Proving Ground (Star Trek: Enterprise)

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"Proving Ground"
Star Trek: Enterprise episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 13
Directed by David Livingston
Written by Chris Black
Featured music John Frizzell
Production code 313
Original air date January 21, 2004 (2004-01-21)
Recurring/Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: Enterprise episodes

"Proving Ground" is the thirteenth episode from the third season of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise. It's the sixty-fifth episode of the series, first airing on January 21, 2004. The episode continues the Xindi story arc, opening with a montage of scenes from previous shows. Archer and the re-occurring character, the Andorian Captain Shran take on the Xindi in an uncertain dalliance.[1]


Enterprise, despite losing most of its map data, continues to traverse a series of spatial anomalies in the Delphic Expanse. When heavily damaged by a particularly dangerous vortex, Enterprise is suddenly pulled clear by an Andorian ship. The ship's leader, Shran, claims he is only interested in helping Enterprise in its mission to subvert the Xindi's weapon, in the interest of forming a closer alliance with humanity.

With the Andorian's true motives unknown, Captain Archer agrees to allow them to work together to repair their ship and to scan the test-site of the Xindi weapon. When the test-device overloads, Shran permits Archer to command his crew in the coming battle. With Enterprise distracting the Xindi, the Andorian vessel grabs the weapon and stores it aboard. With the prize secured, it is revealed that the Andorians actually have no interest in helping the humans, but are rather self-serving: they merely want to acquire the weapon to give them an advantage in their border conflict with the Vulcans. Archer is then escorted to an escape-pod.

Soon back aboard Enterprise, he threatens to detonate the weapon unless the Andorians surrender it. This ultimatum is resisted by Shran, but when Archer activates the detonation sequence, he reluctantly ejects it. The weapon explodes, damaging the Andorian ship but leaving Enterprise unscathed. As Enterprise resumes its mission, they intercept a hidden transmission, containing highly detailed scans of the prototype. Realizing Shran did indeed help them, since "whoever sent it obviously didn't want it to be noticed", Archer laughs and orders it transmitted to Starfleet.


The Andorian episodes are noted as an important vehicle for the character Shran, who is noted as one of significant characters of the series.[2] The performance by Jeffery Combs who plays the character on the show was also praised.[3]

Combs had previously made guest appearances in both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager but as Shran on Enterprise producer Manny Coto once mentioned in an interview that he hoped to make Combs a regular on the show, had the series been renewed for a fifth season.[4][5]

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