The Expanse

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"The Expanse"
Star Trek: Enterprise episode
The Expanse (ENT episode).jpg
A crewman in Engineering during the Enterprise's battle with the Klingons.
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 26
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Written by Rick Berman
Brannon Braga
Featured music Dennis McCarthy
Production code 226
Original air date May 21, 2003 (2003-05-21)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Xindi"
List of Star Trek: Enterprise episodes

"The Expanse" is the fifty-second episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, the twenty-sixth episode of the second season. This episode was the second season finale and marked a change of direction for the series by launching the Xindi arc, a season-spanning story arc that would encompass all of Season Three and the first three episodes of Season Four.


The Enterprise is recalled to Earth by Admiral Forrest, in April 2153, when an unknown alien probe attacks Earth, cutting a destructive swath from the Florida Peninsula to Venezuela and killing millions. On the way back however, the ship is suddenly boarded, and Captain Archer is kidnapped by the Suliban. Archer is angry with the Suliban leader, Silik, thinking the Cabal responsible for the Earth attack, but Silik professes ignorance. The Suliban Cabal's sponsor, a vague and shadowy holographic human, gives Archer information about Temporal Cold War and the race that attacked Earth, a species known as the Xindi.

When the Enterprise draws near home, they are again ambushed and heavily damaged, just outside the Earth's solar system, by a Klingon Bird of Prey commanded by Captain Duras at the behest of the Klingon High Council. Fortunately, three other Starfleet vessels soon arrive forcing it to retreat. The crew then learn that more than seven million people have been killed, one of them being Commander Tucker's younger sister, Elizabeth. The senseless loss devastates him, and he has trouble controlling his anger against the Xindi.

Meanwhile, Archer relates his encounters with the Suliban to Starfleet and the Vulcan High Command, and it is clear that the Xindi of the present may be acting to stop the destruction of their home-world in the future. Vulcan Ambassador Soval is dubious of Archer's temporal war argument, and tries to dissuade him from venturing into this dangerous section of space by relating to him evidence of the disastrous effects the region had on both Vulcan and Klingon ships. Archer, acting on advice from the shadowy informant, then scans the crashed probe, revealing a component with an unmistakable date stamp of minus 420 years.

Archer then negotiates to allow Enterprise to enter an area known as the Delphic Expanse to try and correct the time-line contamination. In time, Starfleet accepts Archer's proposal and begins refitting the Enterprise with improved weapons and shields. Archer also requests a detachment of MACO soldiers, for extra protection. As the Enterprise begins its journey toward the Delphic Expanse, they are again attacked by Duras, then a third time by three Klingon vessels within the Expanse. Two of the Klingon ships refuse the pursuit and withdraw, and Duras's ship is destroyed by the Enterprise, which continues on its way into the unknown.


Currently, this episode is the last to feature the Enterprise title in the opening credits, with later episodes carrying the revised title Star Trek: Enterprise. However, when originally broadcast, the title change did not occur until several episodes into the third season, but the opening credits were standardized for syndication and DVD release.


A novelized adaptation of the episode by J.M. Dillard was published by Pocket Books in trade paperback format in October 2003. The novel also adapted the following episode, "The Xindi". These two episodes stand as the final televised Star Trek episodes to be novelized to date.[when?]


This episode was nominated for the 2003 Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.

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