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Story by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Teleplay by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by: Allan Kroeker
A small, spherical probe appears above Earth and begins to direct a destructive beam at the planet that devastates an area from Florida to Venezuela. Admiral Forrest contacts Captain Archer and tells him and his crew to return to Earth.
On the way back home, the Suliban overtake the Enterprise and board her. They kidnap Archer and take him to speak to their leader, the mysterious and unknown humanoid-figure from the future. He tells Archer that the Xindi are the ones responsible for the attack but that it was only to "test" their weapon and that they plan to destroy Earth altogether. The Xindi were told by another faction of the Temporal Cold War that humans will destroy them 400 years in the future, hence the attack. The Suliban leader tells Archer that this will disrupt the timeline and tells him where to find the Xindi. As they are approaching Earth, Enterprise is attacked by the Klingons. Duras has been told that he must capture Archer if he wants his honor and captain's rank back. Other Starfleet vessels appear and drive the Klingons away.
Back on Earth, Archer convinces Starfleet to let Enterprise go and investigate the Xindi threat. The aliens home however is in the Delphic Expanse, a dangerous region in space. Meanwhile, Enterprise is refitted with stronger hull plating and photonic torpedoes. Non-Starfleet military officers join the crew to provide some back-up. Meanwhile, accompanied by Reed, Trip visits the destroyed area in Florida where his sister once lived. She is one of the seven million casualties of the probe's attack.
Ambassador Soval wants T'Pol to return to Vulcan but she decides she wants to remain on the Enterprise. She resigns her commission with the Vulcan High Command. On their way to the Xindi homeworld, Enterprise is attacked by three Klingon ships. Two leave as they don't want to enter the Expanse. Duras' ship is the only one left and with some clever piloting by Mayweather and photon torpedoes, Enterprise destroys it. Archer and crew continue on their way and enter the Expanse.
There's a heck of a lot going on in this episode, perhaps a little too much. While it is very good and well-directed, the pace nonetheless is a little choppy at times mainly due to the Klingon scenes. A little too much clutter for it to flow smoothly. Of course, these scenes add the obligatory action space battles and are well done (CGI-wise) nonetheless.
But it's the character development and the storyline changes that stand-out. We see T'Pol resign her commission with the Vulcan High Command and decide to stay with Archer and crew.