80 – Mortal Coil

Grade: C

Mortal Coil (1997) on IMDb


While on an away mission, Neelix gets zapped by some sort of energy beam. He dies, but Seven of Nine claims she can revive him with nanoprobes if he has not been dead for more than 18 hours. Fortunately, the procedure works, but Neelix ends up with some very serious concerns about his life-long faith.


Star Trek typically does not handle religious topics very well. In this episode, Neelix spends most of the episode wondering why his life-long beliefs did not appear to be true. He overreacts a bit here and there, and not even a Vision Quest with Chakotay can bring him the peace and understanding that he needs. So Neelix becomes a bitter old man until he realizes that life is worth living since his goddaughter needs him.

The acting in this episode is actually pretty good. Phillips gives a very good performance as an obviously troubled Neelix. It could be the best performance of his Voyager career up to this point. And the girl who plays Naomi Wildman is doing a great job so far in this series.

The story is not bad, actually. It seems to be pretty common for people to have an experience which challenges their faith. Some people come away from those experiences with their faith strengthened, while others may have serious doubts afterward. Such is the experience of Neelix. Personally, I’m glad that he was ultimately able to find something meaningful in his life even if he determined his faith has been in vain.

But on the other hand, this really isn’t a fun episode to watch. I can think of many others that are more enjoyable that I would rather see more often. Mortal Coil is filled with some rather dark themes and imagery.

One thing that particularly bothers me about this episode is the idea that the Borg can just revive people whenever they want, as long as they have the right nanoprobes and as long as it hasn’t been longer than 18 hours since the person has died. The problem with something like this is that we start wondering why this was never used before or why they didn’t do it afterwards either. Certainly there has been a need for this. What’s different about Neelix that makes it possible for Seven to bring him back to life? I wish this had been explained. Because they didn’t, then I am knocking a few points off for that.

Of Note

Seven says that the Borg rejected the Kazon for assimilation because they would have detracted from perfection. Pretty funny, actually. I never liked the Kazon.

Now I wonder why they don’t make Seven bring everyone back to life.