Enterprise Review: Affliction

Dude, you got something on your forehead…

Affliction

Cast & Crew

Director: Michael Grossman
Teleplay By: Mike Sussman
Story By: Manny Coto

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

Guest Cast
John Schuck as Antaak
James Avery as General K’Vagh
Ada Maris as Captain Erika Hernandez
Eric Pierpoint as Harris
Terrell Tilford as Marab
Kate McNeil as Lt. Collins
Brad Greenquist as Alien #1
Derek Magyar as Kelby
Marc Worden as Klingon Prisoner
Seth MacFarlane as Ensign Rivers

Episode Information

Originally Aired: February 18, 2004
Season: Four
Episode: Fifteen
Production: 091

What Happened

On Earth, Dr. Phlox is kidnapped by a band of Klingons who are desperate to find a cure for a genetically-engineered virus that threatens their entire race. Meanwhile, Trip begins his new assignment aboard the Starship Columbia as it prepares to embark on its maiden voyage.

But Reed’s ties to a mysterious intelligence organization compromises his allegiance to Archer and Enterprise. Later, T’Pol attempts her first mind-meld in the search for clues to Phlox’s whereabouts.

Review

Ah, the answer to the question nobody really cared about. Well, maybe this will be a nice starting point for a Klingon story arc.

High Points

  1. Section 31? Cool!
  2. It’s nice to see Phlox getting some focus, but must all his plots be some form medical ethics problem?

Low Points

  1. OK, it seems a little late in the game to suddenly make Reed a secret agent for Section 31.
  2. Personally, I liked Worf’s explanation better: “We don’t like to talk about it.”

The Scores

Originality: Well, it does explain those forehead discrepancies. 3 out of 6.

Effects: Some good space fights. 5 out of 6.

Story: Decent enough story, but Phlox could be used more as say a doctor than an ethics professor. 4 out of 6.

Acting: Damn, where’s Combs? Couldn’t we work him in. I’m sure he’d make an OK Klingon. 4 out of 6.

Emotional Response: The peril seems thin and forced. Hopefully it will intensify in act II. 3 out of 6.

Production: You can almost smell the gahk! 4 out of 6

Overall: It’s good to see Klingons again, with or without ridges. 4 out of 6.

Total: 27 out of 42

Next Week on Enterprise (February 25, 2005)

Divergence

With the help of Captain Hernandez, Trip and the newly-launched starship Columbia, Archer pursues the kidnapped Phlox deep into Klingon territory, as Phlox decides to cooperate with finding a cure to a virus ravaging a Klingon outpost.

Meanwhile, Archer demands that Reed disclose his secret orders when his ties to a mysterious intelligence organization are revealed. Later, when Trip temporarily returns to Enterprise, T’Pol tries to broach an uncomfortable subject with him.

Additional Notes and Comments

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

TheAngrymob

11 replies on “Enterprise Review: Affliction”

  1. cb says:

    liked it
    Personally, I would have been fine had they never explained the ridges and lack thereof. I was perfectly willing to accept that it was just a production issue and we’re supposed to suspend disbelief and treat them as always having been the same. To that end, even though it was mildly amusing, I thought it would have been better without Worf’s line.

    However, now that I see what Manny thought up, I like it. A lot. He nicely tied it in with a decent story arc (Augments) that itself tied in with TOS, the movies, and even TNG. And I think it fits beautifully with Worf’s line. You better believe the Klingons don’t like to talk about having experimented with human DNA. There’s just the minor plot hole that since Phlox knows, Archer will know, therefore Starfleet will know, and so Sisko should know from taking Klingon History 101 at the Academy.

    Before I saw it, I didn’t want them to do it. But since they did a good job, IMO, I’m glad they did.

    -cb

    • vanyel says:

      Re: liked it

      There’s just the minor plot hole that since Phlox knows, Archer will know, therefore Starfleet will know, and so Sisko should know from taking Klingon History 101 at the Academy.

      I have a suspicion that the Starfleet interest in “a stable Klingon government” would compartmentalize that info so it might well be relatively unknown…

  2. shayward says:

    Reasonable Explanation
    I was satisifed with the reason for the fumanchu Klingons. They look "human" and were smarter than your, "Argg, let’s kill" Klingons of latter series. Yeah, they played the smooth-headed Klingons more like TOS Klingons.

    The 2-ep arc, while a little forced in story and acting, made for a reasonable explanation that adds to the continuity from TOS to TNG and beyond.

    It’s also interesting to see how Trip and T’Pol are some how linked. More on that to follow, I’m sure. It’s about the only decent thing they’ve done with the whole relationship.

    • Kaki says:

      Re: Reasonable Explanation

      I was satisifed with the reason for the fumanchu Klingons. ….
      It’s also interesting to see how Trip and T’Pol are some how linked. More on that to follow, I’m sure. It’s about the only decent thing they’ve done with the whole relationship.

