After months of searching, Enterprise finally reaches the system where the Xindi weapon is being built. As they plan a mission to destroy it, Daniels briefly takes Archer to the 26th century to show him what lies ahead.
Tropes in this episode include:
- The Atoner: Archer volunteers for the suicide mission so that he doesn't have to order someone else to die.
- Berserk Button: Archer's mockery of reptiles during the interrogation gets to Dolim. He comes this close to strangling the captain.
- Call-Back: T'Pol is a lot less skeptical about time travel after having gone back in time with Archer.
- Call-Forward: Daniels talks to Archer about The Federation. In addition, the ships they use at Procyon V include the Dauntless, the Prometheus, and the Nova-class, all from Star Trek: Voyager.
- Commander Crash: Trip accidentally bangs the Xindi shuttle into Enterprise.Trip: Sorry!
Archer: No problem. I'll send you the bill.
- Cliffhanger: Enterprise tumbles through space, leaking air in a hundred places, with the Xindi still firing... Fade to Black.
- Cool Starship: The U.S.S. Enterprise-J, seen fighting the Sphere Builders in the 26th century.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Holy crap. Four Xindi warships reduce Enterprise to a floating wreck, at the cost of one Reptilian ship.
- Darkest Hour: Archer is captured, while Enterprise takes a vicious pounding.
- Deadpan Snarker: T'Pol has some, mixed with Gallows Humor, as she goes to take a shuttlepod and work out a diplomatic solution with the Xindi.Trip: What happens if you fail? Are we supposed to just keep sending people in until there's no one left?
T'Pol: That's hardly a viable option. We only have one more shuttlepod.
- Despair Event Horizon: The camera zooms in close to T'Pol's face as she watches Enterprise slowly disintegrate around her, knowing there's absolutely nothing left she can do to save her ship.
- Disconnected by Death: The Xindi are alerted to Enterprise's presence in the system because they destroyed a lunar outpost. Once it rotates back into communications range, they fail to report and so Dolim sends a patrol, which finds the ship.
- False Flag Operation: Trip and Travis use the stolen Xindi-Insectoid shuttle to fly close enough to the weapon to learn how to destroy it.
- Final Battle: Daniels takes Archer to witness one in the 26th Century, when the Federation defeated the Sphere Builders and drove them back into their transdimensional realm.
- Final Speech/Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye: Archer delivers one on the bridge before leaving to destroy the weapon."I've always been much better at avoiding farewells than giving them, so I'm not even going to try, but I'm going to ask all of you to think back to the day when this ship was first launched. We were explorers then. When all this is over, when Earth is safe, I want you to get back to that job. There are four hundred billion stars in our galaxy. We've only explored a tiny fraction. You have a lot of work to do. Of all the Captains who will sit in this chair, I can't imaging any of them being more proud than I am right now."
- General Ripper: Dolim truly begins to display this, as he tells his intentions to hunt down and eradicate "every refugee caravan, every colony, every last outpost they have."
- Get Out!: T'Pol when Trip tells her that she should be on the bridge instead of moping in the ready room.T'Pol: Dismissed.
T'Pol: Get out.
- Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: While learning how to fly the Xindi shuttle, Travis hits a control that makes it go backwards into the wall of the launch bay.Travis: I think I found reverse.
Trip: Great, but unless we plan to fly in ass-first, we'd better figure out how to make it go forward.
- HeelFace Turn: Degra starts to have his doubts about the cause after meeting Archer again.Mallora: We can't forget who the real enemy is!Degra: We may not know who the real enemy is.
- Honor Before Reason: Travis volunteers for the suicide mission on the grounds that he's already flown the Insectoid ship. Trip also volunteers on the grounds that he's a senior officer. Archer ends up doing them both one better.
- Humans Are Special: Daniels argues that the Federation will never exist without humanity.
- I'll Take That as a Compliment: When Archer is learning how to fly the Insectoid shuttle.Travis: Good. You're starting to think like an Insectoid.
Archer: I'll take that as a compliment.
- It's a Long Story: Archer's response when Degra asks him how they know each other.
- It's All My Fault: The look on Archer's face when he learns that the Xindi are pummeling Enterprise.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Dolim subjects Archer to this. Archer responds by taunting him about turtle soup and reptiles having walnut-sized brains.
- Lampshade Hanging: Daniels points out what had been ignored throughout this arc: if the crew manages to destroy the weapon without making peace, the Xindi will simply build another one.
- Man on Fire: One poor schmuck in engineering. Trip hoses him down with a fire extinguisher.
- New Era Speech: Degra toasts to this with his engineers."It may seem odd to celebrate the completion of a weapon, particularly one designed to destroy an entire planet, but recall the words of Enarchis written some fifty years into the Great Diaspora. 'Without a world of our own we are but children lost in the wilderness.' One day we'll emerge from this wilderness, and our work here will ensure that we'll never be lost again. To a new era for all Xindi."
- Oh, Crap!:
- Archer, when he reaches the construction site and sees that the weapon has been moved...and some Xindi fighters are closing on him...
- T'Pol and Trip, when Malcolm contacts them over the comm:"There's no need to go to the Xindi. It appears they're coming to us."
- Dolim has one when Archer reveals he knows who Degra is.
- Archer again, when Dolim smugly informs him that Enterprise is under attack.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: T'Pol has a few examples this week: blurting out an emotional "I don't want you to die!" to Archer, shedding a tear in private, and Suddenly SHOUTING! at Trip (something the engineer can't help but notice).
- Race Against the Clock: Based on Trip and Travis's recon mission, the weapon is almost ready to be launched, which is why Archer feels there's no time for diplomacy.
- The Reveal: The Xindi are actually pawns of the beings who built the Spheres. The Sphere Builders have technology to see the future and know the Federation will foil their attempt to take over the galaxy, so they conspired to have the Xindi destroy Earth.
- Red Shirt: Three are seen being blown out into space when Enterprise suffers a hull breach. The next episode reveals that eighteen crew members were killed.
- Running Away to Cry: After Archer leaves Enterprise on his Suicide Mission, T'Pol retreats to the ready room right before the tears start flowing.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Dolim responds to Archer's mockery with, "We know exactly where your ship is!"
- Space Is Noisy: Averted when Archer destroys the Xindi listening post. There's no sound from the torpedo firing to the base exploding, reinforcing the solemn tone.
- Suicide Mission: The mission to destroy the weapon—by flying into it and blowing it up—is entirely this. Trip and Travis argue over who's more expendable, until Archer volunteers himself.
- Trash the Set: The bridge, engineering, and every other part of the ship take a heavy beating. And remain so for the rest of the season.
- Wham Episode: This episode reveals why the Sphere Builders are pressing the Xindi to attack humanity, sees Degra begin his HeelFace Turn, and has the NX-01 blasted into a smoldering ruin.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Daniels suggests the more standard approach to solving problems in this franchise: diplomacy.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Trip and Malcolm's response to T'Pol's idea to negotiate with the Xindi.
- You Have to Believe Me!: Daniels says this when trying to convince Archer that sacrificing himself is a terrible mistake. Naturally, Archer doesn't listen.