Enterprise “A Night in Sickbay” (part 7 of 8)

Cut to: The CGI surface of a planet, with an alien city surrounded by pine trees, and a body of water off in the distance. The CGI is nice—I sure hope it was reused later on in this series. I’d hate to think they put this much work into something that would only be used for this one worthless episode.

We sort of zoom in on a stadium-type structure, which very disconnectedly segues to an actual set. Here, we find T’Pol, Trip and Hoshi on one side, while several Kreetassans stand on the other side. And in front of them all is Captain Archer, and he’s…

Oh man. They are trying to punish me personally, aren’t they? Archer is reciting alien words for the Kreetassans, while his hair is done up in crazy braids, with metallic beads on the end of each braid. I guess he’s supposed to look like a Kreetassan here, but he more closely resembles the cover of Hotter than July. And then he’s got no shirt on, and his chest and back are covered in strange, tattoo-like markings. If you think that’s bad, just you wait. It gets worse. Much worse.

Caption contributed by Albert

If you read his back, you can figure out how to escape from prison.

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He then picks up a chainsaw [!], and slices off a piece of a tree trunk, almost like he’s slicing up a very large stick of pepperoni. (Sadly, this explains Hoshi’s earlier line wondering if they had a chainsaw on the ship. I liked it better as absurdist humor.) Archer then continues to spit out alien words, and he crouches down and places the tree-slice on the ground next to other tree-slices.

Caption contributed by Albert

They sure have some weird customs in Arizona.

Archer looks up. The Kreetassans look slightly miffed. So he picks up a Kindle and consults a diagram that shows him where all the pieces of the tree actually belong. This diagram also shows a label that explains what the hell is going on: You see, this is the “ritual sectioning” of the “Alvera tree” at the “Hall of Diplomacy”. But the text is so small, and it flashes by so quickly, there’s no way you can see it without the help of a pause button. So I assume anyone without a TiVo who watched this episode when it originally aired was like What the fuck is he doing? Provided they were still awake at this point.

Archer then picks up the tree-slice and puts it in a different place, and again spits out the alien words. This time, however, the Kreetassans smile and nod. Crisis averted!

Caption contributed by Albert

“I’m sorry, but if you want to work for the Great American Cookie Company, you’re going to have to wear a shirt!”

Archer, looking more smug than ever, flashes a wink over to… Trip? Hoshi? It’s impossible to tell. Yeah, you did that so incredibly smooth, Captain. It only took twelve hours of bitching and moaning from you to get to this point. And you still couldn’t get it right the first time.

So, that’s the apology ritual, huh? Dressing like a Rasta, chopping up the tree that Porthos peed on, and making a pretty design out of the pieces? It makes me wonder what they would’ve demanded if Porthos had humped somebody’s leg.

Back on the ship, it’s 9:15 am. And this is the one and only time the onscreen caption proves useful, because it lets us know that, joy of joys, this “night” is over.

T’Pol enters Archer’s quarters to report that the new plasma injector is “operating well within Starfleet parameters.” And why wouldn’t it? It was only built by an alien species! Boy, they sure have some crazy plug-and-play hardware interoperability in the Star Trek universe, don’t they?

Archer, so very smug in his smugness, points out they even got two spare plasma injectors out of the deal. T’Pol attributes it to the “finesse” he exhibited outside the Hall of Diplomacy. Finesse? I’ll take “Things that do not describe Captain Archer” for $1000.

By the way, if the “ritual sectioning” of the tree was all the Kreetassans wanted Archer to do, why did T’Pol make that comment earlier about dividing their demands up into “specific categories”? Oh, right. To set up the dumb “lips, lisp, list” gag. Got it.

All of this apologizing has gotten Archer in the mood to apologize to T’Pol. She heads him off at every possible opportunity, but he persists. He talks about how he’d like to “minimize” the “friction” between them.

T’Pol, in her lifeless, whispery way, says, “Friction is to be expected, whenever people work in close quarters for extended periods of time.” Yes, especially very close quarters where they end up rubbing up against each other. And wow, does she sound like she needs a nap right now. She may actually be close to death.

Archer agrees with her, saying friction often occurs when “people… are of the opposite sex!” T’Pol barely misses a beat at this total non sequitur. She stage-whispers that it’s a good thing he’s her superior officer, because they aren’t “allowed to become attracted to one another… hypothetically.” Barely awake, T’Pol says that if they were, the “friction” would be more “problematic”.

Archer nods and she leaves, and man, what a completely vague scene. Due in no small part to Jolene Blalock’s complete lack of charisma and energy, of course. She reminds me of those horrid Geneviève Bujold outtakes from the Voyager season 1 box set, where Bujold plays Captain Janeway with zero energy, and Tim Russ has to slip into a coma to match her performance. The primary difference in this case, of course, is that they actually kept Blalock on past the first day of shooting.

So, I’m guessing what supposedly happened is Phlox blabbed to T’Pol about the whole “sexual tension” conversation he had with Archer. And T’Pol was pretty much expecting Archer to say something along these lines. So she already worked out what she would say to let him down easy. Because as this episode has proven, god forbid the guy feels personally slighted. He might trigger the ship’s self-destruct sequence just out of spite.

At least, I assume that’s what’s going on here. The only other possibility is T’Pol really does feel attracted to Archer, which I refuse to even contemplate.

After she leaves, Archer’s already furrowed brow gets ultra-furrowed, and he cocks his head, almost like he’s thinking, Wait… did she just diss me? Yes. Yes, she did. Jackwad.

Caption contributed by Albert

“Wait a minute… I am too sexy!”

The horrible walking excuse for a captain heads on over to Sickbay. Phlox heads off Archer’s Afternoon of Atonement with “No apologies, Captain!” Wise move. Archer talks about his act of contrition on the planet, and says, “I doubt I would have even gone down there if it hadn’t been for you, Doc.” Meaning… what? He would have left his ship to potentially float adrift through the galaxy?

Phlox blows this off, and says that the procedure on Porthos also went well. Over at the premie chamber, Phlox knocks on the glass and Porthos springs into a sitting position. Only now, he has a small band-aid above his eye. Phlox lifts the lid and the dog leaps into Archer’s arms and… awww woook at da puppy! Wook at da puppy! Hey, what do you know? This episode didn’t kill my soul and leave me incapable of ever experiencing emotions again! Miracles do happen!

Caption contributed by Albert

Hey, he’s got to relieve all that sexual tension somehow.

“Sickbay’s all yours,” Archer says meaningfully, as he takes his dog and leaves. Phlox tells him he’s always welcome, then contorts his face into a creepy CGI smile, which we only saw on a few episodes. A slightly disturbed Archer heads on out, and that’s the end. Of the episode, the character, and the series. RIP Enterprise.

Caption contributed by Albert

“Gotham City! Always brings a smile to my face!”

But wait! It’s not over quite yet, because if you can believe it, there are deleted scenes to talk about. I haven’t watched the whole season 2 DVD set (and god, why would I?) but as far as I can tell, it’s the only episode on the entire set with deleted scenes. It’s like they were deliberately trying to compound my pain.

So, get ready: I’m going to tell you all about two scenes that weren’t good enough to be included in “A Night in Sickbay”. Feel free to wait until after you’re done shuddering to click to the next page.

Multi-Part Article: Enterprise "A Night in Sickbay"

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