Star Trek: Enterprise

"Shockwave, Part I"

4 stars

Air date: 5/22/2002
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Archer: "Can't you ever give a straight answer?"
Daniels: "Depends on the question."

In brief: Compelling, absorbing, intriguing, convincing. I think the season ends on a high note.

"Shockwave" is bookended with some chilling images that burned themselves into my mind. Those images are enough to elevate an already standout story into the realm of memorable excellence. Trek hasn't absorbed me in this way in some time. And I'm pleased also to report that there's a depth and emotional arc to this story that's convincing.

But more than anything, I think what makes "Shockwave" truly work is its tone of unrelenting weightiness, which is masterfully pitched. I suppose the credit should go largely to Allan Kroeker and the actors, who bring conviction and importance to every scene, in a restrained, understated way — not an easy task.

The episode opens with a startlingly potent image: the surface of a moon being incinerated by a wave of cascading explosions, destroying a mining colony and killing 3,600 people. It's a disaster on a large scale, and initial evidence indicates the Enterprise shuttlepod's plasma emissions accidentally ignited atmospheric gases during a landing approach. The evidence is conflicting; Reed explains in no uncertain terms that procedures to avoid this possibility were followed to a T, even while forensic-like analysis reveals byproducts that could only have been produced by the plasma igniting the atmosphere.

I especially liked that the episode didn't merely use this disaster as a plot launcher, but also as the basis for Archer's soul searching. A quietly effective scene where he silently scrolls through a seemingly endless list of colonist names — with pictures attached — says it all. Archer submerges himself into a pit of self-punishment; as captain, he feels directly responsible for all the deaths.

Meanwhile, news from Starfleet suggests that the Vulcans (particularly at the behest of Ambassador Soval) will use this incident to cancel the Enterprise's mission and try to bottle Starfleet back inside our solar system for the next 10 or 20 years. Overreaction? Certainly. Someone needs to argue in favor of the value of Enterprise's mission. But being in his guilty pit of self-punishment, Archer seems content to accept whatever is handed down from above without a fight. Trip is in disbelief: "That's guilt talking, not Jonathan Archer."

Even T'Pol recognizes the absurdity in the Vulcans recommending the mission be canceled. She also recognizes that Archer's guilt is getting the best of him, and in a good scene where she shows herself trying to be an effective first officer doing what's best for the mission, she visits Archer in his quarters and asks him bluntly, "Is this what humans call feeling sorry for themselves?"

These notes are played just about perfectly. We can understand Archer's guilty reactions just as we can understand that they must not be allowed to take complete control of him; emotions must not prevail in allowing a knee-jerk verdict go the distance.

It's about here where an intriguing sci-fi plot all but rescues Archer from his own predicament. While I'm in favor of seeing characters resolve their problems instead of having the plot do it for them, in this case the plot is so clever that I was more than happy to go with the flow. Archer turns off the light in his quarters and suddenly wakes up in his apartment on Earth in the past. I liked the visual of Archer looking out a window over the city skyline — like a dream image, it's a visual that feels familiar and yet doesn't belong — and I liked Archer's puzzled but muted responses to this strangeness ("If you're telling me the last 10 months were a dream, I'm not buying it," he says, not even sure if he's talking to anyone but himself).

The not-so-dead-after-all Crewman Daniels (Matt Winston; see "Cold Front") pulled Archer into this past because it seemed to Daniels like a good hiding place away from the front lines of the Temporal Cold War. Or something. Daniels tries to explain the collision of past and future in the terms of how certain events haven't happened yet, to which Archer responds, "That's a load of crap and you know it" — a perfect line of dialog. Daniels then proceeds to explain that the accident that destroyed the mining colony was engineered by the Suliban as a frame-up in an attempt to undermine Enterprise's mission and change history.

If there's a complaint to be made about the plot machinations here, it's that the information supplied to Archer from Daniels is so correct and comprehensive as to make Daniels storyline-omniscient. But then that's the whole point about this war waged through timelines — he who has the best information wins.

In this case, Archer comes back to the present with a wealth of information that makes it possible to collect evidence proving the Suliban frame-up. The Enterprise crew does this by tracking down and disabling a cloaked Suliban ship, boarding it, and stealing data that documents the frame-up. Clever. (Perhaps even too clever, too perfect.) The action here is the polar opposite of Andromeda action; stealth, skill, and planning take the place of brute force and mindless shoot-outs, to the point that I don't believe we see a single Suliban get hit with a phaser beam. Whaddayaknow.