      The augment Klingons work fine, and if they turn out to take over much of the empire (only to die out in a generation two) then I can see the pure-blooded Klingons not liking that recent era of history. It also would be something of an unspoken lesson for the Empire about their agressive traits, and how those traits should not be allowed to rule their lives. By the time the pure-blooded Klingons come back to power, it makes sense that they would be ready to hold off on the war option and talk about alliances with other regional powers.

      About Trip, I think the connection back to T’Pol is lame. And it isn’t kind to his character at all. Relationships that don’t work are one of the most prominant parts of human life in which one often doesn’t get any nice feeling of resolution to things. They could have shown Trip connecting with his new crew and being plesantly surprised at just how nice change can be. Have T’Pol get over her own feelings of loss on her own and learn her lesson about toying around with other people’s emotions so lightly. Tieing the two at the mental hip is lame lame lame.

      Oh, and everyone tip-toeing around the new chief engineer’s non-Trip-tastic skills was also lame. Are we supposed to believe that Trip didn’t teach the rest of the team whatever tricks he came up with? This was the only exploration ship for Earth, all of engineering team would be quite up to learning such things. The engineers on Columbia would also be quite up to and eager to learn everything Trip has learned from real working knowledge of warp engines. They wouldn’t just make vauge statements from the specs, they would be curious to know which of the assumptions behind that number were wrong, and at the very least how wrong (in numbers), and in what other systems that error in assumptions comes up. (Sorry, I’m letting my engineering training/bias show through here.) Ugh. I just think the whole sub-plot is being ham-handed.

  3. valen1260 says:

    two excellent tie-ins
    I thought the Klingon explanation was well-done. While Worf’s explanation in "Trials and Tribble-ations" could have been the official end of the non-question, this is a satisfying, definitive answer.

    And since "Divergence" has already aired, I have to say that "Read the Charter, Article 14, Section 31." was the best bit of tie-in dialogue I’ve heard on Enterprise. And, it answers another murky non-question.

    • hck says:

      Re: two excellent tie-ins

      I thought the Klingon explanation was well-done. While Worf’s explanation in “Trials and Tribble-ations” could have been the official end of the non-question, this is a satisfying, definitive answer.

      And since “Divergence” has already aired, I have to say that “Read the Charter, Article 14, Section 31.” was the best bit of tie-in dialogue I’ve heard on Enterprise. And, it answers another murky non-question.

      Well I thought I was a Trek fan but I missed your tie-in

  4. Drew1Down says:

    Timelines
    Ok, your all sucking up to the fact that enterprise is “good” when in fact it is a kick in the nuts to Gene Roddenberry, ill prove it. Take the whole Klingon thing, making them in to augments and having the recessive human traits of a smooth forehead and calm Demeter

    TOS: no ridges (even when Kirk teamed up with Abe Lincoln and others to fight Kahlass and others (“The Savage Curtain”) Kahlass didn’t have ridges

    STTMP: the first star trek movie to come out and we see Klingons with ridges for the FIRST time, remember, they were small ridges, Gene wanted you to think that the Klingons EVOLVED, and so came the ridges.

    Other movies and series: Big ridges, we notice them, and see them on all Klingons (other then enterprise) Rick Berman is trying to re-write history and make star trek all over again using Gene’s characters and species development and twisting them around. LEAVE IT ALOWN! There is a word for what he has been doing, it’s called Plagiarism.

    Still not convinced? Ok, He called the starship ENTERPRISE

    Enterprise is an Akira class starship flipped upside-down (my god, does it take that much time to draw up a different kind of ship?)

    Klingons have the Bird of Pray class starships BEFORE the D series class ships (aka D-5, D-7 Battle cruisers)

    Drifted away from the fact that earth is STILL defenseless

    “Hi, im from the Enterprise-J and im going to tell you about the future” nuff said

    It’s like voyager, all over again, (a Gilligan’s Island in space “will you be my friend, im a long ways from home with only my little ship and little crew, but if you be mean to me I will find some UNBELIVABLE way to defeat you until the next 2 part episode)

    Speaking of 2 parters, there have been only 5 episodes that have NOT been part of a 2-3 part episode. (If I hear “last time on enterprise” one more time, im going to go insane)

    Section 31, ok fuck with this all you want berman, you made it up during DS9 so you can do what you want with it, but isn’t it a little late!

    My god all this talk of Klingons and no “Klingon Kleavage”

    Have the Borg attack earth, really fuck up star trek! I DARE you

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: Timelines

      TOS: no ridges (even when Kirk teamed up with Abe Lincoln and others to fight Kahlass and others (“The Savage Curtain”) Kahlass didn’t have ridges

      It’s quite possible that it was only a simulation of Kahless, created from what the Enterprise (NCC-1701) crew knew of Klingons. I mean, look at Lincoln. Could you get any more iconic?

      STTMP: the first star trek movie to come out and we see Klingons with ridges for the FIRST time, remember, they were small ridges, Gene wanted you to think that the Klingons EVOLVED, and so came the ridges.

      Then, according to you, Gene is WRONG. Even for science-fiction, to say such ridges evolved species-wide in a matter of decades, without any genetic manipulation, is ridiculous!

