(written from a Production point of view)
Enterprise investigates the mystery of a lost Earth colony whose inhabitants disappeared decades before. But that doesn't mean they left.
The crew of Enterprise is heading towards Terra Nova to investigate what happened to the long lost colony. Helmsman Ensign Travis Mayweather is the most excited to visit, as he has been fascinated by the colony since his childhood. Terra Nova was the first extra-solar Earth colony, after New Berlin on Luna, Utopia Planitia on Mars and a few asteroids were colonized by Humans just in the Sol system. The colony was referred to as "The Great Experiment" and Earth had lost all contact after a couple of unfriendly transmissions. When Enterprise arrives at the colony, the crew finds no one, only a ghost town, built from disassembled components from the SS Conestoga, the vessel that transported the colonists for nine years to the colony. The site also has a low level of radiation that would be harmful to Humans in the long term.
An away team composed of Ensign Mayweather, Sub-Commander T'Pol, Captain Jonathan Archer, and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed is dispatched, going down to the planet in Shuttlepod 1. After Reed notices some rustling in the woods, the crew converge at a cave opening. Archer and Reed head into the cave to investigate. The two make an unfriendly first contact with strange humanoid figures, resulting in Reed being shot with an MK-34 machine gun and being taken hostage. Mayweather, T'Pol' and Archer scramble back to the shuttlepod, where T'Pol reveals that the inhabitants in the cave are actually Human beings.
After returning to Enterprise, Archer calls a meeting in the ship's situation room, asking the chief medical officer, Dr. Phlox, to accompany him back to the colony. Archer and Phlox then return alone, unarmed, to try to build trust with the residents. The doctor offers to take Nadet, an elderly Novan, to Enterprise to treat her lung cancer.
It turns out that the Novans were opposed to a second convoy of Humans going to live in the home they struggled to build. Following that, relations with Earth degraded and, when an asteroid hit the planet, the colonists erroneously concluded that Earth was taking the colony back by force. The ensuing radiation from the impact left only the children surviving, which led to three generations of hatred for off-worlders and a migration to the "underside," a network of caverns where there was no radiation. With this insight, it becomes clear why the Novans are still suspicious, even when Phlox offers his help.
Phlox later discovers that the water supplies of the underside have recently been poisoned by radiation and that could lead to the colonists' descendants' extinction. T'Pol suggests that the Novans be relocated in caverns in the southern hemisphere where there is no radiation. Archer tries to get through to Nadet by showing her a photo taken of a young girl named Bernadette Fuller and her mother Vera before the asteroid hit Terra Nova. Archer seems to be getting through to her with the photo. However, Jamin, Nadet's belligerent son, believes Archer has simply found a plan to take their home from them, accuses him of lying and demands the captain return him and his mother back to their home. Later, in Shuttlepod 1, Nadet and Jamin appear to finally agree to talk to their people about the idea.
When they return to the planet, Shuttlepod 1 is engulfed in a sinkhole and plunges eight meters below the surface. Jamin requests Archer's phase-pistol and Archer reluctantly hands it over after he threatens Reed's life. Later, Archer, Jamin, and Nadet hear the screams of a Novan named Akary. Archer and Jamin scale a large sinkhole to get to Akary, during which Archer nearly falls, but is pulled back up by Jamin. The two finally make it to Akary, but he is trapped by a large tree trunk. After both being unable to lift it off Akary's broken leg, Archer demands his pistol back from Jamin and is able to slice the trunk in half with the beam. The rescue of Akary helps build trust between Nadet's son and the captain. When they finally reach the other Novans, Nadet insists on telling them what awaits them and they finally accept the relocation plan, avoiding extinction.
Afterwards, in the captain's mess, Archer, Tucker, T'Pol, and Mayweather eat dinner together and discuss the recent events with the colony. Archer suggests that Mayweather write the official report for Starfleet, as he was the most eager crewman on Enterprise to visit Terra Nova.
Log entries Edit
- "Captain's starlog, supplemental. Sub-Commander T'Pol has discovered the remnants of an impact crater that could explain the radiation."
Memorable quotes Edit
"I'm not familiar with the early years of Human space exploration."
"Really? Every school kid on Earth had to learn about the famous Vulcan expeditions."
(after long pause) "History was never my best subject."
- - Tucker and T'Pol
"Asking favors of the Vulcans usually ends up carrying too high a price."
- - Tucker, to T'Pol
"My experience with Humans is limited, but I've come to learn that they are quite resourceful."
- - T'Pol, to Captain Archer
"I promised my dad I'd see this place someday."
- - Mayweather seeing Terra Nova on Enterprise's viewscreen
"If those aliens killed the colonists they could kill Malcolm, too."
"Those weren't aliens. They're Human."
- - Mayweather and T'Pol
"I'm leg broke!"