This raid subsequently prompts recurring Suliban villain Silik (John Fleck), under orders from his mysterious superior from the future, to track the Enterprise down and target it for destruction unless Archer agrees to surrender himself, for reasons not yet made clear. Archer agrees to surrender and places T'Pol in command of the ship, in a scene that is played with such earnestly serious gravity that it borders on being Earnestly Serious Gravity, but without going too far.

What can't come across in a review is the effectiveness of the material's tone throughout. When Archer turns the ship over to T'Pol, for example, it comes across as a major concession of defeat even as the actors and director remain restrained with dead-on delivery. Less proves to be so much more.

The ending is a time-manipulation twist in which Archer finds himself suddenly pulled into the 31st century by Daniels, who finds to his own dismay that this causes the 31st century to be radically altered for the worse. Here we get compelling shots of a city long since laid to waste. The season ends with Archer and Daniels apparently trapped in an alternate future no one had predicted. I loved the final zoom-out shot with the wrecked city landscape and skyscraper shells — a haunting image that conveys an apt sense of isolation.

Of course, the funny thing about the Temporal Cold War is that it has no knowable direction and therefore no actual substance. By definition, we are in the dark, because it's not about what has happened or is happening, but what maybe "should" happen in one possible future. And in situations like this, writers have a knack for letting themselves off the hook in ways that aren't satisfying to the audience. It's the one worry that comes built into a setup like this.

One might also reflect that by its very nature, the Temporal Cold War (or any sort of time-altering premise, for that matter) is fundamentally ridiculous, since the participants think they can control history merely by manipulating certain events in the timeline. Just once I'd be interested in seeing a sci-fi time plot that plays closer to my own belief in ultimate chaos: If there's one tiny detail or even molecule out of place, the timeline is thus significantly changed in ways that can no longer be predicted (Run Lola Run supplies one of my favorite cinematic examples of this school of thought).

I digress. In a way, "Shockwave" is like a melding of Star Trek and The X-Files. Most important to note is that it's like the early seasons of The X-Files that used to interest me (as opposed to the infuriating self-parody that its later seasons became) — a show that was sold on the genuine evocation of mystery, intriguing images, and characters who reacted to the bizarre with muted disbelief.

"Shockwave" contains a lot of familiar sci-fi ideas that can't be described as "new." But what I'm enthused about is that the episode puts them together in such a way that the storyline itself feels new. It seems capable of going anywhere, and indeed it does go in directions we might not have anticipated at the beginning. Even for the Trekker who has seen everything, "Shockwave" manages to bring plenty to the table. Can the follow-up next season pull the characters out of this dilemma plausibly? I'm not sure. But until then, I'm completely satisfied with this episode on its own.

Here's a plot that's a mess ... but what an entertaining, well-executed, and absorbing mess it is.

Keep an eye out for my Enterprise season recap sometime this summer.

Previous episode: Two Days and Two Nights
Next episode: Shockwave, Part II

End-of-season article: First Season Recap

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33 comments on this post

Marco P.
Thu, Nov 4, 2010, 4:52am (UTC -5)
You know it's funny. "That's a load of crap and you know it" is something I tell myself very often during ST Enterprise viewings, particularly just before I press PLAY on a new episode. Something else you mentioned Jammer, "no knowable direction and therefore no actual substance" about the Temporal Cold War, could easily be applied in my eyes to the script/story of the entire first season.

I think the reason you gave this 4 stars is not because of the episode's value in itself, but rather how it stands compared to the mediocrity of its brothers. YES! For the first time the action/story is not completely non-sensical, and despite its silliness in nature the Temporal Cold War might be something the viewers could get interested in. Part of why this works in the episode is because, like you rightfully said, "we are left in the dark": the possibilities of where the story might go from here are left to our imagination which, let's face it, is often limitless and seldom leaves us disappointed. I mean hell: in my imagination, the last Star Trek series to date isn't a complete waste of time, but I digress.

Of course from here on out and in season 2, the challenge for the writers is to actually fulfill our expectations with much "meat & potatoes". I mean, could Brannon & Braga actually succeed at ridding us of the notion this "Temporal Cold War" is nothing but another load of BS, and that it might actually be something that gets the Enterprise story somewhere? Could this turn into a (semi) watchable show at the very last??

One might as well believe in pink elephants.
Mon, Nov 8, 2010, 6:43am (UTC -5)
The Vulcans were right.

