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Season Finale Pulls Out All the Stops in ENTERPRISE's 'Second Pilot', "The Expanse"

PROMENADE





Posted: 06:39:08 on May 22 2003
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews
Reviews Ex Deus

Written by O. Deus, edited by Steve Krutzler

"The Expanse"

Summary: After an alien attack devastates Earth and kills millions, Archer takes his ship on a new mission into the Delphic Expanse to locate the aliens responsible for the attack.

In many ways "The Expanse" is more of a 40 minute trailer for upcoming episodes in the revised and retooled 3rd season version of ENTERPRISE than an episode itself. Unlike the retoolings of previous spin-offs like DS9's "Way of the Warrior" or VOYAGER's "Scorpion," The Expanse serves as a secondary pilot after "Broken Bow," minus the character introductions. As such, "The Expanse" is less about what's actually happening on screen and more about the premise that it sets up for next season. Like a trailer, it's a flashy showcase chock full of ships, special effects, space battles, alien races, plot twists and emotions. And like a trailer it's also shorthand for the kind of abrupt changes, many of which should probably have been played out in a more gradual transition.

Attacks on Earth have been more commonplace in the STAR TREK movies than any of the series because they imply a raising of the stakes to something so major it requires its own showcase. Like "The Expanse," two ORIGINAL SERIES movies featured probes carrying out attacks on Earth, both of which turned out to be somewhat misguided. Two NEXT GENERATION films featured attempted attacks, which were more menacing and lethal in nature but still none of the four films or even DS9 came close to "The Expanse" in showing the sheer devastation and scale of destruction. The improvements in special effects are what make it possible but it's Enterprise's need to reassert the importance of the crew and their mission in the face of falling ratings and interest that prompted Berman and Braga to cut a swath across the more optimistic STAR TREK worldview of the future, as the Xindi probe devastates Earth in a way that not even the Borg had ever managed to do. Even if ENTERPRISE's producers choose to jettison or back off some from the resulting changes to the series, the deaths of millions makes it impossible for the series or Archer to go back to ever being as naive and carefree as before while maintaining credibility.

The special effects of the probe's attack are occasionally spotty but it's the crew's reactions along with Archer's log entries that really convey the impact of the attack. Still, despite effective scenes including the crew's first reaction to learning the news and Trip confronting the devastation at home, "The Expanse" is doing too many things at once to really focus on the effects of the attack on the crew. There's Duras constantly menacing Enterprise and while the resulting Klingon scenes are entertaining and the space battle is ENTERPRISE's best, it mainly seems to be there in order to present an on-going threat, as if the Xinti attack and the threat of the Expanse wasn't enough for an audience the producers seem to be assuming is on the verge of ADD and won't watch or enjoy the episode if there isn't a constant stream of action. Duras' pursuit is an important continuation of the events in "Judgment" and "Bounty" that brings Starfleet and the Klingons closer to hostilities, but cramming them into an already crammed 40 minute episode dealing with other major events was not the way to go.

After all, within those same 40 minutes millions die on Earth, the Suliban kidnap Archer for a conversation with Future Guy, Enterprise returns to Earth, Archer challenges Vulcan authority again, gets a new mission then travels for months to its destination and Enterprise's crewmembers deal with the impact of all these events. There is a lot of good character scenes here, from T'Pol and Phlox's discussion of their status as the only aliens on board a human Starship to Archer and Trip drinking together during the night. There are good action scenes including the sight of the first other armed Starfleet ships we've seen up till now as they rescue Enterprise, and the Enterprise rolling behind a pursuing Klingon ship masked by gaseous clouds in a hoary but yet entertaining revisiting of WRATH OF KHAN. There are revelations, from the first photon torpedoes to an update on the departure of the second Warp 5 starship, to the suggestion that Future Guy might be human after all. But pack a lot good scenes that never quite manage to flow into one another tightly together in a package whose primary role is to setup future material, and you have an episode that hits a lot of the right notes but never quite comes together in a symphony.

As a second pilot "The Expanse" covers a lot territory that "Broken Bow" missed, most importantly by giving us a sense of Earth and Starfleet that we never really got before "First Flight." There are still missed details that future episodes should clear up including the question of the soldiers of what army are on board Enterprise exactly and why Earth needs an army in the first place. It also marks the diminution in importance of the Suliban, whom "Broken Bow" presented as nemeses but have now become reluctant allies at best. Since the pilot, the Suliban have failed as menaces or as characters and while some viewers may be complaining about their defanging in "The Expanse," comparisons to the defanging of the Borg on VOY are not warranted simply because unlike the Borg, the Suliban were never impressive or terrifying. The Xinti, from the brief glance we got in Starfleet's version of Area 51, also seem to rely on extensive makeup but it still looks more natural than the Suliban and certainly more menacing. Most importantly, though, "The Expanse" provides Archer with a sense of purpose and gravity that he's never really had before. Archer has been a temperamental character who acted on impulse. Now those qualities come closer to being grounded by the dedication to serving a larger purpose as Kirk's and Sisko's were.

Ultimately, "The Expanse" is a trailer and so its impact and how we see it in the context of the larger series has to wait for the third season of ENTERPRISE to begin. It promises a lot, but how much subsequent episodes deliver remains to be seen.

Next week: Summer O'Reruns

ENTERPRISE Season Finale Poll
Rate "The Expanse" in comparison to the best and the worst of all previous STAR TREK episodes:
10: Excellent 5: Average
9: Great 4: Below Average
8: Very Good 3: Mediocre
7: Good 2: Poor
6: Above Average 1: Bad
Current Results
About the Author
O. Deus has been a TrekWeb visitor since the site's 1996 inception. Along with being an ardent poster, he is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Deus has written reviews and columns for TrekWeb for over two years.

