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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 3 E 2 Flashback

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A nebula encountered by Voyager opens up a repressed memory in Tuvok, which is determined to be some kind of virus passed to him at some point in his past. Tuvok and Janeway undergo a mind-meld to try finding the point at which the virus took hold, and find themselves standing in the middle of the events seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
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This was Voyager's Milestone Celebration for the 30th Anniversary of Star Trek, along with Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations". Besides George Takei reprising his role as Hikaru Sulu, it also features Grace Lee Whitney reprising hers as Janice Rand, now a Commander on board the Excelsior.


This episode contains the following tropes:

  • Big "OMG!": George Takei hams it up for all its worth.
  • Big "NO!": As the girl falls, leading to a montage of "No!" at the end.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Bolians have cartilagenous tongues that allow them to withstand even Neelix's cooking.
  • The Cameo: George Takei and Grace Lee Whitney. Kang from TOS "Day of the Dove", and DS9 "Blood Oath", also makes an appearance.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: Though just for a moment.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Sulu and Rand — when Tuvok protests the rescue mission, Rand orders him relieved of duty, but Sulu instead gives him a calm lecture on how loyalty to one's friends can go beyond regulations.
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  • Dynamic Entry: Sulu emerging from the smoke on the bridge.
  • Expansion Pack Past: There is absolutely no hint that Tuvok had any long past career in Starfleet prior to this episode. The story has to jump through quite a few hoops to reconcile things like how somebody can have been part of the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country while still only being a Lieutenant 80 years later (turns out Tuvok resigned and later came back to Starfleet, and that he's simply older than he looks).
  • Excuse Plot: The episode has quite the insight on Tuvok's history, but let's be real here, you're here to see Sulu. Specifically, Sulu being a Four-Star Badass again in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: For once an explanation is given when Tuvok detects a ruptured plasma conduit behind the console. Dmitri, however, doesn't heed his warning and gets killed.
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  • Fake Memories: The memory of the little girl falling off a cliff is most likely that, since the Doctor comments that the virus posing as a memory engram has been transmitted so many times, it's difficult to tell what the original memory was.
  • Fan of the Past: For once, not Paris, but Janeway, who provides some very interesting Worldbuilding in one scene where she paints the crew of Star Trek: The Original Series like old folk heroes.
    Janeway: It was a very different time, Mr. Kim. Captain Sulu, Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy. They all belonged to a different breed of Starfleet officer. Imagine the era they lived in. The Alpha Quadrant still largely unexplored. Humanity on verge of war with Klingons. Romulans hiding behind every nebula. Even the technology we take for granted was still in its early stages. No plasma weapons, no multiphasic shields. Their ships were half as fast.
    Harry Kim: No replicators. No holodecks. You know, ever since I took Starfleet History at the Academy, I always wondered what it would be like to live in those days.
    Janeway: Space must have seemed a whole lot bigger back then. It's not surprising they had to bend the rules a little. They were a little slower to invoke the Prime Directive and a little quicker to pull their phasers. Of course, the whole bunch of them would be booted out of Starfleet today. But I have to admit, I would have loved to ride shotgun at least once with a group of officers like that.
  • Fan Vid: The keethera ritual becomes a Stupid Statement Dance Mix in this video.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Tuvok resented being forced into Starfleet by his own parents and resigned his commission. Becoming a parent himself changed his attitude, and he decided to give Starfleet another go.
  • Flashback Echo: The Negative Space Wedgie in the present reminds Tuvok of the Negative Space Wedgie in the past, triggering the repressed memory.
  • Flashback Within a Flashback / In Medias Res: Sort of. Tuvok's first flashback to the Excelsior occurs in the middle of their battle with the Klingons and Valtane's death, then flashes back further to show how the entire mess started.
  • Friendly Enemy: Kang and Sulu have this vibe.
  • Funny Background Event: Moments after Rand jokes that Tuvok was looking for a promotion by serving Captain Sulu tea, Sulu makes the same joke on the bridge. Rand has a huge smirk on her face during this conversation.
  • The Gadfly: Sulu and Rand pretend that Tuvok is after a promotion by preparing tea for the captain. Janeway feigns an indignant "You never made me tea!"
  • Good Old Ways: Janeway and Harry Kim express disapproval and envy over the Gunboat Diplomacy of Kirk's era.
  • Humans Are Superior: Lampshaded when Ensign Tuvok expresses his annoyance over the human superiority complex.
