In the thirteenth episode of the fifth season of Voyager, Tom, Tuvok, and the Doctor plunge into a gravity well and struggle to get rescued and survive. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
UGH, TEENAGE TUVOK WAS A REBEL AND FULL OF EMOTIONS AND HE ARGUED A LOT AND THIS WAS SO COOL TO WATCH. Y’all know that I don’t particularly care for romance and Star Trek to cross paths (except in cases where it can actually be developed beyond a single episode), so I bet you thought I wouldn’t like this one. YOU ARE WRONG, THIS IS GREAT. Why is that?
Yes, I already screamed about this, but I love flashbacks that provide vital context for characters we know well. (It’s one of the things that made me fall so deeply for LOST. When that show wasn’t a hot mess, it pulled this off spectacularly.) Here, we learn just how different Tuvok was when he was younger and how hard he had to work to control his emotions. I imagine Teenage!Tuvok as like… Punk Rock Tuvok. I bet he listened to underground Vulcan music that was angry and subversive. And he argued with all his parents and teachers. AND HE WAS TOO COOL TO CARE. Everything about this is the best thing, y’all.
Much of the emotional tension of “Gravity,” however, has little to do with the survival of everyone on a planet stuck in a gravity well. (More on the logistics of that later, as there’s one thing that really bothered me.) Instead, Noss, the woman that first steals from Tom and then develops a friendship with Tuvok, must deal with the fact that she will never have her feelings reciprocated. It’s a brutal predicament because it really is impossible. Throughout Voyager, Tuvok has remained loyal to his wife, believing that he will return home to her some day. This is so consistent that the very idea of Tuvok pursuing a romantic relationship of any sort was an anathema to me. It seemed so wrong to me! And yet, Tuvok’s kindness and dependability is most likely what caused Noss to fall for him. Even worse? “Gravity” shows us that TUVOK KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT NOSS FEELS. He is not as dispassionate as Tom claims he is; instead, the tragedy comes of the circumstance. In another life, in another world, this might have worked. There might have been a future between these two.
The possibility was all that existed. So that’s how I read the Vulcan mind-meld at the end of “Gravity”: Tuvok showed Noss that he did have a part of him that liked her back, but he would never reciprocate that feeling in any other way. That was compassion in its purest sense because Tuvok showed Noss that he understood her and cared how she felt. Thus, this is one of the few romances that makes sense as a single episode, and I admire that. AND IT HURTS.
Did those other aliens even know that they were going to kill everyone who was stuck in the gravity well? Why wouldn’t they let Voyager try to save their people, thereby providing them with the means of rescuing their people, too? This seemed like a GLARINGLY HUGE PROBLEM with the script; it existed solely to add tension to the survival plot. Just… those other aliens murdered a ton of people! And a bunch of giant tarantula-esque creatures, but I’m okay with that, SET THEM ALL ON FIRE.
The video for “Gravity” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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