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The Trek Nation - Shattered

Shattered

By Edward James Hines
Posted at January 25, 2001 - 6:11 PM GMT

"Shattered" **
Teleplay by Michael Taylor
Story by Mike Sussman & Michael Taylor
Directed by Terry Windell

Captain's Log

A spatial rift opens and Voyager is lashed by a chronokinetic surge that destabilizes the warp core and threatens a breach. Chakotay is rushed to Sickbay after being felled by a core discharge that knocks him out of temporal alignment. The Doctor manages to concoct a chroniton-infused serum that "realigns" the first officer, but Chakotay quickly realizes that he is no longer in his "correct" time period. This Doctor, for instance, has not yet acquired his mobile emitter and complains about toiling in obscurity and being left out of important shipboard information.

On the way to the Bridge, Chakotay passes through a temporal barrier. The Bridge crew is in a different time period from the Doctor, having just embarked on their mission to find Maquis renegades in the Badlands. Chakotay is taken into custody, but his security escort disappears when the turbolift passes through another temporal barrier. He ends up in Main Engineering but finds it manned by Kazon-Nistrim soldiers under Seska's (Martha Hackett) command. Chakotay barely escapes through another temporal barrier.

Back in Sickbay, Chakotay determines that the spatial rift fractured Voyager into several different time frames. He can travel between them because of the Doctor's serum. To repair the damage and acquire allies who can travel with him, Chakotay orders the Doctor to replicate a specially designed hypospray that can pass through the fractures.

Chakotay first "recruits" a pre-Badlands Janeway, who doesn't yet know him but is intrigued by all the personal things he knows about her. In the Astrometrics Lab of one possible future, adult versions of Icheb (Mark Bennington) and Naomi Wildman (Vanessa Branch) reveal that the chronokinetic surge shattered the space/time continuum and left Voyager split into 37 distinct time frames. In Cargo Bay Two of Chakotay's past, which is filled with Borg drones, Janeway and an assimilated Seven of Nine devise a plan to inject the Doctor's modified serum into the ship's bio-neural gel packs. They will be able to transmit a chroniton field — to be generated by the warp core — that will force Voyager back into temporal synch, to the time period of the original chronokinetic surge.

While injecting gel packs throughout the ship, Janeway and Chakotay encounter several other events from Chakotay's past and one from his present, in which Tuvok dies from radiation poisoning. The duo is stopped in Main Engineering by Seska, who decides to force Voyager back into temporal synch with her time period so that she can remain in control of the ship. She and her Nistrim troops are repelled, however, by various crewmembers that Janeway and Chakotay have recruited and injected with the Doctor's serum. Chakotay activates the warp pulse and resets the main deflector's polarity so that it will act as a lightning rod and redirect the chronokinetic surge away from Voyager. The deflector is burned out in the process, but the timeline is restored.

Supplemental

As the first new episode after holiday reruns, "Shattered" was pleasurable enough, if only for the anticipation of seeing Seska once again. As far as time travel stories go, this was a marked improvement over the last such effort in "Fury," which wreaked havoc with the timeline, dumbed down the characters and thwarted established facts, among other problems. The events in "Shattered" are largely inconsequential in the end, given the deliberately "retroactive" construction of the plot, so the producers make the most of this "bottle show" by jumping between time periods and often challenging longtime viewers to guess the episode or time frame in which Chakotay finds himself. When you think about it, "Shattered" employs a lot of the "old gimmicks," including a deus ex machina climax and a tabula rasa resolution to the problem of overlapping timelines. Heck, it even features a maniacal laugh delivered by the evil Doctor Chaotica (Martin Rayner).

Overdue but no less welcome is the casting of Chakotay at the center of the action for a change. This hasn't happened since S5's "The Fight," even though Chakotay had prominent roles last season in "One Small Step," "Memorial" and "Tsunkatse." Fans may have speculated that the producers "stopped writing" for Chakotay after actor Robert Beltran recently made public his dissatisfaction with VGR's stories. Despite the criticism he has received in the last year, however, Beltran turned in an enjoyable and believable performance for "Shattered."

