Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For the similarly named comic book, please see Star Trek: Countdown.

With help from some Xindi factions, the Enterprise crew attempts to stop the arming of the Xindi weapon.

Summary Edit

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Hoshi Sato awakes on the Xindi-Reptilian warship to realize she is in the clutches of Commander Dolim. He explains that she will be decoding the Xindi-Aquatic launch code for the Xindi weapon, and has her injected with neural parasites to ensure her cooperation. Meanwhile, Captain Jonathan Archer, along with Jannar and the Xindi-Primate councilor struggle to convince Kiaphet Amman'sor that the Aquatics should help in stopping the launch of the weapon. Amman'sor agrees only when Archer promises that Enterprise will somehow damage or deactivate the Delphic Expanse spheres using the information acquired by T'Pol.

Sato resists early on, further encrypting the launch code and trying to commit suicide, but eventually she unlocks the third code. As the weapon begins to arm, a massive fleet consisting of Enterprise, the Aquatics, the Arboreals, and the Primates arrives to intercept the Reptilian and Insectoid fleet guarding the weapon. The Aquatics' presence gives Enterprise's allies the edge they need, but the Sphere-Builders see that their pawns are losing and create spatial anomalies to assist them.

In the midst of the battle, a MACO squad consisting of Major Hayes, Corporal Kelly, S. Money, and R. Richards boards the Reptilian vessel to rescue Sato. It is successful, though Money is wounded and Hayes is fatally injured. Meanwhile, the weapon's arming sequence completes, and it departs into a subspace vortex with one Reptilian and one Insectoid ship, heading for Earth. While in the vortex, the Insectoid captain contacts Dolim, angry as he realizes that the anomalies appearing just when they needed them was more than good luck, and starts to realize that Captain Archer may have been correct about the Guardians building the spheres. After the communication ends, Dolim has the Insectoid ship immediately destroyed.

The Xindi state that the weapon will reach Earth in ten hours. Although Aquatic ships are powerful, they have limited speed and only Degra's ship has hope of intercepting the weapon in time. Captain Archer resolves to bring a team on board and disable it from the inside. Archer, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, Ensign Sato, and three MACOs board Degra's ship, the only ship fast enough to catch the weapon, in pursuit. Meanwhile, Enterprise prepares to make good on Archer's promise to Amman'sor and destroy the spheres by taking out Sphere 41.

Memorable quotes Edit

"She's surprisingly strong-willed... for a primate."
"We'll see how defiant she is after our surgeons have finished with her. We'll have the launch codes soon enough."

- The Xindi-Reptilian lieutenant and Commander Dolim

"Before your primate brain is too badly damaged to understand, I want to thank you for helping us destroy your world."

- Dolim, to Hoshi Sato just before she spits in his face

"Have these Guardians told you where you'll establish your new home world? The one humans are destined to destroy? Is it here, in the Expanse? In case you haven't noticed, the Spheres are turning it into a trans-dimensional wasteland. None of you will be able to survive. You say the Guardians have helped you. Have they ever tried to disable the Spheres? Because we've found a way. Help me save my people, and I can help you save yours."

- Captain Archer, to the Xindi-Aquatic Councilors

"When this is all over, if you want to talk... I'm all ears."

- Tucker, to T'Pol

"Commander, I can't access the arming matrix. She's added a layer of encryption!"

- The Xindi-Reptilian Lieutenant, to Dolim

"You've seen more than enough detail to learn how to meddle in our affairs – to turn the Xindi species against each other."
"Everything we've done has been to protect the Xindi."
"Then finish what you've started, if... it's within your power."

- Dolim and the Sphere-Builder Woman

"I knew Degra for many years. He could be difficult... uncompromising. We argued often, for instance, when he insisted that we meet with you. But when Degra spoke, only a fool would ignore him. He believed that there was a future between your people and ours. When this is over, I intend to see if he was right."

- The Xindi-Primate Councilor, to Captain Archer

"When we first came aboard Enterprise, we definitely felt like outsiders."
"If I contributed to that, I apologize."
"My point is, none of us feel that way anymore. We're all part of the same crew, no matter which uniform we wear. Don't worry about Ensign Sato, we'll bring her home."

- Major Hayes and Malcolm Reed

"I've considered formalizing my service with Starfleet."
"I may be able to pull some strings... get you out of basic training."
"Can you imagine the look on Soval's face when he sees her in a Starfleet uniform? Please, let me be there!"
"I said I was considering it."

