10/1/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Expanse"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S02E26
Air Date: May 21, 2003
Written by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by: Allan Kroeker

Premise
After a strange probe cuts a scar on Earth from Florida to Venezuela, Archer chases off Klingons and Suliban to get back to Earth for some kick-butt upgrades.

Review
So, Wheatly decloaks over Earth and a-charges his lazor and cuts a huge trench in the state where I live. Oh, and also a few other countries. And suddenly the entire Trekdom is up in arms because this is something huge - something that should have been mentioned in one of the other series if it had ever happened. Right? Right?  ...I don't know; we'll see.

Meanwhile, on Qo'noS, the Klingon High Council has convened to tell Duras what a terrible job he'd been doing. Under his watch, Captain Archer has escaped custody twice. Duras has been dishonored and vows to regain his honor by chasing down Archer once and for all.
The Archer Hater's Club
Back on the Enterprise, Archer tells the senior officers the dire news. You know how you can remember exactly where you were when the towers fell? Or when JFK was shot? The looks on the crew's faces are reminiscent of those days. They've experienced emotions so deep, and so life-changing that their very first thought is revenge.

I have to hand it to Connor Trinneer. His portrayal of Trip Tucker, a man who lost a very dear family member in a terrorist attack, is moving, to say the least. When he continues to ask Archer which part of Florida the probe hit, you can feel his emotion in your own gut. When he visits the former site of his sister's house, you cry for him. Trip is the embodiment of every human when he asks Archer to ignore all the non-interference "crap" that T'Pol had been "shoving down our throats" and go after the perpetrators with everything. Star Trek: Enterprise has become the dark and gritty show that the modern viewer loves so much.

Before all this, though, while they're on their way back to Earth, two things happen: 1) Suliban attack. A cloud of pods surround the Enterprise and shut down power for just long enough to kidnap Archer. Archer is surprisingly greeted with less hostility than expected. They don't hate him, they just want to warn him. The shadowy guy from the future tells him that the Wheatly came from the Xindi in the Delphic Expanse.
Hello! Um... If you could just... ya know... ignore the scar in Florida.
2) Klingons attack. When Archer gets back to the Enterprise, Duras tracks him down along with a couple of friends. Archer can't catch a break. Luckily, they make it back to the Sol system and get some help. Some brand new NX ships attack the Klingons and they promptly retreat to fight another day. The first 15-20 minutes of this episode are faster paced than any episode of Enterprise so far.

And then it slows way down. When they reach Earth, Archer tries to explain that a shadow man from the future told him where to find the Xindi. Meanwhile T'Pol struggles with the Vulcan High Command calling her off of the Enterprise because of how dangerous the Delphic Expanse is since Archer is so intent on going there. Apparently, the Delphic Expanse is a Bermuda Triangle-type place from which no one has returned alive and in one piece. This is also the part where Trip goes to visit the scar in Florida and remember his sister. This is the calm after the storm. The part where it really hits you what happened. When the gravity pulls you under.

After that break, it's time to head out with some brand new upgrades including photonic torpedoes.
Now with 50% more photons!
T'Pol says she's resigned her commission to stay on the Enterprise, Trip raises a toast to their new mission to the Delphic Expanse, and Phlox orders a box full of 200 snow beetles... everyone's ready to go! They head out and see the ginormous Delphic Expanse before them. And as they head in, along comes Duras.

This episode is so awesome, that it even garners for me a little respect for Travis Mayweather. When they enter the thermoberic clouds that surround the expanse, Duras comes in after them and Travis does some fancy piloting to come up behind Duras and blow some new photonic torpedoes up his aft. And that's the last we see of Duras.

With the attack on Earth, the petty differences between Archer and the Klingons are suddenly completely pointless. With Duras out of the way, the Enterprise enters the Expanse. And thus begins the Delphic Expanse story arc!

Overall Thoughts
I love story arcs! I love this episode! It gives Star Trek a deepness it rarely sees. There has never been a direct attack on Earth quite like this. Well, except for the whale cylinder in Star Trek: The Voyage Home. The best part is that it's not resolved in this episode. We have to wait until the next episode - the next season - before we even see what's inside the Expanse. So stay tuned!