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(Star Trek: Enterprise production code 029)
  • written by John Shiban
  • directed by James Contner
  • music by David Bell
  • 45 minutes

29: Minefield

For this episode, I have to give some serious kudos to writer John Shiban, veteran of the writing staff of "The X-Files". This is the first episode of Enterprise I saw that actually successfully focused on exploring one of the characters. We learn a lot of nice details about Ltn. Malcolm Reed and his relationship with his captain, and this is all integrated quite well into an action story with stronger emotional investment than most others I'd seen on Enterprise to this point.

Of course, a fine line needs to be observed here if this first encounter between Humans and Romulans is to fit seamlessly into the extensive backstory detailed in The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror". Romulan ships are seen here to be quite similar to the design in season one and two of TOS, and luckily the Humans and Romulans are prevented from seeing each other face to face. Okay, good. But as we watch the episode limit these opposing groups to talking to each other on the radio, it becomes painfully obvious that this Enterprise spinoff hasn't limited itself to using technology that would make the "Balance of Terror" backstory at all credible. How can you put a crew on a fully functioning Enterprise in this time period without having them make better, proper attempts at communication? Was it really wise to park a series in this part of Trek's past while still hoping to use all the old Trek formulas and conveniences? Historically, "Balance of Terror" had relied upon the fact that many such luxuries hadn't come into existence yet for its Romulan War backstory.

On the plus side, this episode does seem to be building up the role of ongoing development within this new show's own second season, redeploying a cloaking device counter-jammer that had popped up in "Shockwave". Nice to see that maybe that story did count for something after all, but if this device is now a more permanent fixture here, it grates against the newness of cloaking technology as discovered in "Balance of Terror".

All that said, this episode actually managed to have me hooked BECAUSE they were dealing with Romulan first contact. It was much more interesting than random freighters attacked by pirates and Earth colonies that had regressed to "Lord of the Flies" situations, or empty parks full of hallucinations.

Perhaps even more successful yet is the way that this episode has consequences for the next one....

Read the next In-depth Analysis Review: "Dead Stop"

This story is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the Enterprise Season Two box sets:


DVD Canada


7-disc DVD set

DVD Extras include:

  • 2 Audio commentaries: "Dead Stop" and "Regeneration"
    by writers Michael Sussman and Phyllis Strong.
  • 2 Text commentaries: "Stigma" and "First Flight"
    by scenic artists Denise & Mike Okuda.
  • "Enterprise Moments: Season 2" (19 min.)
  • Enterprise Profile: Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) (14 min.)
  • Levar Burton: Star Trek director (7 min.)
  • Enterprise secrets (5 min.)
  • Inside "A Night in Sickbay" (11 min.)
  • Outtakes (11 min.)
  • Photo gallery
  • Deleted scenes
  • Easter Egg interviews (8 min. total)
    with Bakula, Park, and Montgomery
Blu-ray U.S.

Blu-ray Canada

Blu-ray U.K.

NEW to Blu-ray for Aug. 20, 2013!

Blu-ray Bonus features include:

  • All extras from the standard DVD set, plus:
  • 3 new audio commentaries:
    • "Carbon Creek" and "First Flight"
      by co-writer Chris Black and
      scenic/graphic artists Mike & Denise Okuda.
    • "Regeneration" by John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) and wife Bonita Friedericy (arctic researcher Rooney).
  • "In Conversation: The First Crew" (HD, 90 min.) with writer Brannon Braga and the entire main cast.
  • New 3-part documentary: "Uncharted Territory" (HD, 90 min.)
    1. Destination Unknown
    2. First Crew
    3. Course Correction

Review written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read the next In-depth Analysis Review: "Dead Stop"

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