The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Learning Curve

With not all of the Maquis crewman having quite integrated into the Starfleet way of working, Janeway instructs Tuvok to take four of the worst performers and give them a crash course in Starfleet protocols. But when Tuvok’s rigid teaching style puts him at odds with his students, it may be that he has as much to learn from them as they do from him. Meanwhile, a mysterious affliction starts affecting Voyager’s bioneural gel packs.

Voyager does its own take on Lower Decks in this episode, as we revisit the Maquis/Starfleet conflict and see that things aren’t running as smoothly as they appear to have been on the surface. The plot runs along predictable lines, as Tuvok’s adherence to protocols rubs his students up the wrong way, before eventually everything comes good and everyone involved learns to compromise. That being said, if, like me, you like this sort of story, then this is an enjoyable example.

The B plot, about a gel pack infection that is ultimately caused by Neelix’s attempts to make cheese, just highlights how dangerous it is to have him aboard the ship. Learn from this, Voyager – it doesn’t get any better.

Points of Note

  • Chakotay’s method of getting Dalby and the others to attend Tuvok’s training is to hit him and then threaten repeated violence until they comply. Is this the best persuasive method people have in the 24th century?
  • This episode ended up being the finale of season one, as the next four episodes were held over until season two. Curiously enough, disc six of my DVD set is thus a ‘bonus disc’ containing the last three episodes of TOS season one.
  • In Prime Factors, Tuvok seemed amazing willing to throw away Starfleet protocols and rules in order to obtain the space folding technology. Here, and indeed in pretty much every episode, rigid adherence to protocol is one of the hallmarks of Tuvok’s character.

Summary – Learning Curve: “Get the cheese to sickbay.”

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