Saturday, June 16, 2012

TWITrek Character Insight No. 8: Malcolm Reed

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, our subject is Lieutenant Malcolm Reed from Enterprise.

Reed served as Armory Officer aboard the Enterprise. Reed wanted to serve in the Navy like the other men in his family, but his aquaphobia led him into Starfleet and aboard Captain Archer's vessel.

Reed is an Englishman who reminds you of the old Royal Guards, fiercely disciplined and not very social. This leads to many awkward situations such as when the crew tries to throw Reed a birthday party without knowing nearly anything about Reed's food preferences or personal interests.

Reed does eventually begin to warm to his crewmates aboard the Enterprise, especially Trip after a shared near-death experience in the episode Shuttlepod One.  Reed and Trip shared a memorable shore leave together on Risa where the two exotic women they courted robbed them and tied them up in a cellar. And they call it a pleasure planet!

Reed outwitted many aliens with superior armory technology throughout the series by making the most out of the resources he had on board. For example, Reed built phase cannons from scratch and overloaded them to defeat Axanar shields. Reed also perfected the stable electromagnetic barrier or force field that becomes ubiquitous in the Next Generation-Voyager era.

Reed is allergic to many things and seems more prone to illnesses than the other crew members on Enterprise. However, that does not stop Reed from diving full bore into the defense of his crewmates whenever necessary, just like his "predecessors" Worf, Sulu, and Tuvok.

One Notable Quote comes from Shuttlepod One in season 1 (episode 16):  
Lt. Reed: Sometimes I think you North Americans read nothing but comic books and those ridiculous science fiction novels.
Commander Tucker: Well, I'll have you know that Superman was laced with metaphor - subtext layered on subtext.
Lt. Reed: Oh, if only Dr. Cochrane had been a European, the Vulcans would have been far less reticent to help us. But no, he had to be from Montana.

Best Episodes Featuring Reed:
Fight or Flight, season 1 episode 3
Regeneration, season 2 episode 23
Chosen Realm, season 3 episode 12

Actor: Dominic Keating played Reed, and he has also appeared on the TV series Heroes. Look for him to play in the upcoming Hobbit movies as well. 

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