Star Trek: Enterprise


3 stars

Air date: 10/2/2002
Written by John Shiban
Directed by James Contner

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I'm afraid we have another problem, sir."
"I need to use the bathroom."
"I won't tell a soul."

— Reed and Archer

In brief: A bomb-dissection episode featuring good characterization.

"Minefield" is highly reminiscent of last season's "Shuttlepod One." We have a life-threatening crisis, we have attempted solutions, and we have two guys trapped in a predicament that gives them time to talk to each other. One of them happens to be, again, Lt. Malcolm Reed, who has become a character of noteworthy development after starting the series as the resident mystery.

Yes, the premise is the sort that all but invites a David Spade-like quip of, "I liked this episode the first time I saw it — when it was called 'Shuttlepod One.'" But it's worth noting that "Minefield" works for many of the same reasons "Shuttlepod One" worked. It's mostly an exercise in simplicity — giving us a predicament and the attempted solutions — and that ends up putting the emphasis on personalities and acting. While this episode isn't as good at capturing sheer desperation the way the frigid, closed-in "Shuttlepod One" was, I did enjoy it for its ability to adequately showcase Reed and Archer.

The setup is another one of those situations that goes a long way to proving the adage, "curiosity killed the cat." The Enterprise encounters a planet, decides to take a look, and promptly runs into a cloaked mine that leaves a hole in the side of the ship's saucer section. Another mine, unexploded, is discovered to be attached to the hull of the ship. Reed may have the expertise to defuse it, so he goes out in an EV-suit and magnetic boots to make the effort.

It's about here where the Romulans show up.

I'm not sure we need to see the Romulans here (actually, we don't see them — just their ships). Their presence raises the question of how the Vulcans know so little about them considering the Romulans are their distant cousins. I'm sure an explanation could be easily concocted (whether or not it's believable is another matter), but it's a moment like this that makes one wonder why the writers feel a need to fall back on established lore when it's pretty apparent they have no clue what the lore means in the current time frame.

The Romulans basically tell the Enterprise to go away, right now, you are trespassers, you will be destroyed if you don't leave, yadda yadda yadda. I've often wondered why those who hate trespassers so much opt to make it impossible for innocent passersby to know that they're trespassing. If you want people to stay away from your planet, I'd recommend the solar-system equivalent of a big "KEEP OUT" sign and an electrified barbed-wire fence. The barbed-wire fence here is cloaked, which seems neither fair nor practical.

The Romulans, of course, aren't here to provide cultural insight; they're here to up the urgency quotient. Since the mine is not a time-bomb but rather a tamper-resistant device that must be slowly and carefully disarmed, the ticking clock is provided by the looming presence of Romulan ships, which cloak and decloak ominously. (Can a ship cloak and decloak ominously?) As if Reed didn't already have enough pressure on him, a metal spike comes out of the mine and impales him through the leg and pins him to the hull of the ship. I hate it when that happens.

This requires Archer to come out in an EV-suit and lend a helping hand. The ensuing scenes are a conventional mix of Bomb Defusing Procedures and personal dialog. Bomb Defusing Procedures on Star Trek must always be fun for the prop guys, because they get to design big metallic levers and switches and buttons that move around and must be activated in the right order, i.e., whatever order the writers have previously concocted. Remember the series of big round dials that activated the Genesis Device in The Wrath of Khan? Bingo.

The important thing is for the bomb-deactivation scenes to be believable. For the most part, they're about as believable as they need to be here, although we all know the Enterprise is not about to be blown to smithereens. The episode's cause is particularly helped by the fact the crew is shown thinking ahead to work the problem. Trip comes up with a backup plan for detaching the segment of the hull where the mine has locked on. This is very sanely written — showing that the crew is not helpless and in a way that is easy for the audience to grasp (and therefore something we can find plausible rather than feeling buried with tech).

The episode is the first to be written by new co-executive producer John Shiban, a former X-Files scribe. The script wisely puts its money on the character backstory. Yes, Archer and Reed are trying to dismantle a bomb, but the story is more interested in supplying these two guys with some humanity than in getting too carried away with the bomb or the Romulans. Reed once again comes across as the perpetually serious officer — a man who's all about the work and not all about personal relationships with his crewmates. The breakfast scene at the beginning sets the stage nicely; Reed is all business, awkward and uncomfortable in a situation where the captain has invited him simply to offer his friendship.

