The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Minefield

Whilst approaching a new M-class planet, Enterprise stumbles on a minefield filled with cloaked mines. And when an unexploded mine lodges on the hull, it falls to Reed and Archer to disarm it safely before the owners of the minefield return.

The Romulans are an awkward topic for Enterprise. As per the established timeline of TOS, the Romulan War takes place three years after this episode, which makes one feel as if Romulans should start showing up all over the place. On the other hand, it was a major plot point in Balance of Terror that all communications in said war took place over subspace radio, and that no human had ever seen a Romulan until 2267. This is too important to retcon, but also really limiting.

With that in mind, we get Minefield – an episode in which Enterprise encounters two Romulan Birds of Prey, but never makes visual contact with its crew. Do the adversaries in this episode need to be Romulans? Not really, it’s pure fan service. Then again, it does make them slightly more interesting than if they were yet another throwaway enemy of the week.

Romulans aside, Minefield is a standard “defuse the bomb” story, with some additional character focus for Malcolm. Malcolm’s awkwardness around Archer feels like something that should have been covered last season, so that this year we could see him starting to relax and fit in with the crew. In fact, most of the time Malcolm seems perfectly happy to do everything from going to movie night to speaking his mind on the bridge – it’s like his standoffishness only surfaces when the writers remember it. Sadly, when they do remember it, it’s not welcome – apart from the few moments where his sardonic sense of humour comes through, Malcolm is mostly a bit of an arse in this episode.

Franchise nods

  • This episode marks the first appearance of Romulan Birds-of-Prey.

Other points

  • Archer says he read about the Romulans in the 31st century – what he actually means is that he saw the name on the spine of a book.
  • Given that Reed and Archer were spinning in space, it’s just as well that the shuttlepod hatches were facing the explosion at exactly the right moment.
  • Somehow the football World Cup has survived until the 22nd century (boo). England has even regained enough form to be able to make it to the final.
  • The Romulans seem to have mastered cloaking technology here, even though in Balance of Terror it seemed to be a new and experimental technology.
  • Reed’s spacesuit is able to self-seal in the event of a leak, a functionality that seems to have been lost by the 24th century.

Summary – Minefield: “This morning, at breakfast, before we were interrupted. You said you didn’t follow any particular sport.”

Well, I’m afraid I haven’t started following one since breakfast, sir.”

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