Star Trek: Enterprise

"A Night in Sickbay"

1 star

Air date: 10/16/2002
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by David Straiton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You know, this isn't some guinea pig you're working on here. This is Porthos, my beagle, my pal. And from what you're telling me, the closest thing your people have to pets are furry little things that go well with onions."

"Perhaps you're right, captain. Perhaps I'm insensitive to the bond between you and your subservient quadruped. I'll leave the procedure up to you. But whatever your decision, make it quickly."

— Archer (absurd nonsense), Phlox (perfect response)

In brief: This one's really a dog. I said "dog." Get it? Porthos? Dog? Ha! I kill me. But I should've killed me before this episode aired. Okay, better stop now before the "in brief" becomes too long to be considered brief. "Long." I said "long." Hee hee. I bet Archer would really like to be "briefed" by T'Pol. While in his "briefs." And only his "briefs." And only staying "briefly" in his "briefs" before he's no longer in his "briefs." Heh heh heh heh heh...

Ah, here we are at last, the bona fide uber-loser, an episode bereft of ... well, anything and everything resembling content.

Okay, it's not bereft of dumbness. There's plenty of that, since this is easily the dumbest concept for an episode of Star Trek since Voyager's holodeck was hijacked by the residents of Fair Haven (see "Spirit Folk," or, on second thought, don't).

Evidently, the writers are not treating this as season two of a series, but rather season nine (or later) of an aging dinosaur. An episode all about the captain's goddamned dog you'd think would be reserved as desperate sitcom fodder for the latter seasons, not brought to light as episode #5 in season two. You'd be wrong, but you could think it. Whatever.

"A Night in Sickbay" succeeds not only in being unfunny, pathetic, and dull, but also manages to elevate character assassination and embarrassing nonsense to a kind of grand efficiency. It manages to make a mockery of Archer, T'Pol, Phlox, and an entire unknown alien culture in a shade under 45 minutes plus commercials. You could count Porthos in that list as well (who has his pituitary gland replaced with that of a lizard's), except for the fact that ... well, he's a freaking DOG, for crying out loud. In other words, NOT A CHARACTER. On a series where Ensign Mayweather's biggest contribution in remembered history is to be presumed dead in last week's "Dead Stop," who in the world gives a care about Archer's stupid beagle? Hint: Not me. (Note: You are forbidden to argue in favor of this episode on the grounds that you are a dog lover. Dog lovers may certainly argue, but they may not make the fact they are dog lovers the principal basis of their argument. So, nyaaah.)

Here is the plot (I mean "plot"): Archer & Co. return from a botched diplomatic away mission on an alien world. Archer finds out Porthos contracted a disease while on the planet. (Did I mention that Porthos was included on the away team? And that I find that to be hopelessly inane?) Archer gets real mad, because the aliens should've warned him that Porthos might get sick (the inconsiderate bastards). Archer then spends a night in sickbay holding vigil over poor little Porthos, who could possibly die if Phlox can't find a way to treat him. (Pardon me while I grab a Kleenex.)

But wait; there's more. While in sickbay, Phlox tries to get to the bottom of Archer's foul mood (apart from his sick dog) and commences psychological deconstruction. Phlox determines that the captain is suffering from sexual tension in regard to T'Pol and is lashing out at her as a result. (That's all we need — sexual-harassment issues aboard the starship Enterprise. Whee.)

Archer is appalled at this notion, but in perfectly scripted/telegraphed/lame self-fulfilling prophecy fashion, he then has Freudian slips involving the words "breast" and "lips" when talking with T'Pol, in front of Hoshi for added comically hilarious embarrassment, ha ha. Later he has a dream where the crew attends a dark and rainy funeral for Porthos, which is followed by some Archer/T'Pol action (yes, that kind of action) that should under no circumstances have been allowed past the first story break meeting, lest it actually find its way into a real-life script and, God forbid, actually end up filmed and edited and viewed and inevitably compared to bad fan fiction.

This tracks with little of what we've seen before concerning Archer and T'Pol's relationship, which has never hinted at anything beyond pure professionalism and a developing captain/first-officer trust. Look no further than, say, "Shadows of P'Jem," where they're tied up together and you see absolutely nothing in terms of a sexual component. Nope, the notion here is glib sexuality scripted out of nowhere, doubtlessly motivated to satisfy UPN demographics, and I don't buy it for a minute.

Oh well, at least it's only a dream.

But there's also two iterations here (one real, one dreamt) on the Decontamination Chamber Rub-Down Scene™, where T'Pol gives Archer a rub-down while Archer gives Porthos a rub-down. Eyebrows are raised. You know what they say: Sometimes a beagle is just a beagle. But other times... (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, har-de-har-har!)

Should I even mention the scene where Archer and Phlox are running around sickbay with nets, trying to catch an escaped bat-like creature? It leads to Phlox falling down, ha ha, and getting some sort of strange goop spilled on him, hee hee. How about the scene where Phlox cuts his toenails, or where he (I think) shaves his 8-inch tongue? That Darn Denobulan and his crazy hijinks! (Cue canned laughter.)

It's a testament to John Billingsley's abilities that Phlox manages to remain a consistently watchable and affable persona, despite the script's best efforts to humiliate him (and everyone else). It's grace under pressure, dignity maintained in an atmosphere that warrants none. Consider the scene where Porthos' condition takes a turn for the worse and Phlox suggests a risky and desperate treatment. Archer, acting like an idiot, regards Phlox with an inexplicable confrontational attitude that flies in the face of reason (Phlox is obviously brilliant, so why not let him do his job to save your dog?). Phlox responds with a calm appeal to logic that is absolutely priceless, revealing Archer as the fool he is.

Any attempt to look seriously at events in this story (not recommended) only reveal how badly the writers mangle Archer's character into that of a selfish hothead. He says things that are completely based on irrational emotion rather than any reasoned thought or consideration. He's angry with the alien society because they weren't thorough enough in determining the risk to Porthos in their environment. Because they are arrogant and anal-retentive. Because they would have the audacity to take offense at Porthos urinating on one of their sacred trees. They, they, they. How about you, John? There's all this reckless anger and overstated ranting and raving and selfishness (all because Archer took his dog on an away mission!), and all I'm thinking is: This is the commander of the human race's first grand mission into deep space? Grow the hell up, stop being so petty, and take some responsibility for your own actions.

Just ridiculous.

Not that the aliens are of much help. They're equally annoying, with hokey makeup and absurd "customs." The crisis of diplomacy is solved with a ritual that employs the corniest aspects of Star Trek alien-society cliche. The episode apparently finds offbeat humor in the notion of a chainsaw, I guess because chainsaws have never been seen on Trek before (and why would they?).

All in all, this episode meets the criteria for the what-were-they-thinking hall-of-shame show. Porthos had better not be the basis for a story on this series again. Ever.

Tune in next week, folks, for "A Night in the Crapper," when the crew visits an alien planet and returns with mass dysentery! I can't wait! No, I mean, I really can't wait! Vacate the bathroom at once! Har har har har har...

(Door slams.)

(Flatulence.)

Next week: A rerun of "Shockwave, Part II," oddly billed by the trailer as an episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise," in what is obviously a brilliant new UPN marketing strategy. (With any luck, the week off should give me a chance to review Tuesday's upcoming 2-disc DVD release of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.")

