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The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published September 5th 2020
There's an old talaxian expression
The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
He makes a great leola root stew


"Whatever you need is what I have to offer. You need a guide - I'm your guide. You need supplies - I know where to procure them. I have friends among races you don't even know exist. You need a cook? Oh, you haven't lived until you've tasted my Angla'bosque! It will be my job to anticipate your needs before you know you have them. And I anticipate your first need... will be me!"

Neelix convinces Captain Janeway to let him join the crew, Star Trek: Voyager

Neelix (played by Ethan Phillips) was a fictional character that appeared on the science fiction television show Star Trek: Voyager during its seven season run. Neelix is a Talaxian which is an alien species native to a region of space called the Delta Quadrant. When Voyager ended up stranded in the Delta Quadrant, Neelix offered to be their guide, and convinced Captain Janeway to let him join their crew. Neelix is an unpopular character among fans. Neelix was the comic relief of the show and many felt that Phillips played him to be annoying, too talkative, overly cheerful and that he did not contribute much to the show. I disagree with a lot of these points. I feel like Neelix is a very relatable, complex and likeable character that had a lot of depth to him. He could be annoying sometimes, sure. And he had his flaws. But he was also kind, loyal and a hard worker who always found some way to make himself useful and to put the ship and the crew ahead of himself. Neelix grew a lot as a character over the course of seven seasons and was featured in some great episodes. This article will contain spoilers.

1. Jetrel

The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Neelix confronts the scientist that developed the weapon that killed his family and destroyed his home world that was unleashed in a war fifteen years ago.


Episode Details: Season 1, Episode 15
Air Date: 15 May 1995
Written by: Jack Klein, Karen Klein, Kenneth Biller, James Thomton and Scott Nimerfro
Directed by: Kim Friedman

Best Quote:

"A man goes back to Rinax, after the cascade. Back to what had been his home. To look for survivors. But the impact of the blast has set off hundreds of fires and... there's nothing there. Just smoldering ruins and... the stench of seared flesh. But in the distance, in the middle of all that emptiness, from out of this... huge cloud of billowing dust... he can see bodies moving. Whimpering. Coming toward him. They're monsters - their flesh horribly charred. The color of shale. One of them comes toward him...mangled arms outstretched. And he can't help it, he - he... turns away, frightened. But then the thing speaks. And he knows by the sound of her voice that she's not a monster at all, but a child - a little girl - Her name was Palaxia. We brought her back to Talax with the other survivors. Over the next few weeks I stayed at her bedside, and watched her wither away. Those are consequences, Dr. Jetrel."

Neelix talks to Dr. Jetrel about his experiences during the war, "Jetrel" Star Trek: Voyager

In the episode "Jetrel" Neelix gets a lot of character development and we learn a lot about his past. I've always found Neelix to sometimes be a tragic and sad character. Outwardly, he presents himself as cheerful, excitable and optimistic. But on the inside, he carries deep emotional scars from experiences he gained living through a decades long war between his people and an alien race called the Haakonian Order . In the opening minutes of "Jetrel", Voyager receives a subspace message from an approaching ship that requests to speak to Neelix. Neelix is called to the bridge and recognizes the ship as Haakonian. The occupant of the ship reveals himself to be Dr. Ma'Bor Jetrel. Dr Jetrel was the scientist that developed a weapon of mass destruction called the metreon cascade that was unleashed on Neelix's home world the Talaxian moon Rinax. The weapon caused mass devastation and killed over 300,000 people. After the cascade, the Talaxians surrendered to the Haakonian Order, and since then have been under Haakonian control. Neelix is deeply distressed to have Dr Jetrel turn up and ask questions of him. He angrily accuses him of being a mass murderer and tearfully tells Captain Janeway that he lost his whole family on Rinax during the cascade. Neelix is openly hostile to Dr. Jetrel during his time on Voyager and questions his morality in developing and unleashing such a dangerous weapon on innocent civilians. Jetrel argues that he did what he did for science and for his people and that he has suffered consequences for his actions. His wife took his children and left him and sees him as a monster. He thinks this is unfair because he merely invented the weapon, he did not use it. Neelix responds to him by sharing his own story about what he experienced when he returned to Rinax after the cascade to search for survivors. It is a devastating scene and Ethan Phillips is fantastic in it. His face is trembling with rage and his voice shakes with choked up emotion. It's a great scene and a defining moment for Neelix's character. Later on in the episode, it is revealed that Jetrel is dying of a terminal illness. Neelix comes to visit Jetrel on his death bed and tells him that he thinks the cascade was a punishment for all of them and forgives him. The fact that Neelix can find the strength to forgive Dr. Jetrel after all that he has lost shows what a strong person he is.

