Star Trek: Enterprise

Season 1 Episode 13

Dear Doctor

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Jan 23, 2002 on UPN
out of 10
User Rating
201 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The crew discovers a new planet with two races, one in desperate need of medical and scientific assistance. In the course of trying to help, Dr. Phlox recalls his own Denobulan past to address the ethical dilemmas that arise in the present.

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  • In which Archer grows up...

    Finally! Those watching the episodes in sequence know that so far Cap. Archer had the most annoying tendency to think himself like a God and his duty to solve all problems of the universe, without ever considering the consequences.

    Oh, I know you can say this is part of his characterization, since the Prime Directive doesn't exist yet, but for those of us who have seen Star Trek before and know the importance of the Prime Directive, it can seem very obtuse and distressing.

    Well, finally he learns the lesson, thanks to a great Phlox episode, which makes him quickly jump to my favourite character in the series. His example with the Neanderthals is precise: imagine that when the Homo Sapiens were driving the Neanderthals to extinction that some alien came and helped them survive. It might have saved hundreds of thousands (millions?) of lives them, but everything the human civilization would come to be would be lost.

    You can ask if it is worth it or not, but the point is: it is not your decision to make. You shouldn't interfere in complex situations without knowing all the facets of the problem (and you rarely do). It is worth noting that one of the coolest things about the Prime Directive (and Star Trek in general) is that it is not something about science fiction, it is something about human (or sentient) interaction, and it makes you think about things in our world too.

    Anyway, I give it a 9 mainly for Phlox teaching Archer what the Prime Directive is all about, and seeing Archer stumbling everywhere over complicated issues so far, that is quite a feat! But the rest of the episode was interesting too, I would give the rest a 7.moreless
  • Science FAIL

    This episode was talking about the evolution of another species, and whether to get involved with it by healing a dying race. So the religious choice would of course be to help them if you can. But they decide against it at the end because they don't think they should be involved in changing the species' evolution, the supposed enlightened scientific choice. The problem here is that WE ARE PART OF EVOLUTION! Science too would help these people because there is no moral reason not to! It's not like they believe in a God or the superstition of destiny.moreless
  • the prime directive/archer's choice is wrong and hypocritical.

    i love this episodes but the prime directive archer's choice is wrong & hypocritical.

    time and time again both earth and enterprise have been save by interference of other aliens in up coming episodes. in a pretext of noninterference it seems selfish, arrogant and evil of archer/starfleet to say no.

    i have no doubt that people who have family that are dieing of some genetic illnesses such as ALS or sickle cell anemia. will have problem with this show.moreless
  • Perfection - If only more was like this

    When watching this series its been painful to watch certain things be written again and differently, and while this episode doesn't fall under that category (no emotional Vulcans, nor odd-acting Klingons that have made me wish this was not a Star Trek show so i could actually enjoy it) it deals with one of the main Star Trek themes (The Prime Directive). While the Prime Directive doesn't yet exist yet in the story time line the plot rotates around interfering with a doomed species that dominates a currently lesser but evolving species or allowing the species die and allow the dominating species to evolve on their own without the oppression (very mild oppression, but oppression none the less) of the other.

    It also deals with the doctor's loyalty/duty verse his opinions toward the end.

    To anyone who has negative impressions of this episode due to its lack of battle I have but one thing to say, Star Trek has never been about action and battles... rather its about morals and exploration with conflicts added to ensure a diverse show.moreless
  • While the tone and moral dilemma of this episode is classic Trek, I did not care for the resolution. I think they made entirely the wrong decision. The idea that just because a species may not evolve any further that they should not be helped is absurd.moreless

    While the tone and moral dilemma of this episode is classic Star Trek, I did not care for the resolution. I think they made entirely the wrong decision. I understanc not giving weapons or other potentially dangerous technologies to other cultures, particularly pre-warp cultures. I also understand that the sick species were basically at an evolutionary end, and the other species were still developing. However, The idea that just because a species may not evolve any further means that they should not be granted the same help that starfleet would extend to anyone else is absurd. If this had been happening to the Vulcans, they certainly would have done things differently (granted, the Vulcans would no doubt have found the cure long before Starfleet).moreless
Dominic Keating

Dominic Keating

Lt. Malcolm Reed

John Billingsley

John Billingsley

Dr. Phlox

Jolene Blalock

Jolene Blalock


Connor Trinneer

Connor Trinneer

Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III

Linda Park

Linda Park

Ensign Hoshi Sato

Anthony Montgomery

Anthony Montgomery

Ensign Travis Mayweather

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions