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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 4 E 11 Mortal Coil

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As we saw in "Coda," if it's an episode where a character sees their own corpse, shit gets real.
Neelix dies during an away mission and is brought back to life with Seven of Nine's nanoprobes which have the capability of restoring nacrotic tissue. As Neelix goes over what happened on the away mission, he recalls seeing nothing while he was dead: no Guiding Tree which is part of the Talaxian afterlife, none of his family and relatives, nothing. With help from Chakotay, Neelix goes on a vision quest and sees one of his sister telling him that everything that he believed in was a lie and that there was really no point to living. This prompts him into committing suicide until Chakotay talks him out of doing so, reminding him that he still has things worth living for despite what he has seen in his visions.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Assimilation Backfire: Seven of Nine comments that the Borg rejected assimilating the Kazon because their species as a whole with their Too Dumb to Live tendencies would detract from the Borg goal of perfection.
  • Call-Back: To "Jetrel", when Neelix mentions how he lost his family.
  • Christmas Episode: Sort of. It originally aired a week before Christmas, and the holiday celebrated in the episode was Prixin, the Talaxian equivalent. Given the themes explored, this can only be regarded as ironic.
  • Commander Crash: Chakotay adds yet another shuttle disaster to his resume.
  • Crisis of Faith: For Neelix.
  • Damaged Soul: Neelix believes he became this after he has been brought back from the dead.
  • A Day in the Limelight: One of the few episodes that reminds you that despite Neelix's goofy exterior, the guy's life has been pretty rough, and continues to be.
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  • Disney Death: Neelix, courtesy of Seven of Nine's nanoprobes.
  • Driven to Suicide: Neelix, before Chakotay talks him out of it.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Seven of Nine brought Neelix back from the freakin' dead after several hours via (what else?) nanoprobes. Apparently, the technology must only work on main cast members. Only that one time...
  • Get Out!: Said by Neelix to Seven of Nine during a medical scan.
  • Heaven: The Great Forest is the Talaxian version of it, which Neelix describes to Naomi Wildman. It becomes her Happy Place when she goes to sleep at night near the end of the episode.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Neelix's first attempt to transport himself into the nebula is thwarted by Harry Kim blocking the transport.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title comes from Hamlet.
  • Long List: Tuvok is chosen to recite the annual Prixin salutation speech, which includes an extensive list of relatives. Lampshaded by Tuvok, when after a while he just cuts through the reading of the list and proceeds to the ending part of the speech.
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  • Must Have Caffeine: Harry Kim who's working on a report. Fortunately Neelix has brewed up some "potent stuff!", as Harry calls it (Neelix calls it the Firenut Blend).
  • No Social Skills: Seven of Nine proves that she's in need of being taught the social graces when she tries to talk to other people at the Prixin celebration party.
  • The Nothing After Death: The main focus of the episode is Neelix not believing there is an afterlife.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Neelix questions his faith during his experience with death.
  • Stepford Smiler: Neelix tries to maintain his cheery facade, but it doesn't last.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Chakotay does this to Neelix, although it is because of Samantha Wildman calling for Neelix on behalf of her daughter Naomi that he succeeds in getting through.
  • That's an Order!: Said by Chakotay to Neelix when he finds Neelix in the mess hall and tells him to meet him in his quarters after his work shift to discuss what he saw in his Vision Quest.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: Neelix's job is to make sure that there are no monsters in the Wildman quarters so that Naomi can go to bed. This is what saves Neelix from committing suicide near the end of the episode, when Samantha Wildman looks for Neelix because Naomi thought she saw a monster in the replicator.
  • Twisted Prixin: Neelix didn't expect that he would die right before the celebration of Prixin and then be resurrected by Seven of Nine, nor did he expect that he would be questioning his faith or the point of living when he didn't see the Guiding Tree of his afterlife.
  • Video Will: Neelix records one for the crew before he attempts to transport himself into the nebula.
  • Vision Quest
  • Voice Changeling: The vision of Neelix's sister Alixia switches to speaking in Naomi Wildman's voice, repeating what she said to Neelix before going to bed.


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