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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 3 E 13 "Alter Ego"

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Now here's an odd Love Triangle - Harry, Tuvok, and a holodeck character. (Or is she??)
Voyager stops to investigate an inversion nebula and finds it can't get started again. Harry goes to Tuvok for help when he falls in love with Marayna, a holodeck character, only for Tuvok to start getting interested in her as well.

This episode has the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: What the crew originally think they're dealing with, given the past history of Holodeck Malfunctions in the Trekverse.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Marayna points out this quality in Tuvok. You gotta be pretty perceptive to impress a Vulcan.
    Marayna: You're the only one here not wearing a garland.
    Tuvok: Given the decor, it seems somehow excessive.
    Marayna: I don't believe you.
    Tuvok: I beg your pardon?
    Marayna: I think you're trying to isolate yourself and make a public protest at the same time.
    Tuvok: Explain.
    Marayna: You didn't want to be here in the first place. Being the only one without a lei sets you apart from the others, allowing you to symbolically maintain your solitude. And since everybody can see that you're the only one without a lei, you're letting them know that you'd rather be somewhere else.
    Tuvok (taken aback): Your logic is impeccable.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: As Tuvok beams back to Voyager, Marayna asks if he too will always be alone. Tuvok then seeks out Harry and apologises to him for taking his feelings for Marayna lightly, and the episode ends on him teaching Harry how to play kal-toh.
  • Birds of a Feather: Why Marayna thinks she and Tuvok are meant for each other, due to their self-enforced isolation.
  • Brick Joke: During the first scene with Marayna, she asks if Tuvok and Harry are friends, then if they're both coming to the luau; each question prompts a "Yes" from Harry and a simultaneous "No" from Tuvok. ("You've got to stop doing that!") At the end, when another female holocharacter offers to join the two at their table, they both simultaneously reply "No."
  • Butter Face: The real Marayna is an alien who is quite less attractive (by human standards) than her holodeck incarnation.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: The moment Marayna appears in a swimsuit, we realize why Harry has fallen for her.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Tom is cock-blocked by a Vulcan. In a Hawaiian shirt!
  • Catchphrase: "Vulcans do not (etc.)"
  • Continuity Nod: Chakotay mentions an incident in which a holodeck character took over the Enterprise-D, a reference to the Professor Moriarty program in the ST:TNG episodes "Elementary, Dear Data" and "Ship in a Bottle". Tom also tells Harry that falling for a holo-character is not that uncommon. We've seen it happen before.
  • Date My Avatar: The holodeck character Marayna is actually being remote-operated by a female alien in a cloaked ship, who hacks the computers of passing ships to amuse herself. The holodeck enables her to interact with a ship's crew a lot more than usual - and it proves to be a tremendous danger to the ship and everyone on it.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Played with. It's set up to be a Harry episode, and becomes more of a Tuvok episode.
  • Death Glare: After their argument on the holodeck, Tuvok glances at Harry on the bridge, and, uh... yeah, Harry's still angry.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The Polynesian holo-babe smiling while choking B'Elanna with a lei.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Internet dating.
  • Everyone Can See It: The k'oh-nar, the feeling of being completely exposed. B'elanna confirms this trope to an embarrassed Harry.
    B'Elanna: Forget about her.
    Harry: What did Tom say to you?
    B'Elanna: Not a single word! I saw the way you were looking at Marayna yesterday!
    Harry: Hi. My name's Harry Read-Me-Like-A-Book Kim.
  • Fanservice: It's a Polynesian resort. Bikinis and bare chests everywhere.
  • Fatal Attractor: Described as Tuvok's Fatal Attraction episode. Also the start of a Running Gag in which Harry falls for women who are either not interested in him, or are planning mischief.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Vorik's implied romantic interest in B'Elanna is confirmed in "Blood Fever".
    • Why Tuvok knows how to cope with the emotions of unrequited love is shown in "Gravity".
    • Marayna points out Tuvok being Alone in a Crowd as listed above. By the end, we see why Marayna knows a thing or two about being isolated.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Harry is furious when he sees Tuvok playing kal-toh with Marayna.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: The real Marayna is headed down this road - she's been alone in the nebula for so long that she's desperate for companionship, and when she develops a crush on Tuvok, she'll do anything - anything - to have him.
  • Hands-On Approach: Marayna invites Harry to feel her cramped leg muscle.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Tom Paris proudly shows off his 1962 Big Daddy-O Surf Special shirt. He replicates another in pineapple for Harry. Even Vorik wears one, which he has buttoned all the way up, as you might expect a Vulcan to do.
  • Hikikomori: Alien!Marayna works alone in a cloaked ship, keeping the inversion nebula stable for tourists. Staying there, she created an avatar that looks like a human to use on Voyager's holodeck. Her exile is self-imposed as she's never gotten along with others.