    Tuvok: Ever since I entered the Academy, I've had to endure the egocentric nature of humanity. You believe that everyone in the galaxy should be like you; that we should all share your sense of humour and your human values.
  • Infinite Supplies: Averted; Voyager first starts nosing around the nebula because sirillium can be converted to a power source.
  • Improvised Weapon: Excelsior ignites the sirillium to knock out the Klingon cruiser escorting it from the nebula.
  • Interquel: The lone crossover between the TOS cast and Voyager's.
  • Lethal Chef: Neelix finally makes a fruit juice drink that gets Tuvok's grudging approval, only to set his breakfast on fire due to an accidental power surge.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: The repressed memory.
  • Layman's Terms:
    Tuvok: If we modulated a positron beam to a subspace frequency, it would trigger a thermochemical reaction in the sirillium.
    Sulu: Like tossing a match into a pool of gasoline.
  • Loafing in Full Costume: Tuvok, Valtane, and several others from Gamma Shift sleep in their uniforms before the battle.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: With the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in the background.
  • Mood Whiplash: Janeway and Tuvok join in a mind meld in the serenity of Sickbay, only to find themselves on the bridge of a Starfleet vessel on Red Alert.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Captain Janeway does this to Commander Janice Rand in order to pose as a member of the Excelsior crew, with help from Tuvok giving Rand a Vulcan neck pinch.
  • Mythology Gag: Tuvok made the cup of tea that gets broken in the explosion of Praxis.
  • No Sense of Humor: Ensign Tuvok, having not yet mastered the art of Deadpan Snarkery. Lampshaded by his original captain:
    Sulu: Mister Tuvok, if you're going to remain on my ship, you're going to have to learn how to appreciate a joke. And don't tell me Vulcans don't have a sense of humour, because I know better.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Denied by Tuvok. He suggests that Janeway be nostalgic for both of them.
  • Oven Logic: Neelix says that injecting sirillium into his thermal array will "improve cooking time."
  • Pseudo Crisis: Tuvok's mind is breaking down along with the fourth wall; Sulu sees Janeway on his bridge and has them hauled off to the brig. Next scene, they've just moved back to an earlier part of Tuvok's memories so they can steal Rand's uniform.
  • Red Herring: The nebula has nothing to do with what's wrong with Tuvok, except for triggering his memory.
  • Rebuilt Set: From Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, of course.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Valtane dies, which is a major plot point. But in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Valtane is alive in a scene that takes place after these events. Oops. The novels later covered up the Continuity Snarl by revealing that Valtane was left clinically dead for long enough for the virus to pass to Tuvok, but was soon revived by the ship's medical crew.
    • In the movie, two months passed between the explosion of Praxis and the attempted rescue of Kirk and Bones, while in the episode it was only two days. However, this can be explained as part of Tuvok's damaged memories.
    • Based on the timing of Star Trek VI, it doesn't seem likely that there was time for Sulu's attempted rescue mission, given the scene where Sulu is awoken by a crewman with a message from Starfleet asking about the whereabouts of the Enterprise, and especially given the damage sustained in combat with Kang's vessel, which, for obvious reasons, went unmentioned in the film.
  • Space Clouds: Nebulas may all look alike, but they're not the same.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When Ensign Tuvok makes a cup of tea for the captain, Commander Rand asks if he's planning to make Lieutenant. Tuvok sternly denies an ulterior motive. When Captain Sulu samples the tea, he declares it outstanding and says, "I must give you a promotion."
  • Survival Mantra: The keethara ritual.
    Tuvok: Structure, logic, function, control. A structure cannot stand without a foundation. Logic is the foundation of function. Function is the essence of control. I am in control.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Lampshaded by Tuvok, when Rand is Mugged for Disguise; he points out that just asking for a female officer for her clothes might lead to misunderstanding.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: In a sense. Tuvok's time on Excelsior was not a happy time for him.
  • True Companions
    • In the absence of a family member, Tuvok chooses Janeway to undergo the Mind Meld with him, as he trusts her the most. Janeway was already eager to volunteer.
    • Sulu decides on Honor Before Reason when he disobeys Starfleet orders to rescue his old friends.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Sulu's Captain's Log has no mention of their battle with the Klingons or an unauthorised rescue mission.
  • You Can See Me?: As the mind meld breaks down, Captain Sulu suddenly demands to know who Janeway is, and calls Security to throw them in the brig. Janeway has to steal Rand's uniform so she'll fit in on the bridge.
  • You Never Did That for Me: Janeway says this of Tuvok when she sees his younger self serving tea to Captain Sulu.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Vulcan mental trauma leads to brain damage if untreated.

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