Enterprise “A Night in Sickbay” (part 4 of 8)
In Archer’s quarters, he bounces a volleyball off the wall, while watching a water volleyball match on a flat screen LCD monitor. This was established in prior episodes, by the way. Archer being a big water volleyball fan. I guess I can’t call it that stupid, because on Deep Space Nine, Sisko’s love of baseball was a constant motif. But… water volleyball? What the fuck?
According to the caption, it’s 10:32pm. And no, it really doesn’t matter. For some reason, this episode feels obliged to constantly tell you what time it is, even though it has no relevance to anything happening in the episode.
Archer looks over at Porthos’ empty cushion. This immediately makes him head on down to Sickbay, and he’s got a pillow under his arm and a blanket over his shoulder.
Phlox quips, “If you were a married man, I’d be wondering if your wife had thrown you out!” Alright, nice to know they’ll still be showing Odd Couple reruns 150 years from now, just so people can reference them.
Archer announces his intention to sleep in Sickbay tonight, because he’s really worried about his dog. Phlox says he’s more than welcome.
Phlox then says he’s confident he can save Porthos, even though he has limited information about “bugles”. To which Archer sternly corrects him: “Beagles!” Well, I’m sorry if the guy who’s trying to save your pet isn’t completely correct at every waking moment of the day. And you know, I wouldn’t go to my family doctor and tell him to operate on my dog, much less yell at him for not doing it exactly perfect.
Yes, I realize they’re out in deep space, and there’s no vet to go to. But even allowing for that, I still wouldn’t expect Phlox to know much about dogs. I really wouldn’t expect him to know much of anything outside of his official duty, which is taking care of the people on the ship! Jesus, it’s a bad sign when I start to think I’d be a way better captain than the star of the series.
And then Archer somehow finds a way to get more obnoxious. He starts to actually question Phlox’s medical qualifications, asking if there are dogs on his home planet of Denobula. Phlox says they have a lemur, which is “dog-like”, in that “most have one head”, yuk yuk.
Archer continues to poke into his qualifications, but Phlox assures him he has “six degrees in Interspecies Veterinary Medicine”. Otherwise known as the Kevin Bacon Doctorate. Are we getting yet how anxious Archer is about the well-being of Porthos? Because for me, this is all just too subtle. Gosh, I hope they drive this point into the ground for the next 30 minutes.
Phlox says he’s removed the pathogen, but it’ll be a while before Porthos’ immune system becomes stable again. Phlox says that in his current state, otherwise harmless bacteria might be lethal to Porthos, and Archer becomes petulant once again.
Phlox reassures Archer that loud alarms will sound if the dog’s vital signs change. Oh, good. Let’s hope those alarms are linked into the ship’s Red Alert system, and when the dog’s vital signs change, shields will be raised and the entire crew will scramble to battle stations. Maybe that’ll be enough to prevent Archer from going ballistic again.
Archer talks to the sleeping Porthos in the premie chamber, saying that he wanted to bring cheese, but he couldn’t. Cheese? For an animal with a compromised immune system? Why does it not shock me that Archer would consider doing something that dumb?
And in this scene, Porthos is obviously a fake, stuffed dog. I guess they wanted the dog to sleep on cue, and I suppose that’s a little hard to do without feeding him tranquilizers. Well, fine. I suppose if they have this burning need to be “humane”, that’s about all they could do.
So, it’s time for beddy-bye. Archer steps behind a curtain (since when have they had curtains in Sickbay?) and shuts off the lights, and tries to get to sleep. Is he on an operating table? I can’t imagine that’s very comfortable.
But then he hears a strange, electrified whirring noise. He gets up to investigate. Oh no. Please don’t tell me they have vibrators on Denobula. Yes, that’s a disgusting idea, but the real source of the noise is even worse.
It turns out Phlox is using an electric knife-like tool to cut off his grotesque, insanely long toenails, which are almost like talons. He apologizes for waking the captain. Yeah, that’s the whole gag: Phlox is trimming his toenails. I wonder, are we watching the exact moment where they officially ran out of ideas for this show?
