Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Shockwave, Part II”

“Shockwave, Part II”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 2, Episode 1
Production episode 028
Original air date: September 18, 2002
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. After getting a summary of Part I, we see T’Pol telling Silik to go ahead and board Enterprise to prove that Archer isn’t on board. Tucker objects, but T’Pol points out that there are thirty Suliban ships targeting their warp core. Enterprise’s only chance of survival is to let Silik’s people board.

In the thirty-first century, Daniels is appalled to see that, not only is there destruction all around, and nobody alive, there’s also no monument to the Federation that should be there. Archer, of course, has no idea what the Federation even is

They go to a library, which, to Daniels’ shock, isn’t filled with electronic records, but rather codex books. Somehow, these books are all in pristine condition despite the build they’re in being a wreck and exposed to the elements. Daniels quickly determines that history is just what he thinks it should be up until 2152, when it all goes to shit. He took Archer out of that moment in history to preserve the timeline, and instead screwed it up.

The Suliban confine the entire Enterprise crew to their quarters and then search every nook and cranny of the ship, but do not find Archer, though they do find a temporal signature in the turbolift. T’Pol confirms that Archer was last seen entering that turbolift.

Star Trek: Enterprise "Shockwave Part II"

Screenshot: CBS

Silik interrogates T’Pol while hooked up to some manner of torture device. She insists that she has no idea what happened to Archer and that time travel is impossible. Silik eventually decides that she’s telling the truth and dumps her back in her quarters.

In the future, Archer and Daniels manage to cobble together a transmitter, using Archer’s communicator and scanner, that will enable Archer to communicate with the Enterprise in the twenty-second century.

He manages to communicate with T’Pol, despite her being more than a little loopy following torture. Indeed, it takes her some time to realize that it’s really Archer communicating with her and not Silik asking more questions about Archer, or just a figment of her tortured (ahem) imagination.

Tucker has managed to figure out a way for all the folks in the opening credits to communicate with each other. Sato is the only one who can fit in the crawlspaces between decks, so she gets to squeeze through and go to Phlox’s quarters to obtain a couple of hypos. Then she frees Reed from his quarters, and they then free T’Pol and Tucker. (Why Mayweather and Phlox weren’t also freed, even though they were in on the plan, is left as an exercise for the viewer.)

T’Pol pretends to be completely binky bonkers from the torture in order to lure two Suliban close enough for Tucker and Reed to ambush them with the hypos. They now have two weapons. Reed heads to Daniels’ quarters and removes a device, where he is immediately captured. Reed insists that he doesn’t know what the device does, only that he was instructed to destroy it by Archer right before he disappeared.

Silik immediately takes the device to his ship to the room where he usually hears from Future Dude. His instructions from the latter were to capture Archer, and with Archer missing, he’s at a loss what to do. (His second, Raan, keeps trying to convince him to just destroy Enterprise and be done with it.)

Star Trek: Enterprise "Shockwave Part II"

Screenshot: CBS

Using Daniels’ device, Silik tries to contact Future Dude, but instead contacts Archer, who uses the portal Silik just opened to travel back in time and sock Silik in the jaw, which was the plan for Reed all along. Taking Silik hostage on a cell ship, he flies back to Enterprise and gets the Cabal soldiers to break off their attack.

Enterprise finally rendezvouses with the Vulcan vessel D’kyr. They report to Soval and Forest. The former stands by his recommendation that Enterprise should be recalled, their mission scrubbed. Tucker, Archer, and T’Pol all argue against. Tucker screams and fulminates, Archer tells a completely random story about gazelles, and T’Pol points out that one of the things Soval is dinging them for is discovering an illegal listening post and that Soval is a big stinky.

The next night, Archer informs T’Pol that their mission will continue, and he thinks it was her argument that put it over the top. (Which isn’t a surprise, since Archer and Tucker’s arguments both sucked.)

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Apparently, thirty-first-century high school students build time machines in shop class. Sure…

The gazelle speech. This is the episode from which this section title comes from. Archer talks about how gazelles are born and immediately run with the herd flawlessly, but humans aren’t like that, and they need to stumble. It’s, um—not the best metaphor…

Star Trek: Enterprise "Shockwave Part II"

Screenshot: CBS

I’ve been trained to tolerate offensive situations. T’Pol is tortured, manages to implement Archer’s plan despite being half-out of it when he spelled it out for her, and kicks all the ass and takes all the names. As the cherry on top, she tells off Soval beautifully.

Florida Man. Florida Man Mouths Off At Foreign Diplomat.

Optimism, Captain! Phlox has the material in his quarters to put together a hypo that will render the Suliban unconscious, which makes you wonder why the Suliban didn’t search everyone’s quarters while confining them…

The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined… T’Pol continues to insist that the Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that time travel isn’t possible, even though Archer pretty obviously traveled in time. She’s sounding more and more like Scully on The X-Files at this point…

Ambassador Pointy. Soval stands by his insistence that Enterprise’s mission should be recalled, his primary evidence being the number of armed conflicts they’ve gotten into in general and their actions leading to the destruction of the monastery on P’Jem and freeing of 89 Suliban in particular. When T’Pol reminds him of the illegal listening post on P’Jem, he storms out of the meeting.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. We get completely gratuitous shots of T’Pol in a tight tank top and Sato accidentally having her top ripped off while jumping down from a crawlway. Wah-hey?

