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"A Night In Sickbay" Squanders Recent Improvement With New Low for Archer; Billingsley's Phlox Can't Redeem Episode, Says O. Deus

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Posted: 07:31:44 on October 17 2002
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews
Reviews Ex Deus

Written for TrekWeb by O. Deus, edited by Steve Krutzler

"A Night in Sickbay"

Summary: Archer obsesses over the health of his dog while fantasizing about T'Pol as Berman and Braga give this episode their unique touch.

There are different kinds of bad episodes. There are episodes that are poorly written, episodes whose direction is so unstructured and clumsily paced that they're dreary and unwatchable, episodes ruined by bad acting and episodes that simply should never have been made. It was never a good idea to have Spock's brain be stolen by alien women leaving him with a remote controlled body. Having the DS9 crew play alien hopscotch or turning Paris into a catfish were never high points of their respective shows either. The problem with episodes like these are that they leave you wondering what the hell Berman and Braga could have been thinking when they wrote this. "A Night in Sickbay" is one of those episodes.

Though the subject matter is much less exotic than some of the above mentioned episodes, "Sickbay" manages to achieve much of the same effect with a bizarre episode that has Archer's emotional dependence on his dog move well into the creepy range while displaying some of the more unprofessional behavior of his career (and considering some of the low points of Archer's actions thus far, that is saying a lot). Star Trek Captains have had their share of angst and all but Kirk had large spells of celibacy, but they've also found more crucial issues to worry about. And better ways to cope than to become emotionally dependent on a pet to the extent that their ship takes second priority. Archer having a near breakdown and abandoning his responsibilities over something like this seriously undermines his credibility and his decision making abilities and his very fitness for the job. What is particularly baffling is the way that "Sickbay" chooses to throw away the credibility that Archer has gained this season in episodes like "Shockwave 2," "Minefield" and "Dead Stop" in favor of resurrecting his worst qualities and basing an episode around them. Namely his speciest arrogance towards aliens, his emotional dependence on a pet and his lack of professionalism as a Starfleet officer. While some of Archer's earlier conversations with Dr. Phlox suggest that this might all be done in favor of character growth for Archer, instead it turns out to be a way of setting up a romantic relationship arc between Archer and T'Pol.

This is particularly foolish since at this point the Human\Vulcan interaction between Archer and T'Pol is one of the few things Enterprise has succeeded at and manages to recapture some of the Original Series sprit. "Sickbay" demonstrates every intention of tossing this out the window by having both characters indirectly admit to being attracted to one another. Even if we overlook the simple fact that Star Trek series have blown just about every single relationship between cast members ever attempted, it comes down to the fact that the producers have demonstrated their intention of turning a subtle interspecies rapport into a romance. Where before the key difference of viewpoints between Archer and T'Pol came from their differing species, we are now supposed to view it as coming from differing genders. The character of T'Pol has always hovered between a role as a Spock\Data character and the exploitative sinkhole that Seven of Nine fell into on Voyager. Thusfar the clothes and the decontamination scenes have been suggestive of Seven of Nine, but the actual story elements have been more suggestive of Spock\Data. "A Night in Sickbay," which at best serves as a trial balloon for this story element and at worst the beginning of a romance arc, serves notice that T'Pol's story is set to follow through on the innuendo. That is a poor decision and exactly the kind of thing that some of Enterprise's recent improvements suggested the show had matured beyond. Fortunately, having learned nothing from the Janeway\Chakotay storyline, Berman and Braga were here to give this episode their own 'unique' touch.

"Sickbay" opens with a welcome note of continuity as Enterprise revisits the Aliens of the Week from the first season's "Vox Sola." The continuity is welcome but not the aliens themselves, who had a limited role in "Vox Sola" and whose only purpose here is to behave in a hostile and unpleasant manner, thus seemingly justifying Archer's behavior. That "Vox Sola" was one of the worst episodes of the first season suggests that maybe the fruit of a rotten tree is also going to be rotten. The opening scene which features Hoshi, T'Pol, Archer and Porthos rubbing each other down in the decontamination chamber is unwelcome. Considering the innuendo that's come to be associated with the chamber scenes, it's a bizarre note that serves to introduce an episode where Archer's emotional dependence on his dog reaches new lows. It's also only the second suggestion of bestiality since the Ferengi inspected Archer's cabin in "Acquisition," which is remarkably restrained for Brannon Braga.

Whatever mix of retro-futuristic projection and sleazy motives inspired the decontamination chamber, it's about time for it to go. It's certainly not a credible way of demonstrating the more primitive technology of the Enterprise era, especially since its process makes no sense whatsoever. If it's suspected that one or more people in the group may have picked up some sort of infection, crowding them together into one room certainly doesn't lessen the chances of transmission. Nor does having them rub gel all over each other as a way of preventing the spread of disease. Separate chambers would make a lot more sense and so would spraying the gel through some sort of automatic system. That's probably why the best cure for the flu isn't to get a mix of infected and uninfected people together into a small room, breathing the same air and rubbing gel all over each other. It is a good way to spread the flu, though. If the producers should have learned anything by now, it's that Enterprise won't resonate with viewers because of gimmicks or sleaze but because of solid storytelling.

"Sickbay" aims at something between low comedy and character growth for Archer and achieves neither. The credibility Archer has gained from the "Shockwave" two-parter, "Minefield" and "Dead Stop" is squandered on a storyline that plays out like a dog version of ER rather than dealing with the problems of his ship and the potential danger to his crew or the obligations of his mission; Archer spends his time obsessed with his dog and T'Pol, in that order. Indeed, Archer seemed a lot more relaxed when he had to choose between sacrificing a member of his crew or risk the destruction of his ship in "Minefield" than he does when his dog gets a virus. T'Pol's suggestion that he spend more time worrying about his ship, rather than being treated as legitimate criticism worth listening to becomes sidelined into Archer's obsession with her. So that when Archer becomes angry over her comment, it isn't because she's voiced a criticism that made him question his conduct, but it's because of a romantic factor. And there is no clearer demonstration than that of how transforming a professional relationship into a romantic one impinges on the discussion of command related issues. As a professional, T'Pol can try to make Archer reevaluate his actions and offer a clash of viewpoints, in a romantic light his and her comments merely become the product of 'sexual friction' and thus have no meaning in of themselves.

Worse yet, Archer snaps back into his contempt for any race that doesn't share his identical values. His own jingoism when it comes to the Denobulan's pets or lack thereof precisely mirrors the arrogance of the aliens on the planet below who naturally expect Enterprise to be doing things their way. Both view anyone who doesn't share their worldview as the equivalent of barbarians. This time it's not amused contempt, but outrage because the aliens didn't bother to ensure that his pet, whom no one to be brought along, wouldn't catch any diseases. It's not just narrow-minded or incompetent, it's Archer's refusal to accept the consequences of his own actions. He chose to take a pet along to an encounter with a culture that he knew could be offended by some rather unpredictable things. He never bothered to double check and make sure that the planet didn't have any diseases his dog could contract. Apparently he didn't think that an alien race who was offended by public eating might take umbrage at his dog urinating anywhere it liked. Yet Archer can't seem to comprehend that he might be responsible for any of this or that he might have prevented it from happening. Instead he chooses to blame others, all the more conveniently so when they happen to be aliens. It's an emotionally immature inability to accept the consequences of his own actions. Yet another matter that T'Pol points out to him and is ultimately dismissed as the product of more 'sexual friction.'

