27: Minefield – Star Trek Enterprise Season 2, Episode 3

Matt and Sean talk about how to masterfully make characters share a moment in distress. A return to good Star Trek?

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Hey, everybody welcome to trek in time. This is the podcast that takes a look at star trek in order and in History. We’re taking a look at all of star trek. Yes, all of star trek in order. Still in early days. So we’re in enterprise which is chronologically the earliest of the star trek universe we’re taking a look at each episode in chronological order and we’re also taking a look at the world that the episodes were originally broadcast in so right now we’re taking a look at the fall. Of 2002 you’re wondering who’s doing the looking and who’s doing the talking. That’s me I’m sean ferrell I’m a writer I write some sci-fi I write some books for younger readers with me as my brother Matt. Matthew is the guru and inquisitor behind the Youtube channel undecided with Matt ferrell which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives Matthew how are you doing I’m doing all right holding on people who are watching us on youtube.
I’m pretty good. How about you.
You’ll notice something about my face I’ve got a band-aid on my face. This is from a minor procedure I had done I had a spot of cancer I had the most procedure which is a way to get rid of that little bit of cancer and I am recovering nicely and previously. Was wearing a bandage that was about the size of my head that Bandage is gone. It’s been replaced now with a band-aid that is a normal size and I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing. So a tip of the hat to the doctors at Sloan kettering and. Tip of the hat to science and technology for being able to come up with a procedure like this that allows me to say the cancer is gone and my nose will be okay.
Before we get into the newest episode that we’re going to be talking about and that episode is going to be the episode Minefield Matt Do you want talk to us about response from previous episodes.
Yeah, going back to the lack of your visuals in the last episode we got a couple fun comments. Love sean’s calm soothing voice combined with the slideshow which gets crazier and crazier over time. And the other 1 which was from robbotrap that first 1 was from Makeo. The second 1 ne’s from Robotrav. Absolutely loved the shunts slideshow that was just the laugh I needed today I remember when I was giving the files to our editor and I basically said here’s a whole bunch of photos have fun with it I didn’t know what to expect when I caught it back.
Um, yeah.
I was laughing pretty hard watching that back. It was great.
Yeah, it’s ah when matt first suggested maybe some still photos in place of me looking like I was wearing a paper mache turtle shell which is what it did feel like it as well. I. Quickly went to my phone and found the most recent photos of myself and discovered that I take a lot of really bad photos of myself. So I hope people enjoyed them. It’s nice to hear that people enjoyed them and. Makes me feel like well maybe I shouldn’t even be on camera to begin with. But.
There was 1 other comment I wanted to bring up which was from alex ginsburg um, it was in reference to the last episodes of the show that we talked about which was carbon creek. Um, to me this episode hints at why to paul stuck on enterprise she disagrees with many things captain archer does and yet she still tries to understand how to work together with humans because of this episode I finally know how we invented vial velcro and you put a little smiley face I what the first part of that I thought actually was a good interpretation which was. Yeah, the show felt we talked about how it felt like unrelated to everything we had seen but you can sort of tie it back to to paul specifically of why she seems to be more open to working with humans than the average falcon because she has this in her history and I do kind of like that thread to me still wasn’t strong enough of a thread.
Yeah, yeah I think that that thread is is far and away the best interpretation of that episode and I think that the way you could pull it out more would have been for.
But it’s like I do like that interpretation.
Somebody at the beginning of the episode you have the conversation start with you’ve been here a year the previous vulcan serving aboard a human ship only lasted 10 days somebody could have said to what do you attribute that somebody could have said to her point blank like what do you think it is about you that.
This is.
That makes it work for you and she could dither and not respond and then the story takes place and then we understand it would have been nice to have a few dots to connect as opposed to like oh let me tell you about my great great grandmother. She went to Pennsylvania.
So as I mentioned before this week we’re going to be talking about the episode Minefield and Matt do you want to give us a quick synopsis this 1 straight out of wikipedia folks hold on for the details.
In this science fiction television episode that aired on October 2000 2 that’s half the description by the way the spaceship the nx zero 1 is rocked by an explosion that the crew tries to deal with situation. But was that written by an ai like did this is a science fiction television show that.
That’s right. It feels a little bit. Yes I feel like an ai would actually look at this description and say well that doesn’t say anything. It’s the spaceship. The annex zero 1 this week
No, that doesn’t give you any real hint as to what happened the head and explosion.
Yeah, there was an explosion and the crew tries to deal with the situation I’m going to edit that down so that it’s basically in this science fiction television episode the spaceship, the nx zero 1 is rocked. And the crew tries to deal with the situation and we’ll just use that for every single episode from now on if you were to off the cuff come up with a better synopsis Matt what would you say this episode is about.
Yes, that fits with every single episode.
The Enterprise wanders into a minefield that damages the ship and the crew has to find a way out of it.
