“A Moral Star, Part 2”
Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Episode 10 – Debuted Thursday, February 3, 2022
Written by Kevin & Dan Hageman, Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Lisa Schultz Boyd, Nikhil S. Jayaram, Diandra Pendleton-Thompson, Chad Quandt, and Aaron J. Waltke
Directed by Ben Hibon
Even better than the excellent part 1, Prodigy wraps up its first 10-episode arc just as well as it began the series. Never forgetting the character journeys, the episode ramps up the action and finally answers some big questions as it introduces some surprising new ones.
WARNING: Spoilers below!
“We’re all out of moments”
With the Diviner sure to show up anytime to retrieve his precious protodrive, the prodigies scramble to get Tars Lamora in order: Jankom and Rok try to fix the Rev-12’s engine, and Dal and Zero are on miner roundup duty. Their Starfleet universal translator is a big help, resulting in a wonderful “I’ve been holding in these thoughts and feelings for so long” moment between a pair of besotted prisoners, but the limited badge range is slowing down the effort. Things get even worse when the Watcher robots reactivate and one blows off Zero’s right arm as they try to help the Kitty Caitian. Me-ow! But Kitty’s manacle gives Dal an idea for how he can talk to the rest of the miners… he’d just better hurry up because the Protostar is back. Me-oh!
In the Rev-12 engine room, Rok is holding the door to keep the Watchers out, but Jankom’s percussive maintenance is coming up short on how to repair the damage. Good thing Rok spent that time-twisting episode learning some impressive technobabble; the pair trades places so she can fix the ship (with a little help from the protocore-infused Murf). Jankom is able to fight off the Watchers but he’s not quite a match for Drednok, who shows up in all his evil robot menace. When all hope seems lost, the “we now have a voice” miners of Tars Lamora show up, and they are tired of these mother ******* robots on this mother ******* ship! The Caitian leads the charge and this kitty has claws, beheading Drednok through sheer force of newly empowered numbers. Me-wow! But Dred had one last trick, giving Diviner beam-up coordinates to scoop the protocore right out of Murf. As the Protostar heads away, Captain Dal puts the assembly to work, launching the Rev-12 to pursue… and save Gwyn.
“You wanted to know the truth…”
On the Protostar, Corrupted Janeway was supposed to keep a lid on Gwyn, but the Diviner finds his progeny working a console to disable the shields so Dal and the gang can beam over. Turns out those upgrades Gwyn worked in on Part 1 included protecting Holo Janeway from being rewritten, so the whole Goth Janeway thing was a fake. “I only answer to Starfleet!” The Diviner attacks, but upgraded Janeway can also hit back now, using some Miyagi-Do defense to block his attacks, and then a bit of no mercy Cobra Kai to disable the villain’s suit, spilling critical life-sustaining fluid on the deck. Before Gwyn can drop the shields, a gasping Diviner implores his progeny, revealing their homeworld hasn’t been destroyed… yet. Turns out he was sent back in time to prevent that catastrophe. With her dad’s “Please Gwyndala, you will doom our people” guilt trip, she hesitates, and freezes a growingly exasperated Janeway so she can hear more.
The Diviner loads a holodeck simulation showing Gwyn a “flourishing” Solum “confident in our supremacy.” But hitting fast-forward reveals the Vau’N’Akat homeworld in ruins five decades after first contact and a civil war between isolationists and the Federation-friendly. The Diviner’s hatred is exposed: “Starfleet lit the fire and left us to burn.” Gwyn is skeptical, and after learning the big plan is to use the Protostar as a Trojan horse to spread a computer virus that will “wipe out all of Starfleet from existence,” she fights back… soon joined by Dal double-fisting a pair of phasers. Evil dad quickly dispatches both just in time for Zero to show up, and the former tormentor learns he won’t like Zero when they’re angry. Shedding the robot suit and exclaiming “It’s time I showed you who I truly am,” the Medusan reveals their insanity-inducing true form, reducing The Diviner into The Drooler. Dal channels his inner Indiana Jones, warning Gwyn not to look, but even just a reflection off his badge disables the girl into a “we can’t go” ball of mumbles.
Now Holo Janeway narrates a coda that sees Kitty and the miners off on their own adventures on the Rev-12, ironically banishing a babbling Diviner to Tars Lamora as the “sole Unwanted.” Gwyn recovers from her fleeting Zero exposure, but critically can’t remember the ticking Starfleet-destroying code bomb inside the ship. Unfortunately, now is the time they definitively decide to take the Protostar home. As they head off to the Federation, Janeway beams with pride over how her charges have grown to be stronger together, inspired by Starfleet ideals, with each “a prodigy in the making.” (We see what you did there.) But this episode isn’t over yet: There’s a bonus scene on the bridge of an unknown Starfleet ship with a Trill officer identifying a protowarp signature. Coffee cup in hand, Janeway–yes, the real Vice Admiral Kathryn BLEEP-ing Janeway–tells her crew, “It’s time we rescue our missing ship and get some answers.” Oh, hell ya. With an “I’m coming Chakotay,” they warp into action onboard the USS Dauntless. Wait, what ship? So many questions… and they will have to wait until the season returns later this year.
