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The Trek Nation - Flashback

Flashback

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:26 PM GMT

See Also: 'Flashback' Episode Guide

When Voyager approaches a strange blue nebula, Tuvok suddenly begins to act strangely. He has a vision of a child falling to her death because he could not save her, then worries that the ship is too close to Klingon space. The Doctor fits him with a neural transceiver, so when Tuvok next has an attack - in engineering, also while looking at an image of the nebula - the readings indicate that his mind is shutting down. As a last, desperate measure, Janeway enters into a mind meld with him to help him sort out his memories.

Tuvok and Janeway appear on the bridge of the Excelsior, with Captain Sulu in command. Janeway wants to know why they aren't seeing the girl on the cliff, but Tuvok is unsure. He recalls being an uncomfortable ensign who questioned the captain's orders when Sulu went to investigate the explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis and then raced to the Khitomer peace conference against Starfleet orders. During their investigation, a crewmember, Dimitri Valtane, dies in Tuvok's arms following an explosion. When Tuvok recalls that memory, he suddenly sees the little girl falling from the cliff, and breaks the link.

Janeway talks to Ensign Kim while the Doctor prepares to revive Tuvok, telling him that space must have seemed a whole lot bigger then, even though Kirk and Co. did unethical things like falsify log entries. When she returns to sickbay and the link, she relives more of Tuvok's memories on the Excelsior. But something goes wrong in the link, and Janeway becomes visible to Sulu and the crew. She and Tuvok steal Commander Rand's uniform so she can sneak onto the bridge, and she witnesses again the death of Valtane and the girl on the cliff, which seems somehow to hold the key.

Meanwhile, the Doctor becomes increasingly worried about the link and discovers that he cannot break it; if Tuvok suffers from a nervous collapse, Janeway will as well. He also realizes that what he had thought was a memory engram is in fact an alien virus disguised as a memory, and it moves from Tuvok's mind to the captain's. When this happens, Janeway suddenly sees herself on the cliff, and this time it is she who lets the girl fall to her death. The doctor purges the virus and both Janeway and Tuvok come out of the link, realizing that the memory was how the alien hid within the minds of its hosts. Janeway thanks Tuvok for letting her be part of history.

Analysis:

This episode in honor of Trek's 30th anniversary was a whole lot of fun. I've always been a Sulu fan, and he's gotten the short shrift in movies. So has Janice Rand, and it was nice to see her as a commander from where she started as a Kirk girl! This was also the finest Tuvok episode they've ever done, though it really made me wonder how he could have been so insensitive with those Maquis recruits when he had such a hard period of adjustment to Starfleet himself.

We also got to hear a little bit of how his friendship with Janeway developed - I cracked up when she lamented, "You never brought me tea." It surprised me that he spoke easily and casually about pon farr with T'Pel, but I guess in a mind meld, maybe the normal barriers are down. I was a little irked that she decided to risk her life in a meld, apparently without even consulting with her first officer to warn him - this after she ordered Tuvok not to perform any unauthorized melds. But hey, it made for a great story.

The episode did a terrific job interweaving shots from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, such as Sulu's teacup crashing to the floor and the energy wave as Praxis exploded. The continuity seemed to be very well done, though I am not enough of a trivia fiend that I could nitpick about the details on the Excelsior and whether they were up to spec. Janeway looked good in the old uniform...though the idea that Kate Mulgrew and Grace Lee Whitney could wear the same size is pretty amusing!

The only bad news is that this episode made me realize how much I miss the original series - even bad original series like STVI. Voyager ain't anywhere near up to snuff, and Janeway's scornful dismissal of Kirk's willingness to bend regulations in the name of Almighty Starfleet got on my nerves. Janeway could learn a lot about exploring the unknown from Kirk, though I'd hope she'd avoid his tendencies toward imperialism and green-skinned girls.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.