Star Trek: Enterprise began a season-long arc
On May 21, 2003, the producers of Star Trek: Enterprise decided to up the stakes on the series by airing the first episode in what would begin a season-long arc for season three. In “The Expanse,” the Xindi attacked Earth by launching a probe that cut a devastating path from Florida to Venezuela that killed over seven million people, including Commander Trip Tucker’s younger sister, Elizabeth. Admiral Forrest recalled the Enterprise for its new mission which was an all-out manhunt to find the species and eliminate future threats to Earth.
This is the episode that shakes the foundation of Enterprise as not only did one of their crew members suffer the loss of a family member, but T’Pol resigned from the Vulcan High Command after her assignment was terminated. She chose to stay aboard the Enterprise because Captain Archer needed her. It was a moment when T’Pol really became a part of the crew. And Den of Geek identified this as one of the most important episodes for understanding T’Pol.
Nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, this episode began a controversial story line for the following season that not all fans appreciated. But it enabled Enterprise to be renewed for a fourth season which returned to its original episodic story-telling.
"“It’s interesting, you and I, the only aliens on board this vessel. To go or to stay. For me it was a simple question of loyalty towards the captain, and the sad realization that he will need me now more than ever on such crucial mission. But for you, it’s a more difficult decision. Does your allegiance lie with the High Command or with Captain Archer?” – Phlox, advising T’PolNotes of Interest"
Notes of Interest for this episode of Enterprise
- This episode marks the final appearance of Future Guy.
- The item Captain Archer finds while digging through the wreckage of the Xindi probe was originally used as Quark’s cloaking device in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Profit and Loss”.
- Upon completion, the episode was ten minutes too long which resulted in two scenes being deleted—one of which was a love-interest storyline for Archer and another where Archer thinks Ensign Sato is leaving the Enterprise.
Most fans will tell you that this is an essential episode for any viewing of the series. It certainly sent the Enterprise in a vastly different direction.