Almost halfway through the final season, the time is ripe for reintroducing many of VGR's long-standing story lines and character arcs. "Repression" did this for the Maquis subplot, which may have bearing if Voyager ever reaches the Alpha Quadrant. But that's the big question, isn't it? Will Voyager return to the Federation in the series finale? "Shattered" may have provided a clue as to the producers' intentions in a line delivered by Chakotay: "If you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip." Perhaps Voyager will be fated to remain in the Delta Quadrant for many years to come. That future timeline with adult versions of Icheb and Naomi may well come true.

Also reintroduced is the recurring theme of Janeway's guilt at having stranded her crew in the Delta Quadrant. The interesting twist in "Shattered," however, is that the guilt is instead manifested as foreboding as the pre-Badlands Janeway experiences various frightening things to come. Given the duplicity and aggressiveness of many species that Voyager will encounter, her reactions are surprisingly apt — "The Delta Quadrant is a deathtrap!" and "Sounds like one disaster after another" — even though she has but the briefest of glimpses into the future. Not surprisingly, she would rather put Voyager into temporal synch with her time frame so that, armed with foreknowledge, she can make different decisions and prevent her crew from being lost.

Chakotay does a fine job appealing to the scientist in her, promising that she will have the opportunity to study things that no human has ever seen before; but more than that, he speaks to her senses of duty, determination and humanitarianism. Yes, people will die under her command, but others will live and the crew will learn to work together as a unit. Abductees like Seven and Icheb will get back their lives. Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres will be given opportunities to reform theirs and put their talents to good use. Newcomers like Neelix and Naomi will find homes and families. Perhaps Chakotay's greatest testament of integrity is when he quotes from Janeway's copy of Dante's "Inferno," which shows that not only has Janeway misjudged his character, but also that she will learn to trust him, sharing the book that was a private gift from fiancée Mark.

Time and Again

With 37 distinct time frames existing concurrently aboard the "Shattered" Voyager, fans are treated to glimpses of several past episodes. New viewers will hopefully be encouraged to catch reruns and see what all the hysteria was about.

Janeway, complete with her trademark hair bun from the first two seasons, is from the "Caretaker" pilot. Chakotay meets her sometime after Voyager has left Deep Space Nine (where Harry Kim came aboard) but before reaching the Badlands. Unfortunately, the producers miss the opportunity to pad the Bridge with other recognizable characters from the pilot, such as First Officer Cavit, Ensign Rollins at Tactical and Lieutenant Stadi at the Conn. Janeway does, however, make a veiled reference to Stadi when she admits that her female helm officer recently disappeared in a corridor adjoining the Ready Room.

Seska's takeover of Main Engineering with the Kazon-Nistrim is from "Basics, Part II." Unfortunately, we neither see the head villain behind the heist — Jal Culluh, first maje — nor the baby he sired with Seska. In the "Basics" two-parter, the baby rarely left Seska's mothering arms, but here it is either forgotten or "misplaced." Or both.

The Borg drone colony in Cargo Bay Two is from "Scorpion, Part II." Actor Jeri Ryan is fully made up as the assimilated Seven of Nine, but her facial plate seems larger this time than on previous occasions when she has appeared in full Borg getup. Also, her voice is mechanically enhanced, as Hugh's was in TNG's "I, Borg." In "Scorpion, Part II," however, Seven's voice was not altered.

The brief scene of Janeway and Chakotay being chased by a macrovirus is from "Macrocosm."

Lost in Time

Of course, no VGR episode would be complete without a few mysteries and production mistakes.

