Star Trek: Enterprise

“The Expanse”

3 stars.

Air date: 5/21/2003
Written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"I can't wait to get in there, captain — find the people who did this. And tell me we won't be tiptoeing around — none of that non-interference crap T'Pol's always shoving down our throats. Maybe it's a good thing she's leaving." "We'll do what we have to, Trip. Whatever it takes."

— Tucker and Archer

Review Text

In brief: A rather extreme, out-of-left-field shake-up of the series, but effective nonetheless.

"Enterprise has potential," I said to TV Guide magazine a few months ago, "but it doesn't take risks." I said a lot more, but that's what got printed — which is fine, because it got to the crux of the matter. Enterprise was in the middle of a second season that was bland, boring, and safe.

Well, with "The Expanse," Enterprise has taken a risk. Whether it's the right risk remains to be seen, but at least the series is committing itself to something resembling a direction (and if the press quotes are true indicators, this will become an ongoing storyline rather than something that will be instantly resolved at the beginning of next season — which is good news).

The optimist in me sees this as an opportunity for the writers to do some unpredictable things and give this series a much-needed purpose and story arc. The pessimist sees this as a writer's sudden act of desperation to move a frequently anemic series in a hopefully exciting direction. (Reportedly, the studio regards Enterprise with much skepticism, so one wonders if they demanded changes.) The pessimist also wonders if the show isn't veering off in the direction of a war series with overlarge stakes — which seems to be an unlikely digression for what is allegedly the prequel to Star Trek. Enterprise doesn't seem like a series where such material would naturally fit, but maybe I should wait and see rather than speculate.

The stakes here are nothing short of apocalyptic, beginning with a weapons test of unknown alien origin that slices a 4,000-kilometer-long swath from central Florida down through to Venezuela, killing 7 million people in the process.

And this is a weapons test.

So, yes, you could say they have my attention.

Enterprise is immediately recalled to Earth. Before reaching Earth, however, the Enterprise is intercepted by the Suliban, who bring Archer aboard their ship to talk to the Shadow Man From The Future, who explains that the attack on Earth was carried out by a race called the Xindi — and, furthermore, that the Xindi intend to destroy Earth with a doomsday weapon in a subsequent attack. Allegedly, the Xindi motivation is that humanity will be responsible for their own destruction in 400 years; such information about the future was never supposed to fall into their hands, but was apparently conveyed to them by an unauthorized source.

The Shadow Man is giving Archer this information because the destruction of Earth would contaminate the timeline. Common sense suggests that 7 million deaths would also severely contaminate the timeline, but I guess the point here is that the temporal cold war doesn't make sense and never will. Common sense also suggests that the Xindi, if they intend to destroy Earth, could've waited until they were actually ready rather than tipping their hand with a surprise "test" attack that slaughters millions and demands reprisal. Couldn't they have tested their weapons anywhere?

The actual attack presents a chilling image, with a beam slicing right through Florida and Cuba, leaving a canyon of decimated earth in ashes, perhaps a mile or more wide. The spherical design of the Xindi spacecraft seems curiously clunky, like something out of a 1950s sci-fi pulp magazine, but infinitely more crucial to the impact of this is the shock and dismay we see in our characters. The scene where Archer informs the crew of the attack reveals confusion and disbelief, and the shot of the crew on the bridge when they see Earth's damage from orbit for the first time is a potent scene; they stand in silence, and no words are necessary.

For such reasons, "The Expanse" works as drama, and contains a lot of feelings and responses that are recognizable given the current national stage. The episode is obviously a futuristic metaphor for 9/11 and its aftermath: The way Earth is blindsided by this attack is not at all unlike the way most Americans felt blindsided on 9/11, and there are apt details that lend an air of realism, like the constant revision of the casualty figure. In a way, the sudden, forced change in direction of this series reflects the sudden change in the direction of American foreign policy after 9/11. The idea that these Xindi would want to destroy us may be conjured from thin air (and the contrived way it ties into the temporal cold war brings up more questions than answers), but what happens from there is not, because an attack like this demands action.

But what kind of action?

Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of "The Expanse" is that there is no clear idea of what Starfleet or the people of Earth expect will happen from here. There's no concrete conclusion of whether or not This Means War. (And really, we can't even be positive that the Xindi are responsible.) With 7 million dead and another attack allegedly on the way, presumably this does mean war or something close, and the Enterprise receives an immediate retrofit with upgraded weapons and defenses. The Xindi, Archer was told, reside somewhere within a strange area of space called the Delphic Expanse, and Starfleet gives the Enterprise a new mission — after some convincing and consideration — to venture into the expanse and investigate the Xindi threat.

There's of course some frustration along the way to this decision. First of all, the Vulcans are constant skeptics of information that supposedly comes from the future, since they do not believe in time travel. (With time travel being so obviously prevalent in this century, you'd think the Vulcan Science Directorate would wise up.) This leads to a scene where Archer "proves" something in the wreckage from the alien vessel is from the future by scanning it with a "quantum-dating" device that reads "minus 420." Uh-huh. (I guess this means that it's not 420 years old but rather 420 years young.) Why would a piece of metal traveling through time have any impact on the measurable age of the metal? To me, this is like saying that if I traveled back in time 10 years, I would no longer look 27 years old, but instead 17. (Or at least I'd be quantum dated as 17.) Not that time travel is plausible in the first place, but you see how this seems contrary to accepted sci-fi conventions. Maybe I need to go to quantum-dating school.

Then there's the concern over the mysterious and ominous Delphic Expanse. The Vulcans once explored it but no longer do, because of its strange and unexplainable properties and even its sometime non-adherence to the laws of physics. Ambassador Soval tells ghost stories of ships that entered and never emerged. In one case, he says, a Klingon ship emerged with its crew's bodies all turned inside out — and yet STILL ALIVE. (Cue ominous music of doom.) I find myself wondering why Soval believes these stories when he's not willing to believe in time travel. As a final warning, he even shows Archer the last video footage of the last Vulcan crew to go into the expanse: They are all going insane and violently whaling on one other — the last thing recorded before the ship was destroyed, apparently by the crew's own hands. This creepy B-movie idea reminded me of a similar scene in the movie Event Horizon, where people who ventured into black holes went crazy and massacred themselves in bizarre and bloody video footage.

Once Starfleet decides to investigate the Delphic Expanse, the Vulcan High Command recalls T'Pol to Vulcan, since standing policy forbids Vulcans from entering the expanse. Among the show's better character scenes is the one where she expresses to Archer her desire to stay aboard the Enterprise and resign her High Command commission. "You need me," she tells the captain straightforwardly. The scene represents a breakthrough of sorts, where T'Pol has become one of Us. Whether that's desirable is a matter of perspective: One hopes she will still remain an alternative voice, but it's nice to see that T'Pol has become more comfortable with her role among humans.

