Star Trek: Voyager

"Tuvix"

3 stars

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

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278 comments on this review

Stefan
Mon, Feb 11, 2008, 9:25pm (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
"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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
Surely the death of tulix broke the Prime directive RVERY species has the right to survive ???
Nic
Mon, Jan 18, 2010, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@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 (UTC -6)
"@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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@Jon

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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
Reminded me of Curzon Odo from DS9 "Facets".
TDexter
Mon, Jan 16, 2012, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@ 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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
"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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
They wouldn't have had this problem on DS9. Sisko was a much better captain.

Clown penis.
Annie
Wed, Oct 31, 2012, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
dumbest episode ever clone him then extract from the clone ridiculous
Ian
Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 12:46am (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
BTW, what Zulu says makes a lot of sense. There must have been a better solution.
Caine
Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
Cail Corishev sez it best...I agree with every word.
inline79
Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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.

inline79

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 (UTC -6)
@TrueMetis
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@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 (UTC -6)
@ Cail Corishev - Fri, Sep 7, 2012 - 8:44pm (USA Central)

Well said. Agree!!
Niall
Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
"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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
@Nic

"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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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.
EdmondWherever
Thu, Jun 18, 2015, 10:25pm (UTC -6)
I just re-watched this episode while running through the series on Netflix, and I'm struck again by how much I disliked the ending. As preposterous as the whole idea was, the actor did a fine job of portraying aspects of both characters. But they slipped into the "this is murder" idea so quickly, and their only resolution was to go through with it, by force. Many have commented here about how out-of-character it was for everyone (save the Doctor) to go along with it. I think it would have been much more interesting if Tuvix had made the noble CHOICE to willingly participate in his separation (even if reluctantly), seeing that everyone missed their old friends. As it stands, everyone acted deplorably. And the ending was far too rushed, with Janeway giving her restored crewmates a friendly "Good to have you back", with no further discussion. This was a major decision, carried out ruthlessly, and should have major psychological impacts on everyone, but that isn't explored in the slightest. For such a wild idea, it was quite a let down. I'd have a hard time giving this 3 stars.

But that's okay... I'm in third season now, and Seven is coming!
Yanks
Mon, Aug 10, 2015, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
This is totally different than the
neelix lung thing. The Vidian's medical technology wasn't capable of removing Neelix's lung.

Every time I watch this I prepare myself for the second "Jennifer's acting makes me cringe" moment.

Her balling while talking to Janeway about how she missed Neelix... well, in search for word once again.

I didn't really like Tuvix' attempt at a guilt trip here:

"TUVIX: Each of you is going to have to live with this, and I'm sorry for that, for you are all good, good people. My colleagues, my friends, I forgive you. "

Trying to insight a riot here? I'm pretty certain Neelix wouldn't have done this and I know Tuvok wouldn't. Seemed a petty shot there.

I loved the ending and Janeway didn't falter. She made the call and never flinched.

Good on her, because her responsibility was to her two crew mates, not an accident.

The ending could have been that Tuvix knew it was the right thing to do and had to convince the crew that it needed to be done for Tuvok and Neelix's sake. Then tears from everyone, blah, blah. That might have been a better way to do it.

3 stars for me too.
dj_lucas
Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 11:30pm (UTC -6)
Evolution and adaptation of the human species has always been a featured component of Star Trek episodes, Tuvixian Lives Matter!
FromHolland
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 5:44am (UTC -6)
So, killing one person against his will, to bring back two others. Is that really the Starfleet way?
Mpondaj
Mon, Sep 21, 2015, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
Don't know if anyone's mentioned this, but as Tuvix is the only one of his kind, what Janeway did wasn't just murder - it was genocide. And the crew were fine with it.

This was the beginning of the end of Voyager for me - had great ideas and premises but not the courage or conviction to really carry through with them. My solution - Tuvok and Neelix died in a transporter accident. It happens especially if you're 70,000 light years from home and have no back-up or Starbases to call on. The difference here is that they "live on" in Tuvix. Great - new characters now and then would have kept the show fresh. If only they'd found a way to keep Amelia Earhart and Rain Robinson on the show.....
notafrog
Sun, Oct 25, 2015, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
I'm a bit flabbergasted at people's conviction that the crew hated Tuvix. The scene near the end where the crew are unable to even look at Tuvix because of their discomfort or even shame, not their "hate" as suggested, surely has to be one of the most powerful in Star Trek. The very deliberate flatness of everybody's
behaviour following Tuvix's initial reaction to the assumption that the reversal was a no-brainer, "But Captain, I don't want to die", proved for me that here was a series prepared to swerve melodrama and shock the audience with the hard, unembellished truth. Contrary to the person who saw this as the death of VOY, I saw this as the moment the series grew a pair.
Andrew
Fri, Oct 30, 2015, 8:53am (UTC -6)
Tuvix felt way too little like either Tuvok or Neelix; at most he felt like an illogical Tuvok with barely any trace of Neelix (aside from his pleading to the bridge crew at the end). The developments for Janeway and Kes were still interesting, though.
Moonie
Thu, Nov 12, 2015, 10:37am (UTC -6)
This was terrible.

And people complain that "new movies" aren't Star Trek?

This wasn't Star Trek either.

I'm disgusted. I've never been so angry at a TV screen, not even when watching Enterprise's "Dear Doctor" or the TNG episode where they basically pressure a man to accept being euthanized at 60.

Awful, awful.

And I really got into VOY. To me it's the most like TOS, so I'm not anti-VOY at all. Quite the contrary.

Sometimes you just wanna smack those writers left and right. Sad to say, that IMO Star Trek as a whole could have been a whole lot better with better writers. Sometimes I feel like it's become such a success despite so much poor writing and poor realization of great ideas. It's almost a miracle it survived as long as it did.
Pike
Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
I rarely watch this one either. His creation was an accident. His death was on purpose. It may not have been his fault any more than Tuvok and Neelix who were also victims. But trivializing it into "someone must die and its a good example of whatever" doesn't begin to explain what just happened here.

It sure does fall under genocide. There had never been a hybrid of a talaxian and a Vulcan before. And now there never will be again. No one from the Alpha Quadrant will even be in the Delta Quadrant. At least not for another 100+ years according to Q.

Seeing a man plead for his life while everyone just stands around like borg drones isn't Starfleet at all. How is this different from When Hitler led Jews to their deaths whilst they pleaded for their lives? Or watching those sick terrorists behead a man while he's pleading for his life while they record it? Does it really matter how they got into the situation? The fact is it's someone's life and they are taking it. And They thought their motives were as noble as Janeway's too.

This is another ep I think of when I watch Equinox, in particular the briefing room scene she had with Capt Ransom and how she sits there judging him with her demeanor. What he did was wrong, no question. And what she did here was perfectly ok? Let's not forget how she threw crewman Lessing to the dogs as well. The only reason he is still alive is because chuckles intervened. Murder is murder. And again it sure wasn't Tuvix's fault anymore than it was Tuvok's or Neelix's. The ends do not justify the means in this case. Or in Lessing's case either.

Too adamant on living? I don't get that line. No one who isn't wearing a military, police or fireman's uniform is going to willing sacrifice himself when he has no say so in the matter. I don't find that argument compelling in the least. He didn't want to die! Hell, would you?

I don't know. Maybe the only way to understand it is to be the victim who has to die. Then it becomes clear as crystal.

And I thought Threshold was unwatchable. Actually it was, but for different reasons. I'm not sure what they were hoping to accomplish by showing this. Then again I doubt they could have left Tuvix as is. It still would have been problematic for some unforeseen reason. Either way can't be undone now. So all I can do is not rate it. I don't find a so-called enlightened crew killing a man whom is pleading for his life to be very entertaining. I gave it a watch once or twice and that's about it. I am curious as to how Gene Roddenberry would have felt about it tho.
Lt. Yarko
Thu, Dec 3, 2015, 2:35am (UTC -6)
All this talk of murder is nonsense.

There was no murder here. Before the accident, there were two individuals. Afterward, there were two individuals mashed into one body. No one died or was murdered. They were both alive in Tuvix. After the splitting, the two people were back to two individuals. The fact that the mashed together individuals resulted in a seemingly third individual is only an illusion. Everything about both of them was in the one body. They were still both there. The fact that this mashed together two person didn't want to be spilt apart and was deluded about the process being murder is beside the point. NO ONE DIED. Before, you had Tuvok and Neelix. Then you had Tuvok and Neelix as one. Then you has Tuvok and Neelix again. There was no death.

Interesting episode science fiction wise, goofy episode morality wise. And, Tuvix would have known all this and wouldn't have complained about being split in the first place.
MartinB
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 9:43am (UTC -6)
As part Vulcan, Tuvix should know the old saying "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one". Logically, and I know he's part emotional Talaxian too, he should have willingly laid down his life to save Tuvok and Neelix.

I agree with Jammer's last paragraph. We've all had to accept Neelix for the irritating little turd he is, so he should do the same for Tuvok. Tuvok is over 100 years old and decorated Starfleet officer, and doesn't need that kind of shit from a glorified rodent.

I did like Tuvix's original uniform, a fusion of Tuvok's Starfleet uniform and Neelix's Indian restaurant curtain rejects. Was a nice touch, although I wonder how that worked given that the clothes won't have DNA to combine, unless you count all of Neelix's hair and dandruff that will no doubt be in there...
Chrome
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 11:48am (UTC -6)
This one just didn't click with me. We're supposed to feel what, sympathetic for Tuvix? Because, why? I consider Tuvix to be a medical condition brought on by the hazards of transporter technology. Once the cure has been found for Tuvix, his "say" in the matter is irrelevant.

Let's say someone contracted Tuberculosis, but our medicine has found a cure for it. Would we stop and ask the Tuberculosis virus before performing treatment? If Tuberculosis made the patient delirious such that the patient couldn't properly ask for treatment (the way Tuvok and Neelix couldn't here), wouldn't we still administer treatment?

A problem with this episode is, despite the crew reminding countless times what a great new addition to the crew Tuvix is (Wow, his cooking is even better than Neelix's!), it's hard to warm up to him. He's a guest on the show, and it's really hard to root for him when he overstays his welcome.

I'll give this 2 stars since it's an interesting concept and I liked the ending, but the episode revolved around boring development of a character we knew by the Series' status quo would be gone soon anyway.
Robert
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome - You might be obligated to ask if TB was somehow sentient and the last of it's kind and you were about to commit genocide....

It may be that you still wouldn't change your opinion, but as it is now your analogy is worthless unless you consider the act of killing to be equal no matter what you are killing.

I personally have a tier system which goes something like....

1. Sentient Life
2. Life for whom we've created a special relationship with (I'd rank horses and dogs for instance... things that actually have JOBS in our society in this tier).
3. Life which is not in category 2 but does us no harm.
4. Harmful life

Just my personal system... but I'd rank TB down in #4 with mosquitoes and ticks....
Chrome
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
@Robert

My whole thing is I'd rank Tuvix as your #4, harmful life. He's harming the lives of the beings used to create him, not unlike a parasite. He's also harming the Voyager crew who are now forced to live with this constant reminder of loss, and how quickly they too could be lost in some freak accident.

It's nice that he's sentient, but if cancer were sentient, do you think would should stop treating cancer patients?

This all reminds me of TNG's "The Quality of Life", except in that instance the Exocomps were open to compromise and were actually willing to sacrifice themselves for living beings. Thus, I can be sympathetic with the Exocomps, but with Tuvix, not so much.
Robert
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome - I think the episode and the authors of it agree with you. In practice though I see it as one person was killed to save two.

Consider a situation where I am drunk and going the wrong way down the street smack your car headfirst. You and one other passenger are present. Miraculously your injuries are limited to being impaled through both lungs. Also miraculously I am fine and somehow am a perfect organ donor match for both of you. We have only a few minutes to decide on a course of action.

I am now responsible for the deaths of both of you and taking my life could remedy the situation. And I am most definitely more at fault than Tuvix is.

You might argue that I should willingly submit to the procedure to make amends for what I've just done.... but should you be able to force me to?
Chrome
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
@Robert

Okay, I get it, an innocent life is sacrificed in your analogy and in this episode.

What your analogy doesn't cover is that you and I both have life histories and families who are going to be hurt by either death. Tuvix has no past, and again, his continued existence hurts not only the life of Tuvok and Neelix, but also those who have grown to love and depend on those two. In that sense, Kes was used well in this episode, because she illustrates someone who depended on both people individually, and Tuvix is a shoddy substitute for both.
Robert
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome - My point is just that though... that in my analogy and probably here, that killing Tuvix is the "right" thing to do. But I don't think anybody had the right to make that call for him. I was glad the Doc didn't participate.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Loved this. A rare example of a premise that could have resulted in a comedy episode turning into something deep and frankly disturbing. I'm not interested in debating the rights and wrongs of the conclusion - what matters here is that there are no right answers and that whatever the way forward there is a cost. Janeway chooses to bear that cost herself, and this episode doesn't flinch from what that means. The line "At what point did he become an individual, and not a transporter accident?" nails the dilemma at work here.

We also have an exceptional guest performance from Tom Wright, who absolutely smashes Tuvix out of the park. Familiar yet unfamiliar, he manages to generate a sympathy for the character that is crucial to the central dilemma. If we didn't care, would we still be debating this episode? 4 stars.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
Yep Robert, we just aren't going to agree on this. You keep trying to bring this scenario into our society where we have human rights laws and procedures. But, Voyager takes place isolated on a ship. The ship is no Democracy and the captain has the ultimate say here. Maybe some crewmen could've mutinied against her here, but the fact no one considers it says a lot about the consensus on the ship.
Robert
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 9:22pm (UTC -6)
You make good arguments. I don't know that we're that far off on agreeing. I acknowledged it was probably "right". I just don't think it should have been done. I take the view of the Doctor. He HAPPILY researched the cure and wanted to carry it out. He just wouldn't have forced it. Honestly my feelings only result in me thinking less of Janeway for doing it. Although she seems to think less of herself afterwards... so perhaps it's intentional. If she ever was willing to go grey in the past I might not. But in Alliances she doubled down on her Federation values even if it kills is morality. I only hold her to her own standard and find her lacking.
icarus32soar
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
Chill everybody, and realise when these "writers" are pulling our collective leg. This isn't an episode, it's a joke.
Capt Volmar
Thu, Mar 10, 2016, 7:14am (UTC -6)
If George Carlin taught us one thing it's that comedy and serious discussions are not incompatible.
Skywalker
Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 7:46pm (UTC -6)
I actually liked the ending, and the whole episode after having not seen it for 15+ years. I like Tuvix's "I forgive you" speech at the end; it rings of a Christ-like human sacrifice (it was also melodramatic, and it was meant to be; he wanted to live but wasn't sure he really had the right to live at the expense of two others). I like how Janeway struggles internally, and then in one take walks onto the bridge with grim resolve.

Janeway had to decide which she could more easily live with: the destruction of Tuvix, or the loss of two other crew members. Without any pleasure, she made her dark decision.

Was it right?

Obviously that's hard for us to decide, and it was equally hard even the other crew who were present. But the point is that we as an audience understand Janeway's thought process, motivations, moral misgivings, and feel the unhappiness blended with relief she feels at the end. I think the episode does that, and earned 3 Jammer stars for it.
Phosphorus Rex
Mon, Aug 8, 2016, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
For me, the biggest problem with this episode is not necessarily Janeway's decision in itself. I would tend to disagree with it on the basis that Tuvix is clearly a sentient being and separate to Tuvok and Neelix because he makes decisions neither of them wold have done, and that his wish for self-preservation needs to be respected even if it runs contrary to the best interests of the crew. But I can also see how a counter-argument could be made. No, I think problem is is than the fact that she Janeway makes here decision so quickly and so autocratically, seemingly with no consultation to legal precedent or debate with her senior offices -- the people who are there to assist her in such situations.

I mean, it's all good that "Tuvix" has obviously stimulated such vigorous debate, but this almost seems to have happened more in spite of the episode than because of it, since so many of these issues don't get raised in the episode itself.

A few small changes might have made the difference. If the last scene had showed a grim attitude on the part of the crew, who are happy that their crewmates are back but also reeling from the sad affair that just went down -- maybe a conflicted sense that some think Janeway made the wrong decision but they have to follow her nonetheless. At least, at absolute least, it seems like a dramatic necessity to have a scene where Neelix and/or Tuvok talk with Janeway about where she made the right decision. But nothing. It's just like Voyager to have a good thing going and then fumble it at the last.

(just as an aside, I find the argument "Janeway had to do it for the sake of crew cohesion!" to particularly laughable, unless you think that the fear that any crew member might be executed on Janeway's whims would make people better at their jobs)

Ideally, I'd like to have seen Tuvix introduced a few episodes earlier, be a background character for a little while, and then have a dedicated show where the Doctor finds the way to separate him and he refuses. Then do a trial show, with Janeway as the judge and Chakotay or somebody as his defendant. Then a lot of these interesting moral quandries can actually be raised and aired, rather than just skated over.

Then if in the end Janeway decides to separate/execute Tuvix against his pleas, that ending, disquieting as it is, would feel EARNED. As it is, it just doesn't, and it reeks of Janeway having to act quickly and autocratically because she knows there aren't many more pages in the script.
AA
Thu, Aug 11, 2016, 12:49am (UTC -6)
I actually liked Tuvix. He was more well-rounded than either Tuvok or Neelix. He was less annoying than Neelix and more flexible than Tuvok. I really wished they'd kept him around for a few episodes, evolved his relationship with Kes slowly, and explored the character more. Instead, there was this really compressed timeline so everything seemed rushed.
Kes crying to have her loved one back is sad, but shouldn't have been a major influence on the ethics of the issue. And I also feel the crew responded coldly to Tuvix once they learned he was doomed. He was suddenly a non-entity, and it was sort of scary.
Tuvok and Neelix's relationship should have changed. At least I expected Tuvok to become more accepting and Neelix to become a bit more thoughtful or orderly. But it just went back to the way things were before.
mephyve
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 2:16pm (UTC -6)
ok a mix up ... literally. I'm bored. I'll just skip to the end.
George Monet
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 10:59pm (UTC -6)
This episode has two components.

The first component, the acting component, works perfectly. Tom Wright does a fantastic job in making a character that is a delight to watch. Although there are some scenes where Tuvix is a complete creep and very hard to watch but I believe those scenes were intended to be that way. Honestly I thought Tuvix was a much better character than Neelix. It's a shame they couldn't keep Tuvix and just bring back Tuvok.

The second component, the story, falls apart from the first scene of the episodes and continues until the very end. It is impossible for people to be combined this way. It is impossible for Tuvix to function as combination of Tuvok and Neelix. Remember that Tuvok is logical and controlled only because he constantly practices techniques to keep him logical and controlled. The moment he stops he becomes violent. Since Tuvix clearly isn't practicing those rituals then the Vulcan part of Tuvix would be making Tuvix constantly violent. And since Neelix has no self control, this is obvious that Tuvix would have no way of controlling the violence that characterizes Vulcans. That's really the problem. This episode forgets that Vulcans are naturally violent, they aren't naturally logical and controlled. They practice rituals so that they aren't violent.

The episode also completely fails to understand how the Transporters work. The transporters don't break a person down into DNA and proteins. The transporters convert a person into data (hence the need for pattern buffers) and then converts that data into a new person. Hence Ryker could be duplicated on TNG because the transporter failed to destroy the original Ryker before turning the data of the scanned Ryker into a new person. The computer would scan Tuvok, would scan Neelix, and would scan the orchid, and then convert the scan into objects while destroying the originals. There was never a moment where the molecules were flying around in a soup so it is completely impossible for the transporter to mix all three of them together because they never existed together. They were always separate data streams.

The episode does present this dilemma about whether or not to restore Neelix and Tuvok who now exist only as memories and strands of DNA that are somehow mixed together without causing huge medical problems. The episode does a fair job pondering the issue of whether it is right to end the existence of a currently existing being in order to bring back two people who no longer exist.

If one ignores the huge science problems it is an excellent episode.
Frank
Thu, Sep 8, 2016, 5:02pm (UTC -6)
Ah, yes, the episode where Corvette-Captain Janeway of ISS Voyager executed that poor hapless Vulaxian. Empress Hoshi the Great would have been proud.
Peter G.
Fri, Sep 9, 2016, 12:22am (UTC -6)
For some reason I was inspired to watch this episode again, which I hadn't seen since it first aired in 1996. I remembered thinking of Tuvix as being a superior character to the rest of the crew and I wanted to see if I agreed with myself from 20 years ago. I do.

This has got to be the saddest episode of Voyager ever. By introducing us to a character with more verve and dynamic energy than anyone else in the cast and then removing him again to be replaced by Neelix and a Vulcan (one of whom is annoying and the other of which, at any rate, does not offer verve or dynamic energy to speak of) is simply painful. What's more, the captain's reasoning to murder someone in order to restore two others is not only anathema to Federation ethics, but is also an early calling card from the producers, letting the audience know that any possible changes to the episodic balance of the series would will inevitably be killed and the original balance restored. The one exception to this was of course the end of season 3, but I'm quite sure in that case it was due to desperation rather than the desire to explore the changing realities of the crew.

