The effect of a Delphic Expanse anomaly leaves Archer unable to form any new long-term memories. Twelve years later, he wakes up one morning and is stunned to learn the outcome of the Human-Xindi conflict, including the loss of Earth, and the near-annihilation of the Human race.
Jonathan Archer wakes in his quarters in the midst of battle. He rushes to the bridge, demanding to know what's happening. T'Pol, dressed in a Starfleet uniform, orders security to take him back to his quarters. Hoshi interrupts both of them, and everyone stares at the viewscreen as the Xindi superweapon fires on Earth. The weapon's powerful energy beam boils the oceans, and the surface begins to splinter. As the bridge crew look on in horror, the molten Earth breaks apart and finally explodes.
Archer wakes in a small house where he finds T'Pol. T'Pol reveals that twelve years have passed since the last thing Archer remembers. The last thing Archer recalls was saving T'Pol from a spatial anomaly on board the Enterprise NX-01. T'Pol explains that the anomaly infected Archer's hippocampus with interspatial parasites that prevent him from forming new long-term memories. Each day, Archer wakes up with no memory of anything that had occurred since the accident. Doctor Phlox had long searched for a cure, but nothing worked. As a result of his profound disability, Archer was removed from command and replaced by T'Pol, who accepted a field commission as a captain in Starfleet.
After the change in command, Enterprise was unable to find the Xindi superweapon. When Enterprise drew close to the superweapon in 2154, it came under attack by Xindi-Reptilians. Many crewmembers, including Travis Mayweather, died in the assault. The ship also suffered severe damage limiting it to warp 1.7. By the time Enterprise reached the Azati Prime system, the weapon had already been launched. After destroying Earth, the Xindi continued searching the galaxy, determined to hunt down and kill all Humans. Almost all of humanity was ruthlessly wiped out. Archer goes out of the house crying after he hears the bad news.
T'Pol explains to Archer that Enterprise, Intrepid, and another two Starfleet starships led a convoy of around 6,000 surviving Humans to Ceti Alpha V. On this remote world, a secret, desolate refugee camp was built to house the remnants of Human society. Enterprise, under the command of Charles Tucker, was stationed in orbit with the remaining Starfleet vessels. Archer retired to the civilian community on the surface. T'Pol, refusing an offer to return to service with the Vulcans, chose to remain at the refugee camp to care for Archer. For over nine years, this last outpost of humanity had survived by remaining hidden from the Xindi. Once T'Pol explained everything, she goes on to say, at this time you often ask if you are a victim of an elaborate deception. Archer remarks that thought did cross his mind. T'Pol makes certain Archer believes her by informing John about Margaret Mullin, a girl he once asked to marry him. Archer asks how T'Pol could know so intimate a detail, and she explains that their relationship has "...evolved."
Shortly after T'Pol explains all this, Phlox arrives from Denobula, ready to try out a revolutionary new treatment for Archer's condition. Many of Phlox's colleagues in the medical community were convinced that nothing short of a subspace implosion would destroy the parasites, a treatment which, of course, would also kill the patient. Phlox persevered and developed an alternative but energy-intensive treatment which would target and destroy the parasites without any harm to Archer. With T'Pol, they return to Enterprise, where the warp core will provide the energy necessary for the treatment.
Archer receives a hero's welcome on board his old ship. After the first phase of treatment, Phlox and T'Pol examine records of Archer's brain scans from twelve years ago and realize that the parasites they have eliminated in the present have disappeared from the past as well. If Phlox were to successfully complete the treatment, eliminating all the parasites, then it would be as if the parasites had never existed. This would effectively change history, and Archer would never have suffered from memory loss. Perhaps with Archer in command, Enterprise would have stopped the Xindi weapon, Earth would not have been destroyed, and humanity would not have been nearly wiped out.
Unfortunately, Archer's treatment is cut short when Enterprise detects a Yridian spy near Ceti Alpha. This spy tips Tucker off to the fact that the Xindi have found the last outpost and are on their way to finally annihilate the last of the surviving Humans. With Enterprise's power needed for battle, T'Pol and Phlox cannot complete Archer's treatment. Hoshi reports to Captain Tucker that several Xindi ships are approaching.
A short time later, the Xindi attack. At first humanity is able to ambush a couple of the ships, but ultimately Humanity's last stand does not go well. Once Enterprise loses it shields, the Xindi concentrate their fire on the bridge eventually ripping the top off. Some of the bridge crew can be seen drifting into space. As Enterprise is ripped to pieces, Archer recalls that Phlox said a subspace implosion would destroy the parasites, though it would also destroy the ship in the process. Desperate and with nothing to lose, Archer, T'Pol, and Phlox feverishly work at the warp core to set up a catastrophic subspace implosion. With Xindi soldiers firing around them, Phlox and T'Pol are killed. Archer is also shot, but with his last breath, he manages to push the final lever and initiates the subspace implosion, destroying Enterprise.
