“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.
The episode continues the Xindi story arc, opening with a montage of scenes from previous shows.
Archer and a recurring character, the Andorian Captain Shran, take on the Xindi in an uncertain alliance.
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. Realising 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.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): David Livingston.
- Writer(s): Chris Black.
- Release Date: 21 January 2004.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.