  • Indubitably Uninteresting Individual:
    • Kim tries to become this in order to suppress his emotions about Marayna. It doesn't work.
    • Tuvok manages to be one in the short time he's in the luau, wearing his uniform and rejecting a lei, in comparison to Vorik, another Vulcan, who seems to be enjoying the party. Marayna, however, finds Tuvok's personality refreshing.
  • Inertial Dampening: Janeway nearly goes flying over a bridge railing when the inertial dampeners go offline.
  • Interrupted Catchphrase: Chakotay tells Tuvok to stop being a stuffed Hawaiian shirt and mingle. Tuvok is about to say that "Vulcans do not mingle" when he catches sight of Marayna playing kal-toh and decides to mingle with her.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Due to being alone on a space station for a long time, Marayna has pined for companionship. She has interacted with other ships in the past, but Tuvok is the only one (so far) that has sparked romantic feelings in her.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Tuvok uses this to persuade Marayna to relent, saying if she truly had feelings for him, she wouldn't want to keep him against his will or harm his friends.
  • Just Following Orders: Tuvok's reason for turning up at the holodeck party. Janeway claims she was only making a suggestion, even though a 'suggestion' from The Captain is not something that Tuvok is going to ignore.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Or else she'll blow holes in the ship's hull.
  • Love at First Sight: What the Vulcans call shon-ha'lock, the Engulfment.
  • Love Triangle: Harry/Marayna/Tuvok and an implied Tom/B'Elanna/Vorik.
  • Meaningful Echo: Marayna uses the metaphor of a boat on a turbulent ocean to describe a Vulcan's mental control. T'Pol will use the same metaphor when teaching emotional control to Hoshi Sato in Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Mood Dissonance: B'Elanna is throttled by a lei held by a laughing holodeck babe.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The inversion nebula. A rare example of one that's being artificially maintained.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Apparently it was cold on set during the holodeck scenes, so all the women had to wait while extra lining was added to the bathing suit tops.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Harry somewhat misconstrues the situation when he finds Tuvok and Marayna playing kal-toh on the holodeck, but regardless, he is pissed.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Marayna's threat against the ship is really just a desperate attempt to keep Tuvok there.
    Marayna: I have done it before. Tapped into the computer of a passing alien vessel, examined all the little details of their lives. But I never expected to find something as diverting as your holodeck. I never expected to find you. You are like nothing else I've ever encountered. And I can't be without you. Stay here with me, and I will let your ship resume course.
  • Reset Button: "Security Chief's Log, Stardate 50471.3. The remaining damage to the ship was easily repaired..."
  • Rule of Symbolism: Tuvok studies a Polynesian mask when he goes to meet Marayna, having discovered she's an avatar.
  • Rule of Threes: Harry and Tuvok's responses to a question are a simultaneous "Yes"/"No", "No"/"Yes", and finally "No"/"No" at the end of the episode.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: Tuvok's marriage, in fact. Marayna certainly has a funny way of going about "seduction," but it's not like Tuvok ever considered Marayna more than a friend to begin with. If you watch their climactic encounter, Marayna gently reaches a hand up to Tuvok while he's talking, and as soon as he points out that he's Happily Married, her hand, and face, lowers, and she looks defeated.
  • Sherlock Scan: Marayna first gains Tuvok's interest when she deduces that he's wearing his uniform at the party as an unspoken protest at being ordered to attend.
  • Ship Tease: J/C arm in arm on the holodeck, and P/T vs. V/T.
  • Some Kind Of Forcefield: Used to stop Tuvok saving B'Elanna when she's attacked. He orders Tom to shoot the control panel instead.
  • Space Clouds: The inversion nebula.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Tuvok first realises something is wrong when Marayna appears in his quarters by using the Doctor's mobile emitter.
  • Take Me Instead: Tuvok invokes this in his confrontation with the real Marayna. She brushes it off immediately.
    Tuvok: If it is the only option, I would willingly sacrifice myself to save my crewmates.
    Marayna: No, that's not enough! You have to want to be with me!
  • Tragic Villain: On the milder end of the scale, but nonetheless, the real Marayna only does all this manipulation because she's been alone in the nebula for way too long. She's heartbroken that Tuvok can't be with her, and Tuvok is obviously sympathetic to her plight.
  • Variant Chess: Harry identifies the kal-toh puzzle Tuvok is playing as "Vulcan chess". Tuvok replies that "Kal-toh is to chess as chess is to Tic-Tac-Toe."
  • Wham Shot: Tuvok idly walking into his real-life, non-holographic quarters, and seeing Marayna waiting for him. That ain't right.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Tuvok deletes Marayna to demonstrate to Harry he has no romantic interest in her. Harry isn't impressed, as he's missing the point.
  • Yandere: Marayna threatens to ignite the plasma streams in the inversion nebula if she doesn't get Tuvok.