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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 5 E 13 Gravity

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A Coming of Age story about a young Tuvok is this episode's Framing Device.
We get some backstory on Tuvok's rebellious youth in this episode, as a teenage Tuvok is forced to visit a Vulcan Master to regain control of his emotions.
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In the present day, a shuttle crash (a-gain) strands Tuvok, Tom Paris and the Doctor on a desert planet trapped in a sinkhole in subspace. They are aided by another crash survivor, a woman called Noss who falls in love with Tuvok. Meanwhile Voyager finds itself in a race against time to rescue them before the sinkhole closes forever.


This episode contains the following tropes:

  • The 47 Society: The time differential is 0.4744 seconds per minute.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Tom points out that it's not logical for Tuvok to remain faithful to a wife who is 50,000 light years away that he'll likely never see again. Tuvok is not amused.
  • A Day in the Limelight: A Tuvok episode.
  • Alien Lunch: The only meat on the planet consists of large spider-like creatures.
    PARIS: I don't know what's worse. Catching them or eating them.
    NOSS: No poison.
    PARIS: Well they may not be poisonous, but they give me the creeps.
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  • All Love Is Unrequited: Noss develops feelings for Tuvok who is Happily Married (or devoted in Vulcan terms) to his wife.
  • Beneath the Mask: The Vulcan Master admits that the power of emotions frightens him. To deny this would be illogical.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tuvok turns up in the nick of time to save either Noss or Tom on three occasions.
  • Call-Back
    • The multi-spatial probe from "Extreme Risk" is used to explore the sinkhole.
    • Tom Paris recalls his lengthy courtship of B'Elanna Torres.
    • Tuvok responds to the suggestion that he's secretly a big softy with, "There is no need to be insulting" as per Spock.
    • When young Tuvok is led to believe the girl he's smitten with has fallen for another Vulcan, Tuvok says he will challenge his rival, a reference to the kal-if-fee from TOS "Amok Time".
    • The Vulcan Master lists the emotions that an infatuated Tuvok is experiencing, just as Tuvok did for an infatuated Harry Kim in "Alter Ego". In fact this episode explains how Tuvok knew how to deal with feelings of unrequited love in the first place.
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  • Cannot Spit It Out: Tuvok is unwilling to admit his feelings for Noss. But at the end of the episode he forms a Mind Meld with her, whereupon she just smiles and says, "I understand."
  • Catchphrase
    • Noss borrows Tuvok's catchphrase of "Fascinating" at one point.
    • Averted when the Doctor is reactivated after Tuvok is injured. Doc can see what the nature of the medical emergency is and goes straight to work.
  • Commander Crash: Tuvok's mere presence on a shuttle causes yet another crash.
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins with Young!Tuvok beginning his studies with the Vulcan Master, and ends with him leaving having regained his control of emotions.
  • Flash Back: Tuvok keeps flashing back to his youth where he struggled with his emotions and Vulcan teachings.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Noss kisses Tuvok after he's injured in an ambush.
  • Former Teen Rebel: As a teenager, Tuvok fell in love with a Terrellian female at his school who rejected his advances. As a result he rebelled against the Vulcan philosophy of logic and emotional control, and was banished to the care of a Vulcan Master.
  • From Bad to Worse: The shuttle has fallen into a subspace sinkhole with no way of getting out. Thanks to the time-distortion, they're trapped for months on a desert planet before Voyager can even find them. An alien race is planning to close the sinkhole and won't wait for any rescue operation. Then Chakotay delivers the Wham Line.
    CHAKOTAY: Ready for the bad news?
    CHAKOTAY: The gravitational stress is increasing. Seven believes the sinkhole is on the verge of collapse. When it does, everything inside will be crushed.
  • Future Spandex: Noss' form-fitting black outfit really isn't suitable for a desert planet.
  • Getting Hot in Here: More tank-top fanservice, this time involving Tuvok.
