A faceoff with an alien race that will one day become a major threat to the Federation. Originally broadcast on October 2, 2002 this is Minefield.
Captain’s Log Date Unknown:
After trying to bond with Reed, Archer is informed of a nearby M-Class planet that he is keen on checking out. However, upon arrival the ship hits an invisible mine that breaches a few decks and injures several crew members including Hoshi. They soon learn that they are in a cloaked minefield and, when a strange ship appears out of nowhere, they also learn that they have entered someone else’s space and they are not happy about it.
After being instructed to leave the area by the ship now identified as a member of the Romulan Star Empire, Enterprise finds itself in trouble when they find that one of the mines has latched on the ship and will destroy them if they move. Reed attempts to move the bomb but is soon trapped by it when it attached itself further pinning his leg. With the Romulans demanding they leave and Reed possibly facing death, Archer finds a way to save Reed by using shuttle pod hatches and a plasma torch allowing Enterprise to leave just before the Romulan ships attack.
In the end, Enterprise escapes never knowing who or what the Romulans aboard the ship really are.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
As a prelude to the Original Series episode Balance of Terror, this episode works in every way. It is not surprising that Enterprise would eventually run into the Romulans as they explored the galaxy and it also makes sense that it would somehow involve territory disputes of some sort. I mean, there was a reason why a ‘Neutral Zone’ was designated between the Romulan Empire and Federation Space, and I imagine, this is one of the deciding factors in that specific border. What this indicates is that, if the ‘current’ borders are at all similar in this time period, that Enterprise is either very close to or across the border between the Alpha and Beta quadrants of the galaxy. Hmmm, come to think of it, I kinda wonder if those quadrants have been established yet or not.
Where this episode really shines is that we finally get a chance to get to know Armory Officer Reed who, until now was basically ‘the weapons guy’ aboard Enterprise. Sure, we have seen him bond with Trip and get to know him personally a bit but his professional life has been rather mysterious. It seems that the reason Reed joined Starfleet instead of following his families tradition of being on the ocean, was that he was afraid of water. Yep, you heard that right, he chose space and the vast unknown because the ocean scared him. Okay, that works I guess. The problem is, he is used to a very strict and very orderly military unit being from a Naval family, so Enterprise under Archer’s command strikes him as a rather lax posting, much to Reed’s dismay. Reed is slowly coming to terms with his situation and, being trapped on the hull with Archer defusing the bomb really helps bring him to a better place. Plus, we really get a chance to see just how determined Reed is to protect Enterprise, I mean, this guy is willing to sacrifice himself to save the ship, you really cant doubt his dedication from this point on.
Overall, I really liked this one, unlike the episode with the Ferengi, they were very careful not to trounce on canon never showing the Romulans themselves and maintaining that T’Pol knows very little if anything about them. They are known only as a violent warlike race that apparently really do not like company of any kind, which seems like they really havent changed in the 100 years till we meet them again. Minefield is a great standalone tale of the dangers of interstellar exploration and a great exploration of leadership styles and expectations.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- T’Pol clearly recognizes who the Romulans are but makes it clear she has never seen them or their ships. This is possible but I have to wonder how much she really knows.
- We learn that Reed does not care for sports in general.
- I also have to give a shoutout to the unsung hero of this crew, Chef. I mean, seriously, this guy makes the meals for the whole ship and, unlike Neelix, never once infects the ships systems with a cheese virus. Talk about a damned hero.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Dead Stop
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Late To The Game 6/28/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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