"Star Trek: Voyager" Natural Law (TV Episode 2001) Poster

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Stranded in a stone aged culture
Tweekums28 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
While on their way to a conference Seven and Chakatay's shuttle crashes through an energy barrier and they find themselves stranded amongst a stone aged culture called the Ventu. While they attempt to avoid breaking the prime directive they find the Ventu are more helpful than they expected; helping them find the remains of the shuttle so they can lower the energy shield to beam out. In orbit Voyager also tries to find away through the barrier which they have been told was erected by aliens to protect the primitives from more advanced people, the Ledos, elsewhere on the planet who wanted to exploit the them. When Seven finally gets the shield down it is clear that the Ledos haven't given up their hopes of exploiting the Ventu and are willing to use force to prevent Voyager re-establishing the shield. In a light-hearted sub-plot Tom breaks local piloting regulations and is forced to take a pilot training course with an officious local.

The main story was pretty good, I liked the Ventu who communicated through a sign language which Chakotay tried to learn the basics of. The idea of having an advanced civilisation exploiting a primitive one was admittedly rather cliché but worked well enough. The secondary plot provided a few laughs especially when he abandons his class to remove the Ledos from Ventu territory while under fire.
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Chakotay and Seven really do great justice to the Prime Directive.
MartinHafer8 March 2015
The Prime Directive is often mentioned on the Trek shows. Its concept is that the Federation should NOT interfere with native species and allow them to grow naturally. Here they play lipservice to it at times.

Chakotay does some lousy piloting of the shuttle and gets way too close to an area they were told not to approach! The invisible shield above smashes their craft and he and Seven crash through the barrier and land below. There they encounter a very primitive tribe of nice tribal folks and almost immediately Chakotay starts interacting with them. I guess that the Prime Directive was recently repealed. Seven, however, thinks that the Prime Directive DOES still apply and disagrees with Chakotay. She then shows her devotion to the Prime Directive by losing her tricorder--something which she never recovers and they eventually leave behind. Later, with the help of the natives, they find a way to contact Voyager. Unfortunately, now the Ledosians plan to improve the lives of these tribesmen---and it's all made possible by the break in the invisible dome caused by the shuttle.

There's another minor plot in which the always impulsive and child- like Paris gets in trouble with some locals due to his hotdogging while piloting his shuttle. They insist that he take a class on how to fly! The Captain agrees and even though he thinks it's beneath him, he takes the class--always looking for a way to skip out this. After all, he IS a man-child and being responsible just ain't how he rolls. Fortunately, his instructor is NOT wowed by Paris' lies and attempts to get out of the class or end it prematurely.

In the end, after massive exposure of the Federation to the tribespeople, the Captain then decides to close this dome forever. This is sort of like deciding your daughter will remain a virgin after she's already had her baby! All in all, a confusing and morally ambiguous episode that just seemed inconsistent and odd to say the least.
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Janeway the Anti-Scientist, Liar, Cheater
phenomynouss7 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Leaving aside the stale mediocrity of the episode, I'll get right to the stupid.

The episode involves a planet in which there is a primitive tribal culture literally locked under a forcefield shield that was established by another alien species hundreds of years ago that has disappeared. These people are directly related to the highly advanced species that is currently interacting with Voyager.

Naturally, Tattoo-boy and Seven of Nine get stuck in this when their shuttle crashes into it, all because Idiot-face wanted to look at the planet from the shuttle. They accidentally get involved with these tribal people, which Chakotay at first tried to avoid, due to the Prime Directives.

However, his Prime Directive dribble goes right the hell out the door once they do find him, and he has the GALL to chastise Seven of Nine for NOT attempting to connect and communicate with the people, and FURTHER interfere with their lives.

So towards the end, they manage to break open the forcefield using technobabble, and the civilization immediately comes down to explore and research the tribal peoples, a unique opportunity comparable to modern-day people not just of our own technology, but our ideals and policies of non-interference with a tribal culture.

BUT JAAAAAANEWAAAAAAAAY HAS TO GET HER TYRANNIC SELF INVOLVED!!!~! Because this is the show that brought you "Tattoo", an episode so filled with spiritual love and respect for Native Americans, they established in canon-Trek that they were primitive, culture-less savages until they were touched by White Men from space, and who brought you Chakotay, a walking stereotype of Native American cliché's that often interfere with its own continuity (A man who fights the Cardassians in defense of his home also espouts that "home is wherever you happen to be"), NATURALLY THIS IS A BAD AND TERRIBLE THING! Let's get this clear; these civilized people are not the "Manifest Destiny"-era Americans, or Colonial Europeans. They do not plan to subjugate or exterminate these people, or study them while moving them to controlled environments and uprooting their culture. These are people who have been given a unique opportunity to witness FIRST-HAND the genesis of their own civilization, LITERALLY untouched by anyone.

BUT JAAAAAAAAAAAANEWAAAAAAAY SAYS NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Because this goes against the New Age pseudo-hippie spiritualism, Janeway absolutely REFUSES this scientific opportunity, DESPITE BEING A FORMER SCIENCE OFFICER HERSELF, and decides to MANIPULATE THE PRIME DIRECTIVES TO SERVE HER OWN PURPOSES, by claiming that the technology used to open the forcefield is HERS, so she's gonna take it back because of Starfleet policy of non-interference with their planet...


So what she allows by an accident born of pure stupidity in order to save the lives of one dimwit and one former Borg, she disallows in the name of cultural and scientific enlightenment of an ENTIRE CIVILIZATION! Naturally, since they go against JANEWAY'S point of view, these civilized people take all of 2.2 minutes to START FIRING ON VOYAGER! So Janeway escapes, denying an entire civilization the chance to study and better understand and appreciate their own past, for pretty much no coherent or logical reason other than fear.

Yes, fear. Fear that these civilized people might destroy the culture of these tribal peoples. This fear would be well-founded if these civilized people showed anything BUT reverence, awe, and respect for these people already. Even then, it doesn't say much about the benevolence of Earth that they utterly shut down a huge opportunity for learning out of fear.
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(in The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy voice) Worst Episode Ever?
ttapola15 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I am intentionally exaggerating in the title of my summary. But this really is quite bad. For starters, the A plot takes a coma-inducing twenty-five minutes to start moving and in the end, the final five minutes (before the epilogue featuring Seven of Nine and Chakotay) have been stuffed so full that the flash by in such a hurry that it's not worth the long set-up. And, of course, this is yet one boring Prime Directive episode. Then there's the B plot, a "comedic" story of Tom Paris having to attend flight school. It's so not funny that it makes me want to cry. Of course, it *conveniently* merges with the A plot in the end. So conveniently that it constitutes as lazy writing. The only saving grace of this episode is, of course, Jeri Ryan as Seven and an all too brief appearance of semi-legendary rent-a-dislike-able-elder-guy Ivar Brogger who's been in pretty much every TV show that amounts to something. Some interest may be also found in the fact that this is credited as Autumn Reeser's (the lovely Taylor in The O.C.) first acting work, but she's practically unrecognizable, a ten-year-old in alien make-up. So, in the end, a boring episode with only curiosity value.
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Primitive Folk
Hitchcoc20 September 2018
Chakotay, through his carelessness, almost gets killed and he and Seven end up on a planet with a primitive group of people. They form a bond with them but come into conflict with a more advanced race who want the property to themselves. We all know how this will end. We also have a tiresome subplot with Paris having to take introductory flight lessons from a pedantic old guy who is unyielding in his instructional syllabus. This is really dull. The whole thing is so predictable and seemed endless.
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