The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Tuvix

A transporter accident fuses Tuvok and Neelix, resulting in a brand new person with the memories of both men – Tuvix. As Tuvix tries to settle in and find his place aboard Voyager, the crew work on reversing the transporter accident, but is it right to ask Tuvix to give up his life to restore Tuvok and Neelix?

I’m probably not supposed to like this episode – after all, transporter accidents that successfully fuse two people into one are even more ridiculous than those that split them into two. Nevertheless, I can’t help but enjoy it – I like the character of Tuvix, and appreciate the contrast with both Tuvok and Neelix.

And then, to top it all off, we have an ending that doesn’t pull its punches. There’s no get out of jail free card here – Janeway has to kill Tuvix, and he doesn’t go willingly. No noble sacrifices here, no Starfleet morality – just a man losing his life.

Was Janeway right?

Was Janeway right to kill Tuvix? In her position, would you or I have done anything different? Say your partner and another good friend were fused into a single being. You try to move on, grieving for the people you lost, whilst perhaps trying to get along with this new person. Could you really walk away from the possibility that you could restore your lover and your friend?

Kes wants Neelix back, and presumably her mentor Tuvok too. The crew must surely miss Tuvok and Neelix – well, Tuvok, anyway. But they feel so bad about condemning Tuvix to death that they don’t want to participate in his execution. Essentially, they want it to happen, but they don’t want to have to bear direct responsibility for wielding the knife (or hypospray). So they stand by and let Janeway bear the burden on her own. Then again, that’s why they pay the captain the big bucks – or would, if the Federation had money.

Other points

  • Obviously it’s highly unlikely that a transporter fusion could result in a living being with a functioning brain, as opposed to a mangled lump of flesh. Also, what about conservation of mass? Where did the extra mass go in the original accident, and where does it come from when Tuvok and Neelix are restored?

Lost shuttlecraft running total: 4

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 3

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1

Summary – Tuvix: In which Janeway kills a man.

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