107 – Gravity

Grade: C+

Gravity (1999) on IMDb


Starting about 100 years in the past, we see a young Tuvok who is struggling to learn about the importance of controlling his emotions. This becomes important later as he, Paris and the Doctor become stranded on a desert planet. There they meet a woman who falls for him for some reason.

Meanwhile, Voyager just notices that the shuttle is missing because time on the planet is much faster than in space where the ship is located.


I mostly enjoyed this episode, but I really don’t think it’s all that great. The acting and character development are both good, and the script is pretty decent, but I found the story to be far too contrived to be believable.

For one thing, we have a version of the stranded love-sick female being attracted to the cold Vulcan who has no emotions (just like in All Our Yesterdays). However, in that episode, you could actually see Spock and Zarabeth fall in love. In Gravity, we really only see the woman developing feelings for Tuvok. We have some mildly interesting backstory on why Tuvok chooses to not fall in love, but I’m not sure why these scenes were necessary.

Second, once we have established the characters and defined the problem, we then get one piece of manufactured drama after another, such as:

  1. A group of aliens who are just hostile for no apparent reason come to inform Janeway that they are here to seal up the rift in subspace so that no other ships can fall into it. Sounds reasonable so far. Only problem is that they are not inclined to wait for Janeway to have enough time to rescue her people. Why? No idea. But they do agree to give Janeway one day to do it. Why? Again, we have no idea. Then they start a few hours early. Why? Nevermind. Just go with it.
  2. For some reason, time moves faster on this planet than out in space where Janeway and friends are located. This means Tom and friends have been on the planet for about 6 weeks, not just 2 days. Why? No idea. Does it matter? Not in the least. This fact has no bearing whatsoever on the storyline. In fact, Tuvok and Paris look no thinner, they haven’t grown beards, their hair hasn’t grown at all, their clothes are just as clean and free from holes and tears as they were when they left, etc. This piece of information proved to be useless to the story so I ignored it.
  3. The subspace rift apparently is widening or expanding or becoming stronger or collapsing or something. But the conclusion is the planet where Tom and friends are located is going to be crushed. Why? No idea. It didn’t make sense to me, so I chose to ignore it. It didn’t have much affect on the storyline, though, so I guess it wasn’t important.
  4. Suddenly the hostile aliens show up again and tell Janeway that they’re ready to crush the subspace rift. Only problem is that they’re supposedly 6 hours ahead of schedule. Why? No idea. It’s on this page in the script, so this is when they show up. Janeway complains again, and the hostile but friendly aliens give her 30 minutes to attempt a rescue. Why? I guess it seemed like a nice thing to do.
  5. By this time, we’re all supposed to be tense about whether Tom and friends are going to be rescued on time. They only have 30 minutes, but because time is different on the planet, Tom and friends have about 2 days (or whatever). Not sure why the author thought it was clever to confuse us like this. So Voyager sends out a message to the friends on the planet. It’s a good thing they didn’t say anything very important in the first 15 seconds or so, because the message is so slow that Tom has to speed it up so they can understand it. As soon as Janeway tells them that they can be beamed through, the people on the planet say they need more time to get ready for the beam out. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s just the very next thing that Janeway explains to them. How about that for timing? Oh, sorry, bad pun.
  6. So now they’re getting ready for transport, and doggone it, but those hostile aliens are back and threatening to take down the force field. Local girl goes out there to save the day so her new friends can be beamed back home. Not to be outdone, Tuvok runs out there to rescue her because this is Star Trek and he knows that one person can’t save a bunch of other people all by herself, and he arrives just in time to save her from those hostile aliens. Tuvok must have read the script – or maybe he’s seen an episode or two of this series before.

So in summary, this was a nice idea but a mediocre effort. Why would they think it’s a good idea to mix in so much manufactured drama? It’s not that I mind a little tension here and there. But just let me get there myself – I hate it when Star Trek tries to manipulate me.

Of Note

You may recognize the actor who plays the Vulcan who guides Tuvok into controlling his emotions. If you think you’ve heard that voice before, I’m sure you have. He has been a guest actor on many shows, including one of the most famous Star Trek episodes of all time, The Gamesters of Triskellion. In this episode, he plays Galt, the leader of the Drill Thralls and the one in charge of all the warriors – including Kirk, Uhura and Chekov. That episode is famous for being cheesy, not for being good.

You might also recognize Lori Petty who played the female alien on the planet. She was the pitcher in A League of Their Own.