Monday, April 1, 2013

Opening And Ending Knowing Little About Malcolm Reed: “Silent Enemy”

The Good: Moments of character, Spatial special effects, Performances are adequate
The Bad: Alien special effects are super-lame, Slow plot/pacing, Low sensibility
The Basics: After a long time with the episode meandering through trying to figure out what Malcolm Reed might enjoy for food, “Silent Enemy” focuses on a new alien race that attacks Enterprise and its subspace relays.

In establishing new characters for a series, sometimes a show makes either preposterous leaps or just plain boring television. Sadly, with Enterprise, the first episode that really tries to figure out who Malcolm Reed, the Chief Armory Officer (Security Chief) of Enterprise, actually is, the result is both. The episode starts boring – I am surprised that I have managed to not mention what lackluster teasers this show has in its first season – with Archer and Hoshi Sato trying to figure out just what Malcolm Reed might like as a dish for his birthday. It is a futile struggle because Reed is reticent and not terribly sociable.

The preposterous aspect of “Silent Enemy” comes in Enterprise’s engineering and security crews creating their own phase cannons. In the first and third episodes, Enterprise encountered Klingon ships, which easily outclassed the NX-01 Enterprise. So, why it takes until the eleventh episode for the crew to decide they do not want to be defenseless and install their own phase cannons?! And, seriously, why would the ship have everything they needed to make phase cannons without either installing them or having the idea to install them before this episode?

After an alien ship abruptly appears in front of Enterprise while it is deploying a subspace relay, Archer and his people are miffed when the ship abruptly turns around and leaves. Archer assigns Hoshi to determine what Malcolm Reed might enjoy as a meal for his birthday. However, Sato’s mission is quickly proven to be difficult when his own parents and friends have no idea what his favorite food might be. When the alien ship returns and fires repeatedly on Enterprise, Archer decides to return to Jupiter station to have the phase cannons installed.

As Sato works to determine what Reed might enjoy (the direct approach resulting in him thinking she is making a pass at him), Trip and Reed and Engineering working to retrofit the ship on their own, the aliens return and cripple Enterprise. With the warp engines off line, the ship is invaded by aliens who wound two crewmembers.

“Silent Enemy” features yet another new alien race and they represent one of the worst CG effects in the Star Trek franchise. This is an alien race that has no immediate consequences and is never explicitly revisited.

For her part, Linda Park does a decent job of taking a dog acting assignment to infuse Hoshi Sato with some character. In her scene opposite John Billingsley, Park displays a subtle wit and a sense of humor that has not been obvious from her character before now. Dominic Keating gives a compelling and energetic performance as Reed in “Silent Enemy.” In battle, Keating is sweaty and determined and that works. One of the positive aspects of “Silent Enemy” is that the episode does not suddenly make Malcolm Reed an approachable guy.

“Silent Enemy” is not terrible, but it feels like filler; an episode that acknowledges that Malcolm Reed has not been serviced well by the series thus far, but does not address that in a terribly compelling way.

The three biggest gaffes in “Silent Enemy:”
3. In Engineering, one of the panels is Cardassian. Seriously. During one of the mission briefings there, between Reed and Trip, there is a panel that is round and segmented and is clearly one of the panels from (or based upon) one of the Deep Space Nine panels,
2. In “Amok Time” (reviewed here!) there is a delay in communicating with StarFleet when the Enterprise is on the way to Vulcan. How there is no delay in communicating with Earth in this episode is, therefore, utterly ridiculous,
1. In creating the new alien race, Enterprise makes the Star Trek universe make that much less sense. This race could easily have swept by Enterprise and taken Earth and destroyed the Federation well in advance of its formation. No satisfactory reason is given for why the alien race does not do that.

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete First Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the premiere season here!


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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