Star Trek: Voyager


2.5 stars

Air date: 2/3/1999
Teleplay by Nick Sagan & Bryan Fuller
Story by Jimmy Diggs and Bryan Fuller & Nick Sagan
Directed by Terry Windell

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"There has to be something out there. Shuttles don't just vanish into thin air." — Janeway (and we won't even touch that one)

Nutshell: Pleasant enough, but not much in terms of lasting impact.

"Gravity" is a good example of fifth-season Voyager. It held my interest, it's handsomely produced, and it's a fairly enjoyable hour. It also stands alone in a vacuum, separate from everything else.

Now that we're at the halfway point of the season, I'm feeling the need to comment on the bigger picture. It's pretty simple: Voyager's season has been engaging, keeping me interested in the crew and the stories (so far, this season has proven to be Voyager's best). The writing is generally pretty sharp, and we've avoided the bottom-of-barrel installments that have at times made Voyager notorious. My next question is, what's next? Are we just going to float out here in random respectable plot-land forever, or is there somewhere the ship and series actually can go?

I wonder, if I were the producers of Voyager, if I'd even care at this point. They've apparently found a rhythm, and they're apparently comfortable with it. And their ratings, I'm guessing, are better than they have been in quite a while (although that's just a guess). The stories seem to be working more often than not. And unlike many past seasons, I don't feel Voyager is mediocre Trek; I feel that it's pretty entertaining, if derivative in numerous ways.

At the same time, I wish the writers would follow through—something they seem to feel is completely unnecessary. I wish they would take risks—something they also seem to think is unnecessary. I wish they wouldn't settle for the conventional solid story when they could push for the unconventional solid story instead.

"Gravity" is a good example of what I'm talking about. All things considered, it's a pretty respectable hour that uses its characters sensibly, but it's not particularly memorable, and it relies on the most fundamental of the fundamentals. One of those fundamentals is the Shuttle Crash Setup. Another is the Venture Into a Character's Past. Another is the Weird Spatial Anomaly. And another is the One-Hour Romantic Theme. That's quite a number of Trekkian standbys to find in one episode, but, lest you think standbys can't be executed well, "Gravity" manages to assemble the pieces into a whole that makes a surprising amount of sense—although it does have some rough spots.

The Shuttle Crash du jour involves Tuvok and Paris ("I told you we should've brought the Delta Flyer," Tom offers helpfully), who have been sucked into a "subspace sinkhole" where escape would be impossible even if their shuttle hadn't been totaled. Realizing they may be stranded awhile, or forever, they try to make the best of a long-term survival situation. Fortunately for them, they have Doc's portable emitter. Of course, if being stranded forever really were to be the outcome here, Voyager would find itself in dire straits the next time there were a medical emergency.

Not to worry: Even though Tuvok and Paris find themselves living two months on this planet, the cleverly scripted properties of the Weird Spatial Anomaly ensure that time passes more quickly inside this subspace sinkhole than outside, meaning that while two months have passed for Paris and Tuvok, only a day has passed for the Voyager crew members, who have launched a rescue plan involving precise use of the transporter.

The crew's rescue operation is complicated by the appearance of some aliens who are determined to seal off this sinkhole in order to prevent more ships from being lost into it. They're scheduled to begin tomorrow. Janeway would like just a little more time to prepare her rescue efforts. Will the aliens grant this request? Don't make me laugh. These are Uncooperative Aliens of the Week (not to be confused with the slightly more extreme Hard-Headed Aliens of the Week, who would probably open fire on Voyager rather than just cutting off a communication effort).

Meanwhile, on the planet, Tuvok and Paris are befriended by a woman named Noss (Lori Petty), who has been stranded there "for 14 seasons." Their initial meeting is a little bizarre, involving some unnecessary silliness with the universal translator. (The language barrier itself is a decent idea, but it's dismissed so early on that it becomes a non-issue.)

It's not long before the Romantic Theme appears, where Noss begins to fall for Tuvok. Of course, as a Vulcan, Tuvok cannot accept her love and pushes her away. This forms the basis for the Venture Into a Character's Past, as flashbacks of Tuvok's youth reveal a young Tuvok (Leroy D. Brazile) trying to rectify an emotional control problem with the help of a Vulcan master (Joseph Ruskin). Tuvok had been smitten by infatuation at a young age, see, bringing forth that schism between discipline and emotion that we suspect all Vulcans (and not just the half-human ones like Spock) have. This ties into the main plot, see, where Tom confronts Tuvok for not letting go of his discipline and his marriage back in the Alpha Quadrant, as being stuck on this planet forever may present little alternative.

But we must ask—how long will the Doctor last solely on his portable emitter? It must have one hell of a battery.

Okay, so I'm a little heavy on sarcasm here; it's meant more in jest than in disappointment. The way these routine elements come together isn't really bad at all. It's just that routine maneuvering sometimes leaves little to ponder afterward.

What works best here is the analysis of Tuvok as a Vulcan. It's plausible and true to his character, and it's nice to see Tuvok open up (with some prodding) his feelings to Tom. On the other hand, the topic of repressed romantic feelings in Vulcans is nothing new; we've seen it several times through Spock, in TOS episodes ranging from "The Naked Time" and "This Side of Paradise" to "All Our Yesterdays." "Gravity" provides pleasant reinforcement material for a Voyager audience. As a Tuvok episode, it's decent, but it also might've dared to challenge the our typical assumptions of Vulcans by asking if Tuvok's 50,000-light-year-distance from home might alter his perception just a bit.

Which brings us to the topic of Pon Farr: That seventh year is coming up pretty soon, no? (But I digress.)

One aspect of the episode that works is the chemistry between Tom and Tuvok. Tom's forceful attempts to prod Tuvok into a relationship with Noss might at times seem a little extreme, but so is the situation. Robert Duncan McNeill and Tim Russ work well together outside the normal ranks.

What doesn't work are some of the scenes involving Noss. The chemistry between her and Tuvok never entirely reaches a convincing stage, and it's difficult to understand how she comes to develop feelings for him. Also, some of Noss' gestures and speech patterns are a little, well, strange—and not in any way that the story seems to intend. Lori Petty's voice is not what I would call typical in the Hollywood arena, but the performance isn't consistent and at times I wasn't sure what to make of it. Scenes like the one where she explodes in rage ("I hate logic!") are jarring in their strangeness, and not jarring in a particularly effective way. Other scenes seem to come across more "normal."

What does work, fortunately, is the payoff. A scene in the transporter room where Tuvok and Noss part ways is pleasant because it brings Vulcan intimacy to the material in a way that is both plausible and quietly moving. When Noss says "I understand," we understand, too.

"Gravity" is an episode that doesn't demand high praise. Nor is there much to object to. It has its interesting moments as well as its derivative ones. I propose now that Voyager has found a good rhythm for this season—but that it needs to shake things up a bit to unleash something fresh.

Next week: Voyager gets ate, and must be saved by Seven.

Previous episode: Bride of Chaotica!
Next episode: Bliss

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

95 comments on this post

Sat, Jan 17, 2009, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
I would like to praise the physical portraying of Tuvok, for what it's worth. It may not make the episode better, but it was really Tuvok standing there, in the cave - not some Vulcan who you are told is named Tuvok.
In the very first shot of the intro (when looking over young Tuvok's shoulder, I immediately thought: "Hey, he looks like Tuvok. But wait, he's way younger. It'll just have to be Tuvok in his youth then..."
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
How about Paris' skeevy suggestion that Tuvok cheat on his wife, because she's "fifty-thousand light years away?"
Tom can't even be bothered to call Tuvok "sir," despite him being an Ensign and Tuvok a LCDR, which is contrary to good order and discipline. Then again, VOY never really cared much about things like a command structure, except when Janeway needs to put Seven in her place.
Ken Egervari
Sun, Nov 1, 2009, 11:53pm (UTC -6)
I don't think cheating has the same effect that it does on other species, or namely humans. Honestly, I don't think cheating even becomes an issue for vulcans EP. Tuvok didn't even mention that it would be cheating per sae - he just said it is not the pon far. If it was, I'm sure he'd be getting it on with her. It IS the logical thing to do after all. Tom was right.

My only real complaint with this episode was the alien girl's acting - she was terrible. I wonder what she did to get the role.

