Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager



Air date: 5/6/1996
Teleplay by Kenneth Biller
Story by Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"There's an old axiom: The whole is never greater than the sum of its parts. I think Tuvix might be disproving that notion." — Chakotay

Nutshell: It's amazing that a premise this outlandish can work, but it somehow does, though not without some significant shortcomings.

A very bizarre transporter mishap results in "symbiogenesis" and merges Tuvok and Neelix into a single individual who appropriately names himself "Tuvix" (after briefly considering "Neevok" as a name). Initial studies by Doc reveal that separating the two may not be easy—or even possible. Tuvix must subsequently face the possibility of his unique and permanent existence, realizing that the individuals Tuvok and Neelix may forever be lost.

We've had lots of high concept stories this season, from "Dual Voyagers must outwit the Vidiians!" to "Paris accelerates beyond warp ten and turns into a mutant!" to "Harry Kim travels to a parallel universe Earth!"—but "Tuvix" takes the cake with its single-sentence pitch in which "Tuvok and Neelix are combined!" Is high concept bad? Certainly not. Such shows can be interesting, new, and compelling so long as the single sentence is backed with good storytelling. Of course, if the show fails to deliver beyond its starting point, it simply becomes what may best be called a low concept—a bright idea that goes nowhere.

"Tuvix," fortunately, supplies some human writing behind its bright idea, and the show overall is better than I expected. While there are times when the episode wanders (there's an occasional sense that the creators are gambling that this weird combo-character walking around the ship will automatically prompt awe and wonder from us), "Tuvix" is mostly a character show. And it's a decent character show, even if a bit uneven.

The show could've centered around whether or not Tuvok and Neelix could be restored (which is a foregone conclusion), but fortunately, the real core of the episode centers around the consequences of doing just that. You see, Doc doesn't find a cure at first—it takes him over two weeks. And in this time, Tuvix begins developing his own personality and emotional ties. He takes Tuvok's post as tactical officer, replaces Neelix as head chef, and tries to resume a relationship with Kes.

Most of the characterizations are fairly good. There's a nice scene between Janeway and Kes that works pretty well, even if the subject matter (the obvious coping-with-death topic) isn't all that impressive. At the same time, Tuvix's plight for individuality is certainly agreeable. Tuvix is a surprisingly likable character. Tom Wright's performance is not always on-the-money, but he does do a respectable job of combining the two unlikely personalities together—not an easy task. There's a sense of both Tuvok and Neelix in Wright's gestures and demeanors. It's rather strange—and quite interesting.

And by the end of the show, Tuvix becomes a character all in himself. I actually found myself thinking of him as an individual and not a combination of two other characters. This is a respectable feat on the part of director Cliff Bole; since the end of the show centers around the question of whether or not Tuvix has individual rights, it's important that the audience have sympathy for him.

But despite the character-driven strengths in "Tuvix," this episode doesn't entirely click. There are some problems with how this show unfolds. The bottom line of "Tuvix" doesn't really center around whether or not Tuvok and Neelix will be restored, yet the first four acts still tend to revolve around this question. From Kes' coping with the loss of Neelix to the Doctor's frantic search for a cure (which, naturally, involves the usual technobabble and DNA tricks that border on total incredulity), there seems to be too much emphasis on the question of how to restore Tuvix back to two people.

Then in the fifth act, the show does a complete 180 when Doc finds a miracle cure and the story abruptly shifts focus to the morality question of killing Tuvix to save Tuvok and Neelix when Tuvix passionately expresses a desire to remain "joined." This part of the show is especially interesting, but the execution doesn't hold up very well.

For one, I think Tuvix is a little too adamant on living. Wouldn't his logic see both sides of this complex issue? The writers make Tuvix's position on this argument a little more concrete than it probably should've been. The lack of subtlety in his character may be explained by the bigger problem here—the way this whole argument is jammed into the final act of the show. It would've been much more prudent to dedicate more of the show to this argument rather than spending so much time on Kes' coping-with-death issue and Tuvix's initial fish-out-of-water dilemma. While all three elements of the show are certainly relevant, only Tuvix's sacrifice really holds any lasting impact. Unfortunately, very little of the episode focuses on the most important aspect.

Janeway's decision to force Tuvix to submit to a procedure that would kill him in order to save two crewmen is a powerful turn of events. And the subsequent fact that the Doctor will not harm Tuvix against his will leads Janeway to actually carry out the procedure herself—and having to live with the consequences of what Tuvix labels "murder." This is all very interesting, but it also brings up a number of troubling questions that the episode does not begin to address. This is too bad—if the show had found its focus on this issue sooner, it could've been a compelling installment. As the episode stands, it feels unfinished, uneven, and underutilized.

"Tuvix" is an entertaining character show that tries to say something, but overall it isn't what I would call an excellent or even impressive show. It's a missed opportunity in some ways, while it works in other ways. Three stars seems about fair, I guess—but just barely three stars.

On a minor, unrelated note, I didn't like the teaser at all. I'm getting sick of Neelix's badgering of Tuvok over the fact that he is unemotional. It's getting very, very, very old. Why can't Neelix just accept Tuvok for what he is? For compensation of this scene, I think I'll dig up my tape of "Meld" so I can watch Tuvok strangle the annoying little Talaxian again.

Previous episode: The Thaw
Next episode: Resolutions

Season Index

107 comments on this review

Stefan - Mon, Feb 11, 2008 - 9:25pm (USA Central)
I found the crew's change of heart toward Tuvix absurd. Originally, the crew likes Tuvix. Then Captain Janeway decides that Tuvix must die and he refuses to comply. At that point, the crew suddenly despises Tuvix. That makes no sense to me.

The episode gives the impression that the crew's feelings toward Tuvix were linked to those of Captain Janeway. Was that a Federation crew or the Borg Collective? Some of the crew should have resisted Captain Janeway's order of execution. The resolution of the episode was very disappointing to me. Captain Janeway committed murder and the crew had no problem with that.
Big Jones - Sun, Mar 23, 2008 - 5:51am (USA Central)
This certainly could have been a fascinating episode. Your analysis of the short-changing that the 'Tuvix dilemma' gets is spot on. I believe the Kes angle was basically intended to be a device for taking some heat off of Janeway. Remember, Kes basically comes to Janeway right before she takes Tuvix away and pleads for Neelix to be returned to her. This wasn't fleshed out that well (like most of the episode) but I think that was one intent of that story-arc.

I wonder if the producers were concerned that the more philosophical aspects of this episode would confuse or bore viewers? It's very unfortunate that such a great opportunity was missed.

Stefan, in the previous comment, makes a great point. The episode is held back primarily by the brevity afforded to the interesting issue, but the reaction of the entire crew is bewildering. Another thing that bothered me.. Tuvix, for having the knowledge and ostensibly some of the intellectual power of Tuvok did very little to argue for his life.

I know it would never fly, especially in only the second season of the show, but this could have easily been a two-parter (the second hour dealing mostly with the psychological repercussions of Tuvix's murder on the crew, Janeway and Tuvok especially).

