Neelix, for much of Star Trek: Voyager's first four seasons, provided comic relief. However, in "Mortal Coil," episode 12 of season four -- which aired 18 years ago today -- the Talaxian character was at long last given his dramatic due. Neelix died, only to be brought back to life thanks to Seven of Nine's Borg nanoprobes. Neelix's resurrection wasn't without complications, as he struggled physically, spirtually and emotionally in the days after.
The episode was powerful, thoughtful, dramatic and featured a terrfic performance by Ethan Phillips. Here are some facts, figures and anecdotes about "Mortal Coil" --
- Speaking to StarTrek.com in 2012, Phillips said the following about "Mortal Coil": "That was the deepest episode for Neelix, without a doubt. It was there he threw away some of the crap he'd been hanging on to. It showed that all that really matters is now and how we treat other people. I think that and 'Jetrel' were the best episodes for Neelix in terms of being deep and dramatic and showing the core of the character, where the mask dropped off and we got to see who he was."
- Chakotay, at one point, was going to be the character who died.
- The episode's title, of course, is derived from Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come/When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,/Must give us pause..."
- Fans finally learned Wildman's first name... Naomi.
- Mention is made of Neelix's "lung." Thus the story carries forward the continuity set in motion in "Phage," in which the Vidiians stole Neelix's lungs, with Kes then donating one of hers to him.
- Brooke Stephens made her TV acting debut playing Naomi in "Mortal Coil." She was later replaced by Scarlett Pomers.
- Robin Stapler, who played Neelix's sister Alixia, later married (and divorced) actor Alfonso Ribiero.
- "Mortal Coil" is one of 38 total episodes of Star Trek directed by Allan Kroeker. He's still an in-demand helmer, having directed episodes of Battlestar Galactica, Pushing Daisies (from "Mortal Coil" writer Bryan Fuller), Bones, Chuck, Covert Affairs and, more recently, Grimm, Defiance and the Brannon Braga-produced Salem.