Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Clever Retrospective Opens A Temporal Nightmare In “Shattered!”

The Good: Interesting and initially engaging concept, Robert Beltran is good in the episode
The Bad: Physics of the problem make absolutely no sense,
The Basics: “Shattered” has Chakotay wandering around Voyager through temporal barriers that put him in different times in the ship’s history.

The danger of doing a time travel episode that allows characters from a television series to encounter different eras in the show’s history is that fans might realize just how much they liked the show in one of its earlier iterations. In Star Trek: Voyager, there seems little danger of that happening and as Chakotay goes around a ship that serves as a convenient window into different eras in Voyager’s history, the viewer is much more likely to simply recall how preposterous the show can be at times. The look ahead in the timeline is unfortunately preposterous.

In fact, much of “Shattered” is ridiculous, though it is an emotionally enjoyable episode. Details in the episode are problematic and when viewed rationally, “Shattered” is actually one of the most ludicrous episodes of the entire series. Take, for example, the teaser which has Chakotay breaking out one of the last of his bottles of cider hidden on the ship. When Chakotay came to Voyager, he was alone, being beamed off his ship as it exploded. It was a desperate gambit. Here, we are made to believe that Chakotay (or the transporter operator at the time) beamed aboard personal possessions, including a case of cider, which he managed to stash before anyone noticed.

After encountering an anomaly, Chakotay is wounded in Engineering. He awakens in Sickbay, where the Doctor brags about having created a chronoton-based cure for him and expresses frustration that he is cut off from the rest of the ship. Chakotay leaves Sickbay, already theorizing the problem involves time travel of some sort when the Doctor is baffled by the idea of a mobile emitter. Chakotay arrives on the Bridge where Janeway arrests him for his activities as a Maquis, but en route to the brig, his guards disappear and Chakotay goes to Engineering. There, he encounters Seska, who is in control with the Kazon. Returning to Sickbay, Chakotay gets a hypospray of the treatment the Doctor gave him before and returns to the Bridge. There, he enlists the aid of Janeway.

Together, Janeway and Chakotay visit Astrometrics where they meet an adult Icheb and Naomi Wildman and figure out how to restore the ship. Chakotay and Janeway go throughout the ship injecting bioneural gel packs to restore the ship. In the process, Janeway encounters the macrovirus, the Borg, Chaotica and others Voyager encountered over the seven years of the show!

“Shattered” is basically a retrospective episode that can be best appreciated by those who have seen (and enjoyed):
“Basics, Part 2”
“Scorpion, Part 2”
“Bride Of Chaotica”
and “Bliss”

“Shattered” also requires viewers to believe that in seven years, Voyager made it about 35 years worth of the trip home, but seventeen years from now, the ship will still be on its journey. The future Icheb and Samantha Wildman are interesting variations on the characters.

In fact, what doesn’t work is Chakotay, at least on the character front. Chakotay has to advocate in favor of Janeway getting the ship lost in the Delta Quadrant. In that speech, Chakotay neglects to consider just how many people died for Janeway’s vision of the future. When Seska inevitably turns on Chakotay, it shows real insight into her character, whereas Chakotay is illustrated to be a fool . . . yet again.

The physics of “Shattered” are also problematic. The idea of the anomaly is not a bad one and it would make sense on a perfectly stationary target. The idea of the different rooms existing in different times is cool, but it only works if the rooms are in the same places.

“Shattered” almost seems like a self-congratulatory episode, reminding viewers of just how far the show came and all it went through. But, it also is a ballad of missed opportunities, most notably in the relationship between Janeway and Chakotay. Chakotay actually seems like a bit of a douchebag in one respect in “Shattered.” Chakotay has been very, very slowly cultivating a relationship with Seven Of Nine. But, in “Shattered,” he comes close to actually having a real emotional connection with Janeway that borders on the romantic. It is almost like Chakotay is hedging his bets.

Fortunately, it is actually just that the writers of this bottle episode were probably not privy to where the show was going with Chakotay and Seven. As a result, “Shattered” is a well-acted, somewhat nonsensical episode that is fun, but not much more.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Seventh Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the final season here!

For other works with Vanessa Branch, please visit my reviews of:
Post Grad
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
The Cell


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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  1. Hi !

    I love all time travels episodes, you can't go wrong with that. But this episode is not as good as Relativity. I was glad to see Seska again but it reminded me how I hated the Kazons and how I loved when the show moved past them.

    But as fan, it always seemed logical to me that Janeway should have fallen in love with Chakotay because she was all alone, and the boss of them all, so obviously she couldn't fall in love with someone else in the crew, especially in the lower ranks.

    And besides, I think that both Kate Mulgrew and Robert Beltran had a great chesmistry going on by the end of Season 2, I liked it.

    But what I absolutely hated was the way they wanted us to believe Seven of Nine fell in love with Chakotay, talk about jumping the shark there. This is what I called a desperate move to try to surprise people enough to bring more viewers in, how pathetic !

    1. I think seeing the Kazon again reminded a lot of people of that (something the show avoided with "Fury," even though that would have made a lot more sense!).

      As for the Chakotay/Seven Of Nine love story, at least they only jump the shark (in that regard) . . . for the last episode or two! :)

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!