Listening to Tuvix plead for himself summons the image of a character in a TV series begging the writers to keep things interesting, only for some autocratic force to swat down the plea and to blithely reinstate the regime. The character would thereafter speak as ordered, but without inspiration.

Special shout out to Cliff Bole, who apparently recently passed away, and who I have just learned has directed some of the most riveting and also strange episodes of Star Trek. His credits include triumphs such as The Best of Both Worlds and (IMO) Redemption, excellent and nuanced character pieces such as Cardassians, Meld and Tuvix, as well as quite odd stories like Eye of the Beholder and Dramatis Personae. His success in Tuvix is made strikingly clear to me in that he not only created a character that truly seemed like part of the crew in sub-30 minutes, but even made me want that person to stay. It even seemed like the other actors wanted him to stay as well, and you can't fake that. He had more chemistry with Kes than Neelix ever did; their conversations were more earnest and giving as well. The best part is Tuvix's appeal wasn't due to any plot intrigue, story line, technical doohicky, or gimmick. It was just a great character, and the actor playing him was splendid. I also noted, though, that Bole got great work out of Lien and Mulgrew, which was by no means a regularity on the series. All the more reason for me to lament the disunity on the production side of Voyager, when episodes like this one could, in theory, have been produced regularly.
Nick
Sat, Nov 5, 2016, 1:33am (UTC -6)
I agree with the first comment and the comment just prior to this one.

I disagree with Jammer, who shit the bed here. The last act of this episode was mastery, probably the best ten minutes of Star Trek television ever. I loathed all but Tuvix, their respective parts, and the Doctor. I delighted in the gem that only the computer-generated man could see the inherent wrongness in the Captain's decision.

Did I detect an accusatory note delivered in Tim Russ's line to Janeway, "Captain, greetings." seconds after she effectively murdered half of him? Tim Russ is as master.
Trek fan
Sat, Dec 3, 2016, 11:35am (UTC -6)
What did I just watch? Surely this is the kind of episode that "wasted potential" was designed to describe. Let's also add the words "weird, uncomfortable, contrived," and "half-baked" to describe the dumpster fire that is "Tuvix." Hands down, this is one of my least-favorite episodes in all of Trek, and it has a lot to do with the creepy and manipulative way the script tries to make us care about Tuvix before killing him off.

This is the latest blunder in a season of high-concept blunders for Voyager, a season of grotesque character-transformation gimmicks that almost makes one question whether Star Trek was ever good at all. In a classic Trek cliche, we're here introduced to a character we know cannot last beyond the episode, and then subjected to nearly an hour of plot manipulations to make us care about him before he is cashiered. The problem is that Tuvix, as a character, is weird and creepy. Not only does he creep out the rest of the crew, but he combines the most annoying character pairing (Neelix and Tuvok) in all of Star Trek history, minus the fleeting moment in "Meld" where Tuvok choked Neelix to death in a long-overdue payback for the latter violating his personal boundaries in a consistently disrespectful way.

The endless "awkward moment" scenes where we watch the crew adjust to life with Tuvix, in which "weeks" pass even though the writers obviously don't plan to invest more than one episode into this character, seem to fill up 4/5 of the episode's running time. They feel like filler (what else to call material that will have absolutely no impact by next week's episode?) and are made infinitely more uncomfortable by the scenes in which Tuvix puts the moves on Kes. The awkward scenes between Tuvix and Kes deserve to be in a Hall of Shame for Trek writing. They try to show Kes struggling to love someone who combines the traits of her mentor and boyfriend into one person, but they are simply awful dead-end material.

In the last 10 minutes, the episode throws a moral dilemma at us that should have been the focus of the entire episode rather than a throwaway moment in the final reel. Had the episode done away with the impossible contrivance of trying to make us care about or like a character we knew was going to die, focusing on the question of whether he deserves to live instead of on his creepy scenes with Kes and others, this might have been a halfway-decent show. But there's no real debate or understanding of character motivations here; Janeway makes a judgment call and the episode ends, pure and simple, without our even finding out if Neelix and Tuvok retain or recover any explicit memory of their joining. Now THAT'S a cop-out, even if the episode avoided the more obvious cop-out of allowing all three of them to live through some kind of technobabble solution. While I understand why the writers felt it necessary for dramatic tension to make us like Tuvix, I don't appreciate how the script works way too hard to manipulate us into that position, as I don't like being manipulated. To be honest, I think it would have been more realistic to make Tuvix a bit of a dick, adding more nuance to the "good or bad" category these kinds of guest stars often inhabit on Trek.

Ultimately I give this episode 1 1/2 stars because it's sincerely-acted, proving that hardworking people can do their best even with B-level material. But this is just an awful piece of garbage that trots out a unilateral moral decision (killing one person to save two others) without giving it anywhere near the debate time it deserves even on a TV show. And Tuvix himself is hard to take seriously; the entire concept just doesn't make sense. There are many, many Trek episodes that do this kind of "sympathy for a misunderstood life form" theme better. Unfortunately, it seems to be a repetitive cliche on Voyager.
Rhythmicons
Tue, Jan 3, 2017, 3:12pm (UTC -6)
Tuvix was the only redeeming character on Voyager. The writers made a huge mistake by killing him off. (Full DIsclosure: I'm only that far into season 2.)
However, a good piece of writing can really piss off the audience, take the last episode of Quantum Leap, for instance. Sometimes the best ending isn't what you want.
Robert
Wed, Jan 4, 2017, 9:04am (UTC -6)
@Rythmicons - Good point, although I disagree that the ending of Tuvix is a good piece of writing. You have a situation where the writers are forced to put Janeway in the position of committing an act that the Doctor's ethical subroutines find unethical. That's quite disturbing. No matter how much the 2 guys on the payroll wanted to return to their day jobs it was bad writing that forced THAT to be the solution. The other 95% of the episode was quite compelling though.

Agree on Quantum Leap. I hated the ending, but in it's own way it was quite good.
Quincy
Sat, Jan 21, 2017, 4:08pm (UTC -6)
I'm watching this episode now. I'm starting to recall how much I didn't really like it, principally because I hated the Neelix character.

Only things that could've saved this episode for me was if they recreated the Thomas Riker incident at the same time and kept Tuvok and Tuvix while Neelix died. Or if Tuvix had banged Kes and then when Neelix returned he was both fond of the memory and forever pissed at Tuvok.
doctorbenjiphd
Fri, Mar 10, 2017, 4:33am (UTC -6)
If we take the premise and keep it true to the internal logic of the show, I find it impossible to buy Janeway ordering Tuvix to his death. It simply seems like a staple of Trekian/Starfleet morals and ethics that a captain would never order the taking of a life to save another. Think O'Brien in DS9's wonderful Children of Time--he says something along the lines of "nobody can tell me that I can't see my wife and child." And Sisko agrees. I appreciate the impossible dilemma Janeway was in, and Mulgrew is a solid enough actress that she really conveyed the pain it took her to give this order, but at the end of the day, it seems dishonest to the character and to the Star Trek universe that she would go through with it. Again, simply put, I just don't buy it.
Robert
Fri, Mar 10, 2017, 5:45am (UTC -6)
@doctorbenjiphd - Well said. I have a hard time dumping on this episode sometimes, even the ending, because Mulgrew's performance sold it. But somehow they let Janeway perform a medical procedure that their computer Doctor felt was against the Starfleet ethics books so that she could have her best friend back. I don't buy it either.
Oli
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
This episode could have been so much better with 1 hour, or even an hour 30, in runtime. the 40 minute episode format leads to so many episodes thoughout all of trek but especially voyager that wrap up way too quickly and in unsatisfactory ways.
Linda
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 1:19am (UTC -6)
I was reminded of the 1950’s movie The Fly, about a scientist working on a transportation device, trying it out himself, not knowing that a fly had flown into the chamber. Forty years later I still remember one of the final scenes: a fly with a small “white” (human) head, stuck in a spider’s web, screaming for help.

That ST Voyager would set up this kind of situation, and not opt for the easy answer, that “Mr. Tuvix” is not agreeable to the reversing procedure, very unexpected. After the transporter mishap, Mr. Tuvix reassembled the very best of Tuvok and Neelix into one unique individual—though one would have thought he would have been a very much larger individual, since he combined two people.

When ultimately the doctor and company find a way to restore the two from the one, it’s hard to believe that the doctor can declare that this newly invented, never before tried procedure entails absolutely no risks at all. But that, of course, is to take away a valid objection to the procedure.

Tuvix, with dignity and intelligence, spoke a brilliant defense for his life. But I think Janeway was right: if we could hear them, Tuvok and Neelix would have spoken with equal eloquence for their lives as well. That the crew did not speak up for Tuvix was in my view understandable: they would have had mixed emotions, they would not have wanted to lose Tuvix, but also did not want to lose Tuvok or Neelix either. No matter what they said or did or didn’t say or do, they were in a sense betraying a friend. In a way, I think the doctor spoke the dissenting voice that the crew felt but could not utter. And it didn’t matter what the doctor said or did, because it was Janeway’s decision anyway. And from the look on her face, it looked like the decision took its toll on her, one she was likely to remember, perhaps especially anytime she partook of any of Neelix’s over-seasoned meals or received a report from Tuvok.

Many times there are stories ST tells that mirror those in the present day world. As did this one: the terrible price a commanding officer must pay for difficult decisions, decisions made with the full knowledge that their command will send good people to their certain deaths. Kudos to ST Voyager for not taking the easy out. (Never ever thought I’d say or think or type that.)

After seeing only a few Voyager episodes in the first year of its original run, I opted not to watch the series. Recently I’ve starting watching a few. And this is the first episode I’ve seen that made me question my original decision.

So I don't know what the future holds. But if neither Tuvok or Neelix ever acknowledge what happened in this episode, how sad. For Tuvix had their memories, and surely both Tuvok and Neelix shared his.

And Neelix, how stupid is he? He does all that research on Vulcans and still can’t get it through his head that his behavior toward Tuvok is obnoxious and will not win his friendship? And the relationship continues in this manner, even after this episode? Without irony, without humor, without—? If so, wow, beyond sad. But that’s the kind of show that I decided not to invest time in all those years ago, one that hits the reset button and never looks back.
Chuck
Wed, Apr 26, 2017, 8:01pm (UTC -6)
I'd like to extend what I think to be Linda's point a bit and ask... or posit... what if there'd been an epilogue that went something like this....

Janeway, in her ready room.... sitting across from the newly restored Tuvok and Neelix... consterned if not remorseful look on her face.... debriefs the two officers about how unique and powerful they were as a union... Not so much a lecture, but more of a eulogy.... you two could be so great if you combined your strengths and respected each other's idiosyncracies... and tried a little harder to work together for the common good, and quit annoying the shit outta each other (and the viewing audience.)

Had potential.
Linda
Thu, Apr 27, 2017, 9:20am (UTC -6)
Chuck, I agree. A final scene with Janeway, Tuvok and Neelix, done properly, could have buttoned up the episode nicely. I guess the writers ran out of time.
Fungarian
Wed, May 10, 2017, 1:45am (UTC -6)
Rewatching this episode, I'm bothered less by the decision itself than the total lack of compassion after that point. Whatever the circumstances, here's a terrified man who's about to be put to death, and there's no attempt to comfort him at all. The whole crew (minus the Doctor) seem to just want to get it over with as quickly as possible without any consideration for what he must be feeling or that he might want a funeral or remembrance of some kind. Nobody says that they'll miss him, or thanks him for the sacrifice he's being forced to make to bring back their friends. There isn't one "goodbye".

I understand Janeway's decision, but I don't get why it all had to be so cruel.
Linda
Wed, May 10, 2017, 11:56am (UTC -6)
Fungarian, I agree that it’s very disturbing that the crew doesn’t seem to respond to Tuvix’s distress. In their defense, I think they’re all just too stunned by the turn of events.

Recently I watched TOS episode “The Enemy Within” where due to a transporter accident, Kirk is split into two (Good and Evil Kirks). After Good Kirk’s had to battle Evil Kirk, and it’s time to reunite the two entities, Evil Kirk cries, “Please! I want to live!” And Good Kirk says simply, “You will. Both of us.” And embraces him compassionately. A moment like that, of compassion and understanding, a physical embrace, by someone other than a hologram, could have gone a long way here.
RandomThoughts
Wed, May 10, 2017, 5:10pm (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone

My take on it was always this. His was not a new soul. There were two souls mixed together in Tuvix, and they shared a body together for a while, so intertwined they didn't know where one started and the other finished. So while I felt badly for Tuvix, and thought someone should have walked with him to sickbay and whatnot, those two souls were going to be separated into individuals once again. Two went in, two came out.

Secondly (and probably mentioned above, but I'm not reading 'em all again to see), I would have liked to see this have consequences over at least the next few episodes. Now I was never on the Neelix bashing bandwagon, and actually never talked to anyone who hated him when the show was running. I didn't like or dislike him, he simply WAS, as he was written. But it would have been interesting to see him be more thoughtful and contemplative, instead of impulsive and goofy. Maybe have an interest in meditation or something. And Tuvok, while still keeping his emotionless exterior, would start to try new things, just to experience them. Take up parasailing on the holodeck (for exercise, of course), or actually say yes to a new soup without a sour expression.

And they could have been shown dealing with their experiences together. Perhaps a few mind melds to help them put things in perspective, or re-live some of the things Tuvix did. Hopefully, the memory engrams of Tuvix would have gone to both of them equally. As far as I recall, nothing like that ever happened.

But most of that would have taken forethought, and asking the next set of writers to know what happened here must have been too much. Like him or hate him, J. Michael Straczynski would have had that happen, or something close to it, because on his show he did almost all of the writing. Maybe it's the downside of too many writers, and not enough imagination on the part of the folks giving the outlines of scripts...

Just some thoughts... RT
Linda
Wed, May 10, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -6)
RandomThoughts, I’m thinking there’s an alternate reality where the writers did it just that way.
M40
Sat, May 13, 2017, 11:52am (UTC -6)
I don't understand Kes' reaction. She's so troubled by "Tuvix". So let's examine what happened. Her boyfriend is just as nice and friendly as ever, and he loves her as much as he always did... but he suddenly became far less annoying... a foot taller... twice as smart... twice as handsome... and let's face it, his junk probably doubled in size. And she's agonizing over all this? Seems like they missed an opportunity to bring a little comedy to this otherwise disturbing plotline.
grumpy_otter
Fri, Jun 30, 2017, 11:08am (UTC -6)
@Fungarian and @Linda

The two of you nicely elaborated exactly what my biggest problem with this episode always was--the cruelty of the crew. And Linda, you very clearly showed how it could have been resolved--Kirk's compassion made all the difference. Tom might have rushed up to Tuvix and shaken his hand, Harry would have given him a hug, Chakotay would have kindly touched his shoulder. Their absolute non-reactions were the most horrible part of this whole thing for me. I think even Kes would have been kind to Tuvix instead of practically cheering for his death so she could get Neelix back.

And Janeway! That wicked bitch. Some pointed out that she "looked Tuvix in the eyes." Yeah, she looked him in the eyes with the hard, steely glare of a serial killer. How about saying "I am sorry, but this is the decision I must make." or "I am sorry this solution can't save you." BITCH! I hate her so much in this episode. And in that final scene she pauses for one moment--with another look of steel on her face. How about even a little sob of emotion--just one? Sheesh. I hate how they handled it. Poor Tuvix not only has to die, but he has to die in a cold environment with no compassion from his "friends" to help him pass. Couldn't someone have even said, "Tuvix, I will make sure you are remembered?" or "We will make sure Star Fleet knows of your sacrifice?" Assholes.

Okay, deep breath.

Now let's get on to the idea of who has the right to live. There is zero evidence that anything has a soul, so let's throw that crap idea right out the window--irrelevant. What is fact is that we acknowledge that certain creatures are sapient (not "sentient" -- that means "feeling" -- even a mouse is "sentient") and that sapient creatures have certain rights. Data has rights. We'll determine the Doctor has rights in a later episode.

If a clone of a person exists or is created, from the very moment of creation, that is a new INDIVIDUAL, with all the rights of any individual. The DNA donor has NO rights over the new, sapient individual anymore. A millisecond after creation, the clone has amassed billions of unique bodily functions--neurons firing, cells dividing, digesting proceeding, and THOUGHTS--all those new events are different from the donor, so that new creature is an individual with all the rights and privileges thereto. To suggest otherwise is a twisted and inhumane idea and is, I suspect, the result of people subscribing to the erroneous idea of "souls." Garbage. If you can think, make decisions, learn--you're a person, no matter how you were created or what you are made of.

All that being said, I am okay that the writers wanted to try and wrestle with the morality of killing Tuvix, but it was so sloppy for them not to even acknowledge they could have saved him--even in holographic form. A line or two of dialog explaining why he couldn't be cloned or something would have sufficed. But whatever. They murdered an individual--whether it was right or not is a different issue.

And to finish off, y'all should see The Outer Limits episode, "Think Like a Dinosaur." Their transporter technology leaves behind the person while a copy is sent to the new location. It is one guy's job to kill the original person immediately upon receiving notification that the copy has arrived at its destination. Well, one day the original person doesn't die. What to do now? The "dinosaurs" of the title are the aliens directing this method, and I think it actually weakens the ethical argument, but it's still a thought-provoking episode.

Rest in peace, Tuvix. You were better than all those heartless bastards. :-)
MegaVak
Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
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.
Skuffles
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 1:00am (UTC -6)
Janeway commited murder. I know it's debatable if you think about it out of the context of the show, but based on what was said in the show itself, she clearly murdered Tuvix.

JANEWAY: ...he's begun to make a life for himself on this ship. He's taken on responsibilities, made friends.
CHAKOTAY: I count myself as one of them.
JANEWAY: So at what point, did he become an individual and not a transporter accident?

EMH: ...I will not take Mister Tuvix's life against his will.

Even Kes says 'Tuvix doesn't deserve to die', though she wants him to because she wants Neelix back, which is an understandable reaction.

So it seems that everyone, including most importantly, Janeway, clearly thought he was an individual being, and not just some accident, even going to far as to say he is their friend, and he doesn't deserve to die, and that he has his own free will. If Tuvix is an individual with free will, and a friend, and deserves to live, then what Janeway did was murder. Plain and simple.

The episode makes it's own argument that Janeway is a murderer and not a hero.

And someone else mentioned in another comment that since he had the intelligence of Tuvok and a will to live, that he should have come up with some sort of escape plan. I think maybe he was about to do that at the end, but was interrupted by Janeway.

TUVIX: Mister Paris, what is our present speed?
PARIS: Warp six point five.
TUVIX: I'd like to conduct a field test of the aft sensor array. Please, slow to impulse.
PARIS: Commander?
CHAKOTAY: Until the Captain makes a decision, Mister Tuvix is still the tactical officer.
JANEWAY: Mister Tuvix, I'd like to speak to you alone.

Just my interpretation, but I think he was having them slow to impulse so he could steal a shuttle or something and get away before he was, you know, murdered by the captain. Only speculation of course.

Also Tuvix is superior to both Tuvok and Neelix. He does each of their jobs better than the original did, so why not keep him around?

TUVIX: ...I wanted to work on that proximity detector glitch in the security subroutine.
JANEWAY: And how's it going?
TUVIX: I managed to correct it.
CHAKOTAY: Tuvok said it could take up to ten days to check out all the possible problems. How'd you fix it so fast?
TUVIX: I had a hunch.

CAPTAIN'S LOG: ...I've found him to be an able advisor who skillfully uses humour to make his points. And although I feel a bit guilty saying it, his cooking is better than Neelix's.

And finally, though there is no real world analogy to what happened with Tuvix, since it's an impossibility, the closest I can think of is this, which is also impossible, but whatever.

A man and his pregnant wife die in a car accident, but they manage to save the baby. It is a combination of the two of them, with many of their traits, both physical and mental, but still a unique individual. The child is taken in by a friend of the couple and lives with them for three weeks, when a wizard shows up (this is the impossible part if you didn't realize) to the friend and said that he would bring the parents back to life if they shot the baby in the head and killed it. So they shoot the baby to get their friends back.

Would that be ok? Of course not. It's killing one to bring back two, but it's an incredibly ruthless and selfish act, and I don't see how anyone here would agree to the situation I just layed out. And it's not all that different than Tuvix's situation.

TUVIX: Don't you think that I care about Tuvok and Neelix?...I think of them as my parents.

Also, either Tuvok or Neelix is now part flower. They used the radioisotope to separate one of them from Tuvix (they didn't say which one), leaving the other behind, along with the flowers. I was half expecting them to reappear with bouquets in their hands, but no, so someone is still a flower child. :P


Would have been 4 stars if Tuvix had volunteered to die or some other explanation was given rather than a cold blooded murder. Janeway is the worst captain ever.

