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Voyager "Endgame" Review
Their last episode. Our first review.









Enterprise review: "Dear Doctor".
(Episode 13)

Reviewed by Richard Whettestone.
Enterprise

This is it, boys. This is the episode where Enterprise has gone straight to hell by making the Captain responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent lives and having the rest of the crew act like idiots. Just like Voyager.


THE PREMISE: As Ensign Cutler tries to open the door for an affair with Dr. Phlox, Enterprise finds a planet dying of a genetic disorder. After Phlox decides some cavemen MAY be more important SOMEDAY than the dying aliens, both he and Captain Archer decide to commit genocide.

"Dear Doctor"
Written by Maria & Andre Jacquemetton


Dr. Phlox Dear Marina Sirtis, er, I mean, Dear Doctor.

I could have sworn a Star Trek story was already told from the point of view of a character in a letter before. And what was it? It was The Next Generation's "Data's Day". If someone is getting paid REAL MONEY to write this stuff, you think it would be mandated to have actually watched the past shows.

Yet we still have yet to see a story told from the point of view of Starfleet Admirals reading Archer's reports.


Star Wars in Letterbox
Letterbox? Humanity long outgrew such childish silliness long ago.

With theatrical films produced in Letterbox for decades, and television programs now beginning to be produced in Letterbox format as well, how the hell did this superior film format get lost in the next 150 years for pan & scan?

Movie night on the Enterprise was just plain moronic. Here we are 150 years in the future, and movies are being watched in the pan & scan format? What the hell? If a movie was shown this way on the 1960's Trek, it would be forgivable. But showing a classic movie being watched in pan & scan format on a large (not wide) sized screen on the futuristic starship Enterprise on a modern day Trek franchise series is just plain stupid.

To make matters worst, Enterprise is produced and aired in Letterbox. So here we are NOW watching in Letterbox people in the FUTURE watching a movie in pan & scan. Between the camerman, the set decorator, the director, the producers, the editors, the writers and the Paramount Executives who invested so much money into new digital High-Definition production equipment for Enterprise to make it the first digitally produced Trek, how many idiots can possibly work on the show to cause this calamity?


Archer in space suit It isn't the Drahk Plague is it? Because I can't make Admiral in five years.

You make contact with aliens who are dying of a disease. So what do you do? You freely visit their planet with NO PROTECTION AT ALL.

It wasn't until AFTER they were on planet for awhile that they learned it was not a disease but was a genetic disorder.


Dr. Phlox
I never liked your species and I hope you DIE! Wait, you didn't hear that.

It's obvious that Phlox didn't give a damn about these aliens from the moment he saw them. The writers are trying to claim that it was the disovery of the cavemen's potential that drove Phlox to make the decisions he did. Yet all you have to do is WATCH Dr. Phlox in the episode when he's interacting with the aliens prior to his discovery of the cavemen.

One blatantly obvious clue: Phlox's in-your-face cheeriness with ALL of his patients was always absent when treating these aliens. Yet it still showed up when he treated both T'Pol's cavity, and was present when he was treating the Captain's Dog for gas. But as soon as he's near the aliens, he puts on a face that says "I don't give a crap about you." Was this in the script or did John Billingsley suddenly start smoking pot? It doesn't fit, as he seems to be one of the few "actors" actually on the show.


Hoshi Sato
I can say the Denobulan words "vegetable" and "eggplant", but I can't say "well", "are" and "you" without looking at my Translator Padd.

Whatever.


Dr. Phlox
There's an entire race dying on the planet! I haven't got time to fix your cavity! Oh, wait. Yes I do. Open wide.

And have you stopped taking those lip injection shots like I asked you to?
No?


Jawa
He looks like a Jawa but he sounds like an Ewok. What do we do?

You have two different races evolve on the same planet, yet they DON'T speak the same language by now?

These inferior aliens can pick up English words from Hoshi in a single night, but hasn't picked up and generally adopted the superior aliens' language as their own after thousands of years?

These aliens are smart enough to work in a hospital, but when Phlox sees one matching up the blood samples by families that he personally knows, he thinks that's an evolutionary breakthrough?

Phlox believes that by giving the cure to the superior aliens, he will alter the natural evolution of the inferior aliens, ignoring the fact that the superior aliens have been giving the inferior aliens everything they needed to survive?

