“Structure. Logic. Function. Control. The structure cannot stand without a foundation. Logic is the foundation of function. Function is the essence of control. I am in control. I am in control.”

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the franchise, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine produced episodes featuring characters from the Original Series. Voyager’s episode, “Flashback” places Tuvok on the bridge of Captain Sulu’s U.S.S. Excelsior during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. On Voyager, Tuvok suffers tremors and dizzy spells. In his mind, he sees a girl hanging from a cliff and his outstretched arm. The girl falls to her death.

Tuvok’s mental lapses worsen, and he cannot unravel the mystery of the girl. The Doctor recommends a mind meld between Tuvok and Janeway, his closest friend on the ship, in an effort to pierce through the veil of Tuvok’s memories. This is a strange juxtaposition of events; each with their own consequences, rather like Star Trek: The Next Generation’s second season finale, “Shade of Gray,” where flashback clips of previous episodes play in Riker’s head as he suffers from a deadly parasitic infection.

Tuvok, because of his telepathic and emotional vulnerability, is somehow operating in conjunction with a virus located in his memory engrams. The first time I read about engrams was in L. Ron Hubbard’s self-help treatise, Dianetics. “Engram” is defined as: a hypothetical permanent change in the brain accounting for the existence of memory. I don’t quite know how that connects with Tuvok’s predicament, or the little girl he keeps seeing plummet to her death. Ultimately, the girl is revealed to be an avatar for his crewmate, Dimitri (Jeremy Roberts, who was also in Star Trek VI).

The mystery deepens when they find themselves on the Excelsior, with officers Rand and Valtrane, as they are about to play out the destruction of the Klingon moon, Praxis, shown in the first scene in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Tuvok begins to understand his guilt over the impending death of Valtrane and the connection to the little girl he failed to save in his visions. The visions are revealed to be a virus in Tuvok’s memory engrams. It’s all very dry and scientific, and a bit of a flimsy pretext for a return, but it is fun to see Sulu and Rand again, in those heavy wool burgundy uniforms.

Janeway gets into the spirit after knocking out Rand to get her uniform and join the crew. “Flashback” premiered five years after Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and it seemed neither Takei, Whitney, or Roberts had aged visibly. Whitney and Roberts acquit themselves remarkably well, but I think something needs to be stated once and for all. Bear in mind, this criticism does not come from a place of hatred or as a reaction to recent events. George Takei is a terrible actor. Going as far back as The Twilight Zone, and an episode titled, “The Encounter,” and then moving forward with the Original Series and the movies and finally here at “Flashback,” Takei is revealed to have no technique.

He says everything in the same tone of voice. He has no expression in his face. He remains iconic as part of the driving force of one of the most popular franchises in history, and his performance in “The Naked Time” is that episode’s most memorable moment, but … he has no range. I know this is going to upset people, and I am sorry for that, but I just thought it should be known. One need only compare Takei to Tim Russ or Brent Spiner to see a performance conjured from a vacuum of emotion. Tim Russ did not appear in the movie, but he was in Generations playing a human member of the Enterprise-B crew. Tuvok admits he was pleased to live in the time of Kirk and Spock, and really isn’t that the point of this exercise?

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Pike, Kirk to Picard, and Sisko to Janeway— boldly read what no one has read before!

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