Star Trek 709: Cold Station 12

709. Cold Station 12

FORMULA: Space Seed + The Wrath of Khan + The Changeling

WHY WE LIKE IT: Soong's more complex than expected.

WHY WE DON'T: A weak cliffhanger.

REVIEW: The Augments have recovered Soong from the Enterprise and they now head for Cold Station 12, where an army of embryos are still stored. Coincidentally, Phlox's pen pal, Dr. Lucas, is now the facility's director, which makes the mission more personal. So that it's not so gratuitous, it is revealed that the Denobulans jointly run the place, that Phlox even spent time there, and we get to see our first Denobulan vessel, a small turtlish thing.

Soong, too, spent time there, and surrounded by embryos, it's possible to see where his fixation started. Tensions start to rise as well when Malik begins to see his "father" as flawed and weak. He is, after all, only human (as are all fathers). It's a classic father-son relationship, but metaphorically fueled. Malik's superior ambition doesn't really allow him to accept another man's leadership at this point, no matter how revered. The other problem is that Soong turns out not to be evil at all. He's working towards the betterment of humanity (whether humanity wants it or not), but he's no killer. In the previous episode, he spared Enterprise, but it appeared to be the usual egomaniacal move of a gloating villain. In Cold Station 12, he consistently locks horns with Malik who does want to kill, and not always for justified reasons.

The violence (and there's a lot of it, some of which had to be cut in some markets) is counterpointed by sweet flashbacks to the Augments growing up. In these, we see Soong plant false ideas in the children's minds, most importantly that Earth hates them and would destroy them. Without further guidance (Soong was soon jailed), they built their own philosophy on those early lessons. Enterprise finds the classroom and an abandoned Augment, Smike. Unlike the others, his genetic mods didn't take, so he's just a regular kid. Archer brings him round, shows him that things aren't as black and white as he thought. Sadly, he will be killed as a traitor by Malik.

Cold Station 12 is where Malik really becomes a villain. He tortures Dr. Lucas, kills another doctor with a virulent pathogen in front of him to make him talk. Later, he threatens to do the same to Phlox, and this time, Lucas gives up his access codes (harsh for the first victim). When the Augments take off with the embryos, Malik also steals a load of pathogens and initiates a containment breach that will release the remaining diseases into the station, painfully killing everyone. Enterprise is largely useless during the crisis, managing only to put more hostages on the station. The cliffhanger is an odd one, fading to black on Archer climbing a ladder. Sure, deadly viruses are about to be released, but cutting the episode off in the middle of a transition scene holds little tension. It just looks like they ran out of time.

LESSON: You never know when you might need biological weapons.

REWATCHABILITY - High Medium: The arc's middle chapter is really good for the Augments - enhancing their threat level considerably - but not so good for Enterprise, whose crew can't quite do anything useful. But it's not called Star Trek: Augments.



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