I like the Tuvok character, but being rid of Neelix was a fair exchange. ;)
Dirk Hartmann - Tue, Apr 1, 2008 - 9:56am (USA Central)
I never interpreted the crew's reaction as one of "despising" Tuvix when he showed that he wants to live. To me, they rather seemed simply stunned by the sudden and unexpected dilemma, thus mostly doing nothing (which is a psychologically common reaction in such cases). If Tuvix would have been "understanding", this would have subtracted from the dilemma (which is no good in the "drama" genre). To such a dilemma, there is no real "solution". In the end, one has to chose between two evils. The reason that Janeway took the decision all by herself was that she wanted to spare the crew, taking all the guilt onto herself.
Stefan - Tue, Apr 1, 2008 - 1:03pm (USA Central)
At minimum, the crew was "cold" to Tuvix after Captain Janeway's decision. Wasn't the crew "stunned" prior to her decision? The sudden change in the crew's attitude, and that none of the crew (other than the Doctor) dissented, didn't strike me as believable.
Dirk Hartmann - Thu, Apr 3, 2008 - 12:00pm (USA Central)
@Stefan: Yeah, well, maybe you're right and I have to stretch what we see on screen a tad too far in my attempt to make the crew's reaction fit character. But I basically liked the episode and found it quite thought-provoking, even though its execution surely was a bit "rough" around the edges ...
Stefan - Thu, Apr 3, 2008 - 5:25pm (USA Central)
I liked the episode as well. It was only the crew's reaction to the Captain's decision, and Tuvix strong dissent, that struck me as inconsistent.
chrychek - Sat, May 17, 2008 - 12:25am (USA Central)
This show shocked and appauled me. It is not like Janeway to violate the prime directive in such a personal way, and by forcing the separation of a new combined sentient being, the moral dilemmas are harsh and the fall fast. I have to say that I felt sick when Janeway gave the order, and I also felt sick by the cries of mercy from the new sentient being, Tuvix. It is too bad that Tuvix couldn't have been cloned and send off in a ship somewhere to be weird on someone else's time.
Ravi - Sat, May 31, 2008 - 2:32am (USA Central)
I thought the crew's reaction to Janeway's decision was spot on. Sure they had come to like and respect Tuvix but they had only spent a few weeks with him. But Tuvok and Neelix had been on the ship for almost two years and the crew's bond for them would be stronger then the one for Tuvix. I don't think they despised Tuvix, they would rather have Neelix and Tuvok back. It was a pretty good moral dilemma. Whatever Janeway's decision was, someone was going to end up dying.
Stefan - Sat, May 31, 2008 - 8:03pm (USA Central)
The Voyager crew was always supposed to be the "good guys." The end of this episode showed the crew wanting to murder a fellow crewmember. That shouldn't have been allowed to be the desire of the "good guys." Approving of the Captain murdering Tuvix is not the "spot on" reaction of the "good guys."
matt - Sun, Jun 22, 2008 - 10:49am (USA Central)
This is a great episode until the decision at the end to execute an innocent man pleading for his life. When i catch reruns of this episode I turn it off at the last scene because it is just too disgusting to watch. The writers of voyager really screwed up here, lost there moral compass, and shamed star trek, the series, the whole voyager crew, and especially the Captain. I don't even consider it part of star trek cannon, its just a mistake some writers made. I just can not say strongly enough how horrible the ending of this episode was.
impronen - Mon, Jul 28, 2008 - 2:22pm (USA Central)
It seems that this episode has done it's job well. It's pretty obvious that inflicting such extremely difficult choices to our heroes, the writers have desired to spark the audience thinking. To do so on a television show is quite commentable.

To me, the crews reaction is quite logical. Let's just think about it for a while. They have known both Neelix and Tuvok for a long time and have made friends of them. They get used to this new guy and accept him, becouse it's established that he's going to be there and those two are gone.

But then there is a chance that he (Tuvix) could bring they're old friends back by giving his own life. He refuses to do so. Well, you cant blame him for wanting to live but the crew understandably loves and cares about they're old friends more. It's very human to do so. It's going to be murder both ways and the crew's hearts are with Tuvok and Neelix. And so are captain Janeway's.

It's a pretty damn impossible puzzle to solve "right" in a ethical standpoint. I bet Tuvok and Neelix would have had the exact same arguments about the right to live that Tuvix had. One murder or two? I would go with Janeway on this one. For once, she shows the guts to go against the Federation code of conduct and do something that is slightly less bad.
Jonathan - Sun, Sep 7, 2008 - 2:31pm (USA Central)
I agree with what's been said here about too little time being spent on the Tuvix dilemma here to make the show worthwhile to watch.

However, there's something I think everyone's missing.

Voyager, and for that matter, all of Trek, isn't just about a wagon train to the stars. It's about hiding relevant and controversial issues under enough pretense of fiction to make them "okay" to talk about in the public square. It's about dealing with life, death, spirituality, racism, war, and any issue you can think of. I agree that the cheap ending cheapens the episode, and makes it barely tolerable. But I think that, rather than dealing *more* with the Tuvix-separation dilemma, it should have dealt with it *less*. At the beginning of the show, separating Tuvix was a non-issue. Why did it have to become an issue at all? They could have had Tuvix ask the question, and realize that separation was the only logical thing, and accept it, and all ends well, while having even more time to deal with issues that people really deal with -- let's face it, bizarre transporter merges aren't something you deal with every day.

In summary, I think they took what could have been a great episode, pondering loss of friends while having a great character to laugh at it with, and turned it into an execution scene.
Mike - Mon, Oct 6, 2008 - 3:05pm (USA Central)
It's fascinating reading these comments. Let's take the premise seriously for a second. Let's say your best friend and your wife/husband were somehow combined into one person. Would you treat this new person like a complete pariah? Possibly, but it wouldn't be fair if the transformation wasn't his/her fault. Now, let's say there is almost no chance of getting the two people back. Would you completely blow off the new person? Especially given that they have all the memories of your best friend and wife/husband? That would probably be very difficult to do; hanging out with and talking to the new person would be as close as you could get to the lost people.

Now, let's say the situation suddenly changes; you go from thinking you'll never see your friend and wife again, to knowing exactly how to bring them back. But, to do this, the new person will no longer exist. From reading these comments, it appears some people think that the new person would happily accept his/her murder, which is bizarre. On the other hand, some people think that everyone should protest Tuvix' murder, despite the fact that such a protest might lead to you never seeing your best friend and wife again.

I think the writing and the cast play this exactly right. Perhaps there could have been more on the morality of Tuvix' murder, but I have little doubt that everyone would have abandoned their new found friend in favor of their friends for two years.
anonymous - Fri, Mar 6, 2009 - 12:58am (USA Central)
This episode makes absolutely no sense. It's not even possible to suspend disbelief long enough to get caught up in. Besides, every time they use the transporter, they're killing the person being beamed. Why is it an issue now?
Ian Whitcombe - Fri, Mar 6, 2009 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
Anonymous, while that is the actual scientific theory behind transporter technology, for all intents and purposes in the Star Trek canon the subjects who dematerialize are the same people who re-materialize.
Stefan - Fri, Mar 6, 2009 - 5:42pm (USA Central)
The claim made by anonymous is debatable. Remember, the matter and energy which is being transported is reassembled so it's the same as it was pre-transport. If I disassemble a car, move the pieces to a different location and then put those pieces together so they connect to one another as they did before I disassembled the car, would I have the car at the end that I did at the beginning? I say I would.

Therefore, I don't believe a standard transport kills the transported person. On the other hand, when Tuvix was transported you didn't get that matter and energy forming Tuvix at the end of that transport and so I believe Tuvix was murdered in that case.
Dan - Sun, Apr 19, 2009 - 10:29pm (USA Central)
I don't understand the doctors stance in this episode. At the end, he says he cannot take a human life...then why look for the "cure" to begin with?
matt - Sun, Apr 19, 2009 - 10:42pm (USA Central)
perhaps to the procedure, he perhaps could have used the cure if tuvix was willing to self sacrifice for the sake of neelix and tuvok, its hard to be sure of exactly how is ethicl sub routines work tho, some doctors will assist suicide some wont
Bligo - Thu, Jul 16, 2009 - 6:25pm (USA Central)
Hey if they have a holographic dokter,a sentient robot,a merge between a dead trill and a changeling something like Tuvix seems to fit in.

Maybe next week Harry gets injured,loses his legs and they decide to use transport logs of last week to make him whole again while killing the injured Harry.Suits the canon.
Jay - Sat, Aug 1, 2009 - 11:05am (USA Central)
What is the material component here? Does Tuvix possess all of the combined mass of both Tuvok and Neelix, and therefore is he twice as "dense", giving him an almost superheroic stamina?
Jay - Sat, Aug 1, 2009 - 11:17am (USA Central)
I just don't get the "taking of a life" aspect of Tuvix. It's anon-issue to me. A life isn't being taken...two are being restored. A life is not being taken...two individuals are being restored to individuality. Frankly I found the notion that Tuvix had a say in it to be quite offensive. It's akin, IMO, to saying that a viral infection or a cancer has a say in whether an individual can be treated.
James - Sat, Aug 1, 2009 - 11:22am (USA Central)
At the people saying Tuvix should have been able to live on at the expense of Tuvok and Neelix - would you also let an alternate personality in someone with mutiple personalties decide to decline medical treatment?

I can't even get my head around the defense of "Tuvix" here.
Nic - Sat, Aug 8, 2009 - 9:07am (USA Central)
There are at least three things wrong with this episode:
1) Janeway committed murder. Whichever way you put it, Tuvix had the right to continue living if he wanted to, it wasn't his fault that meant losing Tuvok and Neelix.
2) I think that if Tuvix really was a combination of both Tuvok and Neelix (something they seemed to forget in the last act - treating him as just a 'new' person), he would eventually have decided to sacrifice his life to bring them back.

3) There's another missed opportunity you can add to your list Jammer: What did Tuvok and Neelix get out of all this? How has living together in the same body helped them understand each other better? How does it affect their relationship? Unfortunately their relationship in future episodes doesn't change at all, as if this didn't happen (too common in Voyager, unfortunately). And worst of all, it makes the teaser completely non-sequitur and that much more annoying for it.
Jay - Sat, Aug 8, 2009 - 4:00pm (USA Central)
Saying that Tuvix had a right to live on because it wasn't his fault is like saying someone with multiple personality disorder has no right to seek treatment because the other personalities aren't to blame for the condition and deserve to live on.