The episode also gives the carnage on Earth a direct character connection by placing Trip's younger sister among the missing and presumed dead. There's a potent image of the destruction in Florida seen close up by Trip and Malcolm. We're naturally reminded of images of ground zero following the destruction of the World Trade Center. Some may wonder whether this is appropriate as entertainment, but I believe it works because the story takes its fictional concept seriously. The fact that something awful has happened is not simply a backdrop for an adventure (though it is that as well), but also given its due weight. The characters react believably, and handheld camera work in the early scenes sets the mood of emotional disarray. I could sense in these scenes the feeling of something genuinely wrong.

Archer, particularly early in the episode, is understandably emotional and aggressive. And there's obviously a character arc in the making for Trip that could change him dramatically. He's bitter and wants to "blow the hell out of these bastards when we find them." In a scene where Archer and Trip pour themselves glasses of hard liquor, Trip says: "Tell me we won't be tiptoeing around — none of that non-interference crap T'Pol's always shoving down our throats." There are some serious moral questions worth considering here (possibly including the non-interference issue, which made waves in "Cogenitor"), just as the Dominion War on DS9 brought new issues to the table. The question is whether they will be adequately addressed and whether they fit in the context of this series.

Shoehorned in here is a weirdly structured subplot involving the Klingons, who dispatch the dishonored Duras (Daniel Riordan) on a mission of potential redemption: to track down Archer, who by now is an infamous enemy who has twice escaped the Klingon Empire's clutches ("Judgment," "Bounty"). This subplot has little to do with anything else, except peripherally. The Klingons show up at the beginning and the end, and serve as stand-ins for the sake of demonstration. At the beginning they invade Earth's solar system to try to capture Archer, only to be chased off by Starfleet defense vessels (this raises the question of what kind of defenses were in place prior to the Xindi attack, and if security has been beefed up since then). The Klingons appear again at the end, to chase the Enterprise as it enters the expanse and provide the crew a chance to test the new torpedoes.

During the climactic battle with the Klingons, the bridge scenes are shot with the camera's shutter speed increased, resulting in a strobe effect — a method made fashionable by Saving Private Ryan's war footage, and imitated ad nauseam since. I don't know about its use here; watching sparks explode on the bridge is not exactly war footage.

The nature of the plot forces the episode to span months of time, with all the unimportant travel scenes left out. This allows the story to cover a lot of ground in one hour, perhaps too much. It doesn't feel like months of time are passing, and the Klingons apparently are staying with the Enterprise through this entire time, showing up on cue when it's time for action.

One touch I appreciated, which exists basically apart from the plot, is a scene where we see the construction on the next warp-5 starship, the NX-02, which Admiral Forrest says will be ready for launch in 14 months. It's nice to see this seed finally planted.

Still, I'm beginning to wonder now if Enterprise can ultimately emerge as a legitimate prequel series. Unlike season one, season two has granted itself fairly liberal latitude in playing fast-and-loose with the franchise history, and "The Expanse" is perhaps the most extreme example to date. The notion that 7 million people could be killed here and yet this attack, the Xindi, and the Delphic Expanse can all be unheard-of elements in the Trek canon is nothing short of ludicrous. (Of course, since there's a temporal cold war connection, timeline games can presumably write it off.) This is a strong season-ender with some promising elements and a notable dose of true feelings, but it also represents an extreme shift in the Trek universe that the writers will likely have to approach with a certain restraint and caution.

Irony of ironies — here I am recommending restraint and caution for Enterprise. That's a good thing, I suppose.

Previous episode: Bounty
Next episode: The Xindi

End-of-season article: Second Season Recap

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Comment Section

82 comments on this post

    "Maybe I need to go to quantum-dating school."

    Even today we have theories which allow for particles to travel back and forth in time. Iirc, something like a positron moving forward is like the same as an electron moving backward. They could perhaps just be reading an electron back to its source or something. Ir maybe not...any writters that put T'Pol in heat like last week aren't exactly thinking too much in depth :p

    This was the episode that broke the camel's back and forced this ole trekki to stop watching Enterprise every week (only occasionally from now on). The blatent disrespect that the writers showed for the timeline was simply unacceptable and something that I and many others would not stand for. It is a shame that Enterprise's potential was squandered on this whole Xindy arc!

    Just lost all hope in the revival of the Franchise at this point :(

    This episode marks the post-9-/11 spot when the writers tried to turn Archer into George W. Bush, striding along in a flightsuit with a mouthful of righteous anger phases and a stuffed codpiece. "Whatever it takes."?

    Seriously, what marred the emotional impact of the episode for me was the fact that the Xindi arrive to attack Earth and of course they attack the former United States! Because presumably US-American viewers wouldn't give a damn if the Xindi laser had cut through India or Japan or Turkey instead of Florida? I can see the Xindi attacking the northern hemisphere because there's more landmasses there than in the southern one, but the question remains: Why did they aim so badly? Seriously, if I had crossed half the galaxy to test out my prototype(!) weapon on another species' planet without warning and start a war with them, I would make damn sure I aimed at the most populated areas, instead of slicing through water half of the time and then flying away again. Alright, so they got Florida. Apparently the Xindi came to Earth to wage war on manatees.

    You might say the Xindi got their pre-emptive war in a bit early. But if you want to wipe out a species (including all their offplanet colonies) you better try a biological agent instead of slicing and dicing the planetary crust. So this was a stupid move, obviously designed to make the Xindi into targets.

    Let me go on a little rant here: As a German viewer i'm somewhat miffed that every time you see Earth from space in an American series or movie (Battlestar Galactica, Enterprise, you name it) you *always* see the North American continent displayed instead of any other part of Earth.

    Just as the Mercator maps of Earth hanging in American schools are different from the one hanging in European schools, as far as I know (I may be wrong, but I've seen such maps on TV). In the US, the Americas are placed in the centre of the map, meaning that Asia is cut in two and stuck at the left and right edge, while in European atlases the Greenwich zero meridian running through Europe and Africa is in the middle of the map, with the whole of Asia, India, Australia etc to the East and the Americas to the West, and the Pacific dateline bisecting the Pacific ocean on both edges of the map, like this:

    I didn't mind this episode, but the Xindi arc killed the series for me. I gave up in the first half of the third season, having watched the first two seasons episode by episode. I think a 9/11 arc was fair to do, but it just wasn't interesting to do with made-up villains. In the real world, the attacks weren't from nowhere. If the series had set up the Xindi in the first or second season, there would have been a lot more resonance.

