Synopsis: Good guys win, bad guys lose. All things return to normal at the end.
Review: STAR TREK has traditionally suffered from two part episodes in which the second part fails to live up to the potential of the first. ST:TNG’s “Best of Both Worlds” is the ultimate example of this kind of letdown. “Storm Front II”, however is a distinctly stronger episode than its first part; it flows smoothly and though it may never become one of those genuinely memorable STAR TREK episodes, it’s serviceable enough entertainment.
This may be because Part I was so distinctly weak that where it aimlessly wandered and dragged, Part II shoots through one scene sliding into another and all the parts of the episode click neatly into place. Had Part I been a stronger episode, had it gathered more suspense and set up a bigger challenge for the Enterprise crew, Part II might not have come off nearly so well. But instead all Part II has to do is discharge the accumulated material Part I puts into place so that where that episode was all work, Part II has more time to play: whether it’s Silik’s banter or the Enterprise engaging in a battle with WW2 planes over Manhattan.
Aside from Part II’s disturbing newsreel opening with some clever combinations of archival footage and the shot of Hitler against the Statue of Liberty standing out as particularly effective, Part II does not manage to do anything to exploit the alternate history material any better than Part I and it’s still somewhat sad that “Killing Game,” which took place in the holodeck, could do much more with the Nazis than “Storm Front”. Alicia and the resistance fighters by now have become minor side notes but the villains such as Silik and Vosk take center stage and are far more enjoyable to watch and do more to deepen the drama of the conflict anyway.
Their arrival also gives Archer something to react to where in Part I he mainly seemed to be floundering around trying to interact with the bizarre situation and coming up blank. By contrast, Archer’s confrontation with Silik gives us some entertaining banter but also allows Silik to observe that Archer has gotten darker and for Archer to agree, suggesting that like the scars along Enterprise’s hull, the scars on her captain have yet to heal. Meanwhile, in Archer’s interactions with Silik he has come rather close to the Kirk ideal of deliberate judgement, cool command, and personal risk taking that is a long way from Archer in the first two seasons as naive, bumbling and arrogant.
But at the end of the day Part II is still popcorn entertainment. Silik and Vosk’s conversations leak some more information about the Temporal Cold War but how much interest viewers will have in following them may vary, much like the effectiveness of over the counter sleep remedies. The episode has action and special effects scenes that stand out while we are watching them but nothing that moves the episode beyond the forgettable, intellectually or conceptually even. Viewers may remember the Enterprise’s battle over Manhattan but outside the special effects it’s doubtful that this episode will linger much. At the end of the episode we are gratified when the Enterprise returns home not so much because the Nazi\Vosk threat is over but because this awkward chapter of the story is finally over.
Next week: Amok Enterprise.