I’ve got faith…

“The concept of learning from one’s mistakes shouldn’t be difficult for a Vulcan of your wisdom to understand, Ambassador. Our ancestors discovered how to suppress their volatile emotions only after centuries of savage conflict.”

–The opening volley of T’Pol’s verbal bitch-slap of Soval.

Welcome aboard. Back from Part I are recurring regulars John Fleck as Silik, Gary Graham as Soval, Vaughn Armstrong as Forest, and Matt Winston as Daniels. Silik will be back in the season finale, “The Expanse.” Graham and Armstrong will be back in “Cease Fire,” while Daniels won’t return until the third season’s “Carpenter Street.”

Also present is Jim Fitzpatrick for his second appearance as Williams; he’ll be back in “Regeneration.” Keith Allan plays Raan.

Trivial matters: This obviously continues the story begun at the end of last season in “Shockwave.” It continues the Temporal Cold War storyline, which will next be seen in “Future Tense.”

This two-parter was also novelized by Paul Ruditis, and released simultaneously with the second-season premiere. It is the only straight-up work of Trek fiction by Ruditis, though he has written several reference books and coffee table books for the franchise, including The Voyager Companion, A Very Klingon Khristmas, Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary, and many others.

Soval specifically references the events of “The Andorian Incident,” “Shadows of P’Jem,” and “Detained” when outlining why he thinks Enterprise should be recalled.

While in the future, Archer hears the names of two nations that he has had no contact with as yet: the Romulan Star Empire (which Earth will make first contact with in “Minefield”) and the Federation (which we all know is coming along in a decade or so…).

Star Trek: Enterprise "Shockwave Part II"

Screenshot: CBS

It’s been a long road… “Time travel is not fair.” There’s a lot to like about this episode, which—rarely for a cross-season Trek two-parter—is actually better than Part I. Mostly this is because it eschews a lot (though not all) of the nonsense for a straight-up action storyline that has our heroes being competent.

In particular, Jolene Blalock stands out here. T’Pol pretty much saves the day with the power of her awesomeness. She is able to power through recovering from being tortured to get all of Archer’s message and then implement the plan.

Not that it’s Archer’s plan. While he does kick Daniels into working to come up with a plan, it’s Daniels’ plan, truly, and T’Pol and the rest of the crew are the ones who put it into practice.

Archer’s primary contribution is to give the gazelle speech.

The gazelle speech has become kind of a touchstone for Enterprise. I mean, his predecessors had, “Risk is our business,” and “Let history never forget the name Enterprise,” and “A part of us—a very important part—will always remain here on Deep Space 9,” and “If we turn our backs on our principles, we stop being human.” What does Archer get? “Well, um, I saw these gazelles once, and they were awesome,” and then he proceeds to say that humans are nothing like gazelles, and that’s not how you do metaphors!

It’s the most uninspired inspirational speech in Trek history, and it almost brings down the episode—until T’Pol speaks up. As has been the case throughout the show so far, T’Pol is the saving grace of the ship, as she’s competent, sensible, smart, clever, and doesn’t let bullshit get in the way of the work. She’s the only grownup among the “big three,” and it’s brought into very sharp relief in the climactic discussion on the bridge. Tucker pulls his usual yell-at-all-Vulcans act, which has long since grown tired, while Archer babbles about gazelles. It’s up to T’Pol to actually make a convincing argument—though, truly, the result should have been her immediate recall to Vulcan for talking back to a superior. But this is television, where superiors actually listen to their subordinates’ arguments…

The temporal mechanics are mostly ridiculous, and the Easter eggs in the library are as gratuitous as Linda Park going topless and Jolene Blalock in a skimpy tank top (and how the hell were those books in such good shape????), but the action sequences are nicely done, and John Fleck plays Silik’s cravenness nicely.

Warp factor rating: 5

Rewatcher’s note: Today is my mother’s 75th birthday. Her celebrating has been postponed due to a bout with COVID-19 (she’s fine, she’s recovering nicely). Please, everyone, wish her a happy birthday in the comments!

Keith R.A. DeCandido urges everyone to support the Kickstarter for Phenomenons: Season of Darkness, the second volume in the shared-world superhero anthology series published by Crazy 8 Press. The anthology features stories by Keith and fellow Trek prose stylists Michael Jan Friedman (who also created and is the editor of the series), Peter David, Geoffrey Thorne, Ilsa J. Bick, Robert Greenberger, Paul Kupperberg, Aaron Rosenberg, and Glenn Hauman, as well as screenwriter Dan Hernandez and novelists Mary Fan, Michael A. Burstein, Marie Vibbert, Russ Colchamiro, Hildy Silverman, and Alex Segura. Please consider supporting the anthology on Kickstarter!

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