Star Trek: Enterprise (2003): S03E03 – Extinction


Introduction

“Extinction” is the fifty-fifth episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the third episode of season three.

This was the first episode following the addition of the prefix “Star Trek” to the title of the series.

In this episode, while investigating a planet visited by the Xindi, several crew members including Captain Jonathan Archer become infected with a virus that mutates them into another species. The crew of the Enterprise must prevent an alien race from exterminating the mutated crew-members while developing a cure themselves.

“Extinction” was shot across seven days, with the soundstage transformed into an alien jungle for filming. John Eaves designed a Xindi pod, as well as an alien spaceship which he strongly disliked. Jolene Blalock, Scott Bakula, Linda Park and Dominic Keating were each required to undergo extended make-up sessions during six days of the shoot in order to show their characters in various states of mutation.

Around four million viewers watched “Extinction” on first broadcast, but the critical reception was mixed. Although the actors who underwent additional make-up were praised, the plot was found to be similar to previous episodes in the franchise and the ending was poor.

Outline

On Enterprise, Sub-Commander T’Pol is called to the command centre by Captain Archer. Archer tells her that he has located a nearby planet that the Xindi recently visited. Both then travel down to the surface with Lieutenant Reed and Ensign Sato. They discover a Xindi shuttle along with two dead crewmembers, one of whom has been incinerated. With little warning, Archer, Sato and Reed suddenly begin to very quickly transform physically and mentally into a new species. Within seconds they are fully changed. T’Pol, however, is only mildly affected physically, appearing somehow resistant to the mental changes.

After a physical altercation with the newly transformed crew, T’Pol is able to communicate with Archer after gaining use of the universal translator. She learns they have been overcome with an overwhelming instinct to reach a city called “Urquat”, the homeland of their species. Meanwhile, Commander Tucker and an away team of MACOs, equipped with biohazard suits, manage to capture and return Reed to the ship. Archer and Sato flee and T’Pol opts to stay with them. Doctor Phlox soon determines that they were infected by a mutagenic virus, and concludes that T’Pol’s Vulcan genetics rendered her partially immune.

Two “containment ships” soon arrive, demanding access to Enterprise in order to stop the virus that killed millions of their people 60 years ago. Tucker refuses, but invites their leader, Tret, aboard. Tret explains that the original inhabitants of the planet, the Loque’eque, created the virus in an effort to continue their species. Believing it impossible to cure, he sends a team to the planet’s surface to neutralise Archer and Sato. Archer leads Sato and T’Pol to Urquat, but they find it in ruins. Tucker then beams down with a team of MACOs and rescues them. Enterprise then warps away, but the alien ships pursue and attack the ship. Tucker asks Tret to allow Phlox more time to synthesise an antidote, but Tret refuses. Before he can board the ship, Phlox arrives with Archer and Sato – now mostly restored – and promises Tret a sample. Later, as Phlox plans to destroy the last vial of the virus, Archer tells him to keep it as a legacy of the now extinct species.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): LeVar Burton.
  • Writer(s): Andre Bormanis.
  • Release Date: 24 September 2003.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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