Remco - Wed, Aug 12, 2009 - 8:39am (USA Central)
Multiple personality disorder can't be magically fixed. It is a long process of integration, and involves all identities. The prognosis is very bad. Usually the condition is managed instead of resolved. Multiple personality disorder is a destructive condition which often leads to suicide.

Tuvix was not destructive at all. He was a fully functional being, a perfect composite of two people. It's actually rather like an incredibly successful rehabilitation of a multiple personality disorder case.

Killing him was wrong on every level. It's like giving someone multiple personality disorder.

If you condone killing him on the basis that he "shouldn't exist", and that two other lives "should exist", then what would you do in the following arbitrary case:

You're in a torture chamber like in Saw. You are in room A. Another person is there, tied to a chair. A needle with deadly poison is on a table. There are two people alive in room B. In 5 minutes, room A will unlock and room B will kill the two inhabitants.

If you kill the tied-up person in room A, then in 5 minutes both room A and B will unlock and you're free to go.

So either you kill one person, or the room kills two persons. You are always free to go. Will you kill someone, or will you let the person who built the room be a killer?
Jay - Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - 12:05pm (USA Central)
That analogy doesn't hold because all of the persons involved are "supposed to be" persons.

Tuvix isn't "supposed to be". His continued existence is only made possible by two deaths. Nothing can change that.
Jay - Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - 12:11pm (USA Central)
Nic, your 3 contradicts your 1.

Your 1 implies that Tuvok and Neelix are gone, and Tuvix is a new person .

Then in 3 you wonder why Tuvok and Neelix didn't gain anything from a experience in which they were for all intents and purposes not only absent, but nonexistent.
Remco - Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - 2:03pm (USA Central)
What makes someone 'supposed to be'? Isn't everyone supposed to be? In my opinion, the only criterion for who is supposed to be, if not everyone, is what happens when you don't interfere. That's the basis of the prime directive.

The continued existence of the person in room A depends on two deaths. Nothing can change that. The continued existence of the persons in room B depends on a murder. Nothing can change that.

There is no optimal solution. So there are two options:

1. Do nothing. Let the situation play out the way it would naturally do.

2. Play god. Make an active decision about who deserves to live and who deserves to die. That can be:

* The prettiest,
* The youngest,
* The familiar
* The smartest,
* The most,
* The richest,
* ...

If you take option 2, you'll have blood on your hands, whether you perform the act of murder yourself or not. If the decision happens to be that the people in room B should die, you won't legally be a murderer. If the decision happens to be that the person in room A should die, you'll be imprisoned for life. Except on Voyager, where people will forget about it after the closing credits.
Jay - Sat, Aug 22, 2009 - 10:19pm (USA Central)
"Supposed to be" is what's natural.

Your logic is like someone demanding they have the right to clone you because said clone will have a right to exist once it exists.

If I don't want myself cloned, that's my right.
Remco - Sun, Aug 23, 2009 - 7:25am (USA Central)
No, you don't have the right to clone someone against their will. But once that clone exists, you also don't have the right to kill him.

The same is true for 'normal' reproduction. You don't have the right to force a woman to have a child, but once that child exists, you're not allowed to killed it.

Say a woman was raped, and she becomes pregnant. She doesn't abort the child, but when it is born, she can't look at her without seeing the rapist. Does your logic allow the mother to kill the daughter?

How do you decide what's natural? Isn't everything that happens without your intervention natural?
Chris - Sun, Oct 11, 2009 - 7:37pm (USA Central)
I agree fully with Remco.
Saying he isn't supposed to exist is a cruel way to look at things as he do exist (in the show). If someone told you that you shouldn't exist because you were concived through some kind of medical mistake would you think it's in our right to murder you?
He had the same right to live like everybody else does. Once you live you have the right to live, how you came to be really doesn't matter. What's natural and all that is all opinions, one could argue that everything that happens is natural. Logically speaking killing one person to save two persons is the correct decision, is it however morally right to actively murder someone to save two?
Will - Tue, Oct 27, 2009 - 12:29pm (USA Central)
Oh my lord, another overrated episode. This can join Timeless and Tattoo. This episode has a great premise. Tuvok and Neelix get fused together. Cool. It's the second half it falls down on, the decision of killing Tuvix. Interesting moral dilemma. There's just one problem. NO ONE CARES ABOUT TUVIX. Hell, I'd rather have Tuvok and Neelix back. Better the annoying Neelix than this downright creepy, more-annoying-than-Neelix guy. I actually cheered when Tuvok and Neelix appeared again. Don't think I'm justified in saying this? I have a friend who stopped watching Voyager solely because of this episode.
Jeff - Tue, Dec 1, 2009 - 3:35pm (USA Central)
Surely the death of tulix broke the Prime directive RVERY species has the right to survive ???
Nic - Mon, Jan 18, 2010 - 1:14pm (USA Central)
Yes, I also agree with Remco. Nothing is "supposed to be" or "not supposed to be". My 3 doesn't contradict my 1. Creating Tuvix was an accident, yes, but once that accident happened Tuvix was a living breathing life form with rights equal to anyone else's. I believe I WOULD be willing to sacrifice myself to save two lives (though it always depends on the situation), but I would NOT be willing to KILL someone to save two lives (even if one of those two lives is my own), because I believe that the end does not justify the means. So in a way I disagree with Janeway's decision, but I ALSO disagree with Tuvix's decision.

My third point is simply that there was something interesting that could have been explored with Tuvok and Neelix's characters after they were separated. Did they both remember being Tuvix? Did they regret anything he did? After this ordeal, did they finally manage to understand each other better?

I think the fact that so many people have strong feelings about this episode (good and bad) proves it posed an interesting question. I just don't like that it didn't have an impact on the series.
Sadist - Mon, Mar 1, 2010 - 8:53pm (USA Central)
I'm glad he's dead, my only regret is that he didn't suffer more before the end.
Dan P - Sat, Mar 13, 2010 - 5:31pm (USA Central)
Firstly, I'll say that the guy who played Tuvix was fantastic!

But my jaw hit the floor in the final act. It was murder.
Adam - Fri, Mar 19, 2010 - 10:03pm (USA Central)
@Remco: Wheather or not you'd "legally" be a murderer isn't really relevant to the moral debate.

@Matt, Nick, Remco & Stefan: Suppose you have the ability to bring dead people back to life. You find the corpses of two people who've met untimely deaths. You could easily restore them to life but decide instead to let them stay dead. Isn't that morally equivalent to murder? Aren't you just as evil as if you'd killed the two people yourself?

@Matt: Couldn't you also say the writers would have been losing their moral compass if they'd had the crew allow Neelix and Tuvok to stay dead (thus effectively murdering Neelix and Tuvok)?

@Nic: How does Janeway committing murder count as something "wrong" with the episode? If you have a problem with characters doing something morally reprehensible, why would you even watch this show, which often has villains in it? Besides, wouldn't Janeway also have been murdering Nelix and Tuvok if she hadn't murdered Tuvix? Also, your comment about the crew "forgetting" that Tuvix was a combination of Tuvock and Neelix and that Tuvix would have been willing to be seperate if he were a conmbination of people assumes that the idea of him being a person and the idea of him being a combination of two people are mutually exclusive ideas. I thought the point of the episode is that he's both.

@Matt & Stefan: Must the show be totally black-and-white? Can't the heroes make a mistake or do the wrong thing once and a while? And couldn't you just as easily argue that letting Nelix and Tuvok stay dead (and thus effectively murdering them)shouldn't have been allowed to be the desire of the "good guys"?

@Remco, Nic & Stefan: Yes, splitting Tuvix up was murdering him, but not splitting him up would have been murdering Nelix and Tuvok. There was no morally right action in this situation. Either descision would be murder.

@Jay: As others have pointed out, it's totally arbitrary to say that Tuvok wasn't "supposed" to exist. To decide that some people are "supposed" to exist and others aren't is to "play God", by which I mean we have no right to make that descision (I actually don't think a god has any right to make that descision either, but that's a separate issue). Tuvix is a person, not a cancer. Cancer isn't a sentient being, so your analogy is flawed. Even if that weren't the case, Tuvix existed as a result of two people already being killed, wheras cancer is IN THE PROCESS of KILLING someone, so wheras killing Tuvix is like shooting an innocent person to ressurect two other innocent people, treating a cancer is more akin to shooting someone who's about to shoot someone else.
Remco - Fri, Mar 19, 2010 - 10:27pm (USA Central)
"@Remco: Wheather or not you'd "legally" be a murderer isn't really relevant to the moral debate."

What I was trying to convey with the "legally being a murderer" bit, was that this particular decision would be generally accepted as bad. Hence the law that says it's a bad decision. But yeah, legality does not always equal morality.

