Mark Watches ‘Enterprise’: S04E15 – Affliction

In the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of Enterprise, Tucker deals with ramifications; Phlox is kidnapped; Reed hides a secret at great cost. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Well, here’s to hoping that the next part of this is just as intriguing as this story, because damn. I had a lot of fun being completely bewildered by the plot in “Affliction,” which juggles three storylines that all feel like they’re barreling towards some awful convergence. LET’S TALK.


Well, they committed to it. I respect that! I kept waiting for something to happen or someone to swoop in and take Tucker’s transfer away, but nope. I’m thankful for that for a reason that has nothing to do with him: Captain Hernandez, the FIRST LATINX WOMAN CAPTAIN IN STAR TREK HISTORY!!! Granted, we don’t learn much about her in “Affliction,” but YOU BETTER BELIEVE I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT HER. Also, wasn’t she the mom on The Brothers García??? I AM LIVING FOR THIS.

Anyway, I get that Tucker was upset and in denial about his request for transfer to the Columbia. Nothing made that more obvious than when he snapped at T’Pol for asking if he was leaving because of her. YES. YES, IT’S BECAUSE OF T’POL, BUT HE’S TAKING OUT ON HER BECAUSE HE CAN’T BE MATURE ABOUT IT. I do empathize with him to an extent because this was so awful for him to experience. And the decision to leave Enterprise wasn’t even met with much fanfare. We never see his going away party. Instead, all that we get is his absence. He’s just not on the Enterprise anymore, and it shows.

His transition isn’t pretty, either. Look, he had a rapport with his engineering team before, and it’s always difficult to develop a new one with a new team. It doesn’t help that Tucker is immediately thrust into a high-stress situation with the launch of the Columbia. I have no idea what mission they’ll be on, but I’m guessing it will intersect with the other big plot.


I don’t really think the writers thought through the whole “kidnapping Phlox” thing because… well, it makes no sense. Phlox even says so! Antaak tries to make up excuses about Klingon honor and duty, but like… they were willing to have Phlox work in secret to develop a cure for the virus that is decimating multiple Klingon colonies. Why couldn’t Antaak have secretly approached him so that they could avoid Starfleet coming after them? They also could have not MURDERED A BUNCH OF RIGELIANS. Like… what??? What the fuck, why was that necessary? 

So while I am perplexed as to the way this was written, this plot turns into something immensely fascinating: THE ACTUAL, CANON EXPLANATION FOR WHY THE ORIGINAL SERIES KLINGONS LOOK SO DIFFERENT. I vaguely remember Julian Bashir talking about this before??/ But oh my god, GENETICALLY ENHANCED KLINGONS. AUGMENTS. Holy shit??? I am still genuinely impressed with this as a way to connect Enterprise to future Trek series, but it’s also a fantastic vehicle for Phlox to get a complicated story. See, at first, he complies with Antaak, mostly out of a combination of curiosity and convenience. It’s not like he can go anywhere, you know?

Yet once Phlox puts together what he’s working on, he stands his ground. He refuses to help the Klingons perfect their Augments; he’ll only work on devising a cure for the virus.



Okay, this is Section 31, right? That one dude dresses like a spy, which is perhaps the only unintentionally hilarious thing in this whole episode. Like, he broadcasts that he is part of a shadowy organization as soon as he steps outside. Anyway, I swear I heard Reed make mention of “section,” and it’s the only explanation that fits. Why else would Reed risk both his career and his friendship with Archer like this??? What is so important that Section 31 would order Reed to lie and to hide that the Klingons are involved? How does this help? Did Section 31 allow Phlox to be kidnapped???


HOW THE FUCK ARE T’POL AND TUCKER SHARING DREAM SPACE? HOW? HOW WAS HOSHI ABLE TO? Because of the mind meld??? Maybe? What is going on?

The video for “Affliction” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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