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Similitude
Star Trek: Enterprise, episode 62 (3.10)

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2006 13:30:03

         
Cast:
Scott Bakula   IMDB   Captain Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer   IMDB   Commander Charles Tucker III
Jolene Blalock   IMDB   Sub-Commander T'Pol
Dominic Keating   IMDB   Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery   IMDB   Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park   IMDB   Ensign Hoshi Sato
John Billingsley   IMDB   Chief Medical Officer Phlox
Guest Cast:
Shane Sweet   IMDB   Sim-Trip (Age 17)
Adam Taylor Gordon   IMDB   Sim-Trip (Age 8)
Maximillian Kesmodel   IMDB   Sim-Trip (Age 4)
Director:
Levar Burton   IMDB
Author:
Manny Coto   IMDB
Teaser

When Trip suffers a catastrophic injury, his only hope for survival is a transplant from a "mimetic simbiot" – a clone – which Phlox grows from one of his exotic creatures. But it's a very troubling solution.
Synopsis
During a test on the warp engine, Trip is seriously injured and falls into a coma. His heroic actions do save the ship from a breach, but Enterprise sustains damage and is left drifting in a dangerous polaric field. Phlox is concerned that Trip may not survive, and poses one potentially controversial alternative: using one of his creatures, a Lyssarrian Desert Larvae, Phlox could clone Trip with a simbiot, then use its neural tissue for a transplant. The simbiot would have Trip's genetic make-up, but it would grow old and die in a span of 15 days. Archer is uneasy about this plan, but he eventually decides that he has no choice: he must complete his mission and he needs Trip to do so.

Phlox acts as a surrogate father to the simbiot, dubbing him "Sim" and caring for him as the baby quickly matures to a boy, a teenager and an adult over just a few days. Despite having his own life, Sim retains all of Trip's memories. Eventually, Archer has to inform him of his true purpose. Sim seems to take it all in stride, though the strangeness of his situation begins to have an effect on him as he matures into adulthood. As he grows up, Sim finds himself becoming part of the Enterprise crew.

As Phlox and Sim wait for the proper time to perform the operation, Enterprise faces yet another crisis. The ship, still stuck in the polaric field, is covered in nucleonic particles. The particles are continuing to accumulate and are having a negative effect on Enterprise - if the ship remains adrift much longer, every system will soon be off-line. Archer and the others are stumped, but Sim offers a solution: use the two shuttlepods (with some engine modifications) to "tow" Enterprise out of the field.

Archer agrees to Sim's plan, and initiates it from the bridge, with Mayweather and Reed piloting the shuttlecrafts. Just as their systems overload and it seems as if the plan is a failure, the shuttlepods manage to coax Enterprise into moving - Sim's plan is a success. Sim, however, is having some personal difficulties. For one, he has begun to have romantic feelings for T'Pol, and can't figure out if they're his own feelings or Trip's. Also, Phlox has some grim news: Sim will not survive the transplant.

Sim, however, believes that he knows of an experimental enzyme that will enable him to live beyond his 15 day lifespan. Phlox counters that there's no proof that the enzyme works. Besides, if Sim lives, Trip won't. Upset that his life seems to mean so little, Sim attempts to steal a shuttlepod and escape. He decides against it at the last minute, though. He tells Archer that he's realized his purpose in life is to help Trip, thereby helping Enterprise and all of Earth. Before he goes in for the operation, T'Pol bids him farewell, telling him that his absence will affect her and even giving him a good-bye kiss.

After Phlox successfully performs the operation, Archer conducts a funeral service for Sim, noting that the entire crew is grateful for the contributions he made in his short lifetime.
Reviews

By yboywonder on 30 Sep 2008 19:29:25
This episode had a very powerful moral/ethical message. To tell you the truth I was surprised that in the end they didn't let Sim live. In fact I was expecting Sim to live and Trip die.

This is an interesting episode to touch on stem cell research and its moral implications. I thought this was very well written with the exception that the ending was too 'agreeable' and easy. I thought the ending was a little inconsistant with the usual ST messages in that they valued Trips life over Sims and...

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By drbart on 24 Nov 2003 07:25:28
[Spoilers]

While it suffered from the usual Star Trek need to wrap things up as the were before, I felt this episode got as close as any to touching on serious philosophical issues.

I was sorta hoping for an alternate ending, where 1) the alleged age slowdown procedure does work, and 2) they decide for ethical reasons to continue with Trip prime and let Trip die.

This would have made them spend a bit more time on the question of what self and consciousness mean. Of course they've...

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By Ex Deux on 20 Nov 2003 05:47:00
"Similitude" is an interesting episode with an interesting concept. LeVar Burton's direction is smooth but unremarkable, giving the characters room to breathe while Manny Coto's script works through the material without any of the clumsiness that might be expected from a new writer. Bringing back Archer's boyhood remote control spaceship from "Broken Bow" was a nice touch of continuity as was revisiting Dr. Phlox's issues with his son. Coto has clearly done his homework.

Like VOYAGER's...

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By The Trek Nation on 20 Nov 2003 05:47:00
I really wanted this episode to remind me of Voyager's "Drone" and all the great DS9 Jem'Hadar medical ethics episodes, but sadly, my reaction at the end of "Similitude" was nearly identical to my reaction at the end of "Tuvix", which was that captains who believe they are gods make the most loathsome characters on television and that the being murdered was far more than the sum of his parts. And I didn't have to feel this way, because it's not only a question of ethics but a question of plot...

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