While they could have taken some more risks with the episode, and they could have avoided the whole alien idiots of the weak (why are they all knuckleheads for?), I thought it was alright. The ending was actually pretty good. It had a deep, understanding between the characters that translated well to the audience.
Sat, Mar 6, 2010, 10:40am (UTC -6)
I must agree with Jasper - I thought the boy looked very like Tuvok and was convincing as his younger version. Of course it was obvious that he must be a young Tuvok right from the start (apart from the looks, how many black Vulcans do you ever see?) but it was interesting to see *such* an emotional young Tuvok. I wasn't sure about the Vulcan Grand Master though - he didn't seem very Vulcan-like - almost emotional in his delivery! Perhaps the character is deliberately like that to engage with off-message young Vulcans like Tuvok. The real problem here, though, was that we didn't really see anything of the training that transformed him from emotional Tuvok at the start into calm Tuvok at the end. We should have found out a bit about how that transformation came about, but I didn't feel that the scenes we had were enormously enlightening.
Thu, Jul 1, 2010, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
Opening shot: Two members of one of the most enlightened races in the Star Trek universe in a medieval dungeon talking about honoring ancient beliefs. They could just as well have shown a scene from a 13th-century Franciscan monastery. (What's a very young Tuvok doing there, what's the context, what year is it... - let's not even attempt that.) Next, a chick straight out of a Mad Max movie witnesses a Voyager shuttle crash landing. Even before seeing him, you know Paris is involved because (1) he had already managed to crash more shuttles than could fit on ten Voyagers, and (2) the broad has some nice junk and who better to ravish her than the philandering Tom. I'm surprised hapless Harry "Can't Get a Lock - There's Some Sort Of Dampening Field Around It" Kim wasn't in the picture to dry-hump her.

O.K., cynicism aside, it's a marginally passable episode. The alien girl should've kept her veil on but you gotta hand it to her for learning English within a matter of hours. Why Paris is so insistent that Tuvok likes her (or SHOULD like her) is beyond me. He gets really PAINFULLY annoying in the later stages, when he berates Tuvok for his handling of the alien chick's infatuation. Had to FF that part. BTW, he (Paris) was convinced they were stuck on that planet for good, so why didn't he try to bumb uglies with the alien girl himself, rather than unremittingly trying to put Tuvok up to it? If it would've been O.K. for Tuvok (my favorite character in the series, BTW), then why not him?

WAY too much time was wasted on philosophizing, portraying inner conflicts, discussing feelings and all that B.S. at the expense of depicting conflict with the other stranded aliens, Voyager's rescue endeavors or Tuvok and Paris's attempts to survive and be salvaged. Does every other Star Trek installment really need to be about crewmembers' troubled relationship with their fathers, their search for their inner selves, their sad transient little romances, their trying to make sense of the divergent principles of common sense versus New Age hippie crap? I'll tune in to one of those cheesy South American soap operas for that!

P.S. I'm surprised Kim succeeded in teleporting the group at the end. He usually can't move a glass of water from one end of the dining table to the other, let alone transport anything. But I guess, with five minutes to go till the episode's end, another twist would've been too much, particularly when we needed those five minutes for Tuvok to resolve his vexing, intricate feelings. I was expecting to see him meditate with scented candles all over the place and, sure enough, it happened, but only for a few seconds. Let's hope at least a half hour is dedicated to that in one of the forthcoming episodes!

*sigh* What had been a very promising fifth series started going downhill fast in its second half.
Fri, Dec 10, 2010, 9:36am (UTC -6)
Shuttle crash - check
Plenty of quips from Ensign One-Liner - check
Hard Headed Aliens - check
Love story - check
Several lines pulled directly from Bones in TOS - check
Technobabble - check

Yep, it's an episode of Voyager all right.

I didn't really enjoy this episode much as I was distracted by all the clichés unfortunately. Add to that Tuvok's emotional control being visibly (subtly, but visibly) cracked in just 2 months with a fairly uninteresting Chick of the Week which I find to be a little insulting to his character, and I can't say I rated this episode particularly highly. It wasn't completely offensive, but grated a lot too.
Sat, Apr 16, 2011, 3:18am (UTC -6)
An emotional episode about an emotionless man (sort of)--now that's compelling. This is for Tuvok what "Counterpoint" was for Janeway. Season 5 is really the apex of this series for its greatest strength which was character. Do I give a damn about any of the surrounding jargon? Magical shuttlebays, stupid aliens, implausible anomalies, inconsistent technology...nope. Never have, never will. Do I care about a character I know enduring a superhuman level of pain, painted on a beautiful and convincing canvas. You bet. Do I learn something about myself. Sure do. Do I see like a faint brushstroke upon his countenance the change this experience paints for Tuvok. Hallelujah I do!

Season 5 followed by 6, 4, 7, 1, 3 and 2 creating a very interesting arc for Voyager's development which perfectly suites its length. TNG peaked right at the end of season 3 and pretty much faded out after that, with season 7 a little better than 6 (of course the journey from 1 to 3 was extremely hefty). DS9 "peaked" I suppose during season 5, followed by 2, 1, 4, 6, 3 and 7 making it incredibly uneven--with two humps which flittered out into its worst season amongst them all.
Thu, May 12, 2011, 4:29pm (UTC -6)
I would also like to point out, for the record, that this episode received the same score as DS9's "Q-less" which borders on unwatchable. Tell me there's no bias here.
Wed, Aug 3, 2011, 1:23pm (UTC -6)
It's nice to see Tuvok get a turn in the spotlight (I found he'd really been side-lined following Seven's arrival), but this was a really mediocre episode. The moment I saw yet ANOTHER shuttle crash I think part of me switched off. It's a tired old premise and this brings nothing new to the table. I didn't find the relationship between Tuvok and Noss at all involving and it wasn't helped by Lorri Petty's frankly dire performance.
Tue, Feb 21, 2012, 10:53pm (UTC -6)
Elliott - please start your own Star Trek review page. I find myself agreeing much more with your perspective on this series than Jammer's - and with most of the nit-picky comments below his DS9-does-everything-better critiques.
Mon, Apr 2, 2012, 12:52am (UTC -6)
Tom Paris is just getting increasingly unwatchable. I can't believe when I read people praising his character development. He's a child, always throwing tantrums. He was exhorting Tuvok to throw away his control and abandon his life on the FIRST NIGHT. Just like in Thirty Days he was crying for someone to stay and talk to him within the FIRST MINUTE. Torres is attracted to this PUNK? That's what he is, nothing but a PUNK and I wish something or someone would slam his face up against a wall every episode, every time he opened his mouth with a smart-ass comment, or yet another un-helpful remark, or when he's rolls his eyes or pouts. I was begging Tuvok to do this! My favorite character did not step up to the plate for me.
Since he did not snap and snap Tom's neck, I didn't expect the ending. I expected just another *awkward moment*. But when he mind-melded with her that was just beautiful - brought a tear to my eye.
Breaks my heart to have to rate what could have been a great Tuvok episode at a mere .5 stars because Tom Paris had to ruin every single scene he was in.
Thu, May 3, 2012, 8:16am (UTC -6)
I thought Lori Petty did a great job as Noss. The oddness of her voice helped her performance, I think. It made her seem more alien.
Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 10:26am (UTC -6)
Yes this episode is certainly better than "Q-Less" (and five times better than "Move Along Home", for that matter). But in all fairness, when you look at the 10-scale ratings, "Q-Less" got a 5.5/10 and "Gravity" got a 6.5/10, so Jammer seems to agree with us at least a litte.

I did like the temporal displacement idea, it seemed a plausible way to explore what happens to crewmembers who are stranded for months with no hope of resuce.
Fri, Jul 13, 2012, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Reading over the comments, it seems all the complaints with this episode (except the idiotic pleas for more boning and the uninformed dissatisfaction with Petty -- seriously, guys, this is Tank Girl!) could have been remedied by making this a two-parter. The extra time could be spent by having B'Elanna react to the fact that Tom is having to suffer for a longer period of time, to the worry that they might have given up on Voyager, and to demonstrating that the language problem was more of an issue than they have time for in this condensed episode. It would also give more time with Petty, whose mercurial style needs more space to breathe in. Here, she just seems inconsistent, due to the heavy-handed editing. And yes, I would like to see some of the things Tuvok had to do to overcome his emotions. It would also make Tom look like less of a jerk, because more time had gone by. The difference in time between the two scenes just doesn't come off in one episode.
Thu, Aug 2, 2012, 4:34am (UTC -6)
I really hate this episode. The whole 'love story' thing is repulsive. Just because you're stranded means you abandon your existing life within a few days? Just because she's female and you're male means you are required to get it on? WTF? Why is Tom hounding Tuvok over his buried feelings? Just because someone has feelings doesn't mean you act on them.