On two separate occasions, Archer then voices threats against the aliens. It's a particularly bizarre point that Archer has descended to. He's destroyed any possibility of a diplomatic relationship with entire alien races and fought with them based on some rather questionable pretexts, but wrecking humanity's relationship with an important species and even raising the possibility of violent action because they let his dog catch the sniffles is definitely a new low, and not one Archer can explain away with a rambling speech about gazelles. It's a component of the greater problem, which is Archer's egocentric view of the Enterprise as an extension of himself rather than the vehicle of Earth's exploratory and political aims. Thus, like an emperor who can avenge an insult to his horse by razing a city, Archer can lash out at an alien race for not seeing to his pet's needs. The episode makes much of Archer's eventual apology, but the situation that caused the need for an apology is a product of his own actions, which he never really recognizes. Nor does he seem to comprehend that what happened might have been seriously hurtful and offensive to the aliens, just as if their pet had urinated on an important human relic. His only sincere apology is to Phlox and that only because he manages to emotionally relate to Phlox through his story about his unsatisfactory relationship with two of his children.

Though it is Phlox who provides this episode's only worthwhile material. John Billingsley is Enterprise's best actor and he manages to perform some of the most ridiculous material without ever looking ridiculous himself. It's a skill that's greatly in demand here and manages to make the little touches such as nighttime rituals like clipping his nails add up to more in characterization than the entire Archer-centered storyling does for Archer. It's also the most development Phlox has gotten since "Dear Doctor," which really suggests that perhaps Enterprise is seriously misplacing its priorities. He seems to have been sidelined like Mayweather, without there being any reasonable cause for it. The show really shouldn't wait for Archer's dog to get sick again to give Phlox the attention he's due.

Enterprise's second season had been competent thus far with four generally well-received episodes and Enterprise's improving ratings suggest that viewers like what they're seeing. These episodes may have had their flaws, but "Sickbay" leads back to some of the more disastrous first season episodes and contains the germ of a storyline that would seriously hurt what Enterprise has achieved until now. The upswing in the ratings suggests that the producers don't need to fall back on a romance between T'Pol and Archer or more exploitative decontamination scenes and instead look at what made those episodes work.

And Archer might seriously consider just getting a cat.

Next Week: Return of the Reruns. Due to the World Series, many shows will be airing repeats. ENT will return with "Marauders" on October 30.

Opinion Poll: Don't forget to vote in this week's episode poll!

ENTERPRISE "Stigma" Opinion Poll
How do you rate the latest episode in comparison to the best and the worst of all previous STAR TREK episodes?
10: Excellent 5: Average
9: Great 4: Below Average
8: Very Good 3: Mediocre
7: Good 2: Poor
6: Above Average 1: Bad
Current Results
About the Author
O. Deus has been a TrekWeb visitor since the site's 1996 inception. Along with being an ardent poster, he is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Deus has written reviews and columns for TrekWeb for over two years.

Past Reviews
  • "Stigma"
  • "Dawn"
  • "The Catwalk"
  • "Precious Cargo"
  • "Vanishing Point"
  • "Singularity"
  • "The Communicator"
  • "The Seventh"
  • "Marauders"
  • "A Night In Sickbay"
  • "Dead Stop"
  • "Minefield"
  • "Carbon Creek"
  • "Shockwave, Part II"
  • Season One Re-cap (Deus)
  • React to this story below and see what others are saying at the STAR TREK BBS.
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    TREKWEB TALKBACK
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    Maybe this is actually the start of a very long story arc??
    By DevlinC ( ) at 08:21:35 on February 07 2003
    URL: | User Info
    Archer does suck as a captain in this one. His dependancy on his dog is actually understandable as it's his only link back to Earth and he doesn't want to be alone out in space (because so far it seems the only person he's got as a friend is Trip).

    However, maybe this is the beginning of the story arc that ends in Season 7 with Archer making intelligent decisions about being the captain of Earth's first starship - leaving behind the whole "blue balls" thing in the process. I mean, this is meant to be the rough and ready Starfleet, but as soon as Archer looks like a crappy captain, you all say it's awful.

    I get the feeling that Archer is this bad a captain on purpose - remember that B&B have written for the best of all Starfleet captains, Picard - they know what they're doing and I think I'm just going to have to trust them to make Enterprise the show it should be.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    I think that a Poll is called for.. well a new one atleast
    By DarthSpock ( ) at 19:24:47 on October 22 2002
    URL: | User Info
    Steve, you do a wonderful job maintaining this site. However I have a minor suggestion. I personally think that your Episode Polls would be benefitted greatly if there were less options. I suggest a 5 tier system

    5 Excellent.
    4 Good.
    3 Average.
    2 Poor.
    1 Terrible.

    you can totally tell me to go suck a nut... I would understand. I just personally feel, looking at the latest poll in particular, that people seem to always chose higher up in the scale instead of treating 5 as the average epsiode. I think that currently there are too many choices and most of us, myself included, tend to rate high because, regardless of how we presently feel about the current series ENT, we WANT it to be great. We will it to be better with our votes.
    In the latest poll the median probably still comes across as greater than 5... an 'average' episode, when it appears from the board responses that the majority, atleast the vocal majority, were quite displeased with the episode.
    Like I said it is purely a suggestion and you may have another view of thing that the 'more options the better' and it is your web site... anyone agree with me? anyone want me to go to hell?

    ---

    "I am not sure what disappoints me more... your cowardice or your stupidity."

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    The smell of BS
    By Mirror,Mirror ( ) at 11:44:58 on October 22 2002
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    What a pity this week's show is a repeat. Now the putrid smell of the past week's BS is going to linger even longer. Great review O.D. - you were KIND - no reason to feel otherwise. Some, it seems, can't handle the truth.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    For those who think this review was too negative, Trektoday's review r
    By O. Deus ( odeus@concentric.net) at 02:27:48 on October 22 2002
    URL: http://www.concentric.net/~odeus/ | User Info
    With just about every review there being a negative one.

    link

    Consider this bit from Jamahl Epsicokhan who's a lot tougher on this episode than I am...

    Okay, it's not bereft of dumbness. There's plenty of that, since this is easily the dumbest concept for an episode of Star Trek since Voyager's holodeck was hijacked by the residents of Fair Haven (see "Spirit Folk," or, on second thought, don't).

    Evidently, the writers are not treating this as season two of a series, but rather season nine (or later) of an aging dinosaur. An episode all about the captain's goddamned dog you'd think would be reserved as desperate sitcom fodder for the latter seasons, not brought to light as episode #5 in season two. You'd be wrong, but you could think it. Whatever.

    "A Night in Sickbay" succeeds not only in being unfunny, pathetic, and dull, but also manages to elevate character assassination and embarrassing nonsense to a kind of grand efficiency. It manages to make a mockery of Archer, T'Pol, Phlox, and an entire unknown alien culture in a shade under 45 minutes plus commercials. You could count Porthos in that list as well (who has his pituitary gland replaced with that of a lizard's), except for the fact that ... well, he's a freaking DOG, for crying out loud. In other words, NOT A CHARACTER. On a series where Ensign Mayweather's biggest contribution in remembered history is to be presumed dead in last week's "Dead Stop," who in the world gives a care about Archer's stupid beagle?"


    By contrast my review of Sickbay was fairly mild and I probably haven't written a really negative review since Vox Sola and this wasn't even close. If you actually want to see what one of my really negative reviews looks like, stop by Trekweb's Andromeda review archive...

    link





    ---

    "Mr Mathlouthi said his Mecca Cola would "answer the needs of world citizens by contributing to the fight against American imperialism and the fascism of the Zionist entity". The advertising men promise to come up with a snappier slogan."

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Armchair Writing
    By Brian Langlois ( ) at 11:45:43 on October 21 2002
    URL: | User Info
    To all you people who constantly bash Berman and Bragga for being poor writers, do you even know what poor writing is? Could any of you do any better? The writing in Enterprise is as solid as any other Trek series. Sure, it’s nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary. It’s not like this is Shakespeare, nor is it supposed to be. It is supposed to be good sci-fi fun and it is. It’s an hour of entertainment in the middle of your mundane week. I am a writer by trade and I hold a degree in writing. Berman and Bragga follow all the “rules” of writing and plot progression. Their stories are Granted that sometimes truly great writers will break these rules, and they need to be broken, but you won’t find any truly great writers in the television industry. Berman and Bragga are doing what they need to do, and they’re doing it for the fans. They’re doing it so the show survives. They are artists and professionals in their trade, and they do a good job, so knock off the “armchair writing.”