      Speaking of 2 parters, there have been only 5 episodes that have NOT been part of a 2-3 part episode. (If I hear “last time on enterprise” one more time, im going to go insane)

      Story arcs, when done right (insert B5 plug here), are signs of excellent writing. (When they’re done wrong, you get ST: Nemesis.) Though they sometimes run a bit thin, I think the mini-arcs are a good direction for Enterprise to have taken.

      Section 31, ok fuck with this all you want berman, you made it up during DS9 so you can do what you want with it, but isn’t it a little late!

      True, Section 31 would never have existed under Roddenberry’s reign. But, I think the darker elements of DS9 (war, espionage, vengeance, hatred) are what make it most human. Yes, TOS succeeded in telling human stories, but only by using aliens as metaphors. The darker elements of DS9 allowed humans to be the moral focalpoint.

      Have the Borg attack earth, really fuck up star trek! I DARE you

      Maybe, this time, they’ll send… TWO CUBES! ;)

      • Drew1Down says:

        Re: Timelines
        Thanks for responding, I will have to guess that you agree with the ones you didn’t respond to so lets start from the top

        It’s quite possible that it was only a simulation of Kahlass, created from what the Enterprise (NCC-1701) crew knew of Klingons. I mean, look at Lincoln. Could you get any more iconic?

        Simulations, from what reference? They didn’t probe Kirk if that’s what your thinking, Kirk had no idea who any of those ppl were but Abe. Sorry you lost that one, it was maybe a simulation of Kahlass as a REAL KLINGON (in that era).

        Then, according to you, Gene is WRONG. Even for science fiction, to say such ridges evolved species-wide in a matter of decades, without any genetic manipulation, is ridiculous!

        So you’re an expert on sci-fi genetics huh? Ever heard of Darwin’s theories, I take it you haven’t, look it up. Hell even Gene was a Darwin believer. Also watch enterprise again where the Klingon scientist said over 1 million Klingons were infected. Wow, so every Klingon we saw on STTOS was one of “the million” and of the BILLIONS of Klingons there were we only see that small percentage that were infected. Wow how ironic.

        Story arcs, when done right (insert B5 plug here), are signs of excellent writing. (When they’re done wrong, you get ST: Nemesis.) Though they sometimes run a bit thin, I think the mini-arcs are a good direction for Enterprise to have taken.

        B5 had a great example of a great story arc; enterprise has no arc, (no such thing “mini-arcs are a good direction” the canceling of the show is the end result to mini-arcs).

        True, Section 31 would never have existed under Roddenberry’s reign. But, I think the darker elements of DS9 (war, espionage, vengeance, hatred) are what make it most human. Yes, TOS succeeded in telling human stories, but only by using aliens as metaphors. The darker elements of DS9 allowed humans to be the moral focalpoint.

        I love DS9, it is my favorite of the star trek saga, but the whole Dominion war was gay, and it ended badly and empty. Find me a Star trek series where humans are NOT the moral focal point. TOS used current events in there story lines with aliens as a buffer from real time events

        Maybe, this time, they’ll send… TWO CUBES! ;)

        Not if admiral Janeway has anything to say about it! :()

    • Kaki says:

      Re: Timelines

      Section 31, ok fuck with this all you want berman, you made it up during DS9 so you can do what you want with it, but isn’t it a little late!

      I’ve actually been hoping that section 31 would come up, but not as some secret human thing. I thought it would be a nice twist of irony if Archer proposed a “no holds barred” type organization to be run by members of all the various species and drawing upon all their resources to prepare for the future fight against the sphere-builders (and anyone else in the meantime). The whole of the Federation Charter would be a big fanfare type cover for the real point of the alliance, which gets the obscure sounding name.

  5. SciFiMan says:

    I’m… Just Ill
    When DS9 had that campy fun about a change in Klingon looks I laughed and enjoyed the quirky humor. I thought it a tip to the “herioc” make-up efforts done on a shoe string budget.

    Someone in the story developement department must have been on a bender. Jumpin Jesus on a pogo stick they spent money doing this story; a serious 2 hour tale as to why the Klingons changed their looks?!

    I was curious so I managed to see the second part of the tale. Okay, I thought it interesting enough that it was about the repercussions of the Klingon’s knowledge of the augments. That made sense for a story, but so soon after? I sat back and watched nevertheless.

    The 2nd part of the tale just seemed to bombard us with too many life threatening situations, even from the begining. Trip crosses between the two ships and is almost killed. Trip, da wunderdog engineer, risks the ship to reboot the control programs on the warp drive. Flox races against Klingon deadlines to find a genetic cure. The federation ships get into a battle to delay the Klingon fleet. Archer endures a painful process (acting in this ridiculous story, Im thinking.) to find the instacure.

    I was half expecting to learn Tpol is having Tripps mindmeldian child…

    A story needs high’s and lo’s to keep my interest. Excitement and pulspe pounding situations are good but not when they are thrown in without let up. Thats just a poor story.

    No wonder UPN pulled the series.

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