Star Trek: Enterprise (2004): S03E23 – Countdown


“Countdown” is the 23rd episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise and is the 76th overall episode.

In this episode, Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) convinces the Xindi-Aquatics to aid him in his fight against the Xindi-Reptilians and Insectoids alliance to prevent Earth’s destruction by their superweapon. In the midst of a battle between the two Xindi factions, an away team is sent to rescue Ensign Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), previously captured by the Reptilians. However, the superweapon departs for Earth, with Archer in pursuit on board a Xindi vessel.

“Countdown” was the first collaboration between writers Andr√© Bormanis and Chris Black, and was directed by former Star Trek: Voyager actor Robert Duncan McNeill. It was shot over eight days, with additional sets built for the Xindi-Reptilian vessel and the interior of the superweapon. Critics praised the change in the dynamic between Major Hayes (Steven Culp) and Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating). Roughly 3.5 million viewers watched “Countdown” on its first broadcast.


Needing a third species’ codes in order to arm the weapon, Ensign Hoshi Sato is injected with neural-parasites while she is a prisoner of the Xindi-Reptilians. With the Xindi superweapon about to be armed and time running out, Captain Jonathan Archer tries to persuade the Xindi-Aquatics to help destroy it. Sato’s kidnapping, and Archer’s promises to shut down the 70-plus known spheres, finally convinces the Aquatics into believing that the Sphere Builders, and not the humans, may indeed represent their true enemy.

A battle between Archer’s Xindi fleet and the Reptilian-Insectoid fleet soon breaks out around the superweapon. Locating Sato on board a Reptilian ship, a small squad of MACOs, led by Major Hayes and with the support of Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, transports on board the ship to extract her. With the space battle ongoing, the transporter system is damaged so that only two personnel can beam out at one time. Hayes sends one of his men and Sato out first, and then the rest of the team. Hayes, now alone, is forced to retreat and just as he is beaming out, a Reptilian soldier fires through his chest. Back on board Enterprise, he collapses on the transporter platform, and tells Reed who his MACO successor should be, moments before he dies of heart-failure in Sickbay.

With the “threads of time” turning against them, the Sphere Builders decide to intervene by creating spatial distortions around the weapon. A number of Aquatic ships are destroyed by the distortions, which buys the Reptilians enough time to finally activate the codes. Dolim (Scott MacDonald) has the superweapon enter a vortex and heads for Earth, escorted by two allied ships. Inside one of the vessels, having witnessed the interference of the Guardians, the Insectoid leader begins to doubt the motives of the Reptilians. Since the Reptilians already have the Insectoids’ launch code, they dissolve their alliance by destroying the Insectoid’s ship. Archer makes a plan to pursue Dolim using Degra’s faster spaceship, taking a sickened Sato with his team to guide them through the superweapon.

Star Trek TV Series

You can find a full index of Star Trek TV series here.

Star Trek TV Series, Films, and Documentaries

You can find a full index of all Star Trek TV series, films, documentaries here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Robert Duncan McNeill.
  • Writer(s): Andre Bormanis and Chris Black.
  • Release Date: 19 May 2004.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.