10/24/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Similitude"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S03E10
Air Date: November 19, 2003
Written by: Manny Coto
Directed by: LeVar Burton

Premise
Archer decides the best way to save Trip's life is to make a second one of him. And female Trekkies everywhere rejoiced.

Review
This episode starts you off reeling. The crew is holding a funeral service and when you finally get a chance to look down into the coffin torpedo, who do you see? The face of Charles "Trip" Tucker III! What is this!? How can Trip be dead!? Well, of course, then the writers take you back in time to show you...

Trip was working on some engine modifications. That's how. That's all it was. He modified the engines, they got out of control and he knocked himself out trying to stabilize them. While he's in sick bay, Archer learns that he has gone into a comatose state. And here's the doozy: Phlox has a master plan to save him from his dying brain: harvest a new brain from a clone.

"WHAT'S THIS??" you may ask, "Where is Phlox going to find a fully-grown clone on such short notice?!" Well, apparently there's a creature for that. Along with Phlox's menagerie of strange and wonderful medical pets, he has a Lyssarrian desert larvae which can take the DNA info from Trip and make a complete clone that goes through an entire lifetime in eight days. So now Archer is faced with the moral decision of taking a sentient life in order to save a member of the crew. And the viewer is faced with the knowledge that the man they saw in the teaser wasn't actually Trip at all.
Oops. Did I ruin it for you?
Meanwhile, T'Pol lets Archer know that the particles in the field that they had stopped in was building up on the ship. And Trip is obviously the only one who can fix the engines and get them out before the particles overwhelm and crush the ship. So Archer is faced with making the decision to tell Phlox to make the clone.

It doesn't take long for the larvae to turn into a beautiful baby boy and Phlox makes an excellent father. Clone Trip, whom they're calling Sim, keeps him up at all hours during his infancy, and eventually starts reading and walking on his own. He's not just learning, he's gaining Trip's memories from back on Earth. When he grows old enough and gains enough memories, he starts helping the engineering team with engine repairs. Which is when he meets T'Pol and promptly starts hitting on her.
"Ya know, I can grow really fast."
What connects this episode with the rest of the season is that Sim admits to T'Pol that he really likes her. He says he's not sure if it's Trip's memories or if it's him individually, but he really wants to be with her. This gives T'Pol a great idea. No one's going to see Sim in a few days and he pretty much is trip, right? So, she could totally kiss him and live out her Trip fantasies and no one would ever know!
That scheming little green-blooded hobgoblin.
Archer had told Sim about the plan to use a part of him to save Trip, but the assumption was that Sim would survive the transplant. Well, now Phlox isn't so sure. In fact, he's confident that Sim would not live to see Trip walking. To make matters worse, Phlox reveals there's an enzyme that could allow Sim to live a normal human lifespan. So, he could either live and replace Trip, or he could die and save Trip. Either way, only one Floridian with a Texan accent with the propensity to strip down to his underwear can remain.

Brave little Simmie gives up. Ok, he's not little anymore. He's about the same "age" as Trip now. But with the knowledge that it's either him or Trip, he makes plans to escape on a shuttlepod. Makes plans, starts them, doesn't go through with them. In the end, he's too noble. Instead of escaping, he prepares to sacrifice himself to save Trip.

And in the very end, in case you hadn't figured it out already, they revisit the funeral and show that Trip is standing there watching as they hold a service for Sim. Trip is saved and ready to save the Enterprise and fix her engines so they can continue their mission to KILL ALL THE XINDI!

Overall Thoughts
This episode is so predictable that it could be five minutes long and wouldn't miss a thing. What would redeem it is if they spent less time on the clone story and more time on the Tri'Pol subplot. Stop making it all about a mystery that's solved as soon as it's presented and continue the story that everyone's actually interested in.