Regardless of fault, Archers presence led to the incineration of 3600 people. That and all the other havoc they've wreaked so far justifies ending the mission.

This childish 'it might not be our fault' mentality was implausible. Like Starfleet would care who is at fault. Like Archer would be consumed by guilt. Come on.

Then again, maybe they are trying to appeal to audience of 13-year-olds.
Tue, Jun 7, 2011, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Well that was more like it. I actually got really into this, even if it does get a bit "wibbly wobbly timey wimey".

Apart from what has been mentioned.. I liked the infiltration of the Suliban ship. Everything just came together beautifully, it was like... sometimes you hear the term "waltzing in", it's almost like a literal definition of that. Too perfect? Perhaps. I call it a show of professional Starfleet competence, I got a feel that they were extremely well trained and well prepared and it just makes a nice change seeing it flow so well.

Of course then everything gets turned upside down. The strength of this episode relies, as per, on Part 2 not being a clunker (which sadly they usually are in Trek).

I think perhaps it'd been a meatier story if it really was their fault the atmosphere went kaboom and spent the episode exploring in full the consequences and the fight to continue the mission, but I have no complaints about the direction it took.

A great finale to an otherwise mediocre season though, here's hoping for better in season 2.
Tue, Oct 18, 2011, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
"A great finale to an otherwise mediocre season "

I totally agree with this statement, and I am already convinced to buy and watch season 2.

It is me or this was the very 1st episode where Archer said the word "dismissed"???
Captain Jim
Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
Fantastic episode. I'm firmly convinced that some of you are already convinced you're going to hate every episode before you ever watch it.
Fri, Nov 9, 2012, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
I'm convinced I'm going to hate it before I even watch but I still enjoyed this one. Well the beginning with Archer guilt-tripping was sort of meh and the whole, "we're stuck in the future" bit at the end had my eyes rolling right out of their sockets but when Archer got his info he acted perfectly like a quarterback who had just been magically handed the playbook of the opposing team with every play they were going to use. In order. The middle acts are fantastic as for once the crew really clamps down and stops asking questions, just acts professional, gets it done and kicks ass.

No one else saw any 9-11 parellels? The whole, "we followed protocols!" thing seemed obvious to me. I dunno but before the sci-fi kicked into high gear with time travel, the episode seemed to paint a small, sympathetic picture of a guilt-ridden George W. But, then we time travel. Small picture.
Fri, Nov 9, 2012, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Jammer: "If there's one tiny detail or even molecule out of place, the timeline is thus significantly changed in ways that can no longer be predicted "

I agree, the very presence of the time traveller contaminates the timeline. Out of curiosity I checked a website that I enjoy about time travel theories, specifically, making them work within popular sci-fi. According to that site, Run Lola Run isn't actually about time travel but more about the choices we make and how they affect our lives. I tend to agree with him there. Not very sci-fi or really about the time travel. But, all the same I know what you mean and agree with it's essence.


That article helped me to enjoy Terminator as genuine sci-fi rather than just an action movie. Fantastic stuff if you can get through it!
John the younger
Sun, Dec 9, 2012, 9:48am (UTC -5)
Eeeeeeeeasily the best episode of what was an otherwise mind-numbingly dull season.

3.5 for me.
Sat, Sep 14, 2013, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
I guess I'm the only one that thought this was a good episode but didn't like that the show went there...

The problem with a "temporal cold war" plot is that it's pretty much designed with The Reset Button (TM) built right in, something we've all come to hate from Voyager. But that's not my problem. My problem is that this plotline could be used for any sci-fi series. There's so much more that befits a prequel to Star Trek than a generic timetravel good-guy/bad-guy action flick.

I wanted Enterprise to be like some of the politics-heavy episodes out of BSG. We're looking at the birth of The Federation, humanity's coming into age in a world of many species and galaxies full of different people. So much potential, so many backstories to fill in, so many different plotlines that could have been travelled; but alas....
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 5:39am (UTC -5)
Jim says "I'm firmly convinced that some of you are already convinced you're going to hate every episode before you ever watch it."

Heh... there's a ring of truth to that. I'd heard from everyone else how terrible Enterprise was (and how mediocre Voyager was) and went in with low expectations.

