Published Nov 3, 2022
Plot A Course: 5 Moments That Defined Janeway and Chakotay's Relationship
The captain and first officer's relationship only grew stronger during their journey through the Delta Quadrant.
By Julian Gardner
Spoilers for Star Trek: Prodigy — Season 1, Episode 11 "Asylum" to follow! Star Trek: Prodigy is back! With its mid-season return, “Asylum,” we find Hologram Janeway guiding the young crew of the U.S.S. Protostar, unaware that they are being pursued by Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway herself.
The flesh-and-blood Janeway does not know who is in command of the starship, what the Protostar’s crew has endured, nor that they’re desperately seeking Starfleet’s aid upon learning their starship’s true purpose after The Diviner’s modifications. All she knows is that her close friend, Captain Chakotay, took the Protostar to the Delta Quadrant where he disappeared, and the ever-loyal Janeway is determined to find and bring him home. We haven’t seen Chakotay yet in the series outside of two appearances as a hologram, but we can only hope she finds him, and soon. Janeway and Chakotay’s relationship was key to both characters throughout all seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. They’re even the second most written about pairing in the Star Trek franchise, if you trust our latest article on fanfiction stats. Their dynamic has captured the hearts and minds of Trek fans for years, proving to endure long after their series finale. As Vice Admiral Janeway searches for her friend and ally on Prodigy, we’ve curated a list of five episodes that fully encapsulate their relationship for fans to either revisit or watch for the first time.
At the start of the U.S.S. Voyager’s journey through the Delta Quadrant, both the Starfleet crew and the rescued Maquis fighters are tense. Janeway appoints Chakotay as her second-in-command to bridge hostilities, with both in agreement to ease tension, they need to integrate the crews more. Chakotay suggests B’Elanna Torres for the open Chief Engineer role, which Janeway balks at due to Torres’ temper. However, Chakotay is proven right when Torres’ genius ultimately saves the ship; Janeway listens to his recommendation and promotes her. It’s the start of a beautiful partnership in which Janeway and Chakotay balance each other out and find the best path forward in an uncertain quadrant.
What does it mean to spend most of your life with someone? After contracting a deadly virus, Janeway and Chakotay are forced to stay on the planet as it halts the disease’s process. Cut off from their crew – who are desperately searching for a cure – the pair ponder what it will mean to grow old together. A different sort of tension forms between them as they carry on with what they think will be the rest of their lives. Of course, they are ultimately rescued and cured, with their relationship returning to being solely professional. Still, it’s the episode that launched a thousand fanfics as the story devoted most of its time to driving home just how powerful their bond is.
In one of Voyager’s most famous two-parter, the crew is thrown into an alternate timeline that gives us one of Voyager’s darkest tales. A temporal wave severely damages the ship, forcing the crew to face off against the vicious Krenim Imperium and a scientist trying to change his wife’s fate. In one scene, Janeway celebrates her birthday, receiving a pocket watch from Chakotay. While she’s clearly touched, she asks him to recycle the replicated gift to conserve resources. However, when Chakotay is later taken captive by their enemies, she wears the watch tied to her waist to honor him. This gesture speaks a thousand words and showcases just how much Chakotay and his friendship means to Janeway.
What if Janeway is trying to establish a Federation foothold in the Delta Quadrant? Similarly, what if Chakotay is only here to execute a Maquis scheme? The relationship between the first officer and captain is tested when Seven of Nine accidentally downloads too much information and begins to suspect the crew of various conspiracies. The episode includes two dinner scenes between Janeway and Chakotay, both highlighting their close friendship and how they handle conflict. Even though the two have a tense fight due to Seven’s conspiracies, they bridge the gap, reconcile, and move on once the situation has been resolved.
Chakotay finds himself traveling through time in another temporal adventure. Due to a chronokinetic surge, the ship – and all aboard it – are stuck in different periods of time. Chakotay, who’s been injected with a serum that stops the shifts, must find a way to realign all aboard the ship under the correct time period. To do this, he must work with Janeway, who is stuck in a time before their friendship and who views him with distaste. Still, friendship transcends all time (travel), and Chakotay convinces her to help him; together, they save the day, bring the crew back into sync, and stop the temporal wave from impacting the ship. Later, the pair discuss the temporal prime directive after their experiences. For fans of the pairing, watching Janeway learn to trust Chakotay all over again is a treat, and it shows just how far her first officer has come. What’s your favorite Janeway and Chakotay moment? Are you hopeful that they’ll reunite on Star Trek: Prodigy? Let us know on social!