- - Akary
"If these are the descendants of the original colonists, they've never seen other Humans before. Maybe, we look as strange to them as they did to us."
- - Archer, after realizing who the Novans really were
"How are you holding up?"
"Not badly, all things considered. But I really wouldn't mind getting this bullet out of my leg."
- - Archer and Reed
"You Humans tried to gut our go-befores when they lived on the overside. Now you're trying to gut us!"
- - Nadet
"Ever heard of Judge Crater?"
"Disappeared in the early 20th century. How about Amelia Earhart?"
"1937. Never found a trace of her. A lot of people spent years – decades – trying to figure out what happened to them. But neither of those mysteries holds a candle to Terra Nova. And we solved it!"
- - Mayweather and T'Pol
"Giant rocks falling from the sky, shale! It's all shale! Take us back!"
- - Jamin
"He speaks in shale."
- - Athan, saying "He lies"
"What the hell do you think this is, a slave ship?"
- - Archer to T'Pol
Background information Edit
Script, cast, and production Edit
- The final draft script of this episode was issued on 6 August 2001.
- Erick Avari previously played Vedek Yarka in DS9: "Destiny" and B'iJik in TNG: "Unification I".
- Stunt Coordinator Vince Deadrick, Jr. was pleased with the amount of space that the stunts for this episode were given. He later reminisced, "We had Scott [Bakula] dangling from a ledge, and we had him on a cable, which was great. We had some meat there." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138 p. 42)
Trivia and continuity Edit
- This episode is one of eight Star Trek episodes with Latin names, in this case meaning "New Earth." (It also happens to be the Latin name for Newfoundland.) The others are "Sub Rosa", "Dramatis Personae", "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", "Ex Post Facto", "Non Sequitur", "Alter Ego", and "Vox Sola".
- In an apparent nod to Star Trek: The Original Series, when Archer and Reed enter the abandoned surface colony, Reed spins the wheel of an overturned bicycle – just like Dr. Leonard McCoy did in a desolate city in TOS: "Miri". (citation needed • edit)
- This is the first episode to name Phlox's species, Denobulan.
- Near the end of this episode, Mayweather mentions the mystery of Amelia Earhart. This mystery was solved 220 years later, by the crew of USS Voyager, in VOY: "The 37's".
- In a 2011 interview, Brannon Braga cited this as his least favorite episode from the entirety of Star Trek: Enterprise. "There happens to be an irony there. It was about finding a lost colony of humans, but it was boring and it was unfortunate that it was such an early episode," Braga critiqued.  He also described the installment as "terrible" and one of several first-season "mediocre scripts" which were an attempt to "go after something" and which were visually improved to a "great" extent by the cast and production crew. Braga concluded by calling it, "Not a bad concept, but not [...] a good episode." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 5.1 and was watched by a total average of 8.35 million viewers. 
- In Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide", this episode was rated 1 out of 5 arrowhead insignia. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 78)
- The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 360) comments about this episode, "The first major misfire of the show, 'Terra Nova' isn't really about anything, and the big revelations are never anything but predictable. Perhaps it's because the 'first Human colony' is presented so pessimistically, but the whole episode just feels wrong."
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.3, 10 June 2002
- As part of the UK VHS collection Enterprise 1.1-1.3 Collectors Edition: 19 August 2002
- As part of the ENT Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the ENT Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
Guest stars Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Steve Blalock as a Novan
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Cecilia Conn as a command division crewman
- Clay Drayton as a Novan
- Trinity Drayton as a Novan girl
- Evan English as Ensign Tanner
- Chad Evans as a Novan teen
- Tracy Foley as a Novan woman
- Stacy Fouche as an operations division crewman
- Bryan Heiberg as an operations division crewman
- Dieter Hornemann as a Novan guard
- Redondo Philip as a Novan guard
- Prada as Porthos
- Moses Storm as a Novan boy
- Unknown performers as
Stunt doubles Edit
- Vince Deadrick, Jr. as stunt double for Scott Bakula
- Kiante Elam as stunt double for Anthony Montgomery
- Steven Lambert as stunt double for Erick Avari
anorthosite; asteroid; beresium; bio-sign; cancer; Conestoga, SS; Conestoga-type; crater; Judge Crater; cytolytic injection; debris; Denobulan; Digger; Earhart, Amelia; Earth; ejecta; erosion; feldspar; geology; Geologic depression; ghost town; "Great Experiment, The"; Logan, Mark; Luna; lymphatic system; Mars; millirad; Mitchell; MK-33; MK-34; New Berlin; Novans; phase-pistol; radiation; radiation poisoning; regolith; rot; shale; Starfleet database; stun grenade; Tracey; Terra Nova; Terra Nova colony; tuber; Tucker, Charles I; tumor; Utopia Planitia; Vulcans
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