Star Trek 655: Shockwave, Part II

655. Shockwave, Part II

FORMULA: Broken Bow + The City on the Edge of Forever

WHY WE LIKE IT: Archer as Future Guy.

WHY WE DON'T: Not enough payback.

REVIEW: Far in the future, Archer and Daniels find out that the Federation never existed, marking the first mention of that august body on the series (along with the Romulan Star Empire), which apparently means no "Time Fleet" and thus no return ticket home for Archer. In a nice twist, it also means the Suliban lose contact with Future Guy and there apparently isn't a Temporal Cold War going on anymore. Don't try to understand why Daniels' stuff isn't wiped from history in his cabin though, we haven't been meant to understand the intricacies of a time travel story since Voyager.

Meanwhile, back in the present, the Suliban have captured Enterprise and brought it to their Helix. T'Pol is more or less driven mad by torture and Malcolm is savagely beaten, as the level of violence gets amped up. Still, there's a nice escape attempt that hinges on Hoshi getting to various parts of the ship using the 22nd-century equivalent of Jeffries Tubes. Never have these conduits seemed so cramped and crowded with machinery, so though we've seen plenty of tube-crawling on Star Trek, this time it really works (give or take a shirt-ripping joke).

If the Enterprise crew has a shtick it consistently uses to get out of trouble, it has to be the fraud, sting or hoax. So much better than technobabble! Their escape works because they fake Star Trek's first auto-destruct sequence and carry it off with great pyrotechnic effect. In the meantime, they also get Silik to break Archer out of the future using one of Daniels' toys, all through duplicity and great risk. Of course, there is a technological cheat at play: Archer contacts his crew via a gizmo MacGyvered out of a communicator and some copper wire. In a sense, it follows the tradition of Spock's "stone knives and bear skins", but it still works pretty well for a makeshift gadget. So no matter how hopeful yesterday's review was about not having to suffer a cop-out, today's review has to call this spade a spade (if one with mitigating factors).

Archer's return is well-handled at least. Silik contacts him thinking he's Future Guy and Archer bursts through and kicks him in the head. Though we know Scott Bakula has martial arts training from Quantum Leap (the "quantum kick"), here he uses a move from the first chronological use of "Starfleet martial arts": Throwing both feet together at opponent's chest or face and falling on your back. Yeah! The short space battle Enterprise is engaged in before Archer arrives with a hostage in tow is pretty cool too. To make these compete with the massive fleets of DS9, Enterprise's battles have a quicker, dirtier pace that keeps them cool and alive.

In the aftermath, we have an extended "trial" in which various characters try to convince the Vulcans and Admiral Forrest not to give up on the mission. It's ok without being too original, and of course, we know what the answer's going to be. One thing that does disappoint is that Archer doesn't take custody of Silik, but leaves him to be found by his people. Have they forgotten that he was responsible for the death of thousands of colonists (and more acts of terrorism besides)? Yes, I think they have.

LESSON: In the future, bras will have become obsolete.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Some good action scenes and effects, but the cliffhanger's foreseeable cop-out and the harsh and tawdry bits keep this resolution at Medium.


De said...

Wasn't too keen on the gazelle speech.


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