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In this episode we see the same dilemma in Archer’s decision to have Sim created and killed in order to save Trip. It’s not so much the death of the clone that counts since it has a very short lifespan but rather the creation of it. As T’Pol tells Archer, it will be a *sentient* being. Is it ethical to create what will be a thinking being to use it for parts like it is some sort of disposable commodity? Obviously not so Archer is left with a guilt that is not easily resolved and it shows. I liked how Archer was shown unshaved and basically dishevelled. It showed that he was overwrought. Archer is shown throughout having difficulty with his decision to have the clone created in the first place and then to have him killed. Was Archer heartless here? It’s difficult to say. Like he says: “I must complete this mission.” After all, the life of everyone on Earth is at stake. It’s wonderful to see how the character of Archer has changed from the wide-eyed, excited and overconfident captain in the first season to this serious and burdened captain. Yet he’s not beaten but certainly wiser.
But that’s not all the story is about. It’s about the sacrifices that people make for the good of the many, a very Trekkian and Roddenberry ideal. What we do for each other, as humans, is what stands out here. Humanism was one of Roddenberry’s first beliefs. It’s not how much you believe in or pray to a god that matters, it’s what you do for others that counts. Praying is great but actions by us in the here and now is what makes the difference. It made me think of 9/11, of firemen, soldiers, police, and others who put their lives on the line for the sake of helping those that need it. Sim’s sacrifice is just that, for the many.
I listed much of the dialogue in my synopsis because it was so poignant. I was deep into this episode from the beginning but the scene where Sim is in the room with Porthos awaiting Phlox’ call brought tears to my eyes. It’s been a long time since an episode of Star Trek did this to me. There’s some silly science as well here I suppose but it doesn’t matter. Sim’s sacrifice and courage resonates nonetheless.
Phlox continues to be the optimist and is as usual enjoying himself at first when he goes about creating Sim. He sees it simply as a necessary treatment option. The contrast with Archer and even T’Pol is palpable. He makes a great father as Sim tells him at the end but isn’t attached to Sim. He keeps a professional detachment. What bothered me is that he knew that there was an enzyme that might keep Sim alive and let him live out his life. Why didn’t he mention it? At that point, he didn’t know that Sim would die if he harvested the neural tissue. He does say that the treatment probably wouldn’t work but why not have it ready just in case it would work. Still, in the end, it would have complicated things and this would have been another “Tuvix” episode. Nonetheless, it would have made Sim’s sacrifice even more noble. Removing the neural tissue would have killed Sim regardless so it would have made Archer even more culpable in having Sim killed especially if he didn’t want to die. But he did willingly die and it is because of his sister. In Voyager’s “Tuvix”, we see that the Doc can’t kill Tuvix. Here Phlox has no such dilemma in the creation of Sim or in his death. It sets him apart from human doctors and that’s good. Still, again the fact that Sim would die in