    Now, if you simply don’t like the stories, that’s another matter. That is solely a matter of taste. Enterprise has taken a radical new direction and it’s understandable that it grates on some people. However, it is not fair to say that a story you don’t like is poor writing. It’s like calling the Mona Lisa a “Bad Painting” just because you wouldn’t hang it in your living room. I will give you the advice that has been given so many times: If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. That’s what I did with Voyager, and it made my life much happier.

    So before you bash Berman and Bragga’s writing, think about how hard their job really is and ask yourself if you could do any better.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Casual viewers?
    By Steve Krutzler ( s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 09:13:59 on October 21 2002
    URL: http://trekweb.com/brittandsteve | User Info
    Well I was finally able to catch some Howard Stern this morning owing to the Orlando stations mysteriously reaching up to Gainesville finally and there was a brief mention of Jolene Blalock, which led to Robin saying she stopped watching ENT last year because she thought it was "bad" (to which Howard responded "no, it's gooood"). Robin said she caught "Sickbay" and thought it was really good and of course Howard liked it as well, especially the Decon scenes.

    Howard has always been a big fan, and he loved VOY all the way through. So if he and Robin are any indication of the "casual" fan, then perhaps the general reaction to the episode isn't as bad as some would make it seem.

    ---

    -Steve Krutzler
    ==V/-/== Rocks

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    in a word... WOW
    By DarthSpock ( ) at 21:10:46 on October 20 2002
    URL: | User Info
    I was out on wednesday night so I missed 'A Night in Sickbay' at it's regular time... but luckily, or unluckily as the case may be, UPN shows them again on Sundays at 7. I saw the large number the posts under the review so I figured that either this episode itself or the review struck a nerve, but I didn't want to be spoiled so I didn't read any of them... boy was that a mistake. I could have been spared the waste of an hour.

    Holy crap was that bad!

    Those writers really need to sit down and think about what they are doing.
    Archer has lost all credibility with me... they seem to be going for this innocent, in over his head, aww shucks at times.. but he really just comes across as an incompetent boob. How the hell is this man put in charge of people I have no idea. I don't beleive it.

    And don't say that "well he cares about
    his dog" as a justification for his actions in this episode. I have three dogs, one has cancer the poor thing, I also have clients that rely on me to protect them. Could I honestly say that I forgot to make a motion, or appear at a deposition on my client's behalf because my dog was sick? That's just assinine. He's a captain, whinning and worrying about his dog is a luxury he no longer has. when he signed up to be responsible, not only for the people on his ship, but for the impression that he leaves on new races, he was forced to grow up. UGH that episode was just so lame.
    If that was the first episode I would never watch it again... thank god for 'Dead Stop' so I know that they are capable of good television.

    I am starting to think that the show would best be served by Archer being killed off and Trip taking over, he's a much better character.


    ---

    "I am not sure what disappoints me more... your cowardice or your stupidity."

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    The Nefarious Plot of Dr. Fu Berman Braga
    By Vedek Anon ( ) at 11:32:57 on October 20 2002
    URL: | User Info
    I have had an epiphany. After reading some of the postings related to the continuity errors and general trashing of ENT for its cavalier attitude toward things that we have ALL taken for granted for thirty years, I believe I now know the ultimate aim of our friends who sit on the bridge of the good ship Star Trek.

    Drumroll please.... The next series will be called Star Trek. It will catalog the adventures of a ship the USS Enterprise and its captain, one James Kirk. There will be a Vulcan/Human science officer a crusty doctor and various other bit part characters of several nation-states of old Earth.

    We should have all figured this out a while ago. B/B intend to re-make TOS in their own image. THINK about it, they already have scripts for the first three years. No ST series ever really hits its stride until season three. (Although Spock's Brain and Turnabout Intruder will, by necessity become 1st Season episodes so they can hold off Amok Time for season 3.) They can then fix all of the continuity errors by re-shooting it with bumpy headed Klingons (Troubles and Tribble-ations could be reshot later just leaving out Worf's one scene). The Romulan's could always have had green ships. Their Spock character could have his dialogue changed to reflect the fact that they ALWAYS had a cloak and almost defeated Earth.

    Most importantly, Archer and gang could be properly hero-worshipped by the TOS gang just like Picard and TNG thought of Kirk.

    It is a brilliant strategy. Cost-effective, redundant, cliched and re-written to ensure that ALL genuine story telling is removed from any episode. All it will take is for those of us who actually watched TOS to develop Alzheimers. OR even better, TOS could be de-canonized in favor of this Star Trek series.


    Just think, 14 years of the Temporal Cold War. Ferengi's selling Tribbles. The Borg, Tholians and Gorn all uniting to form an axis of evil (sorry, channeling W there for a minute). Kirk hitting on Guinan and getting slapped.

    If only they had this amount of creativity and deviousness about them, then maybe ENT would truly be great.


    "The past is the future, the future is the past. It all just gives me a headache." - Capt. Kathryn Janeway.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    What the...
    By Noxmagic ( ) at 21:20:25 on October 19 2002
    URL: | User Info
    So I watched the latest episode of Ent. on Wednesday, and went to bed afterwards more than a little pleased. I was confident that I'd just watched another strong second season episode of Ent., so I felt no need to rush to my computer and read the immediate reactions of fellow Trekkers. I allowed three days to go by before I surfed to my favorite fan Trek site in order to read Deus' review and fan reaction. My, what a surprise I was in for! I can't believe some of the negative fan responses to A Night In Sickbay. Even more shocking is Deus' review. Let me just repeat something I've posted before...Deus is easily one of the best Trek reviewers I've come across. Period. Now, with this said, his review of A Night was the first time I totally, with every fiber of my being, disagree with him. Deus writes that the overall plot is a Berman/Braga debacle thrown together as a lame excuse to force a romantic relationship between T'Pol and Archer, while at the same time showing some more crew flesh. I viewed Archer's thoughts on and behavior towards T'Pol as an attempt, a successful attempt, to show him as a flawed person. Remember that this show is trying to depict Earth's first deep space exploration vessel, launched at a time well before humanities' enlightenment to be found over a century later after the founding of the Federation. It is only realistic that this crew, personified by Archer, would exhibit some petty, baffling, even downright stupid behavior. Certainly, some of our military brass today (Tailgate anyone?) engage in questionable behavior. Archer's decision to bring his dog along on the sensitive away mission was a mistake, one that his annoyance towards T'Pol's comments demonstrated. Yes, much of that annoyance was based off of his repressed attraction towards her, but even that motivating factor was based off of his realizing thhat he screwed up. What guy wouldn't be agitated after blundering in front of a woman they find attractive? Archer's almost deciding to leave the "Vox Sola" aliens without a warp coil wasn't entirely out of line. Even though the Ent. needed this piece of machinary, it was implied that they could easily find it elsewhere...it was simply easier and conservatively safer to acquire one from the snobbish aliens since they were there already. Archer wasn't damming his entire crew out of anger over how his dog was treated. It is more accurate to say he was inconveniencing them. To examine Archer's behavior further, his angry outbursts and threats against the aliens were made to his crew, not the aliens. He was never serious about his threats. Certainly, it was not professional for him to express these thoughts, but this goes along with showing that Archer is anything but perfect. He struck me as something of an egomaniac during these scenes, but that would be in keeping with his personality as depicted so far (his outburst to T'Pol in front of Starfleet and Vulcan brass in Broken Bow). Evidently, he's been a Starfleet wonderkind, and has been allowed to express his ego without truly being reprimanded (perhaps who his father was had a lot to do with this). His lack of total dicipline has been demonstrated several times (Broken Bow, conversation with Reed in Minefield) so its not surprising that deep down inside, he would form an attraction to T'Pol, a very physically attractive woman he works closely with on a regular basis. When this was revealed, it was done in such a way that the information was dragged out of him, by the one person aboard ship Archer could realistically trust with such knowledge. The ship's doctor. Speaking of whom, Phlox's character was fleshed out more in A Night than in any other episode. We learned much more not only about him, but his people as well. We also were given a hint into how Ent.'s writers will be using him in the future; unofficial councilor. This would be a fine role for Phlox, an unannoying Neelix. As for T'Pol's role in this episode, she was expertly used and, despite what many Trekkers are reading into her last comments to Archer, she in no way said or even explicitly hinted that she was attracted to Archer. I think some viewers are simply reading what they want into how the actress delivered her lines. Although, for arguments' sake, so what if she was being coy with Archer? Keep in mind that Spock's father married not one but two humans. Evidently, Vulcans will come to, on a regular basis, find humans attractive enough to want to be with. Would it be the end of the Trek universe if T'Pol thinks Archer is cute? In her own Vulcan way, of course. In the end, Archer does what any good captain would do, what is best for his ship. Overall, I think A Night is as good an episode as Dead Stop (where, once again, Archer showed his anger...interesting how it was applauded then, but is panned in A Night). I'll take a realistically flawed captain any day to an unrealistically nearly perfect one (Janeway). If Berman and Braga were behind this episode, keep up the good work!

