'Similitude' Evokes Strong Emotions From CriticsBy Michelle
November 23, 2003 - 3:25 PM
See Also: 'Similitude' Episode Guide
Reviews for last Wednesday night's Enterprise episode, "Similitude", were mixed. Those who loved it tended to praise nearly everything about it from the acting to the drama, while those who disliked it mostly focused on the problematic science and the portrayal of ethical choices in the episode.
- In an early review, Hercules of Ain't It Cool News wrote, "Nothing invests one in 'Enterprise' as thoroughly as the ongoing intellectual and, yes, emotional journey undertaken by the complex and often unpredictable Vulcanian T’Pol – and she seems to take another key step on that trek this week." He added that the casting of "the mini-Tuckers – Maximillian Orion Kesmodel, Adam Taylor Gordon and Shane Sweet - did an startlingly good job." But though the episode earned three and a half out of five stars, Herc found that the plot strained credulity, and "wouldn’t you think Archer would be a little nicer to the clone?" The full review is here.
- "For those clamoring for controversial Trek, here's controversy in spades," wrote Chris of Xenoclone's 'Enterprise' Power Rankings. "Yes, the science is lacking. Dramatically, it doesn’t matter. The issues surrounding the mimetic simbiot are no different than those swirling around stem cell research and genetic testing." Chris predicted that the episode would spark debate on many levels and found the writing excellent. Read the full review here.
- "'Similitude' is a formula script that has a few redeeming qualities, but overall is problematical. If you are the kind of person who only watches the 'good' Enterprise episodes, you can skip this one," wrote Michael Marek at The Great Link. Rating the episode two out of five, he said, "Even if we ignore the 'clone with the memories of the original' formula compounded on top of the 'rapidly aging child' formula, there are other scientifically-based problems with this episode." To read more, the full review is at The Great Link.
- Television Without Pity's Keckler gave "Similitude" a B, saying that while it was enjoyable, the show blew the chance to take real risks:
I really liked the idea and the plot, and the acting from Trinneer and Bakula was quite superb. Yes, the science did stick in my craw like a transparent popcorn shell behind a front tooth, but what got my goat...was that Enterprise had a chance to do something daring and Farscape-ish and they fumbled it. With that extra-special enzyme in play, I really wish they had made ProtoTryp die and the clone survive for the rest of the series. It would have been a bold move, because arguing that one wasn't the same as the other wouldn't hold, and let's face it, it would be damn gutsy of them.The full review is here.
- Admiral Regnum of Holodeck 3 took issue with both the science and character issues of "Similitude." "This episode made me dislike both Phlox and Archer for the morally wrong decisions they made and I don’t like disliking characters, especially the captain, whom the entire series revolves around," he wrote. "If it were cut in stone that Sim would only live for a few days more the sacrifice would have made a bit more sense, but when there became a chance, no matter how small, that Sim could live out a normal life, then the moral implications of the episode became huge." Though he gave the episode a C, he said that he was being generous in the review here.
- O. Deus of TrekWeb compared the episode to Voyager's "Tuvix", though "where Tuvix was a unique combination producing a personality very different from either Tuvok or Neelix, Trip 2.0 quickly becomes all but indistinguishable from Trip 1.0 making the entire debate somewhat moot." Unlike many reviewers, Deus felt that the focus of "Similitude" really "isn't so much on the controversy of the situation, despite the apparent analogies to stem cell research and cloning", but on Sim's plight:
In a way "Similitude" is actually closer to lifespan episodes like TNG's "The Inner Light" that give us the sense of experiencing somebody's life being lived from beginning to end within the constraints of a single episode. Of course the problem is that Trip's life isn't very interesting and neither is Trip. We relearn such revelations about Trip that he loves engineering, key lime pie and T'Pol. Oh and he apparently has had the same hair cut for 30 years, unless the hair style was also encoded in his DNA, which considering this episode's scientific credibility is entirely possible.To read the comments and why the episode was rated an 8 overall, see the review at TrekWeb.
- Section 31's Mike Dunham graded "Similitude" an A, saying that the hallmarks of the episode were "wonderful storytelling, writing, acting, and execution." "Who was right and who was wrong, and what was the best solution to the situation? The best Star Trek episodes are always the one where we are left to decide those answers for ourselves," he noted, hoping that Sim's telling T'Pol about Tucker's feelings would have lasting consequences. Praising the series' new subtlety and John Billingsley's acting, Dunham said he ended up feeling unsettled in a good way. The full review is here.
- At TrekPulse, Litsa Guevara rated the episode 4.75 out of 5, saying that the only reason it wasn't perfect was that the scene in which young Sim suddenly realized that he was a copy of Trip was "a little implausible." In terms of both the acting by the guest stars and the topic of the drama, she said, "it was "a fantastic episode that dealt with some difficult issues head on." Singling Scott Bakula out for praise among the cast regulars, she noted, "Archer vacillated between anger and compassion in this episode. At times I understood his commitment to the mission and to his friend. Other times his coldness toward Sim astonished me." The full review is at TrekPulse.
- The New Age offered a lengthy synopsis and review by The Apostle of God who gave the episode a 9.5/10 rating. "The writer, Manny Coto, did a phenomenal job," he said, rationalizing T'Pol's ongoing emotionalism as a likely effect of her chronic illness and admiring the poignancy and strength of Archer's insistence that he would kill Sim if necessary, though personally the reviewer found this choice heinous. To read more, visit The New Age.