(written from a Production point of view)
When Tuvok begins to suffer from a mental breakdown, triggered by a suppressed memory, a mind-meld with Janeway takes him back to his tour of duty with Captain Sulu aboard the USS Excelsior.
In the USS Voyager's mess hall, Neelix is trying to tempt a reluctant Lieutenant Tuvok into sampling a new juice blend that Neelix has concocted. Eventually, Tuvok gingerly samples the beverage and, to Neelix's delight, he finds the drink to be "impressive." After heading into the kitchen with the intention of serving seasoned Porakan eggs for Tuvok's breakfast, Neelix begins explaining the method of the food preparation, a Talaxian mealtime tradition, but the Vulcan is unwilling to hear about the effort put into preparing the eggs, and an unexpected fire suddenly ruins them. Neelix quickly extinguishes the blaze, which Tuvok suggests may have been caused by a thermal surge due to Engineering making adjustments to the plasma conduits, in order to accommodate a new energy source. An audio call from Captain Janeway summons the pair to the bridge.
- "Captain's log, stardate 50126.4. We have detected a gaseous anomaly that contains sirillium, a highly combustible and versatile energy source. We've altered course to investigate."
Neelix and the bridge officers lengthily and with some enthusiasm discuss how they will store and use the sirillium after they have gathered it. Once the ship arrives at its temporary destination, the anomaly (which Kim describes as a class 17 nebula) is displayed on the viewscreen but, as the crew discuss the anomaly, Tuvok seems disoriented and his hand quivers. Even though an unaware Janeway issues him an order related to the nebula, Tuvok does not respond. The bridge officers subsequently notice his behavior. He confusedly admits that he is feeling dizzy and disoriented, and his request to report to sickbay is granted. En route, Tuvok experiences a flashback of himself as a child; the boy holds the hand of a terrified girl hanging from a cliff but he is unable to hold on to her, so she plummets to her death. In a state of extreme distress, Tuvok stumbles into Voyager's sickbay, where Kes is on duty, and collapses on the floor.
Tuvok, now conscious, relates his vision of the girl hanging from the cliff. Though the episode seemed real, he does not recall it having actually happened. The Doctor offers several possible explanations, including a hallucination or repressed memory of some sort. The Doctor releases Tuvok, but first gives him a neurocortical monitor to record his brain patterns and to alert sickbay in case the symptoms recur. Tuvok approves of this "wise precaution".
In engineering, Ensign Harry Kim explains that his sensor sweeps haven't turned up anything that would affect Tuvok or Voyager. Tuvok suggests to Lt. B'Elanna Torres that, due to being close to Klingon space, Voyager conduct a tachyon sweep of the nebula to reveal any cloaked ships that could be responsible for the symptoms. But, of course, Voyager is in the Delta Quadrant, nowhere near Klingon space, so his remark puzzles Janeway and the other officers present. As he stares at the sensor display of the nebula, Tuvok experiences another flashback, and once again the little girl slips from his youthful grasp and falls to her death from the cliff.
In sickbay, The Doctor suggests that a mind meld between the patient and a family member to bring Tuvok's repressed memory to the conscious mind may fix the problem. Being the closest thing Tuvok has to family on Voyager, Captain Janeway agrees to a mind meld with Tuvok. However, instead of accessing the memory of the girl and the cliff, Janeway and Tuvok find themselves on the USS Excelsior eighty years in the past. The Excelsior is engaged in battle with a Klingon vessel. Captain Hikaru Sulu suddenly steps out of the dense smoke.
As Sulu barks orders to his crew and Commander Janice Rand reads a damage report, Janeway and Tuvok (who is crouched over the body of Lieutenant Dimitri Valtane) are confused why they're suddenly on the Excelsior rather than the precipice with the little girl. Tuvok reports that the ship is in a battle with the Klingons, and that the battle was precipitated by an incident that occurred three days earlier…
Going back in time to the common quarters he shares with Valtane and two other officers on Deck 7, now Ensign Tuvok finishes preparing a blend of Vulcan tea for Captain Sulu, of whom he's noticed that he likes to have a cup of tea in the morning. The others are getting ready to go on duty as part of the gamma shift. Having entered and asked about the tea, Commander Rand jokingly accuses him of trying to get a quick promotion, which Tuvok denies. She then gives him a message from his father serving on the USS Yorktown and leaves to report to the bridge. After she's gone, Janeway remarks to Tuvok "You've never brought me tea."
Later, Tuvok serves the tea to Captain Sulu, who declares it to be outstanding and also jokes about Tuvok trying to get a promotion. When Tuvok denies this, Sulu tells his junior officer that he's got to learn how to appreciate a joke, and says he knows that Vulcans do have a sense of humor. As she follows Tuvok across the bridge to his post, Janeway remarks that Sulu doesn't look anything like his portrait at Starfleet Headquarters; Tuvok explains that 23rd century holographic imagers had a less accurate resolution than the technology that would be developed in the 24th century. Janeway notices that Tuvok's post is a science station. Tuvok confirms that he served on the ship as one of several junior science officers, causing Janeway to ask why his service record doesn't mention his service on the Excelsior. Tuvok isn't keen to talk about it, but confirms this was his first deep-space assignment after graduating Starfleet Academy at the age of 29. Janeway asks if they're about to battle the Klingons, but Tuvok tells her that the Klingon moon Praxis (which had served as a major source of energy for the Klingon home world) is about to explode. Janeway remembers that the destruction of Praxis had a lasting effect on the Alpha Quadrant, including leading to the first-ever Federation-Klingon Peace Treaty.
Just then, the ship starts to shake as the subspace shock wave from Praxis approaches the ship. Captain Sulu orders shields up, but Excelsior still shudders through the wave, sending the crew flying. Helmsman Lieutenant Commander Lojur tries to maneuver the ship, but the helm won't respond; Sulu orders him to use the starboard thrusters to turn the ship into the wave. Once it passes, Sulu starts to investigate while Tuvok tells Janeway that they were warned off by the Klingons and continued their survey mission. However two days later, two Starfleet officers were arrested for the assassination of the Klingon Chancellor. Captain Sulu felt an intense loyalty to both officers having served with them for many years. The two then go forward to the point where Captain Sulu (against orders) begins to plan a rescue of James Kirk and Leonard McCoy.
As currently illustrated in his memory, Tuvok tells Janeway that while the rest of the crew were happy to follow the captain in his defiance of Starfleet's orders, he wasn't. He then argues with Sulu that as Starfleet officers, they are under obligation to follow any and all orders. Sulu finds Tuvok's declaration to be rather bold for someone who has had an entire two months of space duty. Rand, having served with Sulu, Kirk, and McCoy on USS Enterprise as a yeoman, is agast at Tuvok's behavior and chides him for questioning the captain's decision. She attempts to relieve him of duty while apologizing to the captain, but Sulu motions to her that it's okay. Sulu tells Tuvok that while he's technically right, he also couldn't be more wrong. He explains that when you serve with people for long enough, a strong bond and a sense of family can form. Having served with Kirk and McCoy for so many years and owing his life to them a dozen times over, regardless of Starfleet's orders he's going to help his friends, "let the regulations be damned." Tuvok believes this to be a most illogical line of reasoning; Sulu tells Tuvok he "better believe it," and orders Excelsior to warp speed. Janeway tells Tuvok that he did the right thing, but Tuvok now feels that he may have been wrong to question Captain Sulu's orders.
