Chakotay, Natives and speeding tickets all on the episode that originally aired on May 2, 2001. This is Natural Law.
Captain’s Log Stardate 54827.7 Natural Law
After Chakotay and Seven discover a lost tribe on an alien planet hidden by a force field, they must determine if they have the right to expose the tribe in order to save themselves. Meanwhile Paris gets a speeding ticket and must go through defensive driving class.
That is really the gist of it all. Chakotay and Seven are heading to a symposium and hit an invisible barrier causing them to crash. They discover that they are in a protected part of a planet where the people are still living in the Bronze age. If Voyager attempts to rescue them then the barrier will fall exposing this lost tribe to the world. Chakotay, although injured, doesn’t want to risk this peaceful people and attempts to find a way to escape without exposing them. In the end, with Paris’ help, they manage to do so preventing them from interference from the outside world.
The B Story involves Tom Paris being pulled over in space for reckless flying. He has to take a safety course in order to be allowed to fly in Ledosian space. Ultimately he is forced to flunk his test in order to help save the native Ventu people preventing him from piloting Voyager until they are out of Ledosian territory.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
You know how every ten years or so someone ‘finds’ a ‘primitive’ tribe in the Amazon jungle somewhere and all the news outlets begin asking if anyone should contact them and introduce them to society? Ultimately we either leave them alone or disturb them and cause problems but regardless that is what this episode is about. Seven and Chakotay encounter some natives on an alien planet who are protected by some ancient alien force shield from the rest of the planet. Of course Chakotay happens to be the one who runs into them because, well, who else would right? Then of course Seven is there and she must learn to trust the ‘friendly natives’ although she masks her distrust with not wanting to ‘interfere’ with their lives. Both Chakotay and Seven learn valuable lessons, yadda yadda yadda. Really, this is one of the most derivative episodes of Voyager to date. Taking all of the Robinson Crusoe tropes/ Lost Tribe tropes and distilling it in what is ultimately a rather embarrassing display of stereotyping this series has seen since Chakotay first uttered ‘A Couchi Moya’. Frankly, it was hard to watch even for this review.
The B story, well, it isn’t that much better. As I mentioned above, Paris gets a speeding ticket and is forced to take classes to allow him to fly in Ledosian space. Of course he gets cocky and thinks he can get through the class easily but is teamed up with an elderly teacher who is determined to put this young pilot through his paces. It’s a silly side story that only becomes useful when Janeway needs his help to help save the natives from ‘society’.
Overall, this is one of the worst filler episodes of the series and the only thing that comes out of it is a rather awkward hint of a relationship between Seven and Chakotay which really seems too little too late. Basically, just skip this one, you won’t even notice it’s missing.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, -33 remaining.
- 1 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -7 remaining
- Seven loses her tricorder while they are with the natives leaving behind some of their tech. This could be an issue further down the line…
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Homestead
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Late To The Game 4/16/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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