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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Star Trek Enterprise Retro-Spective "Silent Enemy"

Courtesy of the Drexfiles. No copyright infringement intended.
Silent Enemy is another very simple episode. After launching two subspace comm relays, Enterprise encounters a mysterious that refuses communications. This prompts Archer to turn the ship around and head for Jupiter Station to fully install Enterprise's phase cannons. Trip and Malcolm Reed decide to get the work done themselves quicker, which they manage to. While all of this going on, Hoshi is using the new subspace amplifier to contact Malcolm's friends and families to find out his favorite food for his upcoming birthday. The mysterious alien returns several times, scanning the ship and eventually boarding it to run invasive scans on two crewmen. They eventually get the phase cannons online and fight off the alien, and Hoshi learns that Malcolm likes pineapples. Everyone lives happily ever after, except for the aliens, who remain mysterious.

That is "Silent Enemy". It is cool, kind of creepy, and effectively shows the evolving state of the ship and crew at this still early phase of the show. I like the fact that they care about the crew enough to go to an effort to make him a special birthday meal. I also actually appreciated the fact that they hadn't installed the phase cannons, and that they channeled them through the impulse engines to increase power, in a precursor to TMP channeling phaser power through the warp drive. But there are also notable issues.

In TOS (approximately 100 years later), they didn't have real-time communications with Earth. Now they do. This is one of several instances where a technology is readily available on Enterprise but not on TOS. Sloppy, folks. 'Stealth' technology (cloaking even, later on in the series), Phase pistols before lasers. Romulans with warp drive. Some of that is excusable, most is not. This is not a condemnation of Enterprise, or of this episode. But it has its faults.

I liked the idea of these mysterious baddies, but I would have liked to have known who they were and what their agenda was. Was this episode a seed of sorts for a future episode that never happened? I like to think so. In the end, I can live with the faults of "Silent Enemy" and recommend it as a well done and creepy, if imperfect episode. It gets a definite but conditional thumbs up.
Next Up: "Dear Doctor"

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