2. Phage

The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Neelix's lungs are forcibly removed by an alien race who have turned to harvesting the organs and tissues from other species to help them battle a deadly phage that is decimating their population.


Episode Details: Season 1, Episode 5
Air Date: 6 February 1995
Written by: Skye Dent, Brannon Braga and Timothy DeHaas
Directed by: Winrich Kolbe

Best Quote:

"Well… hem, if I'm going be in here a while, now is as good a time as any to tell you. Your ceiling is hideous."

Neelix reacts to the news his lungs have been removed, "Phage" Star Trek: Voyager

In the episode "Phage" Neelix goes on an away mission to a rogue planetoid to search for materials. After beaming down to the surface, Neelix and the team begin exploring a series of subterranean caves and taking scans. Neelix gets some strange readings with his tricorder and goes off to investigate. An alien appears from behind a holographic wall and fires a device at Neelix which surgically removes his lungs. The rest of the away team find Neelix panicking, unable to breathe, and get him beamed to sickbay. The Doctor puts Neelix into a coma and orders him to be put in a machine called a blood-gas infuser, a coffin-like device designed to supply a body with oxygen. The Doctor informs Commander Chakotay that his lungs have been removed and gets the idea to replace them with a set of holographic lungs. The downside to holographic lungs is that they will not be able to handle any body movement, meaning that Neelix would have to be kept in a full-body restraint and remain stationary for the rest of his life. When Neelix wakes up from his coma, he is shocked to discover what happened to him. Ethan Phillips goes a great job in this episode. He is kept in a full restraint for most of it and displays a lot of vulnerability in the Talaxian. Kate Mulgrew is also excellent as Captain Kathryn Janeway. Outraged at what happened to Neelix, she orders the aliens that assaulted him tracked down and captured. The aliens are the Vidiians, a race who have been plagued for centuries by a devastating disease called The Phage, which eats away at their flesh and organs. In their desperation to survive, they ended up developing advanced medical technology and turned to harvesting the organs and flesh of other aliens to replace their own. Captain Janeway is sympathetic to the Vidiians, but is also frustrated. Her Starfleet principles mean she is unwilling to kill them and their isolation in the Delta Quadrant makes it impossible to bring them to trial and she is not willing to hold them forever in their brig. Faced with no other option, Janeway lets them go, but lets them know that if they threaten them again, she will respond with the deadliest of force. Janeway is such a mother to her crew. Kate Mulgrew's emotional delivery in this scene is one of the best parts in this episode. Grateful to be set free, the Vidiians use their advanced medical technology to help Neelix.

3.Tuvix

The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
A transporter accident fuses Neelix and Tuvok into a new being who calls himself Tuvix


Episode Details: Season 2, Episode 24
Air Date: 6 May 1996
Written by: Kenneth Biller, Andrew Shepard Price and Mark Gaberman
Directed by: Cliff Bole

Best Quote:

Kes: "So, what should I call you?"

Tuvix: "Ah, a name! I hadn't thought of that. What an intriguing question. I can see why the Doctor's finding it so difficult to choose one. A name can have a significant effect upon a person's sense of identity. I've got it!"

Kes: "What?"

Tuvix: "Why don't you call me... 'Neevok'? Wait... This is better: how about 'Tuvix'?"

Kes:"Tuvix it is."


Tuvix decides on a name, "Tuvix" Star Trek: Voyager

"Tuvix" is one of the most controversial episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. The episode begins with Neelix and Tuvok collecting flower specimens on an alien planet to bring back to the ship. Neelix is being his usual cheerful self and trying hard to make Tuvok smile, much to the Vulcan's frustration. When they try to return to the ship, there is a transporter malfunction, which fuses the patterns of the two men together with the alien orchards. A single man steps off the transporter pad that looks like a hybrid between a Talaxian and a Vulcan. He is even wearing clothing that is a blend of Tuvok's Starfleet uniform and the colourful tunic that Neelix was wearing down on the planet. The man is confused and identifies himself as both Tuvok and Neelix. He is taken to sickbay where the Doctor confirms he is a fusion of Tuvok and Neelix as well as the alien orchid samples they were collecting on the planet. The man reports that he has the memories of the two men, but a single consciousness. He settles on a name, Tuvix. Tuvix settles into life on Voyager and quickly makes friends and gains the trust of the crew. As more time passes, the crew starts to see him as an individual, and not as a transporter accident. When the Doctor discovers a way to reverse the process that created Tuvix, it creates an ethical dilemma when Tuvix announces that he does not want to die. There's a lot to unpack in this episode. I love the make-up and costume design in the episode and the impossible situation that Captain Janeway finds herself in. Tom Wright did a great job playing Tuvix. He managed to capture the mannerisms and personalities of both Tuvok and Neelix and presents a charming, likeable personality to the audience. "Tuvix" is a great example of Star Trek storytelling and is an excellent character study of Neelix and Tuvok.

