Star Trek: Enterprise: Doctor's Orders   Rewatch 
November 10, 2019 8:17 PM - Season 3, Episode 16 - Subscribe

A crewmember has to solo a section of space while the rest of the crew (more or less) is asleep, and battles their own fears and demons as well as unexpected crises? It's deja vu all over again!

Memory Alpha is the One:

- This is one of a mere few episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise (or any Star Trek series) to credit no guest stars. Due to its omission of any such performers and because only existing sets of Enterprise were used for this episode, it qualifies as a true bottle show.

- The scene in which Phlox is seemingly nude was inspired by comments voiced by Phlox actor John Billingsley. Very soon after participating in the filming of this episode, he explained, "At a [cast and crew] party a year or so ago, I was talking to the writers and I was speculating that Dr. Phlox, because he had three wives, would probably have three members. And I said something to the effect of, wouldn't it be interesting to have some kind of scene in which somebody walks in and sees Phlox nude and faints dead away. Everybody on the ship is walking around open-mouthed, slack-jawed, because they got a sight of the Doctor […] I think the writers thought I was bluffing, and so they said, 'All right, we've written you a nude scene.'"

- This episode has a striking resemblance to the Star Trek: Voyager episode "One", where Seven of Nine must navigate the ship through a hazardous region of space and the crew is in a comatose state. She begins to hallucinate, too.

- While debating whether the things that the doctor saw are real, T'Pol references the events of "Exile", where Phlox told Ensign Sato that Denobulans consider hallucinations to be a healthy way for the mind to relieve stress. Since there are no indications that Sato or Phlox ever discussed the matter with anyone else, this could be seen as a clue that the T'Pol that Phlox sees is actually a figment of his imagination.

- This is the only episode of Star Trek: Enterprise with the "I'm a doctor, not a..." phrase. Phlox says the line "I'm a physician, not an engineer." In the second season entry "Regeneration", he conversely states, "I need to think like an engineer, not a physician."

- Phlox telling T'Pol about seeing "something" outside on the hull of the ship may be a reference to The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet;" which featured William Shatner, as a passenger aboard an airplane. He too saw "something" on the wing of the vessel he was on, much the disbelief of his other passengers.

"I'm fine!"
"You nearly shot the captain's dog!"

- Phlox and T'Pol

Poster's Log:

I was originally going to write this up as a log entry in which I was alone for a week and had started to go wiggety-wack, but I don't think that the episode is worth the effort. Not only is it yet another episode in which the Xindi/Expanse arc isn't significantly advanced--the couple of references to it in the plot, with the Insectoid and Archer's not wanting to take the extra time to go around it because of The Ticking Clock IN SPAAAAACE, don't really count IMO--but MA is being coy when it says that there's a "striking resemblance" to "One"; it is the VOY episode, lightly reworked for a different crew member, down to the captain's reluctance to go around the nebula, the crew being protected simply by putting them under, and of course those hallucinations. I even rewatched the VOY episode for comparison purposes, and felt oddly nostalgic; whatever problems the series had at that point, it was way better, and had a great opener (Seven is working on socializiing with the rest of the crew, and has been instructed by the EMH to ask them about their interests and backgrounds, but not only is she not listening to their answers, but she isn't even letting them finish answering, firing off questions in rapid succession), but had a much better choice of subject: Seven was caught between being that standoffish, unintentionally rude person, and being someone who was still relatively recently deassimilated and actually just about the last person who should be soloing for a month (she had the EMH, but he experienced technical difficulties). Phlox, on the other hand, just doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would sweat being alone for a few days; yes, he's got multiple wives and whatnot, but in the past he's been portrayed as the kind of guy who's seemed just as happy talking to his pets/food/lab animals as people, and conversely has seemed to sometimes regard the crew as subjects for observation if not experimentation.

And, also, the twist of T'Pol being a hallucination is no surprise, since they telegraphed it so obviously: she wasn't part of the pre-traversal prep, she didn't eat any of the soup that Phlox made, and I kind of doubt that he'd be walking around the ship naked if he thought that she'd run across him. The only reason that he'd miss that is that his disorder must have involved not only hallucinations but disorders of cognition, which might also explain why he trusted the news about the ship being much less close to leaving the anomaly than they thought it would be, when he'd already recognized that he was hallucinating.

Oh, well. We got to see Porthos, anyway.
posted by Halloween Jack (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I remember watching this one open-mouthed, amazed that they were cribbing from themselves so shamelessly. It wasn't even a TOS plot, it was just a few years old! (And this one was even directed by one of the stars of Voyager! How did Roxann Dawson sleep at night, when she was working on this?)

Did they think there was no overlap in the audiences between Voyager and Enterprise? (Fat chance, since pretty much only the hardcore Trekkies were still watching at this point.) It seemed like it had to be an act of pure desperation, like something had gone terribly wrong, they simply had NO SCRIPT for this week and this was banged out at 3 AM on the night before they started shooting. I even Googled to check if there was a writers' strike or something, but nope. The actual episode wasn't bad... although Halloween Jack is right that Voyager did it much better! It was a good episode of Voyager, but only an OK episode of Enterprise... made much worse by the fact that the plot was such a straight-up rip-off!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:55 PM on November 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Well *I* would've enjoyed your proposed post gimmick, Jack!

Yeah, the self-copying was so obvious that I half tuned this one out, so much so that at about the two-thirds mark, I was mad that I hadn't tracked whether not-T'Pol physically interacted with anything. Did she grab Phlox's arm so he wouldn't kill Porthos? Well, even if she did, she was in his head, so that's explicable.

I guess one thing that was OK was the fact that not-T'Pol's overreactions to things were just subtle enough to suggest some sort of mind alteration on her part, but in retrospect, probably fit with what we can assume Phlox thinks of her? At least I assume they were going for that.

…I have nothing else to say about this one. Disney+ drops tomorrow… perhaps I'll save up some FF commentary juice for The Mandalorian ;)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:01 PM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

This was solid, though pretty obvious. I haven't seen any Voyager. It was nice to spend some time with Phlox. The opportunity here would be to show Phlox's deeper opinions about the other crew members but they didn't really do a lot of that, beyond that he has a deep trust for T'Pol, and is horny for Hoshi.

A malevolent intelligence would have been interesting too, maybe, where Phlox meets an alien who lives in the cloud but it's really all his imagination. His own personal Q.

I liked Phlox's homesickness, and his "the more the better" line seemed like a double entendre.

Oh and thy kind of messed up the placement of the watering can in the Austin Powers style nude shot? It was too low to be suggestively covering anything.
posted by fleacircus at 12:14 PM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wait. Phlox knows the specific medicinal details about thousands of alien species but only learns that dogs a can be territorial in this episode?
posted by General Malaise at 8:42 PM on November 24, 2019

Also this season’s cold opens thrown to “X hours earlier” thing is getting remarkably tired.
posted by General Malaise at 8:47 PM on November 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

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