“Enterprise” – A Night In Sickbay

This had about as much cheesecake as Birds of Prey last night, but at least this one managed to integrate it into the story somewhat.

Cast & Crew

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

Starring
Scott Bakula as
Captain Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer
as Chief Engineer Charles 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
Vaughn Armstrong as Kreetassan Captain

Airdate Information

Originally Aired: Oct. 16, 2002
Season: Two
Episode:
Five
Production: 030

Surgery
What
Happened

In an attempt to negotiate for hardware to replace a failing plasma
injector, Archer, T’Pol, Hoshi and Porthos beam down to the Kreetassan
homeworld. They were refused the equipment and sent home.

While they were in decontamination, Phlox noticed that Porthos had
arrived with an unknown pathogen, and would have to stay in sickbay.
While Archer stayed in sickbay to monitor his beagle, Hoshi determined
that they had been sent home because Porthos had urinated on a
culturally important tree. The Kreetassans transmitted a list of
requirements for an acceptable apology from Archer.

This premise was really a set-up to explore three relationships that
haven’t been greatly developed before. We learned about how Archer
first got Porthos (he was the child of an ex-girlfriend’s mother’s
beagle,) and how much having a dog means to him. We learned more
about Phlox and his culture, as well as how he interacts with Archer.
This relationship also lead to Archer’s revelation that he was feeling
attracted to T’Pol.

Eventually, Archer completed the remarkably complicated apology
procedure, and Enterprise was given three plasma injectors instead of
just the one they asked for. He also began to broach the subject of
his feelings with T’Pol, only to be very diplomatically rejected.

Unfortunately, Porthos survived.

Review

This episode had one massive, glaring problem. Archer has had
diplomatic training. (Phlox even said so.) He spent six days in
orbit apologizing for eating in front of the Kreetassans during their
visit before he was allowed to visit the surface. He knew
how sensitive these people were. I do not believe that he would have
risked bringing Porthos on this mission. Archer may be naive and
trusting, but he’s not that stupid.

Apart from that massive problem, the episode was well done. The work
with T’Pol was very subtle in some scenes. For instance, she chooses
to work out late at night when the gym is empty. This makes a lot of
sense to me, given what we know about the sensitivity of Vulcan
females to the smell of humans. I can easily believe she’d choose to
work out when the room wasn’t full of sweaty humans. Her final speech
was also very diplomatic, revealing he politics while neatly avoiding
anything that could be construed as emotional.

The work with Phlox was similarly well done. Some of the information
(such as the number of spouses he has) was already known to us from
last season, but some was new, and all fit very naturally into the
episode. He was responsible for some very effective comedic moments.

The little touch with Hoshi’s relationship with Phlox’s animals was
also amusing.

High Point

Phlox’s check for poison.

Low Point

The premise is just far too unlikely for me to be comfortable with
everything else.

The Scores

Originality: I think this was the first time the patient in sickbay
on the verge of death was a pet rather than a crewmember. 3 out of 6.

Effects: One minor nitpick; the sickbay door opened a second or so
before Archer hit the button. This was, fortunately, very minor, and
the other work was exceptional. Effects worth noting include the
make-up on Archer as he became more and more tired, the bat that was
loose in sickbay, and the fake dog in the vat. (At least, I assume it
was fake.) 5 out of 6. It would be 6, but that one element should be
flawless after this much practice. One mistake stands out.

Story: Once you get past the problem with the premise, it’s a fine
episode. Too bad that problem is so huge. 3 out of 6.

Acting: Scott Bakula seemed forced on occasion, but the rest of the
cast did a great job. 5 out of 6.

Emotional Response: There was no tension here. Some hopes were
dashed when Porthos pulled through, but that was not surprising in the
least. Still, the jokes usually hit the target. 4 out of 6.

Production: Production on this show is the high quality that we’ve
come to expect. 5 out of 6.

Overall: I wouldn’t look for a rerun, but I’d watch it if it was
convenient. 4 out of 6.

Total: 29 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

Next Time on Enterprise (Oct. 23, 2002)

Next Time on EnterpriseShockwave, Part II

It’s a rerun of this
episode
.

9 replies on ““Enterprise” – A Night In Sickbay”

  1. rickyjames says:

    Pee On A Tree….
    …is a pretty dumb setup, I agree, but I thought this was a GREAT episode – in fact, the best one Enterprise has run so far. The set-up leads to real character development on several fronts – and that happens SO rarely it’s always welcome. Phlox got to be shown off as an ALIEN, and quite a sympathetic one at that, instead of a sidekick or clown. Was that grin of his at the end computer / morph enhanced? Gotta look at that clip again. T’Pol got to be the Dumb Vulcan Sex Object again (boo) but at least it wasn’t TOTALLY out of line with the story (yea! the dream sequence was GREAT) and a serious thread of dealing with sexual tensions of command crew aboard a starship is a valid topic worthy of exploration, even with a dash of humor mixed in. One of the few things of psychological depth on Voyager that made sense was Janeway’s sexual isolation, the Doctor’s pragmatic viewpoint on it, and the arc about her Irish hologram buddy that she edited. I for one would welcome a similar arc on Archer, except I don’t trust B&B to keep everybody’s mind out of the gutter by avoiding laying the cheesecake on too thick. The best part of this ep, tho, was its slice-of-life quality. The way to make Enterprise believable and engrossing is to forget the once-a-week space melodrama of Creating The Federation and instead just show us Another Day In The Life Of The Crew. History occurs one day at a time, mixed in with the realistic mundane – like worrying over a sick friend, losing sleep, chasing a bat, engaging in the documented sexual thought every 8.3 minutes that all males do, and cutting up a log barechested. To me, THAT’s all in a day’s work of conquering the galaxy…

  2. eclectric says:

    Dr. Phlox
    I’ve said this before, and now I can definitely re-affirm it: Phlox is *bar none* the best doctor they have ever had on Star Trek. For the first time in ST history, I believe that the doctor is actually played by the best actor on the crew. And as a character, he is to me totally believable. I think Star trek has spent far too long with arrogant doctors.