Here we get some Reed backstory that I think works pretty well. Reed is from a long line of British navy men, and to carry on the tradition, Malcolm was even in the British navy himself for as long as he could stand it. He had a fear of drowning that made his participation in the navy pretty impractical — a fear fueled even more by the fact that his great-uncle drowned in a submarine disaster, a story I need not retell since the episode does such a good job of doing so on its own.

What I liked best was the story's interest in comparing Malcolm's formal navy sensibilities with Archer's looser style of command on the Enterprise. Malcolm doesn't really agree with Archer's style of fraternizing with his subordinates and seeking out their opinions. Malcolm favors a rigid, conservative chain-of-command structure where a captain is your boss and not your friend. I liked Archer's response, too, which has its own merits: The Enterprise is out here on its own, and camaraderie is an especially important virtue to nurture.

But also intriguing is how Archer's command style makes it more difficult for him to think in the military terms of death. Indeed, it's shown here almost as one of Archer's bigger weaknesses, where he's prepared to take out even bigger risks on his ship for a gamble to keep every crewman safe. It's a weakness that does not go unchallenged, with Reed strongly objecting and finally disconnecting his own oxygen supply to try to force Archer into another course of action.

It's worth noting that after an entire year in space, up to and including the mine that rips a hole in the ship at the beginning of this episode, the Enterprise has not suffered a single fatality among its crew. Archer has not truly faced death under his command, and the evidence here is that he is not particularly well-prepared for that possibility. When someone finally does get killed on this mission, it ought to be interesting to see the impact.

The hardware aspects of "Minefield" are the type that prompt me to ask questions out of curiosity (which is not to be confused with questioning the show's science on the account that I don't buy it). For example, I wonder what it takes to damage an EV-suit beyond its ability to protect you from the vacuum of space. Would a hole poked by a metal spike cause decompression? Also, when the hull segment is detached and the bomb finally does blow up, Reed and Archer protect themselves by holding metal shields between them and the explosion. Is that possible? Would the shockwave injure or kill them or at least jar the shields from their grip? Just wondering.

Don't worry, because that's not really the point of "Minefield." Nor are the Romulans, who remain shadowy figures of a vaguely threatening nature. The point is watching Reed and Archer interact as they try to dismantle a MacGuffin. It's not complicated, but it is effective.

Next week: Phlox finally gets to say, "He's dead," when our first crew member dies (and also possibly un-dies).

Previous episode: Carbon Creek
Next episode: Dead Stop

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52 comments on this post

Sat, Sep 4, 2010, 9:03am (UTC -5)
I also coldn't believe the metal shields would be effective against a bomb that I thought earlier in the episode was described as a third of a kiloton - that is equivalent to 330 tonnes of TNT. Come to that, if I heard correctly, ther mine that did detonate on the ship should have destroyed it completely if it was the same yield.
Marco P.
Thu, Nov 18, 2010, 4:25am (UTC -5)
As always, the amount of inconsistencies/nonsense present in this episode is just staggering.

The best:
In "Silent Enemy", Archer sent Hoshi on a mission to find out what Reed's favorite food was (and during an intense battle no less). After discovering it was pineapple, Archer now suddenly doesn't have a clue what Reed likes to eat, so he had the chef cook eggs.

Read the rest here:
Mon, Nov 22, 2010, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Does anyone else have a strong desire to punch Arher in the face? I can't help it. I always want to sock him right between the eyes.

Phlox and T'Pol are the only truly competent people on that ship. I know there are many that don't like T'Pol and her monotone delivery. But, for me, she sometimes saves the show. Her epic bitch faces express exactly what I'm thinking, which is usually "good lord, I want to punch Archer in the face...".

I may have to also add Reed to my list of competent crew members, because I agreed with almost everything he said in this episode. To paraphrase, Archer IS an idiot who has no idea what he's doing and should never have been given a command position. For example, let's examine how they got into this position in the first place:

*paraphrasing the scene again*

T'Pol: We found a large planet with an atmosphere

Archer: Yee-haw! Let's go camping!

Sun, Jul 3, 2011, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Pretty good on a character level (poor Malcolm in the opening - that's me down to a T) but yeah, been done.