Past Reviews
  • "The Expanse"
  • "First Flight" and "Bounty"
  • "Regeneration"
  • "Cogenitor"
  • "The Breach" (Williams)
  • "Horizon" (Williams)
  • "Judgment"
  • "The Crossing"
  • "Canamar"
  • "Future Tense"
  • "Cease Fire"
  • "Stigma"
  • "Dawn"
  • "The Catwalk"
  • "Precious Cargo"
  • "Vanishing Point"
  • "Singularity"
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    Possible motive behind Enterprise messing up history
    By Wing Commander Varth ( ) at 21:08:26 on June 03 2003
    URL: | User Info
    I know a lot of people have been complaining that Enterprise has been mixing up the Star Trek history time line. A lot of stuff does seem to be contradictory to common Star Trek knowledge, or rather to the lack of knowledge, seeing as nobody in the future knows of Archer. There may be a reason for this, however, besides the "reset button" cop-out.

    In a few episodes in various series and in many books, the Mirror Universe has been a menace to Starfleet. TOS set this up with the ISS Enterprise and Emperor Tiberias, Kirk's counterpart. First Contact, then the books written by William Shatner about Kirk's life after his supposed death in Generations, describe the first deviation of the two universes as a lake being named "Lake Riker" by Zephram Cochrane in the Mirror Universe, as opposed to a meaningless name it was given in the real universe. This implies, quite heavily, that the First Contact happenings began to split the two universes. Is it possible that the entire Enterprise series takes place in the Mirror Universe, as opposed to the real universe? The contradictions in the storyline could then be easily explained as things that split the two universes apart. Maybe the military venture into the Expanse is what made the Mirror Universe Starfleet be much more militaristic and brutal than its real universe counterpart is. Maybe the Federation becomes bent on eliminating the Xindi, and they succeed, which is why we have never heard of them in the future.

    In the books by Shatner it is also revealed that in the Mirror Universe the Borg were never much of a threat. The Earth forces quickly eliminated the Borg threat without mercy. (As a tidbit, they also mention that V'Ger from the first motion picture visited the Borg homeworld, the "planet of living machines"). From what we know of Starfleet weaponry at the times of TOS and Enterprise, the humans cannot have a hope to defeat Borg weaponry. They barely manage to fight them back in the time of Picard without heavy casualties, until Voyager brings its futuristic weaponry back to the Alpha Quadrant. How, then, could the Mirror Universe ships have defeated the Borg? Maybe with a weapon powerful enough to destroy an entire planet, like the Xindi superweapon? What if Archer ends up capturing this device instead of destroying it, and as a result the Earth forces become the militaristic monsters we see aboard the Mirror Universe's ISS Enterprise?

    They also mention that in the Mirror Universe the Earth is a devastated wasteland. Could Archer have failed, and the Xindi really destroyed Earth? Maybe then the NX-02 could pick up where Archer left off and eliminate the Xindi by capturing/rebuilding the superweapon and using it against them? This could certainly explain the vengeful, aggressive nature of the humans in the Mirror Universe. Or, could Archer fail in both universes? In the real universe, Starfleet could defeat the Xindi with the NX-02 or some other method, then purposefully forget about Archer, and continue their mission of exploration. In the Mirror Universe, the earth forces could wipe out the Xindi mercilessly, either promote Archer as a martyr or hate him as a failure, and become a militaristic superpower.
    All this is speculation, of course. I have no official hints of this, "only a theory, which happens to fit the facts." It is, however, some good food for thought. Almost anything is possible in the Star Trek universe, in one format or another. But hey, this theory thing worked for Spock, so maybe it will work for me, too. As long as my human emotions of anxiety and hope have not clouded my ability to think logically.

    p.s. please forgive any errors in formatting, it's been awhile since I've done anything with HTML.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    The Expanse
    By The Commander ( ) at 21:49:19 on May 26 2003
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    This episode was generally good but I had a couple of problems with it:

    First, it is waaaaaay to early to have photon torpedos. Are they telling me that it takes 200 years to develop quantum torpedoes? I just don't believe it. The technology on Enterprise is evolving too fast.

    Second, the Klingons already have birds of prey! True, they are an early model, but I thought the design of these ships was thought to have evolved from a sharing of romulan technology and it is too early for that to have happened.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Re: Review.
    By doa ( ) at 14:03:32 on May 24 2003
    URL: | User Info
    Right on the mark, O Deus...an excellent review.

    ---

    "Who is the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him?"

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    "The Expanse" and DS9's "The Jem'Hadar"
    By Steve Krutzler ( s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 13:58:29 on May 24 2003
    URL: http://trekweb.com/brittandsteve | User Info
    Just watched "The Jem'Hadar," DS9's second season finale, on DVD for the third time since I got the set. Since season three is coming out in a week and a half I wanted to freshen up. Although I would put the first two seasons of DS9 against the first two seasons of ENTERPRISE anyday in terms of character quality and in ability to stray from copying TNG, I think there is some definite similarity here.

    Obviously both episodes are meant to kick their series in the ass. DS9 at this time and by Michael Piller's own admission, wasn't getting the success they wanted. Many fans cited that they just didn't like this new, more character-oriented TREK as much as TNG and that DS9 just wasn't "exciting enough" like TNG was. Neither episode is a cliffhanger and yet both are directly intended to foreshadow a major change in direction for the coming season.

    Both episodes are large in scope, changing locales often and covering a lot of ground in a single episode. "The Jem'Hadar" goes from an innocent and comical camping trip and character piece for Sisko, Jake and Quark to a mystery to a rousing space/military epic to a daunting and ominous conclusion. We go from Sisko being captured to the Jem'Hadar visiting the station and informing Kira that the Dominion destroyed the New Bajor colony, back to Sisko in some expository scenes (along with some GREAT Quark interaction) and then back to a full-fledged "let's go kick some ass" with the U.S.S. Odyssey sequence.