Sulu decides to take Excelsior through the Azure Nebula to conceal their entry into Klingon space. When it appears on the viewscreen, Janeway notices that it appears almost identical to the nebula encountered on Voyager. Suddenly Tuvok starts to have a panic attack as the memory resurfaces, this time with Janeway seeing the incident with the girl on the cliff, and the meld is broken as The Doctor scrambles to help him.
Tuvok lies unconscious in sickbay. The Doctor warns him that if the repressed memory keeps resurfacing, he could experience brain death from synaptic pathway degradation. As Tuvok needs to be left to rest, Janeway decides to conduct her own research.
Later, Ensign Kim brings Janeway a comparison between the Azure Nebula and the one Voyager has just encountered in her ready room. Although both contain sirillium and are visually similar, the two are actually quite different; the Azure Nebula is a class 11 nebula with the one Voyager has encountered is a class 17. Having talked with The Doctor, Kim suggests that Tuvok's memories of the Excelsior were just triggered by how similar the two nebulas look, but this still brings up the question of where the memory of the little girl fits in, as it is so far removed from Tuvok's service with Captain Sulu. Janeway had decided to check Sulu's logs for some clues about the nebula however has come up with nothing, as Sulu omitted the trip through the nebula in his logs, except for a brief, cryptic remark about the Excelsior suffering damage from a gaseous anomaly and requiring repairs. Kim is surprised to hear about this clear breach of protocol, but Janeway reminds him of the differences between starships from Sulu's era and their own, and most importantly, how it was a different breed of Starfleet officers who served on them. The technology wasn't as advanced, the Federation constantly on the verge of war with the Klingons, the Romulans' covert activities, and their ships were only half as fast. Despite all this, and noting that the officers of the time would have been very quickly booted out of the Starfleet of the present, Janeway expresses a desire to have served even once with officers like Kirk and Sulu.
The Doctor revives Tuvok, who completes the story of the interrupted mind meld. The Excelsior was ambushed by Klingons and forced to abort the rescue mission, but this still has no connection to the repressed memory. Tuvok attempts another mind meld with Janeway, but once again they find themselves on the Excelsior over Valtane's body. Now convinced that this isn't a coincidence but something that happened on the Excelsior is causing Tuvok's illness, Janeway and Tuvok go back to when the ship was in the nebula.
Having estimated that their path through the nebula would take five hours, Sulu decided that gamma shift needed to get some rest. However back in their crew quarters, Lieutenant Valtane, Tuvok's bunkmate, wants to talk about the situation. While Valtane admires Sulu, Tuvok doesn't and makes no secret of the fact that he dislikes Humans and their flippancy with emotions. The Vulcan explains that he only joined Starfleet under pressure from his parents, and that he planned to resign his Starfleet commission once the ship's survey mission is over. As Valtane goes to sleep, Janeway asks Tuvok if he really meant what he said. Tuvok says that he did at this point in his life, admitting that his opinions on Humans and Starfleet were biased due to the fact he hadn't voluntarily chosen to join the service. After resigning, he returned to Vulcan and started to study kolinahr to purge his emotions. However, six years into his studies he underwent pon farr and took T'Pel as a mate and began raising children, whereupon he understood his parents' decision to send him to Starfleet Academy, and that there was actually a lot he could learn if he allowed himself to do so. Tuvok therefore rejoined Starfleet in order to expand his knowledge of the galaxy, and to learn from Humans and other species. Suddenly, the ship trembles and Sulu calls for a red alert. As he and the other officers quickly get up to return to their stations, Tuvok explains to Janeway that a Klingon ship had decloaked in the nebula and began firing concussive charges across their bow.
On the bridge of the Excelsior, Sulu finds the captain of the battle cruiser is none other than Kang, who congratulates Sulu for his well-deserved captaincy, and in a thinly-veiled threat advises Sulu to "not let it end prematurely". Sulu, of course, lies about his rescue mission, claiming they got lost inside the nebula while surveying it due to a navigational system malfunction. Kang insists on escorting the Excelsior back to Federation space, so Sulu plays along while looking for a way to lose him.
With Kang's forward disruptors trained on them, Sulu asks Tuvok about the nebula's composition. On the mention of sirillium gas, Tuvok confirms that it's highly combustible and when asked on how they can ignite it, suggests modulating a positron beam to a subspace frequency, which would cause a thermochemical reaction. "Like tossing a match into a pool of gasoline," enthuses Sulu, but not wanting to destroy them, asks if Kang's shields would withstand the blast. Tuvok says they would, but their sensors and weapon systems would be disrupted for several seconds. This is enough for Sulu, who has his solution. He instructs Tuvok to prepare the beam and when they exit the nebula first, to fire on Sulu's command.
As they clear the nebula, the "match" is ignited, disabling Kang's ship with the resulting explosion, and the Excelsior quickly resumes its course at maximum warp to Qo'noS. However, three Klingon battle cruisers intercept the Excelsior and begin firing torpedoes at it. Tuvok gets an alert and warns Valtane that his console is about to explode due to a plasma conduit rupture behind it, but Valtane tarries and doesn't leave his station in time; he takes the full force of the blast. Calling in the medical emergency to sickbay, Tuvok kneels next to Voltane, who calls Tuvok's name with his dying breath. Suddenly, the "memory" of the girl on the cliff resurfaces.
In Voyager's sickbay, Tuvok's memory engrams are destabilizing and The Doctor attempts to terminate the mind meld, but is unable to. Tuvok's brain damage is accelerating and he will be brain-dead within twenty minutes if the mind meld continues.
Janeway tells Tuvok that the death of Valtane is connected to the repressed memory, however Tuvok winces as he realizes that something has gone wrong with the mind meld. Sulu is looking around, but when he turns in their direction, he can actually see Janeway on his bridge.
Sulu calls for an intruder alert as Tuvok offers to break the mind meld, warning Janeway that if his brain is fatally damaged that she will suffer brain damage as well. Janeway declines, as she feels that they are very close to the truth. Excelsior's security officers arrive and arrest the two, as they realize that Janeway's presence will stop the memory from following its proper course so she will need to appear inconspicuous among the crew of the Excelsior.
Going back in time to the moment Tuvok was preparing Sulu's Vulcan tea, Tuvok performs a nerve pinch on Rand and the two help themselves to her uniform, so that Janeway will more likely escape notice of Sulu and his officers.
Meanwhile, The Doctor fits a cortical stimulator on Tuvok to bring him out of the meld with bursts of thoron radiation. This exposes a virus masquerading as one of Tuvok's memory engrams, and The Doctor increases the amount of radiation to kill the virus.
On the Excelsior bridge, Rand's absence is noticed but before Sulu can investigate further, the Klingons attack and Valtane once again dies after his console explodes. Janeway asks Tuvok to concentrate, to bring them to the precipice with the girl. Meanwhile, the virus in Tuvok's brain migrates to the captain's, and accordingly, Janeway experiences her version of Tuvok's flashback, seeing herself as a child in Tuvok's place. The Doctor fits a stimulator on Janeway and irradiates her brain, causing the virus to move again, and now Tuvok's flashback recurs. As the virus begins to die, The Doctor once again increases the amount of radiation to eighty kilodynes. The flashback recurs now with a young Valtane hanging on to the girl, and then again and again with other children – presumably the other hosts the virus has infected in its lifetime.