Previous episode: Dead Stop
Next episode: Marauders

◄ Season Index

87 comments on this review

Immanuel
Sat, Sep 15, 2007, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
This review? Made me laugh *hysterically*. And it's certainly the seasoned MSTie in me speaking, but I...have got...to see this episode! :-p
AJ Koravkrian
Mon, Apr 7, 2008, 9:08pm (UTC -6)
God. This has got to be the worst episode in the history of trek. Seriously. I don't really watch Enterprise, except when I catch it sometime on the Sci-Fi channel and I just watched this episode. I had to mute it towards the end because I couldn't take it anymore. Really.
Lost Mercenary
Sun, Jul 20, 2008, 6:27pm (UTC -6)
Aj Koravkrian, this episode was god awful to be sure but saying its worse than trite like "Profit and Lace" and "Threshold" is pushing it a bit.
Jakob M. Mokoru
Sun, Oct 5, 2008, 12:27am (UTC -6)
First things first: I am NO dog lover. Absolutely not. But: I think, Porthos is an asset for the show. And that Porthos has had more screen time and "personality" (I know, it's a dog!) than Trevis Mayweather is not his fault but the creators/writers of the show and Mayweathers actor.

However, this episode is a complete mess/disaster. I largely agree with the things you pointed out in your review. I was particularly annoyed by the "sexual tension"-theme, the writers conjured up. Bah!
David
Tue, Nov 11, 2008, 4:45pm (UTC -6)
I have to agree with you about this show being pretty stupid. That's how I felt the first time I watched it. Archer is completely out of line here since he puts the welfare of his dog over that of diplomatic relations with an alien world.

However, it started having this strange effect on me. Kind of like a tub of ice cream. You know it's bad for you, that it will rot your teeth out, but you start eating it anyway. And I started to get a thrill out of watching this show just for its comedy. Some of the humor is intentional and a lot of it isn't. Yes, it panders to adolescents, but I started to enjoy it just for itself on its own terms. And it offers a humorous look at a "day in the life on the Enterprise". What it must be like to travel with these people for years. Getting used to their quirks (Phlox with his grooming habits was hilarious.) And the pent-up sexuality. I mean, come on, who hasn't fantasized about a coworker?

I put this episode right up there with Spock's Brain. Fun to watch and forget about tomorrow.
Nic
Sat, Oct 17, 2009, 9:45am (UTC -6)
What drugs were the Hugo Awards people taking? They nominated "Carbon Creek" and "A Night in Sickbay" for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Maybe they were being ironic?
Elliot Wilson
Wed, Feb 17, 2010, 12:42pm (UTC -6)

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but you seem to hate dogs, Jammer. What's the matter? Don't like pets? You scare me to a severe degree: If you had a loved one would you feel ANYTHING when they died or were in danger? Granted, it's a dog, but as anyone with pets knows you grow VERY attached to them and Archer's attitude, while hostile and WAAAAAAY out of line to the point of blatant silliness, still had basis in merit; it was just poorly executed. Maybe YOU possess more cold, calm, cool, uncaring, indifferent Vulan unemotion than you'd care to admit, Big J.
Hate Guy J
Tue, Jun 22, 2010, 1:32am (UTC -6)
This is the worst thing to ever come out in the entire franchise. I am dead fucking serious.
Chase
Fri, Jul 9, 2010, 7:56am (UTC -6)
The tnire concept behind this episode was utterly ridiculous. As the first episode of the series i ever watched, I am probably never going to watch another episode. This crap makes stuff like Spock's Brain and The Way to Eden seem like a nirvana.
David
Fri, Jul 9, 2010, 8:45am (UTC -6)
Chase, I would recommend you watch Cogenitor, also from the second season. It's an excellent episode and shows what Enterprise did when it was at its best.
thaazf
Sun, Aug 8, 2010, 9:20am (UTC -6)
Porthos is the best character in Enterprise. They should have done more Porthos-centric episodes where he doesn't spend most of his time in a plastic box. I would have liked to see Porthos as the chief engineer.
Carbetarian
Sat, Aug 14, 2010, 12:42am (UTC -6)
Thaazf, that comment was amazing!

"I would have liked to see Porthos as the chief engineer."

hahaha... I'm still laughing at that!
RussS
Mon, Nov 8, 2010, 4:39am (UTC -6)
Mostly I agree.

But to be fair, the show can be an allegory on how to deal with sexual attraction issues at the workplace. It has some value.

As far as vulcans go, I kind of like the way they are portrayed. It's new. The dog is stupid.

A lifelong TOS fan, I never watched any other series except this. At least its about exploration. And I like Trip. But I wish it wasn't so dumb-down and TV-ish, and Tpols lips arre horrific. On the other hand, I'm hungry for anything Trek. But we all have different expectations, and we can't expect that a TV series will thread the needle every time like JJ Abrahms did.

I wonder if a new TV series will be done.
Carbetarian
Wed, Nov 24, 2010, 6:23am (UTC -6)
I originally read this review after reading the hilariously accurate recap of this episode over at the Agony Booth's Worst of Trek section. At that time though, I hadn't actually seen the episode.

Now, having finally seen it, I can honestly say that no review can quite do justice to all the "WTF?!?!?" moments in this episode. This episode surpasses horrible, blows through unintentionally funny and then finally lands somewhere in between watching a train wreck and laughing at someone falling down a stairwell. For example, I did laugh during parts of this episode. But, it was more the kind of evil laugh one might make after watching someone they hate get punched in the face than a "oh, that's funny." laugh. You know it's wrong, but you do it anyway. Or maybe it was a laugh to keep from crying thing. I'm not sure.

This episode was packed with "WTF just happened?!? Did Archer really just say that?!?" moments. As many of my previous posts have stated, I can't stand Captain Archer. I feel like he's behaved like a petulant child since day one. So, this episode didn't really destroy his character for me. If anything, this episode was the aforementioned punch in the face I'd been waiting for. Sure, Archer didn't actually get punched in this episode. But, they sure did kill what was left of his character. This episode was the writing equivilant to a punch in the face, as far as I'm concerned.

As for Jammer's obvious dislike of Porthos, I say leave the dog alone! He's about the only thing that makes Archer seem semi-competent. It amazes me that Archer is able to take care of that dog. He has not impressed me with his ability to take care of anything else. Plus, come on, the dog is cute. The shots of Porthos were about the only part of this episode that weren't painful to watch.

What was T'Pol trying to say in that last scene? Was she interested? Is Phlox a huge gossip who leaked everything to T'Pol and gave her time to concoct a suitably vulcan sounding, sexually ambiguous response to Archer's blathering? Can someone please erase the horrible vision of that dream sequence from my head forever?

Also, man, Phlox got some good lines in this one. I loved it when he pointed out that Archer had insulted his whole species. Please Phlox, school this douche in diplomacy!

I agree with Chase. In a weird way, this episode does remind me a little of Spock's Brain in how outrageously awful it is. It's all so random and Archer comes off as such a deranged lunatic (for example, that disturbing line in the beginning when Archer says that if Porthos dies he's going to "show them what being offended is all about!" Ummm...) that I almost can't even take this seriously enough to truly hate. Almost.

For some reason that I am still trying to fathom, I am going to keep watching this show and pray that it eventually gets better. Maybe I secretly enjoy weeks of lifeless mediocrity punctuated by moments of true suffering like this. Perhaps I'm becoming a Star Trek masochist over here. If this thing doesn't get better real soon though, I may just call it quits.
Marco P.
Tue, Nov 30, 2010, 12:09am (UTC -6)
Porthos is a better captain than Jonathan Archer.
Uwe Böll is a better screenwriter than Berman & Braga.

Nuff said.

Carbetarian wrote:
"For some reason that I am still trying to fathom, I am going to keep watching this show and pray that it eventually gets better." (Me too, except I've abandoned that hope long ago. I'm just doing it to complete my ST marathon).

"Maybe I secretly enjoy weeks of lifeless mediocrity punctuated by moments of true suffering like this. Perhaps I'm becoming a Star Trek masochist over here." (Same here)

"If this thing doesn't get better real soon though, I may just call it quits." (NO! Please DON'T! Don't leave me alone watching this thing! I don't think I may survive!)

