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Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

I liked and disliked the episode, if that makes any sense. If the developers designed this kind of dissonance, they did a really good job, especially considering Tuvix was dissonant to begin with, being two and emerging as one unique being.

Sometimes I think the writer is too focused on horror and extremely cynical plotlines and outcomes, and it shows. It became nearly satirical when Tuvix was begging for his life on the bridge. They might as well have had Chakotay go rogue like he did at the bar and punch Tuvix, like in the episode "Learning Curve". And then had Paris kick Tuvix in the groin a few times. Why not have Janeway get deliberately angry and yell "Get off my bridge." Like she does when her blood is boiling and she can barely contain it. Then play the Imperial March from Star Wars as they walk to the medbay to slaughter Tuvix. And then when Tuvix is being transported back into Tuvok and Neelix, have it be incredibly painful, like a Varon-T disruptor from TNG's "The Most Toys", and have him screaming in pain while Janeway stares him down and then it shows Kes smiling gleefully like a golden child, whilst blood sprays from Tuvix and spatters her face, but she keeps smiling.

Sick jokes aside, wait, isn't that really somewhat appropriate though? It captures the essence of the ending. I felt bad for Tuvix, it is difficult not to, watching a poor, pathetic man beg and plead for his own life. The show's context DOES reveal that Tuvix is a true individual. And Janeway does commit murder. Which causes problems.

Would Janeway actually order this? Well, yes, actually she would, and she did. Janeway throughout the series, I'm on my second watch-through, is very strict when it comes to regulations and moral reasoning. However, she isn't really entirely stable, though she usually appears to be. She becomes unhinged quite often in the series, especially when she breaks the Prime Directive in the final episode. Did the developers MEAN for the fans to view it as canon that Janeway CAN crack and become unhinged and ruthless? Maybe. It IS a part of the human condition, and Star Trek focuses on that. AND as previously stated, the writer of the series can be pretty into horror, negative outcomes, and cynicism with episode resolution.

Would Tuvix really DENY Tuvok and Neelix to be brought back, and REFUSE self-sacrifice to do so? Apparently he would, and although I didn't like it, it does show that Tuvix IS a new, singular being comprised of 2 deceased parentals. This is because Neelix and Tuvok both, being proud and moralistic, WOULD sacrifice themselves in a heartbeat. Tuvix, however, does not, showing that he is VERY dissimilar to Neelix and Tuvok. Maybe it was the Neelix inside him shrinking, but Neelix even proves to have a lot of moral courage in the series, which is surprising. Not only this, but Tuvix KNOWS how much Kes is disturbed and distraught, and how she will never be the same in her short years without the true Neelix, and yet he still refuses the self-sacrifice, and even wants to pursue Kes, when it is obvious that Kes is kind of creeped out and in deep sorrow. Not to mention Tuvok's family also, but Kes really takes the cake. It shows that Tuvix IS his own being, apart from Neelix and Tuvok, but NOT in a good way. I disliked Tuvix.

That said, a stable Janeway would have said something like "I can't force you to sacrifice yourself, you are a true, unique life. But I implore you to find it inside of yourself to bring us back Neelix and Tuvok.", in her dreamy, very persuasive tone.
But, what people don't realize, is that Janeway ISN'T stable. I like Janeway, she's very dynamic. She has a soft personal life, a tough but morally enlightened professional life, and she also has a dark side. People say they dislike Janeway in this episode, but with the pressures she's facing, this episode really makes her fallible and more human, and really REALLY resolute, for good or ill.

What would I have done in Janeway's shoes? Probably explained from the get-go that they WOULD dismember Tuvix back to his original forms in the event of a cure. OR just let it go, and maybe say goodbye to Tuvix on the next golden world or pleasure planet, since his presence was harmful to the crew's morale. OR at the very start, sedate Tuvix and keep him in stasis before he developed true signs of a singular awareness, since in the beginning even Tuvix was confused and said he was Neelix and Tuvok, but hadn't reasoned quite yet that he was one being. Not very moral on my part to simply put him in stasis, but that is probably what I would have done. And it likely would have been looked on by Starfleet with some favor, since it would have avoided these complications and also, Tuvix was an unknown and might be a threat to the ship in some way. In either case, some decision would have had to have been reached more quickly at the very get-go so that contingencies like this would be solved beforehand. Janeway, not having that foresight, is what caused the tragic travesty of Tuvik's martyrdom to begin with. That the whole crew supported the decision, takes a second seat to the poor way that the situation was handled.

But... that's life on a starship, especially a lost starship in the middle of nowhere. Things are going to go south sometimes, the crew is going to be unstable sometimes, they don't have Starfleet on-call. The whole situation was a mistake. Not sure if the developers intentionally put that sublimity there on purpose, but it IS there. And THAT's what makes Voyager special, the fallibility of its crew in prolonged, extreme situations.
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