The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Prime Factors

When Voyager meets the hedonistic and hospitable Sikarians, it seems like the perfect opportunity for some shore leave. But when Harry Kim discovers that the Sikarians have a space-folding transporter that could get them 40,000 light years closer to home, a holiday turns into a negotiation. There’s just one problem – the Sikarians have their own version of the Prime Directive, and are unwilling to give their technology away.

Star Trek isn’t Star Trek without regular moral dilemmas, and this time it’s Starfleet who’s on the receiving end of the Prime Directive. Not only does this let Janeway philosophise over the wisdom of non-interference, but it also re-introduces some of the conflict amongst the crew. Seska gets the chance to be more than a generic crewman, actively goading B’Elanna to help steal the Sikarian technology – an endeavour that gains two more unlikely supporters in the form of Carey and Tuvok. Yes, two officers who arguably have rods up their backsides, are motivated to defy orders – Carey because he wants to get home, and Tuvok because he thinks that he should take the moral hit in Janeway’s place. This is very pragmatic of Tuvok, but he underestimates Janeway’s passion for her morality – she holds herself and her crew to the same high standards, and will never look the other way when shady dealings are underway.

Points of Note

  • In the last episode, Seska was working in the transporter room, and finally got a name. Now she’s actively participating in the plot instead of just operating the controls as needed. We’ll soon find out that all the stories about her Bajoran family are mere lies.
  • Janeway is very critical and judgemental of the Sikarians for their hedonistic lifestyle – once again, aren’t future humans supposed to be open and accepting of other cultures? Just because humans want to explore and better themselves doesn’t mean that every other race has to do so. If they want to stay at home and masturbate all day, so be it. Maybe it isn’t the healthiest of societal outlooks, but it’s not up to the Federation to sit in judgement of them.

Summary – Prime Factors: In which Harry cockblocks himself in favour of a snazzy new transporter.

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