The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Dear Doctor

Phlox has been recording messages for his good friend Dr Jeremy Lucas – a fellow physician on the Interspecies Medical Exchange. But his observations on daily life soon take a backseat to a new dilemma – finding a cure for a dying alien race.

Dear Doctor feels like the first episode where Enterprise really tackles a proper Star Trek moral dilemma. In this instance, it’s all about the rights and wrongs of curing an alien race who seem destined to die out without outside assistance. A simple no-brainer, right? Of course not – because there’s a second humanoid species living on the same planet, and they seem to be evolving. Is it right to deny them the chance to become the top species on their planet, and force them to remain a slave race forever?

Of course, Archer speculates about a future where some kind of prime directive will help humanity make these decisions, but whilst that has certainly helped, has even that been enough? Aside from the fact that wayward starship captains tend to break it, can we ever weigh up all the consequences of our actions? Every time the Enterprises of the future helped some alien race, they had no idea whether that race would go on to subjugate or oppress other people later on. Should Dr Crusher treat a sick infant when that infant might grow up to be Hitler? Is helping that infant objectively and absolutely the right thing to do? Yes, it probably is, but it does throw up all sorts of questions that hopefully the Federation’s crack legal teams work night and day to address.

Denobulan Factbox

  • This is the first episode in which we learn that Phlox has three wives, and they in turn have two additional husbands each (and so on, perhaps). There’s no mention of same sex relationships.
  • The Denobulan homeworld has some dodgy bars that outsiders shouldn’t go to alone.
  • Mating season is a thing amongst the Denobulans, and their form of intimacy is said to be much more complicated than plain old human intercourse.
  • Denobulans hibernate for around six days per year.
  • Phlox is teaching Hoshi to speak his native language, which is just called “Denobulan”. Is there a single language for the entire planet?

Summary – Dear Doctor: Enterprise’s version of Data’s Day.

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