Series: Enterprise - Season One
Episode: “Shockwave, Part One”
Trek Installment # 25
Viewing Date: October 7, 2009
The Temporal Cold War kinda explodes into Enterprise by destroying a colony and almost derailing the entire deep space mission. This episode does a good job of balancing out the more mysterious elements with action – it distracts from the unknown and unexplainable in a good way.
There’s not much to this episode, though the action sequences are fun. I really enjoyed the cell ships descending upon Enterprise. The drama, however, is a little over the top. To quote my wife: “Is this the episode where everyone is bitchy?”
Obviously, it’s a two-parter, but instead of building us up to a cliffhanger, this honestly feels just like half an episode.
As for the second half . . .
Season One Overview
Overall Season Rating: B –
Best Episode: Shuttlepod One
Best Episode Runner-Up: Breaking the Ice
Worst Episode: Desert Crossing
Enterprise Season One. Chronologically, this is the beginning of the Trek saga. It puts humanity a few steps ahead of where we are now and a few steps back from where we are in the 23rd and 24th centuries. It’s designed to show as an uncertain race on an ambitious mission to satisfy our hopes and dreams. We struggle with the overbearing hand of the Vulcans and strive to put a good face on no matter what – even if we find ourselves flying from one angry alien to another and get embroiled in a time war that is too large to completely understand.
Enterprise puts on a good show, but has its cracks and when those cracks show, they show bad. While giving us stories that are different and interesting, we’re also given episodes that follow the same basic formula with almost no deviation.
Enterprise has two basic mythologies. The one is Temporal Cold War, which is handled very well. It’s delightfully intriguing, twisting and turning with riddles about time and subterfuge. The only episode relating to the Temporal Cold War that I didn’t like was “Detained” and that was mainly because the allusions it drew were so stark and big that it crippled the ability to tell a good story.
When I first saw the Suliban, I found them to be a rather bland villain. They’ve definitely grown on me – especially Silik, whose character should have remained around for a good while. Silik is very much the anti-Archer. He’s as much as a player in the Temporal Cold War as Archer, but probably knows just a little more than him. Granted, he’s no Kahn or Dukat or Q or Borg Queen . . . but I like that. The Trek universe is filled with such huge villains that sometimes just a witty, emotional, sneaky pawn-turned-leader is appreciated.
On the other hand, we have the second mythology, which is the slow-build into the Star Trek universe that (most of us) will know and love. These episodes aren’t clearly defined as “Cold Front” or “Shockwave,” but are still very much present throughout the first season. I’m speaking mainly of “The Andorian Incident” and “Shadows of P’Jem” – both which I wasn’t very impressed with. Don’t get me wrong, I like the concepts dealt with in these episodes. I liked Shran and loved the idea that two of the four founding members of the Federation were at each others throats, but I think there was a failure in execution. And to be honest, it’s on the side of the Vulcans.
I’m not sure what I was expecting the first time, but coming in having known how the Vulcans were handled, I was ready for it. I feel like the Vulcans are portrayed as over-the-top, bossy, snobby asshats. Certain circumstances I can understand that, but it’s not so much in what they’re doing, it’s how they’re doing it. These Vulcans are far too emotional, far too snotty, and just overbearing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that – except for V’Lar – the Vulcans don’t make the kind of space-faring, peace-loving companions I always envisioned them as. Instead, we have a conservative race of Sareks (Sarek during the flashback in ST5, that is; not post-Journey to Babel).
Let’s approach the grand-daddy of both mythologies – “Broken Bow.” As the chronological beginning of the Star Trek universe, this episode is great. In fact, the credit sequence is the most appropriate in the pilot, as that was our big step into deep space.
In terms of the crew, I think they each had the spotlight on them, even if the spotlight at times didn’t make them do anything. Phlox, Hoshi and Mayweather tended to be underdeveloped, but at the same time, weren’t exactly given as much time to grow as some of the others. Archers main arc was basically his attempt to get over the Vulcans, which he – at times – was able to do, but had some really bad regressions (see his treatment of T’Pol in “Andorian Incident”). Trip seemed to be always be up to something and you can see the beginnings of his relationship (in way or another) with T’Pol if you look closely.
Season One limps at times and runs at others. It's the not best Trek has had to ffer, but certainly not the worse (not yet, at least). But it's a start.
As I continue on, I plan on touching on the dealings with the main non-Federation race with each season. These races are the most common to Star Trek (Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi, etc) and this where their some of their arcs begin.
The portrayal of the Klingons in season one are akin to basically being big bullies. They don’t have much to say to Archer and the gang during first contact (which, while not as disastrous as Picard made it sound like, still wasn’t great). But it made them aware of Archer and humanity and I could see how the Klingons could believe that the empire being saved by humans would find such an act dishonorable – leading to the hefty hostile attitudes later on in the season. Beyond “Broken Bow,” we have “Unexpected,” where the Klingons have upped the bully ‘tude, and “Sleeping Dogs,” where they act like bigger bullies.
Some aliens that historians believe could have been the Ferengi made first contact with Enterprise. Possibly.
One season down, twenty-eight to go!