As is...3 1/2 stars from me
Startrekwatcher
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 10:06pm (UTC -6)
2 stars. Neelix sucked. Tuvok was boring so Biller had the brilliant idea to merge them in a very by the numbers outing. No thanks
George Monet
Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
There was no murder. Tuvix isn't a real single being. Tuvix is the combined molecules of Tuvok and Neelix, molecules which never should have been combined and which can now be seperated back into the proper places. Fixing the glitch restored two lives that otherwise would have been lost had nothing been done.

Refusing to treat the problem would have sentenced Tuvok and Neelix to death whereas fixing the combined molecules didn't kill anything.

Plus, Tuvix to me came across as the ultimate self important ahole. I simply could not stand him.

I love Tuvok and I understand how Neelix is necessary to the series. I also think that the actor does a great job playing Neelix.
Ruth
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
I realised upon watching for the third time what they were trying to do with Tuvix's refusal to go through with the procedure. He was a better security officer than Tuvok and a better chef than Neelix. He was easier for people to get along with than either, appearing neither cold nor overbearingly warm. But he was a worse PERSON. Janeway said Tuvok and Neelix would have gone through with it in his position, and Tuvix, who'd know, doesn't argue. I think actually Neelix would die to save just one other let alone two and let alone them being family or otherwise the same as him. Tuvok might not die for one person in cold blood (the situation where he's putting the Maquis through training is different) but certainly as a vulcan you imagine he'd put the needs of the many before the needs of himself.

But Tuvix wouldn't. He knew how much each man valued his own life and how selfless they would both be but he wouldn't do it. I think this is also what's supposed to justify the ending. Neelix might be a coward generally, but he has a lot of feeling and can find the courage to do what he believes is right. Tuvok is less likely to show he cares about others, but he would do what is logically best and wouldn't be afraid to sacrifice himself. But Tuvix is both cold and cowardly, won't see that it's right to let them both live or that it's logical that two should live over one. A keen mind and following hunches made him better at solving problems, Talaxian spicy cooking and Vulcan bland cooking made him a better cook, but Neelix's feelings-based ethics and Tuvok's logic-based ethics left him without ethics. He's a worse man. Not by any means bad enough to deserve to die, but so bad in comparison to Neelix and Tuvok that he can't be allowed to live at their expense. After all, no-one minded having him around, until the moment it became clear they could have the other pair back.

Tuvok and Neelix seemed to carry his hurt that everyone bar the Doctor and particularly that Janeway had killed him, but they clearly didn't hold it against her or anyone later on. I can only imagine that as Tuvix had their memories, they had Tuvix's, but they still seemed to think what Janeway did was right in the end, because they are better than Tuvix.
Ruth
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
But aside from that, the actor playing Tuvix is amazing. Two very hard characters to blend in speech and mannerisms, but he managed. Really well done.
Peter G.
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 7:07pm (UTC -6)
@ Ruth,

You make some good points about the possibility that Tuvix may not be an absolutely perfect person. However:

"But he was a worse PERSON. Janeway said Tuvok and Neelix would have gone through with it in his position, and Tuvix, who'd know, doesn't argue."

That's easy to say, since Janeway never announced to Neelix that she was going to summarily execute him. It's also one thing to volunteer for a suicide mission, but quite another to dictate to someone else they are going to sacrifice themselves. I find the scenario very chilling that morality in the Federation should dictate that the government dictates who lives and who dies. An individual, like Spock, might decide to value the needs of the many, but it's not for authority figures to tell innocent people they must die for someone else. That is a very dark road to go down, and it reads to me as fascism (we do this "for the people").

Now, it may well be the case that Neelix might have chosen to sacrifice himself, and that Tuvix diverges from him in this sense. We really don't know, but even if it's so, this makes him a BAD person? Is being good predicated strictly on willingness to follow an order to arbitrarily die? It's not like there was a dangerous mission and someone needed to go do the risky task. Everyone was safe on the ship, no danger; just that they had a choice to kill one person to 'create' two. The fact that the crew had memories of Tuvok and Neelix should have nothing to do with the moral dilemma: do you kill one person in order to create two lives? And this is all assuming that Tuvix has some distinct personality traits that neither Tuvok nor Neelix had. We could guess all day about that, but the episode seems to suggest that his traits are an amalgam of those of the other two, and if he didn't want to die then that must have come from either Tuvok or Neelix. If he has the 'weakness', then so does one of them, in which case trying to paint him as morally inferior wouldn't even be accurate. But putting that side, even if it someone WAS accurate (and btw who is the arbiter of whether someone is 'good' or not??) does being morally weak mean a person is less deserving of living? That, too, is a very dark road worthy of a dystopia.

In the final analysis we can't determine much about Tuvox for sure. But one thing we do know for certain is that he wasn't alive for very long. Maybe it's worth considering whether someone who's already lived a good many years should have someone else die so they can have more years, or whether the new being who's barely been given a chance to live can have a turn. Bottom line, the episode didn't give a darn about Tuvix, his rights, or his wants. The moment Janeway decides he'll die the director of the show all but painted him as a villain and the entire crew abandoned him - this was totally unbelievable, by the way. No matter how much they wanted their friends back I cannot believe that zero people on a Starfleet vessel would find this unacceptable. It's a very bleak episode from the standpoint of what it says about these people.

I'd call this one the most outrageous thing to ever happen on the series, perhaps next to making an alliance with the Borg.
William B
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 7:57pm (UTC -6)
Just wading in slightly (not on all topics), but Peter,

"Bottom line, the episode didn't give a darn about Tuvix, his rights, or his wants. The moment Janeway decides he'll die the director of the show all but painted him as a villain"

I don't think I agree. I think they showed Tuvix begging to be allowed to live, and because he was asking for his own life rather than someone else's, it plays a little uncomfortably. I think his level of emotional anguish can be read as "undignified," in contrast to Data's ultra-call in Measure of a Man, which is maybe what might give the impression the director was painting him as wrong/a villain even if the vast majority of people would start begging in that situation. But he is also given the "You are all GOOD people" speech. We can see that as a way of sneaking in an out for the crew, that even Tuvix agrees they are not destroyed by what they do to him, and I think that is somewhat true. But I think it also restores Tuvix's dignity and allows him some Vulcan-like composure and Neelix-like compassion for his betrayers. That he forgives the people killing him gives his end a kind of tragic heroism. I guess what I am saying is that, to me, the writing, directing and acting of Tuvix himself remains respectful to me right until the end, even though a case can certainly be made that the way the direaction/scoring/etc remains ambivalent or even positive on Tuvix's killing indicates a lack of caring about Tuvix in other aspects of the episode's end.
William B
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 8:00pm (UTC -6)
*Data's ultra-cool, that is.
Peter G.
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

I agree that showing Tuvix as having compassion for his 'killers' is an interesting note for them to have hit. Overall, I might add, this is in my top ten episodes of Voyager, and so I have the utmost appreciation for some of the detailing and how the episode made me feel. I think the episode had some good writing, good direction, and very good acting. It was also one of the few episodes that allowed Kes to have a real issue to deal with that was interesting.

That being said, I do think the writer/director didn't think through the implications of what they were writing. They may have been going for edgy, but one of my chief complaints about Voyager in general is that the moral tone of the show is inconsistent and basically comes down to each writer of the week making up their own version of what's right and wrong - often resulting in Janeway looking schizophrenic. I think this episode is an example of that, where an otherwise good piece of writing makes sense only in a vacuum but not in the general context of Trek or...frankly, even any world I'd want to live in.

When you say that begging for his life makes Tuvix look undignified, you're exactly right. And it's his desperation that gives him the stink of wrongness to the crew (at least that's what it plays like to me). But that's the whole problem! A desperate, scared person will inevitably look more undignified than someone who feels they're in a safe position - even in the position of looking like a hero in a dangerous situation. But Tuvix isn't in a dangerous situation, he's simply slated to be removed. Recall those colonists in DS9's "Children of Time" who fear, not so much death, but never having existed in the first place (especially the Klingons) and having their entire existence removed so that others could have an existence instead. That episode at least took the moral quandry seriously enough to weight both sides as worthy. But here Tuvix isn't given the same consideration and so he becomes desperate...a normal response. Could he have behaved more like a Picard or a Socrates? Maybe, but that shouldn't really affect our feelings about whether he should die; perhaps only our feelings about how amazingly stoic he was. Just think about the implications of holding someone's desperation to live as a strike *against* them in a situation where they're going to be killed. Not to be overly morbid, but think about fascist regimes like the USSR or Nazi Germany, and how many of the victims there must have dealt with impending doom - desperation and fear were probably common. And yet it would be seen as the height of callousness to dismiss them as having had undignified deaths when they could have been more stiff-lipped about it. Generally that's not how we discuss victims; we rarely if at all mention how well or poorly they dealt with it, and tend instead to focus on the perpetrators of their demise. But here we see just one victim up close and personal and get to see his pleas in all their pathetic details, and of course some part of us recoils from that ugly scene when it would be more comfortable to see a serene acceptance of death. But that lack of comfort - the disgust in the crew's eyes - is exactly the issue being brought to the fore, and to whit the proper reaction to that ought to be "what the hell are we doing" rather than "ugh, I wish he'd stop complaining already." That's how I see it, anyhow.
William B
Mon, Nov 27, 2017, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
@Peter,

I see what you're saying. You know, I'm reminded of Kubrick's Paths of Glory. (Spoilers for those who haven't seen it.) After a pointless forward assault from the trenches in WWI, ordered by a French general purely for personal gain, a the entire force of soldiers retreats. Three soldiers are selected for execution as representatives. Kirk Douglas' Colonel Dax (an appropriately Star Trek-resonant name) defends them at the court-martial. Anyway, one of the things the film does well is to make absolutely clear its (i.e. Kubrick's) agreement with Dax, while keeping the three condemned men recognizably human. One is selected for execution by his company because he's a weirdo that they don't particularly like anyway. One of them keeps going on the night before his slated execution about his death and how a cockroach will outlive him. It all creates this image of people who are *not* brave before certain death. And we are reminded that they are representative of how people behave. One of the central themes of the movie is that it is wrong to condemn people for a lack of "bravery" which is ultimately a near-universal for humans -- whether it's the army choosing those men in particular for a retreat that all the men did, or the audience losing sympathy for them for reacting with exactly the kind of "lack of dignity" that almost everyone would have in the face of death. This dynamic gets repeated in the final scene, when Dax looks on to see his men leering at a German beauty/singer paraded on stage before them, and he looks disgusted and ashamed at their insensitivity, before she begins to sing and they manage to connect with her, and Dax is reminded of their essential humanity.

How this relates to Tuvix, I'm not sure. I guess that I'm not sure that the crew's turning their backs on Tuvix indicates that the writer and the director definitely agree with the crew's decision. I do think that the writer/director don't see the execution of Tuvix as being as horrible as you do, for example, and so I see your point. But I don't really think the episode leverages Tuvix' feelings and the crew's reaction to him against Tuvix the character.
Peter G.
Mon, Nov 27, 2017, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

"But I don't really think the episode leverages Tuvix' feelings and the crew's reaction to him against Tuvix the character."

It's about the balance of what we're shown. Let's say half the crew felt badly for Tuvix and the other were repulsed by his raction, but we're only shown the half that were repulsed in the episode. Regardless of what the crew 'actually felt' what we're shown would make it seem like being repulsed is the 'correct' position to take, since the moral fibre of the crew is supposed to be a given. The fact that some hypothetical other crew members might have felt differently matters little if we're not shown that side of it; it may as well not exist. In this episode we're shown only two sides of it: the Doctor refuses to cooperate, while the rest of the crew is either silent or else seems to actively find his position repulsive. The Doctor's side *is* in there, but it's also brushed aside with little difficulty and frankly not taken very seriously, which is quite common for when he levies objections in episodes that the Captain casually dismisses. He really is treated like a piece of technology some of the time. But the episode seems to dismiss his position as being "just the opinion of the annoying holodeck doctor" as opposed to "the ship's computer, programmed with Starfleet morals and laws, has made a claim that this action would be unethical." That issue is never taken seriously and the bottom line in the episode comes down to Janeway making a strident pronouncement and no one else's say mattering. On TOS there would without a doubt have been a hearing featuring the entire senior staff before taking an action of this sort. On TNG there would have been an Observation Lounge meeting to discuss. On DS9 Dax would have ripped Sisko a new one for making a choice like this all by himself. But here the killing of a man begging for his life seems to be just another day at the office, a simple decision for Janeway to make just like so many others.
Vernon watts
Wed, Jan 31, 2018, 6:52pm (UTC -6)
I personally thought the episode to be powerfull but found Janeways actions at the end to be genocidal and not simply murder as Tuvix was an utterly unique life form. Also some people question why the Doc refused to kill him after initially looking for the cure, up until Tuvix expressed his wish to live it was asumed he wanted to be sepparated so the cure was sought. All in all a very thought provoking episode with a very nasty ending.
Kent Clark
Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 8:58am (UTC -6)
Ah, the symmetry of the internet timeline! I find it fascinating to read a decade of comments about a show that initially aired more than a score of years earlier. What’s lacking in the episode I think, is a more complete discussion of how Tuvix’s personality was a complementary balance of the stoicism of Tuvoc and the impulsive id od Nelix.
silly
Sun, Apr 1, 2018, 2:43am (UTC -6)
When I saw the trailer for this way back when the show first aired, my reaction was an eye-rolling "ugh, sounds incredibly stupid". Voyager was just not wow-ing me at the time.

I didn't watch it until last year, after seeing it pop up in a few lists as being best of Voyager and what not.

It's surprisingly quite good. And yes, the actor did an amazing job. It's absolutely believable he's somehow a merger of the two m
navamske
Sun, Jul 8, 2018, 6:58pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer's review

"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."

"Execution" might not have been the best word, given the context.
dg54321
Wed, Jul 18, 2018, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
Really it's quite clear, and Janeway was in the wrong here. If Tuvix was not capable of performing the duties of Tuvok or Neelix and those people are essential to the functioning of the ship, then you can argue she acted in the best interests of the crew. But since he could, this is murder. Plain and simple. And it's not murder to not separate Tuvix, because there was no intent to combine him in the first place...murder requires intent. Is it a tragic accident? Yes. But one that she had to commit murder to undo, and murder is what she did.

It can "haunt" her, sure...but she should really be treated the same as any captain who pulls a phaser out and vaporizes one of her crew.....charged and relieved of duty.

But it's Voyager, so she isn't, and by the next episode, everybody forgets that just last week she killed someone because it was tragic to lose those two crew members through no fault of the crew, or her.

What's amazing is, by the end of Voyager's duty, she becomes an Admiral for her crimes. And this isn't even the first or last of them.
Killer Moth
Sun, Jul 22, 2018, 7:31am (UTC -6)
From a writing perspective, it's actually an interesting choice not to create some tangible reason why Janeway would need both (or either) Tuvok and Neelix for crew function or the like. Instead, they decide to make Tuvix capable of jobs of both and willing to do said jobs -- overstretched, maybe, but hardly making a case for the necessity of getting them both back. Instead Janeway decides she needs to separate him because -- she does! The act is openly sentimental instead of justified for a logistical perspective.

I will give this episode credit for at least making unusual, even daring choices. I just wish that it had the courage of its convictions, but it does not following logically on the consequences of the characters' actions.
Mark D
Mon, Jul 23, 2018, 11:30am (UTC -6)
It was a hard decision, but I think Janeway did the right thing. The difficulty in the decision was compounded by the fact that Tuvix was such a likable person and fit well within the crew.

From the standpoint of the crew, I think their confidence and respect in Janeway were strengthened by seeing that she is fully committed and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they get home safely...especially Tuvok and Neelix in this case.

One more thought on this episode, I wonder...if Tuvix had expressed a desire to live right from the start, would the Doctor still have tried to find a way to separate him back into Tuvok and Neelix?
Peter G.
Mon, Jul 23, 2018, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
@ Mark D,

"One more thought on this episode, I wonder...if Tuvix had expressed a desire to live right from the start, would the Doctor still have tried to find a way to separate him back into Tuvok and Neelix?"

Let's face it: Voyager is so obsessed with technobabble problems and solutions that when Tuvix was created I'm quite sure he was thought of as an accident rather than a person. This assumption isn't a result of some failure on his part to express a desire to live, but rather a failure of Janeway (and perhaps the others) to recognize what was standing right in front of them. However you may have a point that if the solution hadn't actually been found yet at the time when he protested the idea of being killed, it would have forced the issue of whether pursuing the research was even ethical in the first place. I suspect, though, that Janeway would have forced the issue anyhow and done the same thing even if the implementation was delayed until the solution was found. It would have certainly made it more awkward for Tuvix to live next to people who actively wanted him dead.
Chrome
Mon, Jul 23, 2018, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
I’m fairly sure the Doctor was operating under orders of Janeway and/or whatever Starfleet protocols involving transporter mishaps and would’ve searched for a way to reverse the procedure regardless of Tuvix’s wishes. It kind of goes without saying that if the actual Tuvok and Neelix were around, they’d expect the Doctor to do as much as he could to help them.

I suppose the episode could have gone as far as to have Tuvix say “I’ve thought this over both from Tuvok and Neelix’s point of view, and their combined memories tell me that they’d prefer you left us together.” But the episode is already stretching credulity with how seemlessy Tuvix operates, so I’m glad they didn’t go that far.
Nolan C
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
Hated it. Maybe because I hate Neelix so much. Why so much f’ing Neelix this season? Every time he speaks I just wish he would STFU. I can’t stand him. I do think Tuvix was well acted. But just to be clear, I think the highlight of the VOY series is when Tuvok strangled the bastard. Too bad it was only hologram.
Reverse Flash
Wed, Aug 22, 2018, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
To the above: oughtn't you to love this episode, then? Neelix is hardly in it.
Defstar
Mon, Aug 27, 2018, 9:04am (UTC -6)
So... did Tuvix have one lung or two?

*runs away before the room explodes again*
Springy
Mon, Aug 27, 2018, 9:21am (UTC -6)
Great episode. A weekly series, that's cranking out eps with limited time and limited budget, isn't often going to deal out perfection on complex issues. But it was tackled remarkably well, with an amazing performance by our guest star.

Yes, Janeway commits murder. She steps in, seemingly (for her crew's sake) without hesitation, to do the nasty deed. She shoulders every speck of this horrible, unnatural responsibility. She does it unflinchingly, and I admire her for it.

Despite his competence, having Tuvix is NOT the same as having both Tuvok and Neelix. He is his own person, and he's not just a "combination of his parts," something that's explicitly mentioned earlier. He's more, as Chokotay suggests, but he's also LESS. This truly hits us (and Janeway) between the eyes when Tuvix pleads for his life in a very individual, non-Tuvok or Neelix manner.

And of course, he's one person instead of two . . . he can't truly meet as many needs as two men did.

Tuvok and Neelix are her responsibility, ultimately.

Janeway does what's best for her ship and her crew, her two individual crewmen, and for the return home. It burdens her, but she accepts that burden.

Really well done all around. Loved the scene with Janeway and Kes. Very well acted.

Four stars.

I hope to have time for a more complex analysis of the creative, bold, and amazing ep, but don't know that I will.

I'm only one person, after all.
Star Truck: the worst generation
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
This episode was damn interesting. The premise is bizarre, but the ending even though it’s out of character for Janeway and the rest of the crew was riveting. Sometimes the show works too hard to make it obvious that Janeway is not Captain Picard this produces moments that some may hate but I find entertaining. Generally speaking I like it when episodes try to buck fan expectations. I appreciate it when producers take risks. The episode is a 7,200 out of 10,198
Rahul
Fri, Nov 2, 2018, 10:14am (UTC -6)
"Tuvix" is a good example of the kind of episode VOY is pretty good at -- taking some technobabble but really making it a solid character episode with some very strong performances (Janeway - for the most part, and Kes). The episode has its flaws and I agree with Jammer that not enough time is focused on the consequences and too much time was focused on Kes missing Neelix - although both are relevant. But it's a poignant episode with Janeway having to make a tough moral decision and is easily a better-than-average hour of VOY.

The good thing about the episode is that the whole symbiogenesis in the transporter mishap -- Trek has its share of transporter mishap episodes -- isn't that far-fetched considering "The Enemy Within" or "Relics", as examples. I have more of an issue with how Janeway quickly operates the transporter for the reverse process and in a few seconds Tuvok and Neelix re-materialize -- as if this process is as easy as making a sandwich and she knows how to do it so expertly. Shouldn't Janeway have to at least wait for the injection of the isotopes to circulate throughout Tuvix's body? Anyhow, whatever - it's Trek.

The best scene was the heart-to-heart between Janeway and Kes -- both Mulgrew and Lien are terrific here and this is something VOY can do that no other Trek can (for obvious reasons). I liked how they tied losing Tuvok/Neelix and no hope of getting back to being separated (in Janeway's case) to home and their loved ones and the overall question of giving up hope.

So Tuvix believes he deserves to live -- that's fine of course. He has Neelix's and Tuvok's memories etc. and understands how he was created. But I think Janeway should have really hammered home the point of how his creation was a mistake. Instead, it did seem abrupt when the crew, who had become his friend, just abandon him completely when Janeway wants to get Tuvok/Neelix back -- did they get an order from the captain ahead of time? And I do think Tuvix is exaggerating when he calls it "murder" -- that's not quite true, although it is understandable for him to say that.