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    To Steve K and one_two_three:
    By timmer33 ( ) at 12:58:46 on October 19 2002
    URL: | User Info
    Hey Steve, for months now I have been posting messages saying that Trek is about and has ALWAYS been about characters. I've stated that I think that's why VOY failed --- it focussed too much on technology, action and stunt casting. YOU, however, have often shot back at me saying that you would rather see "high concept action and technology" than characterization. So what is going on here? Your essay below about what you think B&B are doing seems highly odd. You finally "get" ENT? What is up with that? After spending a great deal of time reading the posts below, it seems as though originally there were tonnes of negative posts about this episode, then you jumped in to start defending it and B&B. Why? How can you defend this episode? The music, the script, the acting ... all terrible. Archer's apology was simply jaw-dropping. This ep was worse than Spock's Brain, without a doubt. If you defend this, then we will get more of the same. For the first time EVER in the polling "BAD" is leading in the votes. Why are you defending it? Why has it taken this long for you to realize that it's about characters? About humanity? There's nothing new about that. Oh, and ONE_TWO_THREE, for someone who always hops on the boards here to insult people that don't like ENT, I find it highly amusing that you are NOWHERE to be found in this discussion. Obviously you finally see you can't defend every single thing in Trek.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Well the poll is now showing that 'Bad' is the number one response
    By O. Deus ( odeus@concentric.net) at 17:02:42 on October 18 2002
    URL: http://www.concentric.net/~odeus/ | User Info
    with 202 votes for bad and 136 votes for excellent.

    Considering that Enterprise episodes almost always poll very well and 'Bad' ratings rarely climb to the top, let alone to No. 1, this is certainly a strong reaction of displeasure to Sickbay and somewhat unprecedented.



    ---

    "Mr Mathlouthi said his Mecca Cola would "answer the needs of world citizens by contributing to the fight against American imperialism and the fascism of the Zionist entity". The advertising men promise to come up with a snappier slogan."

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Too bad the writers can't write expore character either
    By Greenspan ( ) at 15:55:02 on October 18 2002
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    I have no problem with a Star Trek show emphasizing character over story. In fact, I'd say it's long overdue. The problem is Enterprise has no interesting characters. B&B's attempts to humanize the show have only succeeded in showing just how little they understand people. If you look at episodes like Sickbay or the vastly overrated Shuttlepod One, you see writers who understand very little about human behavior. They may be showing a side of Archer that we never saw in Picard. By itself, that's good. The problem with revealing the inner workings of a character is that you risk making the character unlikable or uninteresting. What makes Picard tick? We never really learned cause TNG didn't care to go there. What makes Archer tick? We've learned that he thinks about T'Pol and that he loves his dog. Character exploration is fine, but not in the hand of writers who aren't good at it.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Steve nails it
    By Neilbucket ( neilbucket@aol.com) at 11:00:45 on October 18 2002
    URL: www.geocities.com/neilbucket | User Info
    Steve, I have been trying to put into words why Enterprise is the show that it is and is as good as it is but was never able to. You nailed it, you thoroughly nailed it. I'm impressed.
    Thanks for being my voice on this one.
    Neil

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Dare I say it? B&B are geniuses and I finally "get" ENT
    By Steve Krutzler ( s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 10:25:24 on October 18 2002
    URL: http://trekweb.com/brittandsteve | User Info
    This is a culmination of a myriad of replies I just made in the Sickbay review and in the thread below. Sickbay and Dead Stop have proven something to me: Rick and Brannon weren't lying when they said ENT was going to be a radical departure. It's just taken until now for me to realize it.

    The thing is, they've changed STAR TREK more than I could've imagined. But the change isn't in types of stories or the premises of the episodes. We've been looking at it in entirely the wrong way and yet Rick and Brannon have been trying to tell us all along. We've just been too blinded by our preconceptions of just what ST is to see it until now. It's not the stories they're telling, it's the way they're telling them.

    Allow me to elaborate, completely knowing that many hardcores are going to interpret this as nothing more than an apology for ENT. But I think that right there hammers home my point. It's going to take a radical transformation by hardcore fans to accept what I propose in this analysis.

    ENTERPRISE is about humanizing STAR TREK. It's not about science fiction or high-minded, interesting ideas. It's about people, moreso than any other ST series and this is why many of us have found it lacking thusfar. We are used to STAR TREK being about sci-fi ideas, being about interesting, crazy stories, and dealing with abstract, literary ideals. Witness "Dead Stop," an episode that had all of this and overwhelmingly pleased almost all of us. Stop was as close to traditional ST as ENT has ever come and it's no surprise that it is one of the most well-received episodes of the series by hard core ST fans.

    But with Sickbay we can truly see what ENT is about. More than any other episode, this show says just what ENT is all about. It's about the character side of these stories. This is why Rick and Brannon have no qualms about using similar plot threads like Hoshi becoming phased in "Vanishing Point." The idea isn't that ENT is going to be a brand new collection of sci-fi ideas never before addressed in the ST universe. The idea is that ENT is about the unseen side of those episodes we never saw in the other series. The people side. So by this logic, we should expect that "Vanishing Point" won't deal so much with the sci-fi idea of people becoming phased, but of how this untrained, humanized crew reacts to this idea.

    If Sickbay were an episode of TNG, for instance, the focus would be entirely different. The episode would've focused on the political aspects of the negotiations, the interaction with the alien culture, the repercussions of contracting an alien disease due to misinformation and the ethics of dealing with all of this. And this is precisely the rubric that Deus, for instance, applied to the episode. And he's right, it fails.

    But I argue that ENT cannot be judged by this rubric. ENT is based on the idea that we never saw what Picard might have thought of certain things, we never saw his thoughts about sexuality or sexual tension because it was a different show. It wasn't about those things but that doesn't mean that those things didn't happen. If I am to use a rather crude, but applicable metaphor, it's like the notion that on TNG we'd never hear about or see the crew going to the bathroom. But that doesn't mean they didn't. On ENT, dare I say it, we could expect to hear about the restroom (I'm talking metaphorically here).