I think that that comes much closer to what actually happened in the episode. Although you failed to mention that the spaceship is the nx zero 1 enterprise. Yeah, you didn’t they do rock this episode aired on october second.
I know I failed I didn’t say they rocked they do rock.
2002 it enjoyed viewership from 5 point two five million viewers slightly up from the previous week. A little bit more than the beginning of the season. In fact which was the second of a 2 wo-parter. So I somehow think that’s reflective of I don’t know how viewers would have known that this is a better episode than pretty much the previous 2 this is far and away like this is a really strongly written episode which.
Is easy to see why when you find out that it was written by James Shabban James Shabbon is an American Television writer and producer. He’s worked in both capacities on the X-files and the loanne gunman. It’s spinoff Star Trek Enterprise Smallville Supernatural legend of the seeker breaking bad and the vampire diaries.
Some really good shows in there.
Ninety ninety seven 9090 7 he was nominated for a prime time. Emmy award for outstanding writing for a dramas series for his work on the x-files episode memento morey he shared the nomination with co-writers chris carter frank spotnetz and vince gilligan. Ninety ninety 8 shaban shared a nomination for the primetime emmy word for outstanding Drama series with the f x files production team and when vince gilligan started breaking bad he pulled shaban in to help write those episodes. So as soon as I saw his name.
Oh goody Goody Goody goody. Yeah.
On the episode I started to rub my hands together like okay this is this is this is gonna be in good hands and the episode was directed by james conner and he also directed the previous episode. So the little bit of continuity. There. James conttonner though did not direct these Back -to-back he directed the previous episode which is the story of topa’s grandmother in Carbon creek that was actually filmed prior to the second part of the twoparter which was the cliffhanger from season 1 so the actors would have filmed carbon creek then part 2 and then this so Mr. Contner would not have been just steamrolling episodes out like that I don’t know of a director who would be able to do that.
So on october second 2002 what was the world like when this episode aired well Matt we were still struggling with a dilemma that’s right, it’s the song dilemma by nelly featuring kelly rowland we were still dancing along to that Matt I know you’ve got it on your playlist.
It’s an on repeat.
It’s playing right now I can hear it in the background. The top movie this week was sweet home Alabama that’s right, it’s another movie that sean has forgotten completely and for anybody else who doesn’t remember what it is. It was a 2002 american romantic comedy directed by Andy tennant.
Starring reese witherspoon josh lucas patrick dempsey fred ward mary k place jean smart and candace bergen it took in 35000000 and replaced rush hour in the top movie at the beginning of September. On tv people were still believe it or not tuning into friends I mean what’s up with that. It pulled in 28 point nine million viewers which is a 6 million viewer drop from the previous week. So clearly friends was in steep decline. Mean it’s only a matter of time before enterprise takes over the number 1 spot right? matt.
Exactly it’s gonna be in a week week or 2 there you go 2 tops.
2 toppps and then the news from the new york times powell says u n ought to hold up iraq inspections hours after iraq agreed with United nations officials that weapons inspectors could return in 2 weeks Secretary of State colin powell said tonight that any search of Saddam hussein’s arsenals should be delayed until the security council approves a new strong tough resolution setting terms we will not be satisfied with iraqi half-trus or iraqi compromises or iraqi efforts to get us back into the same swamp. They took the United nations into in the past secretary powell said at a hastily calls news conference at the state department as the Bush administration scrambled to salvage its push for a you new united nations resolution. This of course is part of the ongoing. Push poll between the united states and iraq at a time when we had quickly become convinced that iraq was in some fashion involved in nine eleven at worst or at best was holding weapons of mass destruction and the ability to produce more. And it would not be long before the u s would be invading iraq. So this episode minefield. My biggest complaint right out of the gate is that you have the opening teaser. This is at some point late april twenty 1 fifty 2 and captain archer is in his.
Private mess he is trying to have a get to know you breakfast with lieutenant reid and it does not go well, it doesn’t go well Matt just because reid does not bring a lot to the table literally he.
Is uptight. No.
He shows up with a data pad. He immediately is talking about work. He has to be invited to sit down and the answer is every get to know you question with a 1 word answer. There’s lots of yeses nos not interested. He’s not the the 1 for small talk.
No, he is He is man of business and that’s all he cares to do. It was a painful scene to watch. But I thought it did a good job establishing the character dynamic right there that it was pretty good for that. But it was very difficult to watch.
It is difficult to watch especially for anybody who’s been in a work environment with a boss and felt that kind of tension of how do I get past this moment I Also thought it was a nice bit of writing in the sense that it.
Yes, yes. Yes.
Picks up on threads that have been in previous episodes. We have seen Reid’s parents in a communication with him when they were trying to figure out what to do for Reid’s birthday. What is his favorite food and nobody knows anything about Reid not even his parents. So This is consistent with that I thought that this was a nice continuation of something that the moment Reid shows up at the door I expected the breakfast to go just like this. It was like oh this is going to be terrible.