The ending with Janeway just telling Tuvok and Neelix that it's good to have them back is too abrupt -- but that's where the structure of the episode was more focused on Tuvix integrating with the crew etc. No time left for an epilogue.

3 stars for "Tuvix" -- definitely a compelling story and a really good VOY episode with some flaws, of course. The actor for Tuvix did a good job in trying to get into the swing of things on the ship, being uncertain, trying to relate to Kes etc.
LT.BLT
Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
The controversy is fake. Tuvix made a big silly contrived fuss about being separated and Tuvok and Neelix being his “parents.” They weren’t his parents they literally and totally comprised his entire being. That’s why he picked the name “Tuvix” and not a unique name the way a child receives a name. That’s why he continues to live out the lives of the two men who he is.

He is a living portmanteau of two people who are not dead. Since Tuvok and Neelix comprise Tuvix and Tuvix is alive, Tuvok and Neelix must also be alive. He doesn’t care to be separated but that’s just too bad since he has no established right to remain joined at the expense of the two beings he is made of. He was not murdered or killed, because the two beings that comprised him remained alive. The best that can be said is that his physical being and consciousness were involuntarily separated. Perhaps that is uncomfortable or not preferable but it is not murder or death.

The most comparable situation in real life would be separating conjoined twins before they have a chance to decide if they prefer to remain conjoined. In such a case perhaps the twins were robbed of certain rights but neither was killed because their conjoined existence has ended. It’s not a great example because conjoined twins have separate consciousnesses but that’s as close as we can get.

All the hollering of MURDER BLOODY MURDER is unnecessary and inaccurate moral posturing. It’s not murder because no one was killed or even died, and it wasn’t unlawful because there are no laws pertaining to accidentally joined persons.

At most it’s morally ambiguous as to which life-form Tuvix should take and who should make the choice especially since Tuvok and Neelix couldn’t speak individually any longer. It’s a Starfleet ship in a weird situation with no access to upper management so the ranking officer made a decision to return her crewmen to their former nonconjoined state. She did not kill anyone or resurrect anyone... in fact considering all the ways people have been conjoined and separated in Star Trek history it was a normal day.
Peter G.
Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 10:27pm (UTC -6)
"The most comparable situation in real life would be separating conjoined twins before they have a chance to decide if they prefer to remain conjoined."

Do you mean twins who each have their own brain? If so...uh...you may want to rethink whether this is at all comparable. When suggesting that both Neelix and Tuvok are "still alive" you may want to define what "alive" means, because I've never heard it argued that someone without their own brain and their own thoughts is alive in any sense we understand. Granted this is sci-fi so far-out explanations are legit, but something far-out would be required to argue that two people who everyone feels *are not there anymore* are still alive.
Jonas
Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
All three characters - Tuvok, Neelix and Tuvix - are simply identities and are not in any sense "alive". When one says "I am Neelix" or "I am Tuvix" who is the "I" that is doing the identifying? A little investigation shows that it's the same one in both cases, therefore no one during the episode ever died. Tuvix's protests were meaningless and so were Janeway's actions.
Circus Man
Sun, Nov 18, 2018, 2:03am (UTC -6)
It may well be the case that "there are no laws pertaining to accidentally joined persons," so Janeway needs to do what we do when we encounter a situation to which no laws neatly apply: look to existing law for precedent of some sort, or put differently, look at the principle and purpose of the law and see how they apply even if the situation is new. I am not sure I necessarily want this episode to become a legal drama but it sways the other way taking place in a sort of legal vacuum in which such remedies are not even contemplated.

This is to me the worst part of the episode. Maybe Tuvix doesn't have the right to continue existing at the expense of his two forbearers. I kind of understand that position. What I've never heard anyone argue compellingly is why he even lacks access to due process.* The ending plays like Janeway is actively trying to circumvent due process because she's afraid it won't go the way she wants. Is this her prerogative as a Starfleet captain, especially given Voyager's isolation? Maybe. But the episode should ate least call it for what it is: Janeway acting like a dictator.

* To the idea that he has no rights by virtue of "not existing," I would say that the mere fact that he has motivations that neither Tuvok nor Neelix would have proves that he is exists and is an independent entity. And in a democracy we grant people their rights to due process even if their existence is inconvenient to us.
Circus Man
Sun, Nov 18, 2018, 8:03am (UTC -6)
To add to the above, Tuvix's supposed lack of personhood does not seem to preclude Janeway letting him work on the ship. What kind of moral position is "We'll totally except you as your own unique being and accept you as a comrade in arms, at least provided that we don't have a method of stripping you down for your component parts. Oh wait..."
Springy
Sun, Nov 18, 2018, 8:21am (UTC -6)
The question as to why Tuvix lacks access to due process - my thoughts:

They all lack access to full due process, due to their situation. On Enterprise, Data had a hearing about whether or not he's a person with rights, or can he just be dismantled, like any Star Fleet property? After communication is established with the Alpha quadrant, Doc can have a hearing on the same sort of thing. There are people outside the ship who have a final say.

Tuvix - he can't follow the route of Data and Doc.

When the Suder commits murder, Janeway decides on his confinement. Later, she send Paris to the brig for 30 days for a transgression.

Of course the Captain is, in many ways, a dictator. She's not voted in, nor are her dictates subject to voter approval. She can be relieved of duty, of course, but unless that happens, she's (more or less, subject to rules and regulation) "a dictator" on the ship.

And in the military, a commander had some limited ability to dole out sentences as punishment, without a trial. Someone with a beef can request a full trial (court marshal) when they get to port.

No port for Voyager, so maybe they should have come up with some internal procedures for a "fair trial." I don't believe they ever did, never really had the need, I'd say. They seem to have simply extended the Captain's limited abilities to decide the fate of others.

Now - if he's truly his own person, Tuvix isn't a member of the crew. He's not under Janeway's command or purview. Would he even have standing to request whatever due process they may have? Does Janeway have any authority to decide his fate?

It is a complicated scenario, with no easy answers. Tuvix sees himself as a full, separate individual. Janeway sees him as a being whose understandable interest in self-preservation is keeping her from rescuing her valued crew members from their shadowy "deaths."

Isn't Tuvix "murdering" Tuvok and Neelix with his refusal? Isn't he, essentially, "pulling the plug" on Tuvok and Neelix? Or did the transporter kill them?

Doesn't the Captain have a right to execute someone determined to "murder" two of her totally innocent crewman, even if it's in self defense? Is it ok to condemn two innocent people to death, so you can stay alive? Is that what he's doing?

To me, Tuvix is more like some random alien who beamed aboard. No doubt there are some regulations as to his rights, but I doubt they include any Data level "due process," especially if he's a threat to crew members.

If you keep me from reviving someone that I know I can definitely revive, are you committing murder?

What a can of worms, though the worms are why I love this ep.

Ultimately, the way I see it, Janeway takes on the burden of making this decision. I don't think it's easy for her. But she does it, because she's the Captain and she sees it as her responsibility. I think she does it because she believes that's what's best for Tuvok, Neelix, and the ship.
Circus Man
Sun, Nov 18, 2018, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
I'll grant that Janeway certainly could circumvent due process if the stakes are high enough. That would be both within her character and within her discretion as captain. But is it warranted here? What makes the stakes high enough? The ship is not at risk, crew integrity is not at risk (I see no sign of this despite what others have argued). To repeat a point from above, it all comes back to the episode failing to work in a time element. There's no particular reason for Janeway to act immediately if the same procedure can be done a year from now.

I like the worms too but I don't think the episode really knows what it's doing. It's not a provocative discussion of bioethics or philosophy; it's just a rote outing of a rote show, stronger in concept than in execution. I do like the discussion it's inspired (and appreciate the respectful, intelligent tone it's maintained here), but that doesn't make me like the episode. Quite the opposite; it makes the episode seem weaker since it seems aware of these issues.
Circus Man
Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Shouldn't be "unaware" in that last sentence. One other thing: you say "To me, Tuvix is more like some random alien who beamed aboard." But doesn't the fact that he is given a job and uniform point in a different direction? If an alien popped up on the ship but then was given a Starfleet commission because of its exploitable skills and commitment to the ship's mission, oughtn't that package to also include some level of protection against summary execution?
Springy
Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 3:12pm (UTC -6)
Well, the things you point out, @Circus Man, are precisely what I meant by worms.

Yes, Janeway makes Tuvix a Lt, you're right. I had forgotten that. I guess she had the power to do that, she did it with B'Ellana, e.g.

So if she accepts him as a full member of the crew, and he accepts that he is under her command, then we're back to what constitutes due process in the Delta Quadrant. I dunno. Basically, the Captain is in charge until they reach port. What due process should he invoke? Insist on staying Tuvix until they reach home 20 - 70 yrs later?

He hasn't been accused of a crime, so it would be as it was for Data, determining if Tuvix is truly an individual with rights who shouldn't be "dismantled," and further, with the right to keep Janeway from reviving Tuvok and Neelix (an important aspect not present with the Data situation).

If they'd been in the Alpha quadrant, or communicating with them, that would have been the way to go - have a Data-like hearing. But they're not.

So the choice is "leave Tuvok and Neelix in oblivion for who knows how long (likely many years)", or "make a decision now."

I disagree with you on the notion that their was no reason to make the decision quickly. The longer Tuvix stayed around, the more attachments would be made between Tuvix and the crew, the more Tuvok and Neelix would miss out on part of their lives, the longer they'd have to make due with one person instead of two.

I don't know what a Talaxian lifespan is, or how long Tuvix might realistically live, but even if he could easily live the years it might take to go home (or finally make solid contact with Star Fleet), that's a lot of years to take off Tuvok and Neelix's life.

Say Joe is the innocent recipient of Sam's heart, given to him by a dastardly, unscrupulous doctor. If Sam's family finds out, as Sam lies dying on a heart machine, can they insist on taking the heart back, even though it will kill Joe?

Well, I dunno.

Janeway is in a terrible situation. She does her best. I thought the ep handled it all very well. It's such a nutty premise, I was impressed that it turned out as well as it did, due in large part to a great performance by the Tuvix actor.

But it's not just about whether Tuvix should stay alive. It's also about whether Tuvok and Neelix should stay dead.

I actually think the scene in "Author, Author," where holo- Janeway executes a crewman in sickbay so Doc can treat two other "more important" crew members, is a reference to what happens in this ep.

I need to rewatch this ep sometime, as I'd love to do an in depth analysis of it, but well . . . I adopted a 4 yr old. She's trying to get on my lap as we speak. :)
William B
Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
"I actually think the scene in "Author, Author," where holo- Janeway executes a crewman in sickbay so Doc can treat two other "more important" crew members, is a reference to what happens in this ep."

I hadn't thought of that, but that's great. If so, though, it might not have been fully "conscious" on the Doc's part (quotes because -- do conscious/subconscious etc. apply to the Doc as a hologram?), because he also says something to her in that ep like, "Last I checked, you haven't executed any of my patients," in order to point out that the holonovel was not entirely based on the "real people" in Doc's life, and I didn't get the impression that he was being sarcastic or disingenuous. So I think that he was not deliberately making this point...though perhaps he was making that point, though he wasn't fully aware of it.

I think the coolest interpretation might be something like...consciously, the Doctor was drawing on his experiences from Critical Care, in that hospital system, to show what kind of medical ethics nightmares the "player" in the holonovel might encounter. But some part of him was also drawing on his buried horror at Janeway's decision "Tuvix," and that's why it both "felt" real for the Doctor to write a Janeway-analogue this way, while he was also overtly, and I think sincerely, claiming to Janeway that it's not about her. Which I think is a lot of how that holonovel plays -- the Doc was both saying things he believes to be true about the crew, and getting out some of his pent-up frustrations from when he was much more powerless, but at the same time in denial to himself about how much it's actually about them.
Springy
Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
@William B

Yes, I fully agree. I don't think the Doc did it deliberately. I think the ep writers did it deliberately.
Circus Man
Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
I don't think the options need to be drawn as starkly as "act this second" and "wait until we reach the Federation." We see in "The Measure of a Man" and "The Drumhead" that command level Starfleet officers have legal training, so why not assign Chakotay or someone to represent Tuvix at some sort of tribunal? Is it not in Janeway's own best interest to secure legal validation of her controversial decisions?
Springy
Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
@Circus Man

Ah, I see what you mean. A short delay. I suppose they could have comes up some kind of proceeding, but I admire Janeway for her decision, for this reason:

She took the entire burden on her own shoulders. No burden for Chakotay (e.g., if he failed to save Tuvix, or conversely, if he didn't fail, thereby condemning Tuvok and Neelix)) or anyone else who might have served to present the opposing viewpoint.

To me, this is her job in situations like this. Whichever decision was made, anyone participating would be left with the guilty burden of it. So no one participated in the decision making but Janeway. It's on her, and she accepts the burden, alone.

I think "Janeway was morally wrong here" is a legit viewpoint. It can be reasonably supported, given that Tuvix is an individual and Tuvok and Neelix are already, essentially, dead and gone - and, as you say, there was no due process of any kind. Zero

But my perspective is that figuring up some kind of hearing procedure, pulling in others and spreading out responsibility, seeking validation (legal or otherwise), would have been cowardly.
Peter G.
Tue, Nov 20, 2018, 12:13am (UTC -6)
"To me, this is her job in situations like this. Whichever decision was made, anyone participating would be left with the guilty burden of it. So no one participated in the decision making but Janeway. It's on her, and she accepts the burden, alone."

I'm not exactly saying the show should have had this, but this is where Voyager as a series showed a lack of vision as compared with nu-Battlestar Galactica. I actually don't like that series, but in terms of making sense we should realistically understand that a Starship Captain is not a judge, not a jury, and not an executioner by any stretch of the law or Starfleet training. And I doubt very much that in the absence of a proper judge or jury that Captains have any authority to meet out justice other than to put people in the brig to await legal judgement. If on an extended mission (like that of NCC-1701) a person would likely have to sit in the brig a good long while if they were nowhere near a starbase and needed judgement. In some TOS episodes we see formal hearings, such as that to relieve a Captain, but never to judge someone as in a court of law.

So from the standpoint of "Janeway has no choice but to be judge and jury" I don't think that's true at all. In fact, it's a one-way ticket to a fascist dictatorship where one person decides who lives and who dies. TOS repeatedly had episodes outlining the outrageous power a starship Captain wields and the terrible consequences of abuse of that power. Whole worlds can die as a result. Garth of Izar is the example of a Captain who has come to believe that he is the law. What Voyager needed, quite simply, was a tribunal system applied by the crew in democratic fashion and in such a way as to not be controlled by Janeway. The command of the ship needed to be centralized, but if they were going to implement a criminal justice system this needed to be done as a community. The lack thereof results in (IMO) several episodes where the choices made make Janeway look like a dictator, when in reality the fault lies in the producers refusing to ever add new elements to the show in order that it remain watchable in any order.
Tom Poore
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 10:32pm (UTC -6)
This single episode has sparked a heated and compelling debate. It grapples with a scenario for which there’s no easy answer. It makes us uncomfortable. It makes us think. That’s what high art ought to do. For these reasons, at least, this episode deserves to be considered as high art.
Top Hat
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 9:40am (UTC -6)
The debate is more interesting than the episode. Talking about it is more fun than watching it.
Caz
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
I avoided this episode for years because the idea of a transporter combining the two characters sounded like the worst kind of high concept hokum Star Trek has been responsible for over the decades. And of all the characters I didn't want to watch as part of a fusion, Neelix would have been at the top of the list. I changed my mind and watched it precisely because of this message board.

It was impressive, particularly the ending. They didn't pull any punches as to what was going on: they gave Tuvix his due argument, a passionate argument, and they killed him anyway. Bravo.

The situation has no modern analogue. From a technical perspective, there are a million holes, as there often are, but they aren't the point. The closest we can come to describing what happened in a sense of personhood, philosophically, is that a situation took two people, "put them on ice", created a third person, and made the revival of the first two dependent on the purposeful killing of the third. It is a miracle of storytelling that the writers didn't create some convenient accident or circumstance that made the re-separation necessary. Instead, we get that decision Janeway made, in all of its gravity. I don't know where Voyager found the balls.

I don't have strong opinions on the decision itself, although I probably would have made the same one in Janeways' place. It's a zero sum game. Making decisions like that comes with the territory when you're in a position of authority and in isolated circumstances.

I also respect Tuvix for arguing for his life, and the people on this message board who consider it unvaliant or ignoble to want to live are utterly ridiculous. He is not less, morally, than Tuvok or Neelix, for not plopping his own neck into a guillotine. That's selective empathy at its worst, turning ethics into a catch 22 farce where your right to pursue your own life is considered right and beautiful, only with the judgment that doing so at any cost to others - even others who at the moment are effectively dead - is ugly and unacceptable.

Compare this to the Vidiians. After killing Durst: "but his organs will go on to save over a dozen lives". I never had a problem understanding their position, even if so many commenters thought them plain evil. Maybe the writers room just had an argument about the Trolley Problem twice a year and it came out in the episodes, I don't know, but it's very good television.

Dramatically, I think Jennifer Lien had some problems with this episode but Tom Wright's Tuvix was excellent, almost brilliant. I disagree with Jammer in that the last act was too rushed: making it fast and dramatic and avoiding answering all the questions for the audience, was probably intentional and a good decision. It doesn't teach so much as legitimately question, which needs to happen every once in a while, even in a show as comfortable as Voyager. Good episode, and good discussion in here.
Jackson
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
I'll re-up this 3 year old post because it nails it.

Lt. Yarko said:

"All this talk of murder is nonsense.

There was no murder here. Before the accident, there were two individuals. Afterward, there were two individuals mashed into one body. No one died or was murdered. They were both alive in Tuvix. After the splitting, the two people were back to two individuals. The fact that the mashed together individuals resulted in a seemingly third individual is only an illusion. Everything about both of them was in the one body. They were still both there. The fact that this mashed together two person didn't want to be spilt apart and was deluded about the process being murder is beside the point. NO ONE DIED. Before, you had Tuvok and Neelix. Then you had Tuvok and Neelix as one. Then you has Tuvok and Neelix again. There was no death.

Interesting episode science fiction wise, goofy episode morality wise. And, Tuvix would have known all this and wouldn't have complained about being split in the first place. "


***

What if, instead of an unwelcome, unconsented-to-by-all-parties accident, this had been an intentional scientific experiment, seeing if it was possible to use the orchids to do precisely what the transporter did?

Say it didn't involve Tuvok and Neelix, but just a redshirt and a yellowshirt pair of volunteers who consented to the experiment, on the assumption that they would be restored to their individual selves after temporarily becoming an orange shirt for science.

But then Orangeshirt says...hey I want to stick around as Orangeshirt, and you're a murderer if you don't let me.

What then?
Peter G.
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
@ Jackson,

"Say it didn't involve Tuvok and Neelix, but just a redshirt and a yellowshirt pair of volunteers who consented to the experiment, on the assumption that they would be restored to their individual selves after temporarily becoming an orange shirt for science.

But then Orangeshirt says...hey I want to stick around as Orangeshirt, and you're a murderer if you don't let me.

What then?"

Then the [brave yet dumb] crew would realize that their ill-thought out science experiment created a new life that they had no right to extinguish in order to reset back to the situation they wanted. The proof is in the pudding: if no one died, then who was the one asking not to be killed? If Neelix and Tuvok were "still both there", then why did they seemingly behave very differently than either one would have when separate?

Note that as sci-fi premises go, it would be far goofier than what we're actually shown if you were to assume that Neelix and Tuvok are in there all along, just smooshed together, because then you'd need to begin to parse out "which one of them said that line" and have a weird schizophrenic thing going on. But if Tuvix was one person with different attitudes than either of them, none of which could be attributed to either one, then ergo his lines did not originate from them from but him.

If you suppose that their DNA, mixed together, doesn't form a new person, you'd most likely have to also conclude that when two parents have a child it's really both parents "still in there" and there's no new person. The catch, if the sci-fi premise gives us one, is that Tuvix retains the memories of both, and in terms of goofiness this is the one absurd premise in the show, even by Trek standards.
Jackson
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 11:34pm (UTC -6)
Parents don't cease to exist when they have children.
Dave in MN
Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 11:47pm (UTC -6)
Reading through the comments, I had a rather provocative idea: this episode could be seen as a parable for the fight over Third Trimester Abortions.
Circasian
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 5:19am (UTC -6)
I think people tend to forget the interesting moral issues raised towards the end of the episode and not the something like full act of technobabble at the beginning. This could have been a classic if there had been more space for the latter and less of the former.
Jackson
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 10:50am (UTC -6)
I wonder if the people championing the rights of the freak of nature would still be doing so if it truly was a freak of nature, like say if Tuvok had fused with the orchid itself, and Tuvorchid wanted to stay Tuvorchid.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 11:57am (UTC -6)
@ Jackson,

While we can easily reconize that this episode generates a lot of debate and disagreement (which is neat), I would personally suggest you think for a long time about the example you just proposed of Tuvorchid. What is a new life form? Should a unique and never-before-seen strange thing be given respect? TNG dealt with issues like this all the time, and that's where I think we need to look regarding an issue like this.