"@Matt, Nick, Remco & Stefan: Suppose you have the ability to bring dead people back to life. You find the corpses of two people who've met untimely deaths. You could easily restore them to life but decide instead to let them stay dead. Isn't that morally equivalent to murder? Aren't you just as evil as if you'd killed the two people yourself?"

Well, you're not *as* evil, but it surely is in the general direction of evilness. Doing nothing is not something that's always right. I can't think of something off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are situations in real life where it's illegal to do nothing. (Again, just to show that it's generally accepted as bad.)

I'm just saying that when you have a choice with exactly two options that are of about equal evilness, then you should let "fate" decide.

For example, if in your scenario the only way to resurrect someone, would be to take the life of another (think Carnivàle or Pushing Daisies), then the morality of resurrection becomes really questionable.
Matrix - Tue, May 4, 2010 - 9:30pm (USA Central)
I think this was a great episode, although i do like original title which was apparently 'symbiogenesis', or so i heard. I think it was fantastic that there was no easy solution and the responses of kes, the captain and the crew seemed perfectly in line with knowing that whatever way they choose someone's going to get hurt. sure it would've been good to follow up on this but honestly it doesn't worry me all that much. what stays with me is the moment as janeway walks out of sickbay and you get that even though she did what she had to one way or another she's not okay.
Ian - Mon, Jun 21, 2010 - 5:53am (USA Central)
The final decision by Janeway seems at odds with "Phage" in which she decided not to kill the Vidiian who stole Neelix's lungs. Tuvix, while having only existed for two weeks, is innocent.

Of course, in the context of the series, everything has to be back to normal in the end.
SiLL - Fri, Jul 2, 2010 - 9:52pm (USA Central)
I just finished the episode and wow.. this is the very first trek episode where I despised the crew.

To call Tuvix' right to live "offensive" is the stupid thing I have heart for a while. He IS a sentient being! If he is killed and Tuvok and Neelix are thereby revived, it means that one innocent man is killed to save two other innocent man. That Tuvix is an actual combination of the two is of zero relevance for this.

And this is so incredibly morally wrong, that I couldn't believe it that Janeway even considered it. It made me sick how he plead for mercy and nobody did anything.

But in one regard this episode was really great, it (obviously ;)) got me thinking.
Chunky Style - Sat, Jul 10, 2010 - 11:47pm (USA Central)
The Prime Directive is about non-interference with pre-warp cultures; it doesn't apply here. Now that that's out of the way ...

Tuvix had free will and he had a sense of self. That's typically enough in the Federation's eyes to grant an entity the legal authority to make decisions about its own fate. While I acknowledge that it's a tough call to the extent that Neelix and Tuvok couldn't come back if Tuvix was to live, it's not a tough call in that precedent supports Tuvix's rights. And if Janeway was correct that both Neelix and Tuvok would be willing to die in the line of duty, well, I guess they were happy with how things turned out, now weren't they? (Up to the point where an innocent being was killed to resurrect them; I like to think one or the other would have had a problem with that.)

Everyone on the ship was a bunghole; even the Doctor wussed out by neither performing the procedure nor lifting a finger to stop Janeway. This sort of thing wouldn't have happened on DS9 or on any of the Enterprises.
Fan - Wed, Aug 11, 2010 - 12:10pm (USA Central)
I find may of the earlier comments about this episode curious. More specifically, everyone focused on deciding whether bringing Neelix and Tuvok consiututed "murder." Or, whether not restoring them constitutes allowing them to die.

Think about our society today. Don't we face complicated issues of a similar nature? For example, in a pinch, who gets to live? The mother or the child?

Accordingly, I like that fact that the writers found a way to bring a sort of futureistic version of this issue to the table.

We hate it when answers are not easy to answer. not black and white, especially when dealing with life and death. And, good for the writers to make an old issue, new and powerful! Even in the future!

Nic - Thu, Oct 21, 2010 - 9:45am (USA Central)
@Adam: I don't have any problem with characters (whether they are protagonists or antagonists) doing things that I consider 'reprehensible'. My problem is that Janeway's action had no consequences, and as such the episode is telling us that she made the right decision, when in my mind she did not.

DS9 did this too in "For the Uniform", where Sisko poisons a planet, but then everything goes back to normal, and he does not face the consequences of this reprehensible act.

I like episodes that ask interesting moral questions. Sometimes they don't give the answers ("Unity", "Rocks and Shoals"), and sometimes they do ("I Borg", "Inquisition"). But if I don't agree with the answer they give, then usually it'll be hard for me to appreciate it.

Still, the moral dilemma was interesting and as such I would still give this episode a 2.5 or 3.
Apsara - Fri, Oct 22, 2010 - 12:04am (USA Central)
Actually, Nic, at the end of the show I got the feeling that Janeway would be internally struggling with the consequences of her decision for some time; we just won't be able to see them due to the nature of the way Voyager is constructed as a series.

I for one was not happy with Tuvix. I want good characters to be noble, and I wanted him to choose to give up his life so that the two individuals, who unwittingly gave up their lives to make his possible, could continue their existence. However, that is not the character that was written, and I found him interesting in his selfishness and clinginess. (It also seems that many who cry "murder!" are the ones who don't like Neelix. Of course, I have no stats on this!)

I also found it curious that so many apply 21st century ideas of "murder" to a very non 21st century issue. People bring up all sorts of comparisons, (sacrificing one of two siamese twins, and so on) But I think some situations demand evolving forms of what is "moral" and what is not. (Not so long ago it would have been unquestionably immoral in the majority of American eyes, for gays to have sex, let alone marry and raise kids. Now an evolution has taken place. A nun once told me that a male losing semen in frivolous masturbation was a form of murder. And let's not get into the subject of abortion...)

The point is we cannot pass moral judgment on a situation we are incapable of experiencing--i.e. two individuals, each with his own long history, and one with a wife and children--merging into one individual. There IS no example from our current time that is an adequate comparison, no matter what folks try to come up with. We simply do not have the means to merge two individuals into one.

This is yet another example of the Janeway character's moral ambiguity, her willingness to make hard decisions on her own from what appear to be her "gut" instincts.
I would think a trial of some kind, with one advocate for Tuvix, one for Neelix and Tuvok, plus a jury might have been called for (though, purely as entertainment, I am normally not fond of trial scenes). I was more offended in the STNG's episode "Half a LIfe," in which those who reach "60" are forced into a suicide ritual called "The Resolution." On that planet trying to live longer and avoid the ritual, was considered morally reprehensible.

In short we cannot , from our primitive 21st century perspective, pass a subjective judgment of "murder" on uniquely a 24th phenomena happening, in a 24th century civilization.
Elliott - Wed, Dec 1, 2010 - 11:28pm (USA Central)
It was a subtlety in the reasoning of the episode (and Janeway) and so I think most of us have missed it--since Tuvix is a combination in every regard of Tuvok and Neelix, his very desire to exist is a combination of the latter two's desire to exist as well (Tuvix himself makes the point that his desire to live is motivated by the consciousnesses of TWO men). Thus, Janeway chooses to interpret Tuvix' very desire to exist as the plea from the other two to live as themselves. This is a deeply complicated and foggy line of reasoning and there can be no denying that it is heavily coloured by the personal desires of both Janeway and her crew, but unlike a child of two individuals, Tuvix IS two people simultaneously; it is reasonable to assume his feelings and thoughts are those of two people as well.
Michael - Thu, Dec 16, 2010 - 4:37am (USA Central)
Over a decade later, we are still quibbling over this episode. I think it must be one of the most controversial in all of Star Trek, but for all the wrong reasons; the series needed to hit the reset button, making the entire episode pointless to begin with. I think it's a very good idea, but it should never have been made because it could never be made right while actors' contracts and show continuity are determining factors.
Laurence - Fri, Dec 31, 2010 - 9:02pm (USA Central)
The only problem I had with this excellent episode is the most interesting aspect is utterly ignored.

I wanted to know how Neelix and Tuvok integrated their bizarre experience once back in their original forms. Did both of them resent Janeway for her decision, or were they completely happy?

I hope with continuing episodes Neelix and Tuvok have a greater respect for each other, since surely they retain the memory of their fusion, just like Tuvix retained the memories of both. It would be nice to see an end to Neelix's highly irritating needling of Tuvok. But I wouldn't be surprised if the incident is utterly forgotten by the next episode.
Destructor - Sun, Mar 27, 2011 - 7:28pm (USA Central)
I think the fact we're still discussing it is a testament to the fact that it's a very thought-provoking episode. The people in the thread above arguing that Tuvix 'should have accepted his separation' rather than causing a scene basically do not understand drama, at all. The point of that scene was to make you uncomfortable. The point of that episode is that Janeway *was* willing to murder Tuvix to save Tuvok and Neelix. It is horrible, yes- that is why it's so interesting.
Plot Hole - Wed, Apr 20, 2011 - 4:41pm (USA Central)
Why do you people think Tuvix was "murdered"? And why don't you people see the plot hole that's bigger than the Delta Quadrant itself?