Yeah, it also fits right into his. He’s a man of service service above self is who he is and so this is bringing that back right in this first scene and then it gets stronger through the rest of the episode.
Right? And the scene effectively comes to a blissful end when there’s communication from the bridge interrupting the breakfast captain archer is informed that the enterprise has detected a seemingly. Uninhabited but Manara class planet in its path and he directs the ship to change course to visit the planet and read and he will report to the bridge I get the sense that both archer and reid are breathing a sigh of relief that the breakfast has come to a. Halt in this manner. But this leads to my 1 and only complaint for this episode. The enterprise is suddenly rocked by an explosion. There is severe collateral damage. There is a hole blasted in the side of the ship we go through the opening credits. And when we come back the title of the episode minefield kind of gives away immediately. What is going on. It removes a bit of the of the nice stress of like what has happened I envisioned. We would be looking at an episode where it would be.
Yes, there’s no mystery.
Was this an internal explosion was it external will be attacked. Is there somebody cloaked what is going on. No the name of the episode Minefield. So it is discovered that they are in a minefield because their explosion had to come from outside and archer smartly uses a technology that it was introduced in a previous episode which is. The sensors that are able to find cloaked ships for the sulaban and this was introduced 2 episodes ago. So the second part of the seasonal cliffhanger and when they lower the cens to paul says these were meant. To find sulaban ships but I’ll see if I can’t adjust the frequency that it works at and they are in fact, able to detect that there is another mine attached to the ship but that they are in a minefield. It’s a nice bit of.
Mayweather saying something has hit the outside of the ship I Really like the sequence where mayweather says something has hit the outside of the ship and they show the exterior view and archer knows the ship so well that he sees a shimmer of something as the the mind that is attaching itself has some sort of.
And it’s like so yeah. Yeah.
There’s a system failure in the mind so it actually reveals itself and it’s and it doesn’t arm itself and it’s just like a little pimple on the side of the ship and when they use the sensors to detect the minefield that they’re in they discovered that they are in.. It’s it. Literally looks like dozens of mines that are surrounding the ship with the mine that’s attached to the side of the ship. It’s there is dialogue in this episode that does such a good job.
It’s a lot of minds. Yeah.
With revealing character in a way that previous episodes have gone out of their way through exposition to let characters tell you about themselves or tell you about other characters whereas this episode does a fantastic job.
Show don’t tell.
Showing the characters and letting their actions speak for them. They’ve got this thing attached to the outside of the ship archer turns to read and says what can we do here and Reid’s response is this is a mine any attempt we make to remove it. From the outside could potentially cause it to explode. You need somebody with ordinance training to go out there I’m the obvious choice he literally in that moment in 1 breath says there’s 1 person who should do this.. It’s extremely dangerous. It should be me send me out there right now. Archer takes his advice immediately. Go get Ready. He Also in that moment archer begins to look for alternative solutions to this and this is through communication with trip trip suggests. Well it might be possible that we could remove the plate but we don’t know what that could do. To the mine. We Also don’t know how that would leave us vulnerable because immediately underneath that plate is a part of their energy system and yeah and and leaving that exposed to space would potentially cause a.
The Impulse manifold that they keep talking about. Yeah.
Catastrophic failure All it would take would be something striking that part of the ship to potentially cause the ship to explode that 4 minute sequence of conversation between the various members of the bridge I thought did a remarkable job for showing. Archer’s Command style something they will talk about later in this episode it becomes effectively the heart of the episode becomes a conversation between Reid and archer about what is military Protocol. What is a command structure and how do you breed? How do you breed an environment that can.
Be responsive to unexpected events.
This whole this whole this whole this whole episode is a kind of master class and how do you create tension and create a thriller and also do really good deep character exploration all at the same time There’s not like this knee jerk of like you have a little bit of action and then you have twenty minutes of dialogue and then a little bit of action and a little bit of dialogue this entire episode was tense from the beginning to the end because they just kept ratching it up every step of the way and at the same time you’re having these great little dialogue moments as they’re trying to troubleshoot that are giving hints as to what motivates each character. And it’s fascinating. It’s really well done. Yeah.
It’s really well done. It is also a testament to exactly what you described that I went into this episode knowing that Reid is in future episodes but about halfway through I actually thought.
Is Reid going to die in this episode. It does such a good job of setting up the stakes so high that as a viewer who knows the future of the show I still had a moment of nail biting like.
Well yes.
I Don’t think he’s going to make it out of this.
Well like for me, it’s like that hit the point where same thing in what’s about to come up in the plot. There’s a couple things that happen in quick session in the next few minutes of the show that really just kind of ratchet things up to like eleven that are really really cool.
So Archer has Tucker’s plan as a backup you work on the background get that panel ready to be removed if we need to do that. But the main approach is going to be letting Reid do the work outside the ship which leads to. Very nice special effects and neat opportunities for the director to use camera angles that you don’t normally get in the series which really gives you a sense of scale and gives you a perspective on the ship that you don’t normally see as.
