Phlox faces a racist who refuses to be treated by a Denobulan. Originally broadcast on April 23, 2003 this is The Breach.
Captain’s Starlog Date Undetermined.
While attempting the rescue of a group of scientists on behalf of the Denobulan Science Academy, Enterprise responds to an emergency situation aboard another ship that is experiencing a reactor leak.. Beaming over some of the crew from the alien ship that have been exposed to lethal radiation, one of the patients, an Antaran, refuses to be treated by Phlox as the Doctor is a Denobulan and the two species do not get along. Although Phlox is willing to respect this persons beliefs, Archer insists that the man be treated.
Hudak the Antaran explains to Archer that their two species have a long history of hatred and would rather die than let a Denobulan treat his wounds. Archer commands Phlox to try to convince Hudak that he will do no harm and Phlox agrees. Soon the Doctor finds this new patient to be more than difficult leading Phlox to confide in T’Pol in how he has tried to teach his own children to be open minded. He returns to Hudak and, over time, is able to convince the Antaran man that he, Phlox, is not trying to kill him but trying to save him instead. Hudak agrees to undergo the treatment needed to save his life.
On the surface the team sent to save the scientists find that cave diving is not all it is cut out to be when Mayweather breaks his leg and, when they finally reach the scientists, the scientists refuse to leave. Tucker and Reed force the Denobulan scientists to leave and they manage to leave the planet with minutes to spare before any off-worlders are rounded up.
Hudak survives the surgery and, having seen that he might have been mistaken about Denobulans, he agrees to be placed on a transport with the Denobulan scientists in order to get them all home. Phlox decides it is time to reach out to his estranged son how has fallen in with a group of anti-Antarans and try to share this recent incident with him.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Remember that episode of Voyager where Neelix refuses to be treated by a scientist who was responsible for the deaths of his people? This is pretty much that story but in reverse where Phlox is the Doctor who’s people killed a bunch of Antarans and, since then (300 years prior), neither side trusts the other. In this case Phlox, being the really great guy that he is, finds a way to break through the generations of racial misunderstanding and hate in a matter of hours and by the end there is one less Antaran that vehemently hates Denobulans setting the stage for a true peaceful resolution….that never comes. Sure we see some Antarans again on Lower Decks but this particular conflict is never even mentioned again during Enterprise leaving it a very empty story that had a potentially powerful message.
The secondary story, Cave Diving with Trip and Friends is fun but otherwise not very necessary. I got the feeling that it was included just so the episode didn’t have too many moments of seriousness with Phlox lamenting over his racist patient and the fact that shows during this time period needed action or the producers thought they didn’t work. Now, don’t get me wrong, the spelunking story was fun and a good story on it’s own, it just didn’t work as the B story to Phlox’s dilemma.
Overall, As with many Star Trek episodes, this episode attempts to teach a lesson and to spread a message but somehow muddles it somewhere along the way. The message, as if it wasn’t abundantly clear, is a simple one. Don’t judge others by the color of their skin (or the look of their forehead ridges in this case. ) There is also a great undercurrent of a warning of how terrible blind hatred can be. We see that enough in our world and frankly, hating a people you have never, and likely will never, meet is just ridiculous. While Robert Duncan McNeill did a great job with the story he had to use, and John Billingsley really owned his roll but the story itself was just not full enough to make this a memorable entry in the franchise which really is a shame.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- There is a slight reference to the Glommer from the animated series when phlox mentions that the only thing that keeps Tribble populations in check is the abundance of reptiles on their home planet.
- We never find out of Phlox makes up with his son Mettus who harbors hatred for the Antarans although he has never met them.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Cogenitor
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Late To The Game 8/9/2021
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