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Story by: Daniel McCarthy
Teleplay by: Chris Black & John Shiban
Directed by: Robert Duncan McNeill
The Denobulan Science Academy asks Enterprise to go to the planet Xantoras to evacuate three of its scientists. A xenophobic militant faction has taken over the government and wants all off-worlders to leave or they will be incarcerated. Arriving at the planet, Mayweather, Tucker and Reed are assigned the task of picking up the geologists. They have a day and a half to do it but must make their way through a cave to find them as the scientists are deep underground. As Mayweather has spelunking experience he leads the away team. Meanwhile, Archer comes to the aid of a damaged transport that is trying to leave the planet. One of the passengers is an Antaran who has taken a lethal dose of radiation. When he discovers that Doctor Phlox is a Denobulan, he refuses treatment. There was a war 300 years past between the Denobulans and Antarans and there is still "bad blood" between the two species. Archer orders Phlox to treat him regardless of the Antaran's wishes but the doctor refuses as he is bound by his medical ethics. Archer then tells the doctor to find a way to convince the Antaran to accept the treatment which he eventually does and the away team manages to find the geologists and saves them.
This is a well-directed and well-written episode which while it doesn't reach the levels of writing found in DS9 it comes pretty close and is noteworthy in its execution. Both the A and B plots are interesting and more than watchable.
The dramatic scenes between Phlox and Hudak demonstrate the time-honored ideals of Gene Roddenberry as they do come to an understanding and resolve their differences. Hudak discovers that Phlox is not the Denobulan monster that he was made out to be. In turn, Phlox's views of the Antarans is vindicated. This episode has meaning and resonates very well with the way societal conditions in the world are playing out at this very moment as we are all subject to propaganda and the hegemony of certain groups within our society. This is what Trek is all about, opening doors rather than closing them.
I particularly liked the cave scenes. For once the overused cave sets were actually interesting to look at. There was a palpable sense of claustrophobia and the dangers were certainly well conveyed. While I don't usually like lowbrow lines like the one Trip says: "If you don't start moving in the next five seconds I'm gonna take my phase pistol and shoot you in the ass", it worked very well here. This was a laugh out loud line and Connor Trinneer has a neat way of delivering this type of dialogue with humor and conviction.
I also liked the way the Denobulans climbed the cave walls. While it was a bit hard to believe that they could climb so easily we've seen Phlox's toenails so it does seem to be plausible in