This is.
Read first suits up and I think it’s there’s a nice bit of consistency with the exo suit that he puts on in the way it lines up with future exo suits mainly I’m thinking of the star trek the motion picture.
Yes, it lines up nicely with that.
His suit is reflective of the design aesthetic of the original series cruise exo suits. So I thought that was a nice through line there. But when he exits the ship and you see the exterior and you see this little man walking on the outside of the hull and you see the nasel in the distance and you get a sense of okay now I see how big a person is compared to the size of the ship and camera angles that are putting the Nacell in the background that way I thought it was.
Yeah I Love that.
Beautifully shot. Really neat, really neat camera work which is of course all Cg and thankfully it still looks like dated television level Cg but it’s decent enough. It’s not like the episode we had.
Yeah, but it’s it’s good.
Last season where there were aliens that were running in the hallways of the of the enterprise that looked like they were cut and pasted onto the video. This looks like you you can tell it’s Cg but. It does make sense that this little man who’s walking like a little robot across the surface of the ship is our own lieutenant reed. He reaches the mine and begins to work on it and as he’s working on it. There is unfortunately. Ah, the the next stage of things being ratcheted up is the appearance of an Alien vessel that decloaks behind the enterprise and the moment it decloaks. Anybody who is a fan of.
The original series. Yeah.
Star trek and knows other star trek history and especially the original series recognizes. This is a romulan vessel and the entire sequence follows the the logic of a Romulan approach to. Interaction with other species firing warning shots making sure that your power is known by the other trying to scare them away and using something as duplicitous as cloaked minds in order to protect. A planet that you have claimed.
Well 1 1 1 thing I want to bring up about the rhymulans is in the background of the writing of this episode evidently it wasn’t going to be the romulans it was going to be some just unknown species and you and I have complained in the past of how they seem to rely too much on previous. Like ohh everybody wants to know a klingon it’s like like why are they treading the ground that we they’ve already tread so they were originally not going to do it. But I think it was what I read was braggga had said why don’t we make those the rhymulans and the writer loved that idea and so brought it in and when this came up. First reaction was the the ship is trying to communicate with the enterprise bit in in a language that nobody knows and my first reaction was I was fuzzy on my memory of the timeline of Rhyme lens and all that kind of stuff in the in the lore of star trek. Why would tepal not recognize the language because rhymulans and vulcans came from the same background and they splintered so wouldn’t there be a commonality in their language at some point so that the language would sound familiar even if she didn’t know it. She acts like she doesn’t know anything and I looked it up again and rhymulans. Reveal themselves to humans and vulcans for the first time during I think it was the original series wasn’t it. Yeah, so it’s like to me there seems like there’s a bit of ah, a leap of logic there. That’s like how because later they explore how the 2 were 1 it’s like how how would you just forget that there’s entire.
Yeah, there’s a bunch. There is a bunch of it is there was rec conning later that would not mesh with what has ever been done.
With the original series or moving backwards in time like this does they reconned the Romulans because of the episode balance of terror from the original series that is the episode where there’s a cat and mouse game between the enterprise and a Romulan vessel.
And the romulans have the ability to cloak and far superior weapon where if they can get 1 solid shot on the enterprise. It’ll disable the enterprise the enterprise has the advantage of speed and maneuverability and the cat and mouse game between the 2 of them is going on while. Board the ship a crewman whose family was impacted by a romulan attack in the past is viewing everything with suspicion and when they’re able to see inside the alien vessel and see that the romulans look like vulcans. This crewman immediately begins to distrust spock and of course the episode has to culminate with spock saving the day saving that crewman and managing to shoot the phasers at a time when it was able to disable the Romulan ship that episode references back to the first contact opportunity between the humans. And the romulans was disastrous. They do not go into detail as to what it was that happened so effectively this episode became that opportunity to tell that story none of that as you point out Meshes with the recconning later of well.
Reason they look like Vulcans is because they’re cousins of ours that there was a schism. They effectively do a yada Yada Yada about it to say there is a point in their common history where Romulans went off in opposition to the emerging. Vulcan growth of repressive philosophy and that the Romulans went off in their own direction and then became kind of a lost tribe. So There’s a little bit of ah of a yada Yada Yada things happened I Do agree with you that there’s there would.
Logic yeah.
But there’s.
There would potentially be something about commonality of language that should have struck her ear but part of me is willing to run with that because if you let’s say you go to a section of the world where it’s groups of people who live in relatively near proximity to each other. Wouldn’t they all speak some sort of languages that would have a commonality to it say parts of India parts of Africa there are in fact, splinter languages which do share common roots but are now separate and individual enough that there is no. Common understanding across the Board. So I think linguistics to to I think somebody who researched this could make an argument for if enough time had passed even with a common tongue romulans. Language might have evolved to a place where a vulcan might not recognize it but given statements of much later series about the relationship between vulcans and romulans it gets a little harder to accept that. And again to play my own devil’s advocate again. We do need to remember that those stories in which we hear people say oh the relationship between the vulcans and the rhymeulans is this those stories are supposed to take place. Well after this, we’re talking about hundreds of years and the in enterprises. Future.
