So here we are, the second season finale.  It certainly has been a long road and it’s a bout to get even longer.  In this finale, Earth is attacked and Archer finds himself with unexpected allies.   Originally broadcast on  May 21, 2003 this is The Expanse.

The Episode:

Captain’s Starlog date April 24th 2153

A Probe appears above Earth and cuts a giant trench into the planet going from Florida to South America, killing untold millions in the process. As Earth finds itself under attack the Klingons give Duras one final chance to chase down and kill Archer or face dishonor. 

After learning about the destruction on Earth, Enterprise heads back but is soon met with Suliban ships who kidnap Archer.   On the Suliban ship, Archer is shocked when Silik informs him that he is not there as an enemy, but both he and the Mysterious Time Guy tell them that another faction of the Temporal Cold War, the Xindi, have altered history making it necessary for them to become temporary allies. The Time Guy wars Archer that a larger more powerful Death Star Xindi Probe is being developed and this one could destroy all of Earth forever altering history for the worse. Archer is returned to Enterprise when, of course, the Klingons show up and attack,   

Just when the battle looks bleak, three Starfleet vessels led by the Intrepid arrive and fend off Duras’s ship causing him to flee.  Enterprise is escorted back to Earth where Archer learns that the Xindi are from a region of space known as the Delphic Expanse.  This region of space is known for the fact that ships constantly vanish in it and, those that come back, have been horribly altered or driven insane. Solvol recommends no mission into the Expanse be authorized but Archer is still determined. 

After scanning the remains of the Probe, Archer provides proof that it was using future tech, but the Vulcans refuse to believe because ‘Time Travel is impossible!’  The mission is greenlit, Enterprise gets an upgrade but after Soval shows Archer and T’Pol footage of a Vulcan crew that had been in the expanse and then died when their ship exploded, T’Pol is recalled to Vulcan.   Archer is given permission to take T’Pol back to Vulcan and sets off but, after yet another attack from Duras, T’Pol convinces Archer that she is needed at her station to help Enterprise in the Expanse and they alter course. 

Just outside of The Expanse, Duras attacks again this time with two other ships.  Noting that Duras is trying to prevent them from entering The Expanse, Archer out maneuvers them and is able to destroy the Klingon ship just before entering the vast unknown.   In the end, Archer takes Enterprise into The Expanse leaving us to have to wait until season three to find out what happens next!

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

Well, the Temporal Cold War (TCW) is finally coming to a head but not how we expected.  What little we have gathered of the TCW is that, while there are ‘factions’ it’s the Xindi who are the enemies of Enterprise and possibly Earth, so when they show up to prevent Earths destruction, you have to wonder what the heck is going on here.  I mean, why would they want to save Earth unless there is something else going on that has yet to really be explained, even though we have had two full seasons without any real clarity.  Frankly, I don’t think that the writers really knew what to do with their rather lofty story line as they seemed to go way out of their way to only touch on it when it was convenient.   So, what a better way to make it more important to the series let’s just attack Earth and shake things up a bit?

With that very premise, this episode feels more like a reboot to a failing series and an attempt to revitalize it with a new and more interesting threat in hopes that people would stick with it.  To be frank, it pretty much works.  This episode has more action, more story and much more intrigue than most of the rest of the series thus far.   Taking the TCW in a new direction and introducing a truly dangerous new enemy, Enterprise takes a conscientious step toward a more action adventure feel than just basic exploration.  In a way, if they had taken this premise from the start and made Enterprise less like the Original Series and more of it’s own thing, I bet this series would have lasted seven seasons instead of the rather abrupt four, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. 

One of the things that drives me nuts about this episode is the use of a spherical ship to fire a test laser at a planet to determine if how much more they need to actually destroy it….and also why even bother in the first place if they were making something bigger to begin with?  Speaking on the former, did the producers of this episode not stop and ask themselves what other franchise used a space faring sphere to blow up and threaten planets?  I mean, they could have literally chosen any shape under the sun, but no…they went with a mini one manned version of the Death Star which literally tips off Earth that something bigger is coming.  THAT , is where I find an even bigger issue.  If the Xindi were planning to destroy Earth, why the heck did they only send one single small ship to shoot at the planet?  I mean, had they sent a fleet of them and carved up the planet that would have made sense, or had a ginourmous version been spotted heading to Earth and Enterprise had to stop it, that would makes sense.  Or better yet, had they made Earth think it was another known species like the Andorians or the Vulcans themselves by planting a body on the ship, heck THAT would have destabilized the future of Earth and the Federation considerably.  No, instead they pretty much announce to them all, HEY IM GONNA KILL YOU by throwing a pebble at the planet and then practically inviting Starfleet to come take them on.  Oh but everyone is afraid of the Delphic Expanse you say….clearly they never met humans before.  Sure, I get it, this is a way to get Enterprise out and on it’s own but the Xindi attacking earth this way is like a kid poking someone with a stick and then running away.  Sure, they have a baseball bat back home but, if they get caught first, that bat isn’t gonna do them any good.

Overall, this is indeed less of a finale than a mid series premiere.  Enterprise is about to take a major turn in tone and direction, what that is, well, we will learn soon enough with the Season Three premiere The Xindi.  Who are the Xindi?  What are the Xindi?  Why are the Xindi?  Let’s hope that we get even one of these answers as we venture into the literal unknown of The Delphic Expanse…

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

  • Enterprise get’s it’s first Photon Torpedos that can apparently have they can have their yield adjusted at will.  
  • Duras and his ship is presumably destroyed at the end of the episode.
  • This is the first time we hear about the Xindi or the Delphic Expanse.  It is strange considering how everyone appears to be so frightened of this region of space yet it is never mentioned even once previously in the franchise.
  • The inclusion of a military unit on Enterprise is mentioned but not actually seen, indicating that Enterprise now has Space Marines.
  • Its also somewhat ironic that Enterprise takes such an abrupt turn to a more action stance considering that later this very year another more militaristic SciFi series premieres, one entitled Battlestar Galactica. 
  • Oh and there is some strange subplot where Trip’s sister is among the casualties in Florida and he now wants revenge so this mission IS PERSONAL. Sure…okay.

Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review,  I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!  Next Review: Season Three premiere: The Xindi

more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game 8/20/2021

How many times do I have to tell you, Archer? Time Travel Doesn’t Exist. Why doesn’t it exist? Because it’s just not logical, okay? Just accept that. Oh and, stay out of the Xindi’s yard, they like to screw with people and have a mean dog.

Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available.  Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.

Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made production intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

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