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Stigma (episode)

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"Stigma"
ENT, Episode 2x14
Production number: 040
First aired: 5 February 2003
39th of 97 produced in ENT
39th of 97 released in ENT
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 97 released in ENT Remastered  
668th of 728 released in all
Tucker and Feezal
Written By
Rick Berman & Brannon Braga

Directed By
David Livingston
Unknown (2152)
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T'Pol's position on Enterprise is jeopardized when the Vulcans discover that she has contracted a mind-affecting disease.

SummaryEdit

T'Pol learns that she has contracted Pa'nar Syndrome, a deadly neurological disease, from her less-than-voluntary mind meld with Tolaris the previous year. Phlox believes he can manage her condition, but he needs more information. The Enterprise NX-01 arrives at a meeting of the Interspecies Medical Exchange on Dekendi III, where several Vulcan physicians named Oratt, Strom, and Yuris are present. However, Phlox must lie regarding his motivation for obtaining information on this disease; those who suffer from Pa'nar Syndrome are stigmatized in Vulcan society, because the method of transmission is a mind meld, which is considered a deviant act and taboo in mainstream Vulcan society.

Dekendi III

Dekendi III

One of Phlox's wives, Feezal, comes on board Enterprise to install a neutron microscope, and begins flirting heavily with Trip Tucker. Tucker is uneasy that a colleague's wife is making overt sexual innuendo toward him.

When the Vulcan physicians are skeptical of Phlox's interest in the disease, they arrange to meet with T'Pol and covertly gather some of her DNA, which shows she is infected with the disease. The physicians inform Captain Archer of T'Pol's condition and threaten to reveal her status to the High Command and have her recalled. They also rescind Phlox's invitation to the conference. Captain Archer is disappointed that Phlox and T'Pol hid information from him regarding her condition, but is more outraged that the Vulcans would destroy an officer's career due to a disease or how the officer expresses intimacy with others. The Vulcan physicians remain unaffected by Captain Archer's pleas for assistance and understanding.

However, Dr. Yuris, the youngest doctor in the Vulcan delegation, covertly contacts T'Pol and gives her the research that Phlox had requested. T'Pol asks why he is jeopardizing his career and he reveals that he himself is a mind-melder. He is not infected himself--he tells her only a very small minority of melders have the illness. T'Pol tells Yuris that she became infected during a violation, and the physician suggests T'Pol tell the others this, that they will sympathize with her if they believe she contracted the disease through no fault of her own. T'Pol decides not to reveal the specifics for moral reasons, not wanting to justify their prejudice.

Back on the ship, Trip continues trying to avoid Phlox's wife while she continues to pursue him. Trip asks Malcolm for advice, but Malcolm just suggests Trip try to avoid her. He warns Trip that Phlox has a real temper when he's angry.

Phlox reviews the research from Yuris, and tells T'Pol it's not a cure, but it will help his own research. Since he is more motivated than the Vulcan Medical Council in this case, he has hopes that he can find a treatment.

The Captain enters Sickbay and tells them both that the senior doctor in the Vulcan delegation is a ranking member of the Vulcan Medical Council, and he has decided to recall T'Pol and take her back to Vulcan with them. The High Command will be informed of the situation when they reach home. Archer urges T'Pol to tell them she was forced into the mind meld. She says it doesn't matter how she got the illness, she won't condone their prejudice.

Archer goes down to the planet and confronts Dr. Orat. Archer says T'Pol is entitled to a hearing under Vulcan protocols, and Orat agrees to hold one the next day.

In SickBay, Phlox is treating Mayweather for a sports injury when Trip comes in and asks to speak to him privately. Trip explains Mrs. Phlox has been expressing an attraction to him. Phlox is delighted, and Trip is very confused. Trip says he was brought up not to fool around with another man's wife, and Phlox says Ok, it's Trip's loss.

Archer tells T'Pol about the hearing. She is reluctant to participate, but Archer says this is her opportunity to defend the minority. She says she won't reveal the assault and he agrees to her conditions.

At the hearing, Archer says every Vulcan he's ever met told him humans were narrow minded and prejudiced, but the Vulcans are showing even more prejudice. He argues that an enlightened culture has to embrace diversity. T'Pol tells the doctors they are just afraid. Dr. Yuris then declares himself to be a member of the minority, and says he has to tell another truth: T'Pol was assaulted. T'Pol refuses to confirm this.

In Sickbay, the Phloxes examine the new microscope and talk as Trip stands by awkwardly, eventually leaving. The Phloxes laugh at human morals.

In Archer's ready room, he tells T'Pol that Yuris has been suspended and T'Pol says that was to be expected. Archer says one good thing did come out of this--the delegation believed Yuris that T'Pol was infected as the result of an assault. She will not be recalled. T'Pol asks for Archer's permission to contact the High Command and speak on Yuris' behalf. He agrees, and she says she hopes this incident will encourage others to speak out.