Overall I was not a fan of ENT at all, looking back. Especially a certain arc that drags itself out through season 3 and magnifies the least desirable aspects of a certain character I already didn't like much (American anger over 9/11 just had to be channelled through Trek. Forget all the Trekkian principles and morality, the eagle is angry! Bleh.) But like any Trek series it had its golden moments that make me glad to be able to say I've seen every single Trek episode - this is one of them.
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 5:39am (UTC -5)
"If you don't comply, I have permission to destroy Enterprise."

"How do I know you won't destroy Enterprise anyway?"

"Captain Archer is no longer aboard Enterprise."

Ugh. I HATE that clunky dialog. The writer's insistence that everyone to refer to it solely as Enterprise no matter what is so damned annoying to me.

Toss in an occasional "the Enterprise", "the ship", or "my ship" dammit!
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
I feel like fans are a little bit harsh on Enterprise. It's interesting to look at TV today where a lot of successful shows are producing, 10,13, or 16 episodes a season. Maybe Enterprise would had been better if it was just 16 episodes a season. I don't mind new aliens like the Suliban and Denobulan, but it would had been cool if they used a races like the Andorian, Tholians, Tellarite, Orion Syndicate, and Axanar a little bit more in season one.

Season one would had been better if it only consist of 16 episodes:

Broken Bow
Fight or Flight
Strange New World
Unexpected - the first half is good.
The Andorian Incident
Breaking The Ice
Fortunate son
Cold front
Silent enemy
Dear doctor
Shuttle Pod One
Shadows of P'jem
Vox Sola
Fallen Hero
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
The only thing wrong with ENT is that B&B shouldn't have made a show they didn't believe in. If you think the only way people will watch a prequel is if you pepper it with an unwieldy time travel plot so that the future could be unmade (dun dun DUN!!!!) if things go poorly, it means you don't believe in a prequel. If you don't think we'll watch your cliffhangers if there's not the threat of wiping out our beloved Federation then they didn't believe in their premise hard enough.

That being said, while you are not wrong I'd wager that you could seriously improve all of VOY the same way...
Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 10:03am (UTC -5)
All the series (including TOS) could have been improved in the same mannor.

Hell, the same could be said for probably every TV series made!

All shows have their duds.

It's easy to say they shouldn't have made the show.... but I'm sure that they all liked their paychecks... to include all the set folks etc.

I will say without question Enterprise would have been better had they taken a break and planned the whole thing out. It could have been a 10 year series.
Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Yeah, I agree that having less chaff would make the season stronger. For me, though, I usually judge a 26-episode Star Trek season by how many GOOD episodes there are. I haven't seen ENT in a while, but in the case of DS9 even its best seasons have 6 or 7 episodes that could be cut. I forgive it because writing 26 quality stories a year is probably prohibitively difficult. For me, as long as a Star Trek season has about 12 or 13 episodes that range from good to great and 7 or 8 that are solid or at least watchable, it's a good season.
Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
I don't mean they shouldn't have made a show after Voyager. I just mean that if the joy of the founding of the Federation want interesting enough without a threat of unmaking the future they probably should have done one of the many other ideas they had post Voyager.

And is have a hard time trimming TNG season 3 by 10 episodes!!
Fri, Feb 20, 2015, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
I've been working my way through every episode of Star Trek including TAS and all the movies. Some episodes are exciting and fun. But entire stretches often feel like a chore to get through. I have to completely disagree with the majority here. I feel like this was one of the worst episodes of the whole season. I liked Archer's soul searching. And I liked having to deal with the consequences of a tiny mistake leading to a massive loss of life. That's good character development, and thus, good Trek. But I have to agree with Mahmoud above that Time Travel episodes are their own worst enemies. That's because the second you are allowed to manipulate the 4th dimension, you've taken away all sense of urgency, all consequence to any action, indeed you've removed any sense of conflict at all. What does anything matter when you have time on your side to just hit 'undo'? Time travel works best when it's done for psychological effect a la Groundhog's Day where characters are being manipulated by a quirk of time but have no actual control over it. Or, more commonly, when it's just being played for fun. The DS9/TOS crossover comes to mind. But to try and create an action piece without the limits of the 4th dimension is absurd. Action relies on timing and momentum and control of time eliminates both. One of the worst time memes Voyager used was a sense of urgency from some future group in order to ensure that they can activate the plot device for group B who is operating in the past. As if the two are connected at a single point. You're controling an event that happened 300 years ago! What does it matter if you're 10 seconds too late? Or 10 minutes? Or 10 years? You can literally press the button whenever you want provided that you aim it at the correct point in the past! So the sense of urgency for squad A is completely mute! Not sure if I described that clearly but I'm worried we're going to suffer the same problem in part II of this episode as well. I can't feel a sense of urgency for any group with the ability to manipulate time any more than I feel for a billionaire who doesn't have correct change for a pack of gum.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Apr 3, 2016, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
Now that was genuinely excellent. A pace that never let up, some fantastic surprises, some memorable images, what more could you want? It's interesting that these 2-parters are usually all set up in the first part, but this actually manages to provide some resolution while still putting in place some solid groundwork for part 2.

