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Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 03 E 13 Proving Ground

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Going it alone in the Expanse is pretty rough, but this is probably not the kind of help Archer was hoping for.
Shran is back, and he's here to help—or so he says.

tropes in this episode include:

  • Badass Boast: Played for Laughs when Shran pretends to be an innocent miner so as to not become an enemy of the Xindi:
    Shran: The Andorian Mining Consortium runs from no one.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shran arrives right as Enterprise is trapped in an anomaly field and tractors them out.
  • Call-Back:
  • Call-Forward: Shran believes humanity and Andorians could do much as allies.
    Archer: We keep doing each other favors.
    Shran: Isn't that how alliances are made?
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Talas starts warming up to Malcolm when he stops blowing her off, though it's unclear how much of it is genuine and how much of it is her playing him.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: More like small-moon-shattering kaboom, which is clearly not powerful enough for the Xindi. Archer ends up attributing this to Gralik.
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  • Honor Before Reason: Archer destroys the prototype rather than let Shran take it back to Andoria. Shran notes the Vulcans don't deserve his loyalty, but Archer can't risk a devastating weapon from being created.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Shran when trying to convince Archer of his good intentions.
    "Your world was brutally attacked. The Imperial Guard thought you'd be grateful to have an ally... especially since no one else came rushing to your aid.[...] And where are your friends, the Vulcans? Where is their mighty fleet? They couldn't even spare one officer. She was forced to abandon her career to remain on your ship. [to T'Pol] A remarkably selfless act... for a Vulcan."
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Shran tells the Xindi that he's searching for a rare mineral—Archerite.
  • My Fist Forgives You: When Archer learns that Shran was sent to seize the prototype weapon for Andoria, his left fist registers its objections.
    "You like to talk about repaying debts. I've owed you that for a long time."
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  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Archer has the prototype destroyed rather than let Shran keep it.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted. While D'Jamat deleted all their collected data on the spheres in the last episode, Enterprise has a redundant backup data core to allow them to reconstruct their anomaly map.
  • Not So Different: Played straight, then averted - When Trip asks about a piece of advanced Andorian engine technology, Shran is hesitant to share it, not unlike the Vulcans. In the end, he sympathizes with Trip and the humans and agrees to give him the tech.
  • Odd Friendship: Archer and Shran.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Degra's face when his engineer, Thalen, informs him that a ship is approaching with human biosigns.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The Kumari doesn't quite succeed when the prototype explodes, and takes considerable damage.
  • Pet the Dog: As the Andorians limp away, having sustained damage when Archer detonated the prototype, they send over some detailed scans they took.
  • Previously On…: The episode opens with a quick recap to get viewers up to speed, particularly on Gralik.
  • Railing Kill: When Enterprise hits an anomaly, one Red Shirt in Engineering goes flying.
  • Sour Supporter: Shran is a loyal Andorian, but he believes his leaders are making a mistake in using humans as pawns against the Vulcans instead of making sincere efforts towards an alliance. He most certainly doesn't want a commendation for this mission.
  • Spot of Tea: Trip lampshades it when Malcolm orders black coffee instead.
    Trip: No tea?
    Malcolm: No crumpets, either, thank you.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Shran really doesn't like taking orders from Archer, and wastes little time in double-crossing him.
  • Title Drop: T'Pol calls the system a "proving ground" after Archer compares it to Bikini Atoll, a remote island that served as a testing site for nuclear weapons.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Archer's response to Shran double-crossing him.
  • With Friends Like These...: Archer doesn't trust the Andorian leadership, but he wants to trust Shran. By the same token, Shran wants to do right by Archer, but he has his orders. Collision course results.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Shran says that the fact that T'Pol abandoned her career to stay with Enterprise is a "remarkably selfless act...for a Vulcan."
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Shran prefers that his boss not commend him for essentially betraying Archer.

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