Star Trek: Voyager

Season 2 Episode 9


Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Nov 06, 1995 on UPN
out of 10
User Rating
184 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Stardate: Unknown
Upon discovering a cultural symbol drawn in the ground on a planet that was used by his ancestors to "heal the land", Chakotay tries to contact the beings his tribe called the "Sky Spirits".

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  • It does what it means to do but is quite a yawner.

    The past and present unite for Chakotay in a story that, like an episode of Lost, weaves a childhood memory into current events. With ample location shooting and a mystical score, it's quite a different feel for Star Trek and gives Robert Beltran an opportunity explore the spiritual side of his character. And yet neither the past or present offers much of an adventure, with both amounting to little more than a walkabout with an all too predictable conclusion.

    To lighten the mood, the episode also includes a comedy runner where the Doctor suffers from a holographic flu. Picardo (who suggested the idea to begin with) nails it, making the symptoms believable and hilarious at the same time.

    Overall, however, "Tattoo" comes across as a soft, forgettable offering, though it does what it does quite well, and Henry Darrow deserves special praise for his performance as Chakotay's father.

  • Uncomfortable to watch

    People either love or hate this episode, citing it as great "character development" for Chakotay, or a pile of racist stereotypes. And at the risk of being accused of being a "social justice warrior," I go with the latter.

    Before I go on, know that I'm no prude. I don't freak out at a stereotype here and there. I like a funny racist joke. And Social Justice Warriors piss me off as much as they do anyone. But this episode takes the stereotypes and the insensitivity too far.

    The writers didn't even *try* to give Chakotay any real tribal background, instead just going for vague stereotypes, which is obnoxious on so many levels. They didn't shy away from specifying that Picard was French, or that Scotty was Scottish, because "he's supposed to represent all of Europe!" so why would they shy away from specifying which tribes Chakotay has in his heritage? And even in the days before the Internet, it *can't* have been that difficult for professional TV writers to do enough research or find an actual Indian to talk to to make a one-hour episode believable. Look, I'm whiter that sour cream, and even I can tell when I'm being fed phony Hollywood stereotypes of a culture, and the real thing.

    And then, there's the whole, "Indians had no culture until (white) aliens gave them Seriously? I mean,

    Aside from the racism, this episode sucks because it doesn't explain ANYTHING about Chakotay. What tribe is he from? Why didn't he fit in? How does any of this affect his current personality?

    You want to learn a bit about Chakotay, check out Season 5's "The It's a very silly episode, and not very popular, but it does a damn good job of explaining why Chakotay is the way he is. Far better than this nonsense.

  • skip, rewind

    okay, I skipped it, but I'm going to watch it just because it stars Chakotay and I wanna have his babies
  • Ancient Aliens

    I really enjoy this episode. For one it is great to get some back story and history on Chakotay and his tribe. I also enjoy the spin that aliens were on Earth long before man had technology. I know it's not a wholly original idea but it is a nice addition to the Star trek lore and history,
  • Tattoo

    Tattoo was a good episode of Star Trek: Voyager and I enjoyed watching this episode because it had a lot of character growth and development for Commander Chakotay as he discovered a familiar symbol from his past leading him to discover the truth about his ancestors. I was intrigued by the stories similarity to that of today's Native American tribes regarding "Star Brothers" or "Sky People" and how it tied into the Ancient AlienAstronaut theory. The episode was a bit slow at times however it was over all worth watching. I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek: Voyager!!!!moreless
Douglas Spain

Douglas Spain

Young Chakotay

Guest Star

Joseph Palmas

Joseph Palmas


Guest Star

Richard Fancy

Richard Fancy


Guest Star

Nancy Hower

Nancy Hower

Ensign Samantha Wildman

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Young Chakotay and his father are dressed rather warmly for walking through a Central American rain forest, including long sleeve shirts and vests over them. Given the locale, and Chakotay's complaint about how warm it is, it doesn't make sense.

    • Trivia: Young Chakotay tells his father that he spoke to Captain Sulu about joining Starfleet. This is the same Sulu that served under Captain Kirk in The Original Series. As a child, Chakotay lived in a colony along the Cardassian border, so Sulu's ship must have been assigned to border patrol during that time period.

    • Trivia: As of this episode, Voyager has been gone 10 months.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Young Chakotay: Sorry, Sky Spirits. I will never make friends with bugs.
      Kolopak: Maybe that's why they keep biting you.

    • Chakotay: (to Tuvok) The logical course isn't always the right course.

    • The Doctor: Choose the word that would best describe your pain: burning, throbbing, piercing, pinching, biting, stinging, shooting...

    • Kim: (attempting to "fix" the Doctor's program) What seems to be the problem?
      The Doctor: (melodramatically) Ugh! My simulated virus is leading me to a simulated death!

    • Chakotay: (pointing out a symbol on a display to Janeway) The one on the right is the one I found today.
      Janeway: And now, something you saw on that trip years ago, suddenly shows up again on a moon's surface almost 70,000 light years away? I don't suppose you have any theories to explain this?
      Chakotay: I can give you an official Rubber Tree people theory if you like. Sky Spirits.
      Janeway: Sky Spirits?
      Chakotay: It's an ancient myth. Sky Spirits from above, created the first Rubber people in their own image, and led the way to a safer land where the Rubber people would live for eternity.
      Janeway: You obviously don't put a great deal of faith in this explanation.
      Chakotay: How much faith do you put in Adam and Eve? Hasn't science proven that all Humans developed from a single evolutionary process?
      Janeway: That's what I was always taught. On the other hand, none of my teachers spent much time in the Delta Quadrant.

    • The Doctor: (About Kes) She is far more devious than I ever expected.

    • The Doctor: Hmmm, interesing sensation, blowing one's nose. It's my first time.
      Kes: I think this is very brave of you.
      The Doctor: Nothing of the sort. I intend it to be an educational experience.
      Kes: I'm sure you'll learn a lot.

    • Kes: Don't you have any compassion for the way she feels?
      The Doctor: Every member of this crew is an adult, I will not coddle them. Compassion can be your department - fortunately, you have enough for both of us.

    • Kim: Doc, I don't feel so good.
      The Doctor: Neither do I, but you don't hear me complaining.

    • The Doctor: I don't have a life. I have a program.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The trained hawk for this episode that swooped down and attacked Neelix turned out to be problematic, as the hawk did not do what was required of it. "Instead," recalled Alan Sims (the bird's trainer), "the hawk spotted a crow and went off after it in the opposite direction. It took hours to find him. The delay was a nightmare."

    • The nude shot of Chakotay was a body double, not of Robert Beltran.

    • The episode's B-story, concerning The Doctor dealing with Levodian flu, was originally suggested by actor Robert Picardo.