    Both episodes feature some exposition from a main foe. The Jem'Hadar leader tells Sisko of the Dominion's knowledge of the Federation and its strategic position, as well as other Alpha Quadrant powers and species. He threatens Sisko and warns that the Dominion will not tolerate further trespass in their territory. Although with much more clever dialogue and acting ("I was really hoping to meet a Klingon"), this scene is very much as between Archer and FutureGuy, who provides some exposition about the new threat to Earth in "The Expanse."

    Both episodes end with a seemingly new mission set for their series. ENT must venture into Xindi territory and find them, much as DS9's third season begins with "The Search," venturing into Dominion territory to find the Founders. DS9 must be ready for Dominion aggression and take on a new role aside from helping administer the Bajoran sector, just as the NX-01 must now take on offensive action rather than aimlessly explore.

    I would definitely rate "The Jem'Hadar" higher because personally I think the characters of Quark and Sisko and Odo are far more compelling, but I'll grant that Brooks certainly didn't out-act Scott Bakula in this episode. I think the dialogue was much fresher and there was no issue of continuity or technobabble (quantum dating). "The Expanse"'s Klingon subplot is sort of interesting inasmuch as for now it seems like a throwaway, although I have a feeling it will end up tying into season three and Enterprise's new time in the Expanse more than "The Expanse" lets on. But where "The Expanse" ended with the pseudo-climax of seeming victory over Duras, "The Jem'Hadar" ended with the surprise destruction of the innocently retreating Galaxy Class U.S.S. Odyssey in one fell swoop, something that still manages to send chills down my spine every time I watch it. "The Expanse" didn't really have this effect on me, although Archer's exasperated "gotohell!" did a little to get my blood pumping for a few moments toward the end.

    I was quite young when "The Jem'Hadar" premiered and although I clearly remember watching the first two years of DS9, I don't remember any of the uproar from fandom that may have accompanied it. I do know in retrospect that it was not nearly as successful as TNG and the beginning of season two was revamped once (with the Alamo-style, Bajoran-conflict-ending three parter "Homecoming" et al) at the beginning and again at the end, with the Dominion, although the latter was mentioned throughout year 2 so clearly they were planning on building up to the big reveal in "Jem'Hadar." But upon reflection it seems that even if we grant that DS9 had a superior first two years (a fact I cannot deny having recently watched all of the first two seasons on DVD, some eps more than once), I think we are in a very similar situation and ENT has a lot more going against it than DS9 did.

    When DS9 faced this trouble, the climate of anti-Trekism was pretty much non-existent. There had been no VOYAGER and the last movie hadn't just bombed at the box office. There was very little sci-fi on television and TNG was going out on a high note with huge ratings and an assured theatrical career. In effect, DS9 had the perfect environment to work out its bugs of the first two years, which primarly amounted to simply using the stationary setting to develop a more on-going, plot-oriented storyline that could give DS9 an identity of its own and add the excitement that the artistically satisfying character stuff just wasn't generating until "The Jem'Hadar."

    Fast forward to ENT and from the beginning the odds have been against the series and when it turned out that the first two years contained many reminiscient stories, hardcore fans ran for the snooze button, the negative PR didn't help bring in new people, and now yet again a STAR TREK series is revamping itself after two years. If we are to be fair, DS9 did its share of copycat stories in its first two years, even bringing on Vash, Lwaxana Troi and Q for episodes. They did a few light, almost laughable Ferengi episodes ("Move Along Home") and others that surely we could point to and say "yeah, right." But when I watch those episodes I know I enjoy them more than when I have seen ENT redo similar plots. Perhaps it's because on DS9 the setting, the costumes, the sets and everything else was just so different that what was old, truly was new again, while on ENT, what is old has a hard time looking new.

    So all in all I'd say we're at a precipice, here. ENT could very well turn into the next DS9. At the very least, Rick and Brannon have recognized a need for a stiff kick in the ass and have with "The Expanse" set up what can become something very much in the vein of DS9. In two years if ENT is pulling down SMALLVILLE numbers and producing quality like DS9, will we remember or care that the first two years were lackluster? Will Rick and Brannon yet again be at the chopping block? Here's hoping for the best. Although neither have seemed willing to admit it (both Rick and Brannon have ignored DS9 when saying ENT is the first TREK series to change to a more directed, specific, on-going mission), there's no denying that DS9 is the best mold ENT could possibly try to follow.

    ---

    -Steve Krutzler
    ==V/-/== Rocks

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    big ole paradox
    By JediFonger ( ) at 22:58:47 on May 23 2003
    URL: | User Info
    now... we know B&B actually reads fan message boards (such as this one) let me write one to them:

    guys,
    not gonna remind ya how much of a mess The Expanse was... ok... lemme remind ya again. it was a BIG mess! you can only do so much without it being a cliff note altogether! anyway the 911 should have been nailed better. people on either Earth or Enterprise should have held a candle-vigil (or equivalent) and then dedicate this episode to the lost souls of 911. THAT would've been daring and new.

    for all the other problems just read the posts below mine. the only thing i'm going to point out is:

    Enterprise goes in and stops future attacks from Xindi that means the Xindi would NOT have traveled back in time in the first place to scar Earth which means Enterprise would NOT have need to be on this "mission". you get the paradox? but if you stay true to this course then that means Capt. A and team is on a mission doomed in the beginning. meaning they go in and they get destroyed... or they fail and come back whimpering with tails stuck between their leg like Porthos.

