Reed loses a communicator while on a pre-warp planet.
Probably the firmest attempt at a Prime Directive story. But the little moral at the end seemed to emphasise that the biggest damage they did was actually the coverup story, not the other contamination. Should we protect people from higher technology for their own good? Perhaps, but the ‘they aren’t ready yet’ is paternalism of the worst sort. We don’t make children work their own way through thousands of years of technological advancement, we give them the fruits of our society without earning it. Will there be unintended consequences? Sure, but there are such for anything you ever do.
But leaving aside my philosophical problems with the Prime Directive, I did enjoy this. The situation with the aliens was well played, with some good tension in the mix. Would the episode have worked a little better with less human-like aliens? I think so, it would have made the reveal a bit more impactful (although also made the coverup harder). The diversion with the cloaking device was a waste of time though.
(One moment of derp – they’re looking for a communicator in the cargo bay, couldn’t they have just called it?)
Callbacks: The whole episode is a callback to a A Piece of the Action, both in terms of the ‘contamination of pre-warp culture’, and even the lost communicator.
671 down, 66 to go.