“Terra Prime” is the 21st episode of the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise.
The episode is the second of a two-part story, which started in “Demons“.
In this episode, John Frederick Paxton, the leader of the xenophobic human group Terra Prime, threatens to use an array on Mars to destroy Starfleet Command, unless all aliens leave Earth immediately. Enterprise, Captain Archer and an away team covertly take a shuttlepod to the array and attempt to stop Paxton and rescue their crew-mates.
The guest actors who appeared in “Demons” were joined by Derek Magyar and Eric Pierpoint, who appeared earlier in the season in “Affliction”, while Joel Swetow had previously appeared in episodes of Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. The script called for a reference to the United States space programme and so the Carl Sagan Memorial Station and the Mars Exploration Rover Sojourner were included in a shot added in post production.
“Terra Prime” received a Nielsen rating of 2.0/4% and it was praised by critics who described it as a “real” episode and there were suggestions that had Enterprise gone into a further season then the story could have acted as an ongoing subplot. It was ranked as the best episode of the series by Empire magazine.
Commander T’Pol and Commander Tucker remain captives of Paxton, who continues to broadcast his demand on all channels and frequencies. Paxton’s action has an unsettling effect on the interspecies conference since it is clear that not all humans support it. On Mars, Paxton allows T’Pol and Tucker to see the baby, and T’Pol uses her scanner to learn that the child is unwell (and that Paxton has been using Rigelian gene therapy to treat himself). Seeking to fine-tune their attack, Paxton then threatens T’Pol in order to force Tucker to optimise the targeting system of the array.
Enterprise is then ordered to Mars to destroy the array, but is turned away when a warning shot from the weapon damages the ship. Gannet Brooks, now in the brig, reveals to Ensign Mayweather she is a Starfleet Intelligence operative, and that Terra Prime probably has an operative aboard. Under the urging of Minister Samuels, the crew of Enterprise conceive a way to approach the deadly station undetected, using a shuttlepod hidden inside the tail of a comet. Captain Archer elects to lead the away mission, along with Lieutenant Reed, Doctor Phlox, and Mayweather.
En route, the shuttle’s systems suddenly fail, nearly causing it to crash. Landing on Mars, the team then infiltrate Paxton’s ship. Teaming up with Tucker, who has escaped his cell, they battle the Terra Prime followers in the control room. During the shootout, Paxton manages to lock the firing sequence – fortunately, Tucker has altered the targeting, and the beam misses. With Paxton under arrest, the hybrid child, named Elizabeth after Tucker’s sister, is brought to Phlox, who unfortunately cannot do anything to save her. Investigations also reveal that Ensign Masaro was the spy, and he dies by his own hand. Back at Starfleet, Archer makes an impassioned speech to convince the delegates to explore the universe’s mysteries together.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Marvin V. Rush.
- Writer(s): Judith Reeves-Stevens, Garfield Reeves-Stevens, and Andre Bormanis.
- Release Date: 13 May 2005.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.