    and uh... what IS the mission? to go into the expanse? that's it? beh?

    flashbacks AND time travel are th WORST cop-outs a SF writer should fall back on. these devices should SUPPORT a good story backbone (such as "The Menagerie", well done flashbacks, and "City on the Edge of Forever", EXCELLENT time travel) not just doing it for the sake of inventing a story around it. not telling ya to NOT do it but if you DO use it please use it correctly!?!?!?!!? i beg you in all that is sacred in the name of SF.

    now a suggestion. yeah yeah steal this from me i don't care. as long as i get entertained in Season 3... but at least Steve K will keep this as evidence here on this board that it was MY idea... but i can garauntee 100% you'll not use any of this in Enterprise =):

    after Enterprise goes into the Expanse, have their adventure, do their thing, bla bla bla. in this Expanse the sky's the limit. you won't run into continuity problems (this is why you are doing Expanse fans are complaining how you guys are messing up the canon+lore of trek). anyway at the very end of Enterprise. in the "series finale", if it makes it that far by its own without being canceled, have Enterprise ERASED from the timeline therefore Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway never HEARD of Capt Archer and his infamous adventures. i mean the things that Capt A is doing SHOULD have been mentioned by any of those 4 captains. ya know? that's why prequels are hard. Siski+Janeway both mention Kir+Picard. anyway transport him+crew to 30+century and let the series end on that note. then make Enterprise the movies deal with those issues. at the end of the last film of Entperise they all die a fiery death.

    ---

    "LET THEM DIE!!!"

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    The Expanse review
    By sebimeyer ( ) at 16:32:19 on May 23 2003
    URL: www.sebimeyer.com | User Info
    As always you can read my review at www.sebimeyer.com

    The other reviews I wrote are also still on there. Simply click on Enterprise bellow the title to get to the list.

    ---

    _____________
    http://www.sebimeyer.com

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Klingons in the Expanse
    By entfan621 ( ) at 10:07:48 on May 23 2003
    URL: | User Info
    This Expanse could also be a opportunity for B&B if there wise enough to take it to Explain why the Klingons looked "ridgeless" in TOS since whatever caused the organs to invert could cause other genetic problems. Maybe this is what Worf did not want to discuss in "Trials and Tribblations"

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Opening Salvo
    By lightstar ( lightstar) at 06:41:42 on May 23 2003
    URL: | User Info
    The Expanse fired the opening salvo for ENTERPRISE's the third season. It scored several direct hits! If
    s3 delivers on what the Expanse promises, then I think quality and ratings on ENTERPRISE will rise significantly! :) I'm actually eagerly anticipating
    next season!

    Your review was right on Target, Deus! You hit all of the salient points of the Expanse in a well-written, entertaining format.

    The Expanse should have been a 2 hour episode. That
    would have been awesome! :)

    ---

    "The Force will be with you...Always."
    Obi-Wan Kenobi

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    astronomy lesson
    By enderwiggins ( ) at 23:29:18 on May 22 2003
    URL: | User Info
    The Expanse was enjoyable, but flawed. Once again, the writers demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge of astronomy and of algebra. They stated that the expanse was 2000 light years across. Assuming that they can maintain a sustained velocity of 100 times the speed of light, it would take them 20 years to traverse the expanse. Any meaningful exploration of a volume that size would take decades. The episode also stated that it took them 3 months to get to the expanse. Assuming the same cruising speed, this would mean that the edge of the expanse is 25 light years from Earth. I am not sure where in the Federation Earth is, but given it's close proximity to earth surely this expanse would have to occupy much of the Federation. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far if the writers demonstrate a total lack of knowledge of the vastness of space.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    It satisfied me more than last season finale. I liked the new edgy and darker tone of the serious. DS9 took off when the show turned really dark with Dominion, here hoping the same for Enterprise. The Fx of the space battles were great especially the smaller earth-ships giving the Bop a smacking plus the visually excellent final battle between Duras and Archer.
    I didn't like the fake looking opening sequence of the probe attacking earth...very cartoonish looking which lacked any scope and impact of a massive attack on earth. Also I would have liked to see the ship getting an upgraded more militaristic external look plus some interaction with the miltary crew on the ship.
    Overall...the episode was entertaining and does set a positive tone towards S3. I hope that S3 is all what its hyped for or we all know what is next..........

    ---

    "Optimism Captain"-Enterprise

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    TNGish season 3 turnaround?
    By Noxmagic ( ) at 19:28:57 on May 22 2003
    URL: | User Info
    Right on with your review Deus. The Expanse was a very good episode, despite its cluttered feeling. I think the Klingon b-storyline, while cool in that it carried on a storyline showcased in several past episodes, could have easily been done away with. Adding to the Expanse's cluttered feeling was its choppy editing, but this seems to be a general characteristic of Ent. overall. Overall, however, the Expanse was a very good episode (Bakula seemed comfortable playing Archer, which seems to happen only once every other episode) and hopefully is an indication of what is to come next season.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    New course? Guess so
    By Steve Krutzler ( s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 17:20:23 on May 22 2003
    URL: http://trekweb.com/brittandsteve | User Info
    Just watched "The Expanse" and I have to say that while certainly a good 40 minutes of entertainment it's difficult to judge because as others have said, it's mainly a setup. There wasn't much of a cohesive story to look at as a whole but there were gems here and there. The 9/11 parallel was good, especially the notion of Enterprise (my god, have I finally given up on the "the"?) being away from home and feeling helpless while even the memorial ceremony passes them by due to the distance it took to get home. Trip had great moments with the exception of his corridor interchange with Reed, which I thought was just silly. I've never dealt with that sort of grief so perhaps people do fly off the handle like that but it just didn't seem natural to me and I hate the television trope of having the other person (Reed) stand there and take it instead of say something back, like most people would in real life. But Trip's moments with Archer drinking in the middle of the night were well done.