Spock and other vulcans would say oh here’s the relationship between these 2 people. So potentially we’re talking about evidence that comes up much much later.
the the 1 of the.
There is 1 other thing that came up that I didn’t know about once again in the timeline rhymyans at this point didn’t have cloaking technology and so the fact they were cloaking in this episode. It’s a little bit of the the photons came out of the phasesr bank kind of you know push my glasses up comment. But.
Um, yeah.
What I found was that was actually retcon and explained away in a star Trek book. They explained why this episode why they had it and it was explained that those were too. Ah, ah craft they were like prototypes that we were witnessing and there was actually a problem with their cloaking technology that made them dangerous and unstable.
Um, yeah.
And so it took them a long time to work it out before they could roll it out to their entire fleet I thought it was really funny. It’s like you had to explain it away in a book.
Yeah,, there’s also a reference. Yeah yeah, there’s also a reference in in the later Star Trek stories in the original series where they refer to the fact that Ramians have only gotten warp technology recently. So it’s There’s a bunch of things that take place. Within trying to do it this way the way that they’re managing to do it in in these episodes. The writers do have to kind of ignore what has come before and that always that’s the difficulty of a prequel and that’s the difficulty of doing a series in the way that they’ve done it here is to Say. We are effectively potentially going to be undermining what came before unless we completely restrict ourselves from ever touching what came before so the moment you see a clingon the moment you hear the word romulan the moment you see a bird of Prey Any of that starts to get.
Um, well the the the thing it does is like it raises the question of like why would they have done that why did the writer. Get so excited to include Roymulan’s at the suggestion and my only thought was it was they were using it as a shorthand to ratchet the tension because as. Star trek fans. We know the ryming lists are dangerous and so it’s like just by saying oh the rhymulans we immediately know oh crap you don’t want to screw around with these guys. So it’s like where if they had just said it was a random. Joe schmo alien it’s like you could potentially think oh they can negotiate their way out of this. But if you say it’s rhymulans. You know they’re not negotiating their way out of this. They have to get out of there.
I agree with that I Also think that it it removes it’s another aspect of the shorthand is that you don’t have to have anybody on the ship say well I’ve scanned their ship and determined that their weapons are capable of blah blah Blah Blah blah the moment. It’s like oh these are Romulans and you see the Romulans fire.
2 shots. Yeah.
Right? above the nacell 2 shots and everybody in the enterprise is like well they’re they’re not holding back like they’re not screwing around we as viewers know oh if those shots hit the enterprise they are going to do terrible damage and so.
That’s going around. Yeah.
This is if every rule has an exception. This episode is the exception to my rule of they shouldn’t keep going back to well-worn paths I feel like in this instance, the use of the Romulans in this way was beautifully done.
This is.
It It made it does make sense. Yeah.
Loved the moment that the ship came out of cloak the moment you see the Romulan ship behind them. My excitement level went up and I was already having great time watching this episode so these war birds arrive and they begin to strongly threaten the enterprise with. Hailing messages that don’t make any sense. The universal translator can’t get a hold of the language sado has a concussion. She’s in sick bay she’s having to try and help through her concussion and she’s able to give just enough information to say like they want us to get out of here immediately. Sick bay meanwhile is also shown as being completely overwhelmed the doctor I love the fact that the doctor through all this seems very stoically detached from everything that is going around him and he is saying to somebody who has severe burns like oh my leech is getting a workout today and.
Come. He’s so calm.
Doing it all with a very pleasant bedside manner that is born of how he just weathers any storm and this is this is a moment where Kruman Cutler who was portrayed in previous episodes by an actress who’d passed away. This would have been an episode where she would have been in she would have been in Sick Bay with him and I found myself missing her and and mourning her a little bit again. Um, so they’re trying to piece together. How do we negotiate with the Romulans and have reached a point where they know it’s.
You know it? yep.
It’s just not going to be possible and while Reid is continuing to work on getting the mine detached the enterprise is forced to try to use navigating thrusters only to get out of the minefield. Which gives an opportunity for Enton mayweather to lift a scene directly out of Galaxy Quest The Ninety Ninety nine movie in which Daryl Mitchell as Tommy Pilots the ship and Galaxy Quest successfully.
Ah, yep.
Through a minefield literally even down to the controller that comes out of mayweather’s console allowing him to use a joystick to fly even as I recognized in that moment like oh this is like galaxy quest which at the time would have only been 3 years earlier I think that.
The Joystick yeah.