P.S. for anyone who missed it, here's the link to the review Carbetarian just mentioned. It's truly the only way to make this episode entertaining...
www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Star_Trek/Enterprise/A_Night_in_Sickbay.aspx

I'll throw in www.firsttvdrama.com/enterprise/e32.php3 for good measure.
Cloudane
Fri, Jul 22, 2011, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
Awwwwwwww. My heart melted on numerous occasions. Damn my overactive emotions!

I dunno, it had its moments - Archer seemed to get some much needed maturity / character growth, for one. It was far from perfect and very very silly at times (not funny, just silly, like DS9's Ferengi stuff) but come on, the main star (Porthos) got an episode dedicated to him. I can't stay mad, I can't even get mad :3

Not a character.. poor Porthos.. don't listen to the big bad reviewer, boy. And well done for peeing on those trees.
Fido
Mon, Aug 1, 2011, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode. I thought it was touching and humourous. Porthos was one of the best things about Enterprise (first proper Dog role in Star Trek!) and more episodes should've been made which focused on him.

The only thing I didn't like was the bat-thing part...seemed unnecessary.
Max Udargo
Fri, Aug 19, 2011, 7:35pm (UTC -6)
It’s appalling how this show never tires of humiliating the T’Pol character and the actress playing her. And to make it even worse, the writers seem to think they can hide (or excuse?) their relentless objectification of T’Pol by randomly humiliating other characters at periodic intervals (See? It’s okay, because we objectify EVERYONE). So we not only have to feel bad for the lost dignity of the first officer, but occasionally Hoshi and Trip and anybody else who looks trim in underwear.
chris
Wed, Oct 26, 2011, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
I want these 45 minutes of my life back...

This episode was even more awful than the Voyager episode where Tom and Janeway were evolved into something else (a salamander thing, I dont want to remember) and did mate together... oh well...

What the hell did the writers had in mind while writing this stuff?
Charmo
Mon, Jan 30, 2012, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
Wait, why is this episode a character assassination of Johnathon Archer and rewarded only one star, but the one where he commits genocide against an entire race is awarded 4 stars? I guess you consider him to be not just a genocidal idiot, but a MATURE genocidal idiot.
NothinOriginal
Fri, Jun 22, 2012, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
This episode when I officially stopped watching Star Trek - as a fan, I gave it lots of chances, but giving the dog an episode? That was too much.
Scott from Detroit
Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 10:15pm (UTC -6)
Well, I watched this episode and knew I could count on you for a scathing review.

I also rolled my eyes at the Hoshi-->T'Pol-->Archer-->Porthos rubdown scene.

Really? An episode that focuses on developing the character of the ****ing dog? And also managed to murder the character of Archer and make him more unlikable than Wesley Crusher?

Gee... here is an alien culture that is very easily offended and we need something from them. Let's go down there. I'll need my communications officer to communicate. I'll need my science officer for her wisdom. And I'll also need my dog so he can shed, s***, and p*** all over the place. No chance of anything going wrong here.

This episode was horrible, and 1-star was a very generous and forgiving rating.

I would have given it negative 1/2 star for damaging Archer's character.
Vylora
Thu, Aug 2, 2012, 12:44am (UTC -6)
Porthos is adorable. This episode is the exact opposite.

One of the few that I've never seen before but did catch a few bits of it awhile back and that's all I need. Unlike Carbon Creek, I feel no need to delve into the dogshit. The bits I saw and remember and your rather witty review covers it for me. I can't truly rate it without seeing it all the way through but one star seems right. Only for the one shred of decency in it and thats the dog. He deserves his own trailer for putting up with this crap.
Vylora
Thu, Aug 2, 2012, 12:51am (UTC -6)
Btw didn't mean to imply that Carbon Creek was dogshit, in fact I rather liked it. Just meant that I feel no need to watch/rewatch something that may possibly be said steaming pile.
Captain Jim
Thu, Aug 2, 2012, 11:30pm (UTC -6)
The only thing this episode succeeded in doing was making the captain look like an absolute idiot. Surely the writers had to be drunk when this episode was put together.
Tiarfe
Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 7:48pm (UTC -6)
Weird that no one seemed to realize this episode really wasn't about the dog. It was about Captain Archer and his sexual frustrations. LOL

In all previous Star Trek series I don't remember any Vulcans dressing as scantily as T'Pol. This series reminds me of the bad Hulk movie in contrast to the good Hulk movie.

I am only continuing to watch this series out of curiosity. I saw cosplay Andorians at Dragon*Con this year and felt mortified being a Star Trek fan but did know who those blue aliens with antennas were.
Tiarfe
Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 7:50pm (UTC -6)
Oh wanted to add that I completely forgot about the Andorians being on TOS.
RobL
Tue, Nov 6, 2012, 11:44am (UTC -6)
I’m slowly making my way through this series, but I’m getting seriously frustrated. So far, Archer might be the most unlikeable regular S.T. character ever. I get that the writers wanted to highlight human emotions as a valuable and distinctive characteristic, but Archer is a total slave to his emotions in this episode. He’s impatient, demanding, illogical, and ridiculously culturally insensitive. If I didn’t know better, I would think the goal of this episode is to criticize “ugly Americanism” by showing it on a galactic level.
John the younger
Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 9:40am (UTC -6)
I think I can honestly say that Porthos and Phlox are my 2 favourite characters on this show.

1 star.
CeeBee
Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 7:01pm (UTC -6)
This horrible episode again demonstrated that the show creators and writers wasted so much potential.

You wonder what must have been going on in their minds. They often come up with good ideas and squander them in a most appalling way. They create characters behaving like fools without consequence yet insert others with sensible logic. Like Archer and T'Pol discussing on the treadmill, or Archer and Phlox in sickbay over a dog and onions.

Both T'Pol and Phlox point out what an idiot Archer is. These dialogs are written by the same people who transform Archer in a raving idiot with his own shitty dialog. Written by the same writers. It's flabbergasting.

This episode could have shown the development towards a next step in interspecies relations. Phlox learning from the reaction of his captain how important animals can be as pets - while eating other animals at the same time, learning a bit more about their emotional state. All he does is being right and all-knowing, unto diagnosing sexual tension between a human and a Vulcan. I would have liked it if here were shown dead wrong.

Archer could be irritated over T'Pols logic. Logic he hates because he hates Vulcans, yet he realizes that they always do have a valid point being the experienced space travelers and humans being the immature rookies.

Archer could well give stupid answers, only to explain later that he knew how stupid his reactions were, but that his annoyance about T'Pol being dead right took over. That is very human.
A captain telling his first officer that he said some stupid things could be countered by T'Pol that she - thanks to those very reaction - learned a lot about human pride. She could even have said that she needed to rethink her strategy how she should counter human reasoning that's obviously and blatantly wrong. Say the lesson about _being_ right and being _put_ in the right.

It could have been an episode about characters developing, understanding each other a bit better and growing towards each other, an episode about growing mutual understanding; about learning curves, just with these very ingredients the writers deliberately chose themselves.

It became an episode about a horny teenager who forgot to jack off the day before. Sorry for the language, but I fail to understand that people with the potential and ideas to write a good script always end up on Enterprise with half baked endings or - worse - juvenile, stupid sex.
Lt. Yarko
Sat, May 18, 2013, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
It wasn't a great episode, but it had cute moments. And, yes, it would have worked better if there had been prior signs of sexual tension between A and T, but there is no way anyone can convince me that all the hetero males working around T'Pol aren't stressing a bit down in the crotchal region. I try not to notice her body as I watch the show, but it takes effort. I had to laugh when Malcolm mentioned her bum (in another ep) and Trip acted surprised like he's never noticed it. How Malcolm focused on her bum and didn't say anything about her monstrous breasts regardless of whether or not he is a bum man, I don't know. I was sure he was going to say "Have you ever noticed her B--BS!?" I'm really quite annoyed at T'Pol's outfits. They are terribly unprofessional. But anything, I guess, to please the horny teenage fans. (sigh)

There is no way this episode is as bad as Spock's Brain! Give me a break. That episode had NO redeeming qualities at all.
T'Paul
Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
At least it had some amusing glimpses into Phlox... and some Archer shirt-off moments.