    The Earth sequences were great, it was nice to see Starfleet command and I thought the devastation in Florida was a good touch instead of not showing it. This sort of location-hopping helps give the ENT universe some much needed scope, also helped with the new Starfleet vessels and the spacedock sequences. The Vulcans are still coming off too emotional for my tastes. The faux doctor was good but Soval and T'Pol are still far too emotive to my mind. Soval is about to burst with every line of dialogue and I thought T'Pol was going to cry when she was talking to Soval outside the fleet ops building (howabout that near-horizontal precursor to the Starfleet logo we glimpsed there?)

    The footage of the Vulcan crew was obviously a rip of EVENT HORIZON and to me it just came off really cheesy. For one, we didn't see any antomical inversion, just a bunch of Vulcans gone crazy. The other thing was that the footage seemed edited, like the crew had time to cut b/w different camera setups and edit that little trinket before sending it off. I would've expected a single shot from whatever panel that camera was lodged.

    The Klingon stuff was fine, certainly kept things going as sort of a proto-conflict with the Xindi. But I am struck by a couple things. First of all, shouldn't Archer have told Phlox that he thinks the Expanse may cause psychological problems, and thus ask him to be vigilant for warning signs and try to develop contingency plans? Also, I keep asking myself (especially during the Archer/Trip drinking scene) what exactly they intend to do when they find the Xindi. One ship certainly can't take on a fleet of aliens who possess technology from the future, and despite Trip's protestations, Archer obviously isn't going to just show up at Xindi Prime and start phasering the planet's surface in cold blood like they did. So the inevitable conclusion is that the Archer must try to convince the Xindi that humanity poses no threat to them. And since they've established that the only reason the Xindi attacked Earth was in pre-defense, it means that if there is no threat, the Xindi will pose no threat. So it's kind of like painting yourself into a box because obviously Archer will plead that humanity means them no harm (with only one more warp 5 capable ship being built, Earth certainly can't wage a war against the Xindi, all or nothing) and they will either not believe him just become plain old "evil," which I guess we're supposed to believe they are anyway because they do all this crazy anatomical inversion stuff to you if you enter their space.

    I suppose the eventual objective could be to go into the future and find out what happens to Earth that makes humanity attack the Xindi in 400 years and then stop it, thus ending the Xindi threat in the 22nd century. But this brings to mind the Future Guy segments. I must say I much preferred the character when he wasn't a perfect black sillouette, wasn't that a little cheesy? It just came off as stupid-looking, frankly. It was like Archer was talking to a mannequin. They should've kept it a little more subtle like the Emperor in STAR WARS, but then I guess we'd be saying they copied that, too.

    And is Duras killed? Well we know his progeny make it into the future so either Duras already has kids or he makes it back from the Expanse somehow. I wouldn't doubt if he's being setup to become some sort of anatomically-inverted super Klingon who continues coming after Archer in the Expanse... why else have Duras trucking his ass all the way out to the Expanse in an episode that didn't need the Klingons really?

    All in all, I enjoyed the episode, but it was certainly more huff and puff than anything else. The 9/11 stuff made for the most meaningful drama and hopefully they'll touch on current events throughout this new storyline to make it more than just a space opera with pretty pictures.

    Oh, and, I have to say, when Archer opened hailing frequencies and barked "Goto Hell!" at Duras in that exacerbated-I-have-HAD-enough-of-YOU way, I got a really big Kirk vibe. He didn't even think. He just said "goto Hell, [you Klingon dog]!" It was cool.

    I'm as eager for season three as anyone else, I just hope all this ties into the founding of the Federation somehow. They made the distinction here that Starfleet is not "military" at this point in history, so perhaps these commandos that are coming aboard become the precursor for what is eventually the standard red-shirt Starfleet security by Kirk's time. Maybe this whole Xindi thing is what makes Starfleet take a more militaristic stance, arming its vessels and having security personnel (other than Mr. Reed) aboard. I do wish, however, that they didn't have to introduce an all-new "gee golly" alien threat. Like many others, I would much more prefer to see the likes of the Orion Pirates, the Romulans, Klingons and others challenging Earth supremacy in this time period.

    ---

    -Steve Krutzler
    ==V/-/== Rocks

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Fast and Furious
    By Edzo ( lordedzo@hotmail.com) at 16:54:42 on May 22 2003
    URL: | User Info
    I've said it before and I'll say it again. ENTERPRISE is best when it keeps up the pace. Personally, a brisk episode leaves me with little time to sit around thinking about why I don't enjoy this series as much as the others, and what I would do to fix it.

    "The Expanse" flew by. The only sideline item that crept into my head was, "Don't look at the clock." I didn't want the show to end. As many others have said, this would have been a terrific two-hour closer.

    An alien attack on Earth, a surprise visit with Silik and Future Guy, a trip to Starfleet Headquarters and combat with the Klingons I couldn't believe B&B managed to squeeze so much in. Good continuity, too, with the Klingons. They may yet evolve into the super-"baddies" we expect them to be.

    The surprise Suliban sequence *did* seem rushed, however. Did this constitute the end of the Suliban storyline in ENTERPRISE? Maybe. I've been having the distinct impression lately that B&B were trying to sweep them under the rug and forget about them.

    I was reminded of something Janeway said in "Time and Again," about how temporal mechanics often involve "effect" preceding "cause." That's a hard concept to grasp, but then I thought about Future Guy. If he's from the future, he should know something about the past enough to interfere with it, if he so chooses, or to be in just the right place at the right time, without knowing it.

