Mixed Prescription for 'Doctor's Orders'

By Michelle
February 22, 2004 - 8:20 PM

See Also: 'Doctor's Orders' Episode Guide

Reviews for last Wednesday night's Enterprise episode, "Doctor's Orders", were very mixed. Most reviewers praised John Billingsley's performance and Roxann Dawson's clever directing, but many cried foul at the script, protesting that it was much too reminiscent of Voyager's "One", in which Seven of Nine was the sole crewmember awake while the remainder were in comas in a dangerous region of space.

  • Lower Decks' Diesel Mickey Dolenz gave the episode a C, stating that he feared a rehash of "One" with the added horror of naked Phlox, but actually liked it better than the Voyager episode. Saying that it was refreshing to see Phlox "without the 'freak show' atmosphere created in the regrettable 'A Night in Sickbay'", he noted that it was obvious that T'Pol wasn't real -- "the fact that TíPol didnít eat at the meal she shared with Phlox was a dead giveaway...she never held an object or carried out any action." Dolenz added that the episode provided mild entertainment and "put another small piece into the puzzle regarding the season-long arc." The full review is at Lower Decks.

  • "I never had any doubt that John Billingsley would shine like Reed's best lip gloss in an ep all his own," wrote Keckler of Television Without Pity. Stating that it's really no surprise that the actor would deliver "a performance with as many layers as a piece of particularly well-executed puff pastry", she praised Jolene Blalock's performance as well as the humour. Keckler's full review explaining her grade of A- is here.

  • "First Impression: YAWN!" said Monkee, who gave the episode a rating of 8/10 but called it a disappointment for a sweeps month story. Admitting that she believed T'Pol was the real thing, she said she spent most of the episode thinking up rants about her irrational behaviour, but found that the story wasn't about much once she realized T'Pol was one of Phlox's delusions. "In my own defense, I think the average Enterprise viewer may be getting accustomed to seeing T'Pol behave irrationally!" she complained, though she felt this episode "contained some extremely clever and amusing moments." The full review is at Monkee's Place.

  • Michael Marek of The Great Link gave "Doctor's Orders" a rating of four out of five. At face value, he said, the episode might seem to be derivative, but "Chris Blackís script brings new life to the 'one person alone on the ship' formula", and the results are "suspenseful and entertaining." He also praised Dawson's directing and the humour, particularly the use of the 1950s Danny Kaye movie The Court Jester. To read more, see the full review at The Great Link.

  • TrekWeb's O. Deus also compared "Doctor's Orders" to "One", but he thought the Voyager episode excelled and gave Seven of Nine some meaningful character development, whereas he felt that Phlox did not benefit from this sort of storyline:
    Phlox is at heart an unflappable character. Odd as it might be, a scene of Phlox making his rounds with Porthos is somehow more interesting than one with Phlox stalking imaginary Xindi. "Doctor's Orders"'s plot would have made sense for T'Pol, incredibly derivative of VOYAGER as that may have been. But aside from training him to run parts of the ship it fails to do much in the way of developing Phlox.
    Despite praise for the directing and performances, Deus rated the episode only 7 overall in his full review at TrekWeb.

  • Gisele La Roche of Starfleetcom.net said she "didn't much like" the episode, giving it a C+ (the + for the performances, the C because it rehashed yet another Voyager episode). She praised the directing and laughed at the references to the original series, such as T'Pol's use of "fascinating" and Phlox's complaining that he's a doctor, not an engineer. The full review is at Starfleetcom.net.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.