4. Fair Trade

The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Neelix gets himself into a lot of trouble after meeting up with an old friend


Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 13
Air Date: 8 January 1997
Written by: André Bormanis, Ronald Wilkerson and Jean Louise Matthias
Directed by: Jesús Salvador Treviño

Best Quote:

Wixiban: "We'll end up in his cryostatic prison for decades."

Neelix: "Not if he agrees to my plan."

Wixiban: "Your plan is crazy. It's worse than prison - it's a death sentence!"

Neelix: "That would be better than living a lie."


Neelix and his friend Wikiban get themselves into trouble, "Fair Trade" Star Trek: Voyager

In "Fair Trade" Neelix has been serving on Voyager for a few years as a guide and is starting to fear his usefulness might be coming to an end as the ship enters a region of space he knows little about called the Nekrit Expanse. The ship docks at a space station on the edge of the expanse to search for supplies. Neelix meets up with an old friend of his called Wix. Neelix confesses to Wix that he fears his usefulness on Voyager might be coming to an end and is hoping to acquire a map of the Nekrit Expanse. Wix tells Neelix that he knows where to get pergium, a rare item Voyager needs, and a map. He tells Neelix that he is selling medical supplies and wants to do it in secret to avoid the security onboard the space station. Neelix believes him and gets a shuttlecraft for them to use. When they meet up with the buyer, Neelix recognises him as Sutok, a criminal who sells drugs on the space station. He figures out that the medical supplies Wix are selling are really narcotics. When Sutok tries to steal the drugs, Wix is forced to kill him in self-defence. After returning to Voyager, Neelix is furious with Wix for lying to him. Wix admits he was acting as a drug courier for some traders who are now demanding he get them some warp plasma from Voyager to replace the drugs they lost. Neelix comes to Wix with a new plan and convinces him that they should meet with Bahrat, the station security manager, and tell him everything. Neelix and Wix talk themselves out of getting arrested by explaining to Bahrat that smugglers are beating his security systems to conduct drug trades. Neelix and Wix offer to help Bahrat capture the smugglers in return for not being imprisoned for their own crimes. Bahrat agrees to their plan but warns them that they will probably perish. Neelix and Wix lure the smugglers to the station, Bahrat and his security team arrive, and there is a phaser fight that results in an explosion. Neelix is knocked unconscious and later wakes up in Sickbay, where Tuvok tells him that Bahrat arrested the criminals, and Wix has left in his ship. Captain Janeway arrives and demands an explanation from Neelix. He confesses that he knows nothing about space beyond this point and was only trying to acquire a map so he could help guide them. Janeway tells him that the first duty of any Starfleet officer is the truth. He violated her trust and there will be consequences. Neelix understands and is willing to be kicked off the ship for his actions. But Janeway won't let him. It doesn't matter that he can no longer guide them. He can't walk away from his responsibilities because he made a mistake. They are more than just a crew. He's part of a family now. Neelix is overcome with happiness to hear this. His relief that he can stay onboard is so overwhelming his voice shakes with emotion when he replies "Yes, ma'am" to the Captain. Neelix makes a lot of mistakes in "Fair Trade" but also shows that he has adapted a lot of Starfleet ideals during his time on Voyager and has become a more hard-working, honest, and truthful person.

5. Rise

The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Neelix confronts Tuvok about his feelings about him


Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 19
Air Date: 26 February 1997
Written by: Brannon Braga and Jimmy Diggs
Directed by: Robert Scheerer

Best Quote:

"For three years you've ridiculed me and made it obvious to everyone that you have no respect for me - and I've tolerated it. You know why? You know why? Because you ARE smarter than I am, Tuvok...and more logical and... stronger and superior in almost every way - and I admire you - but you don't have any instincts, you don't have any gut feelings, and you don't really understand people; but, non-Vulcans HAVE feelings, and they have to listen to them, and I've got to listen to mine, and right now they're telling me they need to get up on that roof and find out what the doctor was talking about!"