Maybe if they were stranded for many years a relationship could naturally develop as it becomes more unlikely that they'll be rescued. But this is all too rushed and comes across as cheating.

In another episode when Tuvok must work through his Pon Far with a hologram he states that the treatment was effective, "but no substitute for my wife." THAT was Tuvok, this is not. The love story/feelings nonsense shoehorned in ruins what would otherwise be an interesting episode.
Thu, Aug 2, 2012, 4:48am (UTC -6)
And one other thing, she loves him and he makes it clear that he's not interested. Sorry lady, that means you're out of luck. But she goes off about hating logic and all this like that crazy woman in that episode of TNG that kept yelling at Picard "LOVE ME! WHY WON'T YOU LOVE ME!" So Tuvok is supposed to love her too because she loves him? Huh? That's just creepy. A relationship has to be between two willing parties. Then, to make matters worse, Tom interrupts Tuvok's meditation yelling at him for not loving her back. Tuvok has the right to love, not love, act, or not act as he sees fit without Tom treating him like a child. The more I think about this episode, the more I hate it.
Thu, Aug 2, 2012, 9:58am (UTC -6)
@Curtis: I really hope your comments stem from being young and therefore inexperience with this kind of situation. Tuvok loves his wife in his Vulcan way perhaps, but he definitely has feelings for Noss and had no reason to believe he'd ever be rescued (repeat: ever). All his Vulcan gibbering to Paris about not reciprocating her feelings was a cover. That was the purpose of the flashbacks--to demonstrate just how susceptible to love Tuvok is. How is one to explain to someone that not acting on his emotions, strong as they are, are the only way he can survive psychologically? To do so would open up another portal of vulnerability, admitting fear. Tuvok's choice to meld with Noss in the end reveals the level of intimacy with which he finally regarded her, and was as much an act of love as a Vulcan can muster.
Fri, Aug 3, 2012, 4:35am (UTC -6)
@Elliott: Whether or not I'm 'experienced with this kind of situation' is irrelevant. Do I believe people fall in love or have difficulty with feelings? Of course. Do I believe Tuvok would suddenly have all these feelings for Noss in the episode? Not for one second. And sometimes, just because you have feelings for someone doesn't mean you have to act on them. We all know Vulcans have emotions so it's nothing new. I could see Tuvok respecting Noss and becoming unique and special friends but true love? No way. Even if it was love, Tuvok had the right to cover it in any way he saw fit, just like we do in real life all the time.
Fri, Aug 3, 2012, 10:51am (UTC -6)
@Curtis :

First, people absolutely do fall in love suddenly. Vulcans? Well, they're described as having feelings many times greater and more intense than humans, so I would be surprised if on some level they didn't fall in love suddenly--a lot.

Second, the feelings he developed grew over the course of months, not suddenly.

Third, you're right that the circumstances in which one finds himself dictate whether he should act on certain feelings. The situation in the episode is that Tuvok, Noss, Paris and Doc were going to spend the rest of their existence together. What would be the point of resisting, says Tom, with literally zero hope for a reunion with their previous lives?

Of course Tuvok had the right to act as he chose, but it's not about rights, it's about feelings. With no society, no order, no rules left, the only conclusions one could draw about Tuvok's behaviour do not justify it. It's only because we learn of the psychological danger to his Vulcan brain that allow us to empathise with him and understand his journey.
Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
Funny how half way across the universe aliens look exactly like humans and humans don't even notice the similarities...
Mon, Dec 3, 2012, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
@ milica...

Yeah, that is a Trek staple. Sometimes they throw in a forehead thing, bu sometimes not even that.

It was most obvious to me in TNG's "The Inner Light"...they were 100% human, which sucked a lot of poignancy out of it.
Mon, Dec 3, 2012, 3:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: foreheads

Tangent here, but Trek would've been immensely improved if the aliens had been cast with anyone other than SAG's whites actors. Even a foreign accent would've helped. In the case of, say, the Bajorans, constant reminders of foreignness (beyond wrinkled noses and religion) would've emphasized their different agenda. As it was, viewers had to stuggle to remember that Bajorans weren't straight-up Federation, like Trills with different makeup (ugh, Trill). Or Neelix: if he had been less vaudevillian huckster and more Tonto, his role as a local inhabitant of an unfamiliar corner of the galaxy would've been clear in every episode.

Give credit to TNG's "Code of Honor." They may have been grotesquely stereotypical, but at least they were more exotic than, say, those wusses in "The Hunted."
Mon, Dec 3, 2012, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
I'm sorry, but I will never give any credit to TNG's "Code of Honor."
Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
^ nor should you...
Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 7:20pm (UTC -6)
Oh hey Ticking Clock, Uncooperative Aliens, Romantic Hour, Shuttle Crash, Vulcan non-emotion, the power of Technobabble to save the day, all in this together, obviously must be saved because of Plot Armor main characters episode! We missed you!

It's like they just threw all the Trek cliches into one bucket and came out with this episode. Or more like all the Voyager cliches. All that's missing is some Fun with DNA! xD

I was genuinely shocked that Tuvok's love interest didn't die though, so I'll give it that. I like that he melded with her at the end, though. The most intimate thing a Vulcan can do with someone.
Dean Grr
Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, first, congrats on the new addition to your family! As a reader, wishing you all the best!


I think the intro to this review sums up Voyager nicely. I don't agree 100%: I like having standalone stories, and a noble crew, that doesn't get jaded by time and experience. DS9 is more true to life, while Voyager is closer to fairy tale or mythology, with idealized (or at least more static) characters. I get a lot of "real" life everyday, and found DS9 and it's successor of sorts, BSG, trying to drag it's characters (and audience) through hell just to see the reaction: DS9 in a much softer way, though (Quark? Rom?)!
There's quite a difference between the family life of Chief O'brien, for example, and the despair that Chief Tyrol goes through (although they both go through hell - O'brien, though, only once per season ;).


A thought about Tuvok (and what prompted this entry): I suspect Tuvok was underused partly because his relationship to Janeway was often an uncontested one: not the case for Kirk and Spock. Entire episodes were dedicated to the personal conflict between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Without that tension, Tuvok did not have as many stories to tell, or drama to be part of.
Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
@Dean Grr:

Here's the problem. If you want a show about the wonder of exploring space, set it in the Alpha Quadrant. That's what TOS and TNG were, and they were great.

But the fact that Voyager never seemed to run out of crewmembers, shuttles, torpedoes, etc., when it was the only Federation ship for tens of thousands of light years was just stupid. It made no sense AND it pissed away the whole premise of the show.

What's sad is that the first two seasons of Voyager sort of tried to use its unique premise. There's a line in an early episode about how Voyager only has 38 photon torpedoes, for instance. The second season was about the only attempt at a sustained storyline. But the Kazon were boring villains and the creators never really went all in ('Deadlock' is a great example of hesitant storytelling). After the second season, Voyager became an episodic exercise in frustration for much of the next five seasons.

Seven's introduction in the fourth season made Voyager a better episodic show than it had been. But only occasionally was Voyager ever great -- and usually, when it was, it happened in a single episode set outside of the main Voyager universe ('Timeless', 'Living Witness').

Enterprise, for all of its flaws, was at least more ambitious overall. Voyager, though, was just a waste of time.
Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
"...only occasionally was Voyager ever great -- and usually, when it was, it happened in a single episode set outside of the main Voyager universe ('Timeless', 'Living Witness')."

I'm not as eager to defend this series as, say, Elliott, but in fairness what Paul says about Voyager's great episodes applies to TNG as well, namely "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "The Inner Light." Even my personal favorite, "Cause & Effect," is only "real" in the last act. The same syndrome applies to DS9, for those who exalt "The Visitor" or "Far Beyond the Stars."
Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 9:17pm (UTC -6)
@Grumpy: Um, no.

Several of DS9's best episodes ("Call to Arms", "The Dogs of War", "The Jem Hadar", "Chimera") were decidedly part of the core story that didn't take place in a secondary reality.

