Broadcast Date: Monday, May 6, 1996
Sequence 39 - Episode 140
Guest Stars: Tom Wright as Tuvix, Simon Billig as Hogan, Bahni Turpin as
Story by: Andrew Price and Mark Gaberman
Teleplay by: Kenneth Biller
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Tuvok and Neelix have been beamed down to a planet's surface to gather some orchids with possible nutritional properties. As usual, Neelix is annoying Tuvok by talking too much and gushing about how much he is enjoying the away mission. Tuvok's patience is sorely tried when Neelix starts to sing a Vulcan funeral dirge for fun. When Captain Janeway orders them to be beamed up, instead of Tuvok and Neelix, a single individual materialises on the transporter pad.
Harry calls for an intruder alert, but a tricorder scan quickly shows that the stranger is actually Tuvok and Neelix combined. He suggests he should go to sickbay, where the Doctor explains he is a combination of Tuvok and Neelix's DNA combined with the orchid they were carrying. His identity is further proved, when he recognises the crew and knows their names.
A concerned Janeway sends Harry to check the transporters. The Doctor appears worried and Kes looks distraught, but the stranger seems to be taking the situation well. He says the crew are his family and friends and he combines Tuvok's and Neelix's memories in a single consciousness.
An uneasy Kes runs scans on the stranger and is taken aback when he calls her" Sweetie" he decides he needs a name and chooses Tuvix.
The next day, Janeway visits sickbay and Tuvix asks to return the work. He gushes over the Captain, like Neelix would, nearly embracing her at one point. The harassed Doctor pronounces him fit for work, telling Janeway, he processes both Tuvok and Neelix's skills.
The Senior Staff hold a meeting to discuss what has happened and whether something is wrong with the transporters. Tuvix startles them by interrupting the discussion with the word "sex". His transformation has been caused by blending during transportation at molecular level trigged by the orchid, a process called symbogenesis.
In the corridor, Tuvix approaches Kes, who is uneasy in his company. He eventually persuades her to have dinner with him. They find the kitchen in a state of chaos, as the crew attempt to cook their own meals. Tuvix takes over efficiently, cooking an excellent meal. Kes admits she enjoyed the meal, but leaves when he makes romantic overtures.
The next day, Tuvix has fixed a security problem, which had caused Tuvok problems, thus showing himself to have superior skills to both Tuvok and Neelix.
Tom and B'Elanna go to the planets surface in a shuttlecraft to collect more orchids. When they beam up the orchids with other flowers, the blooms fuse into a single composite flower. The Doctor tries to separate the plants but finds it impossible.
He pronounces that Tuvix is untreatable and he feels as if he's lost two patients. The crew look distressed at the news.
Tuvix visits Kes in her quarters. She misses both Tuvok and Neelix. Tuvix says he feels like an impostor but he still loves her. Kes feels uneasy about Tuvok's wife and recoils from his kiss.
She goes to Janeway's quarters and finds the Captain in her dressing gown, unable to sleep, reading letters Tuvok sent her in the past. Kes explains she's troubled that Tuvix wants the same relationship with her that Neelix had. Janeway says Kes is experiencing the possibility of never seeing a loved one again, like the rest of the crew. In a rare emotional moment, she voices her fears that their loved ones will give them up for dead and move on with their lives. She tells Kes how much she misses Mark. The two women embrace to comfort each other. Kes leaves and Janeway remains lost in thought.
Two weeks pass, and Janeway records in her log how well Tuvix is fitting in with the rest of the crew. He is keeping his distance from Kes.
Harry's clarinet practise is interrupted by the Doctor, who believes he's found a way to separate Tuvok and Neelix, if Harry can reprogramme the transporters.
In Sandrine's Bar, Tuvix is playing pool. Kes enters and they talk .She tells him that she's willing to be friends. The Doctor summons Tuvix to sickbay and tells him, he has found a way to restore Tuvok and Neelix by using radioactive isotopes to differentiate between their separate DNA strands.
Tuvix decides he doesn't want to his existence to end.
Janeway discusses the situation with Chakotay. She then asks the First Officer to leave and sends for Tuvix and tells him she's decided that he should be separated. He objects strenuously, saying she would be carrying out an execution. The Captain says he should consider Tuvok and Neelix. Tuvix pleads with her in an impassioned speech reminiscent of Shakespeare's Shylock." Look at me, Captain, When, I'm happy I laugh," He concludes", I have the right to live."
Tuvix asks Kes to plead with the captain on his behalf, but when she goes to Janeway, she tearfully admits she only wants Neelix back. She weeps on Janeway's comforting shoulder.
