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June 15 2024


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Extensive 'Dear Doctor' Plot Summary

By Christian
October 17, 2001 - 2:44 PM

See Also: 'Cold Front' Episode Guide

A future Enterprise episode will see Dr. Phlox develop a romantic relationship even as his Captain is forced to reassess his own hostile relationship to the Vulcans.

Based on an early version of the script, sources were able to provide the following plot summary for 'Dear Doctor,' the Enterprise episode shooting this week. Please note that the below synopsis only covers the first two-thirds of 'Dear Doctor,' and the episode's resolution is still unknown.

'Dear Doctor,' while featuring a main plot that heavily involves Captain Archer, will also explore the character of Dr. Phlox. The story is structured around a letter Phlox is writing to a certain Doctor Lucas, and throughout the episode viewers will hear voice-overs of Phlox reading the letter. One major character development that is presented through Phlox's eyes is his first on-board romance, as Ensign Cutler (first seen in 'Strange New World') develops romantic feelings for him. In addition, in this episode Phlox mentions that the members of his race are called the 'Denobulans.'

As part of the episode's main story, the Enterprise encounters a pre-warp shuttle, flying through space less than a light-year away from an M-Class planet. Scans reveal two weak lifesigns in the shuttle, and Archer orders the shuttle taken in and the occupants brought to sickbay. Once there, Phlox discovers the aliens are dying from an unknown disease.

Archer asks Phlox to wake up one of the alien astronauts, who wakes up relieved when he sees he has been found by others. The alien astronaut explains to Archer that he is from the nearby planet Valakis, which is slowly being destroyed by the disease he also suffers from. The astronauts were one of four teams sent out into space, hoping to tell someone about the plight of their planet. During the voyage they developed the symptoms of the disease, which can lie dormant for years, but luckily they at least survived long enough for Enterprise to find them. The astronaut implores Archer to come to the aid of his planet, as otherwise many people will die.

T'Pol urges him to be careful not to contaminate a pre-warp civilization, but Archer still orders the ship to set course for Valakis. Once there, he meets with Esaak, the director of a research center dedicated to finding a cure. Esaak says that very little progress is being made on finding a cure, but thanks to the technological expertise Enterprise will be able to provide, he hopes they will still be able to defeat the disease.

Archer is willing to help find a cure for the disease, and indeed Phlox quickly starts collecting data about it. The planet itself also interests Archer from a scientific standpoint: it is inhabited not only by the species the alien astronaut and Esaak are a part of, but also by a completely different species, the Menk. They have a different language and completely different physique, but according to Esaak both species are indigenous to the planet - in fact, he appears a bit surprised that Phlox, T'Pol and Archer did not originate from the same planet.

Perhaps more intriguing is the revelation by Esaak that they have previously been visited by other warp-capable races, including the Maelins and even the Ferengi, both races which even the Vulcans have never heard of. Esaak explains to Archer that the Maelins visited Valakis two years ago, but quickly abandoned the planet's inhabitants when they found out about the illness. Angrily, Esaak says that the Maelins wouldn't even share the secret of warp technology with them, even though that could have helped them seek help elsewhere.

It is this that places Archer in a dilemma, as the aliens also ask him for the secret of warp technology. He begins to recognise that warp flight is not necessarily the answer to the aliens' problems, and that it could be dangerous to just give the technology to him. Finally, after complaining all his life about how the Vulcans were holding humanity back, the shoe is now on the other foot...

Our sources did not wish to provide story information beyond this point, which is approximately two-thirds into the episode. Presumably, both the alien disease and Archer's initial decision not to provide warp technology to the aliens will feature more prominently in the remainder of the episode.

It is not currently known who wrote or directed 'Dear Doctor.' The episode will likely air in early 2002.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

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