It turns out that the virus feeds on neural peptides and bypasses the immune system of its host by disguising itself as a memory engram – the false memory of the girl falling from the cliff, so traumatic that the mind would repress it, thus ensuring that it would not be detected living in the brain of the host. Tuvok concludes that Valtane, as he lay dying, infected him with the virus, the same way the virus infected the captain as Tuvok's mind began to degrade. Kes wonders whether the girl ever really existed, and in response The Doctor surmises that the memory has been passed on so many times, that there is no way of knowing the true history behind the memory of the fall or if the girl even ever existed.
Leaving sickbay, Janeway asks if Excelsior managed to rescue Kirk and McCoy. Tuvok tells her that the ship was forced to abandon the rescue mission. However, like many times previously in their careers, Kirk and McCoy provided their own means of escape, and both the Excelsior and Captain Sulu and the starship Enterprise, under Captain Kirk himself, ended up playing a pivotal role in the following events at Khitomer. Janeway notes that Tuvok sounds almost nostalgic about those days. Tuvok reminds her he doesn't feel nostalgia, however as he remembers those events and meeting Kirk, McCoy, and Spock, he is glad that he was a part of them. Janeway remarks that, in a funny way, she feels like she was a part of it as well. Tuvok responds that perhaps, she can be nostalgic for both of them. Voyager resumes its course towards Earth.
"I am not Human."
- - Tuvok and The Doctor, discussing his initial episode
"Structure. Logic. Function. Control. The structure cannot stand without a foundation. Logic is the foundation of function. Function is the essence of control. I am in control. I am in control."
- - Tuvok, while meditating with a Keethera.
"Mr. Tuvok, if you're going to remain on my ship, you're going to have learn how to appreciate a joke. And don't tell me Vulcans don't have a sense of humor; because I know better."
- - Sulu, to Tuvok
"Ensign, do you know this woman?"
- - Sulu, to Tuvok regarding Janeway
"You'll find that more happens on the bridge of a starship than just carrying out orders and observing regulations. There is a sense of loyalty to the men and women you serve with. A sense of family. Those two men on trial… I served with them for a long time. I owe them my life a dozen times over. And right now they're in trouble and I'm going to help them; let the regulations be damned."
"Sir, that is a most illogical line of reasoning."
"You better believe it. Helm, engage!"
- - Sulu and Tuvok
"Mr. Neelix, I would prefer not to hear the life history of my breakfast."
- - Tuvok
"Mr. Sulu, I see they have finally given you the captaincy you deserve."
"Thank you, Kang."
"Do not let it end prematurely."
- - Kang and Sulu
"Nice to see you again, Kang."
- - Sulu and Kang
"As a Starfleet officer, it is my duty to formally protest."
- - Tuvok and Janice Rand, after Tuvok speaks out against Captain Sulu's rescue mission
"I don't know what happened to you, but there can be any number of explanations – hallucination, telepathic communication from another race, repressed memory, momentary contact with a parallel reality… take your pick. The universe is such a strange place."
- - The Doctor, to Tuvok
"All right, Gamma Shift. Time to defend the Federation against gaseous anomalies."
- - Janice Rand
"Seal that conduit!"
- - Hikaru Sulu
"Who knows what goes on in a Vulcan's mind."
- - Harry Kim
"I've observed that Captain Sulu drinks a cup of tea each morning. I thought he might enjoy a Vulcan blend."
"Oh, I see. Trying to make lieutenant in your first month? I wish I'd have thought of that when I was your age. Took me three years just to make ensign."
"I assure you I have no ulterior motive."
"Whatever you say, ensign. See you on the bridge."
"You've never brought me tea."
- - Tuvok, Rand, and Janeway
"It would seem that Captain Sulu decided not to enter that journey into his official log. The day's entry makes some cryptic remark about the ship being damaged in a gaseous anomaly and needing repairs, but… nothing else."
"You mean, he falsified his logs?"
"It was a very different time, Mister Kim. Captain Sulu, Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy. They all belonged to a different breed of Starfleet officers. Imagine the era they lived in: the Alpha Quadrant still largely unexplored… Humanity on the verge of war with the Klingons, Romulans hiding behind every nebula. Even the technology we take for granted was still in its early stages: no plasma weapons, no multi-phasic shields… Their ships were half as fast."
"No replicators. No holodecks. You know, ever since I took Starfleet history at the Academy, I've always wondered what it would be like to live in those days."
"Space must have seemed a whole lot bigger back then. It's not surprising they had to bend the rules a little. They were a little slower to invoke the Prime Directive, and a little quicker to pull their phasers. Of course, the whole bunch of them would be booted out of Starfleet today. But I have to admit: I would have loved to ride shotgun at least once with a group of officers like that."
- - Kathryn Janeway and Harry Kim
"Whew… Vulcans! You guys need to relax."
- - Valtane
"Who the hell are you?"
- - Sulu to Janeway
"We could have just asked her."
"Asking female officers for their clothing could lead to misunderstanding."
- - Janeway and Tuvok, after subduing Commander Rand
"Memory is a tricky thing."
- - The Doctor
"I'm curious: did the Excelsior ever save Kirk and McCoy?"
"Not directly. We were forced to retreat back to Federation space – as usual, Captain Kirk provided his own means of escape… But we did play an important role at the subsequent battle at Khitomer."
"Mr. Tuvok, if I didn't know you better, I'd say you miss those days on the Excelsior."
- - Janeway and Tuvok
"But there are times when I think back to those days of meeting Kirk, Spock and the others, and I am pleased that I was part of it."
"In a funny way, I feel like I was a part of it, too."
"Then perhaps you can be nostalgic for both of us."
- - Tuvok and Janeway
"Tuvok! Please, Tuvok! Don't let me fall!"
- - Girl on precipice
- "Flashback" was Star Trek: Voyager's tribute both to the films starring the cast of Star Trek: The Original Series and to Star Trek's 30th anniversary, recreating many scenes from the feature film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- This episode was written and produced after UPN declared that, as they had done with the first and second seasons of Star Trek: Voyager, they would air four episodes produced at the end of the series' second season as part of its third season. (Star Trek Monthly issue 15) This episode was, in production order, the third of the four that were written and produced during the second season of Star Trek: Voyager but intentionally included in the third season, the other episodes being "Sacred Ground", "False Profits", and "Basics, Part II".
Story and script
- With the date of Star Trek's 30th anniversary located early in Voyager's third season, the studio executives at Paramount Pictures requested a Voyager episode that would tie into and serve as an homage to the original Star Trek series, thereby fitting the occasion. (Star Trek Monthly issue 15) "We already had on hand the story premise of a memory problem for Tuvok that Janeway saves him from," writer and supervising producer Brannon Braga recalled, "and when the request came down from the studio for a 30th anniversary show, that seemed like a natural to get us back into that era without yet another time travel plot." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) Braga also stated, "We thought, [the event was] a perfect opportunity to use the sci-fi gimmick, mind melding, and go to save Tuvok from a psychic trauma. And back [in] time, that was what we were going to do [originally]. We were going to see Janeway's first commission. It was going to be more about Janeway and that relationship. We just used that story as a departure and it worked very nicely. But the gag was always the same, to do a time travel story without doing time travel, by doing a meld." It was after deciding on this plot device that the writers chose to go back to the Excelsior, posting Tuvok aboard that ship. The memory virus was another part of the original story idea. Laughing, Braga noted, "It [was] always in there. It's always the idea that repressed memories could possibly be the result of alien inhibition." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 87)
- In an uncredited capacity, Juliann Medina had some input into this episode's story. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 296, et al.)