Earth to Trekkies/Trekkers, Tuvix was compromised by alien DNA. Name one instance in all of Star Trek when alien DNA, virus, consciousness, etc., was allowed to take take over a crew member.

Remember when Pulaski got rid of the old age virus by tranporting using her original DNA.

Remember when Data got rid of the dying scientist that transferred his consciousness.

Remember when the entire TOS Enterprise crew mutinied to a planet with "feel-good" spores and Kirk had to call Spock a half-breed to snap him out of it.

Remember when Riker was infected by a symbiont that was killing him, but Riker didn't mind because the symbiont's effect was to make the host feel at peace.

There are many other such episodes. Had to get rid of the alien presence in every one. So where does the sympathy for keeping Tuvix begin in the first place?

Plus, what about the benefits of cross-breeding plants or animals. The orchid had to be one of the greatest scientific discoveries ever. Now instead of pain-staking genetic enigeering that could take centuries to accomplish, just run what you want to hybridize through the transporter with the orchid. Anybody else see that angle?
Matthias - Mon, Aug 22, 2011 - 8:06am (USA Central)
Tuvix was a dick. He's got the memories and emotions of both Tuvok and Neelix yet he's cool with having Kes lose Neelix and uh that Vulcan chick with the crazy eyes and her children lose Tuvok? He has Vulcan logic but doesn't see the rights of two people with deeply rooted lives and loved ones matter more than those of some dude who just showed up a couple weeks ago?
Aylin - Fri, Aug 26, 2011 - 12:16am (USA Central)
@Plot Hole

"Name one instance in all of Star Trek when alien DNA, virus, consciousness, etc., was allowed to take take over a crew member."

Easy: "The Host". Riker is implanted with a Trill symbiote, which completely takes over his body. Not only was it allowed to happen in fact, but Dr. Crusher herself put the symbiote there knowing full well what would happen!

Additionally, every single example you give does not even relate to this episode, with the possible exception of the example of "The Schizoid Man". However, even that does not relate as Dr. Graves hostilely took over Data's body, while Tuvix did NOTHING to cause the accident that happened, so the parallel breaks down right at the beginning. All the other ones you reference involve danger to the ship, which is NOT an issue here at all.

"Why do you people think Tuvix was "murdered"?"

Simple. Because he actually was murdered. A murder, in the context of Star Trek, is the unlawful killing of another sentient being. Tuvix obviously was sentient, so the only other criteria that needs to be met is that the killing was unlawful.

This is accomplished in two ways. First and foremost, in the Federation there is NO crime whatsoever that is punished with execution. Additionally, its established in "Lifesigns", from this very season in fact, that someone cannot be forced or coerced under Federation law to save someone else's life, even when the cost to the other person is very low, when B'elanna was asked to give part of her brain to save the Vidiian. This was also shown in the Next Generation episode "The Enemy" when Worf refused to give some of his blood to save the Romulan. Clearly, under Federation law, the precedent is that an individual cannot be forced or coerced to take any action to save another's life. Thus, the killing of Tuvix to bring back Neelix and Tuvok was unlawful, by Federation law.

It doesn't matter if you liked or disliked Tuvix; the fact is that killing him was unlawful and thus Janeway should not have taken that action since her character is based upon her unwavering conviction for Federation principles!
Jon - Sat, Sep 3, 2011 - 2:35pm (USA Central)
If the orchids had caused fusion of a crewmember with a fly, and the merger was sentient, I certainly think the original crewmember's rights trump the wishes of flyguy (or flygirl), even if the latter wants to stick around.

The victim(s) of a freak accident are certainly entitled to restoration if it's technologically possible. Anything else would be the height of unethical.
Christine - Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 4:56pm (USA Central)

Neither Tuvok nor Neelix is an insect of any sort. Thus, your argument has absolutely nothing to do with the episode.
Weiss - Fri, Sep 16, 2011 - 3:25pm (USA Central)
I watched last week's Doctor Who, where Amy lives a whole life and meets here young self. But her husband, is forced to choose which one lives, because both people are the same, but cannot exist in the same universe.
the episode was kinda boring, and very contrived,

but it reminded me of Tuvix. and this is one of the few time I will ever say that Voyager did a good job (yeah there were flaws in this episode). But the dilemma was presented in an interesting way, or maybe my memory is colored after 15 years and I just liked the Tuvix character (more than I cared for future Amy)
Nathan - Sun, Oct 30, 2011 - 9:04pm (USA Central)
Reminded me of Curzon Odo from DS9 "Facets".
TDexter - Mon, Jan 16, 2012 - 5:23pm (USA Central)
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I found it to be very disturbing, but it's good to be disturbed by a moral dilemma now and then. The point of drama, and especially tragedy -- and in many ways, this episode fits the form -- is not clean, quick, and easy resolution. It's to demonstrate that, sometimes, there is no good solution. Sometimes, there is no correct choice.

Star Trek is at its best when it is dealing with these kinds of moral dilemmas. It's at its worst when it's merely Federation versus chaos, Good versus Evil, etc.

The fact that this has instigated so much discussion tells me that the writers succeeded in what they set out to do.
Jon - Tue, Jan 31, 2012 - 1:15pm (USA Central)
@ Christine...you make my point for me. Tuvok and Neelix are sentient beings. Whether the resulting fused sentient being is normal or gruesome is irrelevent...they are entitled to restoration if it is possible.
Alex - Mon, Mar 5, 2012 - 7:22am (USA Central)
In a way, this story is the opposite of "Deadlock", where the dilemma center around each crew member being split into two individuals. In each case a restoration of the single original individual is sought after, and in each case such a resolution requires a sacrifice.
Justin - Mon, Mar 19, 2012 - 11:12am (USA Central)
Great thread. Whether you liked the episode or not, there's no denying that it was a thought provoking hour of television. So it is successful at least on that level.

My feelings on the episode are based on my uneasiness with the character of Tuvix. I don't fault the actor his performance, because he was given an extremely difficult role to play and he did a fine job of it. But in the end I wanted Tuvok and Neelix back just like Janeway and Kes and everyone else did.

I also wish there had been something of an aftermath. We don't even really know if Tuvok and Neelix remembered their shared existence, although I'm assuming that they did. I would have liked to see some obligatory end-of-episode discussion in the Captain's ready room. You'd think that Tuvok and Neelix would have had a thing or two to say...

Max - Mon, May 7, 2012 - 5:27pm (USA Central)
It annoys me that people say that it would have been murder no matter what janeway would have chosen, because that is simply not true.

Tuvok and Neelix were allready dead, tuvix, in no way caused their deaths, and he was just a biproduct of a transporter accident.
It was simply a questin of sacrificing an innocent to bring back the allready dead.

What janeway did was murdering a sentient lifeform to bring back 2 of her friends, let's compare it to say....
Killing a cremeber to bring back some dead friend.

Also, the people who came back weren't even neelix and Tuvok, why?
Because their originall counciosness were destroyed in the initiall accident, and they just used tuvix body to create two "new" tuvok and neelix from a template.

Yes, no one would know the difference, not even the new tuvok and neelix, because they still have the memories of the originall, and they think they are the originalls.

However, they aren't, they are simply clones, created from the expense of an innocent life
Jay - Wed, May 30, 2012 - 12:42pm (USA Central)
Tuvok and Neelix were not dead, any more than anyone dies and is resurrected every single time they use the transporter, which is precisely what happens.
Max - Mon, Jun 4, 2012 - 5:26pm (USA Central)
a person is not resurrected when they use the transporter, they are killed for good, however a new consciousness is created with the same memories, personality, etc.
So really, the only person to notice any difference is the original, however, he is still killed, and it's the same thing as killing a guy, taking his DNA, and creating a clone with his memories, personality etc at another location.

anyway, tuvok and neelix died, and janeway killed tuvix to bring "them" back
duhknees - Sun, Jun 17, 2012 - 7:50pm (USA Central)
I am way too lazy to check, but this seem like one of the longest threads, which means the show did something right. Iwas quite disturbed by the scene on the bridge when Tuvix did not go quietly, and the dead man March down to sick bay. I knew it had to end this way, but the writers wanted it to be difficult. The crew's change in behavior was more or less them steeling themselves for the grim but necessary reality. It made me think of a lab animal -- what would happen if that rat looked up and said, "But I do not want to die." Kudos to all involved.
Roger Lynch - Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - 2:24pm (USA Central)
This episode fascinated and repelled me at the same time. Rodenbury would have loved it.
The discusion about a moralic dilema of this class might have thrilled him. I am not that happy about the outcome. Both heros are saved and the new created person is killed. I don´t know what to say.
Tyler - Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - 11:30pm (USA Central)
One of Tuvix's arguments for life was that Neelix and Tuvok weren't really dead; they were still alive in a way. I think the same goes both ways; Janeway didn't really kill Tuvix, because Neelix and Tuvok were still alive. They simply ceased to exist as one.
Peremensoe - Sat, Jul 21, 2012 - 3:09am (USA Central)
"Janeway didn't really kill Tuvix, because Neelix and Tuvok were still alive."