    With ENT, they're almost entirely jettisoning the sci-fi element and giving us regular human drama in space. Based on our impressions of what ST should be, it's only natural for us to view most of ENT's episodes as dealing with inconsequentialities. Sickbay did something no TREK series ever would: it directly addresses all the issues inherent in the sexual objectification of female characters. On TNG, Troi was every bit the sex object as T'Pol, but you'd never see or hear about the implications of that positioning because the show was different. TNG focused on the professional lives of the characters so we shouldn't expect to ever see or have acknowledged anything related to this issue. But that doesn't mean there wasn't sexual tension b/w Picard and Troi or Riker and Troi or even Crusher and Troi. We just never SAW it, it doesn't mean it didn't exist.

    But in "Sickbay" this is one of the major plot threads going on. They directly address the sexual power of T'Pol within the diegetic universe of the series. One major theme of the episode is that Archer hadn't realized that T'Pol's physicality was affecting him psychologically. They're admitting that, yes, T'Pol is this sex object that even the captain can't ignore. In this way, I think the episode was a welcome change.

    I think some viewers are misinterpreting the episode as sophomoric when I actually think it deserves a little more credit. Archer wasn't admitting to having feelings for T'Pol and I see no impending romance on the way. He was simply admitting (after Phlox primed him to the possibility) that T'Pol is a physical specimen that matches his biological notion of what is sexually attractive. The ending scene with T'Pol was very well-handled in my opinion because here are both officers admitting that you can't just remove the sexual biology from a professional relationship. As a matter of protocol, of course it must be put to the side, and as I've said, it's not like either of them WANT a relationship with the other anyway. But it can't be ignored, as Phlox pointed out. Now that they are more aware of the fact this tension exists, they can work around it rather than let it affect their working relationship. Plus, since Archer hasn't had a mate in a while (probably since the Risa episode), it's even more important for him to recognize his misplaced angst.

    Is Sickbay the type of episode we wish STAR TREK would produce every week? No. The subject matter is decidedly terrestial and mundane. But frankly, that's what Berman and Braga have said was their aim with this show anyway and I am starting to see more and more that that is what ENT is about. It's not going to be about science fiction or the trademark Brannon Braga "crazy idea" stories of old. And, well, that IS something different from previous TREK series. This wouldn't be my goal for STAR TREK because to my mind, once you take this route, there's nothing to make ST different from any other series beyond the sets and special effects.

    The fact that we liked last week's Dead Stop so much probably plays into the fact that it was a much more classic piece of STAR TREK. It was science fiction. It wasn't character-based. It did have good ENT-exclusive elements, like the characterization continuity, but when you get down to it, Stop was much more in the vein of what we've come to expect from an episode of ST. So we liked it. When episodes give us this mundane, everyday-things-going-on-but-it-just-happens-to-be-in-space tone, we don't like it as much because it doesn't meet our expectations for what STAR TREK should be.

    But can we continue to fault the show for it when that was the explicit goal? I think it just comes down to the fact that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga's vision for ST is entirely different from what most fans think it should be--something they've said time and again. Sickbay goes a long way to explicating what they're trying to do with ENT and whether I would choose that route or not doesn't impact on their ability to successfully fulfill the goal they've set for themselves.

    I think "getting" ENTERPRISE is going to involve a lot more personal introspection that most hard core fans are willing to admit. Sickbay has finally proven to me that when Rick and Brannon said it was going to be a radical departure, they weren't talking in such simplistic terms as new sci-fi stories that we haven't seen. It's much more than that. ENT has turned the ST formula on its head whether we like it or not. I am forced to conclude that ENT is in fact a radical departure and it is actually doing exactly what its creators set out to do--and it's doing it well. When we heard "radical departure," it never clicked with us that what that meant was not a wholesale change WITHIN THE EXISTING FRAMEWORK. But that's what most of us (incl. myself until now) have been expecting. We have said we want ENT to be different but truth be told, we want it to be just like all the previous series, but with different stories. In effect, we wanted ENT to be just like TNG or TOS: a series mainly about sci-fi stories and high-concept premises--just as long as those premises were NEW.

    But we must recognize the contradiction here: that expectation still operates within the existing framework of STAR TREK through VOYAGER. This is why we were unhappy when episodes returned to the same old plot devices of TNG. We weren't thinking deep enough. We wanted new versions of the same thing. We want new and interesting sci-fi stories. But Rick and Brannon are operating from within an entirely different paradigm. The goal isn't to show new premises that haven't been shown before, but to show an entirely new way of representing many of those premises. And while this is going to sound incredibly apologetic, from where I am sitting now, it's not reasonable to criticize ENT for retreading TNG or DS9 or even VOY stories. As long as ENT treats the same story from an entirely different angle, then ENT will have succeeded in telling an entirely new and radically different story.

    I think this line of thinking deserves some serious consideration and I invite everyone to think about it and give their own input.

    ---

    -Steve Krutzler
    ==V/-/== Rocks

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Like this episode or not...
    By RichCD ( ) at 09:05:24 on October 18 2002
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    The question you have to ask is who really would vote this episode as excellent - among the best of Star Trek?

    Even when I see the poll results early there are already scores of 'excellent' votes. Have the Canadians never seen any other Trek? Are there actually people who think that 'A Night in Sickbay' ranks up there with 'City on the Edge of Forever' or 'The Inner Light?'

    'Threshold' is more like it....

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    That's why -
    By LM ( ) at 04:49:29 on October 18 2002
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    Everybody is so angry about the episode, becouse someone said that it's bad. Then everybody knows who wrote it. And that's it.

    After that many of "fans" were just looking for mistakes. Some said there was no plot - ofcourse it was. Someone said he whatched it just few minutes. That's stupid! They thought that after minefield and dead... we will get only action, ...

    And for the poll. You can see that every week in the first three votes there is "allways " "1". Someone comes here just to give it "1".

    But hey, thats my opinion. Like the reviews - just from one mind.

    I liked the episode.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Polling Rules
    By B'Jem ( ) at 04:19:35 on October 18 2002
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    "Sickbay" was certainly not "the worst episode ever." Not even close. Then why did it poll all those lowly ones?
    Many people came to this episode with an automatic, knee-jerk prejudice against Brandon and Braga. They were predisposed to hate it for one reason only -- B&B wrote it. Many of these same people voted before they even saw the episode -- their votes were in even before the ep aired. O.D's negative (as usual) review didn't help, either. It just further inflamed the B&B haters.
    So, here are my humble suggestions for future polling --
    1. Actually WATCH the episode before you cast your vote.
    2. Cast your vote BEFORE you read O.D.'s review. In other words, make it your OWN vote, not a rehash of his.
    3. Lighten up. Not everything in the Star Trek universe has to be earth-shattering (pun intended). You are allowed to occasionally enjoy a vignette episode, whose only purpose may be to discover the length of Phlox's tongue.



    ---

    B'Jem

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    Of Bats and Dogs
    By DiLune ( ) at 03:15:07 on October 18 2002
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    If we were in the middle of a crisis at my place of employment and my boss took off to be with her sick DOG I would certainly think less of her.

    As for the bat, I thought Hoshi coming in and just snatching it out of the air was hilarious. She's been the mousey one in most situations, squemish about almost everything, and there she is just calmly grabbing the bat out of the air. For me it was a tiny scene that added volumes to her character.

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    Oh my god, I can't believe how bad this was!
    By Cybie ( ) at 01:51:55 on October 18 2002
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    For the 30 years I've been alive one of the basic truths of my existance is that "Spock's Brain" is the worst Star Trek episode ever. I was wrong.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    My 2 Cents
    By B'Jem ( ) at 00:02:57 on October 18 2002
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    Yes, it does seem that this episode inspires either pure love or pure hate, judging by the ones and tens in the poll. I fall into the "love it" category, but then again any ep that features the doctor is a winner with me. I agree with O.D. that Archer should have never taken the dog down to a planet whose people have been so difficult in the past, particularly when he needs something from them. And I agree that the decon scenes are not only gratuitous, but they're medically laughable.
    Having said that, O.D.'s other comments are hyperbolic overreaction. Archer's character has not been irrevocably ruined by this ep. It was one lousy night, for pete's sake. Archer was sleep deprived and worried about his dog. He didn't put the ship into jeopardy, and he apologized to one and all in the end. We got treated to some wonderful moments with Phlox, and we didn't have to listen to Malcolm whine. I give it a ten, with no apologies. It was an entertaining, funny detour from the usual sci-fi FX, and I enjoyed it.