- The episode's first draft script was issued on 15 March 1996. The teleplay's final draft was submitted on 26 of that month.
- Brannon Braga originally wrote a scene in which Nyota Uhura, via viewscreen, provided some necessary plot points from the bridge of the USS Enterprise-A. Actress Nichelle Nichols declined her invitation to appear in the episode, however, due to the limitedness of her part. (Star Trek Monthly issue 18) Sulu actor George Takei referred to Uhura's part of the installment as "a nice little scene" and clarified, "She would have communicated with me, as Uhura to Tuvok, over the viewscreen. I pleaded with her on the phone to do it because it would have been wonderful to have her back as well. She felt the part did not do her justice, so she passed on doing it." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) Brannon Braga remarked, "I would have liked to have had Uhura, but we had to write […] her out. We couldn't make a deal with her." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88) Partly due to the scene's deletion, the episode ended up being approximately five minutes too short, so two additional scenes were written to fill up the rest of the episode's duration: an extension of Tuvok's breakfast with Neelix, and the Keethera scene between Tuvok and Kes. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) The removal of the Uhura scene was done after 26 March, as evidenced by the cast list in the episode's final draft script, which includes Uhura among the episode's characters.
- The episode was originally to have started with the log entry that, in the episode's final version, immediately follows the breakfast scene.
- According to George Takei, Tuvok actor Tim Russ made some changes to the script, immediately eliciting the writers to correct some discrepancies. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) Takei explained, "He made script changes that made Tuvok's behavior consistent with Vulcan culture where the writers had been derelict. For example, the script suggested that Tuvok had an affair with a non-Vulcan before his pon farr. He made sure that was corrected." (Star Trek Monthly issue 22) Additionally, Russ inadvertently drove Brannon Braga to include more about Tuvok's backstory in the episode than had originally been scripted, being particularly instrumental in the writing of what Tuvok says to Janeway while in his bunk aboard the Excelsior. "Initially that whole speech wasn't in there, a page and a half of dialogue," Russ revealed. "She asked me, 'What made you come back to Starfleet?' and [Braga] had written some line which really wasn't consistent with Vulcan character. I said, 'Brannon, the line itself doesn't work.' So I said, 'Give him a real reason why he came back to Starfleet.' I expected a paragraph, and I ended up getting a page and a half of dialogue. Things like that do make a difference." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 100)
Cast and characters
- Cast members were generally impressed by the script. George Takei described the episode's bridging of the generations as "a very imaginative" and "clever" concept, and further enthused, "I thought […] they did an absolutely wonderful job of bridging the generations, of making Captain Sulu, Tuvok and Janeway all organic parts of the same episode." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features; Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 89; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) Likewise, Tuvok actor Tim Russ commented, "I thought it was a blast when I first heard about it, really a great idea. How do you tie in to the old series when you're in the Delta Quadrant? So, it was just a kick to find out." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) He also remarked, "I thought it was a piece of genius, story-wise […] [It] is a coup d'etat, story-wise, because nobody would see it coming." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features) Russ also liked how the episode's depiction of the Excelsior differed from Star Trek VI, saying, "I really appreciated the clever aspect of the storyline being placed inside a part of the ship from a certain angle that we never saw in the original film. Being able to play that out and being tied to that story so directly was great." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion) Russ elaborated, "It was a brilliant story to tie into the bridge of the USS Excelsior in that film, having not seen that part of the ship and having me on it […] It was fabulous." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 12) Janice Rand actress Grace Lee Whitney offered, "It was just a great episode." 
- George Takei originally learned of his forthcoming appearance in this episode via a phone call in January 1996, from a male fan who was also a friend of the actor. The friendly fan congratulated Takei for the fact he was about to make a guest appearance on Star Trek: Voyager, news that the fan had learned on the Internet but which Takei was not yet aware of. He dismissed the information as an untrue rumor but, after he ended his call with the curious fan, Takei called his agent, who also knew nothing about the upcoming episode. About a fortnight afterwards, Takei was guest-starring on the Nickelodeon TV series Space Cases, on location in Montreal, when (one day, after shooting) his agent called him back with confirmation of the claim. Takei's agent continued by detailing the offer to him. (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features; Star Trek: Communicator issue 108; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- Writing on the episode began only after George Takei accepted the invitation to appear. Brannon Braga recalled, "When George Takei was contacted and agreed to do it the writing took off." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- George Takei initially hoped that his guest spot on the series would allow him to work with the entire cast of Star Trek: Voyager, particularly with Kim actor Garrett Wang. "When my agent confirmed for me that I was doing a guest shot on Voyager," Takei remembered, "I was looking forward to working with the entire cast, because I've been watching the series and the only one I knew was Garrett Wang […] My only disappointment was that it was working with just Kate [Mulgrew] and Tim." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- However, another regret for George Takei was that, due to Star Trek VI having been produced five years earlier (i.e., in 1991), the actors from that movie had changed so much that the original shots of them from the film could not be utilized and, generally, recreated scenes instead had to be filmed anew. (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- Both Brannon Braga and director David Livingston were very pleased that George Takei decided to participate in the episode. "It's very exciting," Livingston said, midway through filming, "to have someone from Classic Star Trek to come in and do the show. George is wonderful–with his energy and enthusiasm, I feel like an old man around him! He's incredible, and his spirit infuses everything! He's wonderful as the captain. He's got this power that's terrific, and that wonderful voice of his!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) For his part, Braga enthused, "George was great. He is Sulu. He's got that great booming voice, and bombastic demeanor. I liked him." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88)
- Tuvok actor Tim Russ also immensely enjoyed the opportunity to work with George Takei. Russ later commented, "Working with George on the bridge, as Sulu's character, and having him aboard as a guest was wonderful, not only from a nostalgic standpoint but also because he's a very good actor, a very wonderful personality, very warm, very giving, very easy to work with, and we had a good time, and some good laughs." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features) Russ also stated that he found working with Takei was "a rush," "a great honor and fun," "a thrill," and "extraordinary." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion; (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 12; Star Trek Monthly issue 41, p. 28)
- Tim Russ found that this episode's production period was very tiring. "That was one hell of a show to shoot – it was absolutely exhausting," declared Russ. (Star Trek Monthly issue 41, p. 28) On the other hand, he also enjoyed the making of the episode, particularly shooting the back-and-forth scenes of the outing (with Tuvok dividing his attention between interacting with Janeway in the present and with his own memories of life aboard the Excelsior), which he found to be "fascinating". (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 12) He also said, "It was very interesting and a lot of fun to do that episode." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88)