    I just pray we don’t get a “Phlox’s wives come on board” episode… this character is best when revealed in small doses.

  3. is says:

    pretty stupid writer
    I love the ideas mixed into the story, I loved how we got to know a little more about Phlox, and the Porthos sick idea isn’t so bad, but the story to bring em all together just plain sucked.

    Archer was dumb not just to bring Porthos, but ESPECIALLY to bring him to a planet on which exists the most highly piss-offable people in known space. Bringing anyone extra and doing anything odd or abnormal seems to be just begging for having to perform some weird ritual apology.

    I also find it odd that they’re planning on being out in space for a long time and they don’t have spare parts. If I was driving an experimental car across country I’d have at least one of everything in the trunk, and a huge toolkit.

    I still disapprove of Trek waters being muddied by sex. To me it just shows how much the writers are lacking in creativity.

    Phlox saved the day, especially with the poison test, and the “up-all-night” activities.

  4. Trekkie says:

    it was ok.
    I have HUGE issues with the decon scenes though. I really despise the low brow half-nekkid women thing. I don’t think T’Pol’s underwear could have been much more skimpier.

    The dream sequences were ok, but again, pretty hokie trying to get a rise out of those desperate boys who need to drool over PG (at best) antics on TV. If you’re going to show it, show it, don’t dink around with bare backs and weird looks.

    Any Captain that takes a dog on an away mission with an extremely sensative culture, and allows his dog to pee on a tree like that should be court martialed. That was the idiotic pretense of this entire episode. It’s not that Porthos got sick, it’s not that there was some hidden sexual tension, it was that the Captain can’t be *THAT* stupid to bring a dog to a place that freaks out if you eat in public.

    I like Porthos, and it’d been rather crappy of them to kill him off. The surgery scene was interesting.

  5. Daemonik says:

    My thoughts
    Porthos on diplomatic mission: Bad idea

    Archer so horny over T’Pol he forgets whatever training Starfleet has given him about diplomacy: Friggin stupid, worse it insults not just the authors of this drivel but us as an audience since they expect us to believe in it.

    Archer’s infatuation with T’Pol was a lame crutch. No one is going to be allowed to captain the first deep space manned mission from earth if they can’t keep themselves under a little control, much less letting a little Vulcan T&A turn their heads after a couple of months. What, we’ve eliminated hand lotion and porn in the future?

    As for the people who keep seing the decon stuff as a ‘travesty’ to Star Trek, I’d like to point out that Trek has always introduced a bit of sex in the series from day one, the only limitations being what they could get away with at the time, often hiding it behind a veneer of ‘social commentary’.

    Kirk and Ohura had the first interracial kiss in television history, think that didn’t turn some heads? Think lots of people didn’t feel that it was unnecessary?

    Most of the female crew of TOS had on super-mini skirts, every away mission resulted in someone from the (male) bridge crew getting a little action from a toss-away blue girl.

    TNG started off with tension between Riker and Troi over their past relationship. Riker eventually dates a person of ambivalent sexuality in one episode and Tasha gets it on with Data.

    DS9 had perhaps the first lesbian kiss in Trek history with Jadzia and her symbiote’s previous wife, but it was all okay since it was the symbiote that was still in love with her, not Jadzia right? Cause she went and married the ultra-masculine Worf. Then they have alternate reality Nerys kissing alternate reality Leeta but again, they’re not really gay cause it’s their evil alternate persona’s.

    The sad thing about Trek isn’t that they show as much sex as they can get away with, it’s that they try to disguise it as social commentary but then completely negate it with some explanation that the character wasn’t acting normally.

  6. hitch says:

    But I LIKE Porthos!
    I don’t get it…maybe I’m just a pet kind of guy….but even with everything else I think about the show (and scott bakula) I have to admire a guy who cares that much about his dog.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: But I LIKE Porthos!

      I don’t get it…maybe I’m just a pet kind of guy….but even with everything else I think about the show (and scott bakula) I have to admire a guy who cares that much about his dog.

      I’m a pet guy, too. In fact, I’ve had dogs most of my life. (I’ve got a Shih Tzu now.) My problem with Porthos is the way he’s usually used in some incredibly saccarine moment that’s not particularly well written, and feels like a time killer. That wasn’t a problem this week, although I don’t see that improving greatly in his future appearances.

      • Daemonik says:

        Re: But I LIKE Porthos!

        I’m a pet guy, too. In fact, I’ve had dogs most of my life. (I’ve got a Shih Tzu now.) My problem with Porthos is the way he’s usually used in some incredibly saccarine moment that’s not particularly well written, and feels like a time killer. That wasn’t a problem this week, although I don’t see that improving greatly in his future appearances.

        So you’re saying Porthos is a K9 Wesley Crusher? :)

        • fiziko says:

          Re: But I LIKE Porthos!

          So you’re saying Porthos is a K9 Wesley Crusher? :)

          The day Porthos saves the ship using the results of the science project he just happened to have lying around is the day I stop watching Enterprise.

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