"Dear Doctor"
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by the Valakians while the latter use them as servants and the like. Without having to fend for themselves, the Menk are virtually kept back from evolving or so it seems.

Dr. Phlox discovers that the Menk are not as backwards as they appear and thinks they are at the threshold of an evolutionary leap and could in time become the dominant species. Considering that the Valakians are preventing the natural advancement of the Menk, he is faced with a dilemma as Archer wants the doctor to help cure the Valakians. Phlox informs Archer of his findings and an interesting discussion ensues between the two. Archer is not so ready to deny the Valakians a cure as the doctor explains that the Valakians will become extinct in time:

Archer: "I am not prepared to walk away based on a theory."
Dr. Phlox: "Evolution is more than a theory. It is a fundamental scientific principle".

Bravo to the writers for putting this in.

In the end, Archer decides not to give the Valakians the cure nor to give them warp capability, another interesting aspect of this episode. We see the beginnings of the Prime Directive and it is done excellently. This is the type of episode I've been waiting for. Perhaps not as mind-teasing as say TNG's "Parallels", "Cause and Effect" or "Timescape" or disturbing as Voyager's "Scientific Method" or "Tuvix" but still extremely thought provoking. I can't say I agree with Archer's decision in the end but somehow it seems right. I'm just not sure. Thing is, what if the Menk hadn't existed? Would Archer have come to the same decision? I'm getting a headache thinking about it and frankly I don't think I'll forget this one for a long time.

I give this episode an A-.

Gisele La Roche, About

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