InnocenceBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:11 PM GMT
See Also: 'Innocence' Episode Guide
Tuvok's shuttle crashes on a planet where he finds three children, who claim they have been abandoned to be taken by a cave-dwelling monster called the Morag. While Janeway negotiates with the Drayans, the aliens who claim the planet - who are at first friendly and later extremely distressed to learn that someone has infiltrated their sacred place - Tuvok attempts to keep the children safe and calm while repairing his shuttle. He tells them stories, gives them hugs, and hunts for things that go bump in the night...which apparently comes and takes two of the children as they sleep.
While Tuvok tries to flee the planet with the one remaining child, Janeway evades the native forces and takes a shuttle down herself to the planet. There they are met by the Drayan leaders, who explain that the "children" are in fact very old people at the end of long lives; their species ages in reverse of our own. Janeway apologizes, and Tuvok accompanies the remaining "little girl," who says she reminds him of her grandson, to await the Morag.
Nobody on Voyager's writing staff seems to be able to come up with anything worthwhile for Tuvok to do. This wasn't a terrible episode - Tim Russ gave a terrific performance, as did the children. It's not Russ's fault if Tuvok is being written not as a man without emotions, but as a neurotic who can't quite repress the ones he does have. And those mostly seem to be annoyance and condescension. Spock and even Sarek always had warmth and humor; why can't Tuvok?
The gimmick with the reverse aging has been used before, in the animated series episode "The Counter-Clock Incident." It was a little surprising but also felt like a cheap conclusion. Lisa Klink's a fairly new writer, and in general she seems to have a good handle on the characters, but I hope the plots get more interesting than this.
My favorite things were Janeway and Chakotay. I loved the story he told her about accidentally propositioning an alien dignitary, and the smiles, the winks, the eye contact, his concern when she declared that she was going on the away mission. Sometimes I wish Janeway were a stronger, more independent captain like Picard, but I enjoy watching her with Chakotay even more than I enjoyed watching Kirk and Spock. It's a working relationship and a courtship dance all in one, subtle and full of humor and warmth.
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.