I think that you can’t avoid this moment though you have to have this moment and I so and I say that to point out I thought it was fantastic that everybody on the ship is looking at this minefield with the holy crap like. How are we going to get out of this and Maywe is piloting them out. There’s a shot showing the sweat on his brow as he is piloting the ship forward and in response to nobody says I see it as he is managing to avoid and sees the the 1 window out.
Yeah, yes.
Of this minefield and manages to get them through it unfortunately through these maneuvers as everything is happening. There is a jostling that creates a reaction in the mine. It had 2 of its 3 legs attached to the enterprise hull. Now the third leg manages to release and it releases directly through Reid’s leg pinning him to the side of the ship.
Like this is the this is the moment that I was referencing earlier where I was like they keep ratching it up and I actually started to fear for him the whole thing through his leg was so well done. My first reaction was oh god that looks that that really hurts like it was this like I was like oh that looks brutal and it was just like really honest, just.
Um, yeah, yeah.
Gut reaction that it gives you in that moment that really does put him in Jeopardy even though you know he survives he’s going to go on but in the moment you’re still thinking like oh that looks awful. So it was really well done.
Yeah, yeah.
And I thought it was also well done just from the perspective of how when that happens how his suit responds it goes through his leg and then you see a kind of toothpaste-like gel ooze out of the the suit.
The seals. Yeah.
Suit has obviously been built with a protective inner layer of this gel in order to seal up and maintain the vacuum and it maintains the vacuum right around that leg which is on the inner part of his thigh just about the midpoint of the leg as I say this I am. Touching that spot on my thigh and thinking. Yeah,, that’s a lot of that’s a lot of flesh for something to bore its way through.. Ah yeah, it would hurt and Reid manages to say in with a lot more calm than I would have to report to.
Yeah, shoot through that would hurt.
Captain archer? Yeah I’ve got this thing going through my leg I’m not going to be able to reach the panel immediately begins to discuss the option of releasing the plate and just leaving him behind this leads to archer joining. Read on the outside of the ship again. Nice moment with tucker and mayweather inside the ship and tucker saying to ends in Mayweather. You did a fantastic job getting us through that minefield you should take a break and mayweather saying no I’d rather stay at my post again character revealed through. Action character revealed through their words and their deeds as opposed to somebody saying well you know what maywether did after you piloted that ship out of that Minefield he stated his post a lot less exciting a lot less revealing than seeing him with a sweat on his brow saying like I’m okay.
Yeah, yeah.
So Now we effectively have a long sequence which is archer and Reid picking up the awkward breakfast conversation. Their conversation on the outside of the ship as Reid is making the argument you should be releasing the plate. And letting me go with the mine so you can get the safety him making that argument while archer is saying. That’s not how this is going to play Out. We have options to try and get you back inside the ship and release this mine safely and we’re going to do that by you walking me through the process. And Reid is successfully for the most part navigating archer through this thing while they are making small talk at archer’s insistence archer says it helps me focus. It keeps me calm talk to me talk to me answer my questions.
Conversation while never becoming it doesn’t grind to a halt but it does become awkward in a very different way than the breakfast conversation because it starts to become brutally honest and read revealing to archer your sense and style of command is not 1 that i.
But at the same time it’s it’s that conversation. It gets starts to get a little raw and honest and what I liked was archer leaned into that because he’s trying to keep he’s trying to keep reid alert and talking and so he leans into that awkward conversation and goes well critique me what do you think about this and in Reid’s giving him a.
I Fully endorse you’re a little too familiar. Um, yeah, yeah.
Um, yeah.
Honest assessment and what I liked was archer comes back with a I don’t want to say stomps him down but basically comes back with yes, but here’s why I do it this way and like end a conversation. What’s next and then he’s like giving these really honest brutal assessments of the Captain’s style and how he runs the ship and the problems with it and each 1
Um, right.
Captain archer is coming back with a point response as to in a very similar vein back the him of this is why I do it this way I thought that was a really nice revealing difficult conversation between the 2 where you could tell it was resonating with Reid because he was being heard.
And he was and he was it was being explained to him in a way of him wrapping his round head around why archer is the way archer is which I thought was a like we haven’t seen this this is like this season 2 and we haven’t seen any of this until this point it’s like we’ve had twenty. What is this twenty six episodes or something by this point. It’s like.
This is the first time we’re having conversations like this. Why did it take so long. Why couldn’t have what was who is the writer on this. What was his name again and I’m blankking his name shaban. It’s like why couldn’t they have gotten shabban is first episode. 3
Shaban. Well I I think I think on the 1 hand it takes it takes a writer of his caliber to to bring some of that to the table I think it also takes the first season of.
Yeah, yeah.
Any series unless it is something like breaking bad which is gestated as out of the gate a 5 year plan like we are like I know what I’m doing in episode 1 hundred because I’ve already laid out the story to that point and so when I put it all forward. It’s.
