Critics Warm To 'Cold Station 12'

By Michelle
November 12, 2004 - 1:40 AM

See Also: 'Cold Station 12' Episode Guide

Online reviews for last Friday night's episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, "Cold Station 12", again reflected a wide range of opinion: while one critic thought the second part of the Augments arc improved upon "Borderland" in nearly every way, another labeled it filler and thought Brent Spiner was less interesting in this follow-up.

  • "Manny Coto , where have you been for the last three years?" asked Bill Gordon of Sci Fi Pulse, labeling the new executive producer a saviour of Star Trek. He was particularly impressed by the "Cold Station 12" segment where the laboratory assistant is murdered by Soong and the Augments as a means to torture Dr. Lucas, noting, "The writing, acting, pacing, music, and directing come into perfect harmony here, and this scene is nothing less than a triumph." Though he thought Archer looked pretty stupid telling Soong what T'Pol's secret orders were, he found the episode bold and intelligent otherwise, saying it left him looking forward to the conclusion. The full review is at Sci Fi Pulse.

  • Jammer described the episode as "a solid show balancing action and characters", saying that he was riveted by the scene in which Lucas watched his assistant die. "The levels it works on are impressive, because we don't just have one man being forced to watch as another man is tortured (which is acted and directed with great tension and urgency), but we also get into the feelings, motives, and conflicts of the people doing the torturing," he noted. Though he called the science fiction "middlebrow", he also enjoyed listening to Archer debate ethics and did not find Malik's one-dimensional characterization troubling. The full review is at Star Trek Hypertext.

  • Chris at Xenoclone felt that Cold Station 12 was tightly written but relied more on traditional science fiction devices to advance the story, "being such things as the Reluctant Terrorist and protagonist lines like, 'I have authority to blow us all up!' The latter, of course, being the all-too-typical good guy bluff." The episode felt to her "more contemporary and less timeless...than any of the 'edgy' season 3 episodes", reminding her more of Stargate than trek series of The Next Generation era. The full review is at Xenoclone.

  • The Great Link's Michael Marek awarded a five out of five to "Cold Station 12", calling it "tightly plotted" and praising the development of Soong's character as the three-episode arc progresses. "The real story here is Soong’s struggle with morality. From a storytelling perspective, Soong is a reaction to last season’s fan criticism of Archer for stepping over the ethical line and threatening captives with harm of they do not reveal information," he stated, comparing the doctor's actions in this episode to the captain's during the Xindi arc and noting the sliding ethics that make Soong more reprehensible. While he thought Smike was underused, he was generally very impressed with the performances and storyline. The full review is at The Great Link.

  • "If I have one significant complaint about this arc, it's that I continue not to care at all about most of the Augments," wrote Monkee, protesting that she'd rather have seen more on how Enterprise was repaired and what Smike's life has been like than on Persis and Malik in bed:
    If I want to watch teenage or young adult angst, there are better sources for it on television. It just doesn't feel right on Star Trek. Khan was cool because...well, because he was KHAN, Dammit! None of these young actors (or actresses) has even a fraction of the presence of Richardo Montalban. Maybe that's not fair, but it's an unfortunate parallel that most long-term Trekkers will be drawing.
    She disliked watching the doctor's murder as well, but admitted that Spiner was riveting, and reserved much of her praise for the development of Soong. For more, read the review at Monkee's Place.

  • TrekWeb's O. Deus said that "Cold Station 12", which he rated an 8 overall, reversed much of what was wrong with "Borderland", saying that its plot is "a series of cliches" but praising the tension between Soong's loyalty to the Augments and his ethical values. He drew parallels between Archer's struggle with the wish he could have helped his father and the broader eugenics questions of creating stronger generations of children at the expense of others. He also found Spiner's performance much improved and enjoyed Richard Riehle as Lucas, though he found Starfleet's ruthlessness problematic and the moral issues not fully engaged. The full review is at TrekWeb.

  • "This was filler," complained Guy Gardener of TrekPulse, who rated the episode only a 1 out of 5. "The new malevolent Soong is a second string shadow compared to last week...the hostage situation was contrived." He was troubled that CS12 had no guards after the Augments got loose, found the Augments themselves annoying, even Persis' gratuitous sexuality, and disliked the practice of "tying up loose ends with bodies." To read more, the full review is at TrekPulse.

  • Television Without Pity has recapped the episode, calling it "Sowing the Space Seeds Of Fug."

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.