    @christina, I live in Japan, and you'd be surprised how many maps here put Eurasia on the left and the Americas on the right. Guess who's in the center? :D

    Of course they're messing with the timeline. The whole point of this is to launch the temporal cold war arc into full swing.

    Oh, and almost no Mercator maps in the US have us in the center. It makes no sense. This type of map is designed around the concept of longitude and latitude. Of course the equator and prime meridian are going to be in the middle. The Japan-central map seems to defeat the purpose, too. But, then again, Japan is even more xenophobic that Americans.

    And, anyways, of course they're going to attack the former US. For one thing, the characters are all American (check out their accents). And for another, the primary audience is American. To help us feel what they feel (that their home has just been attacked), they have to give use the same feeling. In fact, I suspect the reason christina is upset is because it didn't attack her part of the world.

    After seing the same old same on in season 1 on, and having watched a good chunk of Season 2 on the old United Paramount Network along side other such presigous shows as WWF SmackDown! I quickly and eagerly jumped anticipating the new story arc from The Expanse forward! Yes everything is rushed..but at least this episode sets up a franchise in a direction that i'm hoping is no longer boring and predictable. Archer totally changed into a different person for sure. I guess times have changed. I sorta missed the reasoning as to why the Klingons were after Enterprise....but i am eagly awaiting the Season 3 opener and thought this was a nice set up.

    Regarding the maps thing, it's quite common for the home continent of the map maker to put that continent centrally. I live in Japan too, and yes, many times you will see a map here that puts Japan in the centre. Equally, I have seen maps where the Americas are central and Asia is split in two on either side of the map, although both of those variants are less common than the traditional (and correct) way of having Britain in the middle (then again, I am British so I would say that).

    And Malcolm and Hoshi would disagree with the assertion that all of the characters are American. Malcolm even has a local accent!

    "And Malcolm and Hoshi would disagree with the assertion that all of the characters are American. Malcolm even has a local accent!"

    Also, wasn't Travis born and conceived in space, by space parents, who may or may not have been born of space itself?

    This was a pretty decent episode that brought about some interesting changes and was still quite entertaining while doing it. Starfleet's still too small and where were all those little ships at the end of next season? Oh well.

    Those thermobaric clouds would have been nice background detail for the rest of the season, maybe a bit too much like the nekrit expanse, but i think would've given a much more otherworldly feel. Using the Xindi as antagonists is smart since it leaves it open to what happens to the aliens.
    I think some viewers forget that this is an American show made for American viewers, so there would be an obvious american focus. But that beamed looked it sliced through cuba and venezuela. not to mention the character they wanted to be most affected by it was from the U.S. so it makes all kinds of sense. And BSG you might remember had Africa quite prominently, but whatever.
    I sorta wish the timetravel had been toned down to a communicating through time thing rather than the physical time travel, otherwise why not just build the entire weapon in the future and transport it back. But that's just a small criticism for a pretty good episode!

    Strangely enough, I found this one actually entertaining.

    A much-needed rattling of the cage for ST Enterprise, although knowing Berman & Braga this re-injection of something called "plot" in the series will probably lead to another disappointment. Yet at least I'm intrigued and curious to see where things will go.

    I do have to comment on some of the previous notes by readers here, writing "this is what killed it for me", "after this I'm not watching Enteprise again", etc. etc.

    Really? REALLY???

    After all the sh*t we've been watching in the first two seasons, the continuous rewriting of canon to suit the writers' needs, the crappy storytelling, and the ineptitude of almost every character on screen, THIS is what kills it for you? An actual storyline?

    I am speechless.

    Christina from the past:

    I have lived in America all my life and have never, ever seen a map of the world with the United States in the center and Asia cut in half on the edges. The standard map you always see has the US on the left and Europe and Asia on the right, and the cut-off point is somewhere between Alaska and Russia.

    I think you are the unfortunate victim of some sort of anti-American propaganda.

    On the other hand, yeah, when Earth is viewed from space in American movies, almost always North America is clearly visible. One exception that stands out because it was such an exception was the view of Earth from space in the final episode of Battlestar Galactica. Africa was front and center.

    Watching Phlox freak out on the Vulcan psychologist was worth the price of admission. What is it about that guy that makes him so damn watchable and engaging?

    But I think the obvious question here is: if you can travel back in time, why not test your new planet-slicing weapon on a certain day, say August 4, 2150, and then when you're ready to hit them with the real thing, hit them on August 3, 2150?

    Max from the more recent past: the Xindi aren't time-travelers. I, like everyone else, wonder why the Xindi didn't test their weapon in a place where Earth wouldn't have noticed, and thus given humans a reason to muster defenses against a future attack. (Then again, characters don't always behave rationally, either in fiction or in real life - even when it comes to military matters of life and death.) But the Xindi didn't have the capacity to send things back in time; they could have tested the weapon in a different place, but not in a different time.

    How dumb are the Xindi? Why would they test the weapon on the very people they want to attack? How about testing it on some remote planet and then do the real thing on an unsuspecting Earth?

    Also regarding the American thing. You really cannot help but notice it. First Flight is a perfect example. Every single person there is clearly from the US. The captains, the admiral, the engineers, all the support crew.

    Obviously it's an American show and that's the reason...but from a Trek POV it's a bit of an immersion breaker.

    I'm British, I'm just glad to have Reed.

    But yeah, kind of standard for America isn't it? Other countries, what are those? ;)

    Interesting that a huge thing is carved through Earth and it's not visible in the TNG era. Or maybe it is and we're just not told about it. Or maybe it's a time thing that will be reset buttoned later.

    I liked the last line - "Let's see what's in there"
    Nice little optimistic nod (or coincidence) to the last line in TNG's first episode...

    Why didn't the "death ray of doom test" wipe out San Fransisco (AKA StarFleet HQ)? Oh I know cause then we wouldn't have any more episodes of Enterprise. The End.

    But serious Why would you test out that sort of thing? Just f**king Nuke the planet, and kill everything on the surface, don't freaking beta test it and give the good guys a chance to find you. Ugh....bad guys are so bad at being bad.

    haha....okay I was just being cynical, I actually enjoyed this episode quite a bit.

    And to answer Cloudlane's question...umm it's just a large ditch easily fixed and rebuilt within 200+ years. And did you not just watch the Borg plot hole crapfest? The writers obviously don't care about any continuity at all.

