[ENT] Season 1, Episode 11 (Netflix: S1 E10): Cold Front
File under: John Fleck
Further Analysis (Dumb or Clever edition):
The writers made an interesting decision in this episode, and it was either because they were dumb, or because they were clever.
If this bolt of lightning caused all these problems that would have killed everyone, then how come Daniels wouldn’t have known about it? They don’t make it clear that something Silik did caused them to go into the storm, therefore changing history. It seems like they wanted to go into the storm because they met these religious people, who would have gone into the storm anyway. Silik was merely posing as one of their insignificant members (meaning he wasn’t making the decisions). So would the Enterprise have been destroyed by a bolt of lightning if it wasn’t for Silik changing history? That doesn’t make any sense.
At the very least, the writers are unclear about what exactly caused the cascade. It may be the case that the writers wanted to add to the atmosphere of confusion that Archer is placed in. They really made it seem like Archer catches a glimpse of what is going on around him involving the Temporal Cold War, but he still doesn’t have a good idea of whats going on, and what motivates Silik and Daniels. If there is an actual cause of the cascade, and if the writers give enough hints for people to be able to figure out that it was Silik, then not spelling it out may be a clever way of reinforcing the theme of all the complexity hitting Archer. Is it far too generous to grant that this was all part of the writers plan?
I’m afraid I’m going to have to come down on the “it was dumb” side. This plot smells too much like the common tendency in sloppy writing to sacrifice things-making-sense in order for there to be more suspense (or to increase any number of themes they could be trying to achieve). Let’s say that it was all part of the writers plan to not clearly state what caused the cascade, and that we should assume it was all part of Silik’s plan. That would mean this lightning bolt was the perfect cover for Silik. How would he know about the lightning bolt? Is he much more aware of detailed events than Daniels is, because they claim Daniels to be more of an expert. And how convoluted would Silik’s plan have to be? Assuming his end goal was to steal Daniels device (and possibly kill him along the way), the way he went about doing this was to pretend to be in a religious group that interests Archer, cause an anti-matter cascade, protect the crew from the anti-matter cascade, take credit for saving everyone to gain Archers support, convince Archer to help him find Daniels even though Archer may not even know anything about Daniels, then steal the device and scram. The far more simple explanation is that the writers had higher priorities than having everything make sense. Time travel is cool, but it often can be a mess. One really has to try hard to have everything work out in a logical manner. The writers would have had to sit down and really map out each persons motives and the key events in the timeline so the details make sense. Instead it seems like they sat down and wanted to accomplish four goals regardless of the details: reiterate that there is a temporal cold war, Daniels is the good guy, Silik is the bad guy, and Archer doesn’t know whats going on. They probably included the storm and the lightning bolt, despite it screwing everything up logically, just to make the dilemma harder for Archer. Their vagueness only seems like a tool to cover up sloppy writing.