Mm, I don't know. It's a lot easier to see how the two can continue within the one, than the other way round. Any synthesis is going to have aspects of each of the constituent parts, but also aspects that come from the *interaction* between those parts. Taking the synthesis apart again has to mean losing those aspects--losing the aspects that defined Tuvix as a being in his own right.
Cail Corishev - Fri, Sep 7, 2012 - 8:44pm (USA Central)
I was just annoyed that Janeway took so long to come to the only possible conclusion and get on with it.

Tuvok and Neelix weren't dead; they were right there staring her in the face every time she looked in their eyes. Sometimes Tuvix acted more like Neelix, calling Kes "Sweetie" and ham-handedly trying to push things with her when she was obviously creeped out; and sometimes he acted like Tuvok, being logical and arrogant about his knowledge. He was two distinct people, the people they already knew -- and that Janeway had sworn to protect -- trapped in an alien construct that emitted characteristics of both of them. Of course you take an axe to their cage and release them.

Having said that, I really liked Janeway in the end, and I'm not usually a big fan. I loved that once she made her decision, she didn't whine or hesitate; she just did it, and she looked Tuvix in the eye as she did. No attempt to deny what she was doing or to pass the buck. Good show by her.
Tiarfe - Sat, Sep 8, 2012 - 9:49am (USA Central)
I wish there were "Like" buttons on these comments.

I think you said it all.

Great feedback everyone!
Alan - Thu, Oct 18, 2012 - 3:48pm (USA Central)
They wouldn't have had this problem on DS9. Sisko was a much better captain.

Clown penis.
Annie - Wed, Oct 31, 2012 - 2:42pm (USA Central)
I agree with Ian's comment (from 2010) that it's difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile Janeway's actions here with her actions in Phage.

In Phage she tells the organ thief, "[Your people] may have found a way to ignore the moral implications of what you are doing, but I have no such luxury. I don't have the freedom to kill you to save another. My culture finds that to be a reprehensible and entirely unacceptable act."

There is no debate here, no question in her mind of what the moral answer is. Now, she may have had political reasons for not wanting to retake the lungs in Phage. Or maybe it's just a matter of not caring much for Neelix, but caring greatly for Tuvok and wanting him back. But on the face of it, she had a very similar dilemma in both episodes and went in completely opposite directions.

In fact, she tries to convince Tuvix to agree to the separation by appealing to the wishes of Neelix and Tuvok. She says, "you know Tuvok was a man who would gladly give his life to save another. And I believe the same was true of Neelix." This apparently is meant to convince Tuvix that he should agree to the separation, but to me it seems a stronger argument for allowing him to go on as Tuvix--that both Neelix and Tuvok would sacrifice themselves for another, namely, for Tuvix.

The whole thing just seems sloppy, poorly reasoned, and a complete departure from Janeway's usually black-and-white morality.
Sam - Mon, Nov 26, 2012 - 1:09am (USA Central)
I really wish this episode would have allocated an act at the end to examine the fallout from the decision that was made. If Tuvix had all the memories of Tuvok and Neelix, it stands to reason that the reverse may also be true. Regardless of the fact that the act led to them existing again, what if they carry the traumatic memories of being essentially murdered by their commanding officer?
Fanner - Sun, Mar 3, 2013 - 1:06am (USA Central)
Ahhhhhh.....THAT'S right! THIS was the episode that m made me hate Janeway with a HOT, burning passion.
John - Wed, May 1, 2013 - 10:56pm (USA Central)
There was an interesting post up there about the fact that being transported kills you and creates an exact clone. This is what scientists say quantum teleportation would be like in practice, and I agree, not sure I'd want to try it because the only way you would ever know if if you wake up on the other side or not. And my guess is you wouldn't but someone else who looks like you would.

That being said they did not spend enough time on this at all. I agree there should have been more about Tuvix' dilema, and another episode to deal with the fallout. It was a terribly chilling episode.
Sintek - Sat, May 25, 2013 - 2:44pm (USA Central)
I agree with Sadist. A scene of Tuvix screaming in agony, gnashing and crunching bone, his head collapsing into his neck like a dying star converging to a singularity, as his molecules deconstructed would have been marvelous.
redslion - Thu, May 30, 2013 - 7:27pm (USA Central)
And Janeway is the chick that mede that cute lecture to the captain of the Equinox.

She must have memory loss.

Or she is the one who suffers from multiple personalities.

And Kirk always said you need extraordinaire capabilities to become a Starfleet captain...
well, in 90 years standards lowered a bit.XD
Zulu - Sat, Jun 1, 2013 - 2:16am (USA Central)
dumbest episode ever clone him then extract from the clone ridiculous
Ian - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 12:46am (USA Central)
This is the opposite of TOS "The Enemy Within," where Kirk is split in two.
An absurd episode then and a absurd episode now...
Alessandro17 - Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - 5:06am (USA Central)
I find it disconcerting that captain Janeway plays God here, deciding who has the right to live and who must die.
If we had been in battle, captains decide all the time who must do a dangerous, possibly lethal job.
But this is "an every day situation". Clearly she killed one individual so that 2 could live. Not to mention that the procedure could have gone wrong anyway.
At least I find the doctor more consequent: you shall do no harm.
Kathryn Janeway is normally so concerned about the subtleties of ethics, she consults her senior officers, but here she doesn't seem to give a damn. Bad episode, I could have done without it.
Alessandro17 - Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - 5:09am (USA Central)
BTW, what Zulu says makes a lot of sense. There must have been a better solution.
Caine - Wed, Oct 16, 2013 - 2:35pm (USA Central)
A surprisingly interesting episode - I loved it!

We, in general, seem to have a tendency to want things to be either black or white. It's "clearly this way" or "obviously that way".

One of the things I like best about this episode is Janeway's facial expressions at the very end, when she's alone in the corridor after having carried out the procedure.

To me, this is superior acting. We see - indicated ever so slightly in Mulgrew's face - that she's almost about to collapse, to faint and to cry - while still keeping up her determined. stalwart facade. All of this is shown in a single, wonderfully understatetd, moment. Cudos, Mrs. Mulgrew, cudos!

Apart from awesome acting skills this also shows us that this was NOT a black/white issue for Janeway - judging from that moment in the corridr, this might just have been the hardest decision she's ever made. Why? Why was this obviously such a hard decision?

I'm thankful that the episode let it be up to us to struggle with that question.
Jack - Mon, Nov 18, 2013 - 3:27pm (USA Central)
Cail Corishev sez it best...I agree with every word.
inline79 - Tue, Dec 3, 2013 - 11:50pm (USA Central)
An episode stirring this much debate is a great episode.

Many things have been covered above, but I want to add something new: that Starfleet is still essentially a "military" organization, and the person holding the RANK and POSITION of Captain is still in charge and responsible. It isn't a committee like these comments may seem to be. Like Captains today, this future Captain has been given the authority to send people to their deaths to save others. In TNG, Troi's "Command" Test (putting the counselor in command after a short test is a totally different commentary) had her send Geordi to his death to save the rest of the crew. Was that "murder"? Without Starfleet Command to consult, Janeway is within her right to summarily execute to save others.

If you can't make these sorts of calls, you're not fit to wear the red tunic. I'm normally critical of how Janeway is written in much of VOY, but they nailed the Captain's role this time.

The final scene says it best - command is a lonely place. Perhaps only those of us who have been given and perhaps used such authority over others under their responsibility will understand this burden. I'm glad Voyager gave the average person this command dilemma to consider.
TrueMetis - Sat, Jan 11, 2014 - 9:44pm (USA Central)
In regards to Zulu's point, they don't even have to clone him. The separation clearly adds some mass cause Tuvix clearly is not as heavy as the combined weight of Nelix and Tuvok. So it should have been entirely possible to separate them without killing Tuvix.


Wrong entirely, no modern officer is allowed to summarily execute anyone, away from highcommand or not as most militaries banned the death penalty. Soldiers can and have been court marshalled for mercy killings, and this is way worse. That you compare an actual execution to having to send someone into a life threatening situation shows you haven't a clue about military procedures. Troi needed to send Gordi cause it was the only option and time was of the essence. But there was no time sensitive issue for Tuvix. Nothing preventing them from looking for alternatives or waiting until they could contact Star Fleet.
inline79 - Sun, Jan 12, 2014 - 11:46am (USA Central)
You are right, I used the rules of summary execution incorrectly in the context of today's Western militaries. It is a pretty good, though extraordinary, moral dilemma that is pure science fiction.