TNG was more episodic and didn't have the serial concept that should have been part of Voyager. And even "The Best of Both Worlds" was definitely "real". So was "Measure of a Man", "Q Who" ... I could go on.
Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 10:30am (UTC -6)
@Grumpy & Paul:

Well, GEOS lists DS9's top ten as "Far Beyond the Stars, Duet, Children of Time, Trials and Tribble-ations, The Die is Cast, Hard Time, Improbable Cause, Necessary Evil, The Wire and A Call to Arms"

I would definitely add "Chimera" to the list. My point is of all those episodes, only "A Call to Arms" is dependent upon ongoing continuity, even if they're part of "reality" (a rather useless term in my book when dealing with fiction). Yes, continuity plays a rôle in most of them, but the success of the story doesn't live or die on that fact. They could (save "Call") all have easily been episodes of any of the other Trek series with only minor alterations. I would say the same is basically true of the best episodes of every other series as well. In TNG's case, many of the best episodes would not be so memorable if not for the extraordinary acting of Patrick Stewart, but we can assume they'd give those stories to Nimoy, René Aubourgenois, Andrew Robinson, Kate Mulgrew, Robert Picardo I guess.

This is probably the most concise argument I can make in Voyager's defense: given that, in all but the most rudimentary of ways, Voyager did not utilise the serial storytelling potential which was so heavily emphasised and part of its billing, its success depended almost exclusively on its ability to create interesting and affecting episodic television. Every season had its bumps and bruises, but each and every season has at least one episode which stands as one of the best the franchise ever produced (1. "Faces, Jetrel," 2. "Death Wish, Projections," 3. "Distrant Origin, Scorpion," 4. "Year of Hell, Living Witness," 5. "Timeless, Drone, Dark Frontier," 6. "Tinker, Tenor, Barge," 7. "Workforce, Author, Author." Without Voyager, we wouldn't have them. Many, many of DS9's "episodes" would hardly be worth the time if not for the fact that they amount to telling part of a larger story. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not as though this is a prerequisite of television, even with a "premise" (as it's mistakenly named) like Voyager's.
Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 3:01pm (UTC -6)

You've got to be joking.

"Every season had its bumps and bruises, but each and every season has at least one episode which stands as one of the best the franchise ever produced (1. "Faces, Jetrel," 2. "Death Wish, Projections," 3. "Distrant Origin, Scorpion," 4. "Year of Hell, Living Witness," 5. "Timeless, Drone, Dark Frontier," 6. "Tinker, Tenor, Barge," 7. "Workforce, Author, Author.")

If you really think Faces, Jetrel, Distant Origin, Year of Hell and Workforce come close to "The Visitor", "The Inner Light" "Best of Both Worlds", "City on the Edge of Forever", "Space Seed", etc. ... then I think you must be ridiculously drunk.

Some of the Voyager episodes you mentioned were genuinely great. "Timeless," "Living Witness" and "Author, Author" were Voyager at their best. But the others are mid-range fair, and "Year of Hell" is a perfect example of what Voyager could have been if the creators had any guts.
Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 6:30pm (UTC -6)
@Paul: I didn't say "Distant Origin is as good as the Inner Light". I listed 15 episodes of Voyager. It's fair to compare them to 15 episodes of TNG or any other series not all of them against the top 2 from that series. Voyager at its best is Trek at its best and its greats deserve the same accolades from fans as its parent and sister series.
Jo Jo Meastro
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
I found myself nodding with agreement all the way through reading the review. The subtle, sensible and quietly compelling character work for Tuvok was good but it's a bit too nonedescript to really take off (especially with such a standard conventional story). It's a respectable outing with merit (good performances, even-handed direction, exotic planet sets etc)...but rarely did it step up a gear to make it something truly emotional and striking. 2.5/4 is my verdict too.
Thu, Jun 20, 2013, 12:45am (UTC -6)
Within a few minutes of appearing on screen I became convinced that Lori Petty was attempting to channel Leeloo from the movie The Fifth Element (which came out a couple of years or so before this episode was produced) with her performance in this episode. Whether that choice was hers or was that of producers/director/other powers-that-be is an open question.
Sat, Jul 13, 2013, 2:56pm (UTC -6)
Sex and intimacy in the twenty-fourth century must be different from what they are today. When Riker was host to the Trill, he had sex with Beverly Crusher. When Sisko was in the mirror universe, he had sex with Mirror Jadzia. I don't see how these events could fail to change significantly Riker's working relationship with Crusher or Sisko's working relationship with Real Jadzia.

One small thing I liked about this episode was that instead of putting a wacky forehead on Lori Petty, they just put sparkly stuff on the sides of her face.
Mon, Jul 29, 2013, 1:28am (UTC -6)
I had to laugh at Tom's suggestion that Tuvok forget any hope of rescue, and his wife along with it, and build a new life with alien girl.

A new life, on a crapsack of a desolate world, with exactly two other people and intermittently a hologram, huddled in a crashed spaceship hiding from ten times as many enemies, praying that the force field never becomes non-operational, and with only some hideous looking giant spiders for food.

Sounds great, Tom.
Mon, Aug 5, 2013, 2:20pm (UTC -6)
I have been reading these comments since season 2 as i have been going through Voyager series. I think is is amazing that this website was up in 1995. and that Jammer made those reviews over 18 years ago. it seems that he let comments appear in 2008, or these comment sections would be huge. in any case, i think this is the FIRST episode recap where i saw Jammer respond in the comments section...of all episodes...hmm. my 2 cents. I always love time and space anomalies. it was used very well to make time pass. yes, I agree with BEEJ so much on his comment about "new life."
Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 6:50pm (UTC -6)
I typically enjoy Tom Paris. He's funny and sympathetically portrayed usually. That said, he was very obnoxious in this episode. If I had feelings for a guy but decided not to act on them, I would NOT appreciate someone (even a friend) literally SCREAMING at me that I HAD to act on those feelings or I'm being unfair to the guy. Relationships have to evolve naturally; if a person has to be harassed and scolded into participating in one, he/she isn't ready for it.
Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
This episode reminded me of TOS The Galileo Seven...minus any semblance of drama or immediacy. The TOS classic had Spock in his first command, threatening monsters attacking a crippled shuttle craft, a race against time to escape the surface and outrun the ticking clock, AND the moral dilemmas of command for Spock - including ramifications of sending fellow crew members to their deaths.

Sure, the TOS didn't have CGI, was stuck with primitive and even corny looking sets, even suffered from overwrought dialogue, but the STORY was solid and riveting from start to finish.

Lori Petty was cute however.
Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 5:11am (UTC -6)
I'll take Trek's too human aliens over Farscape's muppets any day.
Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 3:17am (UTC -6)
@Elliot I've been agreeing with your remarks almost every episode, especially (but not only) about some aspects of DS9. However, I can't help but find it funny to read you accusing Jammer of being biased. I mean, that Jammer was much gentler with some of DS9’s ludicrous problems while being quite picky with other shows, like Voyager, it seems quite clear at this point.

But that you do the same in the opposite direction, also seems quite evident. Your tolerance to some Voyager's recurring problems with plot device, bad character development, lazy writing, weak episodes, is no small deal. Your reading of this episode, for instance, was astonishing: "An emotional episode about an emotionless man (sort of)--now that's compelling”, “a character I know enduring a superhuman level of pain, painted on a beautiful and convincing canvas”, “do I see like a faint brushstroke upon his countenance the change this experience paints for Tuvok. Hallelujah I do". Besides the exaggeration of the general prolixity, well, hallelujah is a wise word. One has to have quite a lot of faith on Voyager to have seen all that deepness in this episode... But do not get me wrong. I am not bothered by your bias for Voyager or Jammer's for DS9. We are not robots evaluating the precision of a warp-engine. I find it to be quite normal, even welcome because I enjoy your remarks quite a lot. The only troublesome thing is to read your recurring charges against Jammer due to him doing precisely the same you do, only with reversed sign....

