Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Cold Station 12”

“Cold Station 12”
Written by Michael Bryant
Directed by Mike Vejar
Season 4, Episode 5
Production episode 081
Original air date: November 5, 2004
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. We flash back a decade to Soong teaching the young Augments on Trialas IV. Then to the present, as the stolen Bird-of-Prey heads toward Cold Station 12. Malik suggests taking out the life-support system and waiting for everyone on board to die, but Soong rejects that notion, unwilling to kill anyone in cold blood. Malik looks less than happy with this condition…

Enterprise arrives at Trialas IV to an abandoned station—except for one young Augment, whom Archer defeats rather easily. This is Udar, nicknamed Smike after the disabled character in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. Archer brings him back to the ship, where Smike reveals that he was left behind because his genetic engineering was imperfect. Meanwhile, Tucker determines that the Augments took a whole mess of incubators with them.

Soong demands to know from Malik what happened to Raakin. Malik lies through his teeth and says that Raakin attacked him and Malik had to kill him in self-defense. He also pretends to be sad about it, which convinces Soong.

Archer informs Phlox that the new head of Cold Station 12 is Phlox’s old friend Dr. Jeremy Lucas. Phlox is now worried about his friend, and also asks to be included on the boarding party, as he also was assigned to CS12 and knows his way around the security protocols.

The Augments hijack a Denobulan medical ship and use it to get onto the station, which they then take over in very short order. Soong demands the access code for the embryos, but Lucas says he doesn’t have it. Soong said he had the code when he was head of CS12, but Lucas retorts that after Soong’s arrest, they locked the code down. Soong believes him; Malik doesn’t. They torture Lucas, because apparently their superior intellect somehow missed the fact that torture rarely works as an interrogation tool.

Screenshot: CBS

Enterprise arrives, but backs off when Soong threatens Lucas’ life. However, Tucker finds a way to adjust the transporter so they can beam in undetected.

Lokesh is having trouble breaking the code’s encryption, so Malik puts the deputy director into a chamber and releases one of the nasty viruses CS12 has in storage. Lucas refuses to give up the code, and watches as his deputy director dies. Soong tries to release the anti-pathogen, but Malik won’t let him.

The Augments get the drop on Archer’s boarding party, which includes Phlox, Smike, Reed, and several MACOs. Soong is shocked to see Smike alive—he was told by the Augments that he was dead—while Phlox moves to treat Lucas. Malik then throws Phlox into the chamber to release another virus, and this time Lucas gives in. Torture and killing one’s second-in-command is one thing, but to kill someone who’s an opening-credits regular in this TV series? We can’t have that!!!!!

Soong takes the embryos onto the Bird-of-Prey, inviting Smike to come with. Smike refuses, and Soong wishes him well. Malik snags some of the nasty pathogens for possible future use. When Archer resists being put in a room with the other prisoners, it gives Malik the excuse he needs to beat Archer up. Then, rather than kill him directly, he sets the station to release all the remaining pathogens at once, because apparently their superior intellect somehow missed the fact that you shouldn’t behave like a Bond villain when you want to kill your enemies.

Not wanting his brother to die so horrible a death, Malik shoots Smike.

Lucas tells Archer that there is a way to stop the pathogens from being released, but it involves climbing into a shaft and he only has four minutes…

To be continued…

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Apparently Tucker can now mask the transporter by changing its frequency to match the containment field around CS12, which is impressive for a piece of technology that didn’t even work this well a hundred years in the future…

The gazelle speech. Archer resists being pushed around and gets the shit kicked out of him by Malik for his trouble.

I’ve been trained to tolerate offensive situations. Left in charge of Enterprise, T’Pol is ordered by Archer after he’s captured to destroy the station. Alas, their attempt to do so is stopped by the Augments.

Florida Man. Florida Man Makes Transporter Stealthy!

Optimism, Captain! We finally get to meet Phlox’s good buddy and pen pal, and because they’re friends, Phlox almost dies and the embryos are released to a sociopath.

Screenshot: CBS

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. Malik and Persis are now officially lovers, and they have pillow talk on the subject of whether or not to keep following Soong, given that he’s a normal human.

I’ve got faith…

“How can you let this happen?”

“How can you?”

–Soong trying to shift blame to Lucas and Lucas refusing to let him.

Welcome aboard. Back from “Borderland” are Alec Newman as Malik, Abby Brammell as Persis, and Brent Spiner as Soong.

Richard Riehle plays his third role on Trek, having played Batai in TNG’s “The Inner Light” and a holographic Irish stereotype in Voyager’s “Fair Haven” and “Spirit Folk.” He plays the already-established-but-never-before-seen Dr. Jeremy Lucas, Phlox’s old friend and pen pal.

Kaj-Erik Eriksen plays Smike, Kris Iyer plays the never-named deputy director whom Lucas lets die, and Adam Grimes plays Lokesh.

Spiner, Newman, Brammell, Riehle, and Grimes will return next time in “The Augments.”

Trivial matters: This episode continues from “Borderland,” and will conclude in “The Augments.”

Michael Bryant is a pseudonym for veteran TV, prose, and comics writer Alan Brennert, who also served as a consulting producer for about half of this season.

Lucas was introduced in “Dear Doctor,” where Phlox and he were established as pen pals, and a letter to Lucas was a major part of “Doctor’s Orders.” Lucas will subsequently appear in two of regular rewatch commenter Christopher L. Bennett’s Rise of the Federation novels Tower of Babel and Live by the Code. 

Screenshot: CBS

It’s been a long road… “That language is unbecoming a man of science.” This episode completely lost me when Lucas gave Soong the code to keep Phlox from being killed. Previously, Malik threatened Lucas’ deputy director, his second-in-command, and someone whose welfare Lucas is directly responsible for as head of the station. Lucas let him die rather than give up the code. Which is fine, that’s probably what he should have done. But then when Phlox is in the chamber, he gives in, and that’s ridiculous. Lucas is enough of a creature of duty that he won’t give in to save his deputy, but not enough that he won’t save a guy he writes letters to every once in a while?

It’s nonsense, where character actions are dictated by who’s in the opening credits versus who’s a guest star, factors that the characters themselves can’t possibly be considering.

I might have been able to forgive that if there was anything else worthwhile in the episode, but aside from one moment, there isn’t. After being a magnificent smartass for all of “Borderland,” Brent Spiner spends all of the second installment of this trilogy whining and complaining and being spectacularly naïve and short-sighted and stupid. Soong’s desire not to take a life is admirable, at least. But his buying Malik’s weepy act when he lies about how Raakin died, his allowing the deputy director to die, his lack of reaction to his children lying to him about Smike’s fate all paint the picture of an idiot.

The one good moment is the one I quoted in the “I’ve got faith…” section above: Soong tries desperately to get Lucas to accept responsibility for his deputy dying, but Lucas—for all that his actions are ridiculous later on—knows exactly who’s responsible, and it’s the guy played by the actor who previously played an android.

But the rest of this is a tired, paint-by-numbers action hour full of predictable plot turns, sudden-but-inevitable betrayals, and our heroes not actually accomplishing anything.

Warp factor rating: 4

Keith R.A. DeCandido is part of the Picking Up Steam! Kickstarter from eSpec Books, which includes the anthology A Cry of Hounds, their second anthology done in conjunction with the Tell-Tale Steampunk Festival, with stories inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Keith will be writing a Professor Challenger story for the anthology, assuming it’s funded. Check it out, and please consider supporting it!


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