It’s Star Trek: Enterprise’s John Billingsley birthday, so let’s look at his turn as Dr. Phlox.
It’s John Billingsley’s birthday so we decided to take a look at Dr. Phlox and three of his best moments during his tenure on Star Trek: Enterprise. During Billingsley’s time on the show, he turned Phlox into one of the more unique and grounded characters. His portrayal of Phlox was far more nuanced than some of the previous doctors, with him at odds on occasion with his captain, Jonathan Archer.
There were of course the hilarity that ensued with his culture and how it bounced off the rest of the crew. Trip Tucker’s face, when Phlox is encouraging Trip to sleep with Phlox’s wife, was great, but only because of how bemused Phlox was when suggesting such a thing. Then of course there were the events of Dear Doctor, a controversial episode but one that still delivers that Star Trek magic.
The list below is just three of the best moments, as they’re many and we have only so much time in a given day.
Three of the best Dr. Phlox moments on Star Trek: Enterprise
Dr. Phlox and Captain Archer bond over Porthos’ recovery (A Night in Sick Bay)
A Night in Sick Bay is one of my personal episodes, and it’s partly because of the Phlox and Archer-odd ball pairing, and partly because Porthos gets so much screen time. It was an excellent episode of a man trying to understand his alien comrades and teach them about the bond that a man can have with a dog. Plus they went full slapstick when a bunch of bats got out and that was just the frosting on an already great episode.
Dr. Phlox handles the tribble population correctly (The Breach)
An underappreciated pairing in the show was Phlox and Hoshi Sato. The two were always a fun pairing but maybe no more interesting than when Phlox introduced Hoshi to the tribble. As long-time fans know, the tribbles are gerbils on steroids. They mate all the time and can quickly take over a ship in hours. Phlox explains them to Hoshi in mid-stride, telling her that the creatures are kept in check on their homeworld because of the reptiles that reside there. Hoshi seems intrigued and then Phlox throws the tribble into a cage to be eaten. Most of Phlox’s best moments are because of the reactions he gets people to have.
Dr. Phlox reminds T’Pol about her mission (Broken Bow Part 1)
One of the big early arcs on the show was T’Pol wrestling with her bias and prejudices towards the human crew, and how it makes her look to her Vulcan brothers and sisters. Something that Phlox himself has noticed. He reminds her of a Vulcan saying, “Infinite diversity, infinite combinations.” Having reminded T’Pol of this, he points out what the ship’s mission is to seek “infinite diversity”, and suggests that a cultural exchange between her crewmates and her Vulcan brethren would be a furthering of the ship’s mission.
It’s a quiet scene that did a lot to set up her character growth throughout the series.