Archer heads on over to Sickbay, where he will soon be spending "a night". He finds his dog Porthos inside one of those plexiglass boxes with gloves that they use for premies. Dr. Phlox says Archer can pet his dog, but only with the gloves. He explains that Porthos picked up a pathogen on the planet's surface, which is causing his immune system to break down, and it could be life-threatening.
And now, the complete character assassination of Jonathon Archer can begin in earnest. Archer, now faced with the prospect of his pet dying due to a pathogen picked up on an alien planet, begins to blame... the alien species?
"Didn't we send his genome to the Kreetassans along with ours?" The implication being that it's this alien civilization's fault, for not knowing there was a pathogen in their atmosphere potentially fatal to dogs. From Earth.
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Now, obviously, we can't say how medical science in the Trek universe works. Especially since it changes from week to week. But even if this alien species has incredibly advanced medical technology, why would Archer assume it's 100% foolproof? You're bringing your dog to an alien planet. On this planet we're living on right now, meaning the planet Earth, a dog can die from, say, tipping over a garbage can and getting into some chocolate. And somehow taking a dog to an alien planet is something that should be completely free of risk?
Well, here's Archer, to clear it all up.
Archer: I'm told I've offended these people twice. Once for eating in front of them. The second time, I don't even know what for! But if their carelessness has hurt Porthos, or God forbid, ends up killing him... they're gonna find out what being offended is all about.
What? What the hell does that mean? Is he threatening to declare war on their entire species if his dog dies? This is unbelievably bad writing. Archer seems, frankly, mentally disturbed, and even Phlox flinches a little at his last line, like he's face to face with a mass murderer. He tries to assure Archer that he's going to do whatever it takes to save Porthos.
The episode then tries to wring some Porthos Pathos out of the situation, by having Archer pet him with the premie glove, and Porthos puts his paw up on the glove. Awwwww. What? I'm not completely dead inside, you know. This episode may be a crockpot full of steaming shit, but wook at the puppy! Wook at the puppy!
Archer steps onto the bridge and asks T'Pol if she was able to contact the Kreetassans. It seems discretion really is the better part of valor, because T'Pol thinks it better to discuss this in private in Archer's ready room. And man, Jolene Blalock is so unbelievably unappealing here. I can't figure out what made them think she would be the sexpot of the show. They've given her the most hideous wig you could put on a woman. It makes her look like a straight up dyke.
I mean, really, Berman and Braga, are you expecting me to buy that Linda Park is not the sexiest woman on this show?
C'mon, you have to admit she's got some sex appeal. It's not even an Asian fetish thing. Plus she's done about 20 Video Daily Doubles, which has to count for something.
In Archer's Ready Room, T'Pol mumbles/groans/whispers that there were several 300 year old trees outside of the Kreetassans' "Hall of Diplomacy". Which I assume is kitty-corner to their Hall of Justice.
Archer couldn't care less about 300 year old trees, so he fully transforms into a bratty grade-schooler. He yells, "Did you apologize for whatever we did wrong? Are we going to get our plasma injector?" Yeah, I can't really believe those lines, either. The captain of Earth's first deep space mission will be an overgrown child. I want my plasma injector now! Now! Gimme gimme gimme!
T'Pol wisely ignores these idiotic questions, and proceeds to explain that those 300 year old "Alvera trees" are actually "cultural treasures" to the Kreetassans. She adds, "Apparently, Porthos urinated on one of them." Sadly, you read that right. I transcribed that line 100% correctly. A dog peeing on a tree is now a significant plot point in a Star Trek episode. I'll give you some time to let that sink in. It's okay, just let yourself accept it. Things will be much easier that way. I'll be right here, in case you totally lose your shit.
Prior to watching Archer's reaction, I started to imagine how other Star Trek captains would handle this situation. But then I realized that no other Star Trek captain would be in this situation in the first place.
Can you imagine, say, Jean-Luc Picard bringing his dog down to an alien planet? Yeah, I didn't think so. But even if he did, and that dog whizzed on cultural landmarks, I can only see Picard being swiftly contrite and apologetic, immediately making amends to get that needed component. Hell, I think Wesley Crusher whizzed on some bushes in the first season of TNG, and Picard groveled his ass off to save the kid.
But Archer, as you probably guessed, is about to have a slightly different reaction. He proceeds to blame the aliens once again, yelling that if they had studied Porthos' genetic profile more closely, they would have seen the potential for him to get sick. Accordingly, Archer would have left his dog on the ship. And then "he wouldn't have had the opportunity to pee on one of their precious trees!" Is any of this making any sense to anybody? Because this is the most fucked up logic ever.
This is a species they already offended once. And they offended them simply by eating in front of them. Isn't it reasonable, isn't it just plain common sense to think some other mundane activity might also set them off? In light of everything that's happened, wouldn't you, as a rational person, say it's a good idea not to bring along an unpredictable animal when you visit their planet? And even if you do stupidly bring your pet along anyway, wouldn't it make sense to just apologize if your pet makes a mess?
To Jonathon Archer, apparently not. Instead, he's going to throw a huge hissy fit. I mean, really? I try to not get too emotionally worked up by fictional people, but I'm having a hard time expressing how much I hate Archer right now.
It gets even worse when T'Pol says she conveyed his apologies to the Kreetassans. He yells back, "Where the hell do you get off conveying my sincerest apologies? They're the ones who should be sorry!"
Oh, man. This is really horrible to watch. I can't believe anyone, much less the show's creators, thought it was a good idea to have their central character transform into a selfish infant. Especially since at the opening of this scene, Archer clearly asked T'Pol, "Did you apologize for whatever we did wrong?" And now, he's yelling at her for apologizing?
Ah, but you see, T'Pol made the mistake of conveying his apologies. So, it appears Archer is fine with apologizing, as long as he's not the one doing it. Even though it was his dog that made the mess. It all makes so much sense now.
T'Pol points out they really need those plasma injectors, and suggests Archer might be letting his pride get in the way. That is putting it mildly. Archer replies with a true jaw dropper of a line.
Archer: If anything happens to Porthos, I'll be the one watering their Alvera trees!
What? For real? Did Archer just threaten to piss on the culturally treasured landmarks of an alien civilization?
Can we all agree that, if this is not the worst dialogue ever written for a Star Trek character, it's certainly way down there? There have been times when I've disagreed with a character's choices. There have been times I've disliked a character. There have been times when I think the writers ruined a character, or undid a lot of a character's development, purely out of laziness. But this... this is all-out character destruction the likes of which I have never seen before. It takes active, aggressive hatred for your own creations to annihilate them to this degree.
"In fact, I'm relieving myself on your leg right now."
At less than eight minutes into the episode, I'm actually angry enough to just stop the recap here. I rarely get pissed off when I recap stuff, because deep down, I really love the awful stuff that I recap. But this episode is something quite different. It's not terrible in the way most of the movies featured on this website are terrible, in that the filmmakers didn't know what they were doing, and just stumbled into making a horrible movie as a result of their own incompetence. It's terrible in that Epic Movie kind of way, where it seems everybody knew better, but the writers just hated the characters, hated themselves, hated their jobs, and most of all hated you for wanting to watch the shit they write.
Unfortunately though, I have to keep going. After building up anticipation for five years, there's no way I can bail on this episode now.