The dream scene was amusing too.

It really wasn't SO awful. I think Jammer and the other critics have been unduly harsh.

Archer has a dog. Get over it! It's not a ship full of prodigies, and thank the gods for that....
Richard
Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 4:08pm (UTC -6)
I support both the integrity of this episode and its Hugo nomination.
As Tiarfe sensibly pointed out, this episode is about Archer rather than Porthos. It's also a (light-hearted) story about the Captain overcoming his pride and admitting:

a) he's not right all the time, and
b) he's only human and, therefore, open to the same emotions that we all are. (Let's be honest - Picard, Sisko and Janeway never suffered from this problem, which is why they're such flat, two-dimensional characters.)

I suspect one of the reasons why this episode remains so unloved in Star Trek fandom is its out-and-out comedic value. 'Modern' Star Trek (Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager) shied away from humour for fear of their stock of inherited story-conventions (AKA cliches) and
limited chraracterization becoming a laughing stock: Enterprise, rather like the revived Doctor Who, wasn't afraid of this and was clearly comfortable enough drawing attention to these tropes from time to time.

Whether this episode is funny or not, that depends on your sense of humour. (Laughter, like an erection, is largely involuntary and down to the individual who experiences it to determine the pleasure factor.) I feel the Hugo board chose this episode for its sheer audacity to explore the humourous character-driven possibilities Enterprise has to offer, and that fans turn their tails and run whenever "A Night in Sickbay" is mentioned simply because it attempts to incorporate a sense of self-aware humour into the franchise that doesn't try to butter up the hardcore fans.
Jack
Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 11:43pm (UTC -6)
Just two words come to mind...how come?
Moonie
Sun, Jan 5, 2014, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
I don't find this episode to be a character assassination of Archer, because he's been very consistent about acting like a petulant child throughout the series.

And while I have nothing against Porthos at all, I realized that I find it rally, really hard to believe that the captain of humankind's first deep space mission, would take along his DOG and that he would take said dog along on outings to new planets.

Phlox was good though. I didn't like him at first but he's turning into a favorite character.
Filip
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 9:09pm (UTC -6)
This episode actually wasn't that bad. One more more or less quiet episode with its moments. The thing that ruined it for me was Archer. He was acting (and unfortuantely this is not only specific to this particular episode, although here it really, really showed) like a cowboy rocketed out into space. Okay, he was under stress, however, he is a starship captain which can't afford himself a luxury of going around taking it out on everybody. There isn't a universe in which I could imagine captain Picard do that, or even Sisko who was a bit... less held back. I get that it was supposed to lead to all the apologies at the end, but I think that it was over the top and mainly came across as just annoying. I was really satisfied when Phlox told Archer that he should be the one to think of a better way to treat Porthos when Archer exploded over the devised treatment. Oh, and isn't anyone bringin into question that no one bat an eye that they sacrificed one healthy animal in order to save antoher? I'm pretty sure that the cameleon didn't survive without its gland.

Other than that, I liked it. It would've been pretty good if it hadn't been for Archer's teenage behavior. The scenes and the writing related to T'Pol were fairly amusing and interesting to a ceratain degree.
Paul
Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 11:07am (UTC -6)
@Filip: So, other than 90 percent of the episode, you liked the episode?

One important point about this episode is that it was the first episode of a lot of crap in season 2. "Shockwave, Part 2," "Minefield" and "Deadstop" were all pretty good and "Carbon Creek" -- while not one of my favorites -- is at least interesting and memorable.

After "A Night in Sickbay", the next 10 episodes are either awful or totally forgettable, with the possible exception of "Vanishing Point." There are a few good episodes in the season's final third ("Regeneration", "Cogenitor", "Judgment", and "Future Tense"). And I thought Jammer was too hard on "Bounty".

But it isn't any wonder that the creators shook things up in a major way after season 2.
Filip
Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 1:10pm (UTC -6)
@Paul, what I'm trying to say is that it would've been a pretty decent episode if it hadn't been for the awful writing for the Archer character. Which seems to be case for the entire series, I am not talking about Archer now but in general. Enterprise had a lot of potential, however most of its writing was lacking that final polish that had made the rest of Star Trek so special. Night In Sickbay being a great example of that. Unfortunately, the episode didn't only lack the final polish but also the quality writing of ceratin parts (Archer). Too bad that those parts, as you've said, make up the 90% of the episode.
Ken
Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 2:25am (UTC -6)
After having rewatched the first season up to Night and Sickbay, I've come to appreciate some of the stories a lot more compared to the first time around - I guess my expectations from early 2000's have been crushed and I see it differently in 2014.

However, I don't believe the show got really terrible until A Night in Sickbay. It is by far the worst episode up until this point. There is no worse.

This episode single-handedly assassinates whatever was left of Johnathon Archer's character. It takes the worst qualities of his character and amplifies them to the max. What should have happened was a steady growth of his character to become more like the captains we expect, but after an episode like this, there is just no going back. The damage is done.

After watching this, I gotta say, the Vulcans at the end of Shockwave, Part 2 were right. These humans have no business in space.
Deborah
Wed, May 7, 2014, 9:18pm (UTC -6)
I wasn't sure what to make of this episode as I watched it, but overall I came away pleased with the attempt to do something different...something zany, slapstick, tongue in cheek. I don't have a problem that Archer was not perfectly behaved. It's human, he was under a lot of stress, and it moved the characterization forward because he realized what a heel he was being. I have to disagree with people who don't think there's chemistry between the captain and T'Pol... I think they're *hot*. I like their debates and I think they balance each other nicely. They make each other think. I love the final scene between them in this episode because it's out on the table--the attraction is admitted and it is agreed that it's not possible to pursue it. Archer is one of my two favorite captains...he's feisty, determined, passionate about exploration, devoted to his crew, and, dare I say it, physically very attractive. I do not see the petulance and "cowboy" behavior that other people seem to. I see him as showing restraint and leadership despite his hot-headed tendencies. On another note, I'll agree with everyone that the decon room scenes are embarrassing. Why didn't the actors rebel?
skadoo
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
So far this is the only episode of Star Trek where I was both uttering (almost screaming) 'no' AND visibly cringing as I watched. I must have flopped about the sofa like a fish out of water.
Sean
Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 11:49pm (UTC -6)
This is one of the best bad episodes of all of Star Trek. It's pretty awesome. It ranks up there with Threshold, Profit and Lace, Genesis, and of course the original bad Star Trek episode: Spock's Brain.
Dimpy
Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
Someone once commented that he wants to punch Archer in the face.

If this is the "breast" Enterprise has to offer, the lineup to punch Archer will just get longer.
Vyse
Wed, Oct 15, 2014, 11:26am (UTC -6)
Worst.Episode.Ever.
Yanks
Wed, Oct 15, 2014, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
I'll get around to reviewing this someday.

But really? You'd think that this episode removed the need for star ships...

Just the simple fact that this episode has a dog in it means it is better that 10 other crap ST episodes.

:-)
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Oct 16, 2014, 12:07pm (UTC -6)
*gets in starship*
*slingshots around the sun*
*erases this episode from history*
*slingshots back around sun*

Enough said.
Eli
Sun, Nov 2, 2014, 2:31pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Richard. The show is about the captain finding the courage to be self aware of his imperfections. I think that Archer is a much more imperfect, human character than other Star Trek captains. That's not a bad thing; but, everyone seems to expect perfection of him. Has no one had a complicated, imperfect manager with positive traits as well as flaws? I don't get it. Or do people fall into the temptation of either liking or disliking their managers and leaving it at that? Do people paint leaders in broad strokes because they believe they should behave as ideals rather than people?

