Doctor's Orders

Episode Report Card
Keckler: B+ | Grade It Now!
Phlox's Runaway Imagination

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!

Enterprise floats in Hello Kitty's sweat. Phlox spouts some stuff he's reading about dogs to a bored Porthos, who is draped on a pillow on the floor. Phlox decides to take a walk, and Porthos jumps up to join him. Since the doctor's walking around barefoot, we get a semi-look at Phlox's long, dark, curly toenails. Billingsley carefully lays down his feet: heel, toe, heel, toe. Speaking into his hand-held thing, Phlox dictates a letter to his doctor friend. We learn that Dr. Lucas has left Denobula, returned to Earth, and lost come colleagues in the attack on Florida. In the kitchen, Phlox pulls out a jar of something. The jar is pasted with a label bearing Phlox's name, and under that: "DO NOT EAT." Still dictating, Phlox pulls out a jibbery (jiggly and rubbery, don't you know) black thing, and Porthos barks excitedly. Phlox doubts Porthos will like the oiled-up and cooked Chinese woodear mushroom, and tells him it's a leech that will clean out his intestines. Interestingly enough, woodears are supposedly good for that as well. Porthos begs on his hind legs. "Don't tell the Captain," Phlox says, and tosses the leech over. Porthos neatly catches it in his mouth and chews loudly. Phlox licks his fingers and treats himself to a leech as he prepares to tell Dr. Lucas why he suddenly has time to catch up on his correspondence.

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