This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile Silik, one of the recurring antagonists from Enterprise.
Silik is a senior officer in the Suliban Cabal, a mysterious group of soldiers who fight in the so-called Temporal Cold War. Although Silik lives in the 22nd Century, he benefits from taking orders and benefits from a 28th century boss such as personal enhancements in shapeshifting and survival skills.
Silik almost kills Captain Archer in the pilot episode of Enterprise when Archer attempted to rescue a Klingon courier who had been kidnapped in an effort to start a Klingon civil war. Archer got the best of Silik again the same year as Silik's plot to steal a temporal observatory for his boss was foiled when Archer destroyed the device.
Only then does Silik really begin to take Enterprise as a real threat and a true nemesis. Silik then captures Captain Archer a couple of times in an effort to wipe him from the timeline, but these efforts backfire. Of course, because the temporal cold war is a total mess of factions nobody really understands, Silik's boss ends up giving Archer key information that leads to Starfleet knowing how to protect Earth from total annihilation by the Xindi.
Much like Q for Captain Picard, Silik is the all-powerful foil to Captain Archer, and he plays a critical role in shaping human history thanks to his interaction with a captain of the Enterprise. Unlike Q, Silik remains an actual adversary to the Enterprise, telling Archer that he wished he would have died fighting Archer in battle rather than with him during his final appearance. Of course, the temporal cold war probably means Silik could come back like a cat with nine lives, because lazy writing writes itself.
Nonetheless, every Captain needs one or more super-nemesis foils, and Silik was a serviceable one. It would have been more interesting without a lot of the temporal cold war items, but he still turns out to be one of the better villains on the Enterprise series.
Our quote of the week is from Cold Front:
"Did they tell you that the 22nd century was going to be your final resting place?"
Actor: John Fleck played Silik, and he was a Star Trek veteran, having played multiple aliens in other series including Romulans and Cardassians. Ironically, Fleck's only appearance as a human without concealing makeup and prosthetics was when he shapeshifted in one episode as Silik. He also stars in Weeds and True Blood.