Ultimately, Archer apologizes again and again and comes across as a very sincere and ethical man. And nothing he did in this episode was so egregiously terrible in the first place that we should think him some sort of awful person.

His decision to bring the dog to the away mission was his biggest error, but he does explain his logic for making that decision. (1) The dog only gets so many opportunities to get off the ship. 2) The aliens had no issue with him bringing the pet, knowing what it was.

Frankly, while it's important for him to be self aware of the consequences of his decisions and apologize for those consequences, his actions are completely understandable. The aliens were being insensitive by not warning the captain of the threat that their environment posed to the dog. Further, from the last episode with this species (Vox Sola) it is clear that these aliens are ridiculously sensitive. Archer never gets angry at them about any of this, he instead apologizes for his part of the problem. His only error really is in hesitating to do so because he was frustrated with them about the aforementioned issues.


I also agree with Richard that there must be something about this brand self-aware humor in the context of a Star Trek episode that makes some people uncomfortable. Perhaps, people feel that these characters should be above ordinary personal flaws because they represent the first flagship of Starfleet. But, personally I think reflective, gentle humor can offer us perspective on our own emotions. People are vulnerable and imperfect in my view; this is a fact of our lives we would be wise to accept rather than try to hide.

Fans seem to prefer shows like Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy on Voyager that make fun of the doctor's personal issues, while at the same time separating them from his professional assets. In this episode, the line between Archer's personal flaws and his personal skills is blurred. They are almost indistinguishable sometimes. This to me is more insightful.

Finally, Archer's relationship to his dog is touching in my view, and not absurd as some people seem to think.

Overall, I wouldn't call it a great episode, but I think it's a very good one.
Eli
Sun, Nov 2, 2014, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
My second sentence after the paragraph that begins with: "His decision", starting with 1), Would be better if it read: the dog only has so many opportunities to leave the ship. Archer doesn't want the dog to feel too isolated.

I try not to be overly formal in more casual forums like this, but sometimes I become too self conscious and feel like I have to use more formal language anyway when communicating in a public arena.

Lastly, I should have added, anyone is entitled to their own opinion. If people don't like this episode they are certainly entitled to that point of view.
Eli
Sun, Nov 2, 2014, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
OK one last edit:


When I said:
"Archer never gets angry at them about any of this, he instead apologizes for his part of the problem. His only error really is in hesitating to do so because he was frustrated with them about the aforementioned issues."

I want to make clear I am not saying he made only one error in this episode. I meant that his only error in his apology to the aliens was that he hesitated to so in the first place. But, his hesitation is explained by the events of the episode (from Archer's perspective), as well as the events of the episode Vox Sola. (Oh, and cough, there should be a semicolon after this. OK I'm being weird, sorry.)
Capitalist
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Huh, I'd give this one at least 2* or more like 2.5*. It was very watchable (except for the Phlox grooming part) and the bat scene was hilarious. The funniest part was when Hoshi caught it without even "batting" an eye (see what I did there?) at which point Archer and Phlox just look at her like... wtfwhat?? hehe

I don't think comedy episodes like this, the various DS9 Ferengi ones, etc. are really supposed to be considered as having "really happened" within the context of the more serious series story arcs. Thus, comments about "character assassination" and such are really over-dramatizing the situation.
Gary
Sun, Feb 8, 2015, 9:36pm (UTC -6)
I don't have a lot of time to go into detail right now, but I feel you were a bit unkind to this episode. Now that so many years have passed it may behoove you to re-examine the entirety of Enterprise. While you seem to have a fairly unbiased opinion on the show, I'm sure there was at least a little animosity towards it while it was airing. I know I liked the show less for silly fandom reasons, and coming back to it years later has changed my opinion on so many things. I find that I really enjoy Enterprise today more than ever.

See whatcha think.

Cheers
eastwest101
Wed, Mar 11, 2015, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
Zero stars for A Night In Sick Bay - absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever.

Too many leaps of logic for me to overcome, starting with the premise that a highly intelligent Starship Captain would take a dog on a delicate diplomatic mission to repair an already fraught relationship with an easily offended alien species. Agree with Jammer that Billingsley deserves a medal for keeping a straight face during this adolescent fiasco.

Gratuitoius decomtamination scene? Check. Silly dream sequence? Check. Dubious to unbeleviable charaterization? Check. Unrelated random pysical comedy that fails? Check. Dumb witless resolution tacked on as an afterthought? Check.

Gil
Tue, May 19, 2015, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
For a notoriously "stupid" episode I found it actually quite well scripted and directed; plus I enjoyed both Bakula's and Billingsley's performances. So, while it isn't amongst the best of Enterprise in terms of plotting, I certainly wouldn't lump it amongst the worst episodes either…some of the antics genuinely made me chuckle.
marva
Sat, Jun 6, 2015, 3:05pm (UTC -6)
I liked it. I think the most compelling part was seeing humans through the vulcan and denobulan eyes. Our culture has these relationships with "subservient quadropeds" and from the outside we look kinda weird/stupid. So I liked that interplay. When Archer hugs and kisses Porthos at the end, Phlox looks on like one with superiority as one would a third world culture. And the sacrificing of the doctor's chameleon... whose worth was in what it could do for humans for the dog whose worth was due to... relationship.

I don't know I just liked the culture play.

As for the sexual tension... meh. Every single actor on this show is gorgeous. From the beginning the producers were selling sex and not just star trek.
Mallory R.
Wed, Jul 8, 2015, 9:17pm (UTC -6)
I seem to be in the minority opinion on many episodes, but I am fine with that. Everyone occasionally gets a little nutty in the middle of the night, and I took the whole thing as comedy. The nod to the Marx Brothers in the title, I presume.
John G
Fri, Jul 24, 2015, 9:45pm (UTC -6)
I didn't hate this episode. I thought Archer's angry reaction about Porthos getting sick because of those "stupid aliens" was funny and very human. Of course he would come to his senses and do what was in the best interest of Enterprise, but I thought it was a realistic initial reaction.

Bringing Porthos to the surface was dumb, but dog lovers tend to take their dogs places when it would be more practical to leave them home.

I thought much of the stuff witb Phlox in sickbay was pretty funny.

The only part I didn't like was all the sexual tension with T'Pol talk, because I didn't see any of this in the prior 29 episodes. It seemed to me the only sexual tension was between T'Pol and Trip.

I would give it 2 stars.
John G
Fri, Jul 24, 2015, 9:50pm (UTC -6)
Also, Porthos is definitely the best Trek pet ever.

My rankings:

1) Porthos
2) Spot
3) Chester (The O'Brien's adopted cat)
4) Neelix
Robert
Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 7:42am (UTC -6)
Neelix > Livingston? Really? And what about Martok's unseen pet Targ that was the source of a really good story?
Tim J
Thu, Aug 6, 2015, 1:00am (UTC -6)
0/5 stars. This episode was AWFUL. As others have said, it made Archer into a pedantic, irrational crybaby of a captain who is completely out of line. I get that people love their pets, but COME ON. You're a starship captain for the love of god - captain of the first exploratory mission for humankind, no less! I think you can sacrifice your dog getting some friggin "fresh air" for the sake of interspecies relations, especially when you have dealt with said species in the past and already know how easily offended they are.

Utterly ridiculous episode. I was actually *somewhat* fine with the notion of sexual tension, because hell, it certainly happens in constant proximity like that, but the rest of this epsiode was just pure rubbish. A little sexual frustration doesn't turn you into a raving, self-centered lunatic who is completely out of control with his feelings and actions.

