Enterprise Review: “Stigma”

You may want to start by reading Fiziko’s post on the history behind this episode and topic. If you’re ready, click “Read More.”

Enterprise LogoStigma


Cast & Crew

Director: David Livingston
Written By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga

Scott Bakula as Captain
Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief
Engineer Charles Tucker III
Jolene Blalock as Sub-commander
Dominic Keating as Lt.
Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery
as Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi
John Billingsley
as Dr. Phlox

Guest Cast
Melinda Page Hamilton as Feezal
Michael Ensign as Dr. Oratt
Bob Morrisey as Dr. Strom
Jeffrey Hayenga as Dr. Yuris
Lee Spencer as Vulcan Doctor

Airdate Information

Originally Aired: February 6, 2003
Season: Two
Episode: Fourteen
Production: 040


While Enterprise visits a planet where an Interspecies Medical Exchange conference
is taking place, Dr. Phlox tries to obtain research on a terminal disease from
the Vulcan contingency there. But he must not reveal that T’Pol has contracted
this disease, because that knowledge would forever stigmatize her among her


The strangest thing happened on my TV last night. I turned on UPN at 7pm. I
double-checked the TV Guide. Was this some rerun of TNG I’d never seen?
Was something wrong with the transmission? Even though everything said ‘Enterprise,’
I had this unmistakable feeling that I was watching Star Trek. Creepy.

It’s sad when it takes a mandate from your corporate parent to get topical,
but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Star Trek, at its best,
is great social commentary and ‘Enterprise’ manages to continue that tradition
(one that hasn’t been adhered to for several years now).

High Point

Like life’s problems, there are no simple, clean answers. This episode leaves
us with that same feeling. We can only hope we get to see more of this storyline.

Low Point

Dr. Yuris’ revelation seemed pretty obvious, albeit necessary for the story.
This probably could have been handled better.

The Scores

Originality: Hurray! Something that didn’t feel recycled 4 out 6.

Effects: Very nice shots of the conference. The broad and panning cinematics
are a nice change of pace from static, prerendered backgrounds. 5 out of 6.

Story: Finally something that didn’t make me want to run away in shame. 4 out
of 6.

Acting: While the main characters are good, I’ve got to give credit to Trineer
and Hamiliton for breaking up the tension of a pretty serious episode.. 5 out
of 6.

Emotional Response: There’s a true sense of tension here, the ending only partially
relieving it. It makes us look forward to the next installment. 4 out of 6.

Production: Excellent sets and makeup. 4 out of 6.

Overall: It’s Star Trek. It’s actually freaking Star Trek!. 4 out of 6.

Total: 30 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

Next Time on Enterprise (Feb. 12, 2003)

Next Time on EnterpriseCease

A military conflict erupts between the Vulcans and Andorians over a small terraformed
planet that both sides make claim to. In the midst of the skirmish, the Vulcans
announce they wish to discuss terms for a cease-fire, but Imperial Guard officer
Shran believes the only one he can trust to mediate such a negotiation is Jonathan
Archer, so the captain and his ship are called into the fray.


11 replies on “Enterprise Review: “Stigma””

  1. Nice episode
    Both I and my friend who watched this episode really enjoyed it, and thought it was an excellent episode. The serious parts were serious — and acted well, especially the first briefing room scene with the Vulcans — and the humorous bits (Trip flirting, etc) had us laughing out loud.

    They tried to fit all the characters in… the bit with Malcolm was good (I like Malcolm), but Travis’s part seemed a bit forced. Doctor Phlox, as usual, shined.

    This episode was a bit preachy with the whole AIDS issue undertones, but it wasn’t as cheesy as a TNG “feel-good” episode.

  2. best enterprise episode ever
    Maybe this will convince Braga to ditch all the puff and non-since that involves the "temporal cold war" and do some more timely material. Next weeks could be good too, I always liked the vulcan-andorian conflict.


    ps:I totally did not click on the link to reply to the other story. It is all in your imagination.

  3. I liked it…
    Even with the obvious agenda and soapbox issue, this episode wasn’t that bad. The vulcans were interesting, and I found the looooove subplot between Trip and Phlox’s wife pretty funny. Trineer is an excellent actor.

  4. Written by B&B
    The dynamic duo penned this… I don’t think they’re as bad as some people exaggerate if they try hard enough.

    • Re: Written by B&B

      The dynamic duo penned this… I don’t think they’re as bad as some people exaggerate if they try hard enough.

      Agreed. I was quite shocked when I put the review together to find that they worked this one through. Now if they could just be a little more consistent…

  5. Enterprise: Social Commentry at expence of Ficticious Culture?
    Okay, I’ll admit it. Against my better judgement I watched this current drama. T’Pol catches a mental disease because of a socially unacceptable means of intimacy forced upon her. This seemed a thinly veiled story meant as a social comment in which logic apparently has little sway. The problem I had was the differing details that obscures the point of the comment. Emotion was greatly in evidence: Captain Archer’s overplayed responses, Vulcan doctors reaction to a socially unacceptable act.

