Last week, I appeared on Sean P. Aune’s Scattercast, and he and I talked, amongst other things, about Chakotay, the walking plot-hole from Star Trek Voyager.
The reason this came up is because I spend an hour a night, while I’m editing up the next morning’s posts for SiliconANGLE, watching Voyager. Don’t ask me why – the reasons why I’m somehow still engrossed in the re-watching of this show have long been forgotten. At this point it’s just a compulsion to slog through the rest of the shows and just finish it.
One of the things I’ve noticed, thanks to Sean pointing it out, is how when the show progresses, Chakotay’s screen time shrinks. It’s to the point where it’s comical – he’s the first mate of the ship, a major figure in the show, and he’s only on screen for less than a total of a minute in most of the later episodes.
Sean joked that I should do a blog series where I catalogue the appearances of Chakotay on Voyager. Seeing as I’m lacking any real justification to watch the show at this point, I decided to take that joke seriously.
I’m not going to start over the series (holy crap, are you crazy?).
I will start with the episode I’m watching tonight: The Muse (Season Six, Episode 22).
For full episode description with spoilers, see Memory Alpha.
I’m generally not a fan of Torres episodes, so I almost skipped this one. I’ve seen it before, and it’s one of those episodes that doesn’t get better with each re-watching. You’re “lucky” I stuck it out.
(Admission: I pretty much just fast forwarded through this one until there were on-ship scenes, since there was no chance he was going to show up on the planet for most of the show).
The first appearance of Chakotay at all comes up at minute 21, which is odd for Chakotay. In the later seasons, he generally doesn’t show up until after minute 30.
Minute 21. Gets one line. Just sitting there at the briefing table as Janeway decides to just forget about Torres and head on out of the sector.
He stands up and looks serious. “Too dangerous. You could be hit by the same spatial eddies that set the Flier off course.”
Total time on screen: less than a minute.
Minute 35. He gets another scene! Holy crap. He must have slipped the writers a few roofies and changed the script himself.
He comes in and briefs Janeway on a distress call he picked up just before Torres crashed on whatever backwater planet she’s on. He has about three lines, and they’re delivered in that understated way that you just know makes Shatner cringe (“Damnit, this show’s supposed to be about OVER acting!”).
Just before the scene fades and Chakotay leaves, Janeway chokes back a cry. I like to think she’s pulling her motivation over the mourning of Beltran’s career.
Total time on screen: around 45 seconds.
Minute 49. He almost gets an appearance, if you can call it that. Tuvok is dozing off on the bridge, and when Paris wakes him up, he calls out to Chakotay over the comm.
Tuvok: “I request to be relieved.”
Chakotay: “Understood. I’ll be right there.”
Bam. What’s up now. Three appearances in one show? Look who’s star is on the rise!
The show ends with Torres blatantly flouting the prime directive by beaming up in front of the assembled peoples of Backwater Random L-Class Planet.
Total on screen time for Chakotay: About 92 Seconds*
* Including the comm interaction.
See you next time?