    ---

    B'Jem

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Unfortunately, review is right on target
    By MoulinRouge ( ) at 22:40:25 on October 17 2002
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    I was so pleased that the ratings were ever so slowly rising. I was pleased that season two's episodes were showing improvement. I didn't agree with O'Deus' assessment of "Minefield" or "Vox Sola" whatsoever. Unfortunately, "A Night in Sickbay" is every bit as putrid as he opines.

    What were Berman and Braga THINKING? I can appreciate funny. I can appreciate different. I don't need spaceships and constant explosions to entertain me but good *grief*--why are Berman and Braga trying to butcher Archer's character at this juncture? There's a difference between being a flawed, inexperienced character (Trip and Malcolm are both flawed men) and an outright incompetent one (Archer). It's almost seems as if John Shiban's Archer and B&B's Archer are two different men, or one man suffering from severe bipolar disorder. My God, don't take your dog along if the locals are so easily offended, you dolt. What a gnat.

    I can appreciate stupid, silly and sexy. The decon chamber doesn't even bother me. Call it a guilty pleasure, but "I'm doing the breast I can?" There is a limit. A flirtatious "I bet you'd look good in Triaxian silk" I might be able to take from my unmarried boss. Freudian slips about my breasts while he's staring? Ummmm....no. I have a sense of humor but give me a break. SoPJ's boob plunge was as far as I care to plummet into sophomoric antics.

    BTW, bravo to O. Deus for recognizing that an Archer/T'Pol romance would destroy the excellent dynamic of the captain and his first officer coming to terms with *cultural* differences. Pardon me, but wasn't that one of ENT's basic premises? Weren't the strained relations between Vulcans and humanity what *distinguished* this series as taking place in an earlier time period? Let's cut to the chase. Could Jon and T'Pol be any more boring as a potential couple? Can you say dead end? Boobs in the face couldn't make them sexy together. At least Blalock shows some spark in shared scenes with Connor Trinneer. It's kind of telling when someone is sexier offering a piece of pie than someone whose face is in your chest, no?

    Phlox? Billingsley is magnificent. Enough said.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    WORST EPISODE EVER!!
    By flashsociety ( ) at 21:23:15 on October 17 2002
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    Okay, 'Minefield' was to my liking...and 'Dead Stop' was even entertaining, but what the *HELL* was 'A Night in Sickbay' about?!!
    THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE WORST EPISODE EVER!!!

    First of all, it alludes me as to why the writers allow Archer to flipflop between personalities: that is, competent one moment and, of course, a bungling idiot the next.

    AAAUUGGGHHH!!! Guys, I won't go into details, but suffice it to say this was the worst episode ever! I was embarassed for the actors, in particular, Blalock who had to bare it all unneccessarily (talk about distasteful!)

    The cast of this show are decent actors...it's just painfully apparent that the writers fail to utilize their talents...

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Lessard
    By HotStove ( ) at 20:19:22 on October 17 2002
    URL: www.cascobay.net | User Info
    I'm just trying to picture Captain Jean-Luc Picard, looking a lot like Commandant Lessard from the Police Academy films, taking his lionfish with him on a first contact mission... At least the fish wouldn't lift his leg all over the place...

    ---

    "Dammit, I'm a doctor, not a... oh, yeah, right..."

    --Phil Hartman as McCoy, Saturday Night Live

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Lower expectations = enjoyable experience?
    By Steve Krutzler ( s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 19:27:27 on October 17 2002
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    Well after being completely prepared for an utterly embarrassing episode that would make me feel awkward sitting there watching it by myself, I must admit that I liked the episode! Yes, I am as surprised as you. Let me just say before I go into why I liked it that perhaps the reason is that I was expecting a completely horrible episode and since it wasn't, I actually came out with a positive feeling.

    The main thing that Deus dislikes about the episode is Archer's characterization as a captain who cares more for his dog than the welfare of his ship. But this never seemed to be the case for me while watching. I never felt like Archer was actually risking his crew by delaying his apology to the aliens. It would've been a different story if the Enterprise were on the verge of blowing up and the captain wouldn't suck up his pride. But that was far from the case. They were there for five days already and one more night certainly wasn't going to matter. So for me, I never felt like Archer was coming across as incompetent. As a pet lover, I of course identified with his concern for Porthos and his angry remarks about "if anything happens to Porthos..." came across more like the result of an irritated and sleep-deprived captain. Plus let's remember that Archer only showed his displeasure senior staff, who it's been established that Archer is close to in a way far different from the dissociated relationship of Picard or Sisko or Kirk.

    I was also expecting a lot of horrid material related to Archer and T'Pol getting the hots for each other. But Archer's dream only grew out of Phlox's suggestion. In fact, I didn't get the impression that Archer actually desired T'Pol at all before Phlox even brought the issue to light. What I mean is that the situation was one of simply physical, biological attraction. Males and females who work in close quarters and meet each other's notion of what is physically attractive naturally have to deal with the issues that can arise, hence sexual tension. In the professional world this is suppressed because usually one or the other is married or involved in a relationship and so the biological sex drive is less powerful. That couples with the obvious professionalism that procludes such relationships and rang true to the real world for me. In this episode we definitely had Archer being humanized and I think perhaps we don't like this as much as previous TREK because what it's doing is making these people less fantastic, less amazing and more pedestrian. On the one hand, yes, it does bring them closer to us. But I think a lot of fans (myself included) watch STAR TREK more for science fiction, which ENT (except last week's ep) clearly isn't going for. This doesn't mean that we are prudes who don't like character drama, just that there are plenty of places infinitely more qualified than ENT will ever be at delivering this. The West Wing and Sex and the City come to mind.

    But that said, I never disliked "Sickbay." As long as it's the exception, I didn't find anything overtly wrong with it. It was sort of a vignette episode, showing one night in the life of Archer etc. There really wasn't much more to it and it worked. The Phlox stuff was also pretty good, though certainly not laugh out loud funny. There was less comedy than I expected but the Bat chase was actually pretty quaint and interesting--the CG bat was nice.

    So in any case, Sickbay to me isn't a bad episode at all. It just isn't anything special. I actually enjoyed it and don't think it represents an embarrassment to STAR TREK because it overtly is about humans who are less "evolved" than later series, so I don't think there's anything wrong with the more humanized storytelling at all. That said, I tend to find it rather boring and prefer the eps that deal with galactic politics, interesting sci-fi AND develop characters meaningfully as a consequence. So I don't care to see shows like these every week. But does this ep ruin ENT's season? Not at all. In fact, I found it much more effective than the far-funnier (and awkward) "Unexpected" from last year.


    ---

    -Steve Krutzler
    ==V/-/== Rocks

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    cute episode & Archer's reaction was believable
    By Bucky ( ) at 15:32:41 on October 17 2002
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    sue me, I liked it. Archer was a little crazy but its an understandable emotional reaction. Kirk/ Picard/ Sisko/ Janeway wouldn't have freaked out like that because thats the point of Enterprise - to show humanity first out there. Therefore the ENT reactions aren't supposed to be as enlightened as the other Trek episodes. Its because of creating the Federation that humanity becomes more enlightened and tollerate other cultures. Put in my postion, I'd be pissed if the aliens were acting like jerks, wouldn't give the technology and killed my dog - top it off with lack of sleep and the doc acting a little too wierd for that time of day, I'd be close to snapping too.
    The only problem I *did* have was the romantic overtones between T'Pol and Archer. I hope they lose that.
    But that negative didn't weigh down the episode too much. there were a few good lines in it and I was really laughing at the cut to the rain drenched funeral for Porthos.
    I liked this episode because it humanized Archer and I could relate to him. I think its good to show a character, even if they're acting irrational, because its human. and that's at the core of ENT.

