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On TV Today's Date:

The Expanse
original airdate: 05-21-03

Good thing there isn't a temporal smog check, because Enterprise wouldn't pass the test.

This week's episode, "Expanse" not only marked the end of the second season, but also the end of any real commitment to the original Star Trek time line. But really, we've seen that coming since the pilot.

This week we open with a probe approaching Earth, over what is clearly Florida. The strange round orb glows and spins, then shoots a beam at the surface, destroying all in its path.

The music becomes more and more dramatic, almost 1970's TV cop dramatic. And just after one of the most impressive special effects scenes on Enterprise where the beam carves deep into the Gulf of Mexico and stirs up an enormous tsunami, the orb explodes, falling to the Earth.

Deep breath. Very cool.

Meanwhile on Qo'noS (the Klingon home world), Duras is reprimanded for failing to capture Archer, twice. This picks up right after last week, when Archer escaped being cashed in for his "Bounty." The chastened Klingon vows to capture the villainous human.

Back with our heroes, the Enterprise has been recalled. There have been over seven million deaths in the alien terrorist attack. On their way home the Suliban surround the ship. They have no problem capturing Archer.

On the Suliban lead ship, a mysterious man from the future (James Horan) warns that the alien attack on Earth resulted from the Temporal Cold War. Apparently the humans are responsible for the extinction of the Vidians in the 26th century. (Apparently this new alien race had been forced to watch a marathon of Voyager episodes.) So they're striking Earth before the humans even have a chance to form the Federation.

And just as the plot gets as complicated as a Shakespearean play, the Enterprise pulls into the Sol System and Duras attacks. We're instantly reminded that there ARE other human ships. A squad of mini-starships beat off Duras, sending him to somewhere over by Pluto, where he remains cloaked until he can smoke a cigarette, rest up, and strike again.

Archer then spends a lot of time trying to convince Starfleet and the Vulcans that the future man was telling the truth. And that he should be allowed to take Enterprise into the deadly Delphic Expanse. There, or so the mysterious man says, the Vidians are building a weapon that will wipe out Earth completely. Not just Florida. (But...but...Disney World...)

Starfleet eventually believes Archer's story - after all, what choice do they have?

The Enterprise is then retrofitted with new weapons and armory. And we get a space tour of the NX-02, which looks just like the Enterprise. It will be ready in fourteen months - or just in time to save the day in the 4th season premiere episode (place your bets).

The crew sets out for the expanse. A few resign their posts, afraid of the terrible things that supposedly happen in the Delphic Crazy Sector of Space. Trip, however, is really ready to find the Vidians. His sister was among the casualties. And mirroring the sort of frustrated anger so many Americans felt after 9/11, he vows to "...kill the bastards that did this."

T'Pol is ordered by the Vulcan High Command to leave her post and return to Vulcan. She doesn't want to go. She believes the humans need her help, and she wants to be loyal to Archer. She believes she belongs there.

But T'Pol doesn't belong on the Enterprise.

Remembering the pilot, the only reason why T'Pol was put on Enterprise was to monitor the humans' first and very dangerous mission.

Thanks to the Temporal Cold War, a Klingon was dropped on Earth, and they had to get him back before a civil war started. The Vulcans, knowing the Klingons' violent nature, sent T'Pol as an overseer. To help aid the humans. They also brought along Dr. Phlox who was the only person who knew how to treat Klingons. Neither of these two aliens were supposed to be on the first human mission. And in fact, the first human mission wasn't to take place for months to come.

The moment the Enterprise left space dock in the series pilot, the entire Star Trek timeline had been rewritten. They've encountered aliens they weren't supposed to. Fought villains they weren't supposed to. Taken on challenges they weren't supposed to. Now they're fighting a war that isn't supposed to occur for hundreds of years.

Enterprise brings brand new meaning to the phrase "Based on Star Trek: Created by Gene Roddenberry." The timeline is corrupt. The events that follow are and will be different than those on the original show and all the spin-offs and films.

The good news is: At least the show doesn't suck.

So just as Enterprise is about to break though the Delphic Expanse's pink cloudy layer and enter its wacky center, Duras appears with two additional Birds of Prey. After some tricky maneuvers, they defeat the Klingons in honorable battle, flying into the expanse and into the off season. To be continued...

What will come of Enterprise next year?



There are no rules. We're dealing with aliens in a timeline beyond even The Next Generation.

Look forward to Enterprise battling whatever the hell the creators feel like stealing from the other shows. We've seen the Borg. We could see anything. The Dominion, Q, species 8472 - they could even go face to face with the Romulans, and blow their pointy-eared secret 150 years early, because it doesn't matter any more.

Throw away your original Star Trek DVDs. Enterprise is going to rewrite them anyway.

Boldly going to a place where we've been before, but now it's totally different…

Kevin Miller

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