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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Weird Star Trek Episodes - Dear Doctor aka "Wait, You Flippin' Idiots Did What?"

Huh... I guess dude saw the ending as well.

Well, it’s time to enter the world known as Enterprise or Star Trek: Enterprise. Call it whatever you want. For the last few weeks, I’ve been going through the show on Netflix. I do have to say that it’s been a rough ride. I skipped one episode from Season One and quite a few from Season Two. At least Season Three has been been good so far. As of now, I’m almost halfway through the season. Today’s episode is from Season One and it’s called “Dear Doctor.” It’s an episode that… well, kind of perplexes me.

The whole episode revolves around the Denobulan doctor known as Phlox. He’s part of an exchange program and he was called to serve on the Enterprise because of his expertise. Some of the episode has him deal with being around humans and getting used to their customs. He also has someone who is pretty interested in him. The main drive of the episode comes when the Enterprise finds a downed pre-warp ship in space. They find survivors (the Valakians) and it turns out that they left their planet in order to find a cure for a planet-wide plague. The Enterprise takes the survivors back to their planet. The crew does what it can in trying to help them find a cure to the disease.

Phlox: Crewman Cutler, I've found a weird message here. It says "Are you interested in me? Check Yes or No." What does it mean?
Crewman Cutler: Uh... it must be a weird custom from the Menks. Yes, that's it! Excuse me...

It turns out the Valakians have another primitive species on the planet called the Menks. The Menks may be primitive but the crew finds that they have the ability to learn fast. They’ve also been treated poorly by the Valakians. It’s revealed that they haven’t gotten the plague, so Phlox checks them out to see if he can find a cure. Towards the end of the episode, Phlox finds out that the plague is actually a genetic disease and it’s killed the Valakians’ gene pool so that they’ll be extinct in 200 years. Phlox has made a cure but he thinks it would be wrong to cure the Valakians since it would hinder the Menks’ growth. Captain Archer doesn’t agree with it, but he eventually decides to defer to the doctor this time. The episode ends with the Enterprise giving the Valakians some medicine to ease the pain of the disease and more or less dooming an entire planet to an illness that could be cured… Well, they did!

The episode is pretty decent for the most part. It’s a “Prime Directive” episode and those are usually decent. It also serves as a Phlox episode which is nice. Barring the last few minutes of the episode, he’s actually one of the more interesting characters on the show. He’s definitely more interesting than Mayweather (sorry, bro) and a couple of others in the first season. I also like his scenes with his “crush” which were kinda funny. The stuff involving Archer and whether he should give the Valakians warp technology was fine and actually made sense other than the “other” plot involving the cure.

Then, there’s the whole issue about the cure. On the one hand, I can understand why Phlox didn’t want to use the cure. In his mind, the Valakians had to go in order for the Menks to thrive. I don’t like it, but I understand it. On the other hand, it just feels wrong. So, you’re going to leave them to die because evolution says so? What about that whole Hippocratic Oath you supposedly live by? The whole planet is suffering from this illness and I kinda think that this situation does fit with that oath. What’s even weirder is that Archer agrees to it albeit reluctantly. Also, you'd think he would have found another way to help both species without dooming one for the other. He doesn't know what'll happen in 200 years let alone three minutes!

Counter this with Archer’s decision to give warp specs to the Valakians. Archer doesn’t give it to them mostly because dealing with that technology is dangerous. There’s also the fact that they really don’t have the resources to teach them about it. It’d be like giving a kid a loaded weapon without teaching him how to use it. That was a decision that actually made sense. The decision with the cure made no sense to me at all. It made a decent episode smell pretty rank. I heard there were some editorial changes made by UPN with the ending, so that’s probably why it feels so “bleh.”
Hmm... I count three cavities, a busted molar, and some messed up gingivitus! What is Vulcan dentistry like?

Overall, it’s a decent episode with a crappy ending. I see why SFDebris gave it a 1 out of 10 but I wouldn’t go that far. It has its moments. The first season in general isn’t bad nor is it really good either. In fact, it has a lot in common with the other series since their first seasons were pretty subpar. Exclude TOS from that list since its first season was pretty good. Well, I’m outta here. Peace, God Bless, and don’t commit genocide anytime soon. It’s just not nice.

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