There's no question that choosing to not get Neelix and Tuvok back would be a big deal, and would require careful consideration. And that would have to be weighed against what the nature is of this new creature; what it's like, what it wants and needs, whether it's a unique new life form or species (Talaxian/Vulcan hybrid would indeed be a new species), and all the other questions. Think a lot about Tuvorchid, and about how to determine whether it/he has rights.
Jackson
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Your idea of whose rights triumph seem to be based entirely on possession in a moment in time.

Basically, Tuvix wins the day because he's standing before you and the other petitioners aren't able to present their case.

This is like saying that if squatters break into your house while you're on vacation and refuse to vacate when you return, they get to keep your house because they're the ones in it.
Dave in MN
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
@Jackson

That's why I think this could be seen as an abortion analogy. A fetus cannot argue for its self-preservation either.

The real question around "Tuvi"x is why doesn't Starfleet doesn't have protocols for weird transporter accidents by this point?!

In the transporter, you can be twinned, de-aged, blended with another, assaulted in the matter stream, melted, transformed into a being of pure energy, be cured of disease, be sent to a mirror universe, contract psychosis etc. etc..

Why would this even be up for debate? There should be rules set in place for easily imagined eventualities.

Also, I must say that the idea of Tuvorchid just makes me laugh.
Jackson
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
And we're not even getting into whether a fused being can be said to be "of sound mind".

If a human and a targ were fused, I don't think Targman should be speaking for the human half of his being.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
@ Jackson,

If the episode had been about determining whether Tuvix was of sound mind then at least that debate would have been on the table. It would be something, and points could be raised on both sides of it.

Not sure why it's so important to create reasons why Tuvix either (a) isn't a real person, or (b) is insane or mentally incompetent, or (c) never 'really' existed. All of these seem to be refuted by the fact that Janway let this person conduct the duties of the Starfleet officer. If she let someone mentally incompetent do that then she would have to be even more incompetent!
Peremensoe
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
Tuvix *is* a fully-realized (not even embryonic) living being, standing before us -- sentient and conscious and with an interest in self-preservation. That the circumstances of his birth into the world were unusual, even unfortunate, cannot be a reason to kill him. Not holding to this most-fundamental precept opens the door for all kinds of abuses.
Circasian
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, you can't really pull "now that your existence has proven inconvenient to us, we have decided that your personhood was never even real!"
StarTrekFan
Sun, Apr 28, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -6)
I'm currently re-watching the entire Voyager series for the first time in a number of years. I remember hating this episode in the past. Looking forward to seeing if my opinion has changed after reading through this fascinating blog discussion.
Elliott
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
Oh good, an episode that doesn't generate about 800 memes a day and about which the Trek community has no strong feelings whatsoever. Just a nice, uncontroversial story...

Teaser : **.5, 5%

Neelix and Tuvok have been sent on an away mission to collect some nutritious flowers because, you know, this is a matter concerning ship's security and crew morale. Yeah...Neelix is being his usual boisterous and irritating self, and Tuvok is clearly replaying his strangling holo-fantasy in his mind to keep his Vulcan cool. Neelix' usual lack of social awareness has been dialled up to eleven for some reason. Must be all that fresh air. We do get one good line out of it:

TUVOK: Do you think you could possibly behave a little less like yourself?

Meanwhile, in the Transporter room, Harry has worked through some technical glitch (he thinks) and prepares to beam the odd couple and their harvest back from the planet. But then there's a TRANSPORTER ACCIDENT. How dare Voyager repeat such a tired cliché, that has repeated, over the 30 years Star Trek had been on the air at this point, seven times! Wait...that's it? Seven? That's not even once every season. Then, why is this considered an horrendous cliché? Actually, I think I know the answer: of those seven, FOUR occurred in or very near to TNG's 6th season. “The Next Phase” was at the tail end of S5, then we had “Realm of Fear,” “Rascals” and “Second Chances.” TNG's 6th season is one I have gone on record as saying I don't care much for, although that's not the consensus in the Trek community by any means. The concentration of transporter accidents (among other things) in late TNG contributed heavily to the sense that the series was tired and running out of ideas. Of course this is also when DS9 aired and brought its own perspective to the table. So, bringing this element to Voyager may feel treading water in the very ideas that heralded the decline of TNG. The thing is, those TNG episodes, except maybe “Second Chances,” failed to adequately explore the philosophical issues their scenarios raised, in my opinion. So the gimmick felt, well, like a gimmick instead of a story-telling device. Really, the only time a transporter accident was the basis of a serious philosophical story was way back in “The Enemy Within.” We'll come back to that.

Act 1 : ***, 15% (short)

In “The Enemy Within,” the plausibility of splitting a man along the axis of his psychology was, typically, non-existent. However, the premise was so intriguing that this didn't really matter. Likewise, in “Faces,” the idea of splitting Torres into her different species selves was ridiculous, but the episode worked because we glided past that silliness to focus upon the philosophy and the character issues raised by the premise. In this story, the first thing we see standing on the transporter pad is a combination of Tuvok and Neelix—not unlike Torres herself is normally, a combination of her Klingon and Human selves that we saw. In “Faces” though, we saw that H-Torres kept her Starfleet uniform, while K-Torres was put in a kinky Vidiian jumpsuit. Tuvok-Neelix here has had his uniform “combined” into one garment that draws attention to the wacky science instead of gliding past it. It's a minor detail, but it sticks out to me because it demonstrates a lack of awareness on the part of the creators here. We're going to get an explanation for the men themselves becoming one creature which in no way explains how their outfits could merge like this. It's all a bit clumsy.

Kim demands to know who this person is and he answers that he is, somehow, both Tuvok and Neelix. The EMH confirms that “all biological material was merged on the molecular level.” Mhm. Janeway theorises that the alien orchids they were collecting affected the transporter and caused this accident. She regards this person with a great deal of suspicion and has posted not one but two security guards in the sickbay to monitor him while the Doctor and Kes proceed with their scans. Kes herself is charged with performing a somewhat lengthy scan in the science lab where we start to get to know this creature. Leaving the dubious setup behind, Biller's script and Tom Wright's performance are surprisingly effective at conveying to us the strange notion that this is two very different people speaking as one.

KES: Do you feel as if you're thinking with two minds, two separate minds? Are Neelix and Tuvok inside of you, talking to me, talking to each other?
TUVIX: If you mean am I suffering from some form of multiple personality disorder, I don't think so. I do have the memories of both men, but I seem to have a single consciousness.

Already we can see how Neelix' and Tuvok's personalities complement each other—weird though this seems. Neelix' joie de vivre allows Tuvok's natural curiosity and affection to emerge without the veil of stoicism that often reads like irritability. He decides to call himself Tuvix which, for reasons left up to Biller's strange sense of fashion, is somehow much better than the alternative “Neevok.” Tuvix lets his pet name for Kes slip out during their conversation, causing her to recoil.

Act 2 : **.5, 17%

I continue to be impressed by Tuvix' characterisation. While the most obvious way to convince us that this is a fused being would be to have him say things that either Tuvok or Neelix would say in succession—like a battle between two distinct personalities—his actually lines and delivery aren't quite what either parent character would manifest. He would be “delighted” to resume his Mess Hall duties, but this is conveyed with a sense of warmth instead of presumption—showing us that Tuvok's humility has reined in Neelix' ego—but he has decided that he should resume the more important post of Tactical. He calls this “sensible,” which is Tuvok of course, but he gives Janeway a raised eyebrow and a bit of self-congratulatory puffing to sweeten the deal, as it were, showing how Neelix' pride makse Tuvix a better salesman than Tuvok.

EMH: According to my tests, he's quite correct when he says that he possesses Tuvok's knowledge and expertise. He also possesses Tuvok's irritating sense of intellectual superiority and Neelix's annoying ebullience. I would be very grateful to you if you would assign him some duty, any duty somewhere else.

Tuvix is brought into the noon briefing where the senior staff discuss the accident. After a few minutes, he interrupts the stream of technobabble to proclaim “SEX.” Okay then. Actually, he's hit on a theory as to what happened, a kind of suped-up nucleogenesis. SCIENCE!

After a little interlude where Tuvix takes command of the kitchen, he and Kes finally address the elephant in the room. He is in love with Kes every bit as much as Neelix, but this only seems to remind her of what she's lost, that jealous, overbearing, patronising furry companion of hers.

Act 3 : ***, 17%

Tuvix has now assumed Tuvok's place on the bridge.

JANEWAY: Well, he's certainly fitting in, isn't he?
CHAKOTAY: There's an old axiom. The whole is never greater than the sum of its parts. I think Tuvix might be disproving that notion.

Meanwhile, Paris and Torres have shuttled down to the planet to perform a little experiment. They transport the alien orchid and a couple of flowers from the aeroponic bay up to the Voyager, and indeed what emerges is a symbiogenetically-fused flower. The EMH however has failed at every turn to separate the species. He confesses to harbouring little hope of finding a cure any time soon.

EMH: I feel as though I've lost two patients. I'm sorry.

We pick up with Tuvix paying Kes a visit in her quarters. He understands that for her, he represents everything she has lost. Given the unlikelihood of being separated, he expresses a desire to come to terms with his new identity. We are reminded that every passing day for Kes is a substantial chunk of her life. Lien and Wright have surprisingly good chemistry in this scene and we are left with this sinking feeling; Tuvix has perhaps been able to harness Tuvok's mental discipline and keep his psyche compartmentalised throughout this. He is two people suffering from a weird alien accident and just has to endure until he/they can be cured. But now, with a cure either impossible or far off, maintaining that discipline seems futile. He has feelings and he has needs. This is what I meant about exploring the premise properly. “Rascals” and “The Next Phase” squandered their opportunities to delve into the real dilemmas those accidents produced. Not so here.

Act 4 : ***.5, 17%

Reeling, Kes pays Janeway a visit in her quarters. We are reminded of the captain's and Tuvok's unique bond, something I wish we saw more of. Then there's the issue of Tuvix' love for Kes and the topic of loneliness. Janeway in her bathrobe recalls the wonderful scene in “Eye of the Needle” where she let her guard down a bit with the Romulan and took stock of the enormous emotional burden she has to bear as the leader of an isolated and fragile community.

JANEWAY: I know how you feel. You're experiencing what people on this crew have been going through since we first got stranded in this quadrant. Do we accept that we're separated from our loved ones forever, or do we hold onto the hope that someday we'll be with them again?
KES: What do you do, Captain?
JANEWAY: Oh, I struggle with it every day. Sometimes I'm full of hope and optimism. Other times. Then I dream about being with Mark and it's so real. Then when I wake up and realise it's just a dream, I'm terribly discouraged. In those moments, it's impossible to deny just how far away he really is. And I know that someday I may have to accept that he's not part of my life anymore.

I have to stress how masterful Mulgrew is here. We are at the tail end of the second season. In TNG, we had seen glimpses of Patrick Stewart's enormous talent in episodes like “The Measure of a Man” and “Samaritan Snare,” but wouldn't get anything this intimate or raw until “Sarek” in the following season. And on DS9, at this point, we have yet to see an instance where Avery Brooks is as compelling as Mulgrew is here, and we're almost to season 5. This isn't me trying to be divisive or hate on the other series—I'm just saying that, for all its flaws, Voyager seems to know what an asset it has in its lead actor and makes great use of her.

We learn that the Voyager has continued on her journey for a couple of weeks now, and Tuvix is starting to make a life for himself. Janeway's captain's log voice-overs a short montage where we see him performing at Tactical, cooking and trying his best not to make Kes too uncomfortable.

But then, the EMH interrupts Harry's alone time with his clarinet—ahem—to ask him about a wild theory he's devised. He wants to try attaching a radioactive isotope to DNA sequences and then use the transporter to separate them out. Because the episode foolishly tried too hard to explain the SCIENCE! behind Tuvix' creation, this “solution” raises a number of unnecessary questions, like what will happen to all the organic material that isn't DNA, what will happen to the orchid that still swimming about in the mix, and most importantly, will he be able to restore their outfits?

In Sandrine's, Kes, the “last holdout” as it were, makes peace with Tuvix, telling him she's ready to be friends and see if that friendship might grow into something more. Which of course means it's time for a call from the EMH. He and Harry explain the SCIENCE! they're going to use to try to restore Tuvok and Neelix.

KES: That's wonderful. Isn't that wonderful?
EMH: I assure you, Mister Tuvix, there's nothing to worry about. We've accounted for every variable.
TUVIX: Except one. I don't want to die.

Ah, shit.

Act 5 : ****, 19%

Jammer notes that the real meat of this story is reserved for the final act. That's not entirely true, but it's worth noting that the final act is a full 12 minutes long according to my Netflix bar, which is more than a quarter of the full runtime of the episode.

JANEWAY: It's funny. If we'd had the ability to separate Tuvok and Neelix the moment Tuvix came aboard, I wouldn't have hesitated...But now, in the past few weeks, he's begun to make a life for himself on this ship. He's taken on responsibilities, made friends...So at what point, did he become an individual and not a transporter accident?

IIIII'M CAPTAIN KIIIRRRKK!!!!

Indeed, in “The Enemy Within,” it could be argued that each of Kirk's halves was its own autonomous being. Both were humans. Unlike H-Torres, there was no physical need to restore the whole. But they still did.

Janeway calls Tuvix in to discuss the issue. Tuvix insists that as it's his life on the line, it should be his decision what happens to it. Janeway counters that the voices of Neelix and Tuvok have been silenced by Tuvix' very existence, in a way. Their will to live should be considered as well, no? Tuvix insists that their will to live IS his own. Janeway tries to weasel her way out of the moral dilemma at first:

JANEWAY: Then you know Tuvok was a man who would gladly give his life to save another. And I believe the same was true of Neelix.

Tuvix admits that his will to live is perhaps not the noble “Starfleet” way of doing things, but there's something compelling about this brand new life. When he insists he has the *right* to live, it's a truly devastating and powerful moment.

“good” KIRK: Can half a man live?
“bad” KIRK: Take another step, you'll die.
“good” KIRK: Then we'll both die.
“bad” KIRK: Please, I don't want to. Don't make me. Don't make me. I don't want to go back. Please! I want to live!
“good” KIRK: You will. Both of us.
“bad” KIRK: I want to live!

While Janeway considers her options, Tuvix makes an appeal to Kes. He begs her to talk to the captain on his behalf. She consents, but when she arrives at the Ready Room, Kes can't bring herself to do it. She wants Neelix back. God knows why.

Finally, Janeway comes to a decision. He insists that she make her declaration publicly. In a truly disturbing scene, Tuvix rushes about the bridge and begs the crew to help him, but despite conflicting feelings, none are willing. Janeway calls security and has Tuvix brought to the sickbay by force. But we aren't done yet. When the quartet arrives in Sickbay, the EMH is unwilling to complete the procedure, because Tuvix does not wish to sacrifice himself and a physician does no harm. His programming is (LIKE MANY OF THE COMMENTORS ON THIS PAGE AND ALL OVER THE INTERNET) very black and white on this issue.

Let's not beat around the bush any longer. In the United States at least, many states are pushing for (and passing) laws which force women to look at ultrasounds of their foetuses before being allowed to have abortions. There are billboards everywhere with photoshopped images of fully-developed babies inside uteruses with sad puppy eyes begging for mommy not to kill them. These kinds of manipulative tactics exist to obscure the issue at the heart of the moral imperative behind abortion rights: consent. If you believe in God, then you might believe that all successful mating is by his design and that each of those lives is *meant* to be. That is your right. But it is not your right to impose that perspective on anyone else. Barring that theological framing, morality dictates that human beings have the *right* to consent to having their genes used to create new life. We decide to have children, and unless/until we provide that consent, the process of fertilisation and gestation is just a biological process, nothing more.

Kirk did not consent to have himself split in two. The fact that his two halves were objectively less useful than the original made the decision to destroy the split halves in order to restore him relatively easy. But at least one of the two was begging to be allowed to exist. Tuvix, on the other hand, shows that he is a great guy, useful, friendly, sympathetic...he is a living ultrasound or billboard ad. Many provisionally pro-choice people hide behind the fact that nearly all abortions take place well before the foetus begins manifesting brain activity or anything like sentience. Destroying a foetus is not the same as murdering a baby. And while that's true—it IS true—the fact remains that, barring complications, the foetus will inevitably *become* a sentient being before long. So let's not hide. Abortion is a right because consent is a moral imperative. Tuvok and Neelix did not consent to being combined into Tuvix. As difficult, as gross and uncomfortable as the idea of ending his life is, if one believes in the consent of creation, there is no moral alternative.

If this episode has a conceptual flaw, it is indeed that this issue—just as contentious in 1996 as today—is subsumed into the drama of the story instead of spelled out in dialogue. But I don't think dialogue to the effect of my paragraphs above would have been allowed past the censors any more than having Neelix and Tuvok begin a romantic relationship would have. This is Trek using the science fiction camouflage to make a bold progressive statement that flies just under the radar. Janeway looks Tuvix right in the eye as she completes the procedure herself and restores Tuvok and Neelix to life, because she (and the Federation) believes in consent. But the burden of upholding this very difficult position takes an obvious toll on the captain. She steps out of sickbay, seemingly ill. Then she looks at the camera and says “Computer, delete that entire personal log.” Nah...

Episode as Functionary : ***.5, 10%

I hope I've made it clear that I believe in the right to choice, and that I accept that this stance is incredibly untidy. Unlike most of the contrived bullshit over on DS9, THIS is how you talk about an issue that is morally grey; you don't just say, “This issue is morally grey. I guess both sides are sort of right.” You say, “This issue is complicated with no easy answers, but I am taking a stand on the issue because I'm not a coward.” The last time Trek ventured into this territory was in “Up the Long Ladder,” where Pulaski and Riker murdered their own clones. And why? Because they did not consent to their creation. End of discussion. This episode makes a unique and compelling case that you should not discount the billboards or the saccharine appeals to ignore your own rights, but rather embrace them and accept that having principles is fucking difficult sometimes. To this end, Wright and Mulgrew give standout performances, especially in the final couple of acts, and Lien manages to hold her own.

While I maintain that the episode seems to spend too much time in the beginning working through the silly SCIENCE! and all that, the effect is to lull you into a false sense of security. Oh, it's a science-gone-wrong transporter accident show! Maybe it will be entertaining, but this isn't something I need invest myself in. And that makes the final turn of events all the more devastating as you aren't prepared for it. “Tuvix” today is now almost as old as “The Enemy Within” was at the time of its airing, and I think it's a testament to its quality that it continues to demand so much from its audience. A difficult, but worthwhile episode.

Final Score : ***

CODA:

I would also remind y'all of what I wrote in DS9's “Second Sight”:

“Anyway, Sisko convinces Batgirl to let go of her existence—I guess. No input from the scientist Dax or any of the medial officers on the Prometheus, no it's just Sisko. I do appreciate the following line for entirely unrelated purposes however :

FENNA : But if she lives, then I die! And everything that you and I have dies with me.

File that away for when we get to 'Tuvix.'”

I don't remember anyone accusing Sisko of cold-blooded murder or even assisted suicide just because he convinced Batgirl to kill herself so Barbara Gordon could live. Just wanted to close that thread.
Jackson
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 4:45pm (UTC -6)
Excellent review, Elliot.

Part of the beauty of it is that, from what I could tell, you dropped no breadcrumbs as to which side you were going to fall until you chose to reveal it at the end.

I completely agree with your conclusion, and as you can tell if you read my comments, I agree with your reason WHY you came to your conclusion.

Consent is everything.

Pro-choice is pro-choice. You have to own the good, the bad, and the ugly of it.
Jackson
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
This line also highly disturbed me:

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

I wonder what Tuvok and Neelix would think of this...that Tuvix is greater that Tuvok and Neelix combined.

Grotesque.
Dave in MN
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 5:41pm (UTC -6)
Did anyone see the news about scientists in China having genetically edited monkeys so they now have human DNA coded for intelligence?

Tuvorchid, Targman and Tuvix may be closer than you think ...

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/chinese-scientists-insert-human-brain-gene-monkeys-spark-ethical-debate-ncna998076
Chrome
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
@Jackson

It disturbs me too. Isn't the Aristotle quote supposed to be "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"? It's like the writers were struggling to get their point across so they butchered a famous quote. The irony is that Tuvix was actually proving Aristotle right.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 10:54am (UTC -6)
@Elliott, certainly an interesting and provocative take, and one that I suspect is close to the authorial take.

To tease it out, though, in some (not all) respects the direction of the metaphor can be reversed. A person is pregnant with twins, and already it seems that she will not survive the pregnancy. So it's her or the twins. The twins have the advantage of greater number than her, but she is the one who is alive right now. She explicitly states her choice not to be forced to go through with her pregnancy, and her doctor agrees, but the local leader (politician?) insists and circumvents the doctor, partly because public opinion is on the side of the unborn twins.