    Since when do Vulcans let humans intrude in their society, by the way? Archer was more outspoken than T’Pol about this. I could partially understand why research was not as advanced; the philosophy of the greatest good for the greatest number may have have neccessitaed less resources because there may be higher priority deadlier diseases to research. Was this explained? Vulcans that had the ability to mind meld were very rare, right? But to blatantly say it was a matter of pure bigotry without more solid facts disturbed me. So much for political skills. Shades of James T. Kirk! haha

    Since when does an illness that affects the mental thought process, and thus the performance, of an officer not a concern of their superiors? Much as I hate to admit it, the Vulcan doctors had a perfect right to inform T’Pol’s superiors. Captain Archer should have been informed by Dr. Flox back upon his discovery. He was not. Captain Archer was irritated by this, but then turned around and hypocritically attempted to cover up the same with the Vulcan high command by taking on the medical staff?! Wouldn’t that attract the notice of the High Command?

    STNG did have social commentary, by the way. It was not entirely reoccuring, but one could find it. Treatment of vets, intrusion into other cultures, racial and same gender relations come to mind.
    With this episode I WAS inspired. I sought to change the channel.

  6. Vulcans again
    How do we resolve the fact that in the 23rd century many Vulcans (well Mr. Spock anyway) could openly perform mind melds (IIRC Spock said the technique was common among his people), while in the 22nd century Vulcans who performed mind melds are treated like lepers?

    TOS did deal with social issues from time to time. I forget the name of the episode with a race of beings half black and half white (but on different sides of their faces), that made a comment on racial issues. Also current events, the movie ST6 (the undiscovered country) anyone notice how the Klingons and the Russians were compared (with a Klingon Chernobyle?)

    Anyway this was a good episode, maybe there is hope for B&B afterall.

  7. Ugh!
    I can hardly believe anyone liked this! The acting from the regular cast was excellent (Someone needs to recognize we already have a Porthos, Mayweather can stop being that damn eager puppy character he’s being made into), but the story itself was just so poorly handled! It was blunt, obvious, and ham handed. This made “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” seem positivly subtle. I can’t think of a single episode of TNG that was as dripping with preachiness as this episode was. And the first few seasons of TNG could get preachy.

    Of course, I loved Voyager, thought DS9 was almost Shakespearian with it’s war-tragedy arc, and rank “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” at numbver 11 (Yes, I know there are only ten films, that’s my point). :)

    And to make many of you jealous, yes I managed to get one of those HallMark Enterprise models/ornaments this Christmas, and it hangs near my near-complete collection of Star Trek Micro Machines. Sorry, I just had to brag. :)

  8. The Vulcans
    Allright, first off, I enjoyed this episode, and I agree with those that it is a step in the right direction to take Enterprise back towards what Star Trek is supposed to be. I find it unfortunate that the only way that B&B could do that is at the expense of the Vulcans and what they stood for.

    From what I know of the Star Trek cannon, the Vulcans have always been the ‘enlightened’ race of the Federation, a species that the rest could look up to and attempt to emulate. This changing of what they are to fit ‘topical’ themes really aggrevates me – don’t get me wrong, the issue is something which had to be done, but why must it be the Vulcans who are the bigots? Why not another species, like the Andorians or the Suliban? It just doesn’t make sense to me, just like the fact that Spock could do mind melds in TOS, but they’re essentially outlawed in Enterprise, which is what, 150 years before TOS?

    Stigma shows that B&B can do good episodes, but they seem to have to warp what Star Trek is to do it.

    • Re: The Vulcans

      From what I know of the Star Trek cannon, the Vulcans have always been the ‘enlightened’ race of the Federation, a species that the rest could look up to and attempt to emulate.

      I don’t know… Remember Spock’s Father? One of the highest ranked ambassadors of Vulcan and how he felt about his son’s chosen path? I’d be willing to let this all slide as I think that the Vulcan’s CAN make fairly fast social changes since their culture is, at least in theory, based on logic.

      Maybe you can further explain this away by saying the Vulcan’s and Humans were able to complement each other in such a way that BOTH made huge social evolutionary leaps.

      Or maybe we’re just too wrapped up in the minutia. Like Roddenberry said: “You gotta have a ‘WOOSH’ sound!”.

  9. Watched today
    I didn’t catch it on Wednesday, so I watched it this afternoon. It could have been a bit more subtle, and they’ll need to take steps toward a rapid acceptance of mind melding in the culture by the end of the series, but it’s definitely one of the best episodes on a lackluster season. I hope this is just the first part of an upswing that’ll continue through sweeps and last out the season.

Comments are closed.