Captain Sulu

Story: Flashback
Written By: Brannon Braga
Series: Star Trek: Voyager
Year: 1996

Tuvok seems to be suffering from some kind of problem with his mind; an apparent repressed memory is resurfacing. In order to correct the problem and avoid brain damage he must meld with Captain Janeway. This as a plot device is somewhat confusing and hard to understand if I’m being honest, but we’ll disregard that for the moment. He means to take her back to the place where the memory takes place, on some Cliffside where he loses grip to some girl. He takes her to the wrong place in the meld.
It takes them to the bridge of the Excelsior, under the command of one Captain Sulu. Hey everybody welcome to Voyager’s 30th Anniversary Show! The 30th Anniversary had three main events, the original series was given a fantastic tribute in “Trials and Tribble-ations”, the TNG crew was hitting the big screen for the second time with “Star Trek: First Contact”, and here on Voyager the original cast films (which do deserve their own tribute as they are pivotal in bringing Trek back to TV) were given a tribute with Sulu (who also happens to be the only TOS cast member not featured in the DS9 episode).

As an episode on its own, it is okay. It has Sulu and Rand, which is fun. Sulu more so than Rand for sure. But it has Takai in all his campy over the top glory. Essentially all of the major action of the episode is giving the Excelsior’s point of view of the events of Star Trek VI. We get very little going on, as the purpose of the episode is to fix Tuvok’s head (which as it turns out has some kind of memory parasite or something half-explained). It was nice to get a bit of Kang again, even if his appearance is too short.

It also gives us tons of backstory on Tuvok. We learn of his initial displeasure with Starfleet, his resigning, how his family began, and why he returned to Starlfeet (a decision I assume he regrets now that he is trapped in the Delta Quadrant with the most illogical crew in the fleet). I like the backstory, but the episode itself is not too hot.

“Trials and Tribble-ations” not only had a pretty solid plot and lots of great humor, but it also was a TRIBUTE in every sense of the word. It has the characters literally in awe of where they are…and the production team went above and beyond to recreate that look and feel of the original show. Here we get Sulu sort of playing backseat to Tuvok, and while that’s not really a bad thing…it sort of cheapens going there in the first place. You just don’t get the sense that the production team worked as hard to make a loving tribute here.

The writing also has issues, as several continuity errors are easily spotted if you just watched “The Undiscovered Country”. Praxis explodes and in this episode its only 4 days later when Kirk and McCoy are on trial…okay most of Star Trek VI takes place TWO MONTHS after Praxis. This error wouldn’t have changed the action of the episode at all, just change some dialogue from “2 days later” to “2 months later”. They also kill off a character that was CLEARLY seen in the final scene of the movie. It is little things like that, people not paying attention to the details that make you think that they just didn’t care or put quite as much love into their special episode as the DS9 crew (where it is clear that they painstakingly went through "Trouble with Tribbles" to make their episode work continuity wise).

NEXT TIME: Kim and Paris Imprisoned