Aware of Janeway's decision, the rest of the crew are ill at ease with Tuvix. The Captain appears on the bridge looking troubled and requests to speak to Tuvix in private. He demands that she announce her decision in front of the crew. He pleads with them to save him
"Doesn't anyone see this wrong? Each of you will have to live with this and I'm sorry for that, my colleagues and friends. You're good, good people. I forgive you. "
As Tuvix runs frantically round the Bridge like a cornered animal, Janeway calls security. They march grimly to sickbay, like a procession on the way to an execution, as dirge like music plays in the background.
The Doctor refuses to carry out the separation without Tuvix's consent, so a troubled looking Janeway does it herself. while Harry and Kes watch uneasily.
Tuvok and Neelix appear sitting side by side on the biobed. Janeway formally welcomes them back and then leaves sickbay to the sound of more funereal music, with a look of sheer anguish on her face
"Tuvix is one of the most controversial episodes in the history of Star Trek. The subject matter doesn't make for easy viewing, but the way it is presented makes the viewer ponder the issues raised long after the closing credits have rolled.
Tuvix is an appealing character, and a clever combination of Tuvok and Neelix. He has Tuvok's ears and Neelix's hair and combines the best qualities of both, which makes him likable and popular with his crewmates. He is far less irritating than Neelix and gets on better with Chakotay than Tuvok.
The viewer realises however that two regular members of the cast are hardly likely to be permanently written out of the show, the only question is how to restore them. We have seen plenty of Trek episodes featuring transporter malfunctions before from "The Enemy Within" in "The Original Series," " Rascals" in "The Next Generation" and "Our Man Bashir" in "Deep Space Nine," to name but three. The major difference between these episodes and Tuvix, though, is that the characters desire to be returned to their original state, as indeed Tuvix does in the immediate aftermath of the accident. However, his new personality takes over and he objects to being restored to his original form, which leaves Captain Janeway in the unenviable position of having to choose what to do, one of the many decisions that as Captain fall on her, causing an increasingly heavy burden as the series progresses.
Tuvix calls his separation an execution; I find this definition hard to agree with, as an execution leaves nothing but a corpse, not two living individuals. The case in the real world seems to most closely resemble when an unborn child is sacrificed to save the mother's life, a general precept of medicine being, to put the mother's life first. A concept, most people agree with, when there is no other choice, for while not condoning murder, it is seen as the lesser evil. Tuvix does indeed say that he thinks of Tuvok and Neelix as his parents.
I thought of this episode, when a recent tragic case hit the headlines, as Siamese twins were separated against the wishes of their parents. The separation resulted in the death of one, but not acting would have meant both died. This case, which had no easy answers, caused worldwide debate.
I felt like the judges, Captain Janeway chose the lesser evil, as she perceives, her first duty to be to her original crewmembers. Tuvok and Neelix, whose welfare has been entrusted to her as the Captain of Voyager, I liked the way she respected the Doctor's refusal to carry out the separation, and did it herself rather than forcing the unpleasant task on someone else. I like this aspect of her personality, her willingness to accept the responsibility, rather than force someone else carry the burden. She's willing to act herself, rather than just give the orders. It also has to be remembered that Tuvix is an unnatural creation, a blending in a transporter of a Vulcan and a Talaxian male with an orchid, something that could never happen in nature. In a later Voyager episode,"Drone", One accepts that he was never meant to exist, unlike Tuvix.
There was some excellent acting in this episode, especially from guest star ,Tom Wright, Kate Mulgrew as Janeway, and Jennifer Lien had some good scenes as Kes.
I liked the scenes between Janeway and Kes, as they showed the warmth between the two women. Kes obviously, views the Captain as a surrogate mother to turn to for advice. Janeway shows herself to very different from the other captains, as it's hard to imagine Kirk, Picard or Sisko as a shoulder to cry on for a troubled crewmember.
This episode emphasises just how alone Janeway is. She cannot turn to Starfleet for advice about Tuvix, neither has she the support of family and friends, as in a rare unguarded moment, she confides to Kes.
Kate Mulgrew used facial expressions to vividly convey Janeway's troubled emotions and convince the viewer of Janeway's dilemma.
The procession to sickbay was unnecessary, given the ship's transporters but used to great dramatic effect, as Tuvix is led like a condemned prisoner to the gallows. The music was also very appropriate.
I would have liked to know what Tuvok and Neelix thought about events after they were restored. Were they grateful to be given their lives back? .
An interesting, thought provoking episode, which continues to provoke debate.