Perhaps the most challenging chore is trying to place the Doctor's whereabouts in the VGR timeline. Logically, since he alone in Sickbay, bereft of mobile emitter and incommunicado with the rest of the ship, longtime fans might assume that this is a scene from "Projections." This is incorrect, however. The Doctor says the stardate is 49624, but the stardate in "Projections" is about a year earlier — 48892.1. Also, the Doctor later tells Janeway that he has been running continuously for almost three years. This fact, combined with the stardate, places the Doctor sometime between "Innocence" (49578.2) and "Tuvix" (49655.2). Unfortunately, no produced episode featured the Doctor isolated in Sickbay on this stardate, so this qualifies as a "lost time period" that someone at Pocket Books will have to write about. Either that or we will have to accept that because various Voyager systems were malfunctioning in all time frames (as a result of the fracturing of the space/time continuum), communications were simply unavailable to the Doctor. Just by coincidence, of course, no injured parties stumbled into Sickbay during this time, but perhaps this is because the area was closely surrounded by fractures from which no other crewmembers could come.

In the "Caretaker" scenario, Chakotay seems to slip up when he tells Janeway that in about three years, she will tell him personal things about her dog Molly, her inability to play a musical instrument and a particular incident aboard the Starship Al-Batani. Logically, such personal conversations would probably have happened in "Resolutions," when the two were stranded together on a planet, but this was about a year-and-a-half to two years after "Caretaker," not three years hence.

The sequence with Torres and the other Maquis in the Transporter Room is somewhat questionable. She asks why Chakotay is dressed as a Starfleet officer and later expresses disdain for Janeway's decision to strand the crew in the Delta Quadrant. Clearly, this time period is at the end of "Caretaker," before the final scene on the Bridge in which Chakotay and Torres both appear in Starfleet uniforms. Unclear from this scene is why the Maquis are making repairs in the Transporter Room, but we can infer that the unit was damaged after the Kazon-Ogla attack. Unconvincing about this scene, however, is how easily Chakotay persuades Torres that he is from a future timeline. "That's pretty hard to believe," replies Torres. Truer words were never spoken.

The Doctor Chaotica holodeck scenario takes place sometime after his last appearance in "Bride of Chaotica!", even though the mad scientist "died" at the end of the episode.

Finally, noticeably missing from any of the flashback scenarios is actor Josh Clark as "Lieutenant Joe Carey," who has appeared in alternate-universe sequences in "Relativity" and "Fury."

Temporal Prime Directive

Simply stated, if you're from the future and you end up in the past, don't talk about the future, right? Otherwise, you risk changing the timeline. Futuristic Starfleet officers have abided by this tenet in episodes like the "Future's End" two-parter and "Relativity," but the "Temporal Prime Directive" has never before been invoked by name by any contemporary Starfleet officer. "Shattered" is the first time, and Chakotay and both Janeways recognize it as such.

What's confusing is why Chakotay hedges in speaking to Janeway about her future, particularly after Seven devises a virtually foolproof plan that will reset the timeline and erase their conversations. If you can't trust Seven to deliver, then whom can you?

Chakotay eventually relents in his refusal to speak, perhaps believing that Seven's plan will work, but mostly because he wants to allay Janeway's concerns about her future actions. By the end of "Shattered," however, when everything wrong has been righted again, he won't talk to Janeway about his adventures. Why not? How could revealing the contents of a discontinued timeline be any kind of infraction? Just how sadistic is this "Temporal Prime Directive"?

Janeway may not have had long to wait for her answer, though, if she and Chakotay kept drinking that Antarian cider!

Questions, Questions, Questions!

The "Shattered" plot line evolves as it does because Chakotay doesn't go to the Bridge with Janeway and instead tries to help Torres stabilize the warp core. Why is this necessary? Why does Torres need his help? Isn't her engineering crew up to the task? Realistically, Chakotay should not have been in Main Engineering; thus, "Shattered" should really have been a Torres-centered episode.