- A specific aspect of this production that thrilled Tim Russ was how closely it related to TOS, he having been a fan of that series for many years. He noted, "To be able to get so close again to the original series after having enjoyed it so much when I was younger was just fantastic." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) In fact, George Takei was very impressed by how aware Russ was of the Star Trek canon, as the latter actor repeatedly reminded Takei of things he had done in TOS that he had forgotten about. "It was kind of an eerie feeling," related Takei. "He's very Vulcan in that respect." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 101) Indeed, Takei was especially impressed by how knowledgeable Russ was about Vulcans, commenting, "I was impressed by how Tim has totally, completely and organically absorbed in his Vulcan heritage – the culture, the persona, the physiognomy, and the psyche of a Vulcan […] I was very impressed by him, as an actor who makes a full and total commitment." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features) In summation, Takei noted, "I enjoyed working with Tim." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- George Takei actually enjoyed working not only with Tim Russ but also with Kate Mulgrew. Regarding the pair of Voyager actors, Takei enthused, "It was really great working with the two of them, because they are very, very professional." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88) About Mulgrew particularly, Takei declared, "Kate was wonderful […] She was very pleased that we were doing the episode and she made me feel very welcome on the set [….] [She] played her part with great gravity and also, in her moments with Tuvok, great tenderness." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- George Takei's belief that Kate Mulgrew enjoyed this episode was true to life. Mulgrew cited this as one of her favorite eight installments from Star Trek: Voyager's third season, describing it as "quite good." Similarly, Takei's positive impression of their relationship was mutual. Mulgrew remarked, "George Takei was a pleasure." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 14, p. 32) The actress also commented, "I was so impressed with George. He was fabulous to work with, very, very erudite and gentlemanly. He was full of anecdotes about the original show and full of lessons for me as an actor on a Star Trek show." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- Having previously worked together on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, this episode reunited George Takei with Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand), Jeremy Roberts (Dimitri Valtane), Boris Krutonog (Excelsior helmsman Lojur), and even some extras. David Livingston stated, "We brought back the actors that we could from Star Trek VI […] It was kind of surrealistic in a way because the actors were sort of picking up where they left off several years ago in a feature film and now they're doing a TV show. So that was fun, and great to work with George Takei and Grace Whitney and Boris Krutonog and whoever else we got from the original cast." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- George Takei was amazed by the attention to detail involved in recreating the scenes from Star Trek VI, particularly the use of the other performers. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88) He reminisced, "The Voyager behind-the-scenes people did an outstanding job of recreating those sequences from Star Trek VI […] [Rehiring some of the same performers] really lent to the verisimilitude of those scenes, which were based on scenes we had shot five years earlier." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) Citing one particular scene, Takei noted, "The recreation of the first explosion scene, the Praxis scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; movement for movement, throw for throw, and all of the principal actors in that scene. Some had left the industry – one came back from Portland, Oregon, or some place like that, he told me, that he was no longer pursuing a career, but Paramount came after him. So, their integrity and the tremendous research they did in finding all the actors was very impressive." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- As with George Takei, news that Grace Lee Whitney would be appearing in this episode was made available on the Internet before she even knew about the upcoming episode herself. At one point, Whitney met with Brannon Braga in his office and he advised her of some rewrites and script changes. (Star Trek Monthly issue 16) Whitney appreciated the largeness of her role in this episode. "This is really great for me because I really have dialogue," she said, "I have had an attitude, a purpose. I'm a lieutenant commander and I tell the ensign what to do!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) Prior to filming on the set, Whitney was introduced to Voyager's cast and crew. She was excited to meet them and vice versa. (Star Trek Monthly issue 16) Whitney was also pleased to be working with George Takei again. Likening the episode to their work on Star Trek VI, Whitney stated, "To be back on the bridge with George, it's just deja vu. When you watch the monitor of us working, you can hardly tell the difference." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- During production, Grace Lee Whitney's eldest of two sons, Scott Dweck, was proud to visit the set. (Star Trek Monthly issue 19) He himself had, in common with his mother, made previous appearances in Star Trek.
- Having worked with Grace Lee Whitney not only on Star Trek VI but also on the original Star Trek series decades beforehand, George Takei experienced a sense of nostalgia while working on a bridge set with her again for this episode. Midway through production, Takei enthused, "It's a glorious, glorious feeling to be in that circular configuration with Gracie there. And it's a funny thing–it doesn't feel like it's been 30 years when you're in that setting. It feels like it was just yesterday. Thomas Wolfe was wrong: you can indeed go home again, and it is so sweet!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) Throughout the filming of this particular episode, Whitney's enthusiasm was evident to Takei. "Grace Lee was on cloud nine the whole time," he offered. "She's normally effervescent, and she was like an agitated champagne bottle on the set, spilling and bubbling all over the place. She had some wonderful things to do in the episode, and I was happy to have her beside me." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- Kate Mulgrew, David Livingston, and Brannon Braga also enjoyed working with Grace Lee Whitney. Comparing her to George Takei, Mulgrew noted, "I didn't have quite as much dialogue with Grace Lee, but I was quite impressed with her as well." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) "Grace was great," Livingston said, "a den mother but still with that Starfleet control and attitude." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) Similarly, Braga noted, "It was delightful having Grace. She added a nice Star Trek touch." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88)
- For her part, Grace Lee Whitney enjoyed guest-starring alongside regulars Tim Russ and Kate Mulgrew. Whitney reminisced, "Kate (Mulgrew) was amazing and Tim (Russ) told me that he'd just loved me as a kid, and here we were working together. It was great." 
- Jeremy Roberts was thrilled to be invited to reprise his role of Valtane in this episode. The actor explained, "I was very surprised to get the call. After Star Trek VI I figured that was it, I was lucky to be in one. Of course, now I'm not too thrilled about dying in this one! In 1991 I was sitting there looking at George Takei and thinking, 'I'm part of it! All right!' And when it's over, that's it; I got pictures, that was enough for me. Then they call and say, 'You want to do it again?' I'm there!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- Despite hobbling due to having recently pulled an Achilles tendon while playing basketball (a five-week old injury whose cast was effectively covered, during filming on the episode, with a black stocking), Boris Krutonog found that, as the Excelsior helmsman, he was able to appreciate appearing in Star Trek more in this case than he had done during production on Star Trek VI. He explained, "I was born in Russia, and there was no Star Trek in Russia […] So I started to realize the importance of Star Trek after Star Trek VI. Back then it was just another movie, but this–this is fun! And a piece of history!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- As of this episode, Michael Ansara (Kang) has played the same character on three different live-action Star Trek series. The only other actors to do so are Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi), Armin Shimerman (Quark), John de Lancie (Q), Richard Poe (Gul Evek) and Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard)
- Michael Ansara previously played Kang in both the TOS: third season episode "Day of the Dove" and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine second season episode "Blood Oath". The scripted scene description for when Kang first appears in this episode reads, "A Klingon named Kang appears (as seen in the Deep Space Nine episode "Blood Oath," but he should look younger here)." Besides his appearances as Kang, Ansara also played Jeyal in the DS9 episode "The Muse".
