Just because the Xindi threat was over, you didn’t think it would be all sunshine and roses, did you? At the end of “Zero Hour”, the Enterprise was thrown into the past with Archer laying in a German field hospital. “Storm Front” brings us to an alternate past that is unravelling the structure of time and space. Of course, Archer and his team are the only ones that can save humanity and their future.
The episode plays with time and an alternate reality. Something they already did in “Twilight”. After Archer suffers a debilitating injury saving T’Pol, Earth is destroyed and the Xindi are hunting the rest of humanity. In this version, the Na’kuhl is attempting to win the temporal cold war by altering the past. Siding with the Germans, Earth will no longer venture into space and start the Federation.
Or, here me out, this is what would’ve started the mirror universe, or Star Trek: Picard’s universe. Since both universes resided in Terrans being the only species worth ruling.
Production quality of the episode is standard for Star Trek of the time. Visual effects look a bit subpar compared to the season finales episodes. That hilarious shot of the damaged White House with the Nazi flags on it. Not to mention, you have the German Generalmajor in it and he isn’t in the Oval Office. That is a huge, missed opportunity on their part.
Not much variety in physical locations. Lots of backlot sets that supply New York in the forties. And the Malibu brush that is supposed to be the countryside of New York. Having lived in Los Angeles all my life, you tend to recognize reused areas. It will be the same area they use in “Home” later on.
One of the cool aspects of the episode is both Archer and the Enterprise crew don’t know either exists. Well, at this point in the story. T’Pol is trying to figure out what is happening, but the arrival of Daniels (ugh) fills in a lot of the story gaps for her. Archer is on Earth trying to get his bearing but helping the American resistance.
One aspect that bothered me is this was an alternate reality. A timeline that doesn’t exist. Why is he so hush-hush about his true identity? Yeah, it could be seen as a bit crazy, but compared to what’s going on in the city? It felt like he was preserving a timeline that didn’t exist. What more damage could he have done if he told the truth?
Shownotes for “Storm Front”:
The Orville: New Horizons – “Shadow Realms”
Strange New Worlds – “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”
“Storm Front” – Memory Alpha
Of course, since it has to deal with the temporal cold war, Silik comes along for the ride.
Obviously, the biggest plot point is how did the Enterprise get sent to the past immediately after being released by the Aquatics? Not to mention, how powerful is Daniels to send both Archer and the Enterprise into the past? At what point did Silik catch a ride onboard?
Behind the scenes, Manny Coto takes over as showrunner for season four. Coto is a huge Star Trek nerd and wanted to take the series in a different direction. Which meant ditching the whole temporal cold war. To be honest, Brannon Braga and Rick Berman had no plan on the resolution of it. It was a note UPN executives wanted in the series. We will get more into that next week.
Overall, “Storm Front” is a decent first part. Archer returns to the Enterprise and gets everyone up to speed. Although Trip and Mayweather are captured on Earth going after Silik. Manages to set up for an interesting second part.