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Memorable QuotesEdit

"You can bet they're not coming up for coffee and donuts."

- Archer, on the Vulcans heading to Enterprise from Dekendi III


"This is a bitch."
"Excuse me?"
"Oh, not you. Uh, heh, the - the microscope."

- Tucker tries to operate the neutron microscope with Feezal's help


"The accusation against T'Pol stands. It's not open for debate."
"Where I come from everything's open for debate."
"And if I read these protocols correctly, so is the accusation you made against my science officer."
"You're wasting your time."
"It's mine to waste."

- Archer lecturing Orat on T'Pol's rights.


"Is it definitive?"
"Unmistakably. She's suffering from the syndrome."

- Yuris and Strom discover T'Pol has Pa'nar Syndrome


"I wanted to see both of you. It's been a while since I was embarrassed by a Vulcan dignitary."

- Archer, to Phlox and T'Pol


"We don't condone the intimate acts that these people engage in. They defy everything our society stands for."

- Strom, on Vulcans who practice mind melds


"Maybe I should tell the doc."
"Tell him what? That his wife is trying to seduce you? Not a good idea!"

- Tucker and Reed


"I wasn't exactly pulling your leg, was I, commander?"

- Feezal to Tucker


"Well, I've got to get back to my warp engine. The plasma's runnin' a little hot."
"I know how it feels."

- Tucker and Feezal


"Don't you find her attractive?"
"Uh, sure. I mean no, she's your wife!"
"What does that have to do with it?"
"...she's your wife!"

- Phlox and Tucker, discussing Feezal

Background InformationEdit

  • The episode's strong undertones regarding HIV and sexual orientation are not coincidental. This was Enterprise's contribution to Viacom's HIV awareness campaign of early 2003. [1]
  • Rick Berman commented, "They didn't actually say that they'd like us to come up with a story line. They invited us to a presentation that they had, which was quite impressive, that they asked all the producers on the lot to attend – which Brannon and I did. This episode depicts the Vulcan physicians as unwilling to supply research, medicine or preventative efforts in order to stop the spread of this disease simply because they don't condone the behavior of this Vulcan subset. Many in today's society believe that it is this kind of intolerance and ignorance that allows the HIV/AIDS epidemic to spread. In this case, the people are genetically capable of performing mind-melds. This is all something that would be different in the age of Kirk or Picard, but in our century there is definitely a stigma against people who go against normal mores and policies and attempt this very emotional and intimate act of mind-meld." [2]
  • Brannon Braga remarked, "We're not here to provide answers to questions. We're here to provoke thought about an issue. This episode stands on its own. Even if you don't draw the analogy, it's still an interesting episode, because it deals in general with prejudice. The metaphor will be clear to a lot of people." [3]
  • Some critics, such as John Ruch (of the Boston Herald) in an article archived here, felt that the episode was too vague in dealing with prejudice based on sexual orientation.
  • One of the two Dekendi written languages is either a reuse of the Vidiian written language, or is incredibly similar. The language can be seen on many banners, and the building's inner walls.
Vulcan PADD 2152

Vulcan Padd

  • The Dekendi ship that carried one of Phlox's wives was previously seen as a Ferengi vessel in "Acquisition".
  • The Vulcan PADD is a reuse of the Bajoran PADD, and the scanner is a modified modern-day computer scanner.
  • T'Pol's illness is not cured for another two seasons, in season 4's "Kir'Shara".
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Denobulans other than Phlox on the series.
  • In a 2011 interview, Brannon Braga commented that he thought this episode was "very strong." Concerning the way the episode depicts the taboo aspect of Vulcan mind melds, Braga stated, "To me, that's an interesting exploration of Star Trek and also tells us something about people who are ostracized." [4]

Links and referencesEdit

Main cast Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-star Edit

Uncredited co-starsEdit

ReferencesEdit

aperture ring; blackberry cobbler; Black Cat, The; Bogga; Chef; coffee; condenser lens; Coridan; Council of Physicians; Dekendi III; Denobula; Denobulan language; doughnut; exercise bike; fargan; Forlisa; Groznik; imaging filament; Interspecies Medical Exchange; Karloff, Boris; Kessil; Klaban; Lugosi, Bela; monkey in the middle; neurolytic enzyme; neutron; neutron microscope; nucleotide; Pa'nar Syndrome; pathologist; plomeek soup; protein; psychiatric analyst; quantum filter; quantum optics; reflectometer; rose; subculture; Teerza Prime; thymic sclerosis; Tolaris; Vahklas; Vesena; Vulcans; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan High Command; Vulcan mind meld; Vulcan database; Vulcan Science Directorate; Vulcan transport

External linkEdit


Previous episode:
"Dawn"
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 2
Next episode:
"Cease Fire"

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