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Keckler: B- | Grade It Now!
Melded Cheese on Melda Toast

Before the opening teaser, the screen goes to black, and the words -- not in the usual Enterprise font -- read: "In memory of the crew of the Columbia...you will always be an inspiration." That was very nice. Although I do think a lasting tribute -- and a way to make That Song palatable -- would be to intersperse images of the three fallen crews with the rest of the opening graphics. It would actually give this show meaning.

Sick Bay. Phlox gives T'Pol a prognosis on the level of her neurolitic enzymes, to which T'Pol -- coming out from behind a curtain -- responds, "The treatment's no longer effective?" Phlox reminds her that they knew the current treatment wouldn't be a lasting fix, and that "this conference" would be the ideal time to talk with knowledgeable Vulcan doctors about her condition. You know, a passing undertaker would have been deceived by T'Pol's looks and begun embalming her on site -- she looks that peaked. And I'm not just talking about the ears, either. T'Pol's rasps that it's too risky and that she would be removed from the ship. Phlox figures he can get info from them without giving her away. T'Pol again refers to the risk factor, but Phlox tells her they have no other choice. "Without further treatment you could very possibly die," Phlox ominousizes.

I actually welled up during the song, but I attribute it more to the images and their added meaning than to the words and the melody.

As Quantum plays with Lincoln Logs, we learn that Enterprise is orbiting the planet Dekendi III, where the Interspecies Medical Exchange is hosting a conference. Damn, I can't make it this year! Meanwhile, a bronze scarab beetle of a sh'pod docks to Enterprise. Quoth the Quantum, "We'll be picking up a neutron microscope [I'll bet my mother would like one of those, to add to her collection of eighty electron microscopes], but more importantly, we'll get a chance to meet one of Phlox's wives." I wonder if one of the Phlox's forefathers was Brignobulan Young. Walking along the corridors with Trip, Quantum asks Phlox how long it's been since he's seen his wife. Phlox says he hasn't seen "Feezal" in over four years. I'm willing to bet it's because she's spending too much time with Frank and Moon Unit. Trip wonders what the point is of having three wives if he doesn't get to see them (translation: "if he doesn't get to bed them"), but Phlox tells him Denobulans are chock-full of patience. The airlock slides back, and Phlox greets his wife: "Welcome, my beloved!" "My beloved!" Pheezil Phlox replies in turn. They lean forward to...sniff each other? "It's like Hunca Munca and Poppadum," Mathra comments. Except they're sniffing the wrong ends. Ew. Phlox and Pheezil murmur contentedly at one another, and Phlox introduces his "second wife" to Quantum and Trip. "I look forward to helping you install the microscope," Pheezil tells Trip. Trip nods and smiles. Quantum makes to give Mr. and Mrs. Phlox some alone time, but Phlox shrugs that off, saying that they've been separated for so long, another hour or day won't matter. Because the Denobulans are patient. "Great, so they'll all have to work with those two when they're horny!" Mathra observes. Quantum suggests they all have lunch while the microscope is being unloaded. As Phlox and Quantum start to walk off, Pheezil asks Trip if he won't be joining them. Trip tells her he'd rather go to baggage claim to make sure Samsonite gorillas aren't handling the microscope improperly. "Then I'll see you after lunch?" Pheezil suggests. "You bet," Trip tells her. Pheezil smiles that extra-wide, Grinch-like Denobulan smile and walks off with her husband and Quantum. Trip gapes like a turbot with lung trouble before walking away.

Judging by the CGI, the Interspecies Medical Exchange Conference is clearly being held in Sim City. Seriously -- I haven't seen graphics that bad since that library silkscreen in Shockwave II. It feels like there should be an accompanying voice-over: "And this is what the city will look like in the year 2582." In a suite of offices, three Vulcans walk and talk with Phlox about why he's poking his beezer into a Vulcan disease. Phlox lies that a Denobulan colleague has been studying Pa'nar Syndrome for some time because of its similarities to "thymic sclerosis" -- a non-fatal disease they haven't had much luck in treating. "I promised him, my colleague back home, that I'd inquire about any recent advances in its treatment," Phlox explains. A Vulcan doctor -- Michael Ensign, to be precise, who has been on Voyager, DS9, and TNG, as well as playing Ross's boss on Friends -- tells Phlox they're hesitant to discuss the syndrome. "This illness is unique to a subculture -- a small percentage of our population. Their behavior is neither tolerated nor sanctioned," Dr. Ensign tells him. Phlox understands, but presses his "friend's" case. After a few more questions from the Vulcan trio that Phlox successfully bluffs through, Dr. Ensign tells him they will have to discuss it amongst themselves and let him know. Phlox raises his eyebrows at this, but thanks them for their time. Dr. Ensign watches him narrowly as he leaves.

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