2:03 - Minefield
TV Blurb: Archer faces an explosive situation when Malcolm becomes the pin cushion for a mine attached to the hull. Written by John Shiban. Directed by John Contner.
Despite my criticism of how the show portrayed Romulans in another thread, I think writer John Shiban handled it correctly here. Staying with established canon, the characters don't get to see the Romulans themselves, and we don't get to see them either. In the fourth season, we learn more about the Romulans than the crew does.
This is really a character relationship story for Malcolm and Archer from the opening scene, and it does a good job of it. Neither man seems fully comfortable with the other, but they do seem to understand each other better by the end.
Malcolm's apparent desire to make a heroic sacrifice for the ship reminds of his wish to leave famous last words in last season's "Shuttlepod One", and this time he even attempts suicide.
A real highlight of the episode is the special visual effects, with exterior shots of a mine explosion on the hull, a jaw-breaking pullback from Archer and Reed walking on the saucer section, and our first sight of an early Romulan ship.
Next: "Dead Stop"