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Star Trek Ent - Season 2 - Episode 14

Star Trek Ent - 2x14 - Stigma

Originally Aired: 2003-2-5

Synopsis:
T'Pol's standing on Enterprise is threatened when it is learned that she has contracted a deadly disease. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.29

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# Votes: 17 9 3 9 2 1 10 9 6 6 5

Problems
- Only a small minority of Vulcans can perform mind melds? This can't be right...

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Archer and Trip meeting Phlox' second wife Feezal. She finishes the scene with one of those big Denobulan smiles.
- Phlox and T'Pol being questioned by the Vulcan doctors.
- Archer finding out about T'Pol's illness.
- Trip fighting off advances from Phlox' second wife.
- Archer approaching the Vulcan doctors demanding a hearing.
- Trip talking to Phlox about Feezal's advances.
- Dr. Yuris revealing how T'Pol contracted her disease to the other doctors.

My Review
This episode demonstrates more clearly than any other the vast differences in social structure on Vulcan compared to that of TOS and later. The two most shocking differences are the insinuation that mind melds can only be performed by certain Vulcans and not any Vulcan, and that the right wing Vulcans are practicing eugenics. I've said before that we've seen enough proof that the Vulcans are different than in the other shows. In a way, I found this episode redundant too. But it was also a nice idea, to show that T'Pol has incurred consequences due to the events of Ent: Fusion. This episode is also very clearly an AIDS allegory. Why find a cure when you can just let the infected die off? The disease is only transmitted by "undesirable" people anyway... Sound familiar? Despite my disagreements with the way Vulcans are being shown on Enterprise, this ended up being a nice episode. And at least the writers are being consistent with their portrayal of Vulcans. I just hope they finally get around showing us what changes them by TOS sometime soon. On a lighter note, the Denobulan subplot was much more successful. Phlox' second wife was just hilarious. I wonder how many times Trip (or Archer) has said the words "perfect gentlemen" on the show now? ;)

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Inga on 2015-04-02 at 8:02am:
    Well I, on the other hand, have some beef with the Denobulan subplot. I know it was played for humour, but Feezal's behaviour was appalling at times. She was simply harassing Trip. If it doesn't seem this way to you, reverse the roles - a Denobulan male getting himself all over Hoshi. I'm really tired of the notion that men always want sex with women, unless they are ugly or married...
  • From Dstyle on 2015-09-23 at 4:47pm:
    A very timely parable about the AIDS epidemic... if by "timely" you mean it is possible to somehow put this episode on a Trek timeship and send it back to the mid-1980s.

    Remember that episode of TNG where Riker falls for a member of an androgynous race who secretly identifies as female, and (spoiler) she is outed, persecuted, and forced into a mind-resequencing "rehabilitation" program? Well, that came out in the early 1990s, during the era of DOMA and Don't Ask Don't Tell, when it could be devastating to a person's career and livelihood to be outed as gay. If you read the comments about that episode on this site or any other Star Trek fan site, that episode had a very real impact on changing people's minds and hearts by making them reexamine their own taught prejudices toward gay people. It addressed and challenged the contemporary cultural climate in a way only science fiction can.

    That's what this episode perhaps could have been in the 1980s. In 2003? It just feels like a story that didn't really need to be told. It's a parable with no payout; a parallel with no punch.

    The "only this small percentage of Vulcans can do mind melds" thing is also really odd, and I'm pretty sure it can't be true. I assume that it's supposed to correlate to "only gays get AIDS," which is of course also untrue.

    A better B-plot might have saved the episode, but instead we're stuck with Trip fighting off Phlox's wife's inappropriate advances. No means no, lady!
  • From Zorak on 2016-10-01 at 10:35pm:
    I mostly agree with your review and especially with the assessment of Dstyle that this was an incredibly dated parable. Enterprise is just beating a dead horse. Further, I agree with you completely that the portrayal of Vulcans on Enterprise has been unfortunate. They seem to be using the Vulcans as a foil to play against the superior nature of humans, embodied by Archer the savior who is always right and can do no wrong.

    If one can set aside those annoyances though, this was another good episode. They didn't really start getting heavy handed until close to the end anyway, so it was enjoyable.

    Certainly the highlight was Phlox's wife. She was great. I only wish they would have portrayed Trip as a little wiser than he is. How is it not obvious to him that Phlox would view this differently then a human husband would? There's no excuse for him (or Reed) to have no clue that Phlox's culture has a different outlook on these things. It makes the situation less believable when Trip acts so oblivious.

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