“Repression” is the 150th episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, and the fourth episode of the seventh (and final) season of the series.
The storyline revisits the potential for Starfleet and Maquis conflict explored in “Worst Case Scenario” at the end of season three (S03E25).
A series of attacks against former Maquis crew members baffles the Voyager senior staff. This episode explores mind control triggered by a subliminal message and the loyalties of crew members. The friendship between Commander Tuvok and Captain Janeway ultimately overcomes a fanatic’s ability to invoke repressed conditioning. A recurring theme is Tuvok’s “hunches”, which he can neither explain nor ignore. Another feature of this episode is the Vulcan mind meld being used to force or invoke uncharacteristic behaviour. It is unclear how many of the former Maquis crew members on Voyager had been exposed to the fanatic’s mind control techniques. This may be a rare instance of a forced mind meld creating aberrant behaviour in the victim.
This is also the only onscreen mention of the name of Chakotay’s Maquis ship, the Val Jean.
The episode begins with a Bajoran man talking to a poster of USS Voyager about “a holy time … of awakening”, before sitting before a computer monitor displaying a crew manifest of the Maquis vessel Val Jean. As the Bajoran chants incantations, images of Voyager crew, formerly Maquis, appear on his screen.
On board Voyager, Tom Paris and his new wife B’Elanna Torres enter the Palace Theatre in Chicago holoprogram, a typical art deco (built in 1932, according to Tom) to see a 3D classic film, Revenge of the Creature.
As the film starts, Tom deletes the holographic audience, revealing Tabor (Jad Mager), comatose in the front row. The Doctor finds cranial microfractures and subdermal contusions along his right shoulder. Captain Janeway puts Tuvok in charge of the investigation into the attack. Tuvok’s uncharacteristic “hunch” is that someone on Voyager is responsible.
Crewmen Yosa (Mark Rafael Truitt), checking pressure seals in a Jefferies tube, is plunged into sudden darkness and his communications badge fails, then a bright light shines in his face. Feeling threatened, he retreats but is unable to get the computer to seal the hatch behind him. His pursuer arrives.
The Doctor examines Yosa in Sickbay and reports that Yosa’s neocortical readings are identical to Tabor’s, with the same injuries. Chakotay tries to contact Crewman Jor (Carol Krnic), who discovered Yosa, but her body is found comatose on a couch in the Mess Hall.
The five comatose crewmen in Sickbay, with the same disruptions in their synaptic pathways, contusions and microfractures, are all former Maquis. The Doctor is baffled and cannot find a cure. Tuvok notes that the assailant must have access to security protocols.
Chakotay cautions the other, nervous, former Maquis: they are to carry hand phasers and go nowhere alone. Meanwhile, Tom Paris and Kim have captured a displaced photon negative image of two humanoid figures on the holodeck – Ensign Tabor and his assailant. Tuvok asks them to increase the resolution of the images and keep him informed. The attacks began after the last data stream from Starfleet, so Tuvok’s investigation includes the personal content of that transmission, including a letter from Kim’s cousin Dennis. Of the twenty eight recipients, only six match the parameters of the assailant’s negative image. Tuvok points out that Kim’s letter mentions a friend who was killed by the Maquis years ago. As Kim angrily defends his innocence, Tuvok becomes strangely perturbed.
The Doctor summons Tuvok to Sickbay, where Tabor has revived spontaneously, with no memory of the assault. Tuvok’s enigmatic attitude to the investigation seems to disturb Tabor.
Next, Chakotay finds Chell (Derek McGrath) alone in the corridor, as Torres has gone alone to Cargo Bay 2. There, Chakotay finds her unconscious body and looks up to see Tuvok, who attacks him, quoting the Bajoran from the opening scene, as he initiates a mind meld.
While Chakotay and Torres are treated in Sickbay, the bodies of other victims awaken with no memory of what happened to them. Tuvok continues the investigation, having not slept for three days. He seems to have no memory of having attacked Chakotay. At Janeway’s urging, he returns to his quarters to meditate.
Suddenly, he has flashbacks of victims in Sickbay, Yosa in the Jefferies Tube and Chakotay fighting with him in the cargo bay. In the bathroom he sees the bruise from his fight with Chakotay, then a hallucination of the Bajoran behind his own reflection in the mirror.
Disturbed, Tuvok rushes to the holodeck where Janeway and Kim are investigating. He asks the computer when the negative image was formed and where he was at that time. He learns that he has restricted information about his whereabouts, but that he was present during Tabor’s attack and that the height and weight of the negative-image figure matches his own description.
As Tuvok begins to tell Janeway that he is the assailant, he hears and sees the Bajoran telling him to ignore his doubts – and pulls a phaser, at the same time demanding to know who the hallucination is, as Kim and Janeway watch in confusion. Tuvok resists his own urges, gives up the weapon, and admits to being the attacker, telling Janeway that he should be detained.
When Janeway visits Tuvok in the brig, he explains there is a voice trying to control his mind with Bajoran incantations. Tuvok also says that it was he who attacked Maquis crewmembers and performed mind melds on them, but without knowing why. Tuvok recounts that the attacks started after he received a letter from his son.
Janeway, Chakotay, Seven and Paris then view the letter from Tuvok’s son and discover that it contains an embedded message of the Bajoran chanting. Chakotay recognises Teero Anaydis, a fanatical vedek who worked with the Maquis in counter-intelligence, but was thrown out for experimenting with mind control.
Janeway meets with Tuvok again in his cell to discuss Teero. Tuvok recalls meeting Teero seven years ago at a Bajoran temple. Teero had uncovered Tuvok’s true identity but instead of revealing his background to the Maquis, had subjected Tuvok to torturous mind-control experiments in his laboratory. Janeway urges Tuvok to tell her more, but Teero appears to Tuvok and tells him to complete his mission.
Tuvok struggles to stay in control of his mind, but cannot. Instead, Tuvok sends Chakotay a command in the Bajoran language. Chakotay goes to Sickbay, fires his phaser at Paris and gives Torres the same Bajoran command. Together they gather the other former Maquis members who were also victims of Tuvok’s attacks. Chakotay takes control of the ship and the Maquis plan to maroon the Starfleet crew on an M-class planet.
Chakotay tests Tuvok’s loyalty by commanding him to fire a phaser at Janeway, which he does, but his loyalty to Janeway snaps him out of his compulsion. As Chakotay’s back is turned, Tuvok performs a mind meld that returns Chakotay to normal. The other crewmembers recover, and Tuvok joins Janeway and the others at the movies, where Tuvok explains to Janeway that he had a “hunch” that Chakotay would never have given him an operational weapon if he had doubts about his loyalty.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Winrich Kolbe.
- Writer(s): Kenneth Biller.
- Release Date: 25 October 2000.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.