Neelix confronts Tuvok, "Rise" Star Trek: Voyager

In "Rise" the crew of Voyager offer to help protect a planet being used by the Nezu that is being struck by multiple asteroids. Voyager receives a message from Doctor Vatm, a scientist living on the planet, who has a theory that the asteroids are artificial. Voyager sends three search teams in shuttle crafts to the planet to try and locate him before the next asteroid strikes a populated city centre. Neelix is assigned to Tuvok's team which he has reservations about. He knows the Vulcan does not like him and feels like no matter what he does he cannot impress him. Neelix and Tuvok take a shuttlecraft down to the surface of the planet accompanied by the Nezu ambassador's assistant Sklar. They are forced to make an emergency landing on the planet due to bad weather. After the shuttle crash, Neelix discovers an orbital tether anchored nearby, and suggests that they use the carriage to leave the ionosphere so they could contact Voyager and get them to beam them onboard. The carriage is damaged, but Neelix convinces Tuvok that he can fix it. Tuvok reluctantly agrees to his plan. As Neelix works on repairing the carriage, Tuvok is critical of his work and reminds him not to spend too much time talking to other people. When the carriage is prematurely launched, the situation becomes dire. Neelix attempts to control the situation, which makes Tuvok question his knowledge of orbital tethers and his technical expertise. The level of tension continues to rise until Neelix finally erupts and expresses his anger at Tuvok for his arrogance and accuses him of harbouring negative feelings towards him. He accuses Tuvok of being condescending, dismissive, sarcastic and hostile towards him. He tells Tuvok that he respects him and his intelligence, but he thinks that he doesn't really understand people very well, and how they have to trust their gut and follow their instincts. I really like how "Rise" explores the character relationship between Neelix and Tuvok. I know a lot of people think Neelix is annoying and that he does not understand Vulcans. I think that is a fair argument, because Neelix doesn't understand Tuvok very well. He thinks if he tries hard to be his friend, he will get him to smile. He doesn't believe that Vulcans do not have emotions and thinks he is trying to be a good friend to Tuvok by getting him to smile and laugh. Tuvok is right to be annoyed by that behaviour, but Neelix is also not wrong when he accuses him of being sarcastic, arrogant, and condescending toward him. Tuvok does have negative feelings against him and sometimes lets them affect his relationship with Neelix. The events that happen in "Rise" force Neelix and Tuvok to work together as a team and help them work on building a real friendship built on understanding and respect.

6. Mortal Coil

The Best Neelix Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
After being killed on an away mission and later revived, Neelix experiences a spiritual crisis


Episode Details: Season 4, Episode 12
Air Date: 17 December 1997
Written by: Bryan Fuller
Directed by: Allan Kroeker

Best Quote:

"Eleven years ago, I saw my world in ruins... my family murdered. All that's kept me going is knowing that one day we'd be together again, that I'd see them again...but it's not true, and I can't... live without that hope."

Neelix questions his faith, "Mortal Coil" Star Trek: Voyager

"Mortal Coil" is a great episode that explores the relationship that Neelix has with the Voyager crew. The episode begins with Neelix being busy in the mess hall, making coffee, interacting with the crew, and spending time with his goddaughter Naomi Wildman. Commander Chakotay assigns Neelix to join a team scheduled to perform a survey of a class 1 nebula containing protomatter. Neelix is intrigued with the assignment and sets about eagerly preparing for the trip. Seven of Nine, a former Borg drone and the newest member of the crew, remarks that Neelix is a peculiar creature. Neelix leaves with Chakotay and Tom Paris for the mission in a small shuttlecraft. While in the nebula, there is an accident and an energy beam strikes Neelix in the chest, killing him. Unable to revive Neelix, Chakotay and Paris return to Voyager with him. The Doctor pronounces him dead, to the despair of Captain Janeway. Seven of Nine arrives and announces she can revive Neelix with her Borg knowledge even though Neelix has been dead for 18 hours. Seven modifies some of her nanoprobes and injects them into Neelix which is successful in reviving him. Once he wakes up, Neelix has no memory of what happened, and is shocked to hear he died and was brought back after 18 hours of being deceased. The crew is delighted to have Neelix back but he is perturbed. He always thought that when he died, he would be reunited with his dead friends and family in the Great Forest, the Talaxian afterlife. Neelix has no memories of experiencing an afterlife, so he concludes that there is none, and that his beliefs were based on a lie. This causes Neelix to experience a spiritual and mental health crisis. Ethan Phillips does a wonderful job in this emotional episode. There is a scene where he confronts Seven of Nine for bringing him back and angrily accuses her of "violating him" and tells her that he "didn't ask to be brought back". There is also a great scene between Neelix and Commander Chakotay (Robert Beltran) who tells Neelix not to throw away a lifetime of faith because one incident has made him develop a fear of death and question his deepest beliefs. A spiritual man himself, Chakotay argues that what Neelix has been through could make him develop an even stronger faith if he is willing to seek help to get through his emotional crisis. Chakotay tells Neelix that the crew is a family and love him very much. It's not about the duties he performs it is about how he makes people feel. Robert Beltran and Ethan Phillips are great in this scene. Phillips has stated that he was very happy with "Mortal Coil" and considers it one of the best Neelix episodes.
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Why? Neelix was the chef, navigator, morale officer and ambassador for the USS Voyager while it was stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
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