- This episode required that the Excelsior bridge, in the same configuration from Star Trek VI, be recreated. However, rebuilding the set was initially hampered by difficulties. Production designer Richard James recalled, "I said, 'This is a really neat script but, you know when you have a bridge, you usually have three months to build it and half a million dollars, and I've got to recreate something that's already been seen by millions of people.'" (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 30) David Livingston further explained, "Richard James, our production designer, showed me the original plans of the bridge and I said, 'Build it!' and he said 'I don't know if they're going to let me!'–not enough money and not enough time. So they asked if I could shoot with just half of it. Well, no, there's three shooting days, explosions, people moving all around… how do you shoot on half a set?" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- Although the Excelsior bridge had taken the film crew of Star Trek VI twelve weeks to build from scratch, Richard James and the rest of the art department, as well as the construction and production departments, were tasked with reconstructing the same bridge set in less than two weeks. James proudly recalled, "We scurried in a mad dash and were able to recreate that set. Everybody was amazed when they came in […] We were able to recreate that bridge and probably did it in less than 10 days. And we did a three hundred and 60 degree set. It was not like on the [episode] "Relics", where we just created a few walls and used blue screen to accomplish the total look. This was a full set. My carpenters and prop makers just did a tremendous job." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 30) David Livingston enthused, "It was wonderful how fast they were able to put that bridge together […] I don't know how they did it, but the art department, construction department and the production department all got together and found the money to do it. They had to work a couple of weekends, but they pulled it together and it's amazing." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 10)
- Due to the severe time crunch, however, some elements of the set were necessarily made simpler. Scenic art supervisor Michael Okuda (yet another production staffer who worked on Star Trek VI) acknowledged, "Some things had to be simplified, but I think everyone's got a lot to be proud of." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features) Similarly, Richard James stated, "We eliminated a few details that were subtle, and I don't think anybody missed them." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 30)
- Only a tiny portion of the original Excelsior bridge set survived in storage, having been cannibalized for DS9 (notably, for use on the SS Xhosa) or Star Trek Generations, or else simply destroyed. However, the main viewscreen, the ops and conn consoles, as well as the aft bridge alcove and the consoles on either side of it had all been kept in storage. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) Richard James remembered, "What we did was we tried to find if any of [the original Excelsior bridge set] existed from old feature stock. There were a couple of walls that were still in existence that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had modified into a Klingon set wall. They let me use those. I thought it was a help, but actually, as it turned out, we could have just built it from scratch. Anyway, we did incorporate those walls." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 30)
- The Excelsior bridge's graphics that were available from storage included virtually all the upper-level graphics and half the mid-level displays. Scenic artists Wendy Drapanas and Jim Magdaleno digitized much of Michael Okuda's art from Star Trek VI, producing it much quicker than it had originally been done. Okuda stated, "Wendy Drapanas and Jim Magdaleno again recreated all the backlits, because – even though the set existed – there was a great deal of work to be done." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- All the tape loops of sensor images used in Star Trek VI were found, fairly intact, in storage. These loops were then displayed on twenty-five video "computer monitors" on the reconstructed Excelsior bridge set. Monitors were loaned from both DS9 and Star Trek: First Contact, in a concerted effort to help produce this anniversary installment of Voyager. Finally, the positions and exact timings of the loops were intricately matched with footage from Star Trek VI. Video supervisor Denise Okuda recalled, "Michael and I sat in front of our laserdisk ST:VI at home and tried frame by frame to match it. There were inconsistencies in the film due to editing, but we tried to match as much as possible the location and position of the monitors. The only downside is that our taped displays today are around 5-10 minutes long to give the video operators a break, but the tapes from ST:VI are a maximum of 12 minutes." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108; Star Trek Monthly issue 22) For his part, Michael Okuda stated, "Our video operator, Ben Betts, put in an amazing number of hours along with Denise [Okuda], to recreate as much as possible all the video monitors we had on the set." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- The bridge of Kang's battle cruiser was an oft-reused generic Klingon bridge set, which went on to serve as the bridge of the IKS Rotarran on DS9. (Delta Quadrant, p. 132)
- George Takei was impressed by the sets of this episode. He remarked, "The sets looked great." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) Of the Excelsior bridge specifically, Takei recalled, "The set was new. Once we got into it, it felt like we had been working yesterday on the film version." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88)
- Shortly after he started to become involved with this episode, George Takei found that his captain's costume from Star Trek VI no longer fit him. "It was funny, but they dragged out a costume that, they told me, was the same one I wore as Captain Sulu in the movie," Takei recalled. "I tried to put it on and I was very shocked at the cheap material that they had used. The fabric had somehow shrunk. The pants didn't fit!" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- Remarking on how his own 23rd century uniform felt, Tim Russ stated, "Like a rug: thick and heavy, all wool. The shirt underneath is Lycra, but they're generally much harder to get in and out of." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- Grace Lee Whitney had her costume fitting for the episode on Wednesday, 27 March, 1996. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- Filming on this episode started on 27 March 1996. (Information from Larry Nemecek) It was also Grace Lee Whitney's first day of working on the episode, she having been informed of the episode perhaps only a week and a half before the start date. (Star Trek Monthly issue 16) Following a meeting with the producers to collect a script on Thursday 28 March and attending the long-planned Novacon IV convention (at which Robert Picardo also guested) in Tysons Corner, Virginia during the upcoming weekend, Whitney returned to the Paramount lot on her birthday of Monday, 1 April, for a 4:15 a.m. makeup call. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108; Star Trek Monthly issue 16)
- Although the Excelsior scenes in Star Trek VI had taken less than a week to film, the equivalent scenes of this episode required three days of filming on the ship's bridge (i.e., George Takei attended filming on three days), and another two days for the scenes set in the officers' bunkroom. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- While most of the scenes aboard the Excelsior had to be filmed anew, David Livingston found that filming scenes that were "sort of continuations of the feature film […] was a real challenge and really fun to do." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features) In fact, Livingston recreated some of the same camera angles that director Nicholas Meyer had used in Star Trek VI. "We couldn't recreate some of them," Livingston admitted, "because we didn't have enough time and the wherewithal to do so, but we did match some of the same angles. Some I did differently because by necessity it had to fit into the story we were telling, but I thought it would be fun for the fans to see some of the same camera angles. So the people who know Star Trek VI should get a big kick out of it. I am." Furthermore, several visual effects shots, together with the shot of Sulu's teacup shattering, were reused directly from the film. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) Despite these reused camera angles and footage, the episode does not credit Nicholas Meyer.
- David Livingston employed, in this episode, a filming technique whereby a continual shot moves all the way around a character. The episode's first scene in which this camera move is incorporated involves Tuvok in a turbolift, en route to sickbay during the teaser, in which the technique is used only once, with the camera revolving on a horizontal axis. The second time the technique is used is in the scene wherein Tuvok collapses in engineering, in which the camera rotates on a vertical axis while hovering on a close-up of Tuvok. Livingston commented, "We did 360s stuff […] If you want to, you can sort of do that on Star Trek. Sometimes, they look at you askance. But, God, if you can't do it on a science fiction show with people wearing screwy make-up, where else are you going to do it? So, to me, it's play and you might as well go for it because, if you don't, you're going to regret it later. Try not to be boring, that's the main thing, try not to be boring. So, making 360s around a character who's going nuts? That makes sense to me. That's not boring, I hope." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- One of two reasons (the other being a scene deletion) why this episode was, at one point, not long enough was that David Livingston employed a characteristically fast-paced style in creating the episode's action. "We were just over 5 minutes short," he noted, before saying in reference to the producers, "I had warned them, but I guess they wanted to wait and see how much." Of the two scenes that were duly added to the episode, Livingston remarked, "The Neelix scene has a good drive, but the Kes scene is very slowly paced to milk it for every frame we could get out of it!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) In order to film the latter scene, it took "about six takes" for Tim Russ to balance the Keethera while keeping his eyes closed.
