Enterprise Review: “Similitude”

Who are you, and what have you done with the Enterprise writing staff?

Similitude

Cast & Crew

Director: LeVar Burton
Written By: Manny Coto

Starring
Scott Bakula as Captain
Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief
Engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker III
Jolene Blalock as Sub-commander
T’Pol
Dominic Keating as Lt.
Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery
as Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi
Sato
John Billingsley
as Dr. Phlox

Guest Cast
Shane Sweet as Sim-Trip (Age 17)
Adam Taylor Gordon as Sim-Trip (Age 8)
Maximillian Orion Kesmodel as Sim-Trip (Age 4)

Episode Information

Originally Aired: November 19, 2003
Season: Three
Episode: Ten
Production: 062

What Happened

After an accident in Engineering leaves Trip mortally injured, Dr. Phlox attempts to save the chief engineer by creating a “mimetic simbiot” — a clone — of him to harvest neural tissue from it. In its very short lifespan, the simbiot grows rapidly from baby to adult, and surprises the crew with detailed memories of the real Trip’s life. Meanwhile, the accident has left Enterprise disabled and adrift inside a destructive space cloud, so the crew attempts to free the ship before they are stranded forever. [Video Preview]

Review

Vacation’s over. Next week B&B return as writers for Enterprise. On the upside, it’s only for one episode. In the meantime, we have this little gem of an episode. Pulling in topical bits from the science community, Manny Coto creates an iteresting piece with some great dialogue and a plot that you actually care about. All while maintaining (if not enhancing) the overall pacing and tension of the story arc.

High Point

The “Don’t Make Me a Murderer” scene. Nice change of pace from the normally bland acting and dialog.

Low Point

I’m having a hard time buying jets of flame shooting from a warp core. Is it just me?

The Scores

Originality: The topic’s been bandied about in science ethics forums, but I don’t know if Sci-Fi’s taken a stab at this one. 5 out of 6.

Effects: Overburns and particulate build-up. I mean, what’s not to like? 5 out of 6.

Story: Topic bits and interesting twists. A far-above-average for this show. 4 out of 6.

Acting: Nice acting. Seems like everyone wanted to bring this one to life. 4 out of 6.

Emotional Response: It manages to wrap you up into the ethical concerns and not dismiss them as just a subplot. 5 out of 6.

Production: Nothing standout, it’s all sets we’ve used before. And while the flames had no scientific rationale, they did look cool. 5 out of 6

Overall: Really underscores Archer’s determination and delivers an interesting story. And we’ll need to enjoy it while we can. Next week, Berman and Braga return as writers. 5 out of 6.

Total: 33 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

Next Time on Enterprise (November 26, 2003)

Carpenter Street

Ex-crewman Daniels, a temporal agent from the future, appears on Enterprise and sends Archer and T’Pol back in time to 2004 Earth, to learn why three Xindi-Reptilians have been detected in the timeline where they’re not supposed to be. Using 22nd-century technology, Archer and T’Pol scour Detroit, Michigan, and locate an abandoned factory where the Xindi are developing a biological weapon with the help of a local medical worker. [Video Preview]

Additional Notes and Comments

If you’re interested in what’s in TheAngryMob’s review queue, check out my What’s Coming page.

TheAngrymob

16 replies on “Enterprise Review: “Similitude””

  1. Kaki says:

    The real low point…
    …was the scene where Archer “explains the situation” to the child Sim. I use scare quotes because Archer barely said anything. The kid basically guessed the whole thing given a look at Trip and ten seconds. Lame.

    It was like the writer didn’t know quite how to handle the revelation and reaction… so he just sorta skipped it. At least, it felt to me like skipping it. I had been waiting to see how that scene would go down for like ten minutes… then “Oh ho-hum, I’m a clone, huh. What’s next?”

    You got the high point right. Super pissed is the proper reaction when subordinates start putting moral limits on what he can and can’t do to save Earth. I hope the writers don’t screw up the way Archer has changed by doing any “last minute change of heart to good” for a cheap redemption schtick at the end of this plot arc.