    Doctor Who is the same way...apparently everything that ever happens to the Earth centers on London. Nearly every character speaks in a British accent.

    Very good episode, I'd go 3.3, call it 3.5 stars. The opening was an eye opener! It is getting a little tiring to have the Vulcans always holding the Humans back; it'll be nice once the United Earth Empire, I mean the United Federation of Planets is formed and the Vulcans end up in a smaller role besides the dominant Hue-mans. B&B really went out of their way to make the Vulcans pains in the butt unlike TOS and later. I didn't mind the 911 parallels; it seems they needed a new, unique threat instead of Klingons, Borg, and other recycled races. Sure, we have the Temporal Cold War but that seems hard to use for a coherent, multi-episode story arch. Having Trip lose his sister was understandable from a plot/show point of view but it seems a tad unrealistic to have the #3 officer in charge of the ship going to find the people who did this. And Archer basically says go for it! Ok, it's tv and they need this to be personal. And the Klingons were fine; let's face it, they couldn't have Archer meet the Xindi all in part1 so they needed to pad it with another threat. We got the attack, Klingons, our Suliban friends, and great effects which all equals excellent tv sci-fi.

    Even in the 20th Century the US had (and still has) the nuclear arsenal to wipe out much of the planet (through direct bombing and resultant nuclear fallout). For a space-faring species like the Xindi surely they could poison Earth's atmosphere without too much trouble (presuming the Earth's planetary defences are still minimal, as evidenced by this episode).

    I dunno, I guess this is a problem with other Treks too. Especially where you have aliens with cloaking technology.

    Anyway, good review Jammer, I mostly agree with you here.

    "none of that non-interference crap T'Pol's always shoving down our throats".

    Like she did in Dear Doctor. Oh, no, she didn't, that was Archer.

    Like she did in Cogenitor. Oh, no, she didn't, that was Archer.

    Like she always did. Oh, no, she didn't "always", she only advised against open contact in Civilization.

    It seems Trip Tucker still is the redneck racist from Strange New World. Good to see characters develop. And writers doing their job.


    "Apparently the Xindi came to Earth to wage war on manatees."

    The didn't come to Earth to wage war on all of them, just the one named Hugh Manatee.

    Tucker in Broken Bow, boasting to T'Pol about human accomplishments: "How about war, disease, hunger. Pretty much wiped 'em out in less than two generations".

    Tucker in The Expanse, growling to Archer before he claims they'll do "whatever it takes": "...find the people who did this. And tell me we won't be tiptoeing around."

    Do you know where endless and bloody wars come from, Mr. "how about us, humans" Tucker?

    Jammer is's utterly absurd that a region of space that "anatomically inverts but doesn't kill""people (something epically difficult to buy) wouldnt be mentioned in the other "later" Trek incarnations.

    I liked this one. Seriously, after 7 seasons of Voyager being mostly one-shot episodes, it's nice to get some continuing plot threads. Enterprise was basically Voyager with hull plating instead of shields for most of the 2nd season. Now they've got a purpose.

    I thought it was an apt storyline given ENT's broadcast existence in the post 9-11 era.

    Oh, and people, stop complaining about canon! No one but hardcore trekkers cared about that, and it's why the producers of the new movies just said F*** canon.

    It makes sense that events from more than 100 years before TOS might have lost their intensity, like the Spanish-American War or World War I for us today, that people don't talk about that much anymore unless studying history.

    What I didn't get, though - 1) where the hell were the Vulcans? They didn't seem to give a crap or assist at all, so I can't believe that humans would put up with them at all, especially after this. 2) Earth vessels seemed to make short work of a Klingon battle cruiser, why was there no warning about this Xindi weapon?

    One thing about this episode, as well as in most other eps with space combat, that I find refreshing: The space combat at last takes some account of three dimensions, more than it used to at any rate. One thing that always irked me in Trek (and Star Wars, too) was that the spaceships in battle are generally aligned the same way (i.e. “up” is the same for all of them, more or less), and the commanders are generally clearly thinking in two dimensions. That always made the battles seem pretty unrealistic to me. BSG did a much better job at this.

    However, in this episode the “Enterprise” for once does in fact think more in three dimensions when fighting the Klingons, and we see a little more tactical thinking. I enjoy the space battles far more when this sort of thing comes to the fore, rather than just duking it out.

    As an aside, I remember an old “Star Trek” game on the Mac — I forget the name (Starfleet Command?) — where you could play space combat with Trek ships against others over a LAN. The funny thing was that any battle with Klingon vs. Klingon got pretty damn boring, because…well, both sides would just stay cloaked. Which meant that not only could you not be seen, neither could your opponent, and there was little reason to change that, so…you fly around aimlessly under cloak for a while until you finally say screw this, let’s get a pizza. Whee.

    I grew up in the US with a large map on my bedroom wall that had the US right in the center with Asia cut in half on both sides. This was the standard map I saw in schools as well. Just sayin'.

    Trip was annoyingly over-the-top as usual. I don't care how good a warp engineer he may be, he's too much of a hothead to have been selected for such an important position.

    If the Xindi can send a weapon through space, it beggars belief that they cannot just wipe out the planet with a toxic gas or disease.

    The 9/11 parallel does not ring true at all. The Xindi are aliens we know nothing about and are far away, while the 9/11 terrorists we knew plenty about and were only a plane ride away.

    This new direction for the series screamed desperation and illustrated why a prequel was such a bad idea in the first place. It's unbelievable to do these kinds of universe-shaking stories without us never having heard of it before. This is a huge region of space close enough for a warp 5 starship to reach, and we've never heard of it. Just makes no sense.

    An interesting and pleasingly solid series conclusion that seems to set up an arc with some potential. What's noticeable is the sudden swing to a much darker atmosphere, which really works as a tonal shift. The production values here are also top notch, from the 'wow' factor intro to the nebula battle at the end.

    What's less effective is the Klingon storyline, which seems shoe-horned in from another episode and kind of gets in the way a bit. 3 stars.

    OMG! Anton Yelchin of the new Trek movies died today. He was only 27. My condolences to the immediate family on behalf of this web site.

    People are complaining that an American show is mostly showing Americans? Ummm what about Doctor Who and the majority of people who are Humanoid having British accents? Or Japanese movies? Etc., etc.

    "W Smith
    Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
    I grew up in the US with a large map on my bedroom wall that had the US right in the center with Asia cut in half on both sides. This was the standard map I saw in schools as well. Just sayin'. "

    Then you're either lying or grew up in a strange part of America because all of the maps I have seen have America on the left side I've never seen one with America in the middle. Saying it was the standard map in school is a flat out lie and something you made up in your head. Just sayin'.