Phlox works with these aliens just one night, and manages to conclude that they are getting smarter? Has it occurred to him that maybe these aliens are evolving out of neccessity to catch up to the superior aliens who are also advancing as EVERY race does?

Why didn't Phlox take into account the possibility of the superior race keeping ahead of the inferior race? He just assumed that when they die, the inferior ones will take over dominance.

Why didn't ANYBODY take into account that when the superior race dies, the inferior race will have access to their cities, equipment and technology, throwing them into a technological turmoil with advanced technology? This was the whole reasoning behind Archer deciding not to give one of the races warp technology.


Ensign Cutler You're married? Oh. But I still want to keep the door open for an extra-marital affair.

Who the hell is writing this? Voyager wasn't even this bad with character relationships even with the Chakotay and Seven thing.


Ferengi We're out here to explore, that's why we don't care what you know about the Ferengi.

I'm not even going to ask. And if you want our warp technology so much, you won't offer to exchange this information to us either.


Hoshi and her slug
Regulan Bloodworms? They sound cute. Can I have one?

Interfering with the natural evolution of a culture is apparently a bad thing to Phlox, who just ten episodes earlier decided to drop Hoshi's slug on an abandoned alien world. Even Phlox would tell you that something like that could evolve into an intelligent lifeform. Now he wants to play god with already existing ones.

But what will that slug evolve into? For all we know he just started the plague of the Regulan Bloodworms. Not only is Archer inconsistant now, but so is Phlox.

Or should we feel good that the slug will die alone on a dead planet?


Dr. Phlox
I'm so disgusted by the mere idea of altering the natural genetic evolution of a race that I always showcased my outrage of it during our every encounter with the Suliban.

Oh, wait, I never did that. Never mind.


Captain Sisko




Captain Archer

"I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover up the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning part of it all is... I think I can live with it."
- Captain Benjamin Sisko, "In the Pale Moonlight"

"I lied. I am an accessory to mass-murder. And millions of innocent families and children will die because a gazillion years from now some cavemen MIGHT build a wheel. But the most damning part of it all is... it was really bad writing and actually reverted my character development, making me appear to be a pyscho."
- Captain Jonathan Archer, "Dear Doctor"


Captain Janeway
As I recall, my great great grandfather was an Archer. I took after him.

Consistency of Character? On a B&B series?

"You're right Dr. Phlox. That's why I've decided to reverse course and let those Mallurians in "Civilization" continue their mining operation and poisoning those alien people I spent so much time trying to save."


Daniels
... but before I hunt down Silik, first let me tell you about what Prime Directives are. You'll need to learn them someday.

Archer has gone out of his way to break every Prime Directive that didn't exist yet, blatantly getting in the viewer's face about his total freedom to ignore Vulcan rules, too.

But now suddenly, Archer not only has a sense that a series of Directives is GOING to happen, he decides to follow them in advance before they're even written.

What's worst, is his decision results in the deaths of millions of people.


Braga and Berman
Plot Twist? Irony? What are those?

The Berman and Braga way: Archer decides to follow Prime Directives that don't exist yet, and it results in millions of people dying.

The Intelligent way: Archer does whatever he wants (as it has been established he does until now) and it results in millions of people dying, causing the Prime Directives to be made.

So much for pioneering the very Trek future that we know and love. Instead of seeing this stuff be created all around us, the writers continue with their Voyager writing, and important stuff like Prime Directives are created off screen.


Brannon Braga
Conflict? There's no drama in that!

Gene Roddenberry insisted there should be no conflict among the Enterprise crew. This was one of the problems the writers had with The Next Generation. And was also one of the few times the writers were right and Gene was wrong, as the success of NexTrek's third season, which was much conflict-driven, proves.

Yet here we have a golden opportunity to have the conflict between Archer and Phlox, with the lives of millions of people at stake. And it was all thrown away so the dumb-ass writers could make BOTH characters mass-murderers by happily agreeing with eachother after two minutes.


Vulcan I'm a Vulcan. Don't get logical with me.

