In the second episode of the fourth season of Enterprise, Archer and crew try to stop Vosk. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For extended discussion of Nazis/nazism, anti-semitism.
I had hoped, going into “Storm Front, Part II,” that the holes I’d found in the worldbuilding would be addressed in some shape or form. I tend to prefer to be wrong about stories rather than delighting in criticism. It’s just more fun to watch things that are great, you know? But the attempt to explain how Vosk’s faction infiltrated Earth’s history is just… oh god, it’s really bad. Unfortunately, it shows, and the constructed reality of this alternate World War II falls apart rapidly towards the end.
My main issue here is with the scene where Reed, T’Pol, and Archer all attempt to explain how Vosk ended up where he was. My interest was piqued at the start of that scene because I thought this was it! We’d find out the truth! Instead, Vosk’s entry into Earth history doesn’t even make sense to these characters. Somehow, they were able to determine that Vosk’s faction had only been on Earth a few years, which is after the first moment history was significantly altered by someone. Lenin’s assassination meant that Russia never became communist, which meant that Germany never saw them as a threat… which meant that this was how Hitler came to power??? Okay, this is bullshit! First, you have the same problem as the first episode of the season: there is no acknowledgment of anti-semitism and how Hitler exploited that to rise to power. You literally do not have the same historical end – the creation and sustained presence of Nazi power – WITHOUT ANTI-SEMITISM. Yet it is utterly ignored here, and the path we’re meant to accept still doesn’t make sense. Did the Vosk faction simply see Hitler’s rise to power and decide that this was the best place to upset human history? Upon arriving, they got stuck and… what?
I’m so confused on this point, and sometimes, the story is exciting enough that I just wave my hands at the whole affair and don’t bother attempting to explain it. But there is nothing but a flimsy rubric upon which this story is built, and as “Storm Front” progresses towards its climactic end, you can start to see the foundation. Why exactly did the Vosk faction choose Nazi Germany? How did they convince the Nazis that their alliance would be a good idea? How did the Nazis accept an alliance with literal aliens? Did they have their own explanation for who these people were or did they know that they were time traveling aliens? Did they sit down with the faction and explain what the “Aryan race” was???
I don’t know the answer to these questions, and I can’t even begin to guess what the writers intended with this mess. To make matters worse, “Storm Front” takes one of my favorite tropes – enemies forced to be allies against a shared foe – and OBLITERATES IT. Silik’s appearance was so great for a while, especially once we got the rare treat of getting to learn exactly why he had been ordered to stowaway on Enterprise. We’d always seen the Temporal Cold War as a battle between the Suliban, the Temporal Agents, and mysterious “other” factions. But here, we met another faction, the very one who caused the Temporal Cold War in the first place! So watching Silik basically shit talk Vosk and admit the Temporal Agents actually saved the Suliban from destruction was fascinating. Silik was getting depth! He was turning into a more fuller character!
DEAD TEN MINUTES LATER. Right as Silik becomes more than just a creepy antagonist, he dies, and his rivalry with Archer is over. His death isn’t even all that heroic, is it? So what’s the point of it? Why kill him off now? Is it because he served no purpose due to the end of the Temporal Cold War? That feels so lazy!
Indeed, I was shocked that this episode appeared to mark the end of the Temporal Cold War. I promise y’all, I don’t feel bitter about it because I ended up being 100% wrong about my prediction for this season’s arc. It’s completion mostly wraps up a three and a half year long mystery, and Archer’s final confrontation with Daniels was immensely satisfying. I loved that he didn’t express any appreciation towards him, but instead told Daniels to just LEAVE HIS CREW ALONE. That was a great writing choice! And I loved that after everything this crew had been through in the Expanse and in this alternate timeline, they were welcomed home in such a grandiose way. I just wish that more thought had been put into this alternate timeline, because as it stands, it feels like Nazi Germany was used for the shock it would cause instead of as a thoughtful exploration of… well, anything.
Also, can Enterprise get an ACTUAL rest now??? PLEASE?
The video for “Storm Front, Part II” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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