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Overview – The Enterprise, on their way to a stellar nursery, picks up a group of Borothan pilgrims that have come to see the Great Plume of Agosoria. A plasma storm hits, and the Enterprise is nearly destroyed if it had not been for the actions of an unknown person who disconnected an antimatter conduit. This is when one of the Enterprise’s crewman, Daniels, reveals to Archer that he is a temporal agent sent from nine hundred years in the future to stop the Suliban Silik from meddling with history. Before long, Archer finds himself in the center of a struggle in the Temporal Cold War.
Score: 8/10 – Ah, Cold Front. Our second foray into the story arc that was the Temporal Cold War (or “TCW” as I will refer to it from here on in). I am not quite sure why the TCW didn’t click better with the fans, but this episode is quite good. They give us a fair amount of suspense and action. We finally get to learn the name of the Suliban leader from “BrokenBow” (Silik), and we are introduced to Daniels, who represents a “stabilizing” force in the TCW. We learn a few things outside of the TCW as well. Religion takes its place on the stage. It has long been debated by Trek fans what role Earth religions should have in Star Trek. Well, we learn that in the 22nd Century religion is still being practiced on Earth. Phlox, who is intrigued by all forms of religion, tells us that he has attended a Catholic mass and visited a Buddhist monastery. Archer, when asked about his religious views, diplomatically stated that he likes to keep an open mind. I think this is the best and most balanced stand that Star Trek could have taken on Earth religions, while acknowledging that this likely would not have met Roddenberry’s approval. The character of Daniels is interesting, although I must admit that I would have liked it if we had seen him a bit more in earlier episodes. I think the idea of an unassuming crewman that we had seen for several episodes suddenly being a central figure in the CTW would have made the revelation even stronger. So while we did not get a lot of meat in this episode, it builds for future storylines and gives us an intriguing character.
Relevance - 3 points. Right in the introductory scene we score a point as Silik is having some of his enhancements removed for his previous failure. This takes us back to the pilot, “Broken Bow”. Another point is scored for the introduction of Daniels, who will appear in a total of 8 episodes that spans the entire 4 seasons. While Daniels may not be the best of recurring characters (that would be Shran), he is an interesting guy that may or may not be one of the good guys in the TCW and it builds for future glimpses into the TCW. A third point is scored for the debut of movie night, where the crew of the Enterprise gather to watch old Earth movies. They have 50,000 titles in their database. The classic they start with? Night of the Killer Androids. Ah. I personally would have suggested the 1977 classic Star Wars myself.
Continuity – 3 points. Some may argue that the inclusion of Earth religions still being practiced in the 22nd century goes against the Universe continuity as that was a belief held by Gene Roddenberry. Let me point out that while this episode may have been the most explicit in detailing religious beliefs of the 22nd century, it is not the first. Kirk’s Enterprise had a non-denominational chapel where weddings could have been held. So, while this may not have met with Gene’s approval, I feel that the universe continuity is still maintained here. Story wise, things go well, although with Daniels being “killed” and then showing up again later in the season finale there might be something to take a closer look at. All characters are acting the way we would imagine. I totally buy Phlox being a student of different religions. Archer especially jumps from diplomat to skeptic to hero quite well.
Character Development – 2 points. There is definitely an Archer focus in this episode. This continues Archer’s importance in the timeline and will be built upon throughout the series. While T’Pol and Tucker are also part of the inner circle who know what is going on, only T’Pol really benefits from any development. This is due to her stated skepticism of time travel which is common among Vulcans. This is not a major development for her at this point, and we see little else in the development of the other characters.
Social Commentary – 1 point. As much as I enjoyed this episode, I cannot find much about social commentary in it. There is something said about religion in this episode, and it seems that both following a particular religion and not are treated with respect. This is only a minor aspect of the overall story, so I cannot really it score it much more than a token point.
Cool Stuff – 2 points. I have to score a point for the technology that Daniels shows Archer and how it is used in the temporal timelines. I will give another point for the Great Plume of Agosoria.
Rank – Captain (19 points). A good to excellent episode (depending a personal preferences), but it is definitely one should watch when going through the series. It does a very good job at continuing the TCW story line and establishing a recurring character on Enterprise in a different way.
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