The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Natural Law"

by David E. Sluss

19 May 2001

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: There's a B-story and a C-story. Where's the A-story?


LAZINESS OF THE WEEK: Voyager's writing team. This is one of the last few episodes of the series, and we get this? What was the point of this exercise? It seemed as if someone noticed very late in the writing process that there was no point, and attempted to crudely insert one into the last ten minutes, after the alien shield was down. We had already seen how Good and Noble the "native people" were, but then we had a crisis because the otherwise reasonable "advanced people" turned out to be another run-of-the-mill race of Surly Forehead Aliens, with evil plans for exploitation and a willingness to engage in a Space Battle with Voyager. Curly's C-story was largely filler, though at least it does tie in with the B-story in the end.

LAZINESS OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: While the native people might have been good and noble and stuff, did you notice that they rarely seemed to be doing anything? There were numerous scenes in which we see a bunch of them in the background, tying beads around each other's necks, or simply standing around like spare pricks at a wedding. Rarely were they hunting or foraging or doing anything that seemed productive.

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: The shuttle crash -- enough said. But did there really seem to be enough time for Moe to grab a duffle bag and a couple of tricorders? And if so, why didn't he pick up a hand phaser or two?

TECHNOLOGICAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: "We found one of the shuttle's wings." Wings? What wings?

CHEAPO PROP OF THE WEEK: The nose of the crashed shuttlecraft seemed to be a bit too small. Extrapolating that nose to a full shuttlecraft, it didn't seem to me that you get a vessel big enough to contain bloated Chakotay, much less Seven's attributes.

CHUMP OF THE WEEK: The Captain asks Ensign Kim to scan for lifesigns. He replies that he can only detect one commbadge. That wasn't the question, Larry...

ILLOGIC OF THE WEEK: After Seven brings down the alien deflector, she pontificates that it should reset after she has turned off her gizmo. How can she draw that conclusion? She never analyzed the deflector, nor even found the mechanism that powered it.

MINOR DISCONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: So we didn't have Seven getting down and dirty, despite the rumors. Fine by me. Still, it occurred to me that when Chakotay was hanging all over Seven for support after he hurt his leg, Seven might have shown just a little bit of discomfort, given the recent events in "Human Error."

COURT-MARTIAL OFFENSE OF THE WEEK: Chakotay talks a good game when it comes to not interfering with the development of the native people, but in the end he succumbs to the desire to survive. I suppose that's understandable, but not only does he sanction the involvement of the natives in Seven's attempt to get help, but he essentially uses these people as slave labor in order to reposition the shuttle's nose. Is that so different from the threat of exploitation posed to that culture by the Surly Advanced Forehead Aliens?

Previous: "Friendship One"
Next: "Homestead"
NEXT WEEK: Neelix leaves. Another too-good-to-be-true sweeps stunt?



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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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