Star Trek: Voyager
Vol 7.11

Starring: Kate Mulgrew
CIC Video
VHR 5181
Certificate: PG
Available now

A long lost Earth probe, launched 300 years in the past, is traced to a dead planet in the Delta Quadrant, its civilisation appears to have been wiped out by a nuclear holocaust. But the planet is not as dead as it seems and the few survivors hold Voyager and its crew responsible for the destruction of their planet.

Friendship 1 is another morality tale about technological responsibility. And it sort of works. but as is all too often the problem with Trek, the message sometimes swamps the plot. The episode looks good and is well paced but the dying survivors are bland, two-dimensional ciphers, such as the pregnant woman who stands as a symbol of the rebirth of her civilisation and a return to planet-wide fruitfulness. Yes, it really is that laboured.

For a reason that's not really explained a group of stone age people are trapped inside a force field. And by chance Seven and Chakotay get trapped inside, cut off from civilisation and Voyager. But can they trust the primitives and how will they contact their ship?...

Natural Law has very little plot to speak of which makes for a nice change in pace. And as a two-handed character piece - which essentially it is - the episode works pretty well. The mute 'savages' and their sign language are very plausible and even Seven manages to show off another side of her normally rather limited character. The subplot is an annoyance and the final payoff just plain stupid - Voyager can't break through the force field with all its firepower but Seven can with little more than a flat battery and a hair dryer. But apart from that Natural Law is really quite good.

Anthony Clark

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