The relationship between Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay is one of the best in Star Trek history

Star Trek; Voyager created one of the best relationships that no one talks about.
11th Annual Official Star Trek Convention
11th Annual Official Star Trek Convention / Albert L. Ortega/GettyImages

It's not easy to create powerful relationship dynamic that don't devolve into common themes. Romance, hatred, competitors, it's all the same these days and it's hard to create a dynamic that isn't any one thing and is layered in a way that makes the relationship so much more impactful. Star Trek hasn't always done great with the layered dynamics, oftentimes sticking with the easy tropes.

Jean-Luc Picard's mentorship of Data, the romantic relationship between Kasidy Yates and Benjamin Sisko, and of course whatever Worf was up to with whichever woman he was courting. Sometimes, though, the writers develop a dynamic that is far superior to anything else written.

An example would be Dr. Julian Bashir and Elim Garak. The perpetually bored Starfleet doctor finally found someone he couldn't figure out in the Cardassian ex-spy Garak. That was a well-written friendship that sometimes bordered on the combative.

Another, and even greater dynamic, however, was the one between Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager. The two were written so perfectly that you're not sure if they love one another, are in love with one another, or respect no one more than one another. It's complicated, it's vast and the way that Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) and Robert Beltran (Chakotay) played their characters was nothing short of perfection.

It was the backbone of so many story arcs in Voyager, as well as one of the most compelling plot points in Star Trek: Prodigy. They would make the most wonderful romantic couple, but their unwavering support of one another is simply the thing that drives this dynamic forward. While it'd be easy to slide them into a romantic pairing, it's the soldier-like duty they have to one another that truly cements them as...whatever they are.

There's an unwavering loyalty to one another that supersedes common emotional entrapments and instead is steadfast in its duty to the cause. But it's not because they're Starfleet officers, it's because it's Janeway and Chakotay. Their bond expands past their ranks and official oaths. They would break Starfleet's regulations time and time again if it meant protecting and helping the other.

It's what makes the pairing so impressive, it's not one bound by your common call to duty, but instead a call to service. Not of a larger entity, but to those they value the most. It's why looking at their pairing as romantic falls short, there is more there than your commonplace affection and lustful desires.

They have earned respect from one another that most won't ever be able to fathom, let alone replicate. It's a fitting dynamic that shouldn't be simply viewed in a monochrome view of emotions and relationships. They are complicated, vast, and fascinating.

They are the best written pair in the franchise's history, by far.

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