- T'Pol, Archer, and Tucker, discussing T'Pol's plans once their mission has been completed

"The Guardians will not let us fail."

- Commander Dolim

"I told him I was ready for duty."
"I'm afraid he's a bit of a mother hen."
"Heh. How's Ensign Sato?"
"Her bio-signs are stable."
"Thank you. For bringing her home."
"All in a day's work."

- Malcolm, a dying Major Hayes, and Phlox

"We've got less than ten hours before this weapon reaches Earth. The captain wants to take a team aboard to destroy it. I don't imagine the Reptilians will make this easy for us, but that's why you're here. That's why Major Hayes picked each one of you for this mission: because he knew you'd get the job done. I need three volunteers."

- Reed, to the assembled MACOs, after which all of them step forward

"The anomalies worked to our advantage."
"We were fortunate."
"It was more than good fortune. The Human claims the Guardians control the Spheres."
"He also started a civil war between our species."
"He didn't kill Degra, you did!"
"Degra was a traitor."
"I'm no longer certain of that."
"Then it's a good thing we already have your launch codes."

- The Xindi-Insectoid Councilor and Dolim

"Bring me back a piece of that weapon - a souvenir."
"With pleasure."

- Tucker and Reed

"Open the vortex... Set a course for Earth!"

- Commander Dolim

"I expect you to keep him in line."
"I'll do my best."

- Archer and T'Pol, referring to Commander Tucker (last line of the episode)

Background information Edit

Delphic Expanse sphere set

Shooting on a set used to show the interior of a Delphic Expanse sphere, herein

Wil Thoms with Xindi core

Production on the Xindi Primary Weapon set

  • This episode marks the deaths of Major Hayes (Steven Culp) and the Xindi-Insectoid councilor.
  • The parasites used on Hoshi were similar in effect to the Ceti eels put into Chekov's ear in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which also made their victims more compliant.
  • T'Pol calls Charles Tucker III "Trip" for the first time in the series in this episode.
  • The subspace vortex effect is a recycle of the Borg transwarp hub effect from VOY: "Endgame" (which, in turn, was a reuse of the quantum slipstream effect from VOY: "Hope and Fear" and "Timeless").
  • This is the final episode of the series that was directed by Robert Duncan McNeill.
  • The reactor aboard the Xindi weapon is a combination of two props seen previously in the series: the core formerly used as the Romulan mine from "Minefield", and the outer rings formerly used in the ship's gymnasium in "Vanishing Point". ("Countdown" text commentary)
  • This episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, beating out the episode "The Council".
  • There was some confusion over the nature of Major Hayes' death, as he was shot in mid-transport. One other person shot in mid-transport was Captain Archer in the show's opener, "Broken Bow", but he wasn't even injured. In this case, the first energy shot hits him, while the second went right through. This might have happened because enough of Hayes was still there when the first shot hit.
  • Soval seeing T'Pol in a Starfleet uniform, when it eventually occurred in "The Forge", was not the shocking event Archer and Trip hoped for, as it would come when during a solemn meeting aboard Enterprise in the wake of the bombing of the United Earth Embassy on Vulcan – and the second time was as the ambassador, not believing a word of his government's "official" account of the tragedy, was clandestinely aiding the Starfleet crew in their own investigation, one he himself advised Archer to conduct.

Links and references Edit

Main cast Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-star Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

CGI co-stars Edit

Stunt doublesEdit

References Edit

602 Club; automated defense mechanism; avionics; cardiostimulator; Chef; civil war; cryptologist; deflector array; deflector pulse; Degra; Degra's ship; Earth; EPS conduit; Hawkins, F.; heart attack; impulse reactor; injection; interspatial manifold; Jaina; joule; Kemper, N.; Kolo; kilometer; logistics; McKenzie, J.; Naara; neocortex; osmotic eel; Piral; ration pack; Santa Claus; senior tactical officer; Soval; Sphere 41; Sphere-Builder; spitting; squadron, Starfleet, Earth; Starfleet Quartermaster; steak; stun baton; stun grenade; subspace energy; tactical alert; Temporal Cold War, thermal chamber; timescape; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan High Command; Xindi, Xindi-Arboreal; Xindi-Aquatic; Xindi-Aquatic cruiser; Xindi-Aquatic scout ship; Xindi-Arboreal starship; Xindi-Insectoid starship; Xindi mission; Xindi neural parasite; Xindi-Primate starship; Xindi-Reptilian warship

Previous episode:
"The Council"
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 3
Next episode:
"Zero Hour"

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