It’s all been born as a single thing this series has in its first season such growing pains for reasons both inherent in every show and also specific to this show being born pre nine eleven and now being. Aired in a post nine 11 world where the goals of what the show thought it was going to be doing and how it was going to be doing it became dated by the time the show was airing and then stuff like this can only be born. A writer being able to go back and seeing what they’ve been doing part of which is coming out of the performance style of bacula without it being stated in previous episodes I think baculus performance has largely bred the idea. That he is a collaborative leader. He brings an openness to his response to his crew. He brings and a smile and a willingness to to hear you can compare that to the kind of swagger of a kirk or.
All right.
The officiousness of picard early in next generation or the semi detached approach of janeway where there’s a air of familiarity but it has a. Place but he has a performance style which in the first season is kind of a it might sound strange the way I put this I’m reminded of dorothy and the wizard of oz linking arms with the scarecrow and the Tin woodman. And the lion and they’re all kind of like running into the weird future together and I think archer is a little bit of that energy of yeah this is going to be challenging and we’re gonna have to rely on each other and we’re gonna do it together and kind of linking arms with everybody.
And that kind of linking of arms is something that reid does not agree with and there’s 1 of my favorite storylines of this episode is it harkening back again to a bit that had to be in the story bible when they first started putting these characters together about Reid’s family being an old. Navy british navy family and the lineage that he has and he has a sense of propriety and place in the command structure that is born of that kind of regimented upbringing and his response to. Archer seems born largely of a misplaced application of what that command structure should look like but in an environment which is so new they’re going into space in this way for the first time the Navy isn’t. Command structure that’s going to work in that environment and that’s archer’s point is if I’ve got command officers who aren’t willing to share their opinions with me. Why do I have them and reid is looking for a little bit more top-down, you make the call and then we fall in line.
And the push and pull literally comes to a head when Reid is making the argument vehemently. You’ve got to let me go, you’re holding onto me and you’re going to sacrifice the entire ship and he unplugs his oxygen from the back of his helmet.
Well, the 1 1 line that I thought was really interesting was he said if you were a different if you were a different kind of captain. You’d be letting me go and that’s before he starts doing that kind of thing captain archer’s like I’m not that kind of captain. It’s like that’s not what he does is on what he’s about.
So in a moment of trying to save the ship this follows him having shared the story of an uncle of his who in the Navy had sacrificed himself despite his own fear of drowning. He had an uncle who served in the Royal navy and ended up drowning in a engine room in which he had locked himself in in order to keep a ship that was sinking afloat long enough to allow the rest of the crew to get the escape pods. So when reid pulls his oxygen. From his helmet. It’s not it doesn’t seem melodramatic. It’s following right in the footsteps of how the story has revealed his character up to this point and archer immediately responds by attaching his own Oxygen supply to read balancing out the 2 when reid comes to enough he says yeah I I should bust you back down to crewman this is you’ve done something egregious at this point.
They know that trying to cut through the legs of the mine are is going to set it off and in trying to disarm the mine. They reached a point where at the last step where reid was hoping that the arm the the mind would be completely disarmed. And made harmless There is some kind of failsafe deep within the infrastructure of the mine itself so that as archer’s trying to hit that last point the mine in fact, comes online and begins to arm itself and will explode if it’s not deactivated again. They take it back 1 step they know. This mine is going to explode if we do anything else to it. We can’t disarm it from the outside and if we cut the legs off it will it will arm itself so they’ve reached the point where they have to detach the plate. But archer still isn’t willing to give up on reid and archer goes back in and quickly discusses with trip and to paul how much of a blast could the doors from our shuttle craft take and here we enter into indiana jones and the refrigerator of Nuclear bombast. Territory but they had to get out of the situation somehow I’m willing to say like okay so they’ve got a couple of these doors and they’re not looking to use them to protect themselves from the blast as much as maybe ride the wave of the blast.
The moment archer goes inside and is like get me those doors. We know what’s coming they are being threatened by the Romulan ships behind them the looming destruction of the enterprise from those ships is. More pressing now than the mine.
Well and also at this point they’ve now the universal translator has figured out the language and so they’re getting the full messages from the Romulans and the Romulans have said to them. We know that we know that you’ve been disconnecting this plate. Yeah, just disconnect the plate and get that get out of here stop spying on us.
We know that you can detach that plate. Yeah yeah. Um, yeah.
Ah, you have to leave right now. So they’re like the threat is now imminent.
