Star Trek Enterprise : Similitude

In season 3 of Star Trek Enterprise Captain Archer & the crew of the Enterprise are on a dangerous mission; a previously unknown alien race (or races as the Xindi are actually 5 distinct species) sends a probe to Earth and fires an energy blast at the western continents – killing 7 million humans and unknown number of animals & birds along with severe damage and destruction of cities and towns. Among the dead is Commander Trip’s sister. The Enterprise is called back to Starfleet and refitted as a warship, with more powerful weapons and a group of elite Military Assault Command Operations (MACOs) led by Major Hayes (Steven Culp). They travel through a region of space known as the Delphic Expanse to find the Xindi homeworld and prevent another attack against Earth. Along the way they must brave severe conditions that affect the ship and near death situations that cost more lives of the crew as the traverse mostly unknown space and unknown races.

In Similitude (S03E10) Trip Tucker is critically injured and left comatose in sickbay due to extensive neural damage. Dr. Phlox informs Captain Archer of proposes to use a Lyssarrian desert larvae to make a clone of Commander Tucker and harvest neural tissues from it. Because of highly sensitive ethical implications, Archer does not make a decision right away. However the ship is stuck in a field of particles, which are stick to the hull and the ship is unable to warp out of the field. The highly magnetic properties of the particles could become a problem if they are not able to clear the field in time. Archer agrees to allow the cloning procedure, sacrificing the ethical implications for the sake of the mission’s objective. Given the go ahead Phlox injects Trip’s dna into the larvae and lets the clone grow, which it does at an amazing fast rate. The clone grows from an infant to a child and eventually begins to ask questions about its existence. The captain tells him the truth. Since the clone, who they name Sim, has all of Trip’s natural engineering abilities, he soon begins to help out in the main engineering and helps out with repairs under Sub-Commander T’Pol’s supervision. He comes up with a solution to the particles problem. It is around this time that he confesses the feelings for T’Pol he has inside him, wondering if they’re his or Trip’s.

In a matter of 8 days he has grown to the age of what Trip is now and it is vital that Phlox harvests Sim’s neural tissues at the right stage of growth. However, after further tests, Phlox informs the captain that according to his predictions, Sim won’t survive the transplant. In a matter of days the clone had grown to a full grown man but what would only seem a couple of days for everyone else would seem half a lifetime for Sim. The doctor tells Archer about an enzyme he discovered about that could slow down the aging process, but after hearing an extensive report from T’Pol, Archer says that the odds are too thin and that he is not willing to jeopardize the mission. Although he understands that the sole purpose of his creation was to save Trip’s life, Sim wants to live out the rest of his days and also see if the doctor can extend his life by slowing down the rapid aging process in him. He states to the captain that since he is a clone of the chief engineer, he could very well do the duties expected of Trip equally as well as the Commander could. There is a debate on the ethical implications of making a being die to save another man’s life between Sim & Archer. Archer, although troubled by his decision, is willing to force the clone to undergo the procedure, as he says he needs Trip to carry out the mission and save humanity from being annihilated by the Xindi.

Sim seems to agree but then makes plans to escape in a shuttlepod. However at the last minute he aborts it. When the captain meets him in the launch bay, Sim says that what stopped him was the thought of his sister, insisting on the fact that she was his sister as well as Trip’s. He willing agrees to undergo the surgery and save Tucker. Just before the surgery, T’Pol comes to Sim’s quarters to say her goodbyes, giving him a kiss, something she had never done with Tucker. Sim returned the gesture, showing that he meant something to her, more than just being a clone to save Trip’s life. At the end of the episode the crew has a funeral ceremony for Sim, who didn’t survive the procedure. The crew, including a recovered Trip, pay their last respects as Sim is placed in a torpedo tube and fired out into space.

How does one make the decision to take the life of one being, even if it is a being or clone created for the sole purpose of saving another man’s life through harvesting body parts or neutral tissues, and even if it is done via a surgical procedure and not actual means of harming the being? Like Archer says in the episode, had they not being in the expanse, had the lives of the crew not been in danger what with them being stuck in the particle field, had they not been on an important  mission to save the rest of humanity – he might not make the decision to force Sim to undergo the fatal surgery. The Tet-a-tete between Sim & Archer is impressive and really make the episode. Sim making a case for his life and Archer making a case as to why he must do this even if it goes against everything he believes in. Another thing to watch is the interaction between Sim & Phlox. For all purposes, Phlox was a father to Sim as he raised the clone from infancy to adulthood, even if it only took 8 days. Just before the surgery Sim thanks him for being a good “father” and Phlox emotionally says, “you were a damn good son”!

Awesome episode.

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