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Star Trek Ent - Season 3 - Episode 10

Star Trek Ent - 3x10 - Similitude

Originally Aired: 2003-11-19

When Trip suffers a catastrophic injury, his only hope for survival is a transplant from a "mimetic simbiot" which Phlox grows from one of his exotic creatures. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.18

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- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Enterprise Award".

Remarkable Scenes
- Phlox growing a Trip clone.
- Sim asking hard questions.
- Sim playing with Archer's model starship, breaking a nacelle just as Archer did in Ent: Broken Bow.
- Sim using the phase cannons to fire at Enterprise's hull so as to reveal the shuttle bay doors.
- Phlox revealing that Sim won't survive the transplant after all.
- Archer declaring that he'll kill Sim to save Trip.
- Sim, after T'Pol kissed him: "I couldn't have asked for a better going away present."
- Sim voluntarily giving his life to save Trip.

My Review
I usually hate episodes that reveal the ending in the teaser, such as Ent: Impulse, but this one uses that trick more skillfully. It wasn't Trip in the teaser, it was Sim. This is the first episode in a long while to really touch me. Far moreso than Ent: Twilight did. There are similarities to Voy: Tuvix in the plot, in which another new crewmember was "created" and had to be sacrificed to save others likewise. The difference here is that there was every intention to let Sim live out his normal lifespan in this episode. It was only discovered later that he would have to be sacrificed, whereas with Tuvix, we knew it would be necessary all along. One of the big reasons this episode worked better than Voy: Tuvix was the way in which the sacrifice was handled. Sim went through phases. First he did the Tuvix thing accusing Archer of being a murderer for not letting Phlox try to extend his life, then he tried to escape, then he finally though painfully saw Archer's point. Sim sacrificed himself more honorably than a thousand Klingons. Another thing I liked was that the story didn't trivialize itself by saying "hey, whatever, he was only gonna live a week anyway." I got the impression that Sim was on to something regarding the proposal to extend his life. If Phlox was right at the beginning, and Sim wouldn't have had to have been sacrificed to save Trip, I'm sure Archer and Phlox would have tried Sim's idea. Then they'd have two Trips! Pretty trippy episode, huh? ;) In the end, Ent: Similitude is a profound look at the ethics of cloning as a means to save lives.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Abigail on 2009-03-14 at 9:11pm:
    I had a really hard time getting over the ethical problems that I felt this episode had. I was not necessarily opposed to the idea of creating another being who only lives fifteen days in order to save Trip. I was opposed to forcing him to give his life to do so, which Archer clearly showed that he was going to do. ("Even if it means killing you!") I don't feel that Sim gave his life voluntarily. He noted that one reason he opted not to escape was "Where the hell would I go?" He shouldn't have had that lack of option. He should have been allowed to live out the rest of his life (albeit very short... or perhaps longer) on the ship.

    The idea that Trip had to be saved in order for the mission to succeed was a bit absurd to me, too. First of all, if Trip had just died, that means that all hope would be lost for their mission? That seems silly. And with another being with all of his memories and abilities on it, it's even sillier. If you watch the episode with commentary, the writer says about Sim's delimma, "Would you give your life to save billions? Most people would." Sorry, but I'm not convinced that Sim saved anyone except Trip by dying. I don't know why Archer and everyone else seemed to see the mission as a failure without Trip around.

    The commentary in itself is a little odd. The writer has a strange perspective, in my opinion, which is maybe why the episode itself sits so poorly with me. For instance, he says that to him, the episode is not about cloning; he was more interested in examining a being whose entire life span is seven days. It is about that, of course, but it seems much moreso about an ethical delimma. It seems like the writer didn't notice the delimma. To him, there was only one possible outcome. To me, that outcome is not acceptable.
  • From Pete on 2011-01-05 at 9:50pm:
    I agree with Abigail's commentary. I found most aspects of this episode to be morally offensive. In fact, it is fair to say that the episode disturbed me. All the morals were backwards. The eulogy at the end felt fake and creepy, given that Captain Archer had mere hours earlier told him to his face that he was prepared to kill him--essentially that Sim's life was objectively worth less than Tripp's. How can any person's life be worth more than another's?

    If Archer and Phlox were living on Earth NOW, they would certainly be tried and convicted of crimes against humanity for their actions in this episode. And this is supposed to be "the future"?
  • From Kyle on 2012-07-07 at 12:48pm:
    Great Episode! I think it's pretty clear how much Archer and Phlox were struggling with their decision. But as Archer said, it was all about the mission: "Desperate times call for desperate measures".
    As for the importance of Trip, sure, sometimes the role of someone can be exaggerated in movies or tv series. But in this case, Earth only had Enterprise, and Enterprise needed Trip (as Archer said). When Trip is on Columbia (season 4), it's clear how important he is. Or when Archer is ill (twilight), when things start to fall apart. It can be true in real life. Sometimes only a certain doctor can perform a certain surgery. The Bulls wouldn't have won anything without Michael Jordan.
  • From Zorak on 2016-10-09 at 7:02am:
    An even more moving episode then Twilight, indeed. Contrary to a few things I've read from other people, I feel Trip is the strongest and most likeable character on this show. Early on it was T'pol, but they've degraded her character too much and Trip overtook her a while back. That being said, I was definitely concerned to think they killed him off here.

    The actor that brings us Trip gave another compelling performance as Sim. I also really liked the actor who played Sim as a kid (the one flying the model starship). They did a fine job making Sim relatable and sympathetic.

    A fantastic episode.

    However, the thing that stands out for me most is the possible long term implications of Archers development. Archer is not a man with the highest of moral codes. He's a giant immature space baby who thinks every issue is black and white and his side is always righteous and pure. The show constantly rewards this behavior and lauds him as bringing justice to the galaxy.

    By now making Archer desperate and giving him an "anything for the mission" attitude, perhaps they are setting the stage to drop the ridiculous pretense that everything he does is morally justified. I don't even care about the actual morality of his actions anymore. That ship sailed long ago. I just want them to stop insulting our intelligence by trying to convince us that he is right.
  • From McCoy on 2017-07-24 at 5:53am:
    I know almost from the beginning that Archer is a hypocrite and moron, this opinion won't change:) Now I have another antihero in this series - Phlox - he's just future Mengele, amoral and purely evil. First denying to help whole species, because of cruel darwinistic babble, now this - creating a sapient being just for ripping of part of its brain. What next? Making a soap from aliens? He's disgusting...
    Jim! I'm a doctor not a murderer!
  • From Rick on 2019-03-05 at 7:21pm:
    I think the above commenters are underselling the importance of Trip and this mission.

    You really think that four days of a person's life is worth risking the death of 10+ billion people?

    Of course in a vacuum it is a morally and ethically wrong decision. As Archer said in an earlier episode, "I cant let my morality get in the way."

    He is right.
  • From Urdomen on 2022-04-21 at 6:02pm:
    Only a few episodes ago he self-righteously proclaimed: "I can't try to save humanity without holding on to what makes me human.", and now he openly supports a procedure that is forbidden by the very society it originated, and considers murdering a sentient being without regards for its wishes or inherent rights because he deems its life less important than that of another. A better Starfleet captain once asked, how many people it would take, admiral, to make it wrong. If only he had been there.
    A part of me wishes that Sim had refused to undergo the operation until the very end, and that Archer would then have to be forced to show his true colours. That then would have been the end of me watching the show at least.

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