Lt. Commander Tuvok is, in my view, normally fair and has a tendency to be harsh on crime in his role as Chief of Security.

When Lon Suder, a Betazoid crewman, committed a non-premeditated murder due to insanity, for example, Tuvok favored the death penalty (even before losing control of his emotions and attempting to carry out an execution himself, against orders).

Things seemed quite different when another Vulcan, Ensign Vorik, was involved, however.

Vorik sexually harassed his superior, Lt. Torres. After she rejected Vorik's advanced, he then grabbed her, faced and forced a telepathic bond on her against her will, causing her to be driven to have sex, in hopes of manipulating her into a sexual/romantic relationship.

On Star Trek: Enterprise, when T'pol was not allowed to break a non-sexual mind meld with another Vulcan, it was regarded as a form of rape. Vorik's forced telepathic bond with B'Elanna Torres was even more of a violation, as:

  • Unlike T'pol, Torres at no point gave any consent for a telepathic connection and had just emphatically rejected her assailant
  • Unlike T'pol's case, the bond was not only analogous to rape, it was actually sexual in nature and intended to result in forcing her to accept the relationship she had just rejected.

However, when confronted by the doctor regarding Vorik's actions, Tuvok not only seemed defensive, but actually told the doctor to leave Vorik alone. At no point did he indicate any concerns as a security officer for what had taken place.

Moreover, after Vorik disobeyed orders to stalk Torres on the planet's surface, Tuvok defended Vorik's desire to physically assault B'Elanna, in hopes of beating her into submission and forcing a sexual relationship on her, after she again just rejected his stated desire to claim her as a "mate". After the ranking officer, Commander Chakotay, disallowed Vorik from attacking either Tom Paris or B'Elanna Torres, Tuvok contradicted him and voiced support for Vorik's desire to beat the woman into accepting his will.

This seems so out of character and wrong on so many levels. Tuvok himself managed the pon far first with medicine and later with holodeck simulations. Nevertheless, he disregarded psychic violations, sexual harassment, and a physical assault which could've resulted in rape when another Vulcan was involved, without showing the slightest disapproval or concerns as ship's security.

Can this be logically explained in some other way, or is it simply preferential treatment to other Vulcans?

  • What you're describing is that he has a personal insight into Vorik's condition. Don't forget that Tuvok is much older and has undergone mental training with a Vulcan Master. It's likely that this is what allowed him to ameliorate the symptoms of a physical condition.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 7:22
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    @Valorum So because Tuvok understands and empathises with this individual, he treats him differently. This sounds a lot like "preferential treatment".
    – Werrf
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 14:39
  • @Werrf - Only in the same way that someone who's suffered from depression might be more sensitive when dealing with someone with depression
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 15:07
  • @Valorum Which is absolutely fine, until you look at the way he treats someone with, say, ADHD, and shows no compassion or empathy whatsoever. I haven't seen the episodes and question in a long time, but the question is still unanswered - however much Tuvok may empathise with Vorik's reasons for what he did, he still treated Vorik's case very differently from Suder's, despite them having very similar motives.
    – Werrf
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


It's not preferential treatment.

Tuvok is considering a number of things all at once:

  • For starters, Tuvok (and other Vulcans) seem to have what The Doctor describes as a "Victorian" attitude towards sex. That is, they prefer not to talk about it. As it is a sensitive and generally private subject, Tuvok's initial response is to avoid the matter entirely.
  • Whilst under the effects of Pon Farr (or Klingon Mating instincts in B'Elanna's case), those afflicted, especially if it's their first time, are not really in control of their actions.
  • Due to the nature of Pon Farr, Tuvok feels that it is best left alone, not because he is uncaring, but because he feels intervening with what is effectively nature's course for a Vulcan would be "Counter-productive". That is, confronting Vorik would probably further enrage him and make matters worse.
  • If the Vulcan / Klingon in question does not go through with some kind of mating ritual at some point, they will die. This is a pretty good reason not to lock Vorik up or something before at least attempting some kind of treatment.
  • He initially doesn't even know that the Mind Meld was forced. It's not until Tom reports back about B'Elanna's usual behaviour that he has an inkling and goes to talk with Vorik about it.
  • He's not "voicing support" for Vorik's actions, he doesn't necessarily condone them, he just knows that, as stated above, if you want to avoid both of them dying, amongst other things, it's something that the two of them have to do.

He knows it has to happen in one form or another, and that point was as good a time as any. Yes, you would naturally expect a high-ranking officer (such as Chakotay), to say "Hang on a minute, we can't let them fight". But Chakotay is a Maquis and not privvy to the culture of Vulcans and Klingons.

Initially the script actually had Tuvok instead of Tom being stuck down in the caves with B'Elanna and fighting Vorik for her affections and whatnot, since Pon Farr is obviously a Vulcan condition. It was changed basically so that it could be used as an opportunity to develop Tom and B'Elanna's relationship. This of course meant that Tuvok had to be given an entirely new script and role in the episode, so that's why he may sometimes appear slightly out of character.

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    While I may not agree 100% with everything I think this is a well written and insightful answer, thus +1 and I am marking it as the solution. Cheers!
    – Hack-R
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 16:21
  • Thanks :) though I have to say, I'm curious as to the aspects you don't agree with. Always nice to see another perspective on stuff like this. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 10:50
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    @DisturbedNeo Interesting point. However, would you let such a dangerous agent roam freely in the world raping and killing at will only because he is not doing it of his own volition? Such an agent is dangerous and should be put under control, depending on the damage caused you may even decide to destroy it.
    – edalorzo
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 17:55
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    @DistrubedNeo I don't think, however, that it was the case that Vorik was in a deep trance. He was under the influence of powerful emotions beyond his control. We could probably say the same thing of any rapist in the world? To what extend the brain chemistry or other factors and influences beyond one's control has made a person to commit such a horrible act? This is all about free will and moral responsibility. Even if Tuvok understood this, it was his responsibility to demonstrate that to B'Elanna. Justice was not served.
    – edalorzo
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 17:56
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    There's a difference between giving into emotional desire and going into a primal rage, which is what Pon Farr effectively is. Having said that, I do think you're onto something. No community as a whole would permit a werewolf to just live amongst them unrestricted, even though it's very easy to predict which nights a person will change. Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 18:16

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