And then the embarrasing attempts at humor that wasted out the rest of the episode...just awful.
Maq
Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
Well, ok, no action but tries to contrast 4 different approaches to the world. If it is something that a I did not like the first time I watched the Enterprise the first time it was the character of Archer. Her really full fills the exceptions of a stupid uncultivated and ignorant American. Hard to believe that such person should command a starship. But the second time now, Archers character is as much SF as the the warp drive and time travel. It is there to entertain us. T'Pol has a very Erotic appearance by just being the opposite. Episodes like this tries to show conflicts and contradictions in ourselves. Every now and then they can be enjoyable.
alston49
Sun, Jan 3, 2016, 9:25pm (UTC -6)
He showed more concern for that dog than he did anyone else on that ship. He treated it better than he did Mayweather. I wish I could take back those 45 minutes of my life. zero stars.
the right one
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 10:07pm (UTC -6)
a good episode. All your peoples bitching and moaning about who archer is in this story...Thats exactly the point. This episode had a message to tell about archer being a dumbass and learning to apologise. Evidently this went over your and the reviewers heads. Good episode. Entertaining and realistic. Enough said.
Diamond Dave
Mon, Apr 11, 2016, 2:30pm (UTC -6)
This one pegged the WTF meter well into the red, and you have to wonder what the writers were trying to achieve here. A sex comedy? A light-hearted musing on man and his dog? Or the right one's Sesame St learning experience posted above? Whatever the heck it was, it failed all ends up by not being dramatic, or funny - and indeed, worst of all, was just boring.

As others have noted, by turning all of Archer's worst aspects - aspects I thought they'd shed early in the first season but which seem to be returning now - up to 11 they make him a singularly unsympathetic character. The sexual tension thing comes out of nowhere and seems only to excuse not one by two decon scenes - and again, naked flesh seems high on the agenda this season with Hoshi's shirtless appearance, T'Pol's naked behind the sheet changing, and Mayweather's shirt off too (one for the ladies to keep things balanced, clearly).

And the bat scene may be the single worst moment in Trek history. Dire. 1 star.
Nolan
Fri, May 6, 2016, 4:31am (UTC -6)
Wow, over a decade since it aired with 60 some comments on this page and no one's pointed out that the easily offended aliens were the same ones from VoX Sola?

I guess that speaks to both how hated this episode is and how forgettable most find Vox Sola. (Though I liked it for how all the main crew contribute to solving the problem. Like an actual team, doing their jobs.) But hey, at least we got continuity! =D
dipads
Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 11:31pm (UTC -6)
If I'm not mistaken, this is Porthos third away mission since the beginning of the series, (the episode he's on Risa and I cannot remember the other ep. in Season 1). If I were Travis, I would have a face to face talk with Archer. Who wants to be overtaken by a dog?
Ivanov
Fri, Jul 1, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -6)
I was hoping Porthos would pull through,but only because after Malcolm and Hoshi Porthos is my favorite character.

Archer acts like a whiny child the whole episode and wants to hate fuck T'pol out of nowhere thats pretty much the whole episode plus odd couple slapstick with Phlox.

@Nolan yeah it was nice seeing a species they had just met before. If only they used the episode to develop them instead of watching Archer and Phlox chase a bat. or Archer just complaining about them to whoever he could find.

I actually found Hoshi to be the 1 redeeming thing about this episode not only does she ask how Porthos is doing. But she also catches the bat thing one handed. well that and she looks much better in the decon chamber than T'pol.
0.5 stars at least in Hatchery Archer had an excuse for being crazy.
Yanks
Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 8:09pm (UTC -6)
Wow.... lots of hate for this one. 1 star Jammer?

If nothing else, there is some pretty funny stuff here. Hoshi catching the bat, etc.

I'm a dog lover. Ours is every bit as much a part of the family as is everyone else. This is Archer's companion. I felt his pain in this one.

Eli - thanks for posting some great insight into this episode.

Classic? No, but an enjoyable episode. I'll go 2.5 stars.
TS
Mon, Sep 19, 2016, 4:57am (UTC -6)
Well, this episode was... hot garbage.

I love dogs and I could've potentially seen a decent episode that was centered around Porthos, but.. not like this. Anything but this!

For one, we have Archer acting in a way that makes him appear extremely unlikable. I would be upset too if my dog was in this situation, but the way that the writers conveyed Archer during this episode was beyond silly. I was very disappointed in his snippy, child-like responses to everyone. This is the Captain of this ship? "You need to get your priorities straight." Yeah, no joke T'Pol.

Speaking of T'Pol and Archer.... no. Just, no. Juvenile, silly and very poorly handled. Good God.

The very few "highlights" of this one include Hoshi catching the bat and more of Phlox's backstory.

1 star seems about right for this little gem of an episode, but this almost feels like a zero at times.... well done, Braga and Berman.
robrow
Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 3:09am (UTC -6)
I'm starting to watch Enterprise through gritted teeth. I accept I have realist prejudices, but that doesn't stop me loving Doctor Who and the best of TOS, TNG and DS9. Above all what I respect is consistency in the way character is presented. To adapt Greg House, 'people don't usually change'. And in one sense Archer hasn't changed since the first episode. He has always been a dickhead. But I cannot believe somebody so arrogant, childish and palpably lacking in diplomatic nous was chosen to lead this mission. I could only accept Archer as captain if this were Red Dwarf. Yes, I can point to occasional bits of dialog or characterisation I liked in this episode - mostly from Phlox - but it seems beside the point. I'll carry on watching, because it's a personal challenge to finish all of TV Trek and there are still occasionally episodes I really enjoy - Minefield recently was exactly my kind of story, and Archer's final 'I'm captain so I get to count time' seemed a lovely bit of characterisation - but Enterprise is beginning to make me nostalgic for Voyager. Never thought I'd say that.

Tony
Fri, Oct 7, 2016, 2:03am (UTC -6)
Thanks for the review. Agreed with pretty much all of it.

Archer's character had seemed to me to have been written as that of a self-entitled 12-year-old, so arguably this episode showed he'd matured a year or 2. But it was very silly.

I did like the bit where Archer spoke to T'Pol about the "tension" and she gave him a verbal slap, but other than that pretty bad.

It also annoys me when Archer talks about how "Porthos needs fresh air as well". Yeah, how many crew members are there? And how many of them get 'fresh air'?

The decontamination zone is getting annoying for its use as a plot device.

Matt
Tue, Dec 20, 2016, 6:05am (UTC -6)
I really felt like this episode...COULD have worked.

The script felt like it was written to be played much lighter than it actually was. If instead of Archer it was a character like Neelix or Quark getting upset after THEIR dog had urinated on someone else's sacred trees I think it could have worked as a lighter comedy.

Because it was Archer, it was treated more seriously which made it feel more absurd. If the writers/actors had just winked at the audience a bit and said "we know this is stupid" it wouldn't have seemed as stupid.
Peter
Tue, Dec 27, 2016, 11:06am (UTC -6)
I agree with the handful of others here who pointed out that this episode isn't really about Archer's dog, but about Archer.

I'm continually amazed he not only made it through Starfleet Academy, but that he was given a command - and a pioneering one at that. He makes Kirk, even in his worst moments, seem like Picard. It doesn't add up that he would not have been relieved of command by now.

Take this easily-offended alien race. We saw them in an earlier episode where they took great offence because humans ate a meal in front of them. Yes, that's ridiculous, but as a captain on a diplomatic mission, Archer isn't empowered to do anything other than play into their ridiculous standards. So, given that they regard eating as extremely personal or private, how in the world would he imagine it would be okay to bring a dog -- a creature that unselfconsciously exhibits all sorts of bodily functions? And how could none of his officers not counsel him to wait till the next planet to take Porthos for a walk?

If the writers had implied that Archer had deliberately brought along the dog as a way of saying f-you to a race of incredibly uptight and priggish aliens, I could live with that, however I'll-advised. I'd understand his motive, at least. But Archer seemed surprised when things went badly, which suggests he and his crew are just stupid.