    ENTERPRISE is either completely rewriting STAR TREK history, leading to the possibility of the dreaded "reset button" somewhere down the line, or Future Guy has been manipulating events in the past just as he was meant to until the Xindi came along.

    He told Archer that the Xindi incursion was unexpected, thus disrupting his plans. In other words, Future Guy may have thought he could fix "something" in the past that messed up something in his future, but maybe he didn't know precisely was that "something" was. Thus, the eddies of time carried him through a chain of events that he was meant to traverse all along, without his knowledge, thus enabling the STAR TREK history we know to evolve as it should. Voila! Effect precedes cause. Or something like that.

    I've also said this before B&B may yet be vindicated. Maybe they can show how the confluence of Future Guy, the Suliban, the Klingons and the Xindi somehow leads to the Kirk era of STAR TREK that we know and love. The core of fandom reveres TOS as if it were gospel. It is the wellspring of STAR TREK. Can B&B truly afford to ignore it?

    Maybe they don't have to, and maybe they aren't. Maybe we just need to give them a chance.

    ---

    Lord Edzo!

    "Indifference is the worst thing of all, Armand."

    --Albert, "The Birdcage"

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    darn
    By sliny ( ) at 14:56:56 on May 22 2003
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    I'll miss those missies. I was still hoping they'd upgrade to nukes instead of to TNG style photon torpedos.

    ---

    Could you imagine Janeway in the same position? Phew... - Siroth's author

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    When will the Romulan War Start
    By Captain-Johann ( ) at 14:54:48 on May 22 2003
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    According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia. The Romulan War should start in 2156. It is now 2153 in the Enterprise timeline. So if they spend a season or two with the Xindi storyline. That means they will have to cover the Romulan War right after. This should take up the remaining 3 seasons of the series. The Romulan war in my mind is more important to the Trek timeline then this Xindi threat. Berman and Braga should have skipped over it and started the Romulan war sooner. Fastforward to 2156 and start the 3rd season. But i guess with them running the helm, they may rewrite Trek history again, and say that War never happened. Another little tidbit, photon torpedos are introduced way to early. They should still be using nuclear weapons at this time.

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    I wasn't blown away.
    By timmer33 ( ) at 14:35:48 on May 22 2003
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    It was a mediocre episode. Nothing more. The music was boring again. The Klingon subplot didn't belong here -- what was its purpose?

    I'm interested in the new dynamic the military guys will bring to the show --- imagine if they wear red shirts! It would actually contribute to continuity rather than destroy it as has been the case in the past.

    I am glad they finally made some characters feel some personal pain and anguish ... something we'd asked for months ago on this very website. Do you think they're listening to us? :)

    However, once again, I'll say that such a change in the focus of the show wasn't needed. They should have improved the writing, not the format. The format is good, and it will work, given the proper writing. Anyway, I hope they don't abandon the Andorians and the formation of the Federation, because that's still critical to this time period.

    I also want to say that I think Jolene Blalock is doing an awesome job as T'Pol. It's gotta be hard to portray someone who doesn't have emotion, and she's done a fabulous job in the first two seasons. Well done.

    Archer and Trip seem angry and ready to kick ass. I like this.

    I want to make a request to TPTB:

    1. Get rid of the theme song for s3.
    2. Bring in the red shirts.
    3. Bring in Section 31.
    4. Fix the Tellarites -- that Tellarite episode desecrated everything that we'd been led to believe what their species was like -- and fix the makeup. Frankly, it was dreadful.
    5. Don't abandon the formation of the Federation storyline.

    This show could still work, but you shouldn't ignore those points above.

    Oh, one final question for everyone. Why the hell is "Future Guy" helping Earth now? Before he was helping the Suliban to wreck the formation of the Federation. Why help them now? Was this another error on B&B's part? Someone explain it to me.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Underexpansed...
    By PretendToDream ( ) at 13:13:56 on May 22 2003
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    The opening scenes have me wondering. How is it this probe came in just like that, zappedity zapped and just fell back to Earth? Where were the Earth defenses? Where were all the ships around Earth? Come on. No counter strike at all? Don't they have radar? Don't they have any space tracking? This attack seems implausible to me.
    The premise and promise of the storyline could be something to gain strength from. But I just hope to heck it does not become another Voyager journey. Been there, they already did that. They need to do the Expanse story and be done with it and go about their space journey.
    I can understand Trip being pissed, but he wasn't the only one to lose anyone. Seven million people dying should have resulted in a hell of alot more mourning. Seems it was swept away and irrelevant. Our soil was attacked. There has to be hell to pay.
    I don't know what the Enterprise future will hold. I am hoping for storylines to be intelligent and well written. They do have the talent, it would be nice to let the talent do their jobs.

    ~~~~~~~~~I'm not bitter. I'm Not Bitter At All......

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    • Very 9/11 by GreginWA @ 04:54:15 ET on 23 May
    Just a Question,
    By Brian Langlois ( ) at 12:43:59 on May 22 2003
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    This seems like the best forum for this episode, so I'll ask here:

    What do you suppose Anatomical Inversion is? I keep picturing that Simpsons halloween episode with the "Fog that turns you inside out."
    Just wondering what people thought about this.

    Also, despite the fact that I didn't expect to, I liked this episode. As someonwe who has liked Enterprise up to this point, I cringed at the idea of a retooling, but it looks like it could be very good. We'll see in September.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Jumping the Shark at Warp Speed!!!
    By RichCD ( ) at 12:35:14 on May 22 2003
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    This episode was a mess.

    O'Deus hit the nail on the head about cramming too much into a 40 minutes. The result is yet another episode with the emotional weight of a feather.