The advantage Tuvix has over Tuvok and Neelix is the same one an adult pregnant woman has over a fetus in her womb: he's alive and sentient now, whereas Tuvok and Neelix are, at the moment, potential, stored only in Tuvix's genetic code and the crew's imagination. A pregnant woman can make a choice in a way that fetuses cannot. We see Tuvix's choice, not Tuvok and Neelix's, which Janeway makes an educated (probably correct) guess about.

The difference of course is that Tuvok and Neelix predate Tuvix. They existed before Tuvix did, and because Tuvix is the creation of a transporter mishap it makes more sense to read him as the metaphor being. But I do think the situation bears more than one possible interpretation. What do you think?

For what it's worth, I *am* "a coward" when it comes to this episode and am not committed to any one interpretation. I am pro-choice IRL but it's not clear to me that the episode definitely maps onto this. Even from a pro-choice perspective, wherein people should have absolute control over their genetic material, I am not clear about whose rights dominate in this situation, whether it goes to the people who were alive earlier or the complete person who (through no fault of his own) is the one currently alive and sentient. If it's about priority (emphasis on prior) then it's Tuvok and Neelix, but if it's about who is present then it's Tuvix. As in Innocence, the episode reverses the arrow of time in one crucial respect. I really don't know what I think. I believe that Tuvix has a right to live, and that so do Tuvok and Neelix, and I don't know how I would resolve the scenario where they are in conflict. I am not one of the ones who views Janeway as an uncomplicated murderer for the procedure she does, but nor do I think the Doctor is wrong to refuse to do it.

The other question I guess is whether there is a statute of limitations on the absolute control of one's genetic material. The length of a pregnancy? A lifetime? Generations? The Riker and Pulaski clones never awoke before they were killed, but obviously Will and Tom didn't flip a coin to decide which one should get shot, and I don't think it's merely because their claims to existence happened to be equal. How long until Tuvix had enough of a foothold to not be reversed?

I also wanted to examine another assumption here. I think that with The Enemy Within, Second Sight, and Up the Long Ladder there is a sort of natural law assumption. The proper order of things is for there to be one Kirk, and that the two halves seem to be sick reinforces this. The clones are the act of sneaky humans who have strayed too far from their biological roots. I forget some of the details of Second Sight. Anyway that's probably fine as far as those go because they are all metaphors and pretty clearly so, including the ghost protection thing in Second Sight. Tuvix is also a metaphor, but he's granted even more Science! explanation and time to establish himself as an individual. So one of the arguments brought out is that Tuvix is the product of a freak accident and therefore has no independent right to exist. This is not one that I'm saying you (Elliott) are saying. Anyway, I think that relies to a degree on some assumption that existence has an order that derives from some higher plan (God?). Maybe we need that. But I don't think it's necessarily so. Anyway I think that assumption that restoring things to pre-accident conditions is the right course of action depends in part on viewing deviations from nature as intrinsically bad. And again, I think that's appropriate in the context of eps like The Enemy Within, where Richard Matheson's goal is to use a sci-fi lens to explore the importance of the animal side of man. And it might be appropriate here too, but I'm less sure of it.

I do wonder also whether any parallels between this episode and the Seska stealing Chakotay's DNA plot.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 10:56am (UTC -6)
That last sentence should end "were intended."
Peter G.
Fri, May 3, 2019, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
I'm not sure offhand what Tuvix might be a "metaphor" for, and likeswise I don't think a comparison to The Enemy Within works for this episode. That's crazy too, because it's literally also a transporter accident where a resultant person want to live. And yet the details of Enemy Within make it super-clear that it's just a metaphorical examination of the two sides of Kirk, and that the animal side is essential for being who he is. It's actually the prime Trek message, and one I've brought up many times in regards to the TNG utopia (and in support of DS9), which is that humanity has not, and cannot have gotten rid of its darker side. TOS was canny enough to know this can't and shouldn't happen, and Enemy Within is all about how the animal side is necessary in order to be an evolved Trek person. Lose that, or lose touch with it, and we're nothing. The 'evil Kirk' saying he wants to live isn't a human rights issue or anything to do with priority in who should exist and who shouldn't; it means that in the struggle to perfect ourselves the baser side demands to live too, and that if we try to push it down or squash it we're in for trouble because we will become divided from ourselves.

But how Tuvix relates to this I really don't know. There is no metaphorical sense of a person's self being merged with another, nor is there an everyday fundamental question in life to be explored wherein the rights of two separate people need to be weighed against some third that may or may not come to exist. *However* I do agree with William B that the fetus argument is probably the closest we can get to a real-life example that's relevant, and it's not half had as far as trying to find a fit. The authorial intend in this ep is clearly one of whether Tuvix has rights, and so in that sense it seems to be about something completely different than The Enemy Within. Even in Up the Long Ladder the clone situation is never discussed in context of the rights of the clones, but only in terms of people feeling violated. That's one reason that Long Ladder is garbage - although not the main reason! Imagine for instance of this clones were already up and about and had lived for years and were killed. Well, let's go further: imagine if a woman who was raped got pregnant, went into a coma (let's say), and gave birth without knowing about it. Upon waking up would she be within her rights to kill the child (of whatever age) because she hadn't consented to its existence? That should put into perspective the misplay done in Long Ladder, and likewise making trivial the issue of Tuvix, whose rights surely cannot merely be predicated on the wishes of some hypothetical others.

Just as a sideline, I'll throw in one more thought that occurred to me: knowing Neelix and Tuvok as we do, it actually seems more than likely that, if both of them were alive and Tuvix also was (at the same time), and a situation arose where either they would die or he would, I have no doubt they would chose to sacrifice themselves to save him. You may say this makes them nobler than Tuvix, since he wasn't willing to sacrifice himself to save them, but the right to live isn't earned by being noble; it's not earned at all. The fact that he wanted to live, and they probably would have agreed to let him live at their expense, means that Janeway not only killed someone pleading for his life, but that it was probably against the likely wishes of all three parties involved. Talk about not caring about consent. Watching how the episode plays, it seems to me that the main reason Tuvix was sacrificed wasn't to protect the rights of Neelix and Tuvok. No, it seemed much more in line with the tone of the show that Janeway and the crew simply *preferred* to have their old friends back rather than this new guy. It wasn't to help Neelix and Tuvok, but rather themselves, that they went along with it. Overall the entire crew seemed to avoid the moral issue and choose based on personal preference, which is exactly the opposite of what Picard would have done. He would do the right thing even if he hated doing it and it cost him personally.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
@Peter, I think Elliott's implication is that Tuvix as the genetic blending of Tuvok and Neelix is that he's effectively their child. The episode supports this interpretation too, as he says "SEX!" was what produced him, thinks of Tuvok and Neelix as his parents. In that case it is somewhat analogous to a case where only one of a pregnant woman and her fetus can survive, where in this case the "child" is given a voice. That both "parents" have to die for the "child" to be born is not something that I'm aware of happening, but it can happen that the person carrying a pregnancy will not survive it going to term, so it's not completely without real world connotations.

I don't know if this interpretation of the episode works for me. I'm a little agnostic on it. But I think I see where that argument comes from, and reading this as a TOS-style episode where aspects of the story are exaggerated in order to make a specific point might make it work.

FWIW, I also think it's quite possible that Tuvok and Neelix would accede to Tuvix's right to live. However, I don't know that for sure.

In order to remove the "who is currently present" part of the argument for a second, let's say that somehow it happened that we were in the Latent Image scenario where Tuvix was dying on one table and Tuvok and Neelix were dying on the other. Tuvix wants to live. I think either Tuvok or Neelix might well ask for Tuvix to be saved as an individual trade, but what if it were them both? Cold Vulcan logic might say that two lives are more valuable than one. Neelix might be less prepared to sacrifice Tuvok than himself. So if we actually remove the "who is present" aspect, I think it's likely that Tuvok and Neelix would choose themselves to save.

I do think that Kes, for instance, wants Neelix back. And Janeway certainly does seem influenced by it. But I'm not positive that is the reason Janeway makes the choice she does.

To be clear: the "who is present?" aspect *is* present in the episode. The situation is so bizarre that a fully literal reading is hard for me though. Are Tuvok and Neelix really dead or are they essentially unconscious but living in Tuvix? Tuvix is the only one who can speak, but is he definitely the only one alive?

I do think it's notable that we don't find out what Tuvok and Neelix think at the end.

In any case, I'm hesitant to be too absolute in my read of the episode, which is in part a very elaborate and bizarre trolley problem, which are famous for being difficult to resolve.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
I'm speaking dispassionately because it's a very contentious episode, but I will say that emotionally I was hit hard by Tom Wright's performance and that I find Tuvix's plea wrenching. I do not want him to die. I do think that it was not easy for Janeway, nor do I personally think it was for primarily selfish reasons. For what it's worth, if it were me, I think I would have gone the route the Doctor goes.
Jackson
Fri, May 3, 2019, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
William B said:

"How long until Tuvix had enough of a foothold to not be reversed? "

What if, as the episode touched upon, the fusion were able to be undone on the spot, or within, say half an hour? The episode itself admits that in that case, there would have been no hesitation.

Instead, it took, what...two weeks? But what if Tuvix had been put in stasis while the Doctor did his research that eventually led to the successful un-fusion?

It's not hard to imagine...we see precisely that as a key plotpoint in the VERY NEXT episode.
Peter G.
Fri, May 3, 2019, 1:06pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

Yes, I do see the line of thought were Tuvix is their child, but again for this to bear out as a real-world (even if bizarre) analogy then you'd have to define what a fetus is clearly before saying what the analogy is.

For instance if you believe a fetus is just DNA tissue that will *one day* be a human being, then you run into a bit of a wall: because on the one hand it does seem to lend credence to the 'mother' (or parents in this case) having priorty of rights, but on the other hand it also means that Tuvix isn't a person, which based on the actual teleplay certainly can't be right. And if you believe that human life begins at conception (or thereabouts), then indeed the situation becomes a conflict of rights and somehow the rights of one person must be weighed against the rights of another. But you run unto another wall here: because most people who are pro-life will be very disinclined to accept that an unborn child is a full human being with the right to live, and therefore will reject the premise that there's a conflict of rights in play. So neither scenario would actually appeal to a pro-choice person; the first because it doesn't work, and the second because it would violate their belief.

So if Tuvix is going to be a placeholder for an unborn child then we might conclude that only a pro-life position could hold that premise as tenable, since it is certainly possible to consider the moral issue of how to protect all parties involved, parents and child. And actually the episode does strangely seem to fit more closely into a pro-life worldview, insofar as Tuvix *does* insist on his right to live, and Doc refusing to harm a patient even for the sake of another. This last point is critical, because unless his program was malfunctioning it reads as a fairly pro-life position to decline any act that will actively harm one person (even the unborn) to potentially help another.

None of these scenarios really work that well for me, though, to be honest, and to make sense of it I really do think we'd have to consider it as being a case where two parents had a child, the child was already born, and for some reason or another the toddler being alive endangered the parents and one had to choose between the parents and the toddler. I don't know how such a situation would arise, but if it did we could get into whether two people outweigh one, and it becomes a true trolley problem as William B suggests. If indeed we're to see it as this, then pushing off the one person to save two may be a plausible course, but it's certainly not an obvious one!
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
@Peter, partly agree except that I'm still kind of reading based on Elliott's read rather than my own, and he says:

"Many provisionally pro-choice people hide behind the fact that nearly all abortions take place well before the foetus begins manifesting brain activity or anything like sentience. Destroying a foetus is not the same as murdering a baby. And while that's true—it IS true—the fact remains that, barring complications, the foetus will inevitably *become* a sentient being before long. So let's not hide. Abortion is a right because consent is a moral imperative. Tuvok and Neelix did not consent to being combined into Tuvix. As difficult, as gross and uncomfortable as the idea of ending his life is, if one believes in the consent of creation, there is no moral alternative."

I don't think I agree with him here because I think there has to be some provision for the passage of time (more in a sec), but his argument is that the (absolute) pro-choice position does not depend on the lack of personhood of the fetus, even if this is true. This is actually the same issue/flaw as in Up the Long Ladder, and what both episodes seem to do is stake out a position so extreme that it actually reads to many as misrepresenting the position in its more moderate form. If the right of the "parents" to control of their bodies and genetic material is absolute, the other factors like whether the offspring are sentient or capable of existing independently are not the point. That's part of what Elliott finds impressive about the episode, is that Tuvix is given many qualities that pro-life people assert fetuses have and still supports Tuvok and Neelix's right to choose where their genetic material goes. Similarly, Up the Long Ladder is terrible for many reasons but I don't think that clone killing scene was an *error*, though I think the morality it presents is odious in many respects. I think it was making the point it set out to do.

For me, I guess I'm in the "provisionally pro-choice" category. Certainly consent to one's genetic material is important. But I think that there are limits. I'm sure if you go back enough generations all of us are the result of some nonconsensual passing of genetic material at some point in the line back to single celled organisms, and I don't think that means we are required to throw ourselves off a bridge because of our violated ancestor. I think Chakotay has every right to not support the child created from his stolen DNA, and think he was deeply violated in what Seska did, but I don't think he'd have the right to kill the child, in the circumstance where the child was not living in his body. I'm not claiming these extreme positions are what Elliott is advocating, but the point is that this right to control over genetic material has to be weighed against other rights, once damage has already been done. In Tuvix's case at least there is a way to restore his progenitors in a way it is obviously not possible with our ancestors.

@Jackson, yeah true. And certainly I think that had they put Tuvix in stasis the problem would probably not have become clear. What's relevant is that he did spend enough time to view himself as a distinct being, which is what muddies the waters (IMO).
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
Spoiler note: of course we find out shortly that Seska's baby isn't Chakotay's, but I'm describing the hypothetical where the baby was his.

I guess it's important to note that in Basics, there is no "should I kill the child because it's my genetic code and I didn't consent?" moral dilemma, only whether Chakotay has any responsibility for it. I think the answer is that he doesn't automatically have responsibility, but can choose to take it. So Basics doesn't stake out the way-out-there position that Up the Long Ladder does, which I find fortunate.

I should also add that I find UTLL "arguably" odious because I don't know how seriously we're supposed to take those clones. They never achieved consciousness, and maybe weren't even complete, so maybe they map onto non sentient developing humans. The question I have for Elliott is I guess whether there is a point at which Riker and Pulaski can no longer kill their clones, or if that right truly is absolute. What if twenty years pass? What if they have children of their own - - do Riker and Pulaski have the right to kill them too? Or is their right to kill the clones partly dependent on them not yet being fully formed?
Jackson
Fri, May 3, 2019, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
There was one weird thing about "Resolutions" that I would have saved for that page, but now it's relevant here.



**spoiler of a 23 year old show, if that's still a thing**




In Resolutions, the disease is such that they can live safely on the planet with it, but would die on Voyager.

And indeed...when Janeway and Chakotay are (seemingly) abandoned for good, they begin to make a life for themselves on the planet.

But...during the 17 days that Doc is working on a cure, Janeway and Chakotay are on the planet...and in stasis.

Why?

Why not just be on the planet, already beginning life there, just in case the Doc fails.

Because, actually, Doc DID fail. They were only saved by a Vidiian deux es machina.

The most logical reason that they were in stasis is because for that initial duration they were patients awaiting treatment.

Same goes for Tuvok and Neelix.
Jackson
Fri, May 3, 2019, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
William B said:

"I don't think I agree with him here because I think there has to be some provision for the passage of time"

There is such a stigma attached to abortion, as well as a limited and vanishing number of venues for it.

What if a woman wants an abortion in Week 7, but can't get one until Week 18? Is it her fault she was pregnant for 18 weeks? Why should she be denied what she wanted 11 weeks ago because she had to wait 11 weeks for it?
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 2:31pm (UTC -6)
@Jackson, that might be correct. Another possibility is that they were in stasis to slow the spread of the disease. Chakotay mentions going into stasis on Voyager, hoping that this might allow them to remain there, but the doctor rules it out. It might be that Chakotay is entirely ignorant, but I think it's more likely that before they went into stasis there was some hope that they would be able to be protected from the disease in stasis. They might have believed it was possible to prevent the virus from spreading through the body, thus making it easier to treat.

I've got to say, I hadn't thought about it, but it's a weird setup, where an insect carries a virus whose sole effect is to make it fatal to leave the planet. Must be a lonely planet.
Jackson
Fri, May 3, 2019, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
William B said:

"Another possibility is that they were in stasis to slow the spread of the disease."

But once they were living on the planet after Voyager left, that would mean the pathogen could multiply in their bodies unchecked, and the planet would somehow prevent symptoms, even in the wake of a raging, out of control infection.

I can't see the human body working that way.

The planet's environment seemed to be presented as forestalling everything.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
@Jackson,

"There is such a stigma attached to abortion, as well as a limited and vanishing number of venues for it.

What if a woman wants an abortion in Week 7, but can't get one until Week 18? Is it her fault she was pregnant for 18 weeks? Why should she be denied what she wanted 11 weeks ago because she had to wait 11 weeks for it?"

I agree. But what I mean is that in the interpretation that a parent's control over their genetic code is absolute, a parent's right to kill their child if they did not consent to the child would last for the child's lifetime, well past the end of pregnancy, and would in principle extend to grandchildren etc. At least that's how I understand what was meant by asserting that consent (to one's genetic material) is *absolute* and that's why Tuvix should be killed. During pregnancy there is also the issue of bodily autonomy, which is no longer an issue after birth, which is why I support abortion on pro-choice grounds, but not infanticide, even though right to genetic material is still in play. I of course might misunderstand.

With Tuvix, there is no clear demarcation between "fetal" and "infant" stages, or perhaps he will be in one stage or the other forever.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
To put it another way, I think that *only* considering a person's right to their genetic code is too narrow to eclipse a progeny's right to live. Maybe "the passage of time" was the wrong emphasis, but in any case I believe the parent's bodily autonomy is also important, with the point that with pregnancies there is *eventually* a point at which the bodily autonomy of the parent is not as actively compromised, except by the *past* violation. This violation was awful, but can't be undone by killing the child. While the child is completely dependent on the parent, that's different.

With Tuvix, I can understand the argument that he is indefinitely compromising Tuvok and Neelix's bodies by existing. I'm not sure whether that's the position I take. If the Doctor found a cure 50 years later, would it be exactly the same as if he found it within twenty seconds? Because there is, again, not the same demarcation as with a pregnancy I find it hard to adapt the same arguments over.
Jackson
Fri, May 3, 2019, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
I think the "bodily autonomy" take totally rules in Tuvok and Neelix's favor too.

If a surrogate mother consents and agrees to carry a child that is entirely the genetic material of other people, but then decides she wants to keep the baby when it's born, should she get to?

Tuvix is comprised of Tuvok and Neelix's genetic material.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
@Jackson, to be clear, by "bodily autonomy" I mean that some of a pregnant person's rights have to do with them having a right to what is happening with their body currently (as opposed to their genetic material which has since left their body). I would say the bodily autonomy take can support Tuvok and Neelix. I don't think it supports Riker and Pulaski in Up the Long Ladder, in the sense that they have not consented to their genetic material being taken, but unlike a pregnant person the clones do not depend on their body currently to live. This is why I think I might disagree with Elliott on some points here, though I might have misunderstood him.

I'm not sure I understand the relevance of your example. I'd say that because the surrogate consented to carry the child under the terms that the child would be raised by her biological parents, the surrogate does not get custody after the fact. However, this seems clear cut in that all parties (except the child) consented to the initial arrangement.
Elliott
Fri, May 3, 2019, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
@William B:

"A person is pregnant with twins, and already it seems that she will not survive the pregnancy."

The problem with this reversal is what I originally wrote about--it's not so much about potential life v. existing life, but about consent. The woman in question did not consent to die for her unborn twins, just like Tuvok and Neelix did not consent to die in order to make Tuvix.

"The other question I guess is whether there is a statute of limitations on the absolute control of one's genetic material."

That's certainly a relevant question to the topic of cloning/abortion. Do your parents have a right to kill you after you're born if they decide they never really wanted to have you? Obviously, the answer is "no." So how does that map on to real-life pregnancies and abortions? For me, I think it's fair to say that a person has the right to terminate pregnancy until the point of viable birth, which in humans is usually around 7 months. It's by no means a perfect scenario, but I think a person under most circumstances would be able to make an informed consent to have a baby by that point, and there is no way to keep the foetus alive without the mother's consent before that point.

"The proper order of things is for there to be one Kirk, and that the two halves seem to be sick reinforces this. "

I agree that these sorts of assumptions serve to obscure the core issue (consent). "Tuvix" is uniquely brave in not hiding behind those kinds of assumptions at all.

"I do wonder also whether any parallels [were intended] between this episode and the Seska stealing Chakotay's DNA plot."

Not something that escaped my attention either! I'll be talking about it when I get to "Basics."

@Peter G:

"The 'evil Kirk' saying he wants to live isn't a human rights issue or anything to do with priority in who should exist and who shouldn't; it means that in the struggle to perfect ourselves the baser side demands to live too, and that if we try to push it down or squash it we're in for trouble because we will become divided from ourselves."