    Here is a link to the actual maps that were standard in US schools and not the fictional America that W Smith grew up in.

    Notice America is on the left and Asia isn't split? Just sayin'.

    Jammer: "Couldn't they have tested their weapons anywhere?"

    Ah, yeah.... eeeesh.... the relative intelligence of our foe has just regressed to the level of a 5 year old. The test itself #1 removes any element of surprise for the real attack and #2 risks revealing your identity to your enemy.

    This is just one of the writing gaffs that I just wipe from existence while watching season 3, the other is how an event of this magnitude couldn't ever be mentioned in trek lore. There ARE other ways to set the stage without killing 7 million humans in the first ever attack on Earth by an Alien civilization. Come on.

    All that said. Most of what I just mentioned entered my brain after I watched this. This episode is fun to watch and does have emotional impact. The Delphic Expanse is portrayed by the Vulcan's as being very dangerous, the addition of the MACO's to the Enterprise crew speaks to conflict ahead. I was eager to start season 3. Just glad I didn't have to wait as I watched all this on DVD.

    The best part of this one for me again involved Archer & T'Pol. She resigns her commission to remain with Archer & crew. Glad to see it.

    Duras... blah, blah... only interjected so Reed can test his new weapons.

    While this episode gets the blood pumping and I'm more that ready for more, I can't really give it above a 3 star rating because the test strike was just that stupid.

    Watching this episode as I type.

    2 Points so far

    1. The Delphic expanse is "2000 light years across", and it'll take 3 months to reach at warp 5. I make that approx 50 light years away from Earth. Yet Archer has never heard of it!

    2. The photonic torpedoes have a range 50x greater than their previous ones. That seems an awful lot more!

    Jammer: "To me, this is like saying that if I traveled back in time 10 years, I would no longer look 27 years old, but instead 17."

    Actually (pretending for the moment that you're still 27), I think there's a good argument that if you travelled back in time 10 years, you WOULD be 17. Stanislaw Lem wrote an excellent time-travel short story, in which a guy invents a time machine, sends himself into the future, and instantly dies of old age.
    The idea being that if you're travelling IN time, not OUTSIDE of it, then travelling in that dimension is going to affect you. Otherwise it'd be like travelling down the road a hundred miles and still being where you started.

    But enough of that. This episode, though a little more than a prelude to the next season, finally promises to set ENT up with a strong story arc, ala later DS9, and frankly I don't care anymore if it damages the canon or makes no sense compared with series x; after season two - notwithstanding a strong finish with 4 of the final 5 eps being good - ENT needs SOMETHING to drag it out of the mire it had settled into. If this is what it takes, bring it on.

    And, are we at war with the Klingons YET?

    Oh, I forgot. This exchange made me laugh out loud. Probably it shouldn't have, but it just appealed to whatever it is in me that made me laugh at Archer's line about the gazelle giving birth.

    ARCHER: There's been an attack on Earth.... A probe. They don't know where it came from. It fired a weapon that cut a swath four thousand kilometres long from Florida to Venezuela. There may have been a million casualties.... We've been recalled.

    TUCKER: Did they say why?

    A good episode and glad to see the writers have some purpose with ENT for S3. S2 has been bland.
    I agree with many commenters that it does kind of mess up the timeline when the prequel show decides to go off on a completely new story arc - let's see if it ties into anything from TNG or maybe even TOS.
    The analogy with 9/11 is clear - maybe it makes the show more relatable.
    Again some Temporal Cold War stuff gives the writers the freedom to do whatever without answering questions -- but so far it works again.
    A couple of things were dumb - as others mentioned the Xindi test being on Earth and not some other place and I didn't think the Klingon attacks contributed anything to the story. So they flew alongside the Enterprise for several weeks and decided to attack them at the edge of the Expanse? Doesn't make much sense to me.
    But still, some good character moments between Trip/Malcolm in Fla., T'Pol/Archer about her staying/going, Trip/Archer downing the hard stuff. Also liked seeing Phlox's angry side with that Vulcan imposter doctor - Archer was good in that scene too.
    It's a good hour and it's good that the writers feel forced to go in a new direction for S3. For me, it's worth 3 stars out of 4. Genuinely look forward to S3.

    I'm not American but i'm smart enough to realize that American shows revolve around America, just as British shows revolve around Britain )how many American assistants did Dr. Who have| How often did he travel to North America? Anyway. all I ask from Star Trek is entertainment. Plenty to see here. 4 stars

    To be clear the Xindi weapon cut through southern Florida, then completely across Cuba, then on to Venezuela. That much is a fact from the show. It shows Cuba being cut right in half. But it could very possibly have hit Jamaica and/or Colombia and/or The Cayman Islands on the way. So it wasn't just an attack on the U.S.

    Of course since the Enterprise crew is American and Tucker's sister was from Florida, they are going to focus more on America.

    Good episode. 3 stars from me.

    The episode that gave birth to Enterprise's most atrocious season...

    Regarding the apparent chauvinism of the writers, we can forgive the Trek ones. After all, they made the greatest starship Captain in history English. Sure, they tried to pretend he was French by giving him a stupid name, allowing him to utter a single word in French throughout his show’s entire run and having him tend a vinyard when he developed future-Alzheimer’s in an alternative timeline, but we know the truth. He’s from Yorkshire. Man probably had a picture of Geoffrey Boycott on the wall of his ready room just off camera.

    I’m surprised at the cynicism of some of the comments above. I always thought this episode was well-paced, entertaining, emotionally involving, and set the stage for Enterprise’s best season. There’s nothing about the Xindi arc that violates canon. The Russo-Japanese War probably seemed like a big deal at the time, until it was completely blown away by World War I ten years later. Similarly, Earth is about to experience the Romulan War, then form a galaxy-spanning Federation. In Picard’s day, the Xindi attack is probably taught in history classes as the precursor to a very violent, eventful period. No one’s walking around saying, “Remember the Xindi attack” because they’re saying, “Remember when we formed a Federation that lasted for 200 years.”

    After two seasons that I mostly enjoyed but generally found sleepy, listless, and rudderless, “The Expanse” delivers a real sense of urgency, drive, and stakes for the first time. I appreciate the 9/11 allegory too. It feels very truthful to how America and much of pop culture reacted at the time: a sudden, jarring shift into darkness. All of Star Trek up until Discovery was made in America, after all. It led to a myopic perspective at times, but it’s inevitable that every movie / TV show bears the imprint of the time and place that it was made.