You're also right about time - The only time sensitivity in this case was the end of the episode.

You may not be right about my knowledge of military procedures - that's not for judgment here.

Nissa - Sun, Jan 12, 2014 - 7:50pm (USA Central)
Pfft. Restoring Tuvok and Neelix is not murder in any sense of the word. It's a travesty that any sane person would call it murder while saying Tuvok and Neelix don't have the right to exist.

Well...Tuvok has the right to exist without being merged with Neelix, of course. I would take the concept far more seriously if it were someone besides Neelix involved. But it's still not murder. I mean, crap, what stupid emotionalism.
Maxwell Anderson - Wed, Jan 15, 2014 - 12:51pm (USA Central)
I loved this episode because it ends on a note of real uncertainty. Very rarely has Voyager deliberately left Big Questions unresolved, respecting the audience enough to ask them to hash it for themselves. Another episode that comes to mind is Sacred Ground, where Janeway's unwavering faith in science is seriously questioned and ends on an unresolved note. I also am thinking of Course: Oblivion, because of how dark and complex the show actually gets at the end, and we are left to ponder the value of life and history and memory.
K'Elvis - Wed, Jan 15, 2014 - 3:26pm (USA Central)
I don't believe that restoring Tuvok and Neelix was murder, because I believe Tuvix was both of them, and not a third person altogether. Sure, Tuvix thought he was a third person, but he also thought he had a relationship with Kes and had sons on Vulcan. If he is a third person, then he has never met Kes or Tuvok's wife, and certainly did not have a relationship with either. If you believe that restoring Tuvok and Neelix was murder, then when Kirk was split into his good and evil halves, were they killed when Kirk was restored?

It is not established as a fact that the transporter kills you and makes a clone. Trek's position has always been that the person who steps off the transporter pad is the same person who stepped onto it. Even in the incident where a duplicate Riker is created, both Rikers are equally Will Riker. It's like whan an amoeba divides in two, both ARE the original. It is only for convenience sake that one goes by Tom Riker and one goes by Will Riker.
Amanda - Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 8:39pm (USA Central)

As a child when I watched this the first time-I disagreed with Janeway. The actor was compelling and I liked the character. The transporter ended them and a new crewman was born. And I think it could have been great stuff to show real loss and adaptation on voyager instead of all the nameless dropping which is expected. I like Tim Russ so a shame it wasn't a harry/neelix? or would that be worse than losing Russ? haha Let Tim Russ be tuvix and we'd have less neelix. yay.
DLPB - Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 12:47am (USA Central)
It's all inconsequential anyway, since a hybrid of this kind is scientifically impossible. Once again, Trek writers do as they please. Trek is so far away from a real sci fi it hurts.
Andy's Friend - Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 7:26pm (USA Central)
@inline79: ”this future Captain has been given the authority to send people to their deaths to save others.”

You cannot possibly make that comparison. For very obvious reasons:

1 ― Any crewman has signed on accepting that responsibility. Tuvix didn’t. He was there by accident. Sending him to his death is equivalent to, if you want to make that TNG comparison, sending Dr Galen to his death. Picard hasn’t that authority: Galen isn’t even a Starfleet officer. Likewise, Tuvix didn’t ask to be there. All he asked was to live.

2 ― What was it you wrote? ”...to send people to their deaths to save others.” But what others can be saved here? Tuvok and Neelix are already dead. Kaputt. Finito. They’re DEAD. There is no one to save. Tuvix is being killed in order for them to be RESSUSCITATED.

The failure of so many commenters here to truly grasp this and its implications amazes me. We’re not talking about saving others: we’re talking about bringing back the dead. And this isn’t a case where a patient just suffered a heart attack two minutes ago: Tuvok and Neelix have literally vanished into thin air. Yes, it was an accident: they have suffered the 24th century equivalent of being struck face-on by a freight train at a hundred miles per hour. They are as dead as it gets.

And yet Janeway tries to bring back the dead. And in the process she is willing to kill an innocent, sentient being who didn’t ask for any of this to happen and merely wishes to live. Janeway effectively plays God. This is hubris in the extreme, on a scale never seen before or after on Star Trek.

You may think Janeway was right. That the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. That Tuvix had to die because supposedly Tuvok and [for reasons I cannot begin to imagine] Neelix are more important. I can understand that very cold-blooded reasoning, even though I wouldn’t like to serve with you aboard any kind of vessel if that’s your way of thinking. But even if you do think that Tuvix is expendable, and must be put to death against his wishes, you still must call it what it is: murder.

As always, just do the Picard Test. There is a reason TNG is by far the superior series of the franchise: it serves as a moral and ethical compass like no other. Would Jean-Luc have killed Tuvix?
Yanks - Wed, Mar 5, 2014 - 10:57am (USA Central)
@ Cail Corishev - Fri, Sep 7, 2012 - 8:44pm (USA Central)

Well said. Agree!!
Niall - Wed, Mar 5, 2014 - 3:59pm (USA Central)
"It's all inconsequential anyway, since a hybrid of this kind is scientifically impossible." - that's pretty much how I see this episode too now. Well said.
SlackerInc - Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - 5:02am (USA Central)
I agree with @TDexter that the fact of so much discussion around this episode (with more than two perspectives substantially represented and vehemently expressed) in itself speaks well for what was done here. There are people arguing on both extremes of the ethical dilemma that their view is "obviously" right, and that they are disgusted with the actions of the characters--either with Janeway and the crew consenting to an "execution", or with Tuvix for not willingly submitting to his fate. Those people desire a more black-and-white and less interesting version of Trek than I do.

@Duhknees: "The crew's change in behavior was more or less them steeling themselves for the grim but necessary reality."

Precisely right.

@Remco: "So either you kill one person, or the room kills two persons. You are always free to go. Will you kill someone, or will you let the person who built the room be a killer?"

If there are to be no further consequences (legal repurcussions, or being confronted by the family of the person I have to kill), and there is no way to make a distinction among the three people (they are all the same age and in apparent good health, and I don't know any of them), then yes: I will kill one to save two. But I wouldn't blame someone else for making a different choice.

@Laurence: "I wanted to know how Neelix and Tuvok integrated their bizarre experience once back in their original forms. Did both of them resent Janeway for her decision, or were they completely happy?"

I agree. I thought this was a good episode, but this was one payoff I would really like to have seen.
HolographicAndrew - Fri, Jul 25, 2014 - 12:08am (USA Central)
I used to like this episode before I saw season one, and now I realize it doesn't match up at all with Janeway's earlier actions when Neelix's lungs were stolen.

So what we have here is an episode where the entire crew is out of character, simply to force the status quo of the main bridge crew to remain the same. There's just no way they would sit there saying nothing.

I'm not saying Tuvix should have stuck around, but I don't like the show pretending there's some big ethical dilemma to Janeway's decision when really it's just the reset button being pushed. That's the same awful thing that happened in every conflict in BSG later on.
Alessandro - Tue, Aug 12, 2014 - 4:29pm (USA Central)
I never liked Janeway too much, in fact I found her the worst captain of all series. But here I really hated her. She played God with the life of a sentient being, and who gave her that right? The doctor was much wiser.
Vylora - Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - 1:18pm (USA Central)
Moral dilemmas aside, this episode is ultimately a prime example of lack of follow-through of potential. There's some good scenes here to be sure. However, the crux of the matter is under-utilized and replaced with repetitive scenes involving Kes. Not that they were bad, just unnecessary. The crews reaction near the end was just plain bad writing. And the Captains decision amounts to meaning nothing when it's all said and done.

It's pointless to me to worry about the moralizing of an episode when said episode can't even match the premises potential.

1.5 stars.
Johnny - Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - 3:40pm (USA Central)
There were a few small things that could have been written in:

1) The crew would have anticipated Tuvix's will to live. He's trying to start a sexual relationship with Kes and everyone including Janeway (based on her log entry) is aware of it. This is clearly a sign of his plans to start a life.

2) No one, not Harry or the Doctor or anyone mentions even the possibility of using the transporter to somehow keep Tuvix around after they are separated. I understand that the answer would have to be "no", but it would have shown at least some concern on the part of the crew.

3) When Tuvix is begging for his life on the bridge, Paris should have at least spoken on his behalf. The way he just coldly sits back in his chair with a strange stare on his face seemed extremely out of character for him. Chakotay is ineffective and his reaction was not surprising, but Tom is a rebel and usually speaks up. This comes back to point #2, because Tom would have been perfect to propose the idea of somehow preserving Tuvix since his knowledge of the transporter isn't as proficient.

