Overview – In trying to get a plasma injector for Enterprise, Archer unwittingly offend the Kreetassan people. To add to Archer’s frustrations, his dog, Porthos, has taken ill after being on the Kreetassan planet. Archer chooses to spend the night in sickbay to be with his sick pet. As Doctor Phlox exhausts every avenue to save Porthos, Archer receives advice from the Doctor that may suggest a reason for the Captain’s irritability.
Score: 6/10 – This was a difficult episode for me to score. It wasn’t a horrible episode. There were some great moments, such as the funny quirks of Phlox. There are also some questionable moments. Archer really acted out of character, there was another infamous gel-rubbing scene, and the whole “Archer is attracted to T’Pol and sexually frustrated by it” never went much further beyond this episode. So while this episode was not terrible, it also was not very memorable.
Relevance - 1 point. One point scored for Phlox discussing his large family. His three wives was mentioned earlier, while we would eventually meet one of those wives when she comes aboard the Enterprise.
Continuity - 2 points. Story continuity works. In the next episode, “Marauders”, it was a Kreetassan merchant that suggests the planet the Enterprise visits next, so this fits. Universe continuity works as well. I am taking a point off for character continuity, however, in the very un-Archer like manner that the Captain is acting in. Archer is a trained diplomat who admittedly has a temper, but the level he takes it to in this episode is a bit far. Especially when it is suggested that his moodiness stems from a lack of sexual intimacy. I would suspect that one of the most important figures in Starfleet at this time would be able to keep a calmer persona when he is not finding success with the ladies.
Character Development – 1 point. Definitely an Archer episode (although one that destroys a lot of his diplomacy cred in the eyes of a lot of fans). He acts in a much exaggerated form of what we are accustomed to. As I mentioned in the Continuity section, it was a bit far for him as a character to get so moody. There is also some good interactions with Archer and Phlox, revealing his training in veterinary medicine and psychology. We also see some good development between T’Pol and Archer, as it is suggested that the source of Archer’s behaviour is due to sexual tension between himself and the subcommander. Despite this hint, it is not developed any further within the series. Due to the great inconsistencies with Archer’s temper tantrums and the fact that the source of his behaviour is never mentioned again, I can’t say that this episode really moved any characters along well.
Social Commentary – 1 point. The Social Commentary was a bit weak for me on this. Was it about taking care of your pet? Making sure you deal with sexual frustration before you create a diplomatic offense? Not really. I think the main message is about swallowing your pride and controlling your temper, especially when it is for the greater good. I would like to have had more, but sadly this is as good as it gets.
Cool Stuff – 1 point. There is definitely cool stuff in the night that Archer spent in sickbay. We learn about Phlox’s ever-fast-growing toenails, and his enormously long tongue that needs a good nightly scraping. Phlox is one of my favourite characters on Enterprise, and the more we get to learn about him (and Denobulans in general), the better.
Rank – Lieutenant (12 points). I do not think that this episode deserves much of the negativity it often receives on the internet, but likewise it is not the greatest of episodes. If you are Doctor Phlox fan, then you will likely want to catch this episode. If not, you could likely skip this one without missing much.
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