Star Trek 585: Riddles

585. Riddles

FORMULA: Tuvix + Cathexis + Unforgettable

WHY WE LIKE IT: Tim Russ' performance.

WHY WE DON'T: The reset button.

REVIEW: Riddles jockeys between two connected plots, only one of them interesting. Tim Russ gives a wonderful performance as a brain-damaged Tuvok who, as his brain rewires itself around his logic center, sees the world with new eyes. Childlike and mercurial, bonding to a fatherly Neelix, and more concerned with baking desserts than manning the torpedoes. Not to say there isn't some sadness to this new Tuvok. He realizes that he's lost something and cannot hope to meet his former self's standards. Seven puts Neelix on the right track (Tuvok must change to fit his new situation, not returned to his former state), and for a while there, if you're watching the show for the first time, you can almost believe its going to be a permanent change.

On the one hand, Tuvok's cooking skills and Neelix's ambitions could have allowed them to trade jobs. There also another "logical" character on the show (Seven), so Tuvok could have traded up for some personality. Tuvok doesn't want to go back to the way things were, Neelix doesn't want to lose his new friend, and Seven's words of wisdom hold a lot of weight in the episode. Regardless, the status quo must be restored and for the second time, they destroy a happy Tuvok (this time avoiding the ethical mess that was Tuvix by having Tuvok volunteer).

The B-plot concerns the aliens that hurt Tuvok in the first place, the Nth cloaked xenophobic species we've met in the Delta Quadrant to date. There's also a Mulder character from a nearby homeworld intent on proving their very existence. Though something of a single-minded jerk, he surprises everyone at the end by leaving it at satisfying his own curiosity and giving away the technology that helped Voyager find them. It's basic by-the-numbers stuff that's rather easily resolved at the end for lack of time, with the high point being Tuvok's vital clue - a cloak frequency drawn on a cake.

LESSON: Happiness can be cured.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: The Tuvok story is so sweet, you regret losing the character at the end. As usual, Voyager refuses to take any kind of risk and so misses out on any potential payoff.

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