4) Tuvix needed a better escape plan. He is both chief of security and a former scam artist and couldn't come up with one of those classic beam - out plans? I expected him to say "Computer, initiate program Alpha-113" and suddenly materialize in the shuttle bay once they came for him. He is already aware that they're contemplating "killing" him. Watching him scamper up and down the bridge was just pathetic.

5) Janeway seemed to be too much in a rush to get it over with. It reminded me of Sim, Trip Tucker's clone on Enterprise. Except with Sim, they needed to pull out his brain tissue at a certain point of his limited lifespan, so Archer's attitude was understandable. Janeway comes off as overly impulsive and rash.

navamske - Mon, Sep 1, 2014 - 7:51pm (USA Central)

"There's another missed opportunity you can add to your list Jammer: What did Tuvok and Neelix get out of all this? How has living together in the same body helped them understand each other better? How does it affect their relationship?"

I have had similar thoughts about twenty-fourth-century attitudes concerning sex. While carrying the Trill symbiont, Will Riker had sex with Dr. Crusher. Now, Riker may have no memory of the time when he carried the symbiont. But Dr. Crusher certainly did. Wouldn't that affect her friendship with him, not to mention her professional relationship with him? And I'm pretty sure I remember from DS9 that Real Sisko slept with Fake Jadzia when he was in the mirror universe. That's got to affect his personal and professional relationships with Real Jadzia when he gets home.
Stuart - Tue, Sep 9, 2014 - 11:20pm (USA Central)
I felt the end of this episode was unwatchable. Tuvix being taken to his death was an execution, pure and simple. I guess Janeway is a pro-lifer, she certainly doesn't believe that a person is in control of their own body. The crew was not in character either.

However, despite all that, what could have made it a great episode was 5 minutes at the end showing that Neelix and Tuvok did not agree with Janeway's decision and now distrusted and disliked her. They were not magically recreated out of the ether - they were reconstituted from Tuvix, so they should have the benefit of the last few weeks of his experiences, feelings, and thoughts. I think that is what Janeway forgot. Unfortunately, the writers did too.
Jay - Thu, Oct 2, 2014 - 12:19am (USA Central)
Whenever someone transports, they are actually recreated (using their pattern as a template) from entirely new matter. So I don't see why they couldn't have used prior transporter patterns to reconstitute Neelix and Tuvok form their most recent transporter trace AND let Tuvix continue existing. Sure it would be awkward on Voyager going forward, with Neelix and Tuvok and Tuvix all being crew members, but at least no one is executed.
Jay - Thu, Oct 2, 2014 - 12:22am (USA Central)
Theoretically they'd have to make Tuvix a regular cast member in that scenario, but ST has a history of ignoring characters that are technically still around. The Ent-D took Mirasta Yale aboard but then we never saw her again.
Robert - Thu, Oct 2, 2014 - 8:22am (USA Central)
I always guess I assumed Mirasta Yale would have wanted to study in the 24th century and that the Enterprise wasn't the ideal place. I guess I assumed they dumped her at the first starbase. But your point still stands.
Jack - Fri, Oct 17, 2014 - 8:12pm (USA Central)
Uh...you couldn't keep Tuvix and also Tuvok and Neelix, it's either A or B. Unless of course you doubled Tuvix first like Riker in Second Chances.
Skeptical - Thu, Jan 8, 2015 - 7:42pm (USA Central)
Obviously the debate on whether Janeway is right is already freaking huge, so I'm not going to comment too much on it. Janeway is wrong though; it is murder. If we may extrapolate from our own society, our own society never allows for demanding the sacrifice of one individual for another (although demanding the sacrifice of one individual for the society is allowed during extreme circumstances). If I have two friends dying because of kidney failure, I cannot force you to kill yourself in order to harvest your two kidneys, even though the net benefit is one fewer death.

Obviously there is no direct analogy to the situation where one orders the death of one person who was a merging of two different people, since that's impossible, but I see no way to extrapolate from our society's ideal of the right to life to arrive at the conclusion that Tuvix does not have said right to life. The entire episode was built up to show that he was a unique individual, composed of Neelix and Tuvok perhaps, but not just a mishmash. He was a unique individual, just as I am a unique individual despite being composed of DNA from my mother and father.

And if he is a unique individual, and if he qualifies as a person, then he is entitled to all rights as a person. The episode goes through great pains to show that he is, in fact, a unique individual and does, in fact, qualify as a person. The most important of all rights is the right to life. Janeway, apparently, thinks otherwise.

And I have to give credit to this episode, though, for presenting a hard question like that, and not necessarily taking the easy way out. The ending was brutal. We were supposed to sympathize with Tuvix. The Doctor's refusal to help (even if no one else did) did show the controversy. For a TV show that is often accused of taking the easy way out, they didn't here.

Unfortunately, it leads to another set of problems. Namely, how do we reconcile our view of Janeway and crew as the heroes of this tale when they went along with a cold blooded killing like this? TOS, TNG, and VOY are all episodic shows, which is usually a good thing IMO. Trek allows us to explore all sorts of different storylines and possibilities all while showing the same relatable cast. You get the variety of The Twilight Zone without the shallowness of the characters. Unfortunately, it means sometimes that good stories can't have the impact on the characters that they should have. This comes up in TNG with BOBW and Inner Light, both of which should have changed Picard's life entirely. The writers gave some follow up for both, but couldn't truly explore how it would impact Picard because we need Picard to be fresh for other stories.

So what do we do with an episode like this, which logically should impact the characters and our own impression of them more than it is feasible to? The reset button has to be pressed, the matter must be dropped, and we must be willing to forget it to enjoy the show. That's hard to do. It's understandable, but still hard. I'm willing to suspend disbelief and to allow for certain passes like this, but the writers need to be careful about it. If they want to do something dramatic like this, it better be darned near perfect. BoBW and Inner Light were good enough that we could forgive the unrealism of Picard returning to duty with only modest changes in character, but I don't think Tuvix was a great enough episode to reach that level.

Consider: The Doc refused to help because of the Hippocratic Oath (or something similar). Presumably, he considers that important enough to pass on to his medic/nurse/student, Kes. Yet Kes was the one that basically pleaded with Janeway to kill Tuvix! Does the Doc know that? Will that impact their relationship? How can he trust her in sickbay when she is clearly willing to kill for her own emotional satisfaction?

Secondly, it's implied that Tuvok and Neelix retain Tuvix's memory (after all, they don't look confused and bewildered for suddenly appearing in sickbay). Neelix is stupid so we'll ignore him. But Tuvok is a disciple of logic. If he remembers Tuvix's decision, and sees Tuvix's logic in not wanting to be killed, won't he agree with it? He would not be clouded by his own desires to live. If so, doesn't he, logically, see Janeway as a murderer? Wouldn't that impact their friendship? Yet it is never brought up again. As nice as it was seeing Janeway pause, alone, in the hallway, I think it would have been better to end the episode with Tuvok berating Janeway for her decision. Yet it is also dropped, despite being something that could and should strain their friendship.

All that said, it was a still a powerful episode despite its silly premise and difficulty in swallowing the resolution. I will give them credit for that. One final point to further the moral dilemma: no one on the ship questioned the morality of eliminating Tuvix immediately after it happened. Not the Doc, not Tuvix, nobody. My bet is that very few viewers did either, even those of us that think Janeway is a killer. So why not? Why did it take Tuvix living for weeks to cause a dilemma? Is it just the shock of the situation and that we didn't have time to think of it? Or did Tuvix not deserve life 5 minutes after the accident, but did deserve life 5 weeks afterwards?
DLPB - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 11:34am (USA Central)
I don't think the moral dilemma is even a dilemma... 2 people have been lost. Tuvix is one. I'm afraid it's 2-1 in any debate.
DVMX - Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - 2:33am (USA Central)
Its just now dawning on me, years after the fact...couldn't they have used transporter technobabble to make two Tuvixs (similar to William and Thomas Riker) and then separate one of them back into Tuvok and Neelix? And then an episode later create some in-story reason why he decides to travel the stars alone, thus never seeing him again for the rest of the series?

A cop-out? Perhaps...but not the first nor if this had happened would it have been the last. Its just that ending (the "180") never set well with me. In this scenario, Janeway would still be a murderer: either Tuvix original or Tuvix duplicate would be separated so Tuvok and Neelix could live again. But at least some form of Tuvix would live as well, instead of just his memory. Plus we'd get an extra episode of Tuvix interacting with Tuvok and Neelix.

And real world analogies (with if your friend or wife had been combined, etc) doesn't really apply cause the same mode that combined them can do other wonders like what I just described.

I don't know, this is one of those rare eps that I like but I feel like the final act is kinda half-baked.

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