"Dear Doctor"
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Story by: Maria and Andre Jacquemetton
Teleplay by: Maria and Andre Jacquemetton
Directed by: James Contner

When the Enterprise comes in contact with an alien vessel transporting stargazers to observe a spectacular stellar event, Archer invites them aboard the ship not realizing that Silik, a Suliban enemy, is among them. Archer quickly realizes that Silik is engaged in a nefarious time-travelling mission and must stop him before he can tamper with the course of history. ~ StarTrek.com


Enterprise encounters a pre-warp ship with two astronauts on board who are sick. Archer decides to go to the aliens' planet to help as it seems there is a epidemic there. Meanwhile Dr. Phlox has received a letter from his human counterpart, Dr. Lucas, who is posted on Denobulan thanks to the Interspecies Medical Exchange program. Phlox narrates his reply to Lucas throughout the episode and as such we hear Phlox' thoughts about humans and how he deals with a dilemma he must face.

This is a slower-paced episode than most I've seen in a long time yet it is well-paced nonetheless. We basically shadow the doctor as he goes about his daily business until he is given the task of "curing" the ailing Valakians. We get shades of the Data-like character as he observes how humans react compassionately even to fictional characters in a movie. A little note here about Trip and how he denies crying at the movie. I really liked this and love this character but I digress.....

While it's interesting to see how the doctor views humans (we even get a little romantic interest for him, Kelly Waymire as crewman Cutler), I have to say this part of the episode was boring. I don't really like the character of Phlox very much, so for me it just didn't click. I found Cutler's "romantic" interest in Phlox a bit difficult to believe as well. I shouldn't say I don't like Phlox, it's just that I don't care one way or the other. I guess I'm just tired of the commentaries on the human condition and of these types of characters. Still, at least these observations were needed in this episode as they added to the story. In a way though, I wish it had been Archer we were listening to as I think we need to know "him" better.

But what I found most interesting was the way the Theory of Evolution was used here. Again, as in the last episode, Trek reiterates the theory and puts it to logical use here to boot. Phlox discovers that the Valakians are suffering from a genetic disease and not one caused by a virus or bacteria. In other words, the species has been selected by nature for extinction it seems. They are not the only sentient species on the planet however and have a symbiotic relationship with the Menk, the other species, who are immune to the disease. The Menk are less advanced and serve almost as pets to the Valakians. Everything is provided for the Menk


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