We love Captain Janeway. We think that she is a highly underrated Captain. Time and time again, she was faced with some impossible choices … but she’d always find a way to make things work. She got her ship and crew back home in just seven seasons, and she did it while remaining true to Starfleet’s ideals.
Except, for this one time in Season 2.
In the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Tuvix,” the good Captain (flawlessly played by Kate Mulgrew) has to deal with Tuvok and Neelix becoming one being thanks to yet-another-transporter-accident. Everyone gradually accepts Tuvix, played by Tom Wright, until the EMH finds a way to reverse the process.
Things go Kobayashi Maru real fast, because though everyone wants Tuvok and Neelix back, Tuvix himself doesn’t want to die. What does Janeway do? She forces him to undergo the separation procedure, even going so far as doing it herself when the EMH hides behind Hippocratic ethics.
There were only two options for them, two only: save two and kill one, or keep the one and forget the two. Never, not one time, does anyone even try to think of a third option. To value this new life form, which is the entire point of Starfleet, and find a way for everyone to live. They don’t take a day, they don’t even try. Even a brief look at the logs of the USS Enterprise-D would have given them all kinds of information about Tom Riker. It would have helped.
Nothing to be done? Okay, maybe turn Tuvix into a hologram? No. Put his memories into a synth body? No. Take his picture? No. No one does anything, and though Mulgrew plays the moment afterward to perfection, Tuvix is never mentioned again. Nobody tried, Tuvix died.
It’s an episode that is given weight thanks to the performances of Wright and Mulgrew, and the debates over it have only grown over the years. Hindsight is everything, we guess.
Welcome back to Warp Factor, where we’re finding the third way and saving Tuvix. There’s no coffee in this nebula, only tears.