    I’d give it ***1/2 stars. Knock off half a star for the silliness of the Klingons hanging around for months just to get their asses kicked at the last second.

    Again, Tucker is an unhinged, belligerent lunatic. He isn't the only one who has suffered a loss instead he berates and is borderline violent. Not the qualities that you want in a commanding officer.

    I also add that along with Archer, Tucker they are horrible leaders constantly showing up the 2nd in command of the ship T'Pol.

    My problem with this one was this: photonic torpedoes. Enterprise was already stretching credibility with phase pistols and phase cannons, basically the same weapons that are used 220 years later. Now, it seems that that applies to the entire Starfleet arsenal. Phasers and photon torpedoes in 2153, phasers and photon torpedoes in 2373. That's like our troops using Brown Bess muskets and muzzle loading cannons.

    A super episode! I'll say this though, Enterprise's enemies REALLY came out of the woodwork for this one! If they added Tholians, then the rogues gallery would be complete! (I'm kidding, the Tholians didn't really have a "beef" with Enterprise the way the Suliban and Klingons did)

    The only thing about this episode is that it would seem that if the Klingons had this much hate for Enterprise, they would have destroyed it by now. I mean, Starfleet is really in its infancy, and it seems the Klingon empire already has a fleet. All of that time, Enterprise was exploring, they could have hunted it down easily. I would think that maybe the Vulcans would respond, but considering how the Klingons dogged Archer from Earth to the expanse this episode, I guess they had a free hand.

    I know that the Xindi arc was used to try to boost ratings, and I actually do remember warming to it later, but it is kind of a shame to see the show going from the exploration theme of the first 2 seasons to more of a serialised shoot-em-up now

    The photonic torpedo seem a bit premature in the timeline. I mean I thought the Earth-Romulan war wasn't fought with this weapon yet (from Spock's dialogue in a TOS episode), but whatever.

    This is not meant to bust on Americans, but some of you have asked why North America is always shown, and why America was attacked. I watched a documentary where random Americans were questioned, and most could not point to the US on a world map! Let alone another country! People are so separated into a nationalistic view that any kind of disaster only impacts them when their own land is referenced. I think that is why America is shown in an American show. Does anyone remember Robotech? When that was aired in Canada in the '80s, they cut out all of the references to Japanese culture because they thought kids would be "confused"

    But. again, this is not just a bust on Americans. I still remember a friend visiting from England for a week. (This was before internet, so things couldn't be looked up as easily) He thought he could rent a car in New York City, and visit Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto during the time he was staying! Europeans (especially pre-internet) for the most part don't realise that the entire UK fits into Ontario quite easily! It's all what you are familiar with

    The quantum dating thing was idiotic. 'The scanner is reading in negative numbers' is like saying that an odometer runs backwards when you go in reverse or an oven thermostat allows settings below 0 (C or F).

    Everytime I rewatch this, I remember my eyes rolling when I first saw it and they talked about the scanner reading in negative numbers. Why would the app designer (I now just assume that all functions on a tricorder are separate apps) even include the ability to read in negative numbers? Anything that could possibly generate a negative number should generate an error if the actually scanning head could even read it in the first place.


    Perhaps mechanical odometers were before your time. They DID count backwards when you went in reverse. In fact, that's a plot point in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

    It was also a standard tactic in "road ralleys" in which part of the score was based on coming as close as possible to the mileage of the planned route.

    Nicely put together finale full of continuity as it includes the Archer evading capture from the Klingons arc while introducing and laying the ground work for the upcoming season long Xindi arc.

    There's been a massive terrorist attack on Earth that killed 7 million people, including Trip's sister. It hits home in the sense that it's Earth and also one of our own is directly affected. The 9/11 parallels work well here probably even more so at the time this episode came out.

    Archer is informed by the Shadow man of the future that a race called the Xindi are responsible, that they must travel to a place called the Delphic Expanse to prevent further attacks from them. He instantly believes it and the fact that the High Command doesn't think he should go only makes him want to do it more. Archer would pretty much do anything if a Vulcan told him he couldnt.

    Since the High Command doesn't agree with Archer's decision T'Pol is now torn between obeying her people and her new found loyalty to Enterprise. She's come along way from the arrogant Vulcan she was in the beginning who couldn't stand the smell of humans and Porthos. T'Pol actually cares for the crew now and have grown accustomed to being around them (I think it was the movie nights that did it lol). They aren't too pleased to see her go either. It's nice to watch her open up in her own little Vulcan way.

    Archer and Trip's conversation when they are alone drinking in their regular clothes holds much weight and basically sets the tone for what's ahead. You get the sense that they are gonna have to temporarily put their explorer hats to the side to go on a mission to literally save the world. Things will take a dark turn and lines will have to be crossed. "Whatever it takes." It actually makes you feel anxious for what's to come!

    3 and a half stars from me. Now on to season 3 let's see if it held up as good as it did the first watch.

    This whole Xindi scenario is basically an exercise in fantasy wherein Iraq actually had WMDs that it was planning to use on the United States. However what bothers me about the Iraq discourse is that it carries the assumption that invading Afghanistan was justified, when it is morally identical to Iraq. What would’ve been interesting would be if Earth invaded a “primitive” culture with values that differed significantly from theirs, we’re totally outclassed and forced to recognize that there is no such thing as a bad or oppressive culture, that there’s no moral difference between women in burkas and women turned into sex objects, that all morals are equally constructed and at best can be “wrong for me, right for you” and vice versa.

    Season 2 finishes strong, after a string of rather pedestrian episodes with only one or two bright spots amongst them. One of my previous comments was that Enterprise was starting to feel like a continuation of Voyager and that - like its predecessor series - it had buried its engaging premise in favour of telling simple, "safe" sci-fi adventure stories from week to week. Seems like this was the feeling amongst the Paramount and UPN execs back in 2003 as well.

    Speaking as someone watching through this series for the first time, I do hope this Xindi arc helps galvanise Enterprise a bit. I can practically see the producers' logic now: "A seasons-long war arc worked great over on DS9, fans loved it!". And of course there's the 9/11 parallel: I'd imagine that this had been in the back of the producers' minds for the last two seasons. To put it into context, Enterprise made its debut only two weeks after the attacks in New York.

    As an episode, though - this one is a bit too heavy on the table-setting and throws a ton of exposition at us too, having the Suliban and Future Guy set up to hand out plot-relevant information and then bookending it with the Klingons, still pissed off that Archer's escaped them (twice!). It ends up feeling very disjointed, but it just about gets by on the strength of its characterisation, particularly Trip. I thought the scenes between him and Malcolm were very strong, especially when Malcolm tries to console his clearly grief-stricken friend and Trip's having none of it. Sounds like the kind of thing that a ship's counselor would be useful for....

