Clones and Clone rights are explored in the episode that originally aired on November 19, 2003. This is Similitude.
Trip Tucker is horribly injured so Dr Phlox clones him using a type of Larvae that lives for 15 days in order to get brain matter to fix Trip’s brain. However, the Clone, who eventually goes by Sim, grows up and gets to know the crew and they begin wondering if they have a right to kill the clone of Trip in order to save the real Trip. Sim soon learns that there might be a way to extend his life beyond the 15 days his species lives but this will cost Trip his life because they will not be able to harvest Sim’s brain matter. In the end Sim, knowing he would have to let the real Trip die unless Sim undergoes the procedure, agrees to sacrifice himself to save the real Trip and is then buried in space with full honors of a Starfleet officer. Oh yeah, and there’s Space Rust. Seriously, the ship ends up covered in space rust which is why Trip is needed so that they can escape.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
I do enjoy a Star Trek episode with a good moral dilemma only this one feels rather played out don’t ya think? Do clones have rights? Should people grow sentient beings just to harvest them? What gets me about this episode is that, knowing that they are raising this child to be harvested, they take the time to not only educate him but also get to know him. So, by the time it comes to use his brain matter to save the real Trip, well geewiz everyone is attached to this Trip that the crew essentially raised from a baby. Heck, there is even a point where Archer plays with kid Trip. I mean, did no one think, maybe we shouldn’t get close to this kid even though he essentially is Trip?
To me, this moral dilemma could have been avoided from the start. If they could have ‘grown a Trip’ it would have been just as easy for them to have used a similar method to grow the material needed to save Trip himself. Or, maybe let the old Trip die and have the new Trip take over? It would have been an interesting change of pace for the show and would have introduced a new character without replacing anyone? One of the good aspects of this episode, is we finally got a chance to discover that Trip actually has feelings for T’Pol as Sim reveals Trip’s innermost feelings making T’Pol realize that, she too, has feeling for Trip as well. I do love how Conner Trinneer pulls of this role of Sim and manages to create a fully formed character using the same character he has been playing from the start. It’s pretty amazing just how skilled this guy is and yet how underused he is overall.
The other aspect that really bothered me, Archer straight out tells Sim that he will kill this clone to get Trip back because they NEED Trip for the mission, only….Sim has ALL of Trips memories so he is essentially Trip. So…..what does it matter if Trip himself was back if they already have a version of Trip there that can do what he does? Archer has really fallen into being that evil SOB Captain that really doesn’t care about anything but the mission. I swear, this season really makes me like Captain Archer less and less with each episode. Honestly, he needs to be released of command when he gets back but no….he’ll just get a medal or a promotion. I swear, Archer must have been Janeway’s hero.
Overall, this is really a solid episode even though it sort of botches the moral dilemma that it proposes from the start. Had they cloned Trip and introduced Sim earlier in the season giving the audience a chance to attach to him then maybe it would have worked, but as it is presented, it just feels like a cheap way to do the whole ‘do clones have rights’ thing.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- So…if this Lyssarian Desert Larvae was technically illegal….why does Phlox just happen to have one on Enterprise….
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: Carpenter Street
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Late To The Game 9/13/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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