Then there's the sexual tension stuff. While T'Pol is definitely a very attractive woman, why does she feel the need to wear a skin-tight, non-issue uniform at all times? Hoshi is also beautiful, yet she doesn't feel the need to throw it in everyone's face at all times. I will accept that T'Pol, who presumably only mates once every seven years like other Vulcans, doesn't get that her dress choice might be inappropriate, but how does no one else on the ship clue her in?

Even TOS, which had producers that pushed to have all female crew move from pants to mini-skirt uniforms when the two pilots (The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before) became a regular series --I'm sure as a sop to horny male potential viewers-- realized that there's a certain level of professionalism and decorum required on a starship: and that was in the mid-60's! Along comes T'Pol, and it's as if the preceding decades of women's liberation never occurred.
Sean
Tue, Jan 10, 2017, 11:45am (UTC -6)
The first time around this was when I totally gave up on Trek altogether. There's always an episode in my favorite shows that make me want to stop watching.
Saiber
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Oh my goodness. This is the most awful episode of a Star Trek show I have ever seen. How on earth did this Archer get his rank of captain and commanding the first star ship in earth history to explore space and make first contact with other races? He is irrational, childish and irresponsible. Acting like a spoiled diva. Risking the life of his crew and his ship over his dog? Not to mention ruining contact and relationship with other races and cultures. The most incompetent captain ever command a ship and I am not talking about fictious science fiction shows. Even in our time such a captain of any ship would have been reliefed of command long time ago by his sub officers. Or would have faced a mutiny on board. The writers must had hated this show so much that they sabotaged it from the very first minute of this show. Very disappointing as this show had so much potential!
Sandy Blue
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 12:59am (UTC -6)
I loved this episode. Anybody who has a dog and has gone through an agonizung sickness with it understands Archers feelings. So those of you who boo this episode....well boo you. Im a dog lover and thats my sole argument. So. Pfffffft!!!! Loved it.
methane
Sun, Feb 26, 2017, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
I feel the level of hatred for this episode is unjustified. I suppose I would give it 1.5 stars; there's some pretty idiotic things in the premise that keeps it from getting a passing grade, but there's enough good things that keeps it from being awful.

First, I'll acknowledge the bad stuff:
*Archer taking his dog along was certainly foolish
*Archer's Freudian slips are dumb
*I really don't need to see Phlox clipping his toe nails.

Some things in it's favor:
*I did enjoy the "day in the life of Phlox" part of the show. Phlox was shown as intelligent and perceptive while still eccentric. A good foil for the captain when he was saying stupid things. While I didn't really laugh out loud at the humor in sickbay, I found it mostly pleasant (toe nail clippings aside).
*The Freudian slips were dumb and the dream pointless, but Archer realizing that he has an attraction and dealing with it was an act of maturity.
*Archer certainly was foolish to blame the aliens for what happened to his dog. But, we never actually saw him act foolish to the aliens himself. He was saying these dumb things to his crew-members (mostly to his first officer), knowing it wasn't going to be repeated to the aliens themselves. I think he subconsciously knows he's being an idiot, but isn't going to stop and ponder it while he's stressed worrying about his dog and the ship isn't in any danger. Aside from the sexual frustration, I would have liked Archer to come to the realization that he lets the stresses of the job build up inside of him, and then he lashes out at his Vulcan officer because he knows she can take it in stride. That doesn't make him the greatest leader, but it does make him an understandable human.

Again, it doesn't get a passing mark, but every Trek series has many worse episodes.
Luke
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 6:07am (UTC -6)
Damn, I'm something of an ENT apologist, even an Archer apologist, but this is absolutely dire. I've never understood the hatred most people have toward Archer as a character. In fact, I often fail to see why so many see him as a complete incompetent. But this time the writers seemed intent on making him just that.

Let's review that major - and I stress "major" because there are plenty more - problems with this episode....
1.) Why the hell should I care about Porthos? First off, I'm a cat person not a dog person. But you know what? If there was an episode that focused on Data taking Spot to some planet and Spot getting sick, I still wouldn't care. Because a character's pet shouldn't be the damn focus of an entire episode! They actually did have Spot be the focus of half an episode - "Force of Nature" - and it was crap too!
2.) Why does Archer even take Porthos to the planet in the first place? Here he is, faced with visiting a planet of people he knows, from first-hand experience, that are more easily offended than even the most out-there, lunatic, trigger-warning-happy, modern Progressive Social Justice Warriors and he takes his freaking dog on the visit! Yeah, Jon, there's simply no way that could cause trouble. *facepalm*
3.) ARCHER: "Well, maybe if they'd bothered to read the genetic profile we sent..." Are you freaking kidding me?! Dipshit, a genetic profile isn't going to tell these people that dogs like to piss on trees!
4.) So, apparently Archer is a trained diplomat. I think this is the first time that's ever been revealed. How does he handle this diplomatic situation? By acting like a petulant jerk. Brilliant! Here's a quick tip for the writers - if you want us to believe a character is diplomatic, don't have him respond to a diplomatic situation by acting like a blowhard and a moron. You don't barge into someone else's house, start throwing your weight around, tell them what's what, act like a prideful buffoon and call it "diplomacy".
5.) So apparently Archer really, really wants to get into T'Pol's Vulcan panties. And, apparently, T'Pol might - possibly - want to let him unlock that achievement. Where in the actual fuck did this come from?! Jammer is right in that there has been precisely ZERO sexual tension or subtext between these two characters up until now. Even when T'Pol's breasts accidentally ended up in Archer's face back in "Shadows of P'Jem" there was no hint of sexual tension from either of them! Damn, and I thought the sexual subtext between Janeway and Chakotay was limited. This is practically non-existent.
6.) The Kreetassans. There's being humorously arrogant and then there's this. These people are so uptight and offense-prone that even if the episode was capable of being funny they would suck it all down the drain. If you're going to crank something up to 11 and beyond, make sure it's worth it.

Wow, even as a fan of ENT and of Archer as a character, this crap is awful. God bless John Billingsley, because Phlox is the only legitimately worthwhile part of this train wreck. His discussion with Archer about his family was easily the diamond in this sea of shit.

But, is this the worst of the franchise? Hardly. At least they didn't openly advocate for eugenics like TOS did in "The Mark of Gideon" or outright promote religious fanaticism to the point of murder like TNG did in "Homeward". Hell, it's not even the worst of ENT thus far. At least it didn't say "rape is funny.... as long as it happens to a man" like they did in "Unexpected". So, at least it doesn't promote murder or rape. Hardly high praise.
Linda
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 10:17am (UTC -6)
This episode was about Archer, not Porthos, who in this episode I’m pretty sure was mostly played by a dummy dog. Though I honestly don’t know what it says about Archer that he got his beloved dog from the mother of an ex-girlfriend. An episode about Porthos might have been better:

PORTHOS: Barking excitedly
ARCHER: What is it boy?
PORTHOS: Bark-bark-bark
ARCHER: You smelled the (techno-babble) residue of a (technobabble) weapon on our guests?
PORTHOS: Bark-bark-bark
ARCHER: What do you mean they’re not ambassadors but assassins?!
PORTHOS: Bark-bark-bark
ARCHER: Archer here! Go to red alert! Red alert!
PORTHOS: Bark-bark-bark—now the universal translator kicks in and we hear Porthos say …
Rahul
Mon, Apr 24, 2017, 4:23pm (UTC -6)
Can't believe I sat through this whole episode. Yes, it is on the same level as "Spock's Brain" - absolutely terrible episode. And Archer's character gets desecrated as he's made to look like a complete idiot.
The part about sexual tensions between him and T'Pol are ridiculous. The offending of the easily offendable race is stupid. How Archer has to make it up to them is laughable.
There have been some bad ENT episodes (like "Acquisition" the dumb Ferengi comedy) but this is the worst so far.
Personally, I love dogs and thought Phlox/T'Pol had a good roles to play in shining a light on Archer's idiocy.
For me 0.5/4 stars. Was difficult to make it through this one.
khatsar
Sun, May 28, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
Oh my Lord. Archer already knows the Kreetassans are offended at the sight of people eating in public. So he graces their planet with an animal that engages all bodily functions out in the open? Porthos couldn't get his fresh air on a less sensitive away mission? How could Archer expect the Kreetassans to accurately predict which native pathogens would affect an alien quadruped based on a "genetic profile?" I would imagine any such analysis would be speculative, at best.

