STAR TREK REWIND: “Shock Wave, Part I,” “Shock Wave, Part II”

“We’re going to stumble, make mistakes – I’m sure more than a few before we find our footing. But we’re going to learn from those mistakes. That’s what being human is all about.”

The trouble with the “Tinker Bell” character (though originally written as a stand-alone construct) is that it too often becomes a crutch upon which to rest any danger that might happen to the lead characters. Crewman Daniels is a “Tinker Bell” character in the Star Trek lore. He appears at the times when we most need him and then disappears all too quickly before he can provide proper explanations for why things are the way that they are, except to say that time travel plays an important part in his thought process. This can get extremely annoying.

Enterprise is on its way to a mining facility on a planet that requires strict adherence to landing protocols so that it doesn’t turn into a ball of fire and kill everyone. The planet’s mining operations tend to flush fluorocarbons into the atmosphere, and if those chemicals ignite, it means curtains, Rocky, curtains! Once Reed is happy the appropriate specifications are met, they head for the planet surface. Unfortunately, the planet catches fire anyway. Three-thousand inhabitants dead. What the hell happened? Archer and the crew are dismayed and horribly upset by this, even though Reed did follow the proper protocols. There’s no way this could’ve happened.

Archer dreads reporting to Admiral Forrest, but he knows he has to, and he gets the worst possible response: Enterprise is to head back to Earth. The mission is cancelled. Archer turns out his light and goes to bed, but when he turns it back on, he’s in the past! Ten months, to be precise. The day before the discovery of Klaang at Broken Bow. He’s in his swanky little bachelor pad when Trip calls to tell him inspection will take a little longer than expected. Daniels (who supposedly died in a previous episode) appears and tells Archer something is wrong.

The accident at the mining planet wasn’t supposed to happen, as history did not record such an accident, which means somebody’s tampering with the time-line. He tells Archer to look for some mysterious alien gear secreted on or near the shuttlepod and go back to the mining planet, but the good news is Enterprise was not responsible for the destruction. They find a small, cloaked device which released plasma into the atmosphere that caused the catastrophic reaction. They also discover a cloaked Suliban stealth cruiser docked at an asteroid near the mining planet. They board the ship and steal data discs to confirm their innocence in the matter.

On their way back to Earth with the information that will exonerate them, Enterprise is besieged by hundreds of Suliban ships. Silik demands they turn over Archer or Enterprise will be destroyed. Archer has no choice but to agree. He exits the bridge, but winds up in the 31st century on a destroyed Earth. To be continued! It’s obvious Enterprise was hoping to capture the feeling of a cliffhanger not unlike “The Best of Both Worlds, Part I,” but much of the strength of that ending was because the show had been on for two years, and we had come to know those characters, particularly Picard.

The Suliban capture Enterprise, confine the crew to their quarters, and torture T’Pol to get information out of her about Archer’s disappearance. In the 31st century, Daniels tries to build a device to enable communication through time while Archer presses him for information about how vital he was to the formation of a Federation. Daniels tries to side-step the questions. This kind of storytelling annoys me. As regular viewers, we do know what the impact of the Federation will be, but Daniels playing “coy” on the subject wears out its welcome very fast.

I can accept on Enterprise tools are not automatically in place to foment rebellion, because this was the first ship of its kind, but it does make me wonder about shows set in the future and how easy it was to capture these super-technologically-advanced starships. Trip’s already working on a plan. He rigs the comm stations so that the “grounded” senior officers can talk to each other. After a rigorous torture session, T’Pol is returned to her quarters where she is beset by a floating, green image of Archer from the 31st century. He needs her help retrieving a device in Daniels’ sealed-off quarters. The device looks like a Fisher Price child’s synthesizer, or something.

The crew goes commando (literally), Hoshi crawls through vents (loses her top) and ducts, grabs knock-out drops from Phlox on her way to Trip and Reed, who dose the Suliban. T’Pol creates a distraction while Reed goes to Daniels’ quarters and grabs the Hasbro Time Travel Buddy before he is caught and taken into custody and gets his butt badly kicked, which seemed to be the plan all along. We’re gonna re-take the ship! I’ll handle communications. Hoshi, you lose your top! T’Pol, pretend to be crazy. Reed? Sorry, buddy. This is a fun two-parter that, in the end and with T’Pol’s help, justifies Enterprise’s mission.

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Pike, Kirk to Picard, and Sisko to Janeway— boldly read what no one has read before!

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