Also the suit seems to have a sort of self sealing goo built into it which we saw oozing slightly when he got skewered, that's probably why all the air didn't leak. Managing to spin around and hold those shields up to survive was a bit of a stretch though!
Tue, Oct 25, 2011, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
"*paraphrasing the scene again*

T'Pol: We found a large planet with an atmosphere

Archer: Yee-haw! Let's go camping!


I laughed my ass out when that scene came up.
Wed, Nov 9, 2011, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
"The best:
In "Silent Enemy", Archer sent Hoshi on a mission to find out what Reed's favorite food was (and during an intense battle no less). After discovering it was pineapple, Archer now suddenly doesn't have a clue what Reed likes to eat, so he had the chef cook eggs."

Just to be fair, Archer says "I wasn't sure what you wanted for breakfast, so I had Chef cook up some eggs."
Captain Jim
Sat, Jul 28, 2012, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Not bad, though I did think the story dragged a bit. Personally, I don't think it was nearly as good as Shuttlepod One. I probably would have given it two stars.
Wed, Sep 12, 2012, 3:45am (UTC -5)
Is it just me, or does Reed have a bit of a death wish? So many times he's said he's prepared to die. I do agree with him sometimes that Archer's command style is a bit frustrating, but if I were Archer, when Reed pulled his oxygen out, I'd have punched him in the head. I also would've put him on report afterwards. It's great to be willing to die for the ship and mission, but not to be *wanting* to die.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Jammer: "Their presence raises the question of how the Vulcans know so little about them considering the Romulans are their distant cousins."

Concerning the Romulans being present, in "Balance of Terror" it's established that while there had been a conflict with the Romulans 100 years prior, no one had actually seen one. TNG also established in numerous episodes that the Romulans are quite a bit more than "distant cousins" of the Vulcans. They are an off shoot of the Vulcans that left either just prior or during the time of Surak. We're talking 5000 or so years. Even if the event was recorded, it would have recorded it as just some Vulcans leaving - it's taken 5000 years of evolution to arrive at a Romulan. *takes off geek hat*

Didn't really feel this episode, except for the Romulans which I found intriguing. I fail to see why the writers are hammering home again and again that Reed is a professional who is 100% dedicated to his work and even willing to die for it. Some commenter said he seems to have a death wish since he keeps saying he wants to die. Well, that's the character, there's nothing else left to say so it keeps being repeated.

Oh and a mine that is that complicated to disarm, no way should a little gadget be able to figure out how to do it with 0 info to work from. If they had made it less complicated I could buy it. The whole redundant arming mechanism was so obvious and contrived - same with Hoshi's let me go to the bridge scenes. feh.
John the younger
Sun, Dec 9, 2012, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Once they worked out that there was a 10-20 second delay between arming and detonation, why didn't they just beam the guys back to the ship rather than have them hold up bits of tin?
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 7:03am (UTC -5)
"Is it just me, or does Reed have a bit of a death wish? So many times he's said he's prepared to die" (Aaron, a long time ago)

Yeah I remember him being like that a lot. I'm not sure, but I think he was meant to have some kind of depression (it wouldn't be obvious all the time as a lot of people with depression mask it so they can function in their jobs and society), but it was never really confirmed either way.
Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 6:20am (UTC -5)
Sorry, I'm enjoying Enterprise more than any prior Star Trek (it just seems a little less soap opera-y or something, not sure exactly).

Anyway, there are still some things that trouble me a bit, like:

- in Minefield, why not use the transporter to evacuate Reed ? It seems a critical decision between losing the ship, losing Reed or Reed + Archer. They've used the device successfully to transport people before .. so why not simply beam him out of there then release the hull section ?
- in Shockwave, when the enterprise is being attacked by 30ish Suliban vessels, why not simply out-run them ? Sorry, but enterprise has a Warp 5 capable engine, and these suliban craft are single man vehicles, yes, they're targeting the engines, but there would have been ample chance to simply outrun the buggers. Or is my logic all screwed up and it's a reasonable contention that single-man suliban vessels could match or exceed Warp 4.9 ? (of course not !)
Sun, Aug 3, 2014, 12:21am (UTC -5)
"I've often wondered why those who hate trespassers so much opt to make it impossible for innocent passersby to know that they're trespassing. If you want people to stay away from your planet, I'd recommend the solar-system equivalent of a big "KEEP OUT" sign and an electrified barbed-wire fence. The barbed-wire fence here is cloaked, which seems neither fair nor practical."

