*** (3 stars out of 5)
The transporter once again proves that it has an endless variety of ways to fuck shit up.
Transporter operator Hogan is as surprised as anyone when he beams up Tuvok, Neelix, and some orchids... but a fusion of all three lifeforms arrives: a single identity that decides to call himself Tuvix.
Wacky antics will surely ensue!
No, wait, I meant reasoned, sober analysis. Which reveals the orchids are symbiogenetic: they reproduce by merging with a second species. Some Andorian ameboa do this, but it's previously unheard of in multicellular life, such as Earth's Lohan family of hominids.
Tuvix is a more thoughtful, organized Neelix, and a Tuvok who can follow his hunches.
Haven't we all wanted to have some Wuzzles of our very own? (I personally loved Rhinokey and Bumblebear.)
Mourning together, Kes talks with Janeway. The Captain admits to being quite discouraged that she will ever see her boyfriend Mark again. Neither of them entertains the notion of using symbiogenesis to create a Kes/Kathy Bride of Frankendude. (Kethy? Kas? Never mind...)
Two weeks after Tuvix arrived, the Doctor devises a method to safely restore Tuvok and Neelix. However, Tuvix refuses to give up his life.
"At what point did he become an individual?" asks Janeway. It becomes a torturous moral decision equivalent to an execution (nobody dares say abortion, although it's a fair amount like that, too). Tuvix is clearly terrified to die, and under his Oath, the Doctor cannot perform the separation. That's why they give Janeway the big bucks.
"Tuvix" has something to say about something, I guess. But it doesn't ask the Really Tough Questions, leaving it to me, as usual, to wonder: how did the clothing work?
Somehow, the original accident also created a costume fusion between Tuvok's uniform and Neelix's zoot suit (implying all-organic materials but thankfully not just adding them to the mix and giving Tuvix horrifying button eyes and a zipper mouth!), and then weeks later Tuvix wears a standard tactical uniform that Janeway somehow instantly transforms into two TAILORED versions for Tuvok and Neelix. (Sparing us all from the sight of their bare bums on a bio-bed at a poignant moment.)
Like the incident of Ilia's instant bathrobe in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I'm forced to assume the transporter can just link into the replicators and manifest clothes around someone. Although, if that's true, why would people bother manually dressing or undressing anymore? See? No one ever asks the Really Tough Questions.