Doctor's Orders (Star Trek: Enterprise)
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|Star Trek: Enterprise episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Roxann Dawson|
|Written by||Chris Black|
|Featured music||Kevin Kiner|
|Original air date||February 18, 2004|
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While traveling through the Delphic Expanse, Enterprise encounters a trans-dimensional disturbance that lies directly along its time-sensitive course to Azati Prime and the Xindi weapon ("Stratagem"). The crew also learns that the disturbance causes permanent neurological damage to humans. To avoid a two-week detour, while avoiding the danger to the crew, Doctor Phlox disables the neocortex of all human crewmembers, to survive the four day journey through the disturbance at reduced speed.
While the crew is sedated, Phlox attends to his extended duties aboard the ship, including caring for Captain Archer's dog, Porthos, who is also immune to the effects of the disturbance. As he does so, he takes the opportunity to compose a letter to an acquaintance of his. Unfortunately Phlox himself begins to become nervous and is easily spooked by regular ship noises. In Engineering, falsely perceiving movement, he becomes increasingly tense and nervous. While investigating a noise he encounters Sub-Commander T'Pol, who is also carrying out duties while the human crew are sedated and, as a Vulcan, has been enjoying the quiet contemplation this situation allows her. She commits to spending more time with Phlox.
Phlox's paranoia escalates to delusions. At one point he believes that two Insectoids have somehow boarded the ship. T'Pol insists there is nothing on the sensors, but humours him by helping with a deck-to-deck search, which reveals nothing. When Phlox almost shoots Porthos, T'Pol reminds him that it is healthy for his race to use hallucinations to relieve stress. Phlox disagrees, until he sees a 'zombie' Ensign Sato and an awake Captain Archer. He finally scans himself and confirms the disturbance is impacting his thinking. He plans to sedate himself and let T'Pol run the ship, but she acknowledges that she is also becoming disturbed.
They discover that the anomaly is expanding and that they are ten weeks, rather than six hours, from emerging. Both of them are now easily agitated and distracted, with T'Pol's mind unable to focus on helping as Phlox battles to master the warp drive—he succeeds in getting them free. That done, he escorts T'Pol to her room, only to find her sleeping there, having been sedated at the same time as the human crew. His T'Pol hallucination disappears, but everyone is now safe. Phlox sends his unedited letter to his acquaintance, assuring him that he will enjoy the story of his hallucinations.
In 2015, Den of Geek in a review of important show characters, noted him as "funny, quirky Phlox" and pointing out the character introduced audience to the Denobulan species. They recommended the episodes "Dear Doctor", “Stigma”, "The Breach”, and “Doctor’s Orders” for the Phlox character.
- "One," an episode of Star Trek: Voyager which earlier used a similar plot.
- The Court Jester, The movie Doctor Phlox watches during movie night.
- "Star Trek: Enterprise and the Importance of Its Characters". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2019-07-11.