LOL! Good one.

Good episode, but I found it stupid that Archer decided to start chatting in the middle of defusing the mine. It was good from a character standpoint - the material the characters were given to talk about was very solid - but downright stupid from a practical viewpoint.

Also, those Romulans were too hard-headed for my tastes. And wouldn't it have been more reasonable to beam Reed back? Also, I'd like to ask why 22nd century EV suits have a self-sealing ability, but the more advanced 24th century EV suits lack it (see First Contact).

According to Memory Alpha, the novel The Good That Men Do did a pretty good job of explaining this episode's inconsistencies with Trek canon (why the Romulans had cloaking tech, for instance) but it's a shame that the writers' sloppiness with canon required that explanation the first place.

Overall, though, good character development and solidly entertaining story overall. I'll give this one the benefit of the doubt.
Sun, Aug 3, 2014, 12:24am (UTC -5)
And during the climax of the episode when the Romulans were preparing to fire and Archer and Reed were floating in space, I literally screamed at my TV, "USE THE TRANSPORTER YOU IDIOTS!". Why didn't they do that instead of trying to bring them into the launch bay??

But I nitpick what is basically a good episode.
W Smith
Mon, Apr 6, 2015, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
The story really dragged in the middle. When I catch myself checking my watch multiple times during an episode, it's not a good sign. Reed certainly comes across as having a death wish. The fix with the metal slabs as adequate shields against a multi-kiloton blast stretched my suspension of disbelief (which generally has a high threshold if I'm being told a compelling story). The Romulans, as usual, were intriguing, but not much else to see here. Maybe 2 stars at most.
Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 12:30pm (UTC -5)

"...The point is watching Reed and Archer interact as they try to dismantle a MacGuffin. It's not complicated, but it is effective."

Yes sir.

@ John the younger
Sun, Dec 9, 2012, 9:18am (UTC -6)

"Once they worked out that there was a 10-20 second delay between arming and detonation, why didn't they just beam the guys back to the ship rather than have them hold up bits of tin?"

I had the same thought watching this episode. I could make up some technobabble reason but I wont. :-) I guess inter-ship beaming is still dangerous or not even tried yet.

As Jammer states though, this episode is all about Reed and Archer. Very enjoyable exchanges throughout this episode. This is Archer being Archer at his best. Cool headed, thoughtful and determined.

I think the blast shield they used was realistic. I however didn't see the 180 deg turn, as they showed it, as very believable.

I wonder what the Romulans were mining there.

3 star episode for me.
Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Correction. 3.5 for me.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Apr 10, 2016, 9:43am (UTC -5)
I wasn't a fan of Shuttlepod One, and unsurprisingly I wasn't too much of a fan of this one either. Reed's enthusiastic fatalism was extremely tiresome, while the attempt at character development was welcome. Similarly, Archer's pigheadedness is equally as infuriating. Put the two together and it's like all the worst character elements are put together in a two hander that gets tedious very quickly.

Kudos for the fairly graphic impaling scene though. 1.5 stars.
Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
A planet with cloaked mines in orbit. I don't buy that. Why not just cloak the whole planet? (see ST-TNG "when the bough breaks"). What was so special about this planet that they had to place mines in orbit? The episode never explains it. Maybe if they did, it would have made for an interesting concept.
John C. Worsley
Wed, Aug 10, 2016, 12:27am (UTC -5)
31 seconds. It was 31 seconds.
Thu, Sep 15, 2016, 11:10am (UTC -5)
WOW, some guy did send in a storyline about a real captain saving his ship the FLYING ENTERPRISE in 1950's where he stayed with the ship and was there for 18 hrs or so before it sank ...................these guys are hanging out on hull too !! great story
Sat, Sep 17, 2016, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
If I were the Romulan Captain, as soon as the section of hull was detached I would vaporize it. No impossible shield spin in the vacuum of space, no implausible shuttle bay rescue, no reason to hang around any further. Bye bye, tell your friends to stay away.
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
I didn't see the comparison with Shuttlepod One. Maybe I just enjoyed Trip and Reed more than Archer and Reed. I'd watch Shuttlepod One several times, but not this one.
I liked last week's though, can't please everyone all the time.
Sun, Apr 9, 2017, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Possibly beaming Reed back with a steel rod anchoring him to the hull-plate may have been technically challenging. Someone might have suggested it, though.