That said, I enjoyed the episode quite a bit. But it was not more than a bit above average for me; quite empty and quite shallow most of the time. For me, character development is not about just throwing at the screen some event that hits a dear character and then just letting us suppose that and how it will affect him/her deep inside from now on. It is about showing us, in some of the following episodes, how and to which extent, such happenings have affected him/her. That Voyager quite often does not do that in moments that when it certainly should, it is crystal clear already. Even though, that’s where I wholeheartedly agree with Elliot. Even if not often, when Voyager gives us that, it gives probably the best character developments in the whole Trek. Just thinking of the Doc and Seven would be enough to see that.
Thu, May 8, 2014, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
@Ric :

That is a very fair criticism. In my defence, I can only offer the fact that when I first began reading Jammer's reviews and their subsequent comments, I was rather emotionally dismayed (not to mention closer to adolescence). Voyager was unquestionably flawed and an episode like this one is not a showcase for great Trek, but nor is it the pedestrian fluff Jammer frames it to be. It's a solid show that works, is interesting, moving and does indeed bear consequences down the line (just not the kind of serial CONSEQUENCES many modern viewers demand). I'd probably rate it at 3 stars on the Jammer scale, which is just slightly higher than he appraises it, but is still the very difference between "okay" and "recommended."
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
As I've stated before, I give Voyage rquite a bit of leewya when comparing it to other series because it was the first one to be charged with carrying a network, rather than being syndicated. That left it far, far more at the mercy of absurd gimmicks, ridiculous promos, and various other meddling from network suits.
Mon, Nov 3, 2014, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
Not a bad episode, pretty good. But definitely not one of my favorite Tuvok episodes so far. My main problem is that I'm left with this question, "what did the flashbacks add to this episode?"

It was cool to see the convincing younger actor play the character, but I can't think of anything seeing the flashbacks added that Tuvok didn't sum up in his one liner about what happened to him.
Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 5:58am (UTC -6)
"...and does indeed bear consequences down the line (just not the kind of serial CONSEQUENCES many modern viewers demand)."

I would venture a guess that here "CONSEQUENCES" means something like "readily apparent developments in ongoing plot, character, etc. as a result of this episode OR story/character concepts and elements introduced or elaborated on in this episode are clearly followed up on/uses in future episodes".

While I will guess "consequences" (lower case) means "consequences that are only present in Elliot's imagination/delusions, which were possibly triggered by his emotional trauma at learning that at this website the author and the majority of the commentators saw Voyager as the all too often pedestrian show that it is."

I'm glad that word, "pedestrian" was mentioned because that was exactly the word I was looking for to describe the majority of Voyager's content. Yes, I agree that maybe on average less than five episodes a season are not and rise above the rest and are deserving of the Star Trek name (regarding the standards set by TNG and DS9), but even then the average TNG episode season 3 or later (and same for DS9) is just as enjoyable as most of these, with only a few each season (or only two) fits in with other "elite" Star Trek episodes. Sorry that to you a troubling amount of us feel more or less that way, but using laughably exagerated language (ie. using the phrase "beautifully painted canvas") regarding a mediocre (another useful buzzword for concisely describing Voyager on a broad level) Voyager episode is not going encourage people to take you seriously.

One last thing about your points made about TNG not being very serialized, either- I know, but where there was continuity in stories it was much more interesting and better done than in Voyager (Klingon- Romulan alliance, Cardassian plots starting in "Ensign Ro", Worf's Honor, etc), and TNG episodic shows still had an excellent overall standard of quality far above that of Voyager's writing AND acting (so no, not just Patrick Stewart's incredible acting making them stand out). I believe DS9 is more or less as superior to Voyager as TNG is, but I will just leave it at that since I am not in the mood to fan that particular fire of yours.
Thu, Mar 19, 2015, 3:08am (UTC -6)
Just thought I should add that when I wrote my above post I was in kinda a cranky mood, I have been doing a Voyager re watch using Jammer's ratings to guide me for what are worth watching and I've ran out of all the three and four star episodes but deciding to keep going and thus after a night of watching mediocre Voyager and then reading comments on the episodes (whose mediocrity were giving me a headache) where a vocal minority tries to defend them or pretend they can't understand/see the difference between some of these episodes and good TNG episodes they compare them to got me more irritated. It was in that mood I made my post, singling out Elliot. All arguments about the show aside I believe I should have toned down my rhetoric, as in reading it again it sounds a little too hostile/personal for a debate about a TV series. I apologize.
Mon, May 4, 2015, 8:02pm (UTC -6)
It was alright, I suppose. Felt like it was about damn time Tuvok got another episode. It's been a while. It even has a scene where he beats up two aliens. Not that the scene means anything. I just enjoy watching the clumsy way Star Trek usually handles hand to hand fights.
I rather liked Lori/Noss. Her voice and manner of speaking added to her alien nature. That's the beauty of getting to play an alien race you only see once. You can get away with bizarre behaviour as much as you want and they can just write it off as 'normal behaviour for that species'. A little bit more make up to help her look more alien and less human like would have been good too, but you can't have it all.
It's pretty forgettable in the grand scheme of things because the entire episode is selfcontained with absolutely zero chance that any of this will ever affect anything in future episodes, but for a selfcontained story, it was pretty decent.

Now if they'll do the same for Chakotay soon, I'll be happy. Dude's practically been part of the background scenery this whole season. He's basically little more then a nameless crewman/ensign at this point. Some attention to his character is sorely needed here.
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
Someone here commented on the actress playing the alien and how her voice helped. I'm
Sure that person finds her attractive and that's enough. Personally baby talking, squeaky voiced, idiotic sounding women kill any story for me. It's like that film the fifth element with the baby goo goo ga ga crap from the actress. To me it's a sign that very idiotic people wrote a stupid story. This episode was utterly intolerable due to the fact we are supposed to believe an intelligent and logical man would be attracted to a baby talking idiot woman
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 9:47pm (UTC -6)
Damn, Jammer, DS9 really tainted you. This was a standout episode, and I really enjoyed Tuvok's character development. And I'm getting tired of hearing you and others on here complain about "plot devices". So fucking what!!! If the central story that draws us into the characters is a good one, like this episode, then who gives a damn about how the writers get us there... 3.5 stars, easily!
Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 10:02pm (UTC -6)
lol Rosario! I was just about to comment on Tuvok not putting Paris's face thru those rocks when Tom was in his face about Noss being upset and I read your (3 year old) comment. It wouldn't be a fair fight tho when you think about it. Remember Vulcans have a lot more strength for their size than the average human. It's probably that security that allowed Tuvok to retain control knowing he COULD do that to Tommy boy. I'm sure his old man Owen Paris must have felt the same way from time to time about him when we was a little bugger. We know he was always a willful guy. Look at his life's history (or better yet check out his star trek wiki page).

I'm guessing this was all about showing how excellent Vulcans' emotional control is. And I must agree that he still showed incredible restraint. Considering how little he had when he was younger as we saw in the opening the writers probably had Tom put on a show to demonstrate how resilient Tuvok had become since then.

But the title still doesn't quite gel with that aspect of the story. If a fellow trekkie has a moment or two please enlighten me me on that one, because I just don't see the connection.
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
Maybe "Gravity" refers to the gravity Tuvok feels with respect to emotion? Paris may think it's no big deal for Tuvok to open up a bit and have a fling with an alien, but Tuvok understands that the emotion could overwhelm him. Hence, he feels the gravity of it. I don't know, I tend not to care about symbolism.

Anywho, I'm surprised at the people who are declaring this to be a fantastic, deep, wonderful episode. I mean, I know character pieces tend to be highly popular around here, but you still have to put some effort into them. You can't simply toss up an incredibly weak plot and a relatively by-the-numbers character piece and call it a masterpiece. If we're going to do that, why not just have the entire episode be Tuvok giving a personal log declaring how he feels about love?

I mean, yet another shuttle crash? A convenient meetup where the two must fall in love because... plot says so? Random obstinate aliens producing artificial timer on the whole plot? Last second danger? The character revealing that his personality is all based on a single significant event that happened in his childhood? The love leaving at the end of the episode? It's all happened before, oh so many times. Yes, I know, nothing new under the sun, or random spatial gravitational anomaly in this case. But try to disguise that fact just a whee bit, ok?

It's not that it's a bad episode, it's an okay representation for Tuvok, but just way too by-the-numbers for me to really praise.

As for what this means for Tuvok, well, I'm of a couple minds about it. I really liked the idea that Tuvok was more emotional than most Vulcans as a child. I think that fits his character well, especially given the darker side of his psyche we saw in Meld. I could see him keeping a bit of that with him, even as he was externally (and even internally) trained to suppress it. But the episode didn't really go that way, just giving a simple "he once had a crush, then got over it" explanation. Seemed a bit too, well, standard for me at first, and was disappointed. But then, the more I thought about it, I guess I can hammer it into my impression of Tuvok. His rebelliousness may have been about his crush, but he wanted all emotions. He wanted to reject Vulcan ways entirely. He wasn't trying to bargain, thinking he could love Jara while still being stoic in everything else. So in a way, it was deeper than just a crush.

