“The Shipment”

"We've located a planet of 'arboreal Xindi'." "Do you mean a planet of the apes?"
“We’ve located a planet of ‘arboreal Xindi’.” “Do you mean a planet of the apes?”

Enterprise finds the facility where the Xindi are making kemocite, needed for the weapon  to destroy Earth — which is just weeks away from completion. The facility is staffed by a small number of arboreal Xindi, including Gralik (John Cochran), who runs the facility but has no idea what the kemocite is to be used for. Archer, Reed and MACO leader Major Hayes (Steven Culp, introduced in “The Xindi”) capture Gralik in his home and tell him what the Xindi council members are up to. Xindi weapon designer Degra (Randy Oglesby) comes to the planet for an update, and Archer — with Gralik’s help — stashes a tracking device on Degra’s ship.

Why it’s important

From a plot perspective, this episode is important as it furthers the ship’s successful search for the Xindi. The groundwork laid here helps the crew find a smaller version of the weapon in “Proving Ground”.

Not only that, this episode gives Degra a name, the first time we learn the identify of anyone on the Xindi council that has been plotting Earth’s destruction. Degra is probably only behind Archer, T’Pol and Trip as far as importance during this season of Enterprise, as we’ll see in subsequent reviews.

Don't call me Dr. Zaius!
“What’s wrong with me?” “I think you’re crazy!” “I want a second opinion!” “You’re also lazy.”

What doesn’t hold up

It’s interesting that Archer’s actions here don’t bear fruit for another six episodes, or about a quarter of the season. Two of those episodes (the great “Twilight” and the passable “Carpenter Street”) only cover a few days for Archer and Co., but the other episodes (the stellar “Similitude”, the decent “Chosen Realm” and the forgettable “North Star”) take a while (about two months all told, according to Memory Alpha). Although things kick into high gear soon after this stretch, it’s clear why some fans were impatient with the Xindi arc as the season progressed.

This is more of a question than a complaint, but I’ve never really understood what the Xindi council’s relationship is to the rest of the Xindi people. Granted, the Xindi are scattered throughout the Delphic Expanse, but is the council the ruling party of Xindi? Or is it more of a rogue group?

Worst. Rave. Ever.
Worst. Rave. Ever.

Final thoughts

After all the hand-wringing about the Xindi arc going against Roddenberry’s vision, this episode is important viewing. Even as the future of humanity is in the balance, Archer relies on his trust of Gralik, rather than acting out of violence. Foreshadowing Archer’s relationship with Degra, this episode proves that common ground can be found even between enemies. Also, it’s important to note that Archer turns out to be right, even to the point where Gralik ends up tampering with the kemocite to delay the weapon development.

Lastly, the Hayes character was a nice addition to the show — even if he seems oddly absent at times. Steven Culp and Domonic Keating played well off each other as rivals, even if their antics became juvenile at times.

Coming next week …

An old friend returns as the Xindi arc continues.

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