Captain Janeway Is A Murderer And That’s A Good Thing

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek captain

On Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway made many controversial decisions over the years, and fans were able to forgive most of them because her crew was stuck in the Delta Quadrant, and she was having to make do without Starfleet’s extensive resources or support. However, the Janeway decision that fans are still fighting about decades later involved a freak transporter accident that fused two people (stern Vulcan security officer Tuvok and friendly, fan-favorite Talaxian cook Neelix) into a new being named “Tuvix.” Janeway decided to restore the crew members by effectively killing Tuvix, and the harsh truth is that she made the right decision.

Janeway Killed Tuvix

It’s not hard to see why Star Trek fans are still debating Janeway’s decision to kill Tuvix. For one thing, the captain makes what is arguably a sin of commission: Tuvix was created completely by accident, but Janeway’s decision to kill the new being was her own decision, and she had to pull the trigger over her holographic doctor’s objections. Speaking of which, some fans think Janeway went against the Starfleet mandate to “seek out new life” by electing to kill this new life form so soon after it was created.

A Heart-Wrenching Moment

star trek transporters

Additionally, it’s hard for even the most hardhearted Star Trek fan not to feel bad for Tuvix by the end of the episode. He emotionally pleads for his life in front of the bridge crew, asking why nobody sees why this decision is wrong before being forcibly restrained by security. Before Janeway hauls him off to be executed via transporter, he tells everyone they will have to live with this decision: considering how fans still argue that Janeway is a coldblooded murderer because of this episode, it’s fair to say it wasn’t an easy decision for anyone watching to live with.

The Trolley Problem

Why, then, do we think the Star Trek fans sticking up for Tuvix are wrong and Janeway is right? For one thing, the captain was effectively solving a rather brutal math problem by trading the life of one accidental alien for the lives of two valuable crew members. And we do mean valuable: Tuvix boasts about having all of the knowledge and abilities of both Neelix and Tuvok, but since he can’t be in two places at once, it’s better for a ship like Voyager (which desperately needs as many crew as possible to help get everyone home) to have two experts rather than one.

No Easy Answer

Before any Star Trek fans go all Captain Kirk and remind us that sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many, it’s also important to consider that Captain Janeway’s seemingly coldhearted decision was made on behalf of two crew members who couldn’t speak up on their own behalf. Sure, it’s sad to watch Tuvix pleading for his life at the end of the episode, but his very existence basically robbed Tuvok and Neelix of their own lives. 

Saving Two Lives

Kate Mulgrew captain janeway star trek

Not only did these two deserve to live, but they also had loved ones (including Neelix’s shipboard girlfriend Kes and Tuvok’s family back in the Alpha Quadrant) who would never be the same if these men were gone forever. It may not be easy to watch, but Captain Janeway saved two lives and gave Tuvok a chance to see his wife and four children, and all it cost was the life of a transporter accident.

Leading Like A Captain

kate mulgrew janeway

It’s easy for Star Trek fans to judge Captain Janeway for killing Tuvix, but she quite obviously did the right thing. Moreover, she did the right thing when nobody else was willing to do it. At the end of the day, that’s why she’s the captain and Tuvix…well, he’s just a memory rapidly fading from both our minds and the transporter buffer.