Except that we saw in this episode how Tuvix made a "better" man than Neelix or Tuvok alone, able to combine their traits in a *positive* way. But just because the results of a transporter accident make one guy out of two who seems great or two guys out of one who seem sick doesn't alter the morality of the situation, whichever side of it you come down on.

I'll also say that authorial intent is not the end of the discussion about a work of art. That is the argument made against "Dear, Doctor," for example. The intent was to analogise Western colonialism, but many people conclude that the actual message is pro-social Darwinism or whatever. I'm not weighing in on this thread about that episode, but my point is, these stories often have meaning beyond what they were intended to convey.

"Well, let's go further: imagine if a woman who was raped got pregnant, went into a coma (let's say), and gave birth without knowing about it. Upon waking up would she be within her rights to kill the child (of whatever age) because she hadn't consented to its existence?"

That's a fair question, but what doesn't quite work is that the woman in question was not asked or forced to give up her own life so that her baby could live.

"The fact that he wanted to live, and they probably would have agreed to let him live at their expense, means that Janeway not only killed someone pleading for his life, but that it was probably against the likely wishes of all three parties involved."

It's not fair for you to make assumptions like that. Tuvok and Neelix were not asked whether they wished to be combined. We don't know what their wishes might have been if they could somehow be communicated with while Tuvix was still alive. Maybe introducing time travel? The point is Janeway had to make a choice based on the information she had.

"And actually the episode does strangely seem to fit more closely into a pro-life worldview, insofar as Tuvix *does* insist on his right to live, and Doc refusing to harm a patient even for the sake of another."

I addressed that point in my review. The doctor, a computer programme, has rigid views of right and wrong built in to his software. The point of the conclusion is to say, try as we might, we cannot just ignore those views; we have to accept that being pro-choice is difficult; we are saying, "unborn person, you don't get to exist because I did not consent to your existence." With foetuses, the conversation is not literal, with "Tuvix," it is.

"That's part of what Elliott finds impressive about the episode, is that Tuvix is given many qualities that pro-life people assert fetuses have and still supports Tuvok and Neelix's right to choose where their genetic material goes."

Yes, precisely.

@Jackson:

Very good point. We are far from the scenario in our current society where we need to worry about going "too far" in the other direction and having parents murder their adolescent children. Abortion rights are severely restricted in most parts of the world.
Elliott
Fri, May 3, 2019, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: "Up the Long Ladder"

First, I agree that it's a pretty shitty episode and that the messaging struggles against the absurd and often offensive plot. I only brought it up as an example of what Federation law/ethics probably has to say on the matter. Another would be "The Child" (also a horrible episode); but regardless of the outcome, Deanna was the only person allowed to determine whether Ian was to be born, despite potential risks to the Enterprise.

The ethics of these examples are not black and white--do I think Riker had the right to phaser Thomas in "Second Chances"? No. And would Janeway have the right to murder Tuvix if Neelix and Tuvok had been combined but also *copied* by the transporter, such that there were now three fully sentient men--even though Tuvok and Neelix did not consent to his creation? No. And that's because we are weighing conflicting moral ideas: right to life, sentience, autonomy and consent.

1. It's okay for Riker to murder his undeveloped clone because it is not yet sentient and was created without his consent. The clone's right to life is overshadowed by Riker's right to consent and the fact that the life he's taking is not (probably) sentient.

2. It's not okay for Riker to murder Thomas because a. neither man has a greater claim on having been the person whose consent was denied to create the other, b. Thomas is sentient and c. Riker doesn't have to die for Thomas to live.

3. It's okay for Janeway, on Tuvok's on Neelix' behalf, to murder Tuvix because Tuvok and Neelix did not consent to his creation AND they would have to cease to exist so that Tuvix could live on.

These issues are complicated.
Jackson
Fri, May 3, 2019, 4:29pm (UTC -6)
Elliot said:

"And would Janeway have the right to murder Tuvix if Neelix and Tuvok had been combined but also *copied* by the transporter, such that there were now three fully sentient men--even though Tuvok and Neelix did not consent to his creation? No."

I'm even iffy on this scenario.

Tuvok and Neelix still also existing would change nothing as to whether Tuvok and Neelix consented to a Tuvix being created, so this scenario actually undermines the logic used to argue for the restoration of Tuvok and Neelix.

The argument to keep Tuvix in this case is that the situation is no longer zero-sum, and that therefore, ending Tuvix would come much closer to murdering an offspring. So here, I would advocate for Tuvix as well, since ruling in Tuvix's favor isn't existential for Tuvok and Neelix.
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 4:57pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott,

I agree with your take on Up the Long Ladder et al. I too wanted to get to the "It's complicated" point. I think I got the impression your position was more absolute than it appears to be.

""A person is pregnant with twins, and already it seems that she will not survive the pregnancy."

The problem with this reversal is what I originally wrote about--it's not so much about potential life v. existing life, but about consent. The woman in question did not consent to die for her unborn twins, just like Tuvok and Neelix did not consent to die in order to make Tuvix."

Sure, but the point of the reversal is that Tuvix emphatically didn't consent to die so Tuvok and Neelix could be born. That's why it's also necessary to assert some reason why Tuvok and Neelix's lack of consent Trump's Tuvix
William B
Fri, May 3, 2019, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
Ahem

...trumps Tuvix's lack of consent. Even if Tuvix's creation was wrong, that wasn't Tuvix's fault and he is here now, and is fully sentient at the moment. In one way he's the child of Tuvok and Neelix, but in another he is their potential parent containing their genetic material. I don't think consent alone is sufficient to explain why T/N's rights trump Tuvix's once he's already alive and sentient. That T/N were alive first is one argument why their rights (/lack of consent) should have priority, though it might not be the best one.

The Child is another good example, albeit yes quote bad.
Yanks
Fri, May 3, 2019, 5:38pm (UTC -6)
@ William B

"Sure, but the point of the reversal is that Tuvix emphatically didn't consent to die so Tuvok and Neelix could be born. That's why it's also necessary to assert some reason why Tuvok and Neelix's lack of consent Trump's Tuvix"

Easy. They aren't being born here... they are being saved.

As Tuvix was Tuvok and Neelix in a blender... I've always found it very selfish of him at the end. I find it hard to believe that he doesn't know that Tuvok and Neelix want to exist as they were.
Peter G.
Sat, May 4, 2019, 12:39am (UTC -6)
@ Yanks,

"As Tuvix was Tuvok and Neelix in a blender... I've always found it very selfish of him at the end. I find it hard to believe that he doesn't know that Tuvok and Neelix want to exist as they were."

Remember that Tuvix didn't just have their memories, but also combined their actual personality traits, skills, and likes/dislikes. He was actually both of them, and in that sense quite unlike a child born of them. A child has DNA from its parents but *isn't them* in any sense whatsoever; the child is completely new and a blank slate for the parents to get to know. But Tuvix is actually an amalgam in every way, no traits being new, but the newness instead coming from having the combined traits of both. So when you say it was selfish of him and that he ought to have known what Neelix and Tuvok's wishes would have been, have you considered that maybe he did? And that his request was literally both of them wanting what he was asking for - to be able to remain together united?

A better analogy to this found in other Trek was in DS9's Facets, where Curzon and Odo wanted to remain joined. In that ep Sisko decided (although I'm not sure how) that it was Curzon bullying Odo into compliance; but imagine for the moment that it wasn't and that they both really wanted to remain together. Would that have been so bad? The clincher is that Dax needed her memories back. But putting that aside (let's say Curzon had come out of a katra crystal or something instead) it seems to me entirely possible that both parties would potentially enjoy being united. And in fact that's exactly what we're expected to understand about Trills: that the unison and blending of two parts is highly desirous and makes them better together than they were apart. I don't think anyone ever made the argument that a joined Trill is less because instead of two beings it's only one instead.

Elliott's main point is about consent, but it strikes me as presumptuous to assume that Tuvix' desires in fact do not represent that consent. He literally does know what they would want, so unless he's lying bald-faced (which we don't get the sense of) I would say it's at least worth considering that Neelix and Tuvok may consent. That being said I don't think the teleplay has any intention of showing us a story about consent or lack thereof. I rather do like that Elliott has focused on that part of it, but the characters in the show (for better or worse) don't seem to have that as their main focus.
Jackson
Sat, May 4, 2019, 12:47am (UTC -6)
" would say it's at least worth considering that Neelix and Tuvok may consent."

If that's so, then when Janeway separated them, they'd ask to be fused again.
Peter G.
Sat, May 4, 2019, 2:08am (UTC -6)
"If that's so, then when Janeway separated them, they'd ask to be fused again."

That's not necessarily true. Once the procedure was done and Tuvix was gone, I'm sure they were happy to have their lives back. That doesn't mean that, back when Tuvix' life was in the balance, they wouldn't have chosen to die for him. Of course they want to live, but the question is whether *in that particular time and place* they would have made the sacrifice. By the end of the episode they are no longer in that time and place. There's no circumstance where, after Tuvix is gone, they could even be in a position to 'choose' to lay down their lives for him. He's gone. It's no different from any other two crewmen being told "hey, do you want to merge together to 'save the life' of whoever you would be if merged. Of course no one would choose that out of the blue. It's only with that person standing in full reality that they might (if able to choose) consider letting the person live at their own expense. The situational timing matters here.

Think of a shorter window of time to get the gist of what I mean: if a person is going to get run over by a car, I might choose to rush in and save them, dying myself. But I might feel very differently if asked during a quiet day, "hey, would you like to go run into traffic to maybe save someone?" I would surely disapprove of spending my day that way. It's one thing to be heroic, but another to be suicidal.

Plus there's another matter: both Neelix and Tuvok are insanely prideful in their own way, and would certainly never admit to having enjoyed being merged, even though Tuvix clearly did enjoy both parts of them and show how much the one needed what the other had in order to be complete. It was a funny way of showing a sort of marriage between them in a complementary sense. So there's also a case to be made that Tuvix was expressing a more honest account of their real wishes than they, themselves, would allow themselves to admit. Although consent does get into a wacky place when we open it up to what someone "really" wants, as compared to what they claim they want. But then again this is sci-fi :P
Elliott
Sat, May 4, 2019, 8:32am (UTC -6)
@Peter G

Tuvix’ has a unique consciousness. That much was clear. There was no way to assume that his will represented Tuvok’s and Neelix’ anymore than theirs represented his when they were restored. In the end Tuvix insists that he has he right to live. And no one disputes that, it’s just that their ethics—or at least Janeway’s...again I cited precedent that it might be Federation law, but that’s not certain—indicate that Tuvok’s and Neelix’ right to consent AND to life supersede Tuvix’ right to live.
Jackson
Sat, May 4, 2019, 9:21am (UTC -6)
If we go with Peter G's contention, Tuvok and Neelix were willing to die for Tuvix, but Tuvix clearly was NOT willing to die for Tuvok and Neelix.

In such a case, Tuvix is clearly at the losing end of the King Solomon test.
Peter G.
Sat, May 4, 2019, 11:33am (UTC -6)
@ Elliott,

"Tuvix’ has a unique consciousness. That much was clear."

Agreed, so it wouldn't be right to say that what he says is literally what Neelix/Tuvok are saying. However it seems to be very much like a joined Trill, where the original host is gone but all the memories remain, and from what we've seen a Trill is quite able to say what a past host would think or want in certain circumstances. Having all those memories, Ezri even had problems with pronouns between first and third person. So while Tuvix doesn't literally speak *as* them, I think we might consider trusting him as an authority on what they would want.

"In such a case, Tuvix is clearly at the losing end of the King Solomon test."

I already addressed this point above. Even if Tuvix proves himself less admirable than Neelix and Tuvok, that has no bearing at all on his right to live. One does not earn that right through admirable behavior or values, and heaven help us if we begin to protect those we like more than those whose views we disapprove of.
Jackson
Sat, May 4, 2019, 12:48pm (UTC -6)
Peter said:

"One does not earn that right through admirable behavior or values, and heaven help us if we begin to protect those we like more than those whose views we disapprove of. "

That goes both ways though.

Saying that Tuvix should triumph simply because he's the only one unwilling to sacrifice himself is equally chilling.

Tha's like a nomination process where Candidate X's supporters say "we'll only vote if our candidate is the nominee", while the supporters of all the other candidates say they'll vote for whoever the nominee is, and responding with "well that means we have to nominate Candidate X".
Peter G.
Sat, May 4, 2019, 2:18pm (UTC -6)
@ Jackson,

"Saying that Tuvix should triumph simply because he's the only one unwilling to sacrifice himself is equally chilling."

To be fair I'm not quite saying that Tuvix should triumph. I would tend to say that there's a legitimate case for each side of the question, but my main objection in the episode is that no one stands up to champion Tuvix' side of it except Doc, which is a cheat because, as Elliott mentioned, we can easily write off his objection as being "just a hologram". It's the dead silence on the bridge as he pleads that is very un-TNG to me. In TNG there would have been a very divided crew about this sort of thing, with Picard having the final verdict.

But I think William B is also right that the "who is alive now" factor cannot be ignored. The fact that Tuvix is here and the others aren't is non-trivial. If all three were alive and we had to choose the plain trolley problem that would be one thing; but that's not really the case. And I do like Elliott's take on the consent angle, but in my opinion if consent were to be brought to the fore then I am starting more and more to think that Tuvix' statements may be indicative of what Neelix and Tuvok would want. I have a hard time believing either one of them would allow someone else to die to save them. Bringing up that this makes them better than him in some way is something of a truism, because we can probably generalize this to say that anyone who would die for another is 'better' than them in the self-sacrifice criterion of love. Most people wouldn't want to die, but that doesn't make it any less worth it to save them just because they wouldn't be able to step up to the plate as well as you could.
Springy
Sat, May 4, 2019, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Reading through this revived (like T and N) discussion, some thoughts:

ARISTOTLE: I don't think Chakotay is misquoting Aristotle. I think he's referring to the scientific, mathematical fact that (e.g.) 3 + 2 can't be greater than 5.

CONSENT: An interesting, valid point, that gets me ultimately thinking more about consensus than consent. And consensus, we are never going to have, among Tuvix, Neelix, and Tuvok. Two out of three have no voice, and any attempt to guess what they would want - based on assuming that surely they'd want to live, or assuming Tuvix somehow speaks for them and they are willing to sacrifice themselves- is just that: a guess.

ANALOGIES: No matter where we go with this, abortion, life threatening births, etc., there's no great, real life analogy.

THE EPISODE: A classic that belongs in "best of the franchise" lists.

TUVIX: Wright was great. I really felt for Tuvix. I liked that he spoke up for himself; that he didn't go quietly to the guillotine. He knew he would likely die, I think, but he wasn't going to make it easy for Janeway.

JANEWAY'S DECISION: it wasn't easy for Janeway. What's best for Voyager generally, and for getting home in particular? The answer to this is plainly "the return of Tuvok and Neelix." And given the moral ambiguity Janeway's facing, I think it's fair for this consideration to tip the scales.

IF YOU WERE JANEWAY: What would you have done? My answer is: Just as she did. I'd feel a strong obligation to my missing crewmen and their families and loved ones. And I'd ultimately decide based on what was best for Voyager. But yes, it would be tough, and come with a burden.

EXISTENCE: If we argue that Neelix and Tuvok somehow continue to exist through Tuvix, can we argue that Tuvix somehow continues to exist through Neelix and Tuvok? Is he really dead, murdered, totally gone, when he's split?
Chrome
Sun, May 5, 2019, 10:54am (UTC -6)
Springy wrote:

“ARISTOTLE: I don't think Chakotay is misquoting Aristotle. I think he's referring to the scientific, mathematical fact that (e.g.) 3 + 2 can't be greater than 5.”

I see what you mean, but I’m not sure the line makes sense in mathematical terms. Chakotay is saying normally 1 + 1 = 2, but in Tuvix’s case 1 + 1 > 2?

Aristotle was speaking in terms of metaphysics, namely synergy. And Tuvix does indeed create a synergy with Tuvok and Nelix, so using the quote is apropos. Yet why they’d misword the quote is confusing. Chakotay says old axiom so he means a famous phrase, right? Maybe the writers thought it would be neat to have Chakotay refer to some (unnamed) Native American philosopher which had a different take on the concept than Aristotle?

I don’t know, I don’t mean to be pedantic, but it’s just clunky writing.
Springy
Sun, May 12, 2019, 8:05am (UTC -6)
@Chrome

Axiom can mean famous phrase but it's also a mathematical term. It's a toss up, but I land in the side of "the writers weren't misquoting Aristotle."

It's definitely clumsy writing no matter how you look at it. It invites the viewer to go, "huh??" - both in its "similar to a famous quote but means the opposite" wording, and its suggestion that Chakotay is so cheerfully thinking that Tuvix is superior to his recently departed colleagues.
Chrome
Mon, May 13, 2019, 11:37am (UTC -6)
@Springy

Haha, yeah. I wish Chakotay's line was something more like "There's a saying amongst my people" or "My grandfather first taught me" to at least give us some sort of context for Chakatoy jumping to the hasty conclusion that Tuvix is better than Neelix and Tuvok. I mean I wouldn't agree with him, but at least I could respect that he's speaking from a unique philosophical viewpoint about life (one with a transmigration of souls, perhaps?) and the line would work on that level.
Luke
Tue, May 28, 2019, 10:39am (UTC -6)
Hoo boy this comment section. I liked this episode, but Jammer identifies something I couldn't quite put my finger on when Tuvix is so adamant on not being separated. Up until that point it feels like Tuvix is acting like Tuvok and Neelix in one body, but then there' s a split there.

I'll also admit when Tuvix said there' s a problem that "he doesn't want to die" I was taken aback a bit, as that idea hadn't ever occurred to me. And while I don't think Doc's refusing is really in line with him, I think Janeway's handling at the end where she's obviously shaken and disturbed by what she must do rings true. But......

Lt. Yarko got it right in 2015 (and honestly I'm surprised it took 7 years for that to surface). There is no "murder" here. Tuvix is a composite of Tuvok and Neelix. There is a blended conciousness with its own "identity" there, but it's still just Tuvok and Neelix. And the episode makes that clear at several points. When they arrive back on Voyager merged, he says I am Neelix and he says I am Tuvok. He has both of their memories, emotions, and desires. He loves Kes because he is Neelix, but he also loves Tuvok's wife...because he is Tuvok.

The only reason we think of it as a "killing" is because Tuvix suggests that it is, but that doesn't mean Tuvix is correct. It's simply the two minds trying to deal with their situation as best they can. He is two lives in one body, and reseperating that out doesn't "kill" anyone, it simply lets them act independently of one another, despite what the combined consciousness may feel at the time. But there's no indication his feeling is correct. If anything the evidence of the episode indicates he is just Tuvok and Neelix, only in one body.

But I might be slightly colored by my previous experience with Dragon Ball Z. Lol.
Peter G.
Tue, May 28, 2019, 11:25am (UTC -6)
@ Luke,

I'm not sure why you think the Tuvix has "two minds trying to deal with their situation". He literally has only one mind, as in, one brain. It's a sci-fi conceit that it's possible to combine two brains into one, but they didn't take it so far that it's actually two consciousnesses in there both trying to make do. It's just one: they were merged. As you said, early on we're led to accept that Tuvok and Neelix are both in there, but as time progresses in the episode it's clear that's not true, as Tuvix has characteristics that neither one of them had, and he finally sums it up by saying he isn't them, he's him, and doesn't want to die. If you're going to ignore that kind of plea I don't know how any other kind could matter either.
William B
Tue, May 28, 2019, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
@Luke, Peter:

For what it's worth, I'm more in agreement with Peter. But just to defend Luke's (and Lt. Yarko's) point a bit more, Elliott made a good point IMO in comparing the episode to The Enemy Within and in particular to "Bad" (or Animalistic) Kirk's "I AM CAPTAIN KIRK!" insistence that he's the real deal, which is shown to be only partially correct. That episode was one mind divided in two whose natural state was to be recombined. I can understanding reading this episode as the inverse of that -- two minds artificially combined into one body, and the two consciousnesses then being fooled into thinking they're one individual, falsely. It's an intriguing idea, and I do think that some sense that that might be some of what is going on maybe affects Janeway's decision.

*However*, it's still not how this episode strikes me when I watch it. Tuvix seems to me to begin as a weird combination of Tuvok and Neelix, and that's strange, but he still seems to be a distinct individual by the episode's end. I think if the episode were trying to convince us that Tuvix is unambiguously not a single consciousness but two trapped in one body, it would have played things differently. Janeway's controversial argument at the end largely seems to be that Tuvok and Neelix, despite being absent, have rights which supersede Tuvix's, rather than that Tuvix is not a person at all.

