Sunday, November 4, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Tuvok encounters an azure nebula which reminds him of THE Azure Nebula, which is a gaseous anomaly on the Federation/Klingon border.

This triggers a memory of an adventure Ensign Tuvok had when he was 29 years old. Eighty years ago, he was a junior officer under Commander Janice Rand and Captain Hikaru Sulu of the Excelsior. Remember them? Remember?

This triggers Tuvok's memory of losing his grip on some little girl who drops off a precipice.

Which is an excuse to revisit Star Trek The Undiscovered Country for Trek's 30th Anniversary and because it's so darn cool.

A t'lokan schism is a uniquely Vulcan reaction to a repressed memory that can result in an internally generated lobotomy. Good Lord, but Evolution is a capricious bitch, isn't it? What sort of beneficial result could come from evolving a brain like that?! Do Vulcans also have bile sacs that can spew arsenic into their own duodenums, killing them instantly so their corpses will taste nasty to possible predators?

The only cure for the schism is a mind meld with a trusted family member to act as a "pyllora" or observer/guide. Janeway takes this role, tagging along in a form that only Tuvok can see and hear. Despite the parallels, she does not smoke a cigar and can thus not be mistaken for Al from Quantum Leap.

Impetuous Young Tuvok formally protested Sulu's loyalty to his friends above his loyalty to orders. The Excelsior's Captain is going to help Kirk and McCoy: "Let The Regulations Be Damned".

Sulu trades pleasantries with Kang (sporting a new forehead for the 2290's!). Then he disables the Klingon vessel by igniting some nearby sirillium gas. "Like tossing a match in a pool of gasoline."

If this isn't enough for the fans, Tuvok nerve pinches Rand and he and Janeway steal her clothes (!) Say, this is already turning into 'slash' fiction!

Precipice Girl is a dead herring: a parasite masquerading as a memory. Tuvok caught it from his bunkmate Dmitri Valtane when the guy died in battle. It's been dormant for eight decades because Tuvok has NEVER seen a blue nebula again in his thirty plus years of space travel or in Vulcan's Big Book of Space.

By watching Tuvok's life, Janeway learns that young Tuvok resented his Starfleet career and the humans his parents made him hang out with. After becoming a parent himself he realized how satisfying travel far, far away from his own squalling brats could be. Kidding.

"Isn't this more fun than charting gaseous anomalies?" asks Valtane. If you mean the episode, Dmitri, my answer might surprise you.

I used to be really over the moon of Praxis about "Flashback", now it just seems O.K. I'm not entirely certain WHY it is wearing out its welcome with me, but rest assured it's NOT because of Captain Sulu. I love that guy. I gotta say I love the look of those movie uniforms and sets, too. It's really a marvellous recreation. Wouldn't it have been a lot more fun to have the whole crew meet Sulu, though? Or a Captain Sulu SERIES? Sadly, this never happened on screen. As Tuvok puts it: "Perhaps you can be nostalgic for both of us."

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