    And then there's the complete lack of logic in the story. What makes Archer think that he and Enterprise will not befall the same fate as the others that entered the expanse? He's been to the 30th century! He knows time travel is real. Wouldn't the Suliban and Future Guy be the first place you would start? No, lets travel to a part of the galaxy where it takes months to get there, and everyone else that's been there dies in a few hours. Sure, that makes sense - right up there with the 'current' technolgy that 'quantum dates' something coming from the future. Don't they have that database from the future locked up on the ship somewhere? At the very least Future Guy merits more investigation than a 2 minute conversation.

    And, I'm sorry, but I can't stand the way this show looks. I don't know if its the lighting, the film stock, the cinematography, or all three, but this show has soundstage-itis. Can they no longer approximate the look of sunshine? Why does everything look like its lit with florescents? Why does 10 year old DS9 look so much better? And CGI has to either get alot better, or go away. I'm sick of CGI Neo, CGI Hulk, CGI Spiderman and the rest - and they are on a theatrical budget. Most of the non-space CGI on Enterprise makes me cringe on a 'Spock's Brain' kind of level.

    What a shame. Now they are traveling to a part of space where they shouldn't run into any familiar races. Ooh, I can't wait for the sweeps episode featuring the Kazon.

    The cast deserves better. The crew deserves better. And the legacy of Trek and its fans definitely deserve better.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Go Back - PLEASE
    By InSearchOf ( ) at 12:19:21 on May 22 2003
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    This episode felt very disjointed and unsatisfying to me - a bit like the last ST movie. The "character moments" also seemed contrived and unrealistic. What a disappointment! I felt the flashback show featuring the testing of the warp engines was much, much better and demonstrates the direction this show should have taken from the start. If this ending represents a new beginning for the series, it looks like more of the same with even more forced attempts at drama and mystery without substance.

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    promising
    By sky ( ) at 12:09:55 on May 22 2003
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    O'Deus's review is geat, as always. I don't know why people knock this guy, even if they disagree with his opinion. His reviews are always observant and insightful and always make me rethink the ep. Keep up the great work O'Deus! Don't let the so-and-sos grind you down!

    Even though continuity has evaporated, this new direction is very promising. At the get-go, B&B promised more action and this scenario should deliver. But if they spend the rest of the series in the Expanse, ENT will devolve into VOY, which should work just fine for Braga.

    A few nits to pick -- if these Xindi knew they had 400 years, why not perfect their weapon and then attack Earth? Not too bright. So what happens in the 26th century anyway? How does Picard's Federation become genocidal 200 years later? We'll probably never know.

    Another thing, the trench dug by the Xindi weapon was pretty deep, maybe 100 feet or more. Anybody who knows much about Florida oughta know that the entire state is not even that high above sea level. Why wouldn't this trench fill in with the ocean? Let me guess, off camera, the Starfleet Corps of Engineers had already erected a dam!

    The saddest part of the destruction in Florida was that it began near Lake Okeechobie. So it missed Disneyworld!

    ---

    "When I was your age, I didn't watch television! I LIVED! So... move out of your parent's basements!"

    -- William Shatner on SNL, 1986

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    Expanse missed on every level
    By Bossman ( ) at 11:29:45 on May 22 2003
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    This episode had so much potential... Earth just got kicked in the teeth and B&B made it feel like it was no big deal. We needed to see in graphic detail what happened to the people this tragedy affected. Like Trip. They could have had some great character development with him meeting with his family. His Dad could say something like "Go get the bastards."

    Not only that, this is the first time that the crew returned to Earth. Overall character development could have progressed greatly if the writers could have taken just 10 minutes of total time to follow individual crew members around to get perspectives on what those people were like before the mission.

    Then there's Duras... It would have been cool if they had kept him alive and made him an ongoing threat to the crew. That way, the Enterprise has the Expanse ahead of them and Duras behind her.

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    Anyone notice......
    By tazym ( ) at 11:28:22 on May 22 2003
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    That Future Guy -- sounded a lot like the vulcan doctor who scanned Archer for radioactivity? Maybe it was just me....

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Desperation, not inspiration
    By BKPeak ( ) at 10:53:18 on May 22 2003
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    This episode did nothing for me. Normally, I'm one of those people who will sit and watch anything Star Trek (I even liked Voyager), but I'm getting quite bored with Enterprise. This entire episode seemed like B&B's 'long shot' at trying to draw fans back in. To shake things up so quickly seems more like an act of desperation than inspiration. It certainly didn't evoke the emotion and anticipation that the first part of "Best of Both Worlds" did.

    Another thing that irritated me was that so much of this episode was leaked ahead of time. I normally read every spoiler I can find, but I've never seen an episode as 'spoiled' as this one--right down to the word 'swath'. I thought I might see SOMETHING in the episode that I hadn't already heard B&B talking about.

    The LAST thing I want is for Star Trek to take a break for a while, but I'm beginning to wonder.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Not the Real Thing
    By NAFF ( NATHANGSHARP@HOTMAIL.COM) at 10:03:22 on May 22 2003
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    Great review - spot on, right down to the Wrath of Khan comment. I also spotted a smattering of Event Horizon, but perhaps that's just me.

    I think USA Today also got it right with their comment on the series this week - bad casting and bad writing.

    This episode was like drinking a flat coke - all the ingredients were there, but it just didn't fizz. The SFX, however, were outstanding and remain the highlight of the show this season.

    If all these elements (Kingons, Suliban, Vulcans, etc.) had to be in the plot, then it would have been better served over 2 episodes (let's face it last week's Bounty would not have been missed). As it was, The Expanse came over very linear and very rushed.

    Not sure why the aliens attacked Florida (other than to piss off Trip and create a plot device). Wouldn't they attack San Franciso and knock out Star Fleet HQ? In fact, why attack Earth at all for their test and give a warning? There are other planets!

