Who Was Star Trek’s Tuvix And How Does That Cause The Twovix Incident In Lower Decks?

By Michileen Martin | Updated

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Tom Wright as Tuvix in the Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 episode “Twovix”

Today gave us the two episode premiere of Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 on Paramount+, including the very first episode “Twovix,” a fun-filled love letter to Star Trek: Voyager. While the more recent story is filled with laughs, the inspiration for “Twovix” — the Season 2 Voyager episode “Tuvix” — is one of the most heartbreaking episodes of the franchise, and remains one of its most controversial stories as well. It all revolves around the titular character played by Tom Wright (Daisy Jones & The Six).

Airing back in 1996, Star Trek: Voyager‘s “Tuvix” opens with the eponymous ship’s Vulcan security chief Tuvok (Tim Russ) and the Talaxian morale officer Neelix (Ethan Phillips) collecting botanical samples from a nearby planet. When they’re transported back to the ship, instead of Tuvok and Neelix there is only one person on the transporter pad — a man who would soon come to call himself “Tuvix.”

Kate Mulgrew, Robert Picardo, and Tom Wright in the Star Trek: Voyager Season 2 episode “Tuvix

At first Voyager‘s crew believe Tuvix has done something to their colleagues, but he soon convinces them — through knowledge only one of the two could have — that somehow Tuvok and Neelix have combined to become a single person. This leads to a number of awkward situations, chief among them Tuvix’s interactions with Kes (Jennifer Lien), who is Neelix’s lover but only a friend to Tuvok.

In the beginning, Tuvix seems just as hopeful as everyone else that The Doctor (Robert Picardo) can find a way to change him back. It’s eventually discovered that one of the plants Tuvok and Neelix were transporting is responsible for their condition and a potential way to safely split them is found.

Star Trek fans still argue about Janeway’s actions, and the ethics of the situation are complex.

But in the weeks between Tuvix’s creation and the discovery of a “cure,” Tuvix begins to think of himself as a fully realized individual, as do many of those he serves with. If he’s forced to undergo the procedure, he argues, it will be an execution. Nor is he alone — when Star Trek’s Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) gives the order to force Tuvix to undergo the procedure, The Doctor refuses and she is forced to perform it herself.

Tom Wright and Kate Mulgrew in the Star Trek: Voyager Season 4 episode “Tuvix”

Star Trek fans still argue about Janeway’s actions, and the ethics of the situation are complex. If she doesn’t effect what is essentially Tuvix’s death, she is arguably allowing Tuvok and Neelix to die. But even so, Tuvix consciously has nothing to do with those potential deaths, but it still forced to answer for them.

On one hand, Janeway stays true to Spock’s (Leonard Nimoy) words in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Or, as Kirk (William Shatner) adds, “of the one.” In this case, “the many” aren’t just Tuvok and Neelix, but Tuvok’s Vulcan family, Janeway who counts Tuvok as her closest confidant, and the Voyager crew who counts upon Janeway (including the support she gets from Tuvok) to get home.

But of course that wisdom from Spock is challenged in 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, when the Enterprise crew — in more ways than one — sacrifice the “many” for Spock.

Tuvix Vs. Twovix

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T’Illups in the Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 episode “Twovix”

When it comes to the subject of Star Trek characters being fused together, “Twovix” of Lower Decks is kind of like “Tuvix” with the fast-forward button slammed.

Set a little over a decade after the events of “Tuvix” — and around five years after the conclusion of Star Trek: Voyager — “Twovix” has the crew of the Cerritos assigned to help prepare the decommissioned Voyager to become a warp-powered museum piece.

While they’re unknowingly transporting samples from the same plant that helped create Tuvix, Tendi (Noël Wells) and T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) lose a petal, which winds up fusing together the Caitian doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) and chief engineer Andy Billups (Paul Scheer) to become T’Illups.

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Captain Dr. Frigleeman in the Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 episode “Twovix”

T’Illups names himself much sooner after his creation than Tuvix does. While it took Tuvix weeks to think of himself as a fully realized individual, as soon as T’Illups learns of Tuvix’s fate, he puts a plan in action to fuse together everyone aboard the Cerritos in order to secure his own safety. The first victims are Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) and Dr. Migleemo (Paul F. Tompkins) who become Captain Dr. Frigleeman.

T’Lyn tries and fails to fix the issue, but instead unintentionally fuses the bulk of the Cerritos crew into one giant, monstrous, mindless mess. Tendi is eventually able to separate everyone back into their original forms.

T’Lyn, Tendi, and the blob in the Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 episode “Twovix”

While the ethical issues of “Tuvix” are mentioned in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode, the series is, unlike Voyager, chiefly a comedy. “Twovix” circumvents all the moral questions with Tendi’s correct statement that the Starfleet officers have become “a non-sentient blob of meat. That blob has much less chance of living a fulfilling life than Tom Wright’s doomed hero.

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