    The writing is still incredibly lazy. Future Guy shows up to tell Archer who did the attack because there's literally no other way for Archer to find out everything the plot needs him to find out so quickly. And of course they just have to get their "the aliens are being manipulated by people from the future into doing the attack in the first place" BS in there. So now all of Starfleet and the Vulcan High Command knows there's a Temporal Cold War, too. It's not just something Archer and his senior staff are keeping to themselves like they're supposed to be doing. Continuity obliteration complete.

    It's not a credulity problem that the Xindi tested their weapon on Earth, or that they didn't target San Francisco. They tested the weapon on Earth because the transport system to get it to Earth is part of the weapon. Whatever makes it work clearly needs special calibration to get it from the Delphic Expanse to Earth, and if they test it on another planet, they wouldn't know if that calibration works. And they didn't target San Francisco because they don't know much about Earth. They don't know where Starfleet headquarters is--they weren't told everything.

    It's not a problem Enterprise now has photonic torpedoes when a few episodes ago Reed had never heard of them, meaning Starfleet didn't have a program for developing them. Starfleet didn't develop the technology. They traded for it. Other races in contact with humans have them, so it's only a matter of time before someone would sell the technology or it would be discovered by espionage. That's how it is with technology. It proliferates. In fact, it's amazing Enterprise doesn't have forcefields and shields yet (or even holodecks), considering they immediately met tons of races that have them (great job, writers).

    Of course all this may be contradicted by episodes in the next season, I don't know. I half-watched it when it first aired, but not closely enough to have any memories of it. It wasn't the Star Trek I wanted to be seeing, all anger and phaser battles and soldiers. Nothing thoughtful. When DS9 did the war, there was tons of thoughtful storytelling and reflection by the characters amongst everything that was happening. Maybe this time through, twenty years (or close enough) removed from 9/11 and the Bush presidency, I'll find there's more there that doesn't come off hamfisted. We'll see.

    Oh, and it's obvious why the writers went with "Xindi" instead of Romulans, who are the race that should have been used. They can't show any Romulan faces. That's a nightmare for writers, it closes off so many avenues for storytelling and for developing the human stakes of the conflict. It can't ever really get personal. It doesn't make for great television, or at least not twenty-six hours of it. In this case, it was the right choice.

    Also, for people upset that "photon torpedoes" are being used in the 22nd century and also the 24th, the Phoencians used bladed weapons we call swords and the Vikings used bladed weapons we call swords, and they're separated by a thousand years. The principles behind each remain the same (stick 'em with the point end, ha), but there's a world of difference between, say, a copper gladius and a steel longsword. Both in the technology to make them and in their performance and effectiveness. A model T and a Tesla are both cars, are they not? They even have the same basic form as dictated by their function, yes? Don't get hung up on the semantics, is my advice.

    Javier, I think the equating of Iraq and Afghanistan is pretty damn strange. One nation attacked America and the other didn't. Kind of a difference. Same with the idea that the people who actually are oppressed are identical to their oppressors. Mind you, it was allying with the awful folk in Afghanistan that destroyed the business there.

    Anyway, I feel like the Xindi arc was a very good idea but they clearly didn't know what they were trying to say there and it was perhaps too raw at the time to objectively analyze it.

    Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq attacked the USA. Al-Qaida and the Taliban are not the same thing.

    "Al-Qaida and the Taliban are not the same thing."

    No but they were harboring them and refused to turn them over.

    "No but they were harboring them and refused to turn them over."
    They were willing to turn Bin Laden over to Pakistan but Pakistan refused. Under Islamic Law they could only turn him over to an Islamic country. You know how it is with religious fundamentalists. They really like their rules.

    Oh I know Booming. For some reason I guess the US wasn't all that interested in splitting hairs with them on the nuances of Islamic law, lol.

    I mean, they had been sheltering Al-Qaeda for previous attacks against the United States if anyone remembers those. Which is, last I checked, an act of war. Its just Al-Qaeda fumbled those right up until they didn't. I also was there and the Taliban also tried to protect Bin Ladin at first with, "We don't know he REALLY did it" which was a ridiculous strawman.

    The Expanse is an okay episode and provides the show with a clear direction it lasted but it probably should have been the Romulans, timeline be damned. Swear everyone to secrecy if you have to. I also think the Vulcans being obstinate reached its last straw here where they say, "You can't go to the Delphic Expanse!" I mean, "Where SHOULD we go then?"

    It's just there to be obstructive.

    @C.T. Phipps
    "I mean, they had been sheltering Al-Qaeda for previous attacks against the United States if anyone remembers those. Which is, last I checked, an act of war."

    I would like to see where you checked that because if that were actually true then why were the Americans not at war with Afghanistan in 1998? A terrorist organization can by definition not commit an act of war. Only a state can do that.
    For a very brief summary why what Al-Qaeda did was not an act of war by Afghanistan.

    When the USA invaded they broke international law which they did again when they invaded Iraq.
    The USA just decided they wanted to invade, proving again Schmitt's famous quote:"Sovereign is he who decides on the exception."

    For anybody who wants to do a deep dive.

    one quote:"However, it should be noted that no terrorist organisation claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, even if some may have sympathised with the act itself. ... . In reality, the chief spokesperson of the Taliban at the time of the attacks, Wakeel Ahmed Mutawakel[7], and the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef[8], both condemned the attacks and did not claim responsibly for them on the part of the Taliban or Al Qaeda."

    "I would like to see where you checked that because if that were actually true then why were the Americans not at war with Afghanistan in 1998? A terrorist organization can by definition not commit an act of war. Only a state can do that.
    For a very brief summary why what Al-Qaeda did was not an act of war by Afghanistan."

    I hope I am not putting words in CT Phipps' mouth but I believe he/she intended to suggest that the Taliban sheltering the terrorist group that committed the 911 attacks was the act of war, not the 911 attacks themselves.

    I realize that but "sheltering" in other words having a terrorist organization within ones borders who then commits a terrorist attack without any support from that country is not in any way an act of war according to international law. Even with the support it would have been a very shaky argument.

    Not to weigh in on this Taliban/Al Qaeda thread but I would just hope folks have enough common sense to not consider wikipedia as a credible source -- especially for "important" subjects like wars etc. To be basing an argument on a wikipedia entry that I believe anybody can manipulate is naive and foolish.