I liked this one. It's probably clear to anyone who's read my reviews that I regard Reed as criminally underused, and potentially a much more interesting character to take T Pol 's place if they insist on dwelling on three characters (notice how VOY ended up doing the same thing after season 4).

Malcolm's dialog did wander a little towards the same fatalism as in Shuttlepod One, but whereas there it was partly a comic device, here it was genuine, stoic and self-sacrificing acceptance.

I not sure about the whole blast shields idea at the end - how does a shockwave even propagate in a vacuum? - the bit that seemed definately unlikely to me was that the blast would have flung them in so precise and identical a trajectory that they could be scooped up in the cargo bay together (that is what happened, isn't it?)

Anyway 3 stars seems about right to me, rounded-up maybe. Oh, was it an Ep. of VOY where Janeway or one of the bridge crew made exactly that remark to some belligerent aliens about putting up a 'Keep Out'' sign...?
Mon, Apr 24, 2017, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
A good episode - I like how in ENT they are dealing with much "simpler" problems that are more realistic than what takes place in the more distant future with other Trek series. I thought the mine defusing part was well done -- of course you knew it wasn't going to blow up, but it was well-portrayed.
I did find it strange that Archer would start fraternizing with Reed - he says it helps him relax but Reed disagreed but still I thought the conversation they had was helpful in the grand scheme of things. I didn't get why Reed was so tensed up -- unreasonably so -- at the start of the episode when he meets Archer for breakfast.
The Romulan part was bizarre - for a first meeting with them, so much more could have been done so I'd prefer for them to be left out of the episode. And I do detect some inconsistencies with Trek canon ("Balance of Terror" etc.)
And as for Reed -- the main character in this episode -- I don't get him disconnecting the oxygen supply. That is not what a Star Fleet officer should be doing and deserves reprimand - however given the circumstances...
I agree with Jammer's rating of 3/4 stars - episode works for me as a decent one.
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
It seems to me the obvious solution would have been to detach the hull plating under the mine, then scoop it and Reed up into the cargo bay. They then could have gotten the hell out of there and disarmed the thing taking as much time as they wanted.
Andrew Williams (AndrooUK)
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Mining on Asteroid Whilst Being Stalked by Pervert Vulcans: Reed builds a snowman with Token Black.

Sex on Risa: Reed is having a good time and looking for alien poontang with Farmboy Warp Engineer.

Series 1.5 to 2 and beyond: Reed is a stoic and pessimistic asshat with no interpersonal skills or joy left in his heart.

Stick with a personality, writers!

Beam Reed back. He can stick his fingers in his leg when aboard, or just leave the sealing gel to fill the gap, and Phlox can fix him up with some eels and worms (forget gauze or stitches). Then detach the hull and be on your way.

PS: 'No trespassing' signs would ruin many a storyline for Star Trek...
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
I'm just going to repeat what others have said, but my psyche needs to express it so here goes:

If you have technology that can get you out of most precarious situations - like the transporter--and you don't use it, *explain* why you are not using it, or you undermine your story by distracting your audience by the fact that they could have freaking transported Malcolm off the hull the second he was hurt. Kind of like Hermione's time turner. Just use the thing to go back and fix every possible problem in their world before it happened. Made it hard for me to feel any anxiety over Malcolm's situation as he shouldn't have been in it in the first place.

The Romulans. Hahahaha! I'm sorry, but didn't the main Romulan's voice sound like they borrowed it from Voyager's Captain Proton episodes? Sounded like Chaotica's robot to me. Heh.

And Malcolm, bless his pessimistic little head. The writers sure made it hard to like the guy over these last few episodes. He wasn't just pessimistic, he was *bitter* pessimistic. Makes you kind of want to smack him a little bit.

One general comment: Scott Bakula! You were so much better than this! It's so weird that he could by turns be believable in this part, then sound like he was reading an instruction manual from the cue-cards. Sounding official wasn't his forté, and neither was info-dump dialogue. Blah. Director and writers ought to have helped the guy out a bit and worked with his strengths. Sigh.