In the new timeline, Archer wakes up in sickbay after saving T'Pol from the spatial anomaly. Although Archer suffered a concussion, Phlox expects a full recovery.
"In the corridor, when the anomaly hit, I urged you to leave me behind - if you had, it's likely I'd be the one suffering from this...condition."
"Fortunately, I don't take orders from you."
"Captain...I never expressed my gratitude for what you did."
"I suppose there's not much point in thanking me...a few hours from now, I won't remember."
- - T'Pol and an infected Archer
"We've taken nine prisoners, but the brig was only designed for two. I'm not sure what to do with the others."
"Blow 'em out the airlock!"
"Put them in crew quarters under heavy guard."
- - Reed, Tucker, and T'Pol discussing what to do with their Xindi prisoners
"For now, the best I can give you is warp 1.7!"
"We're not going to get very far at that speed."
- - Tucker and Reed, as Reed responds to the status of the engines
"This planet is barely Minshara-class. Maybe we should've picked one with a little more blue and green on it."
- - Tucker, commenting on the desolate state of the planet below
"After the settlement was established, it became clear that I was never going to find a treatment for your condition if I remained here - so I returned home, and consulted with some of the finest neurosurgeons and quantum theorists on Denobula. My colleagues believed there was no way to destroy these parasites, short of vaporizing you in a subspace implosion. They assured me, the technology to do what was required did not exist...and, uh, they were correct. It took almost a decade to develop, but now I'm ready to put it to the test. The procedure requires tremendous amounts of energy - levels that can only be produced in the reactor of a warp-powered starship."
"We're going to Enterprise."
- - Phlox and T'Pol, explaining their plans to Archer
"Did everyone get their own ship while I was gone?"
- - Jonathan Archer, after learning that Tucker and Reed, as well as T'Pol, had been promoted to captain in his absence.
"It couldn't have been easy for you, telling me the same story over and over again for twelve years."
"I don't always tell it in detail."
"I hope I've told you this before, but... I'm very grateful for everything you've done for me."
- - Archer and T'Pol, discussing her role as his caretaker
"Your engineer's won't let us continue the captain's treatment!"
"Those were my orders - look, I'd do anything to help the captain, but we've got bigger problems at the moment."
"This may be the only solution to your problems, captain."
"Destroying these parasites is most likely the key to saving Humanity - and Earth."
- - Phlox, Tucker, and T'Pol, after the effects of the treatment has been discovered
"This image was taken a few minutes ago. You can see the region where I eradicated the first cluster of parasites? It's gone in this image as well...This scan was taken over twelve years ago. The cluster has disappeared from all the scans I've taken over the last twelve years - it's as though it never existed at all."
"By destroying the organisms in the present, we appeared to have neutralized them in the past."
"We know they're from another spatial domain. Apparently they also exist outside of time - if we can eliminate all of the parasites, it's possible the captain's infection will never have occurred!"
- - Phlox and T'Pol, explaining their fateful discovery to Captain Tucker
"If the Xindi are on the way, there's very little we can do to stop them."
"Well we can't just run up the white flag."
- - T'Pol and Tucker, after he denies her request
- - Reed and Tucker, discussing Enterprise's deflector shields, previously untested in battle
(Horrified) "The bridge is gone..."
(Realizing there's no one to stop her from treating Archer) "T'Pol to Phlox... meet us in engineering. We're going to finish the procedure."
"We don't have time to worry about parasites right now."
"That's not necessarily true."
- - Archer and T'Pol
"I'm sorry , Captain - the chamber's been damaged."
(Archer initially looks up in horror, before remembering that there was another way)"Didn't you say we could destroy the parasites with a subspace implosion?"
"Yes, but that would..."
"Can we create one?"
"We would have to overload three plasma injectors - that would send a feedback pulse through the reactor."
"You'll destroy the ship!"
"At this point, it won't make much of a difference!"
- - Phlox, Archer and T'Pol
"You two, get to a shuttlepod. They're only after Humans - if this doesn't work out, you'll still have a chance...(the Vulcan and Denobulan exchange a quick glance, and T'Pol walks up to the warp core to render assistance)...That's an order!"
"With all due respect, you were relieved of command."
- - Archer, and T'Pol
"You could've been seriously injured - I told you to leave me behind."
"Fortunately, I don't take orders from you."
