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"Star Trek: Voyager" Prime Factors (1995)

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Does a positive end justify the means?

7/10
Author: Paularoc from United States
14 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The alien Sikarians, known for their great hospitality, invite the Voyager crew to their planet for a little rest and relaxation. Captain Janeway is on the verge of being smitten by the Sikarian leader when Ensign Kim tells the Captain that the aliens have the technology to transport up to 40,000 light years away – which represents about half the distance back to the Alpha quadrant. However, it is against the Sikarian culture to share their technology with aliens for fear that it might be abused. After unsuccessfully trying the get the leader (played wonderfully by Ronald Guttman) to change his mind, Janeway accepts this decision and makes it clear that she will make no further attempt to acquire the transportation devise. Crewmembers Carey, Seska, Torres and then Tuvok conspire to exchange the Voyager's library for the devise – and do so. The devise does not work. Although Seska advocates strongly against doing so, Torres insists that the Captain be told what they have done. Martha Hackett's portrayal of Seska is right on as the devious, lying conspirator who wants to cover up their actions ("No one will ever know" – sound familiar?). Two quibbles with this otherwise engaging episode: 1) it is simply not believable that Tuvok would go against the Captain's wishes in such an underhanded fashion and 2) although obviously and quite rightly the Captain is disappointed and angry at Torres, it is unfortunate that she could not at least acknowledge Torres' honor in telling her what they had done. A very philosophical episode and one wonders if the Captain would still have been disappointed if the device had worked. But then when do the ends justify the means? Tough call.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A possible way home

8/10
Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
17 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When Voyager receives a distress call from an alien ship they are surprised to find that it doesn't need help but claims to be offering help to the crew of Voyager. These aliens, the Sikarians, invite everybody to visit their world for some Rest and Recuperation. Here they are keen to make everybody feel welcome. Harry is surprised when while on a date with one of the Sikarians he is taken to another planet using a transporter device which is vastly superior to anything he has seen before, so good that if Voyager could use the device it would knock forty years off their journey home. Janeway asks the Sikarian leader if they can have such a device to help them get home but her request is declined as they have a rule about giving technology to other races; a rule almost identical to Star Fleet's Prime Directive. The captain does all she can to persuade him but he is adamant that the law can't be bent. Another Sikarian is willing to break the rule in exchange for a copy of Voyager's literary archive. While the captain won't countenance breaking their laws B'Elanna, Seska and Lt. Carey plot to acquire the device, just as they are about to beam to the surface they are caught by Tuvok but surprisingly instead of arresting them he takes the archive of them and makes the trade himself. Of course when they get the device it doesn't work as planned and the captain is disappointed with the actions of her trusted senior officers.

This episode does not contain much in the way of action but poses some nice moral dilemmas for the crew; how can they expect other people to break their rules to help them when they are unwilling to break the Prime Directive to help others in need. It was a nice surprise when the person willing to break the Prime Directive turned out to be Tukok.

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2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Wow...the crew is actually rather morally corrupt...

6/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
4 February 2015

"Prime Factors" is the second episode in a row where the Prime Directive actually seems to mean very little to some of the crew of the Voyager. This is pretty odd--especially considering what sticklers they usually are in other episodes.

The show begins with the Sikarians inviting the crew to their planet so that they can spoil them and heap lots of hospitality upon them. So far so good. However, Ensign Kim learns that these people also have the ability to fold space--enabling them to go light-years all at once. Naturally the Voyager crew is thrilled about getting their hands on this technology. But the Sikarian host isn't about to give them anything--and his motives for being so friendly suddenly bother the Captain and she insists on leaving the planet. But with a rival Sikarian who IS willing to make the trade, the Prime Directive is about to be tested--and some of the crew (with a couple surprises) seem more than willing to compromise their deepest held beliefs.

As I said, the show is inconsistent--especially as normally Janeway and the rest are amazingly touchy-feely and abide to the Prime Directive so strongly. So, it isn't that their violating it bothers me, it's the selectiveness of this and that shows indifferent writing for the show. Worth seeing but it really makes little sense when seen in light of the overall show style and structure.

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