"The Expanse" is the 52nd episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, the 26th 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.
When an unknown alien race, the Xindi, attack Earth with a space probe that cuts a destructive swath from Florida to Venezuela, killing over seven million people, Enterprise is recalled to Earth by Admiral Forrest. On the way back to Earth, Captain Archer is kidnapped by the Suliban. Archer lashes out at the Suliban leader, Silik, thinking the Suliban responsible for the attack, but Silik professes innocence. The Suliban give Archer information about the race that attacked Earth, a race known as the Xindi. When the Enterprise draws near home, they are ambushed and nearly destroyed just outside the solar system by a Klingon Bird of Prey commanded by Captain Duras. Fortunately, Starfleet vessels arrive and damage the Klingon ship, forcing it to retreat. The crew learn that seven million people have been killed, one of them being Commander Tucker's sister, Elizabeth. The loss devastates him and he swears revenge on the Xindi.
Meanwhile, Archer debates with Starfleet and the Vulcan High Command to let Enterprise enter an area known as the Delphic Expanse and find the Xindi. Vulcan ambassador Soval tries to dissuade Archer from going, by showing him the ship's logs of a Vulcan ship which had entered the expanse - the entire crew was driven insane. A Klingon ship had also entered the region, which caused the entire crew's bodies to splay open, inside out. In time, Starfleet accepts Archer's proposal and begins refitting the Enterprise. Archer also requests a detachment of MACOs, expecting significant ground combat.
When all is done, the Enterprise begins their journey toward the Delphic Expanse. They are immediately attacked by three Klingon vessels, one of which is commanded by Duras, who has a personal score to settle with Archer. Two of the Klingon ships refuse to enter the Expanse and withdraw; Duras' ship is destroyed by the Enterprise, which proceeds on its way.
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.
This episode was nominated for the 2003 Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.
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