Because of some dangerous pink anomaly, pink nebula, or pink slippery-when-wet area of space, Phlox has to put the crew in comas and run the ship all by himself for four days. Phlox plays quietly by himself for a few hours. He watches my favorite Danny Kaye movie, takes care of Porthos, routinely checks on the crew, and feeds his pets in the buff. Eventually, though, he starts to get spooked. He sees things, hears things, and probably imagines much more. He confides in T'Pol -- who, for some reason wasn't put asleep, although she really was, and that's The Big Twist at the end -- and she tells him it's all in his head. When Phlox sees a Bug House and then nearly shoots Porthos, T'Pol advises him to check his brain out. Turns out, he's not all there, but it's not a lasting condition as long as they get out of the pink stuff rather soonish. Just when Phlox and his imaginary Vulcan think they're supposed to be out of the pink thing, it turns out that the pink thing expanded so much that to get out at impulse would take another ten weeks. So, even though Trip warned him against it, Phlox fires up the warp engine and gets them out of the puddle of My Little Pony vomit. With the crew woken up and back to work, Phlox orders his Imaginary Vulcan to bed only to find that she's already there -- tucked into her warm little coma. Oh, that was The Big Twist. Twisty and Big, wasn't it?
Good episode. Psychological episode, but still, good episode. I never had any doubt that John Billingsley would shine like Reed's best lip gloss in an ep all his own, and I am psyched he got a chance to get one in. Especially if the lamentable happens. I particularly loved how Phlox's humming or singing went from carelessly joyful to jangled to downright scared -- it's really no surprise to anyone that Billingsley delivered a performance with as many layers as a piece of particularly well-executed puff pastry, but it still bears mentioning. Additionally, Blalock, who has long been one of my favorites on this show (don't believe me? Read my past recaps, cretins!), also did splendidly in her chance to flex her non-Vulcanly muscles. Her expressions during the purging of the technobabble were just priceless. Blalock doesn't do enough interviews that show the talent above her neck, and I really wish she would because after seeing her performance tonight; I know there's something there. Finally, give those music guys five gold stars; they accomplished exactly what they set out to do in this episode: they scared me.
Let me just say here and now that I never thought T'Pol was anything but a fig of Phlox's imagination. No, it's not because I'm so perceptive that I noticed what she touched or didn't touch, ate or didn't eat, said or didn't say -- it was the promos. It's ALWAYS the promos that ruin this for me. Sigh. Still, I enjoyed this episode IN SPITE of the EVIL UPN.
Enterprise floats in pretty pink stuff. The common rooms and corridors are empty and silent. Until Porthos comes trotting along, paw-nails clicking on the floor. "Finally! The episode we've all been waiting for -- the episode when Porthos saves the day!" the Evil Dr. Mathra cheers. Phlox comes running after the beagle, calling his name fruitlessly. Porthos starts bounding when Phlox quickens his own pace, and doesn't listen even when Phlox finally hits on the magic word "heel." Instead, the pup scratches and barks at a closed door. Phlox acquiesces to the demands "just for a moment" and opens the door. Porthos jumps on a sleeping Quantum and licks his face. Porthos must not be his Prince Charming, because Quantum doesn't wake up with a rose clasped to his chest. Phlox takes the puppy away and tells him he can come back tomorrow. The camera pulls up, and we see Quantum lying prone on his bed. Even when he's in a coma, Quantum still can't manage to look relaxed.
Gonna wash that song right outta my hair!