    Didn’t Trip make the captain promise, back when the whole trip to the Expanse started, about doing whatever it takes? Archer should have thrown that back in Sim’s face along with those other verbal slap-downs. Mentioning that Trip had already as good as killed himself for the mission and thus Sim should be ready to do the same would also have been good.

    The “hard sci-fi low point” was the craptastic idea that Sim would remember anything of Trip’s life.

    And if Sim and T’Pol stopped at just a kiss, then that qualifies as some kind of low point. “Come on, I’m about to die here, baby. Logically kissing is just a good start for what needs to go on here.”

    • Jhon says:

      Re: The real low point…

      The “hard sci-fi low point” was the craptastic idea that Sim would remember anything of Trip’s life.

      What was bad was Phlox’s suggestion that it was due to some type of “genetic memory”. A “better” theory would have been one where the sim is not only a genetic duplicate, but a bio-chemical duplicate — and maintains some type of “link” with the original “host” until the “simulation process” is complete.

  2. bombadil says:

    Best. Episode. Ever.
    I had pretty much given up on ever seeing a decent Enterprise until this eposode. It was great.

    The moral dilemma was captivating from start to end.
    It was great seeing Archer have some balls for once.
    I was wondering how they would “cheat” the teaser showing Tripp’s funeral. Good one.

    I fully expected a B&B style ‘Deus Ex Machina’ where Phlox managed to both save Tripp and Extend Sim’s life at the same time, only to have Sim die saving the ship in a heroic gesture anyway. Great that they didn’t chicken out of a hard answer!

    • TwistyHat says:

      Re: Best. Episode. Ever.
      Funny how people are different. I thought they *did* chicken out of a hard answer.

  3. Boglin says:

    Chronology
    I’m just trying to recall:

    Isn’t this the fourth episode this season which was shown out of chronological order? Or is it just the third?

    It’s a neat literary device, but I hope it doesn’t become a crutch.

  4. quantaman says:

    Great ep
    SPOILER WARNING
    It was interesting when they started tossing around the idea of extending Sims life. Would of been some interesting interactions if he did take the shuttle out just long enough to be incompatible, then the doctor would of had to use the enzyme, the original Trip would die of course. Effect would be having Sim as the new Tucker. Would have some very interesting crew interactions with Sim having let Trip die which is probably why it didn’t happen, now B&B can forget about this episode ever happening with out doing anything complicated or original.

  5. gemseele says:

    Couldn’t suspend disbelief
    Couldn’t get past the cloned Trip having the real trip’s memories. I didn’t like the cloning vegetable device. And if they wanted to grow a clone for harvesting, they would have been better off keeping it in stasis to subdue some of the guilt complex.

    • bombadil says:

      Re: Couldn’t suspend disbelief

      Couldn’t get past the cloned Trip having the real trip’s memories. I didn’t like the cloning vegetable device. And if they wanted to grow a clone for harvesting, they would have been better off keeping it in stasis to subdue some of the guilt complex.

      Even us lowly humans know better than to name our research animals. The first thing Phlox does is name the kid and start knitting socks and mittens.

  6. Kamakiriad says:

    Unhappy with this episode
    I have to admit, this entire episode was a rip-off of the Voyager Tuvix episode (worst episode ever). Keeping a clone in stasis would have been the logical thing a real crew would have done but, of course, you would then have a 5 minute episode.

    Ethical considerations aside (you just don’t create a creature, let it live, just to kill it) the part of this episode that WOULD have been interesting would have been Sim’s acceptance of his fate. This was really glossed over, and the memory thing was really weak. A stronger episode would have actually been exploring how a being discovers he only has 8 days to live, and has to deal with his own mortality. The dialogue given to Sim was really weak: “Gee, a kiss from the hot vulcan is all I need” and “I was all ready to leave, but I’m not afraid to die, just afraid of not existing” what the F is that?!?!

    Overall, the episode could have been worse, and I am more willing to accept Archer the murderer (when Earth lies in the balance) than Janeway’s decision. It was more plausible, but certainly didn’t ring true to the charachter they have aready created in Archer.