So they follow that procedure remove the plate it floats free of the ship and then when they’ve moved enough away from the ship that the ship can pilot itself out from underneath them archer cuts the leg. In 2 spots. He and reid at this point have a slight disagreement of how long will it take for this bomb to explode archer had asked him how long do you think it was when I first accidentally activated the mind. How long. Do you think it was before I deactivated it. And reid says 10 seconds and archer says I think it was closer to 20 this is ah another beautiful moment that through their words they’re revealing character reid is taking the very cautious approach don’t assume it was anything more than ten seconds
That would be the safest approach to assume it’s an extremely short fuse archer carries with him a little bit of hope and optimism like I think it was closer to 20 I Yeah Fifteen Twenty possibly like I had a lifetime there to be able to to deactivate that mind. So in that moment when the leg is cut and read and archer are able to separate themselves from the plate and they grab a hold of those doors and push themselves off. We don’t see any of the riding of the explosion Wave. We don’t get that because that would be a level of I think.
I I wish I wish they had with a little bit of I wish they had with a little bit of the slim pickins Yell the yeah ride in the wave. Yeah.
Silliness that would have been hard riding the bomb down. Yeah, we do get some very nice tension though, right at the end as they are drifting. And we don’t see them but we see inside the ship as to paul and trip are watching mayweather try and get the ship angled the right way with the shuttle bay doors open to be able to effectively scoop the 2 of them up and then. Get to warp the moment that the shuttle bay doors are closed and as they are doing that the romulan ships are closing in it is the last moment extremely tense a lot of fun cut to the inside of the shuttle. Bay where the 2 of them are literally lying on the floor having just been scooped up lying on the floor and now continuing their debate of well how much time do you think that was before it exploded was it ten seconds or was it 20 for a brief moment I thought.
This is.
How long was that was it 10 seconds twenty yeah.
Should rewind this and see exactly how long it was but then I realized that’s not the point. The point is that they’re having that debate because they made it and in that moment. Both of them are revealing I get you a little bit better than I did before So a very nice moment.
And in archer’s and archer’s comment. Yeah in archer’s comment to him of where reid says I think it was closer to I think it was twelve seconds or whatever he said it was and archer says I’m not going to argue with you and then there’s this long pause where reid looks like he’s gotcha and archer’s comment of it was.
Yeah, and that’s an order.
It was twenty seconds it’s like he’s basically saying the argument’s over the official documentation is going to say twenty seconds it was like I just love that he’s pulling the Captain’s weight of you can stop arguing about this now.
Right? yeah.
It’s a beautiful moment that is born out of a tension-filled scenario that is effectively just put 2 characters in extreme danger and don’t have them talk about. Danger as if it’s the only part of them in that Moment. It’s let the danger illustrate who they are as characters Enterprise has done that a number of different times with 2 person storylines like this. There’s trip and archer trapped in the desert didn’t do it so successfully trip and read trapped in a shuttle craft slowly freezing to death. Ah did it more effectively. But I think this 1 really seals itself as this 1 demonstrates. Top to bottom the best way to let character reveal itself through plot and I think that it’s It’s beautifully done.
Yeah I agree this was this is 1 of my favorite episodes in a while from the ones we’ve been watching in sequence. Um it. It stands up it still you know stands the test of time because I remember liking it when it was first aired and watching it I I liked it just as much. It is a really tight well- done. Well-directed well writtentten. Well acted episode I thought was very good.
Yeah, so my question to the viewers is this up to this point is there some other episode that has revealed character in a way that you think has done a better job than this or do you agree that this episode really has set a very high bar for. What the show is capable of as far as putting characters on the screen responding to danger and through that revealing who they are as people Matt next time we’re going to be talking about deadstop that was not me reciting a telegram. That’s the name of the episode any predictions what we be talking about.
I Think it’s going to be something where everybody just stops could be.
And deadstop.
Maybe everybody’s dead or maybe it is a telegram dead stop before we sign off Matt is there anything you want to remind our audience about.
Dead stop.
Just a lot of cool topics coming up on my undecided with Matt ferll channel I’m gonna be having a video coming up in the next few weeks I’m not actually sure when it’s going to drop. But I’m going to be revisiting my tesla powerwall how it’s been going over the past year and I’ve been participating in a virtual power planet system.
But you have going on.
And so there’s going to be kind of a breakdown of what that’s been like.
Sounds good. As for me, you can check out my website seanferrell dot com you can also look for my books at any bookstore which would include anything from Amazon bruns and noble all the way down to your local bookseller or your public library. You can check those out. You can find out what those titles are on my website. And you can ask for them by name appreciate anybody who’s interested in looking at those as a reminder you can visit trek in time dot show and from there you can directly support the podcast you can of course also through Youtube subscribe. Follow if you have any comments or corrections. Please reach out. You can find our contact information in the podcast notes youtube you can comment directly below the video as Matt pointed out Romulan ships showing up with cloaks and warf technology. Kind of doesn’t mesh with what we’ve been told previously is there anything that our listeners or viewers noticed about the retconning taking place in this episode that doesn’t ever fully get explained as much as I love the the episode i. Do find moments where I have to kind of like la la la I don’t know what I already know please do remember to subscribe to like the episode and share it widely with friends and strangers and to come back next time. Thank you so much for listening everybody. We’ll talk you later.
Yada Yada yada.
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