FORMULA: The Enemy Within x-1 + Facets
WHY WE LIKE IT: Tuvix may just be a better character than Tuvok and Neelix.
WHY WE DON'T: His execution.
REVIEW: First, let's get the premise out of the way. Transporter accidents are all patently absurd propositions. Kirk split into good and evil halves? Sisko reconfigured into a holodeck character? Barclay fighting giant leeches in the transporter beam? It's all crazy (and Tuvix is crazier than most). Let's just accept it and move on. Once we do so, what we have is the introduction of an interesting character and a sometimes thoughtful exploration of identity. Unfortunately, as the giant reset button looms, things start to go downhill.
Like the Odo-Curzon mash-up in Facets, Tuvok and Neelix are naturally opposite characters. Combining the robot and the clown creates a better-rounded character, more useful and personable than either of his former parts. Not necessarily pretty to look at, but engaging enough that you start to care for him within about 20 minutes. Kes' awkwardness is well written, and Tuvix gets some good scenes in both the role of security officer and head chef.
So it's all the more terrible when he's asked to kill himself in order to bring back Tuvok and Neelix, disturbing even. I'm not against being disturbed by the captain's decisions, but if you're trying to make Janeway likeable (and they were), this isn't the way (despite her pained look at the end). Tuvix begs for his life, the Doctor refuses to "do harm" and the audience knows this is wrong. Tuvix sees it as an execution, and faces the barrel of the hypospray bravely, and that's exactly how it is, because that's how it's played. The crew is so used to the reset button by now, they let it happen. The fact hat there is no epilogue is almost criminal here. We don't know what Tuvok or Neelix think of the decision or what memories they retained from Tuvix. It's just never mentioned again. RESET!
This is all very harmful to the character of Janeway, and if she lost fan support, I believe this is the most damning of all evidence against her leadership. It's really too bad, because Kate Mulgrew gets what I would pick as her Emmy Moment in this episode. She gets one stand-out scene where she reflects on her loss of Mark. Effective and touching. So let me be clear: I like Janeway (and Mulgrew in the role), I just can't get behind Janeway's decisions. I'm calling bullshit on the writing.
LESSON: No matter what, respect the contracts you signed with your actors.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: I don't know how to make this a High because obviously Tuvix has to die at the end. It's good drama, but Janeway's final solution will make you scream at the television.