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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Cold Front”


Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Cold Front”

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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Cold Front”


Published on January 31, 2022

Screenshot: CBS
Star Trek: Enterprise "Cold Front"
Screenshot: CBS

“Cold Front”
Written by Stephen Beck & Tim Finch
Directed by Robert Duncan McNeill
Season 1, Episode 11
Production episode 011
Original air date: November 28, 2001
Date: September 12, 2151

Captain’s star log. The mysterious future dude who is instructing Silik is peeved at how the Suliban botched the mission to destabilize the Klingon Empire. As punishment, he has his enhanced vision removed.

Crewman Daniels brings Archer his breakfast and asks where they’re headed next: it’s to a stellar nursery, one that already has a few ships visiting it. They arrive and hail a transport vessel. Captain Fraddock explains that he’s ferrying some pilgrims to observe the Great Plume of Agosoria. Archer invites folks to visit Enterprise, and while Fraddock declines, several pilgrims take him up on it. Phlox is particularly interested in their religion—they believe that the Plume relates to the Big Bang—and compares it to Hinduism. Tucker gives them a tour of engineering and is shocked to find—in the middle of his incredibly simplistic description of how the warp engines work—to find out that one of the pilgrims is a warp-field specialist. Meanwhile, one of the pilgrims sabotages a junction.

A plasma storm hits Enterprise and almost causes an antimatter cascade, but the sabotaged junction cuts it off before the ship can be destroyed. None of Tucker’s people take credit for the “sabotage” that actually saved everyone’s asses, and the pilgrims likewise decline to take credit. (Fraddock says he’s willing to take responsibility if there’s a reward…) The pilgrims head back to their ship, and accept Phlox’s requests to spend the night with them.

Star Trek: Enterprise "Cold Front"
Screenshot: CBS

Daniels approaches Archer and brings him to his quarters, revealing that he’s not really with Starfleet, but is in fact from the future, and he believes that the pilgrim who messed with the junction is a Suliban. Daniels explains that the twenty-second century is a front in the Temporal Cold War—a phrase Archer heard Sarin use back in “Broken Bow.” He needs to capture Silik before he does more damage. Archer’s okay with this, given his own experiences with Silik. He reads T’Pol and Tucker in, and they make adjustments to the sensors using Daniels’s super-duper future technology, including a device that allows him to phase through bulkheads.

Some of the pilgrims return to Enterprise to watch the Plume from the mess hall, Phlox also returning. He says that none of the aliens behaved oddly.

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Archer returns to his quarters to find Silik waiting for him. He tries to convince Archer that Daniels is not the good guy, and Silik himself went and saved everyone’s life. Archer refuses to even admit that he knows any Daniels, but when T’Pol contacts him with an update on Daniels’ upgrades, the jig is up. Silik stuns Archer and takes his leave.

Daniels’s fancy-shmancy upgrades detect Suliban life signs in engineering. Tucker evacuates engineering, and Silik confronts Daniels and shoots him, seemingly disintegrating him. Tucker tries to call Archer, but gets no answer—the computer says he’s in his quarters, so he heads there with Reed and Phlox. Archer wakes up and immediately tries to lock things down. Fraddock says nobody has come on board his ship since the pilgrims came over to Enterprise.

The pilgrims watch the Plume, asking Phlox to lead the ceremony, which he enjoys doing.

Silik has stolen all the cool stuff from Daniels’s quarters, but Tucker still has the phase thingie, and Archer uses it to find Silik and confront him. Fisticuffs ensue, leading to the shuttle bay, where Silik opens the hatch and jumps out. Archer manages not to get blown out the hatch, er, somehow, and gets himself back inside the vessel and closes the hatch, though not until he loses the phase thingie.

Archer has Daniels’s quarters sealed after reassigning his roommate.

Star Trek: Enterprise "Cold Front"
Screenshot: CBS

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Daniels has a device that can enable him to become incorporeal and move through bulkheads but somehow not fall through the deck. Also, Archer apparently has magical resist-explosive-decompression powers, as Silik opening the shuttle hatch should blow both of them into space pretty much instantly, but somehow Archer manages to stay in the shuttle bay, even though he’s only holding on with one hand at one point…

The gazelle speech. Archer is a lot faster to believe Daniels is from the future than either T’Pol or Tucker, who are both much more skeptical, though all three are impressed with the gadgets.

Florida Man. Florida Man Explains Warp Field Theory In A Simplistic Manner To A Warp Field Specialist, And Is Suitably Embarrassed.

Optimism, Captain! Phlox is completely fascinated by the pilgrims, and joins them in their reindeer games, even being asked to lead the ceremony that accompanies the opening of the Plume. It’s really kind of adorable.