I love Star Trek. But it seems like there's always SOMETHING glaring out of it that bucks canon or doesn't fit. *cough* Enterprise Theme Song For Example *cough*
Tue, Feb 27, 2018, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Another rubbish review. This was one of the worst episodes of the season. We just got done 2 episodes ago finding out ow crucial Captain numbskull's survival is to the future and he decides to throw all that way by going out instead of sending an engineer or in fact any one of the other 80 or so crew.

This alone makes it unwatchable.
Wed, Feb 28, 2018, 12:50am (UTC -5)
Nice to know people still haven't figured out how to disagree with a subjective opinion without coming across as smug, superior minded or by being an outright jerk. (Guess I won't be learning how to do that here =P ) Espescially to the person hosting and taking the time to maintain a site even though the occasional ingrate who doesn't note the date of the review, the context it was written in or how time may have changed perseptions shows up.

FYI, I always liked this episode. It's one of the few Romulan based episodes when the franchise was struggling to bear the weight of obnoxious Klingon mania. I really wish the series got to develop their Romulan story more, they're criminally under used and often poorly implimented. Plus it's a decent exploration of Reed and how he views his Captain. And it's got nice continuity with the next episode in a way Voyager tended to avoid, so there's that novelty.

In contrast Carbon Creek has always been 'okay' for me. Not one I'd ever raise a needless fuss over, or rate poorly.
Wed, Feb 28, 2018, 11:16am (UTC -5)
@ Ieuan

Tue, Feb 27, 2018, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
Another rubbish review. This was one of the worst episodes of the season. We just got done 2 episodes ago finding out ow crucial Captain numbskull's survival is to the future and he decides to throw all that way by going out instead of sending an engineer or in fact any one of the other 80 or so crew.

This alone makes it unwatchable."

OR.... if Archer had not assisted Reed, the mine goes off and kills Archer and other members of the crew... or the Enterprise is lost.

That one make much more sense when you actually think about it.

I'm fairly certain once Archer "knew" he wasn't going to spend the rest of his life wrapped in Styrofoam.
Fri, Aug 31, 2018, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Khan was arming the ship's self destruct, not the Genesis device ;-)
Wed, Sep 12, 2018, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Ben, Khan really was activating the genesis device. Firstly, a ship’s self destruct would not threaten to destroy a ship millions of miles away as was the case in WOK (only Spock restoring the ship’s ability to warp saved them from destruction) as evidenced by the next film when Kirk destroys the Enterprise and watches it burn from the surface of the Genesis planet. Secondly, the destruct sequence on Federation ships has only ever been seen to be activated by voice command (as, once again, happens in the next film). Thirdly, and most pertinently, he’s literally activating the genesis device! Watch the film again, there’s even a recurring shot of the device making ever louder noises and starting to glow as Khan turns more of the silly metal cylinders.

Anyway, shouldn’t T’Pol have at least partially recognised the Romulan lingo when the ship was hailed first time round?
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
Didn't really like this one, bit of a yawner, and I always doze off when Reed tells his longwinded stories. I did not enjoy the shuttlecraft episode either, so at least I am consistent. Like the others, the first thing I thought of was "beam the crewman back aboard" but apparently the writers thought that would be too easy.
Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
I barely remembered this episode and I had a hard time staying focused through this watch too. It's conducive to sleeping.

The dialogues drag on and they are not delivered with enough passion by the two actors to keep the interest alert, especially when you know that they will make it at the end.

The directing was the best part of this hour.
Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 11:17am (UTC -5)
The number of people who apparently feel this episode was ruined by leaving the line "The transporter room was destroyed in the explosion" on the cutting room floor is surprisingly high.