- In the episode's first view of Sulu, the character emerges from smoke and assumes an heroic stance. David Livingston recalled, "I wanted to, for the audience's delight and hopefully surprise, I wanted to do a really cool reveal of Sulu, because we didn't really know where we were initially. So what we did was – the ship was in distress, so that's always a justification for me to have liquid nitrogen pouring out of somewhere – so what we did was, on the ship, we created this big wall of liquid nitrogen, put the camera really low, and then had George walk through it in this very heroic pose and it was a great reveal of him. It surprised the audience and made him look really, really cool, so that was fun." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- The last day of this episode's production period was 4 April 1996. (Information from Larry Nemecek)
- The visual effects shots that had originally been created for Star Trek VI and were reused in this episode were exterior shots of the Excelsior and the shock wave from the explosion of Praxis. The exterior views that are not taken from Star Trek VI, however, show a slightly different ship; the Excelsior's warp nacelles have the typical blue glow in the new footage but not in the original.
- The model used for Kang's battle cruiser was the last reuse of the K't'inga-class model, which had been used in Star Trek VI to represent Kronos One.
- The shot of the Excelsior emerging from the nebula and causing an explosion that disables the pursuing Klingon ship was created by filming the motion-control studio models, detonations that were shot with a Photo-Sonics camera – pointing straight up and running at 360 frames per second, rather than the typical 24 – and an element to show clouds billowing apart. Of the explosions, visual effects producer Dan Curry explained, "If you have a small explosion happen in real time, it may occur like pfft! and it's over. But if you take a special camera that runs film at very high speed, […] it stretches time. So, an explosion that in real life may take a split-second can be stretched out into several seconds, so it looks vast. And by shooting it straight up, it gives the illusion that it's happening in space without gravity, because all the parts of the explosion fall equally around the lens, so there's no apparent arc from gravity, so that we will accept that it happens in space." Of the cloud-like element, Dan Curry said, "What that was was a four-inch deep, four-by-four-foot vat, lined with black velvet and filled up with vapors of liquid nitrogen, which stay in the vat because they're heavier than air because they're so cold. Then, [visual effects supervisor] Ron Moore took a piece of cardboard, or sometimes he used a Dust-Off can, and just [put] a little puff of air down, which would push the liquid nitrogen apart, and then it would billow back in. And because it's so cold and the way the vapors move, it moves very slowly so it looks huge, even though it's a very tiny thing." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
Reception and aftermath
- The writing of this episode prevented an idea similar to the installment's premise from being included in Marvel Comics' run of Star Trek: Voyager comics. Shortly thereafter, writer Laurie S. Sutton remarked, "The only challenge [of writing Marvel's Voyager comics] is to write a story to get [Voyager's crew] home and then bring them back without it being disappointing like, 'They've got to get back and–aw, darn, they're back in the Delta Quadrant. Well, better luck next time!' As a matter of fact, I have some ideas for those kind of stories […] Apparently, Paramount has already beaten me to it […] because I wanted to do a story where Voyager gets literally thrown back into the Alpha Quadrant, but back in time where they meet Captain Sulu. Well, they're doing a Sulu story, so I went, 'Aw, phooey!'" A similar incident had occurred with "Basics, Part I". (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- According to Grace Lee Whitney, when Brannon Braga advised her of script revisions, her first concern was how much she could tell the fans of Star Trek. Although Whitney believed that the episode could not have been possible without fan support, Braga's reply was for her to tell the fans nothing. (Star Trek Monthly issue 16)
- Even before she began performing in the episode, Whitney had a chance to gauge audience reaction to it during the Novacon IV convention, held in the weekend prior to production. "I lifted up the script at the convention," she recalled, "and the fans just went crazy." Remarking on the episode itself, she said, "It's wonderful for the show; it keeps the fans interested, and it's a great tie-in for the anniversary […] George has a wonderful speech about the family of the Enterprise sticking together, which Tuvok just can't understand. The fans will love it!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108)
- Although Nichelle Nichols declined to appear in this installment, two of George Takei's compatriots from the original Star Trek series – namely, James Doohan and Walter Koenig – were very happy for Takei to appear on Voyager. He revealed, "Jimmy and Walter were both delighted for me." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88)
- George Takei, who had fought long and hard for a Captain Sulu series to be greenlighted, hoped that the success of this episode might finally grant him that wish. "This could be the first early warning sign!" Takei remarked. "Sometimes they use episodes as a pilot before they commit to a series, so – knock on wood!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 22) Indeed, Internet rumor suggested that this episode would serve as the pilot for a new Captain Sulu spin-off series, entitled Star Trek: The Adventures of Captain Sulu. "It was right about 'Flashback' happening, so who knows?" Takei remarked, laughing. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9) According to Grace Lee Whitney, the possibility of this episode leading to a Captain Sulu miniseries was not fantastical. She said of the installment, "They told us it was a (backdoor) pilot for (an Excelsior) mini-series." 
- The date on which this episode first aired was three days after Star Trek's 30th anniversary. The episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 5.2 million homes, and an 8% share.
- Although no new Star Trek series with Sulu in command was ultimately commissioned (due to a lack of popularity for the idea), executive producer Rick Berman described this episode as "absolutely delightful." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 109, p. 14) He also commented that this installment (in common with "Trials and Tribble-ations", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's own 30th anniversary offering) was "a lot of fun and […] did very well in the ratings." (Star Trek Monthly issue 24)
- On the other hand, Brannon Braga ultimately believed this episode was of lesser quality than "Trials and Tribble-ations". Of this episode in particular, he said, "It was a nice little tribute, not as good as 'Trials and Tribble-ations' from Deep Space Nine. It was OK. I just think they came up with a better idea." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 88)
- This episode's successful viewer response made sense to Tim Russ. After praising the installment as "a killer episode," he added, "It was so right, in terms of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek." Contrasting the experience of watching this episode with the enjoyment he got from appearing in it, Russ declared, "I think fans of the original series watching 'Flashback' get a different but similar kind of thrill." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 9)
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 87)
- Star Trek Magazine scored this episode 2 out of 5 stars, defined as "Impulse Power only". Additionally, Lou Anders, a writer of the magazine, wrote a review of the installment, commenting, "'Flashback' contains many interesting elements, such as the revelation that Tuvok has had two Starfleet careers. The performances are good, and it is a genuine pleasure to see George Takei, as superb as always, reprise his role as the popular original series character [….] One wishes that he was given more to do in the episode. Unfortunately, the plot is slow, and Sulu's impromptu rescue attempt seems too poorly thought out and too uncharacteristically reckless to be believable." (Star Trek Monthly issue 23, pp. 58 & 59)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 135) gives this installment a rating of 8 out of 10.
- The book Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode as one of "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: Voyager.
- In a 1998 interview, George Takei expressed an interest in making a return appearance on Voyager. "[I] would love to do the show again," he reckoned. "Maybe I could work with the entire cast the second time around." (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 41)
- In this episode, Tuvok states that two days after the explosion of Praxis, two Federation officers were arrested for the assassination of Gorkon. However, in Star Trek VI, Spock says that a Federation starship monitored an explosion on Praxis two months ago. He makes that statement before Enterprise is sent to rendezvous with Kronos One, so at least two months elapse between the explosion and Gorkon's death.
- Prior to this episode, a Captain Sulu is mentioned by Chakotay in the Season 2 episode "Tattoo" and, in the later second season episode "Alliances", Tuvok references Spock's initially controversial recommendation for an alliance between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, as depicted in Star Trek VI. In the latter episode, Tuvok mentions that he himself "spoke out against such a coalition," placing him at the time when the film is set, as this episode continues to do.
