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The Trek Nation - Shattered

Shattered

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 11:19 PM GMT

See Also: 'Shattered' Episode Guide

A chronoton surge from an anomaly shatters Voyager into 37 different time frames, ranging from before its launch to decades afterwards. Chakotay is hit by a bolt of power from the overloaded warp core as the disaster strikes. Torres beams him to sickbay, where the Doctor treats him with a chronoton serum. Realizing that he's in an era before the Doctor got his mobile emitter, Chakotay heads to the bridge. But the crew there exists in the days before the ship launched, so Janeway thinks he's a Maquis saboteur and has him sent to the brig.

Escaping through a temporal barrier, Chakotay goes to engineering, where Seska and the Kazon have taken control. Chakotay hides from her by crossing another temporal barrier, returning to sickbay, where he asks the Doctor for a hypo of chronoton serum. Back on the bridge, Chakotay takes Janeway hostage, then injects her with the serum so he can pull her through the barriers and show her the future he has seen but she hasn't yet.

In astrometrics, however, Janeway and Chakotay find crewmembers unrecognizable to either of them. Naomi Wildman and Icheb, now adults, claim the captain and first officer died 17 years ago in the aftermath of the temporal anomaly. They have a detailed sensor map of the ship, but no way to move between temporal barriers. Chakotay suggests finding Seven for help, and takes Janeway into a cargo bay swarming with Borg drones. A still-assimilated Seven explains that Borg cubes emit chronoton fields to keep all sections in temporal sync; she suggests Voyager could do the same to bring them all back to the moment of the initial surge. Janeway believes Voyager's bio-neural circuitry will transmit a chronoton field across temporal barriers. She and Chakotay head to sickbay while Seven devises a plan to modify the warp core to initiate the field.

As he prepares serum for the gelpacks, the Doctor gives away the fact that they've been stranded in the Delta Quadrant. This troubles Janeway while she heads through the ship, evading macroviruses and sweet-talking Chaotica into helping her. Finding Torres and Ayala in the era right after Voyager's stranding, Janeway is further distressed to learn that they blame her for the predicament. After witnessing Tuvok's death from radiation poisoning, she tells Chakotay she wants to return Voyager not to his present but to her own, before the launch, to avoid making the same mistakes. Chakotay warns her that for every death she prevents, she'll also be destroying a lot of happy endings.

To thwart Seska in engineering, Janeway recruits crewmembers from several different eras and gives them serum so they can pass through temporal barriers. As Seska takes the captain hostage and prepares to kill her, Seven strides in to grab the Cardassian in a choke-hold. The crew finishes preparations to put the ship back in temporal sync, then Janeway orders everyone back to their respective sections. She asks Chakotay just how close they get in the future, but he says only that there are some barriers they never cross.

After the surge, Chakotay finds himself in engineering moments before the original surge. He orders Torres to reroute all power to the deflector dish, which diverts the chronoton burst. When Janeway asks Chakotay what just happened, he says the Temporal Prime Directive prevents him from telling her. For revenge, she reveals that she knows the location of his hidden liquor stash, joking that the Temporal Prime Directive prevents her from explaining how she found out.

Analysis:

Just when I thought Janeway and Chakotay had turned forever into mindless drones, the writers throw "Shattered" at us and remind us what they were like years ago. I have no confidence that this delightful nostalgia will continue; like "Coda" and "Scientific Method," I expect them to throw off the effects within hours, especially since Chakotay's the only one who's supposed to remember what happened. Which doesn't make all that much sense to me. After the initial chronoton surge, Torres from Chakotay's own era is still in engineering to send him to sickbay, which would lead one to believe that the shattering effect happened in a different time. But if the chronoton serum rather than the initial surge gave him the unique ability to move between barriers, I don't see why he was the only one who could remember anything afterwards, like Kes in "Before and After."

But that's not really important, or at least I don't really care. This episode makes about as much sense as time-travel stories "Future's End," "Year of Hell" and "Relativity," which means not much, but enough. More importantly, it has humor and continuity with previous seasons -- so much so, in fact, that I'm surprised Chakotay never reminds Janeway of her statement about how time travel dilemmas give her a headache. I suppose I could spend all day trying to figure out how Icheb and Naomi survived for 17 years with enough food and power to operate the sensors, despite being cut off from the mess hall and their quarters, but why bother? I'd rather think about the warm, loving feeling this episode conveys towards Voyager, despite Janeway's concern that they seem to have had a pretty bleak time in the Delta Quadrant.

I used to be a shameless Janeway/Chakotay fan, but for the past two years I really haven't cared because there hasn't been enough chemistry between them to raise an eyebrow about. "Shattered" doesn't just send them back to the first season chronologically; it sends them back to the days when Janeway used to check out Chakotay's butt when she was walking behind him and vice versa. She trusts him implicitly almost from the start, which would seem unrealistic if we hadn't seen her do exactly the same thing in "Caretaker." She doesn't question her decision to make him her first officer even when she questions the choices that landed the crew in the Delta Quadrant. And when Chakotay gives her the speech about how the crew has become family, for once it actually rings true -- we've seen it, with Icheb and Naomi, with Paris and Torres, with Tuvok and Janeway. Usually Chakotay gets left out of the equation because she treats him with such disdain. Not this time.

Of course it's delightful to see Seska and Chaotica again, to hear talk of helmsman Stadi, to watch the Doctor roll his eyes at the mention of anomalies. I wish they'd gotten in some mention of Kes, though that wouldn't have meant much to pre-launch Janeway. It doesn't really matter. I will remember only the J/C scenes. They way he keeps using his body to block her path, as she did to him in "Caretaker," posturing aggression, getting much too close together for that to be the only thing they're feeling. The look on her face when she realizes she loaned to Chakotay her treasured copy of Dante's Inferno, given to her by her fiancé. The uncertainty in the turbolift about whether she wants to know anything -- professional or personal -- about their future. The decision in engineering that she does want to know their fate as a couple, Temporal Prime Directive be damned. Her vague disappointment when she can offer only a handshake after he says there are barriers they never cross.

For heaven's sake, Chakotay, you're almost home. And as Seska points out, you're not getting any younger. If you still want to cross the barriers, now would be a good time to let Kathryn know.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.