In some ways it would have been interesting if they had gone down the route of Enterprise actually causing the explosion and explored the ramifications of that - although if the answer was that the Vulcans sat on space exploration on Earth for 10 years that wouldn't make much of a TV show. So I too was happy with the direction this took. Good stuff - 4 stars.
Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
@ Captain Jim
Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
Fantastic episode. I'm firmly convinced that some of you are already convinced you're going to hate every episode before you ever watch it.
Isn't that the truth! It truly saddens me. Enterprise is every bit as much "trek" as all the other spin-offs.

This is an OUTSTANDING episode! It's really hard to add to Jammer's review here. I felt the same way watching this and I was thankful I was watching it on my DVD's so I didn't have to wait months to watch part II :-)

T'Pol is so good for Archer and Archer is so good for T'Pol. Some great meaningful exchanges in this one.

Love this exchange:

"T'POL: You are very adept at listing the questionable decisions you've made, but there have been other decisions, many of them, that no one would question. I'm willing to try to convince my government of that. Are you willing to try to convince yours?
ARCHER: You know, this has got to be the first time a Vulcan has ever attempted to cheer up a human. "

Great trust and camaraderie has developed between these two. I love this relationship.

We are (gladly) reintroduced to Daniels played by Matt Winston. I'm happy this character isn't "dead". It's also good to see Silik again.

It was clear to me that Archer knew Daniel's had his back when Silik demanded he leave.

"ARCHER: (to T'Pol) I'm placing you in command. I advise you to maintain your present course and speed. I don't know what's going to happen, but try to keep an open mind. Especially when it comes to things the Vulcan Science Directorate says are impossible."

No hesitation whatsoever placing her in command either. Quite the change from the beginning of the season. Substantial character growth for these two throughout the first season.

Easy 4 star episode from me.
Thu, Sep 15, 2016, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
I loved that episode.
Sun, Nov 13, 2016, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone else notice the very reminiscent plot of an incident that appeared to be the Enterprise's fault, but it was just a framejob is pretty much a repeat from Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country?
Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Easily the best episode from an ok Season 1. Watching it right after "Two Days, Two Nights" makes it come across as even better given the action scenes, good pacing and good lines.
Interesting that Daniels, TCW, Suliban are all at play here and the plot works for me. The whole TCW / time travel thing is a big ? but it not worrying about the details of the TCW allows this episode to work.
Usually these 2 parters have a great 1st part. Can only hope 2nd part lives up to the 1st part. I liked the action scene on the Suliban ship - good to see the Enterprise trio at their action best. The Suliban play convincing villains - not as good as say the Borg in "Best of Both Worlds" but them and the whole TCW thing is ENT's main storyline.
One of the few episodes I'd go back and re-watch from Season 1 of ENT. 3.5/4 stars for me.
Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
2 stars. I thought this was actually a hot mess and quite convoluted

Why want archer?

Shouldn’t FG and Daniels’ agency be shielded from changes otherwise every time a faction alters history they’ll be effected by the change? Yet why was Daniels spared? Shouldn’t the headquarters of temporal agency and these Time portals be protected from changes in the timeline?!?!?

Why isn’t Daniels doing the dangerous stuff instead of the crew?

Why did Daniels superiors mess up bringing archer? Double agent?

Where are other factions in all this? what caused devastation in future? Not Xindi—otherwise earth was destroyed.

How did Daniels survive?

Why would Suliban keep records of their mission for archer to get as proof? You’d think they’d erase or keep no records if no other reason than to keep future factions finding this stuff out especially visual records of the sabotage of the shuttle. And I’m not sure why the Suliban couldn’t have sabotaged directly the shuttle pods and not attach a device to cause the burn off of atmosphere

Why want ent mission cancelled?

Why did FG disappear? FG fate tied to archer or archer and federation but how?

Why did temporal agents leave future tech in Daniels’ quarters? Answers never come.

Why didn’t Daniels just go back in time after learning Suliban are going to sabotage the shuttleppd and prevent it to begin with??