    ---

    speed kills but beauty lives forever


    The Smashing Pumpkins 1988-2000

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Even worse than Spock's Brain
    By Jack ( ) at 15:24:25 on October 17 2002
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    I nearly watched this piece of crap slack jawed with disbelief for the entire hour. I could not possibly believe that Berman and Braga would be so deluded to show the captain of the first Warp 5 starship as a complete and utter imbecile and hope we'd be able to "relate" to his level of incompetance.

    To the person who said we should relate to him because of his love for his pet...that is simply ridiculous! He's the captain of a ship that carries 80 odd people and cost Star Fleet a ton of money. He can't afford to be cavalier about the safety of his vessel on behalf of a dog. It's one thing to let your personal responsibilities go to Hell in a handbasket concerning paying your bills or your own mortgage...it's another if you allowed your personal concern over your pet to threaten the safety of your aircraft carrier or destroyer if you were a captain in our surface Navy. The Navy would have removed any captain from command for behaving in such a manner during a sitution like this and for B&B to think Star Fleet would look the other way during something like this is simply astounding.

    Second, he would have been subject to discipline for his completely unprofessional gaffes of referring to T'pol's breasts and lips. If that's inappropriate for naval captains today, it's certainly inappropriate for the captains of tomorrow. At the very least, he should have apologized profusely AT THE TIME he made the first slip. That way he would have avoided the second slip.

    And his inconceivable stupidity in insisting to bring his dog down to a planet that had a culture that, at best, was difficult to placate and very touchy, boggles the mind.

    I deal with people every day and am a professional by training and experience. Hopefully a starship captain would have just as much training as an attorney in dealing with people. If I could have avoided gaffes like this without even thinking hard about it, I would think a competant captain could as well. This episode clearly showed that plot, no matter how inane the writers could make it, superceded the needs of character.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Cancel the show please!
    By Greenspan ( ) at 14:13:31 on October 17 2002
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    I love how anytime there's a negative review, the fanboys come out of hiding criticizing the reviewer, TrekWeb, and do everything they can to defend the episode. These are the fans Paramount loves cause they'll watch and defend anything Star Trek.

    This episode was just pure crap, ranking right up there with Spock's Brain and Threshold. I am now convinced that Berman and Braga have no clue what qualities a starship captain should have. First they screw up Janeway, now Archer. You can't even blame the actors anymore. Patrick Stewart or William Shatner would look bad with this kind of writing. I guess it's a not a surprise though. Berman and Braga are such incompetent leaders in real life, so how can they be expected to create a good one on paper?

    I won't even discuss the decon scene or how ridiculous it is to think a decontamination would rely on gel and keep everyone in the same room.

    And thank you for ruining what could have been an interesting Captain/T'Pol relationship by throwing in the whole "friction" angle.

    Please, PLEASE put this show out of its misery.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    I liked a night in sickbay
    By Neilbucket ( neilbucket@aol.com) at 13:02:53 on October 17 2002
    URL: www.geocities.com/neilbucket | User Info
    Here is my 2 cents. I like last nights episode. I do not agree that Archers character is weak or icky because of his affection for his dog. Dog owners should be able to sympathize with him. Other complaints that I have seen say that Archer is not professional. Not compared to Picard he's not but he is the first human to take on the task of exploring the galaxy. He is closer to our time and so will have the same kinds of faults that we exhibit. He is only human and I for one am glad that the ship runs a little ragged and that he makes mistakes and can look like an ass sometimes. There were some giggles last night and Dr Phlox becomes more and more interesting each time he gets a scene.
    My opinion is that some people see that B&B wrote the episode and dismiss it before they see it (Perhaps that is why there were 40 votes for the episode being BAD 8 hours before it aired in the States).
    Enterprise, as with all previous incarnations of Trek, will have the epic episodes, character episode and those made to make us giggle. It won't always work but always watch with an open mind.
    Thanks for reading my opinion

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Just Plain Icky
    By Tom M ( tm_ii@hotmail.com) at 12:39:13 on October 17 2002
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    Well, there's an hour of my life I'll never get back. Boy, that Archer's an idiot, ain't he? I wonder if B&b ever stopped while writing this and asked themselves "Does this make Archer look like an imbecile?" Note to Dumb and Dumber: there is a difference between presenting a character that is flawed, and one that is simply foolish. The end result of this episode was to leave me thinking "You know, that Katherine Janeway was a great captain". Also, how believable is it that Phlox have no medical staff? Not very, considering a ship of this size and the potential for lifethreatening situations. So far the two worst episodes of this season have been written by Berman and Braga. Lets face it, they DO suck. I can't wait for Stewart and Spiner to take over, he he!



    ---

    "...to go with bold entreaty whither no man had gone before..."
    - HP Lovecraft; "The Dream-Quest of Unkown Kadath" (1926)

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    Star Trek is back in title
    By Red Shirt ( ) at 12:35:40 on October 17 2002
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    Did any one else notice the new next week on ENTERPRISE graphic that had STAR TREK blazened above ENTERPRISE? It was the first time I had seen that

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    I have to agree
    By Theo ( ) at 12:17:31 on October 17 2002
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    I think O. Deus has hit on a number of interesting and relevant problems with this episode.

    The Decon chamber being the funniest. It is just an excuse to show off people in their underwear. Decon gel you have to manually apply? Please B&B, we all love ST, but let's invest a LITTLE in some good science, shall we? It is cheap and it plays to the lowest common denominator.

    Although the idea of Archer/T'Pol relationship is interesting, I much prefer the Kirk/Rand relationship and the Picard "no relationship" ideas better than a rehashed Voyager theme (Janeway/Chakotey).

    And for a captain of a starship, decades away from Earth at impulse, responsible for the health and welfare of the crew, he shows little care for his ship. He doesn't have the love affair with the ship that Kirk had. It is more like Archer is just a caretaker of STARFLEET's ship. I would think, given his past (and his father's sacrifice) that he would be much more in the mold of Kirk in this regard. *shrugs*

    His caring for the dog does touch on the pyscho level IMHO. If B&B want to explore new terriroty from previous Treks, they have done it, since none of the captains would have ever acted like a bloomin' idiot over the life of a dog. I could never see Archer in Kirk's or Sisko's job where they sent hundreds or thousands to die during their tenure.

    I loved the Doctor's rituals (that tongue scraping was great) and although a bit goofy, the bat chasing was amusing.

    The juvenile behavior of Archer on the treadmill was another stupid direction B&B have taken with Archer. T'Pol's response was just as out of character for a Vulcan.

    I think I see where B&B are going with this.. get more viewers by reducing the plots to more simplistic ideas: sexual tension and comedy.

    There are other TV shows that do that much better and they aren't disguised in the Sci-Fi genre.

    I hope this was just a blip. The season was going along very nicely up to this point.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    not surprised
    By sky ( ) at 11:32:08 on October 17 2002
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    We were about ready to pull the plug on ENT after "Minefield." Then we were pleasantly surprised by "Dead Stop." But we skipped this last ep completely. We just weren't interested in Archer's repressed sex fantasies. This storyline is not surprising. From our first look at Jolene Blalock, we knew she on ENT to show off her breasts, and B&B have used her in that way as much as they could.

    It may come as a surprise to B&B and other Hollywood types, but many female viewers (like my wife) don't appreciate shows that feature half-naked women. Demographics aside, not every Trek viewer is a zit-headed, hormonally-charged teenage boy, or a sexually repressed, 35 year old nerd-virgin.

    ---

    "When I was your age, I didn't watch television! I LIVED! So... move out of your parent's basements!"