  • The Hermit: Young Tuvok studied in isolation under a Vulcan Master until he could learn to suppress his emotions.
  • Holding Hands: Tuvok holds Noss' hand as she steps onto the transporter pad.
  • Ice-Cream Koan
    YOUNG TUVOK: If I was meant to deny feelings, why was I born with them? Where's the logic in that?
    VULCAN MASTER: Hidden for you to find. Or in plain sight for you to ignore.
    YOUNG TUVOK: You speak in riddles because the truth frightens you!
  • Infinite Supplies: Another shuttle down...
  • Interspecies Romance
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: The Doctor has to be shut down because they may need to use his mobile emitter as a power source. He retorts, "I'm a doctor, not a battery!"
  • Kiss Diss: When Noss tries to kiss Tuvok, he pushes her away.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Tom orders everyone out of the transporter room so Tuvok can say goodbye to Noss in private.
  • Love Confession: All the more meaningful for being completely non-verbal. Tuvok doesn't have to say the words, because he can share his thoughts and feelings via mind-meld.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: For Vulcans it does, which is why Tuvok doesn't want to surrender to his feelings.
    TUVOK: I lost all sense of who I was. The emotional attraction I felt became a kind of insanity.
    PARIS: Tuvok, everyone feels a little insane when they fall in love, but it's worth the risk.
    TUVOK: For you, perhaps. But I am Vulcan. My natural emotions are erratic, volatile. If I don't control them, they will control me.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The forcefield on Noss' crashed vessel still works, enabling her to hold off scavengers. Until the final act when they launch a determined assault using photonic charges.
  • The Matchmaker: Tom Paris, as lampshaded by Tuvok who does not appreciate his efforts.
  • Not So Stoic: The episode delves into the emotions beneath Tuvok's calm Vulcan exterior.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The rescue is made more difficult than it should be thanks to the efforts of Supervisor Yost to close the sinkhole. When he's ready six hours ahead of schedule, he goes ahead without waiting for Voyager.
  • Old Master
    VULCAN MASTER: You wish to be taught?
    YOUNG TUVOK: I would question everything you say.
    VULCAN MASTER: You would not be a worthy pupil otherwise.
  • Omniglot: The Doctor can speak to Noss in her language because the Universal Translator is part of his program.
  • Orbital Kiss: Although a kiss isn't involved, the camera does a half-circle around Tuvok and Noss as they Mind Meld, showing its romantic subtext.
  • Pardon My Klingon
    NOSS: Logic! I hate logic!
    TUVOK: Your emotions will only exacerbate the situation.
    NOSS: Shevrot kat!
    TUVOK: Insulting me will not help.
  • Race Against the Clock: Voyager only has a day to rescue their crewmembers before another alien race closes the sinkhole to prevent other ships being pulled in. By the time they're ready, the aliens have decided to go ahead of schedule, which gives them only 50 minutes. As they count down the last few seconds to transport, Tuvok has to race out and rescue Noss who's trying to repair the forcefield.
  • Rescue Romance: Tuvok meets Noss when he saves her from two attackers.
  • Reverse Polarity: Voyager escapes being pulled into the sinkhole by reversing the polarity of its shields.
  • Robinsonade
  • Scavenger World: The only supplies on the planet are brought in by other crash victims, so there's savage competition for resources. Noss is introduced when she steals Tom's medkit, and then Tuvok saves her from being robbed herself.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: After he first rescues her, Tuvok offers Noss a ration bar (no small gift on a planet where you have to hunt your food). They also bond while cooking up their latest catch of spiders.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: After being stranded for two months, Tom is disappointed that his girlfriend B'Elanna doesn't miss him more because for her, only two days have passed.
  • You No Take Candle: Noss speaks this way because the Universal Translator isn't working.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Averted. Tom attempts to persuade Tuvok in pursuing a relationship with Noss. He chooses not to because of his marriage.

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