There was no reason for the cloaked Suliban stealth ship to hang around the destroyed colony. They should have returned to the helix since Daniels doesn’t. Seem to know where it is thrn enterprise could have never boarded it and obtained the disks

And the stuff before Daniels shows up was kind of overwrought and well trodden in terms of debate about whether humans should be out in space
Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
I didn't like this episode either, for similar reasons to the above - I never found it credible or engaging. The stakes and situation were far too contrived, silly and conjured out of nowhere for me to be able to take the drama at face value. I actually liked part 2 a lot though; it was more functional/effective and with some good character moments.
Wed, May 30, 2018, 11:58am (UTC -5)
The one question I have is, if the moon colony had an atmosphere that can be easily ignited and cause Armageddon why would they even risk letting people send their own shuttles down? One mistake and KABOOM. You'd think they'd insist on transporters, or sending their own shuttles, not just "follow the landing protocols".
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Just feel the need to correct an earlier comment I made -- this is no longer, for me, "Easily the best episode from an ok Season 1" -- that "honor" would go to "Dear Doctor". An excellent episode, the first part of "Shockwave", is the 2nd best ENT S1 episode.
Peter Swinkels
Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 9:42am (UTC -5)
The episode was fine. A few nitpicks: time travel is confusing and those phase cannons look sort of silly.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Enjoyable episode, I also do an eyeroll everytime they do a time travel episode, but this was done in a less irritating manner than some.
Jason R.
Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Watching this show through for the first time feels like... desperation? Nerd homework? This season finale combines my three most hated tropes in scifi: (1) our heroes framed for a crime they didn't commit by (2) hard headed a-hole superiors with (3) alternate history time travel plot.

God I hate the temporal cold war. It just keeps rearing its ugly head hijacking the show again and again. You know that unpolluted timeline, the one Daniels is trying to protect? The one where things happened just as they were supposed to? Could we see that one? Pretty please? Just once?

And the Vulcans. Good God the Vulcans. Soval reminds me of a police commissioner from an 80s cop movie. Or maybe someone should have made him an honorary Commodore.

Just a question here: why is Starfleet kowtowing to these a'-holes? Who put the Vulcans in charge of Earth anyway? How do they keep Earth "bottled up"? I can understand Earth deferring to them to some extent being a peaceful benevolent advanced race, but what do the Vulcans hold over Starfleet? Do they threaten to withhold resources? Something Earth needs? I just don't get it.
David K.
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 4:24am (UTC -5)
This episode falls apart from the beginning because of the ridiculous premise. Who settles on a planet that can be destroyed in such a trivial manner? A slight malfunction that can ignite an ENTIRE planets atmosphere? You’ve got to be kidding me. At least TRY and come up with a plausible situation for the tragedy. This one is just too far out there.
Sean J Hagins
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 5:01am (UTC -5)
A tense exciting episode! I honestly can't understand why people don't like this show. This was the best cliffhanger since "The Best of Both Worlds". I love Daniels! I know this comes later, but as for the series finale (which I wasn't a fan of), if they wanted to have some Next Gen crew in it, I think having Daniels bring Archer into the 24th century would have been a better idea (I am thinking kind of like Sisko had to go back to the 23rd).
Mon, Apr 11, 2022, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
I have to agree this is one of the best episodes of the series. I love these time travel episodes in general, and the ending of this one is a great cliffhanger!

I agree with comments above about people having decided before they watched they were going to hate ENT, that is absolutely obvious when reading the comments section. That being said I do understand time travel isn't everyones thing, so I understand why, for those individuals, this episode would get rated down.
Fri, Oct 14, 2022, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
I really like this episode, just like a lot of others.
There's one background detail that always bugs me though
Let me explain.

So the planet that Enterprise is visiting has a very strict set of procedures that ships have to follow when landing in their atmosphere. And the reason for these strict procedures is because if you don't follow them EXACTLY then the entire planet's atmosphere will ignite, killing absolutely everyone.

Think about this for a minute. Every single time a ship lands on their planet it risks wiping out the entire population, and they know this. Yet they still just hand over a copy of the steps to strangers (in this case Enterprise) and hope they don't screw it up.

Given the ludicrously high stakes, wouldn't it make more sense for the planet to run it's own heavily regulated ferry shuttles piloted by extensively trained natives?

I'm not saying that the Enterprise crew wouldn't be qualified to do the landing. But the planet's government has no way of verifying that.

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