Be that as it may, Chakotay is felled by a power surge from the warp core and knocked into a state of temporal flux. Why, then, does Torres call for him to be transported to Sickbay? Can you transport someone who isn't "solidly" in your dimension?

Either poor staging strikes again or Chakotay gets really lucky later on in Main Engineering. He is beset by at least five armed Nistrim but manages to escape anyway. Is it because he is standing directly in front of the warp core, at which not even the Nistrim will shoot, or is it because he caught all of them completely off guard, even though their attention was focused on him the entire time? You decide.

Finally, does anyone understand why access controls are visible in the holodeck while a simulation is running? So much for the "totality" of the simulation, right? Remember the old TNG days (e.g., "Elementary, Dear Data") when the user had to call for the holodeck arch to access its controls? Several years later, along came "Emergence" in which the Enterprise-D crew was able to access a hidden console behind a wall of the holographic Orient Express. This never made much sense, but unfortunately it started a trend that VGR has voraciously gobbled up, the latest example being in the Chaotica simulation here, in "Shattered."

Details, Details

Speaking of TNG's "Emergence," the jigsaw puzzle that Icheb and Naomi are assembling in the teaser looks like it may be the same one that the passengers of the Orient Express put together.

Of Icheb's suggestion to hide Chakotay's Antarian cider, the first officer replies, "Officer-level thinking, Icheb." Similarly, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Captain Kirk complimented Lieutenant Valeris for her "officer thinking" in suggesting that Romulan ale be served at the state dinner with the Klingons.

That Antarian cider, by the way, was likely procured in "Drive" during the Antarian Trans-Stellar Rally.

Janeway's surprise that Harry Kim would eventually help design Voyager's Astrometrics Lab is consistent with her early impressions of the young ensign. In "Caretaker," she seemed amused by his greenness, but soon afterward in "Twisted," she will privately tell him that she is grateful to have him as a member of her crew.

At last, "Shattered" makes good use of Voyager's bio-neural circuitry, one of the technologies that was supposed to set the starship apart from previous Star Trek vessels. This time, thankfully, the gel packs neither break down nor get infected by cheese bacteria ("Learning Curve").

In the one future scenario, Icheb is a lieutenant commander and Naomi is a lieutenant, each well on their way to fulfilling their dreams as Starfleet officers.

Janeway says that her original Voyager crew complement was 153. However, in "Caretaker," Stadi told Paris that the crew numbered 141. Perhaps this was because all hands hadn't yet been officially transferred over from Deep Space Nine.

In Doctor Chaotica's laboratory, astute listeners will hear recognizable sound effects from the Enterprise Bridge in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Also recognizable in the laboratory is a Kazon-style console, which has appeared in such episodes as "Investigations."

As in TNG's "The Big Goodbye," when Madeline recognized Picard as "Dixon Hill" even though he was out of costume, Doctor Chaotica recognizes a uniformed Janeway as the love of his life and greatest adversary, "Queen Arachnia." In "Shattered," actor Kate Mulgrew does a more convincing job as she reluctantly eases into the Arachnia role, as opposed to "Bride of Chaotica!" when she seemed "destined" and eager to play the part.

Once again and to good effect, the producers take a subtle jab at those fans who have long clamored for a Janeway/Chakotay romance. In "Shattered," Chakotay admits to the pre-Badlands Janeway that " … there are some barriers we never cross."

Familiar Faces

Martha Hackett appeared as "Seska" throughout VGR's first and second seasons, but most recently she reprised the role in holographic form in "Worst Case Scenario."

Martin Rayner previously appeared as "Doctor Chaotica" in "Night" and "Bride of Chaotica!"

Finally, Nicholas Worth previously appeared as "Lonzak" in "Bride of Chaotica!" On DS9, he was the "Lissepian Captain" in "Progress" and "Sorm" in "A Simple Investigation."

Copyright Edward James Hines
25 January 2001

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Edward James Hines writes weekly reviews of Voyager episodes.