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Recap / Star Trek Enterprise S 03 E 16 Doctors Orders

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Phlox has to be in charge of the ship for four days, just enough for him to go out of his goddamned mind.
Enterprise goes through an anomaly that would take too long to avoid, leaving Phlox the only one running the ship.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Phlox.
  • All Just a Dream: Turns out T'Pol was asleep the entire episode. The rest of it wasn't.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Phlox points the phase pistol at his own head.
  • Body Horror: Phlox has a hallucination of a badly disfigured Hoshi.
  • Bottle Episode: Shot only on the ship sets and featuring absolutely no guest stars.
  • Call-Back: In "Exile," Phlox told Hoshi that Denobulans consider it healthy to hallucinate when under stress and that he envied those who could do so. Still think that way, Phlox?
    • It also serves as a hint that T'Pol is not real, as there is absolutely no reason she should be aware of this conversation.
  • Captain's Log: With Archer asleep for the episode, we instead get a letter from Phlox to Dr. Lucas explaining How We Got Here.
  • Dare to Be Badass: With T'Pol's encouragement, Phlox manages to start up the warp drive on his own.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Phlox realizes that he was so busy tending to the comatose crew that it never occurred to him to scan himself for how the transdimensional disturbance could be affecting his mind.
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    • The crew knew the disturbance would expand, but it accelerated far faster than expected.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Watching the episode again will reveal all the clues that T’Pol was a hallucination the whole time, such as not eating the dinner that Phlox had prepared and not being helpful at all while restarting the warp reactor. This is even Lampshaded when Phlox considers deleting what is now a largely fictitious account of the experience, but decides that Lucas might find it entertaining.
  • Foreshadowing: More talk of a transdimensional region rewriting areas of space.
  • Gallows Humor: As always, Phlox has a cheerful attitude over having to watch the entire ship by himself.
    Trip: If the impulse manifolds get clogged, the engines'll overload. That would be very bad.
    Phlox: I imagine it would.
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  • The Ghost: Phlox mentions he'll be awakening his medical staff soon. A medical staff we have never seen, outside of emergencies and whoever happened to be in sickbay.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: The episode, showing what happens when Denobulans are deprived of interpersonal interactions for more than a couple days.
  • Hard-Work Montage: Phlox learning how to operate Enterprise by himself.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: Phlox successfully getting Enterprise to warp 2, despite having little understanding of warp mechanics and a tenuous hold on what's left of his sanity.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Phlox is a physician, not an engineer.
  • In Medias Res: The episode opens with Phlox chasing Porthos through a deserted Enterprise.
  • The Needs of the Many: Trip tells Phlox to wake him if things get really sticky, even though it will kill him. Phlox, however, isn't so willing to sacrifice him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Phlox spends much of the episode in this state, but it really hits the fan when he finds out the disturbance's expansion has accelerated and that it will take ten weeks to escape at impulse.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: T’Pol losing her train of thought and being of no help when Phlox tries to restart the engines are clues that she isn’t real.
  • Pet the Dog: Phlox lets Porthos have one of his alien leeches as a snack. "Don't tell the Captain."
  • Primal Fear: Complete isolation is this for Denobulans (whose culture includes communal lifestyles and large extended families).
  • Read the Freaking Manual: Phlox wails this trope practically by name before diving into the impenetrable block of technobabble that is the warp drive guide.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hallucination!Trip telling Phlox that he's gonna screw everything up.
  • The Reveal: At the end of the episode, Phlox walks T'Pol back to her quarters...and finds her still asleep.
  • Scenery Censor: Phlox shows up one morning in sickbay completely naked. Thankfully, his animal cages and a large tablet conceal his private parts.
  • Shout-Out: The movie that Phlox watches is The Court Jester.
  • Techno Babble: Phlox is utterly baffled by the engineering manuals, saying that they may as well be written in ancient Klingon.
  • Understatement: Trip warns Phlox that an engine overload "would be very bad".
    Phlox: I imagine it would.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Isolation: Denobulans love crowds and socialization, so being the only conscious crewmember on the ship would be a miserable experience for Phlox in the best of circumstances.
  • You Are in Command Now: Due to necessity, Phlox is given tutorials in everything from helm control to engineering since he's the only person who can survive the anomaly awake.

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