- Tim Russ thought the way in which this story places Tuvok on the bridge of the Excelsior was foolproof, in regard to continuity. "Nobody could question it," he said. "The timeline was consistent so nobody could say, 'Hey, he couldn't possibly, blah-blah,' or, 'No, we didn't see that, blah-de-blah' – they couldn't say it; it worked perfectly. So, I thought that was the coolest thing, because they make sure the fans don't catch anything. That's always a neat trick." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- Tim Russ also liked how this episode provided much continuity for Tuvok that the actor could later draw on. Russ commented, "The whole story becoming a back-story for Tuvok… I thought was great. It tightens the relationship between he and the captain, and it exposes to the people of the audience what this character is all about, where he comes from. Because before that, we didn't have a history for him. And after that, we had a history for him. Now he's got a back-story, now he becomes a little bit more complete, as a person. Now, if he does something three episodes down the line, ah well, that's because so-and-so was established way-back-when. And that's always beneficial when you're playing the character as you have something to grab onto. So, 'I can use this, because we learned this.' We know where he came from, we understand what happened and now, you can use that as a motivational factor down the line. So it's always good to have that." (Flashback to "Flashback", VOY Season 3 DVD special features) Russ also enthused, "It was a great back story for Tuvok, about why he joined Starfleet, when he got married, why and how, and why he left and then came back to Starfleet. All that information is valuable, just to create more layers of history for this character." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 12)
- Momentarily confused of when he is, Tuvok suggests a tachyon sweep for cloaked Klingon ships, at the time being adversaries of the Federation. Voyager's crew didn't know that by sheer coincidence, the Federation and the Klingon Empire were currently engaged in another war, soon to be ended by a cease fire.
- At the end of the third season, Tim Russ cited this episode as one of four or five installments (in the first three seasons) in which Tuvok's "defenses have been breached" and "his control has been taken away or lost", other such episodes being "Cathexis" and "Meld". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 100) Following the production of Voyager's fourth season, Russ similarly observed that – in common with "Meld" – this installment "really pushed the envelope with how outside forces affect Tuvok's character and what happens." (Star Trek Monthly issue 41, p. 28)
- At one point before or during production, Brannon Braga cryptically told Grace Lee Whitney that her character of Janice Rand might later be brought back to the series. The actress fondly recalled, "Brannon Braga was very cute with his remark: We're not killing you off, Grace, so we can bring you back!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108) This Voyager episode is, however, the only one in which Rand appears.
- Neither Sulu nor Janice Rand appear in "Trials and Tribble-ations". In fact, George Takei is the only regular cast member from Star Trek: The Original Series who does not feature in that episode of DS9. This is due to Takei having not appeared in the original "The Trouble with Tribbles" (during which the DS9 episode is set), and Whitney had left the series the previous season. Thus, their appearances in Flashback allowed all the main Original Series cast members to appear in a 30th anniversary episode.
- Tuvok mentions having thought about talking to "one of the other Vulcans on the ship", establishing that the Voyager crew comprises at least three Vulcans. One of these Vulcans, Vorik, later appeared in "Fair Trade".
- The novelization of this episode (written by Diane Carey) includes several additional elements, the most prominent subplot being Kes succumbing to Tuvok's hallucinations as his own telepathic barriers begin to collapse, causing Tuvok to unintentionally assault Kes and cause her to take on the role of the girl in his hallucination. This continues to such an extent that Kes attempts to attack Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres as they conduct a survey of the nebula in a shuttle, motivated by Tuvok's 'transferred' memory of the attack on Excelsior, until the repressed memory is treated and the virus is removed.
- At one point, Sulu tells Tuvok that he knows Vulcans have a sense of humor. He could be referring to a brief exchange that took place on the bridge in TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver"; a young officer, Lieutenant Dave Bailey, defends raising his voice in excitement as the natural result of having "a Human thing called an adrenaline gland". In response, Spock dryly observes that such an organ could prove inconvenient, and wonders whether the lieutenant should consider having it removed. Sulu then advised Bailey that an attempt to "cross brains" with Spock, a Vulcan, was doomed to failure: "he'll cut you to pieces every time".
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.1, 13 January 1997
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the Star Trek: Fan Collective - Captain's Log collection
Links and references
- Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
- Jeremy Roberts as Dimitri Valtane
- Boris Krutonog as Lojur
- Michael Ansara as Kang
- Michael Beebe as Murphy
- John Copage as sciences officer
- Daniel Ebuehi as boy during mind meld
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Sara Hart as Excelsior security officer
- Jon Horback as Excelsior navigator
- Kerry Hoyt as Fitzpatrick
- Kavon Karami as Excelsior security officer
- Demetris Lawson as young Tuvok
- Susan Lewis as operations officer
- Louis Ortiz as Excelsior alien crewman
- Shepard Ross as Murphy
- L. Stachawiak as Excelsior crewman
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
- Talon Tears as Excelsior crewman
- Unknown performers as
- Tom Morga as stunt double for Jeremy Roberts
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for George Takei
47; ability; acid; accusation; adrenaline; all hands; Alpha Quadrant; antibody; argon; Azure Nebula; battle cruiser, Klingon; battle stations; bearing; beats per minute; blood factor; Bolian; brain damage; brain death; brig; bunk mate; Bussard collector; captaincy; cartilage; class 17 nebula; class 11 nebula; coma; conduit; cooking; cortical stimulator; cordrazine; crew quarters; crustacean; cryostatic chamber; cup; damage; damage report; day; deflector shield; degree; department head; dill weed; dizziness; emotional response; encephalographic profile; Enterprise-A, USS; enthraxic citrus peel; Excelsior, USS; Excelsior-class; Federation; fluorine; gasoline; garnish; Golwat; hallucination; heart; heart rate; helium; hippocampus; holodeck; Human; hydrogen; ice cream scoop; intruder alert; junior science officer; Keethera; Khitomer; kilodyne; Kirk, James T.; Klingon battle cruisers; Klingon Empire; Kolinahr; K't'inga-class; lobotomy; logic; loyalty; mark; McCoy, Leonard; memory virus; milligram; Milky Way Galaxy; mind meld; minute; Mister Vulcan; multiphasic shields; murder; Neelix' mother; neural pattern; neural structure; neurocortical monitor; neuroelectricity; nostalgia; orange juice; oxygen; panic attack; papalla seed extract; panic attack; pantry; parallel reality; parboiling; parietal bone; parts per million; peptide; percent; plasma conduit; pon farr; Porakan eggs; Porakas IV; Porakas IV sector; positron beam; Praxis; precipice; Prime Directive; pyllora; Qo'noS; red alert; rengazo; replicator; repressed memory; replicator; rescue mission; Romulans; shotgun; sirillium; space duty; Spock; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Headquarters; Starfleet Regulations; storage bay; subspace frequency; subspace shock wave; survey mission; synaptic pathway; T'lokan schism; T'Meni; T'Pel; tachyon sweep; Talax; tea; telepathy; thermal array; theta-xenon; thoron radiation; tissue; tongue; traumatic memory; trial; turbolift; Tuvok's father; vital signs; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan (species); Vulcan nerve pinch; vulture; Wyoming, USS; year; Yorktown, USS
- "Flashback" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Flashback" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Flashback" at Wikipedia
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