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Billingsley Discusses Upcoming Episodes

By Caillan
February 20, 2002 - 12:02 PM

See Also: 'Fusion' Episode Guide

With just under two months left before filming finishes on Enterprise's first season, John Billingsley (Doctor Phlox) teased viewers with details of upcoming episodes.

In an audio interview with Tony Tellado at Sci-Fi Talk, Billingsley provided some information on 'Fusion,' which airs next week. "We have an episode coming up in which - I won't say a renegade band of Vulcans - but a splinter group who believe that it is possible to allow oneself more emotional availability than most Vulcans do, arrive on board and they try to inculcate T'Pol in their way of thinking with calamitous results."

The next batch of episodes includes 'Rogue Planet,' which sees the NX-01 crew on an interesting away mission. "We land on a planet in which a group of hunters appear to be hunting the native beasts," Billingsley explained. "But it turns out that the native beasts are not beasts but peculiarly evolved shape shifters, who attempt to communicate to the captain the urgency of their plight to stop the slaughter."

'Detained' will help to flesh out the backstory of the mysterious Suliban. "We've got another Suliban episode coming up, but not the temporal Suliban," the actor said. "There are good Suliban in this episode."

Asked about season finale, Billingsley ruminated on a few potential plotlines. "Well you'll certainly think it'd have to do with the Suliban and the temporal war. Maybe the Klingons or the Andorian-Vulcan split - those are our three main stories at the moment. Maybe our funding will be cut on earth," he joked.

With filming set to wrap on April 10, Billingsley reflected on Phlox's development over the past season. When Enterprise began, the producers didn't provide him with any information on the character, or his race. "It's interesting when you have to do a backstory on a whole civilisation," the actor said. "It's intriguing that the thoughts I had initially on the nature of their civilisation I've already had to modify a bit."

Preparing for his audition, Billingsley sketched out the Denobulan's attitude. "The inference I drew when I read the first scene was that this was someone who is essentially unflappable," he recalled. "And from that I sort of jumped off and although it's not a specialty of mine, I have always been interested in eastern philosophy, I'll make an assumption that he is in his own way a bit of a Buddha. [...] From that philosophical jumping off point I decided that he was somebody who is a pretty joyful guy."

However, Doctor Phlox's bright outlook has led to a few problems. "The trap I've found is how to do you create drama and conflict when you're dealing with a character who's an optimist? I think that is potential pitfall." Billingsley added he's had a few ideas he plans to run by the producers concerning future storylines for Phlox. "I'm interested to see how he's developed. I don't think he's in the line of doctors who bang heads with people."

'Dear Doctor' established the seeds of a potential romance between Phlox and Elizabeth Cutler, played by Kellie Waymire. "I'll be curious to see how that develops. Kellie is a terrific actress - she's got a recurring role on Six Feet Under, so [I don't know] whether she's going to be available to continue in the role."

But if the romance with Cutler fails to Blossom, Billingsley has a plan B. "What I'd like to have is my three wives visit like in 'Mudd's Women' and they're all played by my wife Bonnie Friedericy."

The two-part audio interview with Billingsley, in which he also talked about his makeup, auditioning for 'Timeline' and his theatre work, runs Mondays and Wednesdays on Sci-Fi Talk.

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