    Thanks sweetheart (rahul), always a charmer.
    it might have escaped your laser focus but I posted two sources. One for the less interested (wiki) and one (an actual scientific work that can still be understood without a law degree) for the more interested people.

    I realize that but "sheltering" in other words having a terrorist organization within ones borders who then commits a terrorist attack without any support from that country is not in any way an act of war according to international law. Even with the support it would have been a very shaky argument."

    It is not the fact that the Taliban had Al Qaeda and OSB in their borders when 911 went down that was the "sheltering"; it was refusing to hand them over after the attack.

    You can't seriously be suggesting that when terrorists operate with impunity in your borders launching attacks on other nations, you can simply throw up your hands and say you are not "supporting" them while simultaneously 1) Refusing to expel them yourself or 2) Refusing to let anyone else deal with them directly.

    I might add as an aside that given the kind of resources in manpower and equipment Al Qaeda had within Afghanistan and given the ideological affinity with the Taliban, it strains credulity to suggest that no "support" was being provided.

    I'm just saying that it is not an act of war. In other words it does not justify war under international law. The USA demanded that they hand Bin Laden over in two weeks without providing any proof or willingness to negotiate. That breaks international law.
    I recommend that you read the scientific paper. It will answer all your questions.

    Booming I read your "Scientific Paper" just now. Firstly I know we are going to have to agree to disagree on what "science" means in this context, but for the record, I reject the suggestion that this opinion piece is "science".

    But setting that issue of terminology aside, I come away from reading the article with no great certainty that Operation Enduring Freedom was illegal under international law. The article certainly makes that assertion, but it does so on the basis of some rather equivocal claims. For example:

    "It seems that insufficient effort was made to pursue peaceful negotiations or to press for further dialogue,"

    It "seems" does it? The article continues in this manner, criticizing the two week deadline, suggesting that Saudi Arabia should have been the real target for invasion, suggesting that the US could have negotiated more etc... Many of these claims strike me as 1) Equivocal and 2) Subjective.

    What I get from this article is that there is a good argument that the US invasion wasn't legal, but the point is plainly debatable and far from certain. The article itself does not even bother to cited the actual language of the law in question nor does it cited any legal precedent. It's at best a highly equivocal opinion piece suggesting the likelihood that in some hypothetical court of international law, the USA failed to cross its Ts and dot its Is.

    This was a term paper written at the department of law at the university of London under the supervision of the head of the law department.
    Law is often about interpretation.
    Maybe talk to them.

    Without a security council resolution any war is illegal. The only exception would have been an immediate threat which Afghanistan did not pose. That breaks international law. They threatened another country with war to get what they want. That breaks international law. They did not negotiate to find a peaceful solution. That breaks international law.

    They followed the famous quote from Pompey:" Stop quoting laws, we carry swords."

    This was a term paper written at the department of law at the university of London under the supervision of the head of the law department.
    Law is often about interpretation.
    Maybe talk to them."

    Yes it reads like something a law student might write. The analysis is weak and unpersuasive. There isn't even a reference to legal precedent and he doesn't even bother to quote the statutory authority he is relying on, instead just burying everything in footnotes. Not impressed.

    "There isn't even a reference to legal precedent and he doesn't even bother to quote the statutory authority he is relying on, instead just burying everything in footnotes. Not impressed."
    How could there be legal precedent?? International law has no court behind it that could set a binding legal precedent or have statutory authority. Furthermore the International Court of Justice ruling can always be blocked by the permanent members which includes the USA. I thought you were a physicist? What do you know about international law or the ICJ?

    Here, this is the most often cited work on the matter
    Terrorism, war and international law: The legality of the use of force against Afghanistan in 2001

    That is really all I can say about this. I have some expertise about international politics and relations (including war) but from a political science perspective which also looks at law but does not focus on it.

    ps: I forgot to add that most countries do not operate on legal precedent (common law) but statutes (civil law).

    Good points Booming. I was being a little unfair to the author holding her to an impossible standard (don't tell me it is your sister or something). I simply stand by my point that the article does not definitively, let alone "scientifically" prove that the war was illegal as you seemed to be suggesting.

    No, she isn't. :)
    No legal opinion by anybody could give a definitive ruling or provide scientific proof. Only the ICJ could and I doubt that the Taliban will take the case to the court. Even if they did, the USA withdrew from the binding agreement with the court when they got a ruling they didn't like about Nicaragua. So in a sense the war is technically neither legal nor illegal but if it would be decided by the ICJ the USA would very likely lose.

    There is a 500+ report by the us naval war college overseen by an admiral, issued during the Bush administration which came to the conclusion that it was all legal. Well, the argument about the legality of the invasion itself is only 5 pages long and jumps around while ignoring many things. If you think that the student paper was bad then read this. :D

    @Booming setting aside the legalities here, I don't take issue at all with the USA's decision to invade Afghanistan in the circumstances. I think it was 100% justified. Was it a good idea to stay for 20 years in the Hope's of building a liberal democracy? Probably not. But invading to wipe out Al Qaeda? Hell yes.

    I do not say the same thing re Iraq, Lybia or Syria, by the way.

    But what did the invasion really accomplish? Afghanistan wasn't even Al-Qaeda's main base of operations. It would have been great if the afghans had gotten a more modern and stable country, sure but that would have taken at least 60 years.

    The whole thing set a terrible precedent. If you have terrorists in your country and are either unwilling, in this case afghanistan, or unable (pakistan) to expel them, then any other country can invade or bombard. Which brings us to the drone war...

    While certainly not one of my favorites, I think this is a good episode. I do think the show needed a change of direction and they took it here. I disagree with some of the anger about the precious timeline getting screwed up. They admit in the episode that the timeline is being messed with by factions in a temporal war. Not that this is really that important, because this is a fictitious television show meant to entertain, but I think people struggle because they look at time as being linear instead of relative. It is possible that people in the future from the Star Trek events we have already seen in the earlier seasons are the ones now going back in time to mess with Earth's past. That means, that the events of the temporal cold war are happening after the events in the previous series occurred, so they aren't going to talk about this incident because it hasn't happened yet. So the people from the future, who will mess with past, haven't existed yet in the events of the Star Trek Series previous to Enterprise to mess with the timeline, so they hadn't perceived it.

    Enjoyed the grandeur of this, flaws notwithstanding.

    To people complaining about how this cataclysmic event isn't mentioned later: this is standard for Trek. How often do characters sit around saying "you remember that time when a Voyager probe came back and nearly wiped out humanity?" or "you remember that time when a space cylinder came looking for whales?" Not to mention all the powerful species that are never seen again.

    It is what it is.

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