Star Trek: Enterprise – 1×12 – “Silent Enemy”

Star Trek: Enterprise
“Silent Enemy”
Originally Broadcast January 16th, 2002
Reviewed by T’Bonz

The Story

Enterprise is approached by a strange vessel. Despite all hails, the ship remains silent and eventually leaves. It later returns, and scans Enterprise, then fires on it. Enterprise’s weaponry is ineffective against the alien ship.

Since the ship left Earth ahead of schedule (to return Klaang to Qo’noS,), it left before all systems were installed and finished. This included three phase cannons. Archer makes the decision to go back to Jupiter station to have them installed and the ship brought up to speed, so that they would be better prepared to face any potential hostile enemies.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Reed’s birthday is approaching. Captain Archer charges Hoshi with the job of finding out his favorite meal, seemingly an easy task. However, Hoshi runs into difficulty getting this information. Reed’s parents don’t know his favorite meal, neither does his best friend, his sister or other various relatives, all of whom Hoshi contacted via subspace, using the newly dispatched subspace amplifiers. Hoshi even tries to get the information out of Reed himself, but her maneuvering to get the information is mistaken by Reed as romantic interest in him. She tries to explain, but leaves in embarrassment and without the information desired.

The alien ship returns and attacks, taking down the main power. They send a shuttle over and some of them incapacitate two Enterprise crewmembers, and scan them. After Archer and several others come running and challenge them, they depart. They return to their ship which then leaves the area. Enterprise sustains damage. The crew attempts to contact the Vulcan High Command for assistance getting home, but can’t raise them.

Trip and Reed don’t wish to go back to Earth with their tails between their legs, so have the Engineering crew work double shifts to get the phase cannons installed. (The components are aboard Enterprise). They get this done and test them and finally get them working properly. During the test, they find out that the aliens left a device aboard Enterprise. Archer relays a message to the aliens, and destroys the device.

Hoshi finally gets a clue as to a favorite food of Reed’s, when she speaks to Dr. Phlox. Turns out that Reed is allergic to something in pineapples, and Reed takes measures to counteract that. Satisfied at last, Hoshi hurries off to provide the information to prepare the birthday surprise.

The aliens return, insisting that Enterprise surrender. They are introduced to the newly installed and more powerful phase cannons. They are damaged by the cannons, and are forced to withdraw. Enterprise is safe. Now that the weaponry is installed and shown to be effective, Archer cancels the order to return to Earth, he feels the ship is able to face what is out there. New subspace amplifiers are deployed.

Finally, As Archer, Reed and Trip share drinks, Hoshi brings in the birthday surprise for Reed. It’s a birthday cake, a pineapple one. Reed is astonished, wondering how they figured out that pineapples were his favorite food.

Review

The Good

The story was interesting. It was different to see aliens who weren’t interested in being friends, and one was curious as to who the aliens actually were. We got to learn a little more about Reed, and his family, who don’t seem to be the usual doting Starfleet family (as with Bashir’s family in DS9 and Kim’s in VOY).

The music. The music in this episode, as in Cold Front, was gripping and stirring and enhanced the episode.

Hoshi and Reed’s misunderstand over coming to her quarters for a meal was amusing.

The Very Good

Continuity. Little touches in different places – from mentioning events in Broken Bow, to the solution for making the phase cannons work (drawing power through the impulse engines – a fact mentioned “later” in ST:TMP). These little touches help knit the episodes together into a smooth running story.

The Bad

Hoshi being the errand girl for finding out what Reed’s favorite food was. Seemed to be a waste of her talent, they couldn’t have Chef or some other lesser crewmember do this?

Overall Opinion

This was a good episode. From wondering who the aliens were, to the light humor of the “B” story, the story held one’s interest. The little touches of continuity, referring back to events in early stories, and even ahead to later Trek (TMP) are welcome and help interconnect ENT, not only with previous episodes of the show, but with other Star Trek series.

It was nice to see different aliens, and not the usual “bumpy forehead” ones.

One gets the sense that Enterprise is really on their own and vulnerable. Yet they are independent and choose to attempt to work things on their own, in spite of the dangers involved. One truly gets the sense of newness and challenge; this is not the floating luxury hotel of TNG, but a scrappy tough little ship with something to prove.

Grade: 8/10

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