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[I hate “Riddles”. For years Neelix tried to ‘help’ Tuvok and ‘improve’ Vulcan culture instead of understanding. Tuvok is a soldier with a nasty dark side kept in check with ironclad discipline. He’s content and doesn’t need cheering up. But an injured, uninhibited Tuvok is suddenly not violent at all and they have all the fun. Neelix doesn’t bond with the real Tuvok, he bonds with a shadow of Tuvok’s true self, who is different in just the way Neelix wanted. Ugh. ]

I both like and dislike it. I took the injury as not like we see in, say, Meld. In Meld, we see Tuhok perform a mind meld that caused damage to his neurostructure and making him uninhibited. In Riddles, we see a weapon cause damage to his neurostructure and making him uninhibited. But there is a difference. In one it’s caused by melding with a violent individual lacking control and in the other it’s caused by a weapon meant to cause an individual to forget a specific encounter.

The problem with the later is ….. the weapon was designed for a species frequently encountering a specific species (and thus more built in mind for that species and not others). Now, I could be wrong about that but I take Tuvok’s injury as being because Vulcan have such a vastly different mind. He wasn’t hurt in a way that would prevent meditation or other such things helping him.

And that’s where I don’t like it. Tuvok FORGOT things. He forgot what being Vulcan was. Forgot who he was almost completely. Meaning that while he could smile and so on, certain emotions should have effected him like a young Vulcan learning how to CONTROL those emotions. We don’t see that, I imagine they tried to show us the side of Tuvok those closest to him knows (which would explain Janeway not caring that he attached to Neelix – though that makes no sense as someone who is injured is more likely to attach to someone who actually registers as safe to them, which to Tuvok, despite his state, would have been Janeway. The only argument is Neelix was in the shuttle and thus likely to have connected in his mind as “last individual who saw me before injury” type thing). Anyways I got off that …..

Basically, they would have done better nit having him smile or doing so and others don’t think it’s amusing or awesome but concerning because ….. a Vulcan doesn’t display such smiles, theirs are different. Specific, controlled, expressed with care and consideration.

They should have shown him not afraid but snapping into battle mode, body and brain preparing to fight but that control missing. Neelix talking him down from that and urging him to meditate or breathe would cause Neelix to SEE and understand this man so different to him (Talaxians seem to rely on displaying emotions unlike Vulcans). They should have shown him lighting up with joy at seeing Janeway only to flash to that anger we saw in Meld (part of him was angry she stranded them, which for a man reliant upon his wife every seven years to not die is kind of understandable). We should have seen Tuvok not so much carefree child man but unable to truly stop his emotions from going wild.

And that’s why he should have been with Janeway in this episode. Because she is his closest friend. She knows how to handle him. She is the woman who walked into his room while he was suffering pon farr UNAFRAID because she TRUSTED that no matter how far gone he was he would NEVER hurt her. We saw that every time with them when he got hurt, even Meld. She stands at the barrier as he slams a medical tray into it.

I’m not saying she wasn’t terrified or concerned or worried but that she never once showed him that she didn’t trust him. He fear was for him not her. And that is something they could have relied on in this episode. Her bringing Tuvok onto the bridge because he knows it.

While I loved seeing her joy at seeing this side of him (something I imagine she’s rather used to) and the crew getting to see it. I feel that the episode messed up in making him reliant on Neelix, the person he tolerated but never truly accepted (in get they wanted to make them “bond” and befriend each other but it’s a little late and could be done by educating Neelix properly because he has a shitty habit of prejudice). It would have been so much better to not show the lack of control a child with no sort of training in combat would have but the lack of control in a Vulcan trained in 99+ ways to kill someone with a single digit would struggle with. And by putting him with Janeway you get again remind people that a friend will stand by you and trust you no matter how hurt you are because they love you. They care for you.

Just ….. I like the episode and the idea of it (and honestly enjoyed many parts of it – creative Tuvok is such a beauty to see because it tells us no matter how dark he is he’s still creative and gentle, like with his orchids) but they had a really poor way of presenting the issue he was dealing with. To me, in many ways it’s like he had the dissassociation people can experience with PTSD, specifically combat. That point where you aren’t there. You are back where the trauma happened. For Tuvok with this he should have gone into combat mode, maybe even struggled with memories rising him as the ship shook. He shouldn’t have just coward under a table.

When he was making cakes or doing his wax designs …. he should have shown a face of confusion, and pain, and expressed a question about children or his wife. Wondering, curious, why what he was doing felt as if he’d done it for another before. Imagine him looking at Janeway and asking “Did I use to do this for you?” And her knowing he’s remembering making his wife little things, teasing him about being sentimental. Imagine him finding them still in his quarters and her watching as he frowned, looking at them till he turned in anger to her confused at his own emotions. Her calmly leading him through breathing exercises until he seems to have gained some sort of control.

Imagine her doing this and the Doctor monitoring it and marveling because it’s not that he’s uninhibited it’s just he forgot everything he learned growing up Vulcan. And Janeway, despite being human, having to teach him and Chakotay realizing …. she does this stuff. She controls herself to the point she can make her own affection for people seem illogical. Imagine this episode teaching the crew so much and ending with Neelix accepting Tuvok because he saw the truth for a change and Chakotay confronting Janeway about the fact she can’t hide her feelings or she’ll just sink, she is forgetting the key thing Vulcans do …. which is accept, admit, understand, and then suppress it behind control.

Just imagine her tensing at this because she knows it’s true. Imagine Chakotay going through the whole lecture Tuvok did with Harry about love. And her face reaching that point of “stop or I can’t deny it”. And imagine him rising and telling her sometimes control is found in acting and expressing, after all Tuvok shows his through tiny acts despite his wife being lightyears away. Imagine the next episode having her leaving his quarters early in the morning with with cup of coffee and a PADD she’s working on.

This episode could have been the major catalyst of crew understanding it should have been. And while parts about it are good it has such a poor delivery that it makes it frustrating to watch.

@kncrowder88, OMG, now you just made it perfect!

from Tumblr

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