Archer heads back to sleep, just as Phlox comes out with a Petrie dish full of his toenail clippings. He then… feeds his toenails to some of the caged critters he has in Sickbay. (Which we don’t see—the critters are dramatized via the rustling of plants, and so forth.) Wow. That was really necessary. And important. And lovely to contemplate.
By the way, does anyone find it odd that Phlox has random animals caged up in a place where he performs surgery? That doesn’t sound terribly sanitary. I mean, if I were on this ship, I’d have nightmares about being on Phlox’s examination table, and suddenly a monkey appears on his shoulder and hands him a hypospray or something.
Archer again tries to sleep, but is bothered by a wet scraping noise. This time, we see that Phlox is using a tool to scrape his impossibly long, CGI tongue. Why? Why? Who thought this was a good idea? I want to know that person’s name right now! I’m going to pee on his legs.
After a merciful fade out, you’d think the wacky hijinks would be over, wouldn’t you? Well, you must not be familiar with the sacred Comedy Rule of Threes. Archer is awoken once again by Phlox, who declares that it’s “feeding time” as he dumps food into various cages and aquariums. More plants rustle, and water bubbles, so no, we still don’t see any of his caged critters.
It turns out Archer’s only been asleep for an hour, and he again asks if Porthos has made any progress. Dude, it’s been an hour! Phlox says he won’t know for a couple more hours, so Archer leaves, saying he’ll come back later. So I can only assume all of this toenail clipping and tongue scraping and critter feeding was Phlox’s subtle attempt to get Archer out of Sickbay. Well played, Doctor. You made me want to leave my own bedroom just now. Through the window. And I live on the fifth floor.
Back from commercial, Archer heads to what is apparently the Enterprise’s workout room. Yep, this is what we’ve come to: an extended scene of Archer exercising. There’s really no point to any of this, is there?
This room has several treadmills, along with one of those big gyroscopic devices where you get in and it flips you over and around in all different directions. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It was in Lawnmower Man. Apparently, it’s called the “Aerotrim”, and the European Space Agency uses it for weightlessness training. And I have to admit, every now and then, this show does throw in a nice reference to current space exploration. Too bad the writers didn’t have the same dedication as the set designers.
Archer grimaces when he sees T’Pol is also here, on one of the treadmills. I know, right? I hate when I go to work out at odd hours to avoid the crowd, and there’s still somebody who comes in and gets on the treadmill right next to me. Listen up: treadmills are like urinals. If the whole bathroom is empty, do not use the urinal right next to me. And if nobody else is in the gym, do not get on the treadmill right next to me. That is so fucking annoying.
According to the caption, it’s 12:09 am, in case you care. You really shouldn’t.
T’Pol and Archer make small talk on their treadmills. T’Pol cranks up the speed on her treadmill, and Archer follows suit. And let me tell you, there is nothing bouncing on T’Pol’s body, at all. And this is not the work of the wardrobe department. On a later episode, they’ll show T’Pol naked in silhouette, and Jolene Blalock probably would have been better off gluing two halves of a grapefruit to her chest than getting this boob job.
They talk about the Kreetassans, and Archer thinks they’re coming up with some sort of “punishment” for him. But T’Pol monotones that all they want is an apology.
Archer says, “I’m sorry!” That’s good, Jonathon. Now try saying that to someone you actually offended. I mean, recently.
He jokes that he’s “just practicing”, but he’s still snotty about it, and still acting like he has nothing to apologize for. T’Pol cranks up her treadmill again, and he follows suit. If you’re wondering where they’re going with this, I’m assuming it’s related to how—at this point in the show, anyway—everybody hated T’Pol because they hated the Vulcans, and T’Pol was an icy bitch, and the writers had pretty much obliterated the Vulcans, turning one of Trek’s most beloved alien species into a bunch of anal retentive pricks.
Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of times on the other shows, we saw Vulcans being condescending, and acting superior, and hating on humans. But most Vulcans had some redeeming characteristics, which the Enterprise Vulcans did not. The whole species eventually became so unlikable, that an entire episode arc in the fourth season was dedicated to explaining why the Vulcans would change so much (for the better) by Kirk’s time.
But the big problem with everybody hating T’Pol is the simple fact that T’Pol is almost always right. And yet her detached, ice cold delivery is supposed to make us believe she’s wrong about everything, and good ol’ likeable Everyman Archer is the one who can show her the way.
Like right here, where she paints a pretty good picture of the stupidity behind Archer’s current dilemma: “You shouldn’t have brought your dog on a diplomatic mission, especially considering we previously offended the Kreetassans.” Wow. T’Pol wins! Does this mean I can stop recapping this episode now? No? I mean, it’s so obvious. It can’t really be this simple, can it?
Of course not, because our buddy Archer falls back on how they had Porthos’ genetic “spec”, and they could have asked that he be left behind. Then he lets out another hideous line: “Porthos has the right to a little fresh air!” Is he really talking about the rights of a dog? I’m sorry, but no.
I’ve owned several dogs in my life, I love dogs, but let me tell you, a dog is not entitled to take a piss anywhere he pleases. Actually, I’m starting to suspect Archer’s method of housebreaking Porthos involved giving him a treat every time he took a crap on Archer’s pillow. He has the right to do that, doesn’t he?
Then comes a continuation of the “Archer can’t grasp basic concepts” subplot, where T’Pol has to patiently explain that he’s got some fucked up priorities if he’s putting Porthos’ “right” to fresh air above the interests of the ship. Archer, being the caring and openhearted human talking down to a cold, repressed Vulcan, retorts that she just doesn’t understand “human feelings”. Those feelings being: selfishness, immaturity, and pigheadedness. I think she’s lucky not to understand them.
And all throughout this conversation, they both keep cranking up their treadmills. And when they both reach maximum speed, Archer is out of breath, while T’Pol is barely even sweating. I’m guessing this is because Vulcans are supposed to be stronger than humans, but the way this whole thing is presented, I’m really not sure if that’s what they were going for.
T’Pol continues to be right, but she’s being bitchy about it, so I guess it’s okay for Archer to completely disregard everything she says. After all, she refers to Porthos as one of those “primitive quadrupeds” who has yet to develop the ability to “use a toilet”. Hey, some of them have, you know. Don’t you watch America’s Funniest Home Videos?
She finally gets off the treadmill and says, “I obviously can’t keep up with you.” Is she being sarcastic? Is she referring to the discussion about human feelings, or the treadmills? Frankly, with the vague way she delivers the line, it could mean just about anything. (And the same thing goes for pretty much every line T’Pol speaks for the entire series.)
Hoshi’s voice is heard coming from the wall communicator. She reports to T’Pol that she has the “reconciliation demands” from the Kreetassans. Unaware that Archer is hearing her, Hoshi chuckles that the captain isn’t going to believe them. Archer, the big dumb jerk that he is, yells out, “You’d be surprised, Hoshi!” Geez. Does he have to be a dick to everybody?
Archer and T’Pol head on up to the bridge, and Archer reads the demands off a Kindle. He simply laughs, saying he’s surprised he doesn’t also have to “[stand] on one foot with my eyes shut, reciting ‘The Night Before Christmas’!” If this is his attempt at levity, perhaps he should go back to being a dick. He seems to be better at that.
He heads back to Sickbay, leaving T’Pol and Hoshi to look over the demands. Hoshi then utters one of the most random lines ever: “Do we have a chainsaw on board?” Calm down, Hoshi. Archer doesn’t deserve to be hacked to pieces, just yet. Just stabbing him in the head with a pencil a few times will do. And then throwing him off a cliff. And then stabbing him in the head again. And then setting him on fire. Yes, that should do.