And I agree - Romulans here isn't lack of imagination or retreading or failing canon. It's really obviously setting up the Earth-Romulan War, which is a precursor to setting up the Federation. Enterprise probably *has* to have an Earth-Romulan War storyline.
Tue, Nov 19, 2019, 2:40am (UTC -5)
1.- You have a mine which was fabricated by a totally unknown alien race. Yeah, just scan it with your tablet and there you go! Anyone can disarm it!
2.- Romulans are supposed to be essentially Vulcans. During most of the 1st. and 2nd. seasons, they refer the omnipresent "Vulcan database" at all times. But now "the computer have difficulties translating Romulan"? They can totally translate unknown languages, but one related to another that is known, no way, it needs Hoshi to out of the thin air miraculously translates it. [By the way, it's ridiculous that she said "Romulins", when the word is "Rihannsu", how in the hell it can go from "Romulan" to "Romulin" with that? At that point it was her choice to translate it as she wanted to...]
3.- I don't know if it could be out of character, but Romulans would had shot first and asked later. Of course the show-runners wanted to show-off their new BoP design, but it was unnecessary, an automated message could've been enough.
4.- Why the captain was in a dangerous situation disarming the mine? Wasn't it wiser to have on the ship more than one dude who happens to know how to disarm ANY [laughable...] alien mine they can find? Yeah, disarming mines isn't a risk profession, so there's only one out there because nothing can happen to him/her...
5.- Everything happens veeeery sloooow. Romulans threaten to attack if they don't leave "immediately", but close to the end, it takes like 10 minutes until they finally decide what to do, with the miraculous panels and all. Romulans said it doesn't matter if you leave one dude behind, because they're gonna pulverize the ship. Nah, they changed their mind, they'll give them enough time, our threats are void as Romulans, we don't want respect...
6.- The Romulans were there, watching how an alien ship navigated through their cloaked minefield, after deploying some kind of scanner. Hmmmm, they can detect our cloaked mines!!! Fire at will!!! Nah, let them go with our little secret... I thought Romulans were very zealous with their cloaking technology... No matter how outdated it is...
7.- No matter how bad this show is, at least it's not STD...
Thu, Jan 2, 2020, 5:42am (UTC -5)
Why were there clomping sounds as they walked around on the hull? In space no one can hear you clomp.
Thu, Jan 2, 2020, 11:29am (UTC -5)

Presumably thdt's the sounds the characters are hearing from within their suits as their mag boots activate and connect with the hull. At least, whenever there's sounds in space on these showd, that's how I justify it's common occurance. Why do we hear Phasers and torpedoes and explosions? Rule of cool, dramatic license, obviously. But in universe I just take it as the shows presenting the characters experience as well.

Plus, the sound is a short-hand way of acknowlegding to the audience that the writers etc. are aware there's no gravity in space without wasting airtime explaining why they're walking around. If there wasn't the sound of them clomping around, then someone would've asked how they could be walking around on the hull in zero gravity. It's all about balancing those plausiblities and justifications for the audience in a cohesive way to make the show work in as efficient manner as possible in order for the episode to get to it's point without too much extraneous baggage.
Sun, May 24, 2020, 11:10am (UTC -5)
I know that they have to manufacture drama the comment from Malcolm about telling him if they have to go to warp is silly. If that becomes an issue they could simply use the transporter to beam him back in before jumping to warp.
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
@The_Man/Sun, May 24, 2020, 11:10am (UTC -5)

You completely missed the context of the line. Obviously they would warn him and get him back inside before going to warp. It was a joke completely in line with Reed's pessimistic worldview (galaxyview?)
David K.
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Lots of needless nitpicking of elements of the episode that make perfect sense. Just because they don’t say why they can’t use the transporter for example doesn’t mean they can.
They part that stuck out to me as weird is how Reed is suddenly so uncomfortable around Archer. We saw them drinking beers together in season 1! We saw them give Reed cake. This episode would have made far more sense in the first season than the second.
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
At 19:20 the camera pulls away from Reed and Archer, so that you see them on the hull of the ship. Is it just me, or do they look too large for the scale of the ship?
James Band
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Great episode. 3.5 stars at least.

Reed seems to have a death wish though.

Great to see the Romulans. Perhaps I'd have added something about them being concerned about the Earth vessel being able to "detect" their mines also.

The transporter issue people are bringing up here should have been handled by an explanation added into the plot of some type of "magnetic interference" emanating from the mine rendering transporting difficult with the transport capability (limited) of the Enterprise (given it is a new technology for humanity and not that advanced as the TNG era).

