the story: The mission is cancelled after a horrific accident, but turns out it's really meddling from agents of the Temporal Cold War.
what it's all about: "Shockwave" is a blunt concept, too obvious in at least one element. It might be the reason fans never warmed to the concept of the Temporal Cold War. It's all obvious setup for a season finale: the crew finally managed to screw up that badly? And Archer's stuck in the future with no time travel devices to get him back home? And of course the second season premiere quickly resolves both of these issues, and it's back to the status quo as if nothing ever happened. It just feels too cheap, especially for being a featured element of the series.
Silik doesn't have the same chemistry with Archer as he did in "Cold Front," and that's a major problem in and of itself. Daniels is as fascinating as always (well, as he'd been in his debut, "Cold Front"); in fact he's the best part of this finale and an even better part of the second part. But again, here he's mostly relegated to setup.
The Temporal Cold War deserved a much better push if it was going to be featured in such a climactic moment. Maybe learning more about "Future Guy," the shadowy instigator of the Suliban, but not only do we learn nothing more than when we saw him in the pilot ("Broken Bow"), we never learn more about him, even with the rushed wrap up of the arc at the start of the fourth season ("Storm Front"). And that's the most disappointing thing of all.
franchise- Will casual fans really care about too-obvious material?
- series - Despite reservations, it does serve as a reminder of the Temporal Cold War, and its scope.
- character - Archer's the one caught in the crosshairs, as always.
essential- It's the most painful thing to say about a season finale, that it isn't essential.
John Fleck (Silik)
Matt Winston (Daniels)
James Horan ("Future Guy")
Vaughn Armstrong (Forrest)