Star Trek: Enterprise (2005): S04E15 – Affliction


Introduction

“Affliction” is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise.

The episode is the first of a two-part story, which concludes with “Divergence” (S04E16).

In Affliction, the crew investigate the kidnapping of Doctor Phlox (John Billingsley), and the ship is attacked by a new type of Klingon. Meanwhile, Phlox is taken to a Klingon colony to work on a cure for a plague whose effects include the disappearance of the Klingon’s cranial ridges.

The episode sought to answer the question of why Klingons looked different in Star Trek: The Original Series than in other series of the franchise. It also introduced Section 31, originally seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, to an earlier time in the Star Trek canon.

The episode featured a number of guest stars who had previous connections to the franchise, including James Avery who was in the running for the part of Worf in The Next Generation, John Schuck who played a Klingon Ambassador in two Star Trek films, and Eric Pierpoint who had appeared in several other episodes of Star Trek previously. Some of the standing sets were redressed to appear as the interior of the Columbia, and some scenes were filmed outside at the Paramount Studios lot in Los Angeles, California.

Outline

Enterprise returns to Earth in time for the launch of the second NX class starship, Columbia, and Commander Tucker prepares for his transfer. Meanwhile, Ensign Sato and Doctor Phlox are attacked in San Francisco, and Phlox is kidnapped. Captain Archer and Lieutenant Reed investigate the scene, and Reed is given a secret assignment by a secretive agent that he seems to know. Commander T’Pol, seeking information from Sato, conducts her first mind-meld, and the two realise that the attackers spoke Rigelian. They discover that a Rigelian freighter recently left orbit and head off in pursuit.

On Columbia, Tucker ruffles a few feathers of his new team, and Captain Hernandez asks the reasons behind his transfer. Later, T’Pol and Tucker have a shared vision despite being on different ships. Enterprise locates a destroyed Rigelian ship, and while investigating, they are suddenly attacked and boarded. MACO’s repel the attack and a captured alien is taken to Sickbay, where scanners show that despite his human appearance, he is in fact Klingon. Archer then discovers Reed’s complicity in evidence tampering and confines him to the brig. Archer also learns that the boarders sabotaged the ship, and he orders maximum speed in order to prevent the warp core from overloading. The ship increases speed to warp 5.2, the fastest it has ever been.

Phlox is taken to Qu’Vat, a Klingon colony where General K’Vagh and Doctor Antaak seek his help to cure a Klingon plague. To Phlox’s horror, K’Vagh kills an infected Klingon so that an autopsy can be performed. Phlox determines that the victim’s DNA has been supplemented with that of a genetically augmented human. Phlox also learns from Antaak that they experimented with augmented DNA after the events seen in “Borderland” (S04E04), but it self-mutated and escaped. Antaak and Phlox are told that they have five days to cure the outbreak before it is too late. Antaak suggests that the only course of action is to create stable augmented Klingons, but Phlox refuses to assist further.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Michael Grossman.
  • Writer(s): Manny Coto.
  • Release Date: 18 February 2005.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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