Proving Ground (Star Trek: Enterprise)

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"Proving Ground"
Star Trek: Enterprise episode
The Andorians and Commander Shran arrive and provide assistance to Enterprise
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 13
Directed byDavid Livingston
Written byChris Black
Featured musicJohn Frizzell
Production code313
Original air dateJanuary 21, 2004 (2004-01-21)
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"Chosen Realm"
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Star Trek: Enterprise (season 3)
List of episodes

"Proving Ground" is the thirteenth episode from the third season of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise. It's the sixty-fifth episode of the series, first airing on January 21, 2004. This is a science fiction episode about a spaceship dealing with an attack on Earth by aliens in the 22nd century. The episode continues the Xindi story arc, opening with a montage of scenes from previous shows. Archer and a recurring character, the Andorian Captain Shran, take on the Xindi in an uncertain alliance.[1]


Enterprise, despite losing most of its map data, continues to traverse a series of spatial anomalies in the Delphic Expanse. When heavily damaged by a particularly dangerous vortex, Enterprise is suddenly pulled clear by an Andorian ship. The ship's captain, Shran, claims he is only interested in helping Enterprise in its mission to subvert the Xindi's weapon, in the interest of forming a closer alliance with humanity.

Suspicious of the Andorian's true motives, Captain Archer nonetheless agrees to allow them to work with his crew to repair the ship and to scan the test-site of the Xindi prototype weapon.

Shran permits Archer to command his crew in capturing the weapon. With Enterprise distracting the Xindi, the Andorian vessel grabs the weapon and stores it aboard. The Andorians actually want the weapon to give them an advantage in their conflict with the Vulcans. Archer is ejected in an escape-pod.

Back aboard Enterprise, Archer contacts Shran and threatens to detonate the weapon unless the Andorians surrender it. Shran believes this ultimatum to be a bluff, but when Archer activates the detonation sequence, he reluctantly ejects it. The weapon explodes, damaging the Andorian ship but leaving Enterprise unscathed.

They receive a secret transmission from the Andorians, containing detailed scans of the prototype. Archer is pleased and orders it transmitted to Starfleet, and invites Trip and T'Pol to his quarters to try some Andorian Ale.


Combs had previously made guest appearances in both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Producer Manny Coto said he hoped to make Combs a regular on the show, had the series been renewed for a fifth season.[2][3][4]

Shran's antennae are prosthetics that are moved by remote control. Combs and the puppeteer discussed the scenes in advance so they could work in tandem, "we have created, slowly, this little bit of language," which can reflect the character's mood, speech, and actions.[5]

The episode is directed by veteran Star Trek franchise television director David Livingston, who directed over 60 episodes of Star Trek in this period.[6][7]


"Proving Ground" first aired in the United States on UPN on January 21, 2004.[8] According to Nielsen Media Research, it received a 2.2/3 rating share among adults. It had an average of 3.4 million viewers.[9] American Idol dominated the evening, pushing down the ratings for other networks.[8][10]

The Andorian episodes are noted as an important vehicle for Shran, one of the significant characters of the series.[11] Combs' performance was also praised.[11]

In 2005, James Gray writing for The Digital Fix was positive about the episode, and was happy with the presentation of the Andorian character Shran.[12]

Critic Darren Mooney concludes that "Proving Ground" is "not a bad episode. In fact, it is quite a good one." In a wide-ranging review, touching on multiple episodes, he notes that "Proving Ground" "contributes more to the arc than anything like "Carpenter Street" or "Chosen Realm", featuring the testing of the Xindi weapon. It also features the Andorians, suggesting that Star Trek: Enterprise has not completely divorced itself from its original place in the Star Trek canon."[13]

In 2021, The Digital Fix said this episode gave "some real momentum" to the third season, and had plenty of plot twists.[14]

Home media release[edit]

"Proving Ground" was released as part of the season three DVD box set, released in the United States on September 27, 2005.[15] The Blu-ray release of Enterprise was announced in early 2013,[16] and the season three box set was released on January 7, 2014.[17] The Blu-Ray has a surround sound 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for English, as well as German, French, and Japanese audio tracks in Dolby audio.[18]

See also[edit]

  • "Journey to Babel" (Andorians introduced to Star Trek, airdate November 17, 1967)
  • "The Andorian Incident" (first ENT episode with Andorians in season 1, introduces Shran)
  • ENT season 4 trilogy story with Andorians:
    • "Babel One" (S4E12, part one, airdate- January 28, 2005)
    • "United" (S4E13, part two, airdate- February 4, 2005)
    • "The Aenar" (S4E14, part three, airdate- February 11, 2005)


  1. ^ Michelle (November 14, 2003). "Official 'Proving Ground' Details Released".
  2. ^ Chapman, Brian (November 24, 2013). "Star Trek Enterprise: What Would Have Happened In Season 5". Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England: WhatCulture. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Pascale, Anthony (August 10, 2009). "VegasCon09: Braga & Coto Talk Enterprise Season 5 + Star Trek 2009 & more". Las Vegas, Nevada: Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  4. ^ "Production Report: "Proving Ground" Marks Halfway Point". 2003-11-19. Archived from the original on 2003-11-19.
  5. ^ Kristine (November 19, 2003). "Combs Talks The Return Of 'Tough Little Guy' Shran".
  6. ^ "The Trek Nation - Proving Ground". Retrieved 2021-06-14.
  7. ^ "David Livingston On Directing Star Trek Episodes, Part 1". Star Trek. Retrieved 2021-06-14.
  8. ^ a b "'Idol' Hit Parade Continues Wednesday". January 22, 2004. Archived from the original on 2005-11-13.
  9. ^ "Episode List: Star Trek: Enterprise". TVTango. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  10. ^ Steve Krutzler (January 22, 2004). "IDOL Wallops Competition Incl. ENT's "Proving Ground" and SMALLVILLE". Archived from the original on 2010-02-03.
  11. ^ a b Lisa Granshaw (September 26, 2019). "Star Trek: Enterprise and the Importance of Its Characters". Den of Geek.
  12. ^ James Gray (2005-10-22). "Star Trek: Enterprise Season Three Review | DVD Video Review". The Digital Fix. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  13. ^ Mooney, Darren (August 19, 2015). "Star Trek: Enterprise - Proving Ground (Review)". the m0vie blog. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  14. ^ Baz Greenland (2021-04-05). "Star Trek: Enterprise Revisited - A Look Back At Season Three". The Digital Fix. Archived from the original on 2021-04-16. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  15. ^ Douglass Jr., Todd (September 27, 2005). "Star Trek Enterprise – The Complete 3rd Season". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  16. ^ "Enterprise Trekking To Blu-ray; Fans Helped Pick Covers". January 7, 2013. Archived from the original on March 30, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  17. ^ Logan, Michael (January 3, 2014). "Exclusive Video: Star Trek: Enterprise Season 3 Beams on to Blu-ray". TV Guide. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  18. ^ "Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review". High Def Digest. Retrieved 2021-04-20.

External links[edit]