“Doctor’s Orders”
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wasn’t in the mood for a Phlox episode; I’m not sure. Regardless, we’ve seen the feet before but the nails are particularly gross in this episode. Maybe it’s just that they’re so long and curly………blech. We get to see him naked and we do get *some* humor here as we see some nice strategic shots covering up Phlox’ special parts. But it’s the personality traits that are interesting.

In a previous episode, “Vanishing Point”, he had said to Hoshi that it was healthy for Denobulans to hallucinate when they are stressed out. T’Pol mentions it in the episode so in some ways he is aware that he is hallucinating even though it is through the fake T’Pol that it is expressed. In a way, we are watching his mind working out loud so to speak with T’Pol being his anchor in the real world keeping him focused albeit while he is hallucinating. Actually having thought about it now, this episode also reminds me of DS9’s “Distant Voices”, where Dr. Bashir is in a coma and uses parts of his psyche that end up being represented by people he knows like Dax, O’Brien, Kira, etc.. In this episode, T’Pol represents Dr. Phlox’ logic it seems except towards the end. Later we see a disappointed Archer maybe representing Phlox’ lack of self-confidence; we get a deformed Hoshi who might be his fear; we get an angry Trip who might be his anger at himself for hallucinating. Your guess is as good as mine. Still, it does give us insight into how he views the crew.

As we know from “Stigma”, where the doctor’s wife visits the Enterprise to help Trip install a microscope, Phlox’ species has a very social culture. His being left alone like this would naturally affect him greatly. It also makes him realize that once the mission is over, he wants to return to Denobula as he misses his own kind. This is interesting as it looks like the Xindi arc will be wrapped up this season. Will Billingsley be leaving the show and is this a foreshadowing of this? Alright, maybe the cold medicine is getting to me.

The length of the trip through the disturbance is rather short. His becoming delusional so quickly is rather odd unless he too is affected by the anomaly which he mentions at one point. I suspect being alone also contributed greatly to his delusions. Still, it’s amazing they made it through the disturbance in one piece considering Phlox was virtually schizophrenic for the most part throughout the trip. Regardless, as plot holes go, his getting delusional so quickly is not that severe.

We do get to see how Phlox would behave if he were at home. We see him in the nude feeding his pets; we see him writing another letter to Dr. Lucas who is now on Earth (see season one’s “Dear Doctor” where we see Phlox writing a letter to Lucas who is posted on Denobula due to the Interspecies Medical Exchange program). I liked that he was watching “The Court Jester” with Danny Kaye ( a fave movie of mine when I was a kid) and maintaining the routine of the ship with Tuesday movie nights. The mention of having watched “The Exorcist” a week before is somewhat amusing considering that Phlox is a bit spooked by being alone on the ship with every little sound making him uneasy and he regrets having listened to Trip and having watched it.

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