Sorry this is late gang. My local Voyager got pre-empted again (damn those Avalance). Click on anything but “Read More.” Go on, I dare ya!

Natural Law

Cast and Crew

Directed by: Terry Windell
Story By: Kenneth Biller & James Kahn
Teleplay By: James Kahn

Starring:
Kate Mulgrew as Kathryn Janeway
Robert Beltran as Chakotay
Roxann Dawson as B’Elanna Torres
Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
Ethan Phillips as Neelix
Robert Picardo as The Doctor
Tim Russ as Tuvok
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
Garrett Wang as Harry Kim

Guest Cast:

Paul Sandman as Healer
Autumn Reeser as Girl
Robert Curtis Brown as Ambassador
Neil C. Vipond as Kleg
Ivar Brogger as Barus
Matt McKenzie as Port Authority
Officer
Brooke Benko as Transporter N.D.

Original Airdate

May 7, 2001

What Happened

Nothing.

Well stuff does happen, just nothing of consequence.

Oh alright, I’ll give you a synopsis and a review, but I better get double pay for this!

The episode begins with Chakotay and Seven crashing their shuttlecraft through a mysterious energy barrier and are left stranded there. Chakotay is injured and the two soon discover that the planet is inhabited by a primitive tribe of hunter-gatherers. They avoid contact for all of about 10 minutes then Chakotay makes friends and learns their sign-language. This ties in nicely with Chakotay’s previously established love of ancient cultures (from his father). Seven is unamused and uninterested in the natives and prefers to remain distant.

She manages to scrape together enough parts from the wrecked shuttle to punch a hole through the barrier. Voyager contacts them and beams them out. Unfortunately, the other inhabitants of the planet (warp-capable) beam in to examine the primatives and start to bring them up to current technology. Janeway doesn’t like this, and starts to beam equipment back, they come under attack and can’t finish the job.

An occasionally funny subplot has Tom Paris going to pilot school for a flight violation. While out on his driver’s test, Paris gets a call from Voyager and he goes in and finishes the job of beam out and blasts Seven’s field disruptor.

Review

Why so terse? Because we have only two episodes left until the finale and this is the best we can do? The script is weak, the plot uninteresting. It seems like they’ve run dry of ideas and are using scripts that were rejected earlier on in the show’s history.

This is really old territory with the Prime Directive and alien interference. Every once in a while we get a good PD story, this just wasn’t one of them. Chakotay is boring, Seven’s moody and Tom’s annoyed (and with good reason). Janeway seems barely concerned with everything that’s going on and the rest of the crew is on shore leave (mentally and literally).

Where’s the challenge, the dilemma? No where. It felt like a bad rip-off of “Clan of the Cave Bear” (which I liked, by the way).

Are we sure the writer’s strike isn’t already upon us?

High Point

Piloting lessons were good for a few laughs, but after awhile I was ready to have Tom put this guy on the wrong side of an airlock door.

Low Point

There are many, but compared to linguistic beauty and excellent scripting that was the TNG episode “Darmok”, Chakotay’s interactions with sign language were just silly.

The Scores

Originality: This is just recycled Trek (among other things) 1 out of 6

Effects: I’m a sucker for good Delta Flyer action shots and there were a few here. 4 out of 6

Story: Weak and uninteresting. 1 out 6

Acting: It was hard to tell if they sucked, or just didn’t care. 2 out of 6

Emotional Response: Does yawning count as an emotion? I did laugh at some of the pilot training bits. 3 out of 6

Production: The director didn’t get anything out of the actors or the script. 2 out of 6

Overall: One of the weakest episodes of the season. 2 out 6

Total: 15 out of 42

Stills

Brand new episode next week: “Homestead.” Neelix says goodbye to the crew of Voyager.