If Archer was a responsible pet owner, he wouldn't be taking Porthos down to populated worlds at all. I noticed that the crew doesn't scrub down before leaving the ship. Who's to say what alien races may not be deathly allergic to dog hair? ;)

Phlox's needling about Archer's sex life was creepy, and I'm sick of hearing about his 500 degrees. I'd rather see more creative medical techniques or other evidence of his ingenuity. Show, don't tell. As it is, I'm unimpressed by Phlox so far. When sweaty Archer hands him a vial and Phlox plunks it directly into the clean box without even quickly sanitizing it, I cringed a little. He conducts surgery on Porthos without putting on any kind of surgical protective equipment, and watching him converse with Archer directly over the tank was a little gross. This may be the scientist in me overreacting a little.

Archer's wet dream was unnecessary; I can understand why he'd have conflicting feelings about T'Pol, but I didn't need to see all that, and the Freudian slips were embarrassing to watch. That final scene with T'Pol hinting attraction toward Archer was absolutely silly, and I tire of the writers' attempts to convince us Archer is Sexy and Totally Not the Blandest Captain in All of Trek. The sexual tension between T'Pol and Trip, on the other hand, feels far more natural to me.

Hoshi catching the bat was awesome, though, and Phlox's nighttime routine was mildly amusing.
NCC-1701-Z
Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
Okay, honest question, how did this episode even get one star?
skindles
Thu, Aug 10, 2017, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
This episode wasn't so bad. It had it's fair share of stupid bits, but some good ones too. 2 stars from me.

If you substitute T'Pol, say, for Porthos, and it was T'Pol who was infected from the aliens lack of warning, would you still be complaining about how Archer reacted? Probably not.

Most of the hatred seems to stem from the fact that it was a sick dog and not a person. That is a lot of what the show was about, is how humans raise their pets to the level of people in their minds. Phlox and T'Pol both tell Archer he is being too protective of his dog.

But that's what humans do, or many of them anyway.

Also Archer doesn't have many actual friends on board, most captains don't really. He is always their commanding officer first. Porthos is his best friend. He is protective of his best friend. Maybe that should have been the title 'A Human's Best Friend'.

Archer never once complained to the Kreetassans themselves. Maybe he shouldn't have taken Porthos to begin with, but he asked permission to take him and it was given and they messed up. He didn't do anything drastic about it, except maybe bitch too much about it to the crew. But he was at first frustrated, and then sleep deprived, and his dog/best friend was maybe going to die, so maybe he had a right to bitch a little. And he ended up apologizing in the end, so other than looking a bit pissed off to a few members of the crew, no harm was done. I don't see how this episode makes him out to be a bad captain.

Janeway would probably have sent the delta flyer down to investigate and Kim would have landed on the trees crushing them and started a war, with Chakotay telling her she was being stupid, while she ignored him and stole all the parts they needed and left, the whole thing having been forgotten by the next episode.

Strejda
Sat, Sep 23, 2017, 12:21pm (UTC -6)
Okay, a lot of discussion about the episode revolves around to how sympathetic or unsympathetic Archer is. Let's just ignore that for a moment and look at the it on its own: Does it work aside from that?

Well, it's a comedy and not particularly highbrow one. But I don't think comedy really needs to be. Sometimes, even dumb humor can be funny. I do get a giggle at some of the stuff from Kung-Pow. But that's kinda because of just how dumb it is. I just don't think this one reaches that-partly because it doesn't really have much energy to it. I thought the fart gag at the beginning was little funny, and the scene where he tries to one up T'Pol gets a giggle. Otherwise, I thought it was mostly just embarrassing. Honestly, it's when the episode isn't trying to be funny, I had the most laugh, like Archer's Star Trek Captain speech about Kreetasans hurting his dog or him angrily watching water polo.

Writing wise, it's not too great. For one, what was the point the timer? What did that tell us? Archer bringing Porthos with him in the first place is very contrived. The sexual tension bit comes straight out of nowhere, not just series wide, but in the episode itself.

@skindles

1) I dunno about T'Pol, but Trip peeing on something sacred and getting sick from it does sound like on of his plots.

2) I'm not sure I buy Archer would care half as much.

"Never once complained to Kreetasans themselves". Later in the episode, he complains to Phlox about how they don't care about Porthos being sick. How would they know if Archer hadn't actually called them to tell them what assholes they are?

"didn't do anything drastic about it"

The first scene after the intro is him telling Trip they should just risk the ship and not bother anymore. And that's before he knows Porthos is sick.

As for "permission", he sent them his genetic profile. Even if they got from it that it's animal level intelligence, they likely figured out it was trained enough not to pee on random things because otherwise, why would anybody be so stupid as to bring it with them?

Also, asking somebody if they apologized like he told them to do and then literally thirty seconds later getting pissed off at them for apologizing goes beyond just being whiny, that's straight up crazy.

And the thing is, this all might be fine, if it was say, early or middle season 1. But this is Season 2. And this isn't a new situation, we have seen Archer being a stubborn ass unwilling to compromise. It's one thing for him to make mistakes and learn from it but you can't have him do the same mistakes over and over again.
Neely Fan Forever
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 8:56pm (UTC -6)
UGH!

Okay, first of all, I have pets. I can understand Archer loving and being concerned for his dog. That's fine. But instead of doing something to get the Kratassans off his back, he spends the whole time moaning about them not caring about it too. The dog pee'd on something sacred. Why should they care? Archer is lucky they didn't kill Porthos. And he bitches at Phlox who is doing the very best to try to save the poor dog. Archer is a complete jerk throughout this whole episode and annoying. and the real pissy thing is where he tells T'pol to talk to the Kratassens and when she does, he tells her off. This guy is (well, supposed to be!) a trained diplomat and yet he likes a first year cadet!! I hate this story. Archer just drives me nuts and "The reason you are uptight is because you need to get laid" plot is just stupid. Watch this review by SFDebris. It's hysterical!
sfdebris.com/videos/startrek/e130.php
Martin
Sun, Oct 22, 2017, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
I bet Archer has had to clean up things that came out of Porthos that were infinitely better than this... thing.

I never liked Archer, he walks around the bridge like he needs a crap and talks like he's only just discovered language. But this is even worse. Not only does this "trained diplomat", Starfleet captain and humanity's representative in space (god help us all) think it was a good idea to take a fucking animal down to an alien planet where he was trying to get vital engine component so his crew wouldn't die in the vastness of space when the ship broke down. And not just any alien planet, the one planet where the locals are easily offended. And dogs have a habit of doing things that could be seen as offensive. And how dare they have bacteria on their planet that could make an alien animal sick!

Jesus Christ, its shit like this that makes me wonder how Enterprise managed 4 seasons and relieved when it was finally shot in the head and dumped in the gutter (but not without another shit of a series finale). It just goes to show that the concept of Enterprise was flawed and hopelessly written/produced/everything from the beginning if this not even bottom of the barrel but under it kind of episode is what we get in the second season.
Nievesg
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 10:11am (UTC -6)
I love Enterprise. I really love more than 70% of its episodes, which is approx. my feeling on all shows I love, btw.
But I fail to see why we needed this episode at all.
Zero stars!
Dobber
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
For me this was one of the few episodes of Enterprise that actually had any drama in it, because I was genuinely worried they were going to kill off Porthos. And Porthos was the only “character” on the ship that I actually liked :p

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