    Not sure why Archer left the Klingon ship in a state where they could come after him again - surely with the fate of the planet in the balance he would have totally disabled or even... destroyed it!?

    Not sure with all the sense of urgency how Archer could take the time out to drop off T'Pol at Vulcan, even if it was only a small detour. Perhaps he was hoping she would stay on, but has she really been that great a science officer?

    It might have made a better story to have had Enterprise sent to intercept the attack vessel.. and fail. Hell, they could have even demoted Archer to 1st Officer because of it, brought in a new Captain and... and had a chance of a 4th Season.

    I still can't believe the TrekWeb polls. At time of writing, 40% thought this episode was excellent compared with all previous Star Trek shows - ALL previous Star Trek? Come on voters, do you really watch the episodes or are you simply sitting in the UK and clicking out of loyalty?

    "Let's see what's in there"? Archer must have been talking about the writer's heads. But from this mess of a Season, I think we know already.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Good Review
    By Phaser1701 ( garavin@rochester.rr.com) at 09:52:24 on May 22 2003
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    You hit all the nagging points that I was thinking of, except that I think Duras should have killed the crewman he threw out of the chair, just to establish how manacing the Duras clan are...

    I thought the VFX and music were terrific in this ep. Ditto for all of the performances, except for Archer, who looked nearly as wooden as he did in Broken Bow. Trip's impulsive outbursts, and his latent xenophobia were nice touches.

    I too, am interested to see what part these soldiers will play in the next season. If Earth has a global government, war is practically elimiated, and crime is also a thing of the past, then I'm having a hard time seeing how they'd be very effective. On the other hand, this leaves some room for growth. Perhaps we'll have a new character or two added to the secondary cast, in the form of the military commander?

    There is one thing that nags me. They installed these Photonic torpedos, but their supply of them seems very limited, yet they popped them out of the tubes like antimatter pez candies at Duras. If they expend them at that rate, they won't last much beyond a couple of eps. Are they going to be resupplied by Starfleet while they're in the Delphic expanse? It didn't sound that way to me. If I were going into a celestial no-man's land 2000 LY across to confront an enemy that can pull off the kind of destruction the Xindi showed, I'd have crammed every nook and cranny of the NX-01 full of tactical supplies, double-bunked all of the crew, including senior staff, and basically made the interior look like a submarine that's been stocked for a 12 month cruise. Instead, they get a couple dozen new torpedos, and some improved hull plating. That sounds pretty thin. I guess the crew will have to think on their feet...

    ---

    Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense...

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    So far, only moderately interested.
    By bretw ( ) at 09:48:49 on May 22 2003
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    Well, watched the kickoff of the third season last night, and was interested enough to watch the whole thing (unlike some other episodes). Like Deus said, the episode felt rushed -- the constant attacks by the Klingons were completely unnecessary: it left several moments of the episode feeling like the action began simply to add "action" but without contributing a linear part of the story. I found myself thinking after the second attack, "well, that didn't mean anything." Part of the problem I'm sure is the 40-minute format the series has been pushed into, you simply can't unfold three major story lines satisfactorally into that time frame.

    The other major problem was pretty simple: these characters have never come to life for me, so when a tragedy or life-changing event takes place, like the death of a family member or a break from authority, I'm simply not connected enough to the characters on ENTERPRISE to much care one way or the other; and rather than create situations for the actors to be "fleshed out," I would rather have seen them show their true colors though their actions. Now, however, we have a vengeful Trip, a wooden "if-I-grit-my-teeth-hard-enough-they'll-think-it's-acting Archer, and quite frankly, an illogical Vulcan Science officer.

    I'll repeat my statement that Brannon Braga needs to ditch ENTERPRISE and work on a new version of the Brady Bunch. It's really where his talents belong.

    BDW

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    Finally, some hope!
    By JohnSheridan ( ) at 09:33:35 on May 22 2003
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    I was skeptical of this new direction I've heard so much about lately... To be sure, Enterprise has been completely underwhelming. A couple of decent episodes here and there plus one or two gems (First Flight being the best in my opinion) mixed in with mostly OK at best episodes have marked two seasons as mediocre Star Trek fare, and mediocre television in general.

    But, I have to say that this episode has done something that I didn't think Enterprise could do: I'm now looking FORWARD to next season!

    The stakes have been effectively raised, and I absolutely loved the character development of both Archer and Trip. I literally got chills when Trip was talking to Malcolm in the hallway and told him to get the weapons ready so they could blast the guys that did this. Fantastic moment.

    I think First Flight exemplifies what I had hoped Enterprise would be from the get-go. More episodes like that would have fulfilled the premise nicely and made the entire series worth watching.

    This new direction however is something I can definitely sink my teeth into in light of the fact that B&B seem intent on not giving us the real prequel series they originally promised.

    The fact that obviously some sort of temporal reset button is going to be pushed at some point still bugs me, but at least now I have the feeling that the ride will be fun until we get there. I for one approve of what I saw in "The Expanse", and I now have reason to believe Enterprise will actually be worth watching next season.

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    afraid of...
    By tazym ( ) at 09:21:52 on May 22 2003
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    I agree the episode was a great setup. But I just hope this doesn't go the way of Voyager. With Voyagers concept we were promised starnge new worlds etc etec.. What we got evetually was retreads and familiar storylines. If they stick to the EXPANSE .. and really bring out the "strange" and "new" worlds.... This could be what saves Trek.

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    Mis-spellings
    By Nightslayer ( ) at 08:22:32 on May 22 2003
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    Just two things:

    1. You spelled Voyager 'VIYAGER'

    2. The aliens are the Xindi (according to TV Guide), not 'Xinti'

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