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Old November 9 2011, 02:39 AM   #1
The Overlord
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Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

This may have been discussed before, but what you do think of Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor? I think Archer and Phlox come off as not very heroic, in fact they seem somewhat villainous in this episode.

Phlox and Archer do nothing, while a race of people dies from a plague, they could cure it, but choose not to because of reasoning based on eugenics. This seems like the behavior more suitable for a villain then a hero. It would be like a movie where some bureaucrat and a scientist in the West developed a cure for a plague affecting an African country, but decide not to give it to this country and justify this through eugenics. Then the movie expects us to sympathize with this bureaucrat and scientist.
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Old November 9 2011, 04:24 AM   #2
sonak
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

This has been discussed MANY times, and yes they basically let a species die because of racist pseudoscientific reasons.

Trek writes don't understand evolution.

Another example of the monstrousness of the PD as well even though this was technically before the PD.


A true Star Trek low.


I've never re-watched this episode and don't plan to either.
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Old November 9 2011, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

sonak wrote: View Post
A true Star Trek low.
True. And the worst thing is, I've heard many fans praise it for "dealing with outstanding moral dilemmas in best Trek tradition" and stuff...

Atrocious.
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Old November 9 2011, 07:18 PM   #4
Phily B
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

one of the many episodes of enterprise that sealed the deal on the show being dead in the water. isn't that around the time the ratings started dropping like a rock?
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Old November 9 2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

No, that was after "A Night in Sickbay."
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Old November 9 2011, 08:06 PM   #6
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

Skywalker wrote: View Post
No, that was after "A Night in Sickbay."
Yeah, ANiS caused a frakking freefall.

And the saddest thing is that the ratings were actually steadily rising up until that point.
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Last edited by Mach5; November 10 2011 at 12:07 AM.
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Old November 9 2011, 11:25 PM   #7
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

sonak wrote: View Post
This has been discussed MANY times, and yes they basically let a species die because of racist pseudoscientific reasons.

Trek writes don't understand evolution.

Another example of the monstrousness of the PD as well even though this was technically before the PD.


A true Star Trek low.


I've never re-watched this episode and don't plan to either.
I suppose we should happy there wasn't a scene where Phlox and Archer spend a video of themselves mixing the cure with champaign and then drinking it, to the Valakians.

I do think this topic is serious enough to merit a lot of discussion. Phlox and Archer come off as rather callous and psychopathic in this episode. The logic they use to justify not giving the cure to the Valakians seems similar to the ideas you would find in Nazi Germany: "One race is holding another race back and that race needs to be destroyed for the other race to thrive." This may be one of the most villainous things a Star Fleet captain has done and he was supposed to be the hero.

What were they thinking with this script?

Last edited by The Overlord; November 9 2011 at 11:37 PM.
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Old November 10 2011, 12:25 AM   #8
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

The Overlord wrote: View Post
"One race is holding another race back and that race needs to be destroyed for the other race to thrive."
Stand by for mandatory "Archer didn't kill anyone, he just refused to interfere with teh natural selexsh0n!"

It's kinda disappointing to see how many people don't realise that refusing to aid a man in mortal peril is the same as killing him yourself. The choice that Phlox and Archer made was not only severely unethical, it was also appallingly immoral.
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Old November 10 2011, 01:07 AM   #9
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

Mach5 wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
"One race is holding another race back and that race needs to be destroyed for the other race to thrive."
Stand by for mandatory "Archer didn't kill anyone, he just refused to interfere with teh natural selexsh0n!"

It's kinda disappointing to see how many people don't realise that refusing to aid a man in mortal peril is the same as killing him yourself. The choice that Phlox and Archer made was not only severely unethical, it was also appallingly immoral.
I don't think Archer and Phlox are guilty of committing genocide, they didn't create the disease so they aren't actively responsible for it. They did nothing and as Edmund Burke said "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".

Archer and Phlox are comparable to the politicians in the West who made excuses to do nothing while the genocide in Rwanda was occurring. However Phlox and Archer are worse, because them giving the cure to Valakians would have taken a lot less effort then stopping the genocide in Rwanda and then they have the gall to think their inaction makes them morally superior to others. Its a screwed up script when the "heroes" allow a great tragedy to occur and then justify their inaction with the same eugenics pseudo science the Nazis used to justify their actions. Phlox and Archer may not have actively committed genocide, but they did is immoral.
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Old November 10 2011, 01:12 AM   #10
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

Simply deciding not to help the Valakians to give the Menk a chance to evolve was bad enough, but what makes it even worse is that Phlox had the cure and he refused to give it to them. That's a serious breach of medical ethics, and I don't think any real doctor would ever do what he did.
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Old November 10 2011, 01:20 AM   #11
sonak
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

Skywalker wrote: View Post
Simply deciding not to help the Valakians to give the Menk a chance to evolve was bad enough, but what makes it even worse is that Phlox had the cure and he refused to give it to them. That's a serious breach of medical ethics, and I don't think any real doctor would ever do what he did.

yeah, this was what put it over the top in its horror. It's one thing if Phlox had refused to start looking for a cure, but he actually FOUND THE CURE and didn't give it to a dying race!


Phlox was like a guy with a big jug full of water standing there, staring at someone dying of thirst and just shaking his head.


If Phlox had these views on race and eugenics he shouldn't have gone into being a doctor in the first place.
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Old November 10 2011, 01:28 AM   #12
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

It was a good episode up until the end. I didn't agree with the decisions they made, and it made me dislike both characters for a while. This is even worse than Janeway's decision in Tuvix.
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Old November 10 2011, 02:05 AM   #13
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

sonak wrote: View Post
Another example of the monstrousness of the PD as well even though this was technically before the PD.
We even get a line to that effect from Archer near the end. "Someday, there may be a directive to get us to act like douchebags. Until that day comes, we must resolve to act like douchebags on our own."

OK, I paraphrase.

Someone once wrote that from the time of TNG onwards, a lot of Star Trek writers hated the restrictions of the Prime Directive, and quite deliberately set out to portray it in the worst possible light. Whether this was based on inside knowledge or was pure speculation I don't know, but it certainly explains a lot.
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Old November 10 2011, 02:13 AM   #14
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

I kinda liked the episode, and that the ending was played with the characters making this decision and not liking it. And I liked the idea Enterprise presented (though didn't do enough of, imo) that the heroes were not super squeaky clean, made mistakes, and poor decisions as they were trying to learn what it means to be space-faring.
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Old November 10 2011, 02:22 AM   #15
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

Choosing to let millions of people die on the off chance that some other people might develop intelligence in a few thousand years has nothing to do with what it means to travel through space. That excuse is especially poor, since the idea came from a man who was very familiar with space travel and interacting with other species.
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