The Expanse (Star Trek: Enterprise episode)

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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 appearance(s)
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.[1] This featured an attack on the Star Trek version of Earth and introduced a new alien foe, the Xindi.[2]

It launched the season-long Xindi story arc, a season-spanning story arc that would encompass all of Season Three and the first three episodes of Season Four.[citation needed] The next episode, the bridge to Season 3 is "The Xindi" which continues this story in a third season arc.


In April 2153, an unknown alien probe attacks Earth, cutting a destructive swath from Florida to Venezuela, and killing millions, shortly after Enterprise is recalled to Earth by Admiral Forrest. On the way back, however, Captain Archer is kidnapped by the Suliban. He is angry with the Suliban leader, Silik, thinking the Cabal are responsible for the Earth attack, but Silik professes ignorance. The Cabal's sponsor, a vague and shadowy holographic human from the distant future, gives Archer information about Temporal Cold War and the Xindi, the race that attacked Earth. He claims the Xindi have been told that their home-world will eventually be destroyed by Humans in a war.[citation needed]

Enterprise is again ambushed and comes under heavy attack as she arrives just outside the Earth's solar system, this time by a Klingon Bird of Prey commanded by Captain Duras at the behest of the Klingon High Council. Fortunately, three other Starfleet vessels quickly arrive, forcing it to retreat. The crew then learn that more than 7 million people have been killed, one of them being Commander Tucker's younger sister, Elizabeth. Archer relates his encounters to Starfleet and the Vulcan High Command, and it is clear that the Xindi of the present are pre-empting the destruction of their home-world in the future. Ambassador Soval is dubious of Archer's temporal war argument, and tries to dissuade him from venturing into this dangerous section of space.[citation needed]

Archer, acting on advice from the shadowy informant, scans the crashed probe, revealing a component with an unmistakable date stamp of minus 420 years, placing the date of construction in 2573. Starfleet orders Archer to take Enterprise to an area known as the Delphic Expanse to try and stop the Xindi. At the same time, Starfleet begins refitting the Enterprise with improved weapons, shields, and a detachment of MACOs (Military Assault Command Operations soldiers) are stationed aboard for the mission.

Ambassador Soval informs T'Pol that her assignment on Enterprise has been terminated by the High Command, who deem this to be purely a human matter, However T'Pol refuses to abandon her crew and friends when they are heading deep into the unknown. On their journey towards the Expanse, intending to stop by Vulcan to return T'Pol, she reveals to Archer that rather than be forced back to Vulcan, she has resigned from the Vulcan High Command, and wishes to remain on board, a suggestion welcomed by Archer. After a three-month journey, Enterprise begins to enter the Expanse when they are again attacked by Duras, who is at risk of losing everything if he fails. Tired of being dogged by him, Archer decides to test Enterprise's new upgrades. Duras' ship is destroyed by Archer, and Enterprise begins its mission.


A novelized adaptation of the episode by J.M. Dillard was published as The Expanse 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?][citation needed]


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

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