And while he accepts Vulcan philosophy, that rebelliousness may still be there. One thing he learned from his ordeal was that the emotion of love, at least, was too powerful for him. Hence his absolute seriousness in repressing that aspect of his life. But perhaps he thinks he can explore, just a bit, some other emotions without losing control, can still let his little adolescent self out of his mind every once in a while. Not so that anyone would ever see it, of course, but in the privacy of his own mind, he can still explore some emotions. But love? That one he knows is just too powerful for him. He absolutely must keep that one bottled up. Even if it means his fellow castaway must suffer...
Diamond Dave
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
I can't help feeling that this would have worked better simply as a character piece. The Tuvok story is really well played - and young Tuvok in the flashbacks nails the mannerisms of the older character - and I thought Noss was given a slightly alien twist in the performance that worked well. It would have been a nice, simple story rooted in character.

But the artificiality of the technobabble element and the forced jeopardy of the conclusion forces the triviality of the episode to the surface at the expense of the main plot. That's a shame, and pulls what could have been a great episode back to the mid level. 2.5 stars.
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
@Dave - The ridiculous level of jeopardy was stupid, but the technobabble was needed I think. Thanks to the technobabble over 2 months pass on the surface. It adds a nice touch I think that they were able to do a love story that makes a bit of sense due to the passage of time without actually making sure VOY sits above a planet for 2 months trying to rescue Tom/Tuvok and failing badly for 2 months.
Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -6)
OK, how did this episode spark "my trek is better than your trek" crap?

I really enjoy Lori Petty. She's in one of my favorite movies of all time "A League of Their Own" and the reason I like her in that and this is that she IS different. I thought she played a fine alien here and due to the nature of this story she was a great choice for the part. They needed someone to be a little over the top emotionally to play against our beloved stoic unemotional Vulcan.

I will say Voyager, while at times deserves the daggers it receives, receives far to many. This is a wonderful little story and a great character piece for Tuvok.

I agree, that kid that played the young Tuvok nailed it. I love it when they are able to nail casting like that. I also love the casting with a young Trip in 'Similitude'. That really adds to the believability of the story.

Someone above asked about the title. I thought it had to do with the temporal differential that gravity causes here. (and in real life) As plausible as all the other trek sci-fi stuff. And as Robert says, it was a pretty smart story telling device too.

I loved the spider stuff :-)

I don't mind that Tom "got in Tuvok's face" concerning Noss. For all they knew they were stuck here. It fit's Tom personality to push Tuvok like that.

I thought Noss' affection for Tuvok was real and they way Tuvok dealt with her was very Vulcan and with the back-story this episode provided very fitting.

Very enjoyable each time I watch it. I tear up each time Noss is beamed off Voyager.

3.5 stars for me.
Sat, Jul 9, 2016, 6:41am (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode. I could have done with less flashbacks and a little more showing in how much of an emotional struggle the grown up tuvok really is, but well.

I think the tuvok, doctor, paris trio works very well together. I also really like Picardos performance, he really shows how much the doctor has changed.

Speaking of acting, Im a little disappointed by Janeway and Mulgrews portrayel of her starting with season 5. Her Janeway seems hurried and impatient as well as more superficial. The character basically stays more or less the same. There isnt much development.
It looks a little like Mulgrew is going through the motions since shes established the character and the producers were satisfied with her initial acting. Also season 5 starts with "Night", an episode which allowed Mulgrew to spend more time with her family, a thing she had supposedly been "complaining" about.
I think Mulgrew didnt give her personal best since season 5 anymore, with some exceptions like "counterpoint" for instance.

What do you think?
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
I just didn't believe the Tuvok/Noss pairing. She talks like Bart Simpson on helium and acts like a little kid. What's really there for Tuvok?
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 9:01am (UTC -6)
I like Tuvok after the Doctor he's my second favorite character. That's why I think it's a shame that after this episode the only way he gets his own subplot is if the writers pair him up with Neelix.
Tue, Sep 6, 2016, 8:57am (UTC -6)
whenever an episode begins with a crashed shuttle, expect a boring melodrama (**)
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 5:48am (UTC -6)
I don't get the hate for Lori Petty. I thought the way she talked made her far more believable as an alien than the standard. Even with the universal translator it's funny how every alien has a typical US accent and syntax. Refreshing to hear something unusual.

Enjoyed the episode: 3 stars
Sun, Dec 18, 2016, 5:52am (UTC -6)
2 stars. This was pretty bland and really could care less about any of the events going on.
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
I suppose the alien girl speaks in a weird manner on this episode because she's an alien trying to speak English? Idk, maybe that's just me.
That said, I liked this episode and I have to agree with one of the above comments; I don't mind the writers using old Trek standbys as long as it helps the story get somewhere. And it does get somewhere here, imo anyway.
My only complaint about this episode (and about Voyager too) is that this all happens in this "self-contained within a single episode" structure. I'd have loved to see a little continuity and character progress on the show.
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 9:49pm (UTC -6)
By the way, I've been watching all Star Trek shows (besides a few TNG/DS9 episodes and pretty much most episodes of Voyager) for the first time ever, once they were finally made available on Brazilian Netflix recently, and I always come here to read your reviews after watching each episode. Congratulations on your great work!
Thu, Jun 8, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -6)
Unfortunately a minor plot point overshadowed this episode for me: I couldn't take the artificial urgency seriously. Did Voyager honestly never manage to communicate to the hard headed "we lost seven ships" that they have a transporter relay? "Hey, guys, we have a transporter relay into that sinkhole, if you give us 2 hours we can rescue every single one of your survivors. You don't have to risk anything, just stay back and let us do our thing and we'll return your survivors in no time. If we fail, you can still close the sinkhole. Deal?" They can't be that hard headed to say no to that!

Anyway, on Voyager nobody seemed to care that all the others aliens on that planet were going to be crushed. I'd understand if in the end they didn't manage to rescue them all, but not even talking about attempting to do it?

Why did the aliens attack the ship just before Voyager rescued our "heroes"?

1) They are cardboard villains who have no motivation but to be villains and to attack (wasting plasma grenades!) at the moment the plot requires them to attack.

2) They intercepted the message and make a desperate attempt (wasting all their weapons) to reach the distress beacon and get rescued before the subspace sinkhole collapses and they are all crushed to certain death.

There is a scene where two aliens stand outside the force field and hit it with their fists. At first I thought it's 1) and they're just being ridiculous. But then I thought of 2) and realized they are in a desperate panic that they don't get through the force field and will die.

After being threatened and robbed by the aliens for months it's understandable that Tom and Noss don't particularly care for the aliens. But Tuvok as the logical person should have brought it up - after all Noss herself robbed Tom at gunpoint on their first encounter.

The only difference is that she is not using much violence - but who is to say that's not just because she is physically smaller/weaker/alone? Why is Noss so important and all the other aliens are not? Is it because she is white and looks like a human and has sparkly stuff on her face while the aliens look less human and have darker skin?

There have been several points in the series I have been disappointed by this crew supposedly upholding Starfleet values. Here it's the blatant lack of empathy for the lives of the aliens. Based on what? The actions of this single one hard headed bureaucrat? Does Janeway and the rest of the crew like to judge all members of a species based on one unpleasant individual? Thinking back to the void with the waste disposal guy - yes, they do.
Reuben K
Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 12:08am (UTC -6)
@Tmrn I agree with nearly everything you said. It would've been really engaging if the aliens attacking at the end were that desperate and Tuvok points out that they are not necessarily the enemy. Of course, that would require the original message that Voyager sent to include the information of what the idiotic and inexcusably inflexible aliens were doing to the sinkhole and what that would do to the planets therein.

My point of contention is the racist remark: "Is it because she is white and looks like a human and has sparkly stuff on her face while the aliens look less human and have darker skin?" Too often these days such a statement is brushed aside, accepted or simply ignored because it targets "the Man" or white people. Basically it's become acceptable to make disparaging remarks about a particular skin color because of the skin color - making a race-based judgement. I understand the history behind the accusation and for all I know it might be true! But that does make its tone any less racist than it is.