    -- William Shatner on SNL, 1986

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    Disagree with review itself
    By Charlie ( ) at 11:23:21 on October 17 2002
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    Hey all, long time reader, first time poster... here with my two cents. I have to say that I find myself, as I often do week from week, disagreeing with O Deus' review of the most recent Enterprise episode. But that's ok... that's his opinion, and I have mine. I happen to think that "Vox Sola" was a great episode, showing character growth for Hoshi, Archer and Tucker and showing a truly alien alien. I happen to have sympathy for Archer and his Porthos fiasco... yes, he took a while to get that he wasn't in the right... but let's not forget that the Enterprise spent FIVE days trying to apologize to the Kretassans and then another 12 hours waiting on the planet with no reply. All their talk about courtesy and whatnot strikes me as a little hypocritical... I really doubt that the Kretassans would have tried so hard to apologize if they had screwed up the first contact in Vox Sola. But suffice to say, Archer, as he states at the end of the episode, has been under a lot of stress. Just because we didn't see the five and a half prior days doesn't mean they don't exist, and doesn't mean that they aren't affecting Archer's behavior. Things have gone wrong again, it's the middle of the night, and on top of that the possibility of his dog DYING... not just his pet but possibly the last connection he has to his ex-girlfriend... yeah, ups the stressload even more. And then Phlox just has to mention T'Pol, which just cranks the bolts even tighter. But despite all that, Archer made it through... he acted like a jerk sometimes yes, but he apologized to each person he a) offended or b) might have offended. He even settled things with T'Pol, which I think was more of a wink wink to the J/Cers of Voyager than anything else since it was included in this farcical episode. Of course, that's just my opinion :-)

    Charlie

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    A bad episode, but not for the reasons O.D. suggests
    By Josiah Rowe ( ) at 11:17:23 on October 17 2002
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    I agree that "A Night in Sickbay" was a step down from the recent string of solid episodes, but not for quite the same reasons that O. Deus suggests. Perhaps it's because I'm a dog owner who's spent more than a few sleepless nights in veterinary emergency clinics, but the sick-Porthos plot worked for me. Although I agree that Archer's treatment of the aliens was somewhat arrogant, I thought it was understandable and in character. What might have been more interesting would be if Dr. Phlox had not been able to cure Porthos, and the only recourse was for Archer to swallow his pride and ask the aliens for veterinary assistance (after all, the virus is local to their planet, so presumably they have experience in dealing with it).

    What didn't work was the Archer/T'Pol "friction" scenes. Frankly, I wonder whether Berman and Braga are watching the series they're writing for: isn't it obvious that Bakula and Blalock have no chemistry? There are much more promising and convincing sparks between Blalock and Connor Trineer.

    Also, I was surprised that T'Pol was written/directed as reciprocating Archer's attraction. It's believable (although not particularly convincing, given Bakula's performance) that Archer would be on some level attracted to T'Pol. It's more surprising that she would feel the same way about him. True, we don't know whether Vulcan females undergo pon farr, but nevertheless any sexual feelings T'Pol may have should be more deeply repressed than that. Oh, well -- knowing B&B, I suppose we'll see plenty more of T'Pol's sex life before this series is over. *shrug*

    P.S. Steve mentions the number of "1" votes this show got. I happened to visit the site yesterday around 6:00 Eastern time, and there were already 37 "1" votes on the poll. Do that many people watch the wildfeed, or might we be seeing people casting votes based on pre-show publicity and spoilers? Just maybe?

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    Disagree with Comments on Archer
    By Trek47 ( webmaster@trek47.com) at 11:06:13 on October 17 2002
    URL: http://www.trek47.com | User Info
    I disagree with O. Deus' comments about Archer. While I didn't like the episode very much, I did find Archer's actions and behavior to be very realistic in line with other fanatical pet owners. There are many pet owners out there who believe their pets are as important as people, and would not give a second thought to paying thousands of dollars for a surgery to save their pet's life. So in this sense, Archer did what any other pet owner who really cares about their pet would do.

    And to be fair to Porthos, he didn't get the "sniffles" as you put it. His entire immune system was destroyed. This would be very similiar to what happens when you get AIDS. If Trip or Malcolm or someone got a life-threatening illness while on the planet because the Kreetassans didn't bother to check their genome, we wouldn't be having this argument over whether or not Archer acted irrationally. I think Archer would have been just as upset if any member of the crew had gotten infected like Porthos did.

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    yes, this episode
    By Tad ( bday78@cox.net) at 11:04:58 on October 17 2002
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    was a disgrace. there was no point to it. the whole time i was thinking, "you can't masturbate in space?" sheesh. after the run of decent episodes, "a night in sickbay" and the rerun next week are sure to bring the ratings to new lows.

    ---

    Damn it! You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt monkey! Xander (Buffy vs. Dracula)

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Reminded me of Spock's Brain
    By psp1 ( ) at 10:55:57 on October 17 2002
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    This episode was boring and insulting to the viewer.
    Enterprise has reached new lows- those blatantly pointless decontamination sequences assume the viewer is driven by his/her hormones instead of their brains.
    Even showing the voluptuous T'Pol naked would not have helped this lifeless episode.
    The level of incompetence shown by Archer as he deals with aliens stretches credulity, as well. Being new to space is really no excuse- even today astronauts are trained professionals. Archer has become a joke- like the earnest boy who wants to do well, but who keeps burning his hands on a hot stove.

    ---

    psp1

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    B&B must be stopped
    By cooper2000 ( ) at 10:48:15 on October 17 2002
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    There was nothing on last night and we were flipping the channel. It landed on Enterprise. Since we havent watched since last year, we thought we would give it a shot.
    Boring.
    We didnt make it through the whole episode, so in answer to your Question Mooky, dont expect much if you are tuning back in.
    Is it suppose to be cute that we watch the Doctor clipping his toe nails and feeding it to the plant?
    The whole treadmill scene between T'Pol and Archer wasnt any good either, it just layed there.
    HELP! Get this show new writers Fast.
    How do B&B sleep at night churning out this crap????!!!!????

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Sounds reasonable
    By Hbasm ( ) at 09:24:40 on October 17 2002
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    I haven't seen the episode yet, but I was suspicious about the content so I chose to read the review. I think this time it sounds very reasonable.

    Personally I never felt comfortable with dogs, but maybe those people who loves to get licked by them, and have them bite their ears off, will enjoy the episode, simply because they can easily relate to Archer's care.

    Even if his emotional reactions comes off exaggerated, this could actually improve the entertainment factor for some people. Unless you think deeper about the things.

    Regarding the sexy scenes, maybe these are just Archer's wierd dreams at night? I don't really know until I've seen the episode.

    But in real life, T'Pol shouldn't be sexually attracted to anyone unless she is undergoing Pon Farr (but even that has been badly portrayed in Voyager) or influenced by some unknown factor.. Or maybe she is not the nice Vulcan I thought?

    She is a Vulcan; thus lives without passion and with her sense of logic, she would never approch anyone - Hoshi included of course. And Archer can't allow a desire for T'Pol to grow. I know, the mind is hard to control, but it's obvious that she is out of reach.

    At this time my conclusion is, Berman and Braga tried to make a sweet and sexy episode. But if they had more time between their hands, to think twice, maybe they would have changed plans.


    Hbasm

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Haven't seen it yet but this has to be the highest ranking the rating "1: Bad" has ever scored in the TrekWeb poll. It's just below "10: Excellent" so clearly this is one of those episodes that inspires pure love or pure hatred. And remember, most people voting in these polls each week tend to like the show because they are repeatedly watching and as the archives will show, usually results are in the 8-10 range without exception. Does this tell us something about the episode? Perhaps. Maybe it's also the juxtaposition of this ep to last week's stellar "Dead Stop" that makes the let down all that more apparent? More after I see the show later.

    ---

    -Steve Krutzler
    ==V/-/== Rocks

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