Perhaps this was a good time to contact the Vulcan High Command for their assistance. After all, they would have been in a better position to assist these aliens for many years to come that Enterprise could not. And with the dying aliens already having made contact with warp-capable aliens, T'Pol already confirmed that it was okay to assist them. T'Pol also already established that the Vulcans hung around on Earth for 90 years, showing they might be willing to stay with these dying aliens in the long run.


Mayweather
Now is this the alternate ending where Mayweather gets killed?

Alternate Ending One: Phlox says No and Archer decides to give the cure to the aliens anyway, driving a wedge between the two. Conflict Ahoy!

Alternate Ending Two: Phlox says No and destroys the cure after Archer persists, driving a wedge between the two and Archer has to lie and tell the aliens they found no cure. Conflict Ahoy!

Alternate Ending Three: Phlox says No and withholds the cure from Archer, and Archer requests the Vulcans assist the aliens, knowing that they will eventually find the cure as Phlox did. Phlox makes his point. Archer does NOT become a mass-murderer. And the people will eventually be saved.

Alternate Ending Four: Archer agrees with Phlox and lies to the aliens, telling them they found no cure. Archer hands over the computer Padd that has the replication instructions for the pain-relieving medicine, as he did in the episode. After Archer and gang leaves, the aliens discover the Padd included Phlox's cure, that Archer secretly put on the Padd without Phlox's knowledge.

The B&B Ending: Archer and Phlox become best buds and happily agree with eachother, causing millions of children to die. Janeway smiles.


Hoshi and her Slug
Hoshi and her Slug.
"Hey,

Re: your review.

The movie shown on Enterprise "Dear Doctor" was "For Whom The Bell Tolls" which was shot in 1.37 Acadamy ratio in 1943. So it was not panned and scanned, they simply have a screen that fits the correct ratio of the movie.

Also, leaving a single slug on a barren world leaves, pretty much, 0% chance that it could evolve into an intelligent life form. (Unless it reproduces asexually, which the doctor could determine easily enough.) So yeah, we should just feel bad about it dying alone.

Before you rant about something, maybe find out about what you're talking about first.

You clearly don't like the show, and watch each episode *knowing* you won't like it. So you pick it apart, fine. But don't make crap up just so you have something to complain about, then pass yourself off as a critic.

You don't have a prayer of having your own successful show with such an unprofessional attitude. Just some food for thought."

- John A.


Which means the Enterprise just happens to have a movie screen the exact same size as this specific feature produced in 1943.

Whatever.

- Richard Whettestone.


John Billingsley
John Billingsley.
John Billingsley speaks about "Dear Doctor", taken from TrekNation.com.
Originally, 'Dear Doctor' was supposed to end in a different manner. "The ending that had initially been created I was fairly comfortable with. But the head of the studio suggested some revisions on the ending. What do you do? I wasn't as happy with the revisions, but it's not my show, you have to sort of adjust, even if sometimes it does seem a bit of a contradiction in terms for what your character is supposed to be about."

So how did the ending change? "[In the original version,] in this crisis of conscience, the Doctor essentially does something that violates the standard issue hierarchical obligations of a crewmember to his captain," he explains. "In effect, he makes a decision that's rooted in 'I've got bigger fish to fry,' rather than honoring his captain's wishes. The network essentially felt that no, it was important to essentially make sure that everyone was here to support the captain's decisions. Personally I thought, 'Well, I think you've kind of lost something interesting in this potential tension.' But, that's not my call."

Although disappointed, it's important to note that Billingsley doesn't have a major issue with this. "Everybody's got so many different agendas," says Billingsley, "and I can appreciate that one of the things they want to do - especially in the first season - is to really do whatever they can to support the idea of the captain being a very strong, and in control person. If they feel they undercut that in any way, they get worried. I understand that, but at the same time I think some of what makes the show - what makes any show - so interesting, is creating some of the tensions that exist between the characters."

One of the things I really dug about the 'Dear Doctor' episode were the scenes where we did come in to conflict, and that's why I was kind of wishing they hadn't had to undercut that tension, as it would have been an interesting thing to build on in following episodes."


I believe this means the original script had the conflict, that even John Billingsley saw as a good thing, but the episode was screwed over by Network Executives who decided it was more important to have everyone love and agree with the Captain at the costs of millions of lives instead of having drama and an ending that actually made sense.

- Richard Whettestone.


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