I mean no offense to you Tmrn. I just wanted to make the point that this kind of behavior shouldn't be accepted. Again, the trend you point out may have some basis in fact, but too often it is used by race-baiters on both sides to pollute the debate with their own agendas.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
I have to admit, the skin color point wasn't entirely serious. :)
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
Looking back at some of the low scores and negative or indifferent reviews Jammer gave to TNG episodes(the Bonding, Clues, Night Terrors, Silicon Avatar, Disaster, Hero Worship, Violations, Power Play, Rascals, Man of the People, Genesis) yet is far more enthusiastic with VOY episodes like this, Juggernaut, Blood Fever, Heroes and Demons, Prototype, Dreadnought, Alter Ego , Thirty Days, or DS9 episodes like The a Forsaken, Dramatis Personae, Move Along a Home, The Storyteller, His Way, Looking for Par'mach for instance has me totally befuddled. He needs to run DS9 and VOY back through the same process he did the TNG reviews. I hope a lot of those scores and semi positive to outright enthusiastic reviews might change
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 11:51am (UTC -6)
You are right. Some ratings likely would change. The circumstances under which the reviews were written were very different, spanning years and in some cases decades. I have admitted this many times.

But I prefer to let the original reviews and ratings stand for what they were and the contexts under which they were written.
Fri, Nov 10, 2017, 9:51pm (UTC -6)
If you can watch that final scene without tearing up, your heart truly is Vulcan.
William B
Mon, Dec 4, 2017, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
I generally liked this one. I think the performances are good and the basic idea that Tuvok feels something for Noss, but cannot act on it for fear that it will consume him, is well-realized. The use of the SF weirdness as a way to allow Tuvok and Tom to spend a few months acclimatizing themselves to their new situation without putting the Voyager crew through the equivalent development is effective. The big open question is this. It's implied by the flashback structure and some of Tuvok's dialogue with Tom and Noss that he really is only using his marriage as an excuse to avoid pursuing something with Noss, and that the real reason is his fear of emotional engulfment. Not only that, but the total absence of T'Pel from the episode -- through Tuvok describing her, or through flashbacks depicting her -- tend to suggest that she doesn't significantly factor into Tuvok's emotional landscape. Does that mean that his relationship with his wife does *not* threaten him emotionally in the same way? Does he love her? It's kind of a big and obvious question and it seems like this episode is the obvious time to address it. I think the most likely answer is that he does love his wife, but that because she is also Vulcan, there is a kind of understanding between them that they keep their passions at bay as much as possible so as to avoid the complete dissolution of self that Tuvok fears; with a non-Vulcan woman, like Noss, it would not be possible to demand the same. But it's a guess, and I don't think the series ever really deals with this issue, even though it hits the "is Tuvok attracted to this woman?" note both here and in Alter Ego.

I think the episode is also held back a bit because the Tuvok/Noss relationship doesn't quite gel as much as it could before we're asked to see Tuvok as attracted to her, and we basically have Tom telling him (and us) about it rather than it passing by onscreen. I don't find the relationship implausible -- several months pass in near-complete isolation, and Vulcans have strong internal emotions -- but a little more of it to be shown on screen to sell the story (and the tragedy) would have helped. That said, I think that the material of Tuvok/Noss early and late in the episode worked well -- the meet cute in the desert after she's mugged Tom and their implicit, immediate bond, and the sadness of the last few scenes together. I like that Noss' qualities -- her pragmatic ability to survive, her intelligence (as evidenced by her quick command of language) -- do seem like ones that would attract security-and-intellect-minded Tuvok, and that the passage of time and the interpersonal communication are conveyed through Noss' ability to communicate. I also liked the dynamic between Tuvok and Tom, where the two reach a kind of understanding and work through several issues at once. A favourite moment is Tom telling Tuvok that he will never see his wife and kids again, and then later coming to apologize to him, at which point Tuvok tells him that he was not hurt by it, and that may well see B'Elanna again -- both deflecting the issue of his own pain, and showing some understanding of why Tom is so heavily projecting his own feelings of despair about his relationship onto Tuvok.

As usual, the shuttle number is a bit annoying and the stuff with the aggressive aliens is pretty pointless over on the Voyager side of things -- especially when the ticking clocks get doubled up (so the thing is going to collapse by itself AND ALSO the aliens are insisting on closing it). The aggressive aliens on the planet could maybe have been excised with a little tinkering, too, but at least have some benefit in the story. Probably a low 3 stars.
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
Some absolutely shocking writing in this.
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 3:50pm (UTC -6)
Boring and pointless.

2 stars.
I Hate Janeway
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 9:46pm (UTC -6)
4 star episode! Best so far for Season 5. Pure enjoyment to watch.

Without Janeway around (she didn't make an appearance until 22 minutes into the episode), Tim Russ and Robert Duncan McNeill could really shine and put in a great performance. I know this Vulcan in love (or not in love) was done in several episodes of TOS, but they still did a great job with the theme here. I also liked the guest actress who played the alien woman.
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 1:06am (UTC -6)
I don't normally give up on Voyager eps but I turned this one off after the nth fake spider stabbing shot, it just felt so silly, that and Lori Petty's squeaking... man :(
Wed, Oct 10, 2018, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
Tuvok is such a great Vulcan. Tim R is so good in the roll.

I enjoyed seeing a little bit about young Tuvok, and watching him deal with his situation.

Why did Janeway keep talking about rescuing Tom and Tuvok, while never mentioning the Doctor? She's got some kind of blind spot about him. Though Tuvok and Paris weren't much better. I guess Doc still has more struggling to do, to be seen as "fully human," so to speak.
Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Ok. So commenting after reading the reviews and other comments:

I liked Laura Petty In the role and don't understand the concerns about her voice . . .yes, she has a naturally high voice, an unusual voice and manner, I think, which works well as an alien. She did fine, and Ross was excellent. He clearly cared a great deal for her but just . . . wasn't going to go through that again.

Paris was so annoyingly forceful because he missed B'Ellana a lot . . . and here was Tuvok, with a chance at real love in all that lonely desolation, and he's rejecting it!! That was very hard for Tom to watch.

The time wonkiness, I thought, related to the ep's exploration of what comes and goes in our lives, for everything, there is a Season . . . and sometimes, the timing is off. For Noss and Tuvok, it wasn't to be.

I thought there was symbolism too, in the set up of that planet on a different sub-space level worth different time passage, and the aliens desperate to close it off . . . symbolism for Tuvok's struggle with his buried emotions.

Yes, the ending was lovely and perfect.
Sean Hagins
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 2:27am (UTC -6)
@ Elliott-No, people do not fall in love instantly! I don't know where you get that from!

I appreciate Tuvok taking a stand for being faithful to his wife. Actually, I thought the mind meld at first would make Noss forget (the way Spock did to Kirk once)

I do have to say this, we have a very different way of dating than most do here I imagine, but I for one can not understand how some people think here-I really can't!
Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
Not a bad VOY outing that works some familiar themes (shuttle crash, rescue under duress from time and enemy fire, instant romance with an alien). Was going to use Jammer's "hard-headed aliens of the week" but then I read his review where he says: "These are Uncooperative Aliens of the Week (not to be confused with the slightly more extreme Hard-Headed Aliens of the Week, who would probably open fire on Voyager rather than just cutting off a communication effort)."

I liked the Paris/Tuvok dynamic where Tom presses the Vulcan to open up. But what didn't work was the supposed romance building quickly between Noss and Tuvok. When Paris first challenged Tuvok that he's in love with Noss -- how could he possibly come to that conclusion given that they had just met? This felt forced as if to set up the examination of Tuvok's conquering of the love emotion and Paris' ongoing attempts at prodding Tuvok (which eventually work). And the Noss character's sudden change to hating logic when spurned by Tuvok didn't feel right either. Another attempt at romance on Trek that failed.

The "Uncooperative Aliens of the Week" might as well have been hard-headed. This is typical VOY and is usually the weakness in any episode they're in. The ones on the planet had evolved into raiders putting Noss under constant threat.

I liked the idea of the subspace sinkhole combined with the temporal anomaly that makes the people on the planet forced to spend a long period of time together. That has potential if Noss is a better character. But I'm glad they didn't make this another 7 episode -- other VOY characters are being marginalized.

