perhaps being smaller and sleeker than later Enterprises, it could, but it's still full of holes from the Xindi arc), and the reason I didn't think of it while watching is that there was just too much crazy goodness going on. If you're going to do some goofy time travel action, you could do worse than throw in a dogfight between Nazi planes and a starship over the New York skyline!
There are two endings worth discussing. One is the true blue end of the Temporal Cold War storyline. Echoing my own thoughts on the subject, Archer tells Daniels to bugger off for good. Sure, we never find out the identity of Future Guy, but having hit a major climax with the Temporal War, I think we can cut our losses. Indeed, there is no more time travel per se for the rest of the show's run. The final end is the one hijacked by last season's cliffhanger - the triumphant return to Earth after saving it from the Xindi. It's a good moment, but I have to wonder what that fleet of human and Vulcan ships is doing there. They certainly weren't around when the Xindi weapon was attacking. I guess they got there after Archer "died", but before Enterprise arrived (or it could have been lost in time for a few days).
LESSON: Nothing much happened between 9/11 and building Enterprise.
REWATCHABILITY - High Medium: Despite the fact nothing much is done with the 1940s cast and the suspicious use of an atmosphere-worthy Enterprise, this thing is a lot of fun, looks great and finally puts to bed a problematic storyline (satisfactorily enough).