This is Star Trek
The second part of the mid-season finale was just as good if not better than the first, with many of the same strengths. Part 2 ramped up the action to a new level not yet seen in the series with excellent pacing; you never got lost in the flurry and the episode never forgot to serve the characters along the way. And moments like Zero’s fun reminder about being non-corporeal early on—setting up their powerful reveal later—show how the writers finely tuned this story, although the back half might have leaned too much into exposition and narration. Potentially better viewed together with part 1, this exceptional finale wraps up the first ten-episode arc just as powerfully as the series began with the two-part “Lost & Found” premiere.
Each character demonstrated the results of the journey they have been on, from Dal’s bravery to Rok’s ingenuity to Jankom’s Jankomness. This mid-season finale was a great time for Zero’s character to pivot, stripping away their aloofness along with their robot body to reveal their emotional connection to the crew along with their anger at the Diviner, with an exceptional performance by Angus Imrie. Ella Purnell shined, showing the genuine struggle as she wrestled with her family issues and newfound Starfleet ideals with some surprisingly touching scenes with her father, also giving the always-excellent John Noble something real to work with.
While Holo Janeway might have laid it a little thick as she guided us through the wrap-up of the episode, her assessment that these kids have become a crew filled with the true spirit of Starfleet was well-earned, and powerful inspiration for the target audience of those new to the franchise. These and other powerful moments were made even better through Nami Melumad’s score, which has evolved from Giacchino-inspired beats into the show’s unique themes. And the art, direction, and production design continue to be mind-blowing as the episode ran through what felt like a greatest hits of homages from The Empire Strikes Back to Lord of the Rings and beyond. But more than anything, this episode and series have grown to be worthy of the name Star Trek.
Back in time
After a (too) long wait, we finally got the data dump on the Diviner’s obsession over the Protostar. The backstory on Solum’s (future) destruction and civil war go a long way to helping us understand his actions and motivations. Unfortunately, the Terminator and Independence Day mix of a plan of going back in time with a computer virus was a tad clichéd. Trying to work out the timeline of how that fits with the Chakotay recording and flashback scenes from earlier in the season might just give you one of Janeway’s time-travel headaches; however, it seems clear putting all those pieces together remain to be worked out because this is a mid-season finale and not a season finale.
We do finally get some clarity on how the show fits into Star Trek future with the given Stardate of 61103.1, which puts this episode in early 2384. The introduction of real Janeway adds an interesting element as the show is getting close to the flashback events of Picard season one, where the Romulan refugee crisis happens in 2385. This isn’t a problem, but it will be interesting to see how the shows will coexist as Prodigy incorporates more Starfleet elements.
Of course, the introduction of Admiral Janeway was a thrill, but invites a whole slew of questions, not least of which is why she’s on a real USS Dauntless, almost an exact match for the fake USS Dauntless from Voyager’s “Hope and Fear.” Add to that how do those Starfleet uniforms sync up with others of this era, why the Prodigy kids weren’t wearing their new uniforms at the end, will The Diviner (and Drednok) be back, where (and when) is Chakotay, how are the miners going to run the Rev-12… and is Kitty the captain? These and more questions range from the tantalizing to the frustrating, but are likely only plaguing superfans, as new and younger viewers are taking this all in—if they are anything like my nephew David, they are only excited to finally meet “real Janeway” and can’t wait to see what happens next.
So long, for now
With this mid-season finale, Star Trek: Prodigy is only getting better, and it started off pretty well. Just as promised, the show has incrementally introduced more elements from the franchise, but never so much as to overwhelm new young audiences. The Hageman brothers and the writers, artists, and cast they have put together are to be commended for pulling off what may have seemed impossible: making a Star Trek show full of the lore and hope of the franchise, appealing to those who knew nothing about it… and to those who already love it. The only negative is that we have to wait until later this year for the show to return.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND CANON CONNECTIONS
- Like part 1, the episode was directed by executive producer and creative lead Ben Hibon, with the entire season one writers’ room credited for the script.
- The miners who were excited to finally be able to express their mutual feelings were named Grjordslat and Trodo.
- One of the miners was a Lurian.
- In addition to Murf, Dee Bradley Baker voiced additional miners, including the two-headed one.
- Kitty is actually credited as “Caitian Child,” voiced by Rania Sharkawy.
- Kitty and the miners on the Rev-12 were given a Starfleet badge, presumably for its universal translator, but also perhaps to contact the USS Protostar in the future.
- The Trill officer on the Dauntless is named Ensign Asencia, voiced by Jameela Jamil.
- Seen (but not heard) was the Andorian First Officer Cmdr. Tysess and Tellarite Dr. Noum, who will be voiced by Daveed Diggs and Jason Alexander.
- The registry for the USS Dauntless was NCC-80816
More to come
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New episodes of Prodigy premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It is available on Paramount+ in Latin American, the Nordic Countries, and Australia. It will debut in 2022 in parts of Europe with the launch of the Paramouint+ Sky partnership.
Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.