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Archer/Reed Minefield Celebration Thread

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Archer/Reed Minefield Celebration Thread

Postby Honeybee » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:11 am

Howdy!

Since the rewatch party thread seems to be focusing on the mechanics of the script and motivation rather than the Archer/Reed ship, I've decided to open a Minefield celebration thread here. This will be for detailed discussion of the A/R stuff in Minefield. Gush to your heart's content! :adore

For the record, the rewatch party thread is here:

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=4144
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Re: Archer/Reed Minefield Celebration Thread

Postby mareel » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:38 am

Well, I'm going to start by reposting most what I said in the other thread, because I think it got pretty buried. I have added some additional, specifically A/R thoughts as well.

This is an amazing episode (and one of my personal favorites) for several reasons - for the light it shines on Jon's command style, for showing his compassion and care for his crew when they are injured or in danger, and for the development of his relationship with Malcolm.

Jon is a hands-on captain. We've seen that before on a number of occasions, and will continue to see it in future seasons. It's intrinsic to his character. He is collaborative (as he tells Malcolm, he wants opinions), but in the end he makes his decision and often is the one to implement it.

In this case, Jon considers the limited options and knows that he needs to be the one to go out to defuse that mine and rescue Malcolm. In that scene we see something very rare: Malcolm not only smiles at seeing Jon there, but actually laughs and jokes with him about the painkiller he’s administering. He's actually much more relaxed and open with Jon in this situation than he was during the interrupted 'breakfast with the Captain' scene that opens this episode, which resembles nothing so much as a very awkward first date. Out on the hull, Jon insists on making conversation as Malcolm talks him through an attempt to defuse the mine. Malcolm is uncomfortable with the personal turn of the conversation, but he opens up as we've never heard him do with anyone else, revealing details of his past, his family, his own deepest fears.

Most importantly, Jon convincingly demonstrates to Malcolm that he is never going to abandon him, not even when Malcolm disconnects his air hose in hopes that his suicide would relieve Jon of the burden of having to decide to cut him loose to save the ship and crew. He seems genuinely surprised by both Jon's anger at the attempt and by Jon's fierce determination to save him... and something seems to shift in him during those moments. Jon must sense this intuitively, trusting that he won't attempt to do that again, because he leaves Malcolm alone on the hull and goes back inside the ship for the shield materials.

Malcolm has an incredibly strong set of personal shields. We saw them at full force during the breakfast, and watched them progressively lowered during the time on the hull. I believe that this is his defense mechanism in general (not to let most people get too close) but also a specific defense against an attraction he was just beginning to acknowledge to himself. If he can keep the shields up, keep to a rigid belief about fraternization, then he can safely bury those feelings of attraction. What he probably didn't ever count on was Jonathan's persistence in getting past those shields, and I'm convinced he never expected the attraction to be mutual (at least in part because he has apparently had very little if any experience with successful relationships and blames himself for that failure.)

As we see Jon holding him in the cargo bay, it's clear that Malcolm has not slipped back into 'detached' mode. The smiles and banter and looks exchanged show that at least for the moment, the shields are down and he's content to share those moments together. Theirs is a gradually developing relationship, and these events are an important milestone.
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Re: Archer/Reed Minefield Celebration Thread

Postby entkayjay » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:56 pm

As I've said before and elsewhere, I was not a slasher, AT ALL... I MEAN AT ALL (okay, Starsky and Hutch notwithstanding, I was a naive teenager/young adult who knew nothing about homosexuality, period) ... prior to Enterprise. I wasn't even a slasher in the first year or two of the show. It took hanging out with a bunch of slashers with a totally different ship to start opening up my eyes and my heart.

When I was shown the subtext in these episodes -- Silent Enemy, Minefield, Communicator -- it was like someone slammed my head into a wall. HOW COULD I HAVE NOT SEEN THIS? Seriously. The subtext is subtle but there elsewhere; here in Minefield, for example, it drips from the scenes.

I became a fierce slasher because of Archer/Reed. And I resisted it, even! Very few people know the process I went through to get where I am today *melodramatic music inserted here*. And even though I see slashiness everywhere nowadays, this ship is my OTP, not because of fanon or make believe wishful thinking, but because the acting, the character backgrounds and setups, and the subtext was so strong that it changed me as a person, at over forty years of age.

That's probably one reason I'm pretty firm on promoting it and talking about it when the issue is challenged. So be it. No one else has to believe in it. But I sure do.
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