I was thinking about how a story dedicated to two consciousnesses trapped together as one who need to be forcibly separated would actually play. One Trek example that comes to mind of a somewhat similar situation is Attached, where Picard and Crusher are somewhat forced into merging for a time; some of the Borg stories also function as a larger-scale version of that. What I think such a story would emphasize is the analogy between the combined person's two consciousnesses getting used to functioning as one and a codependent relationship, where they are forced to be separated for their own good. That might be a good Neelix story to tell, since he tends to be clingy and possessive and not to respect boundaries (resulting from his traumatic loss of his family). I guess it doesn't really strike me that this is the story this episode is telling.
Peter G.
Tue, May 28, 2019, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

The trouble with comparison to The Enemy Within, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, is that the order matters. Meaning: if one whole person is split into two, each of which can't survive without the other, this allegorically tells us that we need our darker half, while on a literal level tells us that each half actually needs to merge back if they're to continue to exist. By contrast, with the merge into Tuvix the two parts didn't *need* to separate in order for the result (Tuvix) to survive. Rather, the episode goes to some lengths to show that he was even more functionally adpatible than either of his predecessors. So while allegorically we might hope they're separated because...reasons...literally speaking there was no need for them to split again. And another contrast is desire: good Kirk *knew* that evil Kirk wanted to be back together with him but was afraid of being destroyed in the process. Even though evil Kirk demanded the right to live, good Kirk - who we need to remember was the same person! - knew what that really meant; he was uniquely in a position to interpret the statement of another person and to say it didn't mean what it sounded like. However in the case of Tuvix his desire to live seemed to be legitimately just that, rather than some metaphor of worrying that his different parts would be lost. And again in contrast to Kirk, when he says he wants to live there is no one present qualified to argue "well that's not what he really means" on his behalf. We therefore have to take his statement at face value, without second-guessing whether the "Neelix half" really meant that. If we go down that road we could make the same reductive argument about anyone's statement about themself, in the following way:

Person A: "I don't want sex."
Person B: "Well, that's probably their intellectual half talking, but I know their sexual half is in favor of it so we should discount what they're saying since we know better. After all, if the two parts of them have separate desires we can pick and choose which to take seriously, right?"

And we know that Person B's position is currently understood to be anathema in the sexual realm, so I don't see why it shouldn't be taken even more seriously when it comes to life and death. If Person A says they want to live, we had better take that seriously! So I agree with William that it must in the end come down to whether Neelix and Tuvok, despite being absent, can still said to have rights that must be protected. For my part I would tend to argue that they don't, but I could see how this isn't by any means a closed matter.
William B
Tue, May 28, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
@Peter, largely agree. I will say though that if we take "The Enemy Within" very literally, we cannot be sure that "Good" Kirk knows what "Evil" Kirk wants, because all we really have are theories postulated by Spock et al. to account for the bizarre occurrence, backed up by other examples like the space dog. If their theory is wrong, then perhaps "Good" Kirk and "Evil" Kirk really are two different beings, and so "Good" Kirk is not particularly qualified to speak about what "Evil" Kirk really wants. I don't think it's worth too much effort trying to read "The Enemy Within" without its metaphorical meaning, so I won't belabour that point. "Tuvix" seems to me different from "TEW" in that it doesn't read to me that there is a metaphorical reading that would require that what is truly good for Tuvix is to be split in two (the way "TEW's" metaphor means that it's good for both Kirk halves to recombine). As Elliott was saying, this is part of what's interesting and even impressive about "Tuvix." I do think the show *could* have played Tuvix as a case where the correct and natural thing for Tuvix would be to separate, either by playing it through a metaphor lens or by some other narrative choices, but I agree that the show really does not seem to do so (and nor do I think it is attempting to).
MadBaggins
Thu, Jun 6, 2019, 7:27am (UTC -6)
Did Tuvix have two dicks and four balls?
Gholam
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 3:55pm (UTC -6)
I think you are all missing the real meaning of this episode. Here we are talking about androgyny, third gender or homosexuality in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman.

Tuvix, as it is known in Native Hawaiians, is a Mahu, an intermediate state between two different set of genes and chromosomes and “a person of indeterminate gender.” Mr. Tuvix did not choose to be what he became, in fact he came to be because of a transporter “malfunction.” But a freak of nature or not he is still a being and like any other mortal he has feelings (neelix) and can think perfectly (tuvok) alright and as a matter of fact even better than its individual parts (Chakotay’s quoting).

Some say that being gay is caused by early childhood experiences, parenting styles, or the way someone is raised, but here we are told that this is because of some natural causes (flowers) + biological accident (transporter mishap.)

Societal attitudes toward homosexuality vary greatly in general (the way kes, doctor, captain deal differently with Tuvix.)
Kes represents that part of society that eventually learn to accept homosexual acts and relationships.

Captain represents those who are willing to censure homosexuality in all its forms and implement severe punishments (killing Tuvix without any consideration for his individuality.)

And doctor represents most of medical experts and organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and also the American Psychological Association which view sexual orientation as part of someone’s nature and think that efforts to change gay people to straight is murder and immoral.

Again hats off to smart writers of voyager (and also good actors) who are able to convey such a complex issue in a form that not only does not offend anyone but is also enjoyable to watch.
Springy
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
@Gholam

An interesting take, well presented.

I don't believe the ep was being so specific as you do (commenting specifically on sexuality or gender identity) , but I agree the ep provides some general commentary on accepting "freaks."

If there's a chance to make the "freak" normal, should we take the chance? What if it's against the "freak's will? It makes me think of deaf people who refuse ocular implants. Do their hearing friends and family want them to have the surgery more for themselves, than for the deaf person?

What is there to lose, what is there to gain - for all involved? And whose needs get priority?

Anyhow, thanks for the thinky thoughts.
The Man
Sun, Aug 11, 2019, 9:17am (UTC -6)
@MAX you're wrong max, clearly Neelix and Tuvok werent dead or else they would not have been brought back. And all of this nonsense of "murdering" Tuvix, what about Neelix and Tuvok? They deserved to love and their only voices were the Enterprise crew.
The Man
Sun, Aug 11, 2019, 9:23am (UTC -6)
@Peter G. And if you are going to ignore the fact that two men are clearly still alive but are dying then you're wrong. As for saying they don't have rights because they are gone that's like saying that a person in a coma or is incapacitated doesn't havdd rights. They do, and if they can't speak for themselves they have loved ones that speak for them, they don't just rot away and die like you seem to think that Neelix and Tuvok should have done. Just like an incapacitated person who needs medical care and can't speak for them, Captain Janeway, Kes, and the crew spoke for them when they could not defend themselves.
The Man
Sun, Aug 11, 2019, 9:26am (UTC -6)
I would also argue that Tuvok and Neelix were clearly still conscious in Tuvix's head by evidence of his comment to Kes calling her "Sweeting."
Q
Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 1:06pm (UTC -6)
I have been giving consideration to the legality of Tuvix's death at the hands of Captain Janeway. In the case of Voyager, there are three legal ways to look at this:

1) The JAG Officer. I do not believe Voyager had a JAG officer appointed, so no legal opinion was available at the time. If this incident took place in the Alpha quadrant, I think the issue would have been taken up by the Starfleet JAG corps, absent an emergency (see #3).

2) From the point-of-view of the Doctor, Tuvix was a sentient life form and he correctly decided he could not forcibly take his life, absent a court-issued death sentence conviction. He may have performed the procedure under protest if the Captain ordered him to anyway, but she did not. The Doctor undoubtedly made a medical log entry documenting the incident.

3) With respect to Peter G., it is a long-standing rule that the Captain is master and commander of their vessel with absolute and unquestioned authority over, and responsibility for, the ship, cargo and crew. It's the privilege of every captain to decide when an emergency warrants the sacrifice of a member of the crew. Who can deny there was an emergency? Voyager was stuck in a remote and hostile part of space and the two members of her crew that were made unavailable by the transporter incident were deemed essential personnel by her captain.

The decision to terminate the life of Tuvix was justified using #3. Janeway's actions (and the Doctor's logs) would of course be reviewed by the Admiralty at a convenient time and place. As we saw both in the first part of Endgame (which occurred after Tuvix and before the timeline change) and in Nemesis (which also occurred after Tuvix and presumably -but not necessarily- after the timeline change), she was promoted to an Admiral rank. If the Admiralty disagreed with her decision about Tuvix (which I personally doubt they did), it was not enough of an error to preclude her from being promoted.

The worse case scenario for Janeway here would be a reprimand for her decision. The probable case scenario is either a decision of justifiable homicide in an emergency situation with no adverse action taken, or no comment or discussion about the incident at all. In either instance, it probably made for a good debate in an ethics of command class at Starfleet Academy.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
@ Q,

I find your point #3 interesting and definitely worth discussion. I would like to highlight this aspect that you brought up:

"It's the privilege of every captain to decide when an emergency warrants the sacrifice of a member of the crew."

Admitting this point as relevant would require admitting one other point into relevance: that Tuvix was a member of the ship's crew. Asserting this point is quite a big deal and requires actually repudiating most of the arguments made in favor of Janeway's decision (i.e. that Tuvix wasn't really an individual but just two crewmen smooshed together; or that this is really just a sort of medical problem for Neelix and Tuvok that needs repairing). And if sacrificing Tuvix can be justified by virtue of him being a member of the crew, who in turn are completely under the command of the Captain (a point in which I agree with you completely, and the dangers of which are frequently examined in TOS but rarely later), what happens if the crew member resigns their commission rather than obey, as Data tried to do in Measure of a Man? I would think the overwhelming opinion in Measure of a Man was that Data was being treated unjustly; first because he was going to be destroyed 'for science', but more importantly because he wasn't going to be allowed to resign. The latter point could only be justified if he was considered to be Starfleet property, which the hearing finally determined he was not. He didn't in fact have to resign as it appeared that Cdr. Maddox withdrew his transfer order once he saw the quagmire he was in.

Getting back to Tuvix, is he Starfleet property? If not, why can't he resign rather than obey an order? Starfleet Captains have no jurisdiction as far as I know to require civilian passengers to undertake life-threatening experiments. All of this has been granting the assumption that Tuvix is in fact a member of the crew, which your point #3 requires. But let's say he isn't one: after all, he's a seemingly new life form of a new species (Vulcan/Talaxian blend), who despite having the memories of two crew members (remember: Data has the memories of an entire colony) has never interacted with this crew before. Due to his skills he apparently volunteers to help out with duties he can do well, but as far as I can tell Janeway goes along with this more out of whimsy (heck, why not?) than out of deciding to give him an official commission with Tuvok's old rank. So I don't really see any sign that he's conscripted into Starfleet in this episode. I also don't know if I accept that the Voyager is in a crisis during this episode, nor that by being stranded this ship is 'perpetually in crisis' because that would basically mean the Captain could invoke "emergency measures" at her whim regardless of how stable or unstable the situation is, and that doesn't sit easy with me. Compard to most of the races they meet I think the Voyager crew is doing just fine. Actually this is a chief complain of some viewers, especially BG fans, which is that VOY should have had a lot more of the ship in trouble and lacking things (re: infinite shuttles). Considering they seem to usually have enough of everything I doubt I would accept that an emergency condition here warranted sacrificing someone; unless the emergency in question is "Neelix and Tuvok are in trouble." And in that case we revert back to the original question, which is whether it's acceptable to summarily sacrifice an unwilling civilian because Janeway prefers to have her two colleagues back instead.
Yanks
Wed, Sep 18, 2019, 10:23am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
"Admitting this point as relevant would require admitting one other point into relevance: that Tuvix was a member of the ship's crew. Asserting this point is quite a big deal and requires actually repudiating most of the arguments made in favor of Janeway's decision (i.e. that Tuvix wasn't really an individual but just two crewmen smooshed together; or that this is really just a sort of medical problem for Neelix and Tuvok that needs repairing). And if sacrificing Tuvix can be justified by virtue of him being a member of the crew, who in turn are completely under the command of the Captain (a point in which I agree with you completely, and the dangers of which are frequently examined in TOS but rarely later), what happens if the crew member resigns their commission rather than obey, as Data tried to do in Measure of a Man? I would think the overwhelming opinion in Measure of a Man was that Data was being treated unjustly; first because he was going to be destroyed 'for science', but more importantly because he wasn't going to be allowed to resign. The latter point could only be justified if he was considered to be Starfleet property, which the hearing finally determined he was not. He didn't in fact have to resign as it appeared that Cdr. Maddox withdrew his transfer order once he saw the quagmire he was in."

Whether Data is Star Fleet property of not was never determined. Judge Phillipa gave Data the "right to choose". (dodging all the tough questions like sentience) Data and all the officers and crew are the property of Star Fleet. (just like soldiers and saliors are today) Maddox's angle was Data was no different that the "Enterprise's computer", because Data was not flesh and blood (hardware).

"Getting back to Tuvix, is he Starfleet property? If not, why can't he resign rather than obey an order? Starfleet Captains have no jurisdiction as far as I know to require civilian passengers to undertake life-threatening experiments. All of this has been granting the assumption that Tuvix is in fact a member of the crew, which your point #3 requires. But let's say he isn't one: after all, he's a seemingly new life form of a new species (Vulcan/Talaxian blend), who despite having the memories of two crew members (remember: Data has the memories of an entire colony) has never interacted with this crew before. Due to his skills he apparently volunteers to help out with duties he can do well, but as far as I can tell Janeway goes along with this more out of whimsy (heck, why not?) than out of deciding to give him an official commission with Tuvok's old rank. So I don't really see any sign that he's conscripted into Starfleet in this episode. I also don't know if I accept that the Voyager is in a crisis during this episode, nor that by being stranded this ship is 'perpetually in crisis' because that would basically mean the Captain could invoke "emergency measures" at her whim regardless of how stable or unstable the situation is, and that doesn't sit easy with me. Compard to most of the races they meet I think the Voyager crew is doing just fine. Actually this is a chief complain of some viewers, especially BG fans, which is that VOY should have had a lot more of the ship in trouble and lacking things (re: infinite shuttles). Considering they seem to usually have enough of everything I doubt I would accept that an emergency condition here warranted sacrificing someone; unless the emergency in question is "Neelix and Tuvok are in trouble." And in that case we revert back to the original question, which is whether it's acceptable to summarily sacrifice an unwilling civilian because Janeway prefers to have her two colleagues back instead."

From a purely military perspective, Tuvix was on her ship so I believe that by default that made him Star Fleet property and Janeway's responsibility. But I also believe the situation Tuvok and Neelix were in certainly falls under "an emergency" just as any crew-member in peril would for the Captain. (until it is determined that they could not be separated)

But obviously, Doc found a solution, so she really had no choice but to serve her two crew-mates.

My biggest issue with this episode is still Tuvik's reaction. We know he know's how Neelix feels for Kes, and we know he has Tuvok's memories... so for these not to influence him at the end was an unreasonable reaction/action.
Chrome
Wed, Sep 18, 2019, 11:01am (UTC -6)
Yanks wrote:

"Whether Data is Star Fleet property of not was never determined. Judge Phillipa gave Data the "right to choose". (dodging all the tough questions like sentience) Data and all the officers and crew are the property of Star Fleet."

From The Measure of a Man:
"PHILLIPA: Is Data a machine? Yes. Is he the property of Starfleet? No."

I don't think you're giving TNG's writers enough credit. ;-)
Yanks
Wed, Sep 18, 2019, 11:06am (UTC -6)
HAHA..... thanks.

I guess that sort of means that the crew in Star Fleet aren't considered property either?
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 18, 2019, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks,

"From a purely military perspective, Tuvix was on her ship so I believe that by default that made him Star Fleet property and Janeway's responsibility."

I doubt any human being, even in our era, would legally be considered to be property. In the U.S. that would probably violate the 14th, but more properly I think if the word "property" were ever used in conjunction with a person in a modern society there would probably be a revolution.

"My biggest issue with this episode is still Tuvik's reaction. We know he know's how Neelix feels for Kes, and we know he has Tuvok's memories... so for these not to influence him at the end was an unreasonable reaction/action."

We don't know that having the memories of some people automatically means you'd react how they do. But maybe more importantly, it doesn't follow that if Neelix would do something, and if Tuvok might do the same thing, that having the combination of both of their DNA and memories means you'd likewise do the same thing. The mix of them might well produce a very different result. But fundamentally I don't really see the relevance of examining what they would have done in his place, because all that gets us is *at best* an evaluation of him not being as noble as they are. Be that as it may I don't really see it as relevant to whether Janeway did the right thing. I think its chief relevance in terms of the episode is that it forced Janeway to not get off easy with her decision, but rather had to face the full force of knowing she was choosing for someone to die in addition to saving two others. The reality is that when choosing someone to die a Captain should *always* be keeping in mind that they want to live; in this case it had to be spelled out for her because she wasn't really treating him as a person but rather as a mistake to be corrected.
Booming
Wed, Sep 18, 2019, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks
A soldier is not the property of the military. There is military law which is somewhat different but that's it. You don't become a slave when you join. :)
But to be perfectly honest being a soldier sometimes felt like being in servitude...
Chrome
Thu, Sep 19, 2019, 11:38am (UTC -6)
Right, a Starfleet officer isn't property per se, but I think Yanks could make the argument that enlisting in Starfleet obliges you to certain rules and commitments the average civilian doesn't have (which might include, yes, self-sacrifice in the line of duty). I don't really know what category Tuvix falls into in terms of duty (and the episode itself isn't complex enough to ask this question). However, Tuvix does serve as a Starfleet officer and therefore may also be obligated to follow the rules and commitments .

As the episode plays out, though, Janeway's word is law, so even if Starfleet had certain regulations one way or the other, I'm pretty certain the crew as a whole has decided to let this big question be ultimately decided by the captain.
Peter G.
Thu, Sep 19, 2019, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome,

I think you hit the issue with this:

"As the episode plays out, though, Janeway's word is law"

This is a general issue with Voyager. Not exactly a design flaw since basically they wanted a TNG-style weekly adventure, but a flaw if you're looking at the show objectively for realism. A ship such as Voyager, lost and away from Starfleet, would *have to* establish a legal system and a court system for trying cases. It simply could not actually function having the Captain both running the ship and also being the law, because that's a direct conflict of interest between the person wanting to make the decisions versus also being everyone's de facto counsel and judge. Now since the show premise is more simple than all this and they never ask "but who takes the legal side of the crew or passengers when they disagree" we end up with absurd situations where Janeway IS THE LAW, Judge Dredd style. But that's sort of an artifact of 'this is a weekly fun show' rather than any kind of statement about 'this is how ships like this would really function'. I don't think it helps us to try to analyze how Voyager's power structure maps onto real power structures in our era because they writers are not trying to depict a power structure at all.
Booming
Fri, Sep 20, 2019, 1:08am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome
Being a soldier doesn't oblige you to commit self sacrifice (at least in non dictatorship armies). Self sacrifice is always voluntary.
And Tuvix status really depends on him being a new being or not. If he is a new being then he isn't a starfleet officer.
Sure the Maquis crew isn't technically either.

Peter is kind of right. Voyager needs a court. Problem here is that there is nobody on board who could be considered impartial. In the end it always goes back to starfleet regulations and Janeway.
Fakery
Fri, Sep 20, 2019, 9:26am (UTC -6)
Am I alone in thinking this a pretty mediocre episode? "Good for Voyager," I suppose. It has the ingredients for a classic like "Duet" or "Measure of a Man" but is half-baked, so bogged down with technobabble and tedious explanations that it has almost no time to let the meat of it, its moral debate, unfold properly. In fact, there's scarcely any debate at all, in the episode -- fans have done with the work instead. So you can say, "Good that it's inspired discussion" -- well, better than nothing, but so much of this discussion owes precious little to the episode itself (and in fact frankly often reads like it's being written by people with very faint recollections of the episode itself). It's like someone took the structure of a patented TREK MORAL ISSUE EPISODE but knew the notes but not the music.

I hate to say it, but Enterprise did it better with "Similitude."
Peter G.
Fri, Sep 20, 2019, 11:05am (UTC -6)
@ Fakery,

Yeah, I'd pretty much agree with you, except for the sole fact that I really like what the actor portraying Tuvix did with the role. But other than that it's mostly a cop-out of a good premise. Because IMO he was so compelling it lends gravity to a story not treated all that seriously by the writers.
Fakery
Fri, Sep 20, 2019, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
The actor is good, and so is Mulgrew, who really carries the dramatic weight of the episode (unfortunately, it tells us little about either Tuvok or Neelix). Garrett Wang seems to be having one of his hangover days.
Top Hat
Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 8:53pm (UTC -6)
Say, do you think they held funerals for Tuvok and Neelix?
Dougie
Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
@Top Hat,
I would think an autopsy would be of significant interest as would collecting blood, semen, urine, bone, brain, and any organ samples. The level of diagnostics that any modern doctor would want to run, including this EMH given its propensity for “genetic solutions” is beyond question. As part of ordering Tuvix to undergo the final transporter Solution(tm), we must assume that a full clinical evaluation was ordered, with Tuvix objecting.
Circasian
Wed, Nov 6, 2019, 8:13am (UTC -6)
Accidentally or otherwise, this seems to be about the flamebaitiest episode of Star Trek. The Internet Tough Guys (tm) come out in force for this one! Which is fascinating in its own right, and not, I think, to the episode's credit.

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