Voyager becomes trapped in Chaotic Space, where the laws of physics are in a state of flux. Their only way of escaping is via the aliens who inhabit the region, but their means of communication may well drive Chakotay insane.
This episode has the following tropes:
- A Day in the Limelight: A Chakotay episode.
- Adult Fear: Chakotay fears going insane like his grandfather did.
- Apocalyptic Log / That Was the Last Entry: Voyager finds a derelict ship in chaotic space; their Captain's Log shows they were all Driven to Madness eventually.
- Artistic License Biology: The Doctor with the myth about breaking someone's nose and sending the shards into their brain.
- Big "NO!": The first words spoken in the episode is Chakotay saying, "NOOOOO! MAKE THEM STOP!"
- Big "YES!": The Doctor Milking the Giant Cow.
- The Blank: Chakotay fights a being from a region of chaotic space; the being is wearing a boxing hoodie that hides his face, when the alien is finally revealed, he has no face, only a starfield.
- Blind Jump: Paris suggests this, but Tuvok rejects it for the usual reasons.
- The Boxing Episode
- Brick Joke: When the Doctor is treating Chakotay's injury, he snarks that he should use stitches instead of the dermal regenerator, so that Chakotay could have a mean scar and call himself the "Maquis Mauler". That's the title on his robe at the climax.
- Character Overlap: Boothby from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Chewing the Scenery: Mad Chakotay and the Doctor in his hallucinations.
- Clip Show: May not be a true clip show, but it at least deserves an honourable mention. The aliens communicate to Chakotay in his mind by splicing together words taken from other crew members from earlier in the episode.Doc: You—
Paris: Far from where—
Grandfather: Call home.
Doc: Do you understand?
- Continuity Nod: One that crosses series lines—when Chakotay ends up in Sickbay from Tuvok's neck pinch, he jokes, "Never spar with a Vulcan." The Sisko would agree with that.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The Doctor spells out In-Universe why boxing is not a good idea, with a Large Ham depiction of the injuries suffered.
- Dull Surprise: Averted; Robert Beltran acts his heart out when his dialogue is no longer restricted to "Shields down to 20%".
- Dutch Angle: When Chakotay starts hallucinating on the bridge.
- Eldritch Location: Chaotic Space.
- Face Your Fears: In Chakotay's case, the fear of losing his mind.
- Fanservice: Chakotay in a muscle shirt, and Chakotay suffering in Sickbay with messy bangs in his face.
- Fan Disservice: Shirtless Chakotay getting a back massage... and then the camera pans back and it's from Neelix.
- First Contact
- Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The episode ends with Chakotay throwing a fist into the camera.
- Going in Circles: Beacons are being released to help Voyager navigate its way out of Chaotic Space, only the ship runs into the first beacon they released an hour earlier.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: The Doctor trying to focus a crazed Chakotay in the Sickbay.
- Hearing Voices
- Helpful Hallucination: Helpful as it tells Chakotay how to get Voyager out of Chaotic Space.
- Holding Hands: Janeway holds Chakotay's hand as he's lying on the biobed, telling him he has to risk his sanity as it's the only way of saving Voyager.
- How Many Fingers?: The Doctor holds up three fingers in a facsimile of the Vulcan salute and asks this of a still-woozy Chakotay, who replies correctly. The Doctor says sardonically, "Good guess."
- In Medias Res: Well if the aliens don't go in a straight line, why should the episode?
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Boothby makes a quip about "Maquis of Queensberry rules".
- Mad Oracle: Chakotay has the 'crazy gene' that enables him to speak to the aliens.
- Never Tell Me the Odds!: Inverted; the Maquis Mauler demands to see Tom's Side Bet calculations on the odds. He refuses.
- No Time to Explain: When Chakotay learns from the aliens how to escape fluidic space, he immediately races to the bridge and starts pushing buttons and barking orders so he can get it done before he forgets.
- The Paralyzer: When Chakotay starts throwing punches on the bridge, Tuvok knocks him out with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
- Red Baron: Kid Kaos vs. the Maquis Mauler.
- Sarcasm Mode: The Doctor on the subject of boxing.
- Series Continuity Error: Back in "In the Flesh", Chakotay's reaction on meeting the Species 8472 member posing as Boothby suggested that he was vaguely aware of who the original version was, but had never really spoken to him. This episode changes that to Boothby having been Chakotay's boxing coach for several years. (Unless he was pretending that he didn't know Boothby back then as part of his cover.)
- Slow Motion: Just before Chakotay gets KO'ed.
- Starfish Aliens
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: Not just the unseen aliens—Chakotay starts talking like them for a few sentences, with lots of pauses that William Shatner would appreciate.
- Techno Babble: "Trimectric" fracture? "Rentrillic" trajectory? What the hell does any of that mean? Even the eggheads on Voyager are stumped by this.
- Trail of Bread Crumbs: The buoys that Voyager drops, as Paris mentions. Unfortunately, they end up circling back to the first one.
- World of Ham: The Voyager crew in Chakotay's Vision Quest, especially the Doctor with his To the Pain description of boxing injuries.