- - T'Pol and an uninfected Archer, in the restored timeline
"You know... you'd make a wonderful nurse."
- - Archer to T'Pol, after she got him an extra pillow
- This episode was chosen as the #1 fan favorite in an on-line poll conducted by UPN. It was re-broadcast on 8 April 2005 in that context. Note: The poll was conducted before the final six episodes of the series aired.
- Ceti Alpha V was the planet on which Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise exiled Khan Noonien Singh, as seen in TOS: "Space Seed". The choice of this planet as the location of the last human colony was something of a "cruel joke" on the part of writer Mike Sussman. Even if the human survivors managed to escape detection by the Xindi, their planet will be made uninhabitable in a little over a hundred years when Ceti Alpha VI explodes, as explained in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. (Information provided by Mike Sussman)
- An Earth convoy destroyed in the Mutara system is mentioned by Soval, a reference to the site of a battle between Kirk and Khan, also depicted in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- Enterprise shepherding a "rag-tag fugitive fleet" to a new home after the destruction of Earth was an homage by writer Mike Sussman to Battlestar Galactica. Sussman had read a bootlegged copy of the pilot script for the re-imagined series prior to writing "Twilight". (Information provided by Mike Sussman)
- Computer monitors aboard the alternate-timeline Enterprise sported a red, yellow and green color scheme (rather than red, yellow and blue), similar to the computer panels used during the 23rd century as seen in The Original Series.
- The battle scene establishes that Enterprise had received tactical advancements from Shran - who would, in the prime universe, play an invaluable role in preventing the events of this episode from ever taking place.
- The final draft script for "Twilight" dated 11/06/2003 gave the Yridian spy the name of "Yerdrin Lek". Earlier drafts called him "Yedrin Koss", but this was changed because there were already two Star Trek characters with similar names: Dax host Yedrin Dax and T'Pol's husband Koss. Promotional materials for the episode used the earlier, incorrect name, which became widely disseminated. It is worth noting the character's name is never mentioned in the episode as aired.
- A scene with an aged Porthos (twelve years older) was shot for the future sequences, but didn't make it into the final show. In the "present" scenes, a scene was cut at movie night where Archer told T'Pol about Porthos being stressed - and that he might benefit from neuropressure.
- Archer's grey hair is actually a trimmed version of one of the early test wigs for Soval. The actors embraced this, theorizing that, after many years of living together on the planet, T'Pol was now cutting Archer's hair, hence the slightly Vulcan style. (Information provided by Mike Sussman)
- The Effect shot of the Intrepid losing its nacelle was not originally scripted. Originally, a line of dialog was meant to deliver this information, however, the effect was deemed to carry a greater impact to the audience, and replaced the original dialog.
- The object Archer uses to fatally stab a Reptilian soldier is a miniature replica of the Zefram Cochrane statue described by Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: First Contact.
- The book Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode as one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: Enterprise.
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Joey Anaya as a Xindi
- Jason Collins as Corporal R. Ryan
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Duncan K. Fraser as Ensign Walsh
- Hilde Garcia as Crewman Rossi
- John Jurgens as a Xindi-Reptilian soldier
- Ricky Lomax as Private W. Woods
- Marti Matulis as a Xindi-Reptilian soldier
- Gil Rosales (stunt actor)
- Justin Sundquist (stunt actor)
- Ator Tamras as a science division ensign
- Chris Torres as Sergeant B. Moreno
- Unknown actors as Xindi-Reptilian soldiers
Alpha Centauri colony (Alpha Centauri); alternate timeline; anterograde amnesia; antimatter inducer; antiproton beam; boatswain's whistle; Ceti Alpha system; Ceti Alpha V; chromosphere; classroom; Command Council; concussion; Denobula; Denobulan shuttle; distress call; duranium; Earth; feedback pulse; field commission; Starfleet flight school; Forrest, Maxwell; garbage scow; general; hippocampus; interspatial flux; interspatial parasite; Intrepid; Template:ShipType; Jupiter Station; Martian colonies (Mars); millicochrane; Minshara class; microcellular scan; Mullin, Margaret; Mutara sector; Mutara system; neurosurgeon; phase cannon; plasma injector; plasma torch; Porthos; quantum theory; radiolytic signature; Ramirez, Carlos; Rosemary's Baby; Rigelian flame gem; sentry probe; shields; Shran; subspace buoy; subspace implosion; transporter; turbolift; Vega colony; Vulcan database; Vulcan High Command; warp coil; white flag; Westgate Avenue; Xindi-Insectoid starship; Xindi-Reptilian warship; Yridians; Yridian shuttle (22nd century)
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