Good boy, Porthos! Porthos detects Silik before he decloaks himself, barking his fool head off (though he might also be barking his fool head off because Archer is very late feeding him…).

Star Trek: Enterprise "Cold Front"
Screenshot: CBS

The Vulcan Science Directorate has also determined… T’Pol declares that the Vulcan Science Directorate has studied the notion of time travel extensively and come to the conclusion that it doesn’t exist. Given that this comes after (at this point) thirty-five years of Star Trek stories, many of which involve extensive time travel, this is particularly absurd.

More on this later… Several episodes of Voyager, notably “Relativity,” have mentioned the Temporal Prime Directive. Daniels provides some of the backstory on how that was created.

I’ve got faith…

“What’d they show?”

Night of the Killer Androids.”

“That bad?”

“We’ve got fifty thousand movies in the database. There must be something worth watching.”

“You could read a book…”

–Mayweather and Sato discussing movie night on Enterprise, though I fail to see how any movie with the title Night of the Killer Androids could be anything other than FANTASTIC! (Though Sato is right, if movie night isn’t for you, you should just read a book…)

Star Trek: Enterprise "Cold Front"
Screenshot: CBS

Welcome aboard. James Horan and John Fleck are back from “Broken Bow” as Future Guy and Silik, respectively, firmly establishing them as recurring, with Matt Winston debuting the recurring role of Daniels as well. All three will return in “Shockwave” at season’s end.

Michael O’Hagan is delightfully crotchety as Fraddock, while Joseph Hindy, Leonard Kelly-Young, and Lamont D. Thompson play various pilgrims.

Trivial matters: This episode follows up on the events of “Broken Bow,” continuing the Temporal Cold War storyline.

This is the first of four episodes directed by Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Paris on Voyager, and who has gone on to be a prolific TV director. It’s also one of two writing credits for the team of Stephen Beck & Tim Finch, who were executive story editors on this first season.

When Archer describes the holographic images Daniels showed him as evidence that he has future technology, Tucker reminds him of the Xyrillian holodeck he experienced in “Unexpected.”

Star Trek: Enterprise "Cold Front"
Screenshot: CBS

It’s been a long road… “Those were two hours of my life I’d rather have back.” There are bits of this episode that are absolutely delightful, and unfortunately none of them have anything to do with the main plot.

There’s the wonderful conversation about movie night among Sato, Mayweather, and Reed—and yes, I really want to see Night of the Killer Androids, please and thank you—there’s the pilgrims who are checking out the Plume of Agosoria, there’s Phlox’s interest in those pilgrims, leading to the lovely ceremony that he gets the unexpected honor of leading, and there’s Tucker being embarrassed to realize he’s explaining warp-field theory to a warp-field specialist. Also I just adore the laconic, whatever-as-long-as-I-get-paid affect of Fraddock, magnificently played by Michael O’Hagan.

Even the main plot has some lovely bits, like Daniels mentioning that he always gets Archer’s eggs right by way of showing he can trust him, and Porthos outing Silik before he can decloak, and—well, okay, that’s pretty much it, because holy crap the entire Temporal Cold War thing is idiotic.

What’s especially maddening is that nothing actually happens in this episode. We get some mysteries—who is Daniels, really? why did Silik save the ship when he’s the bad guy?—none of which are solved, or even hinted at. It’s a whole lot of “oooooh, there’s something mysterious and weird going on, and we’re going to tease you with tiny bits of it in the hopes that you’ll keep coming back to find out more.” It’s tiresome, it’s not very effective, and it does a poor job of masking the fact that there’s no actual story here.

Warp factor rating: 4

Keith R.A. DeCandido has several short stories coming in 2022, including “The Light Shines in the Darkness” in the shared-world superhero anthology Phenomenons: Every Human Creature; “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in the superhero anthology Tales of Capes and Cowls; “What Do You Want From Me, I’m Old” in The Four ???? of the Apocalypse; the drabble “Portrait of a King Among Puppies” in the charity anthology Life is the Pits (Pit Bulls, That Is); “What You Can Become Tomorrow” about Josh Gibson, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Shelley in Three Time Travelers Walk Into…; “Carpet Bomb: The Carpet’s Tale” in The Fans are Buried Tales; and the Key West-set urban-fantasy short-story collection Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet.

About the Author

Keith R.A. DeCandido


Keith R.A. DeCandido has been writing about popular culture for this site since 2011, primarily but not exclusively writing about Star Trek and screen adaptations of superhero comics. He is also the author of more than 60 novels, more than 100 short stories, and around 50 comic books, both in a variety of licensed universes from Alien to Zorro, as well as in worlds of his own creation. Read his blog, follow him on Facebook, The Site Formerly Known As Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and Blue Sky, and follow him on YouTube and Patreon.
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