As for a Tuvok character examination through the flashbacks to his youth -- perhaps he's now a stricter Vulcan given what he went through with the Vulcan Master who helped him get over unrequited love. But Tuvok eventually "breaks down" and explains to Paris and through the mind meld explains to Noss -- but the episode didn't really explain how he got over love -- just that he did as a Vulcan. So not a well-done character examination for me. Was it supposed to be the main thrust of this episode or just in the background of a mainly rescue mission episode? I suspect it was supposed to be the main thrust. But if so, it was half-assed.

2.5 stars for "Gravity" -- some creative elements here were nice like the planet and the initial lack of the universal translator for Noss - made it feel like Star Wars for a bit. The rescue under duress was OK, but the romantic element didn't work (which isn't surprising for Trek). As Tuvok episodes go, this one didn't really give us much more about him ("Innocence" was better in that respect). Tom Paris can be quite nosy. No way is this one of the better VOY episodes in a solid Season 5 but it didn't suck either.
Sleeper Agent
Sun, Sep 29, 2019, 9:30am (UTC -6)
The idea of seeing Tuvok dealing with emotions both historically and present is not bad. However, the premise, writing and casting are just way off in this one. Tim Russ excellent performance is the only thing keeping this episode from belonging in the trash.

1 Star, barely.
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
I did enjoy the 'Tuvok dealing with his emotions' business, but the story surrounding it is about as pedestrian as it gets. Never really got the sense that they were truly stranded, the romance is undercooked and the fact that they've been there for months wasn't even particularly well communicated. Perfectly watchable, but largely unremarkable. 2 stars.

Also, I am wondering why they keep sending Doc on these away missions, especially after reading this line:

"if being stranded forever really were to be the outcome here, Voyager would find itself in dire straits the next time there were a medical emergency."
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
Tuvok and Noss' farewell is very effective though. Just a nicely restrained scene that favours subtlety over any kind of grand gesture. Good stuff.
Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
Tuvok has control, and never lost it. The episode doesn’t condemn or make a farce of Vulcans for being unfeeling like so many TOS episodes do, no- it embraces “infinite diversity… in infinite combinations." The Vulcans are different from Noss, from Paris, and this episode reminds us that’s how it’s supposed to be. Embracing diversity doesn’t always feel right or natural, because nature comes differently to each of us, but through that difficulty, we find truth. This episode emphasizes the beauty of being Vulcan, the richness of difference, and I love that.
Mon, Jun 29, 2020, 12:43am (UTC -6)
Am I the only person to be confused that time is moving faster for the people in the gravity well versus outside it, and how that’s backwards from reality? I shouldn’t be bothered but this stuff but, it’s COVID and I’m watching waaaay too much Star Trek...
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
I just wanted to point out how hard I laughed when Tom was like “look Tuvok, you need to accept this is home and the crew probably left without us,” and when we first see Voyager, the first thing they mention is that the shuttle’s been missing for an hour!

That was before they explained the time differential, but I still got a kick out of imagining Tom giving up hope after an hour. “Well this is our life now, better cheat on your wife, Tutu!” I could see that in Chakotay actually.....
Tue, Jul 7, 2020, 1:39am (UTC -6)
Is in the aughts" a common English phrase..ive never heard the word aught before and thought it was a typo and I'm a native fluent English speaker..guess its rare or maybe a British thing?
Top Hat
Tue, Jul 7, 2020, 7:33am (UTC -6)
It was once a common way of describing the first decade of the 20th century (which doesn't lend itself to a convenient short form like 20s or 90s) and there was some attempt to revive it 100 years later. Didn't majorly catch on.
Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 10:36am (UTC -6)
Shuttle crash aside, as a variation on the "stranded crew members" type of plot, I thought this one worked fairly well and had a lot to offer. It's good to see Tuvok remaining faithful to his wife, even if he might never see her again. I enjoy seeing Tom and Tuvok interact in a survival situation, and the time differential between the area inside and the area outside the sinkhole allows for a lengthy survival situation for Tom, Tuvok and the Doctor while plausibly keeping Voyager in the area for months, because of course it hasn't been months for them. The location filming is very welcome, making a nice change from the standard Voyager sets.

I don't know that the episode needs to say anything greater about Voyager to be worthwhile. It's an incident along their journey that tells us something about the characters and is an enjoyable adventure. Good enough for me.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 4:40pm (UTC -6)

You said, "This episode was utterly intolerable due to the fact we are supposed to believe an intelligent and logical man would be attracted to a baby talking idiot woman."

I'm a woman and while I would normally agree with this critique, as with Leeloo in The Fifth Element, in this case Noss may have a childish voice, but she is clearly strong and capable and not at all idiotic. She simply is not fluent in English. So I don;t think it's fair to lump her in with the "Born Sexy Yesterday" trope we so often see presented in films. Look for the video by that title presented by Pop Culture Detective--I think you'd have to agree Noss doesn't fit the type.
Captain Proton
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
Lori Petty is such a horrible actress it made it really hard to get through this episode. And we’re supposed to believe that Tuvok wants to shag this woman?
Tue, Feb 23, 2021, 10:07am (UTC -6)
I wish I could learn another language that fast.
Daniel B
Mon, Jun 21, 2021, 9:12pm (UTC -6)
{{ Tangent here, but Trek would've been immensely improved if the aliens had been cast with anyone other than SAG's whites actors. . . . . Give credit to TNG's "Code of Honor." They may have been grotesquely stereotypical, but at least they were more exotic than, say, those wusses in "The Hunted." }}

{{ I'm sorry, but I will never give any credit to TNG's "Code of Honor." }}

It's basically the Galbrush Conundrum, but with race instead of sex. With a large number of never-seen-again AOTW's (Aliens Of The Week), if they were Asian or Black or whatever, the portrayal would probably be considered racist. Which is not to excuse Code of Honor because that one actually *was* racist.
Eric S
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
Glad to see many comments stating how obnoxious Paris is in this episode. Leave Tuvok alone, if he doesn’t want to get into a relationship, for whatever reason, that’s Tuvok’s problem, not Tom’s.
Wed, Sep 8, 2021, 8:18pm (UTC -6)
Add me to the choir which liked the episode "Gravity." The setting was great and actress Lori Petty (Noss) with that special voice and those intense huge eyes of hers was a big part of its success. It was not simply a redux of the TOS' All Our Yesterdays plotline where Spock, McCoy and Zarabeth form that toxic triangle.

Noss starts off as a forbidding character, so it was a relief when she lightens up. I particularly liked her cute laugh when she realizes that Paris can't hunt to save his life.

The final attack sequence reminded me of Bogart's Sahara...good energy and left me in suspense as to whether Noss would survive. The emotional scenes with Tuvok and Noss were 'lump in the throat' great. Glad that I took the time. 3 stars.
Bok R'Mor
Wed, Sep 15, 2021, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
Really enjoyed this. The premise of being stranded on an inhospitable desert planet trapped on the other side of a wormhole-like anomaly with a time distortion was inventive enough for me, but obviously the Tuvok-Noss relationship was what made the episode.

I've always been a massive fan of Tim Russ' (for me) consistently perfect portrayal of Vulcan rigour, but he truly outdoes himself here. Utterly outstanding. Lori Petty does an excellent job as well - and that final farewell scene in the transporter room is astoundingly well-played by both. There's that one moment, when Noss reaches out only to retract her hand in sudden realisation, that is sublime in how much it says with so little. Perfect.

I have two very minor criticisms about the rest of the episode that I cannot shake. Firstly, Paris comes across as thoroughly obnoxious in browbeating Tuvok into confessing the feelings that Paris states Tuvok has. It becomes one long invasive, distasteful harangue of Tuvok - let Tuvok have his privacy, good God!

Secondly, it seemed a little unethical to me that Voyager didn't attempt in any way to rescue the other stranded aliens. Of course, they'd been repeatedly attacking Tuvok, Noss and the Doctor - but at the same time they're all abandoned to be crushed to death with nary a qualm. It just felt wrong.

That side, a great episode with an engaging plot, intriguing characterisation and a very moving ending. I was afraid the writers would kill Noss off, and I was pleasantly relieved they didn't indulge in such lazy, forced tragedy cliché. The actual ending was all the more memorable and meaningful for being so bittersweet and, well, logical. Top work from Russ, Petty and all involved!
Tue, May 24, 2022, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
Entertaining episode. I think the story moves along quickly and Russ does a good job as Tuvok.
Sun, Oct 8, 2023, 12:27am (UTC -6)

Submit a comment

I agree to the terms of use

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2023 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. Terms of use.