I'd also have added Archer/Hoshi trying to talk down the Romulans by asking the Romulan captain what he would do if one of his people were down there, or something.
Sean J Hagins
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
A good episode, but some things bothered me. I know transporters are new and everyone is afraid of them, but I think beaming them up made a lot more sense than holding the shuttle hulls against the explosion. That seems implausible (not that beaming is "true", but I mean even factoring in the sci-fi elements)

Reed's nervousness with the captain reminds me of a friend of mine. I can't say I personally understand it, but I realise that not everyone is extroverted and some especially feel uncomfortable around authority. Especially when doing something out of routine.

The Romulans! Yey! I was hoping we'd encounter them soon.

Another thing that really bothers me-I mean, I thought in the episode where Archer was given tech and knowledge by Daniels to infiltrate the Suliban, he had to promise to never use it again. Now that I know that they have a beacon that can spot cloaked stuff, it kind of breaks continuity. I mean, I know it couldn't spot the Romulan ship, but still if they could reverse engineer it, they could easily tweak it. I mean, T'Pol tweaked it to spot the mines in a minute or so. In the 100 years between this and Kirk's Enterprise, Starfleet should have been able to tweak it further, and then Balance of Terror would play out far differently! That seems to be the biggest continuity flaw this episode offers (I am bothered by that even more than the crew not using the transporters)
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
>Here we get some Reed backstory that I think works pretty well. Reed is from a long line of British navy men, and to carry on the tradition, Malcolm was even in the British navy himself for as long as he could stand it.

Why would Earth need a navy in the 22nd century when they have shuttle craft and presumably other advanced forms of transport?
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 4:57am (UTC -5)
"Please sir, may I have some more?"
Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 4:12am (UTC -5)
Reed seems depressed the way he's just always ready to die, or at least lonely. This guy needs a girlfriend and FAST.
Fri, May 7, 2021, 3:32am (UTC -5)
About not being able to use the transporter to beam Malcolm in after his injury, I agree with what I think James Band suggested, that beaming would've triggered the device to detonate. Reed said, "My scans show detonation circuits inside the spikes", one of which went through his leg. However, I agree with others that a character should've said why they can't use the transporter. I noted what Brian said, that the line about the transporter room being destroyed in the explosion was left on the cutting room floor, but I can't find any proof of that on webpages. Right after the first explosion, Reed does say one breech happened on D deck, which is where the transporter room is located. And of course, Reed is the ship's expert on disarming mines, so they need him there.

It's true that the writers seemed to have been somewhat inconsistent regarding Reed's character through various episodes. At the beginning of this one, he seemed reserved around the captain, but out on the hull, Archer says, "Thought you might need a hand", and Reed replies, "Actually, I'd prefer a leg". Ar ar.
Tue, Jul 6, 2021, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
This episode, for some reason I cannot fathom, is the one that got me "hooked" on Enterprise when I watched it on TV during its original broadcast back in '02. Something about Lt. Reed's stoic, introverted personality made my 19 year-old self relate to him to such an extent that he became my "favorite" character. I even briefly considered joining the U.S. Navy and becoming an armory officer to follow in his footsteps (thank goodness I didn't go THAT far).

Watching it again today for the first time in almost 20 years, it isn't as good as I remember it, but it's still decent. Except now as a middle-aged man, when I watch Reed, I can't help but think: "This guy has the personality of a bowl of oatmeal. What about him was so relatable to my younger self? Did I truly have NO life back then?"

Still, a 3 star episode (mainly for the sentimental aspect).
Sun, Jan 23, 2022, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
For me it's probably the worst episode so far.
Shuttle One, however, was really good.

The Romulan plot point just dragged out.

Agree with others that Reed's personality and their relationship seems to've regressed so it would fit in better much earlier in the series. Also it seems strange to me how Reed can criticize fraternisation and think there isn't enough respect for authority, and then simultaneously continuously do what he thinks is best, ignoring the Captain.

A minor point: It's strange to me they didn't simply forward the Romulans words directly to sickbay to Hoshi.
Mon, Feb 20, 2023, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
When the Romulans were mentioned I thought: “Awesome! We get to see first contact with the Romulans, freakin’ A!”

Nope. No Romulans for you! What a let-down.

Instead we get bomb defusal. (Didn’t hold a candle to my favorite bomb defusal, Roger Moore in Octopussy!)

Also, I think it’s clear that Archer and Reed could have easily survived together by sharing one shuttlepod hatch door between them. (Oh wait, that was Titanic).

Anyway, thumbs down. Next!

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