    • vanyel says:

      Re: Unhappy with this episode

      A stronger episode would have actually been exploring how a being discovers he only has 8 days to live, and has to deal with his own mortality. … The dialogue given to Sim was really weak: “Gee, a kiss from the hot vulcan is all I need”

      Yeah, the moral dilemma was interesting, but they should have come up with a more believable way of doing it — a transporter accident even. Genetic memory is nonsense. Still, it was a good show if you shut off any part of your brain that tries to think about the setup or the resolution.

    • rune says:

      Re: Unhappy with this episode

      his own mortality. The dialogue given to Sim was really weak: “Gee, a kiss from the hot vulcan is all I need”

      I don’t think a kiss was all he got! :-)

      T’Pol kiss him, we have a time cut, and in the next scene Sim stumble into Sickbay reminiscent of Captain Kirk putting his boots back on.

      It’s a bit like that scene in Casablanca where we see Bogart kiss Ingrid Bergman. There is a dissolve to a view of a lighthouse, and next we see Bogart standing by the window, smoking a cigarette. Now, did they have sex, or was that just a pretty picture of a lighthouse?

  7. Kaki says:

    Archer

    It was more plausible, but certainly didn’t ring true to the character they have aready created in Archer.

    I thought is rang very true. Archer used to be a boy that loved his dad, out being the explorer. That is over. He has now accepted the role of captain of the ship with the only hope of saving Earth.

    Imagine that all your family, every friend you ever had, each and every single person you ever met or saw on the street, and everyone, every-freaking-human alive were depending on you to save them. You. The character of Archer seems to properly feel that stress. To the point of breaking from it. If they play him right, murder and far more gruesome tasks are just the tip of what he should be capable of doing.

    • HulkStrongestOne says:

      Re: Archer
      > Imagine that all your family, every friend you ever had,
      > each and every single person you ever met or saw on the
      > street, and everyone, every-freaking-human alive were
      > depending on you to save them. You.

      Which reminds me. Earth must be going insane building new starships (real WAR starships). The keels (so to speak) of dozens must be lain down and underway already. It’s been almost six months or so.

      If you look at the US’s large aircraft carrier totals during the course of WWII, it starts out low, like 6, and after the Pearl Harbor attack (none were in port), drops down quickly to 3, but the number being built in the queue goes from 0 to 1 to 3 to 5 to 9 to 14 to 19, and they start popping out the queue while the build queue remains huge and replenished. It finished the war with like 19 large carriers and 70 or so light carriers. And each of those has a support battle group.

      I think at the high point the US was producing one major warship every week.

      • HulkStrongestOne says:

        Major bug in Bureau42
        You know, you have a major bug here where the carriage returns disappear. It’s silly I have to put in BR’s to make it look ok.

        Imagine that all your family, every friend you ever had, each and every single person you ever met or saw on the
        street, and everyone, every-freaking-human alive were depending on you to save them. You.

        Which reminds me. Earth must be going insane building new starships (real WAR starships). The keels (so to speak) of dozens must be lain down and underway already. It’s been almost six months or so.

        If you look at the US’s large aircraft carrier totals during the course of WWII, it starts out low, like 6, and after the Pearl Harbor attack (none were in port), drops down quickly to 3, but the number being built in the queue goes from 0 to 1 to 3 to 5 to 9 to 14 to 19, and they start popping out the queue while the build queue remains huge and replenished. It finished the war with like 19 large carriers and 70 or so light carriers. And each of those has a support battle group.

        I think at the high point the US was producing one major warship every week.

  8. Icehouseman says:

    It was good.
    Was it perfect? No. But it was enjoyable in a Star Trek sorta way. I mean Trek was never based on really good science in the past. I didn’t buy the whole thing with Sim having Trip’s memories either. But because everything else in this episode was so well done, I’m able to ignore that. In my opinion, if I enjoy the show, why nitpick about little things?

  9. is says:

    good episode…
    Yes, the memory thing is stupid…
    Yes, the kiss idea was stupid
    But overall… it was good, especially compared to the crap that B&B regularly serve up.

    I hope they continue to let other writers do the work.

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