Sunday, June 2, 2013

TWITrek Character Insight No. 53: Tuvok

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, we close out Vulcan Month with Tuvok, from Voyager.

Tuvok is tactical and security officer for Captain Janeway, and he serves as second officer following the combination of crews with the Maquis leads to Chakotay becoming the new first officer. Similar to the role Spock plays for Captain Kirk, Tuvok is the most trusted and logical guide for the Captain during the seven-year stranding in the Delta Quadrant. Tuvok exudes these qualities even more than Spock because Tuvok is the first full Vulcan main character on any of the shows.

Tuvok enters Starfleet at a young age as a result of the desires of his parents, and his first three years under Hikaru Sulu on the Excelsior makes him wary of humans and how they believe everyone can be positively influenced to be like them. After 50 years away from Starfleet, Tuvok comes back a changed man after living the family life and realizing the mistakes he made as a youth in judging humanity too soon.

One of Tuvok's passions in herbology, and he is a prize-winning orchid breeder. His passion for plants causes him to form a bond with Neelix, who is the most unlikely of friends for a brooding Vulcan. Of course, the transporter accident that temporarily combined these two characters into Tuvix also helped them understand and bond with one another on a level not understood by others.

Tuvok also is one of the only major characters (including Picard) to be assimilated by the Borg. However, just like Picard, Tuvok survives the ordeal and comes back to the regular Vulcan life he had before assimilation thanks to his Starfleet crewmates. Despite being a married family man, Tuvok does have a couple of brief romantic endeavors when it seems that his return to the Alpha Quadrant is hopeless.

In addition to orchids, Tuvok spends his free time meditating frequently and studying Earth-based martial arts. Tuvok would make an interesting match for a Klingon warrior like Worf, although we never get to see him engage in such interesting combat.

Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Meld:

"Sitting here, attempting to meditate, I have counted the number of ways I know of killing someone using just a finger, a hand, a foot. I had reached 94 when you entered."
Actor: Tim Russ played Tuvok, and he earned the role after narrowly losing out to Levar Burton for the Geordi La Forge role in TNG, and after playing various roles in TNG, DS9, and Generations. Russ continues to be a prolific actor, most recently appearing in iCarly and the upcoming movie Monster School.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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