The Delta Flyers podcast is hosted by Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill, two of the stars of Star Trek: Voyager. During their time together on the show, Wang and McNeill became two of the more famous Trek characters with Wang playing Harry Kim and McNeill playing Tom Paris. These days, the two men run the Delta Flyers podcast, which looks back at Star Trek: Voyager episodes.
This week the duo looked at “Flashback”, from season three. It’s a story about Tuvok, played by Tim Russ, who’s having panic attacks. In order to deal with these issues, he has to mind-meld with someone to help figure out how to fix what’s causing the issues.
The episode centers around Captain Kathryn Janeway and Tuvok going into Tuvok’s mind together during his time aboard a different ship. It’s here that McNeill points out the episode kind of starts to fall apart some.
The episode frames their mind-meld as a flashback, bringing in franchise legend George Takei as now-Captain Sulu. Sulu is Tuvok’s captain in the flashback and the audience follows Janeway and Tuvok around his assignment aboard Sulu’s vessel, the Excelsior.
As this is a memory, Tuvok seamlessly goes from interacting with Janeway to Sulu and back without any issues. As McNeill points out, this is a problem with the episode, as Tuvok is breaking the “fourth wall” in dealing with both the Sulu-memory and the current involvement with Janeway. McNeill, who writes and directs these days, brings up a better idea of having Janeway and Tuvok deal with the memory as if they’re watching it play out, to help better showcase the stakes at hand.
Gotta say McNeill has a point, with Tuvok breaking the living memory to interact with Janeway, it does sort of lesson the moment. Having Janeway and Tuvok watch the memory instead, and not directly interact with it would’ve installed a better sense of uneasiness, better able to build tension as to what Tuvok’s trauma is stemming from.
The theory as to why it was done the way it was may have been budgetary, at least in McNeill’s opinion.
Had the episode focused on a more streamlined way to tell the story instead of having Tuvok jump back and forth, it may have been a better-received episode from McNeill, who gives it just a 5/10.