MeldBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:07 PM GMT
See Also: 'Meld' Episode Guide
A crewman is murdered during a slow shift in Engineering and the most likely suspect is former Maquis crewmember Lon Suder. Chakotay recalls him as unpredictably violent, a Betazoid who couldn't seem to control his own emotions. When DNA evidence implicates Suder as the murderer, Janeway contemplates the alternatives and decides to turn the crewman's quarters into a permanent prison.
Tuvok tries to work with Suder on controlling his feelings of rage, entering into a meld to help Suder work through his impulses. But instead, Suder's unstable emotions cross over into Tuvok's mind, filling him with violent desires. He trashes his quarters, asks Janeway to relieve him of duty, and threatens both her and the Doctor when they try to devise a treatment. Ultimately they are successful in restoring his balance, but Janeway orders him not to initiate any more mindmelds without her permission. Suder meanwhile seems to be improving, and wants to keep working with Tuvok.
When Tuvok asks the Doctor why he never reported Suder's violent impulses and imbalanced chemical makeup, the Doctor replied that those traits were common to the Maquis. I guess this batch was made up not of ideological rebels, but misfits and cutthroats. And boy does that make Chakotay look like an idiot - so far, his crew has consisted of one Vulcan spy, one Cardassian spy, one violent Klingon engineer, one traitor sending messages to Seska, one guy who threatened Janeway in front of her crew, and one psychopathic murderer...did I miss any other real winners? Janeway might have been smarter to ditch all the Maquis with the Kazon!
Suder himself was interesting, and in some ways it's nice to know that not all social problems have been wiped out of the so-called enlightened races by the 24th century (figures they didn't make him human, though). I was really glad they didn't kill him off via some accident and get rid of this ongoing plot thread which they're now going to have to deal with: an incarcerated murderer on the ship for seventy years. It's too bad he didn't kill a character we already knew and had some feelings for, so the impact of the murder would have been greater; it's going to be awfully easy to forgive him for killing an abstract.
As for Tuvok...I hate to say this, but he strikes me as the dumbest Vulcan, and the dumbest security officer, I can imagine. He recites all the right things about logic and control over emotions, but he seems, well, illogical and unemotional, and his control over the ship's security is nonexistent. People can steal shuttles, sabotage key systems, send messages to the Kazon, and commit murder, all on his watch. It makes Janeway look bad. Hmm, maybe keeping Chakotay on board wasn't a bad idea; we could have ended up with Tuvok as first officer, otherwise. And Chakotay at least has the virtue of having a sense of humor.
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.