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Proving Ground

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Title :
Proving Ground
Series :
Rating :
Overall Ep :
First Aired :
21 Jan 2004
Stardate :
Director :
Year :
Writers :
Season Ep :
3 x 13
Main Cast :
Guest Cast :
Not necessarily a nit, but the Xindi prototype seems awfully small. This thing fitted into Shran's ship, and was expected to fit into Enterprise's launch bay. Yet the full weapon we saw in Twilight was huge, much larger than the Xindi ships accompanying it. Isn't a prototype supposed to be a close match to the final product?
Great Moment :
Shran's antennae appearing over Archer's head, a laugh-out-loud moment!
Body Count :
One Enterprise crewman falls off a catwalk when they hit the anomaly, level of injury unknown; otherwise none.
Factoid :
Andorian antennae are remote controlled; the actors have a small unit under the hair on the back of their heads, and two people stand off-screen to move them around.

This is the first episode to show us the inside of an Andorian ship.


Enterprise locates the kemocite signature that Gralik planted in the shipment of weapons material for them. On the way to investigate the ship is disabled by an anomaly, but at the last moment they are rescued by Shran, an Andorian Archer has dealt with on several prior occasions. Shran is here to help with the Xindi in return for Archer's past favours, and together the two ships locate the site of a new Xindi test of their prototype weapon. The test is a failure, leaving the weapon adrift. Archer decides this is an ideal opportunity to steal it and learn more about the technology.


Some nice continuity here; Enterprise finds the weapon in the first place thanks to the bug they planted in the Kemocite shipment in "The Shipment", and Gralik is mentioned and credited with causing the test to fail by sabotaging the kemocite as he promised. The crew are still working to recover the information deleted from their computers in the previous episode. Shran references Archer's favour for him in "Cease Fire", and it's nice to see that he is becoming more of an ally even though his orders compelled him to double cross Archer this time.

There's nothing terribly new or original here. The Xindi weapon arc is trundling along after a couple of episodes where it receeded into the background. The double cross itself was pretty obvious, but then the episode didn't really make a big deal of trying to trick the audience here, showing us Shran's orders in advance. It's nice to see that Archer also anticipated it and had good a counter-plan ready to go.

It's becoming obvious that there is a system governing the behaviour of the Andorian antennae. Normally they point straight up and slightly to the sides. When an Andorian is really interested in something or someone they point towards that thing or person. When they are angry the antennae fold back almost flat against the skull; the latter is presumably so that they are less likely to be damaged in any fighting.
© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 32,636 Last updated : 23 Nov 2014