Recap/Review: ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Goes To The Races In “The Fast And The Curious” [Episode 207]

 “The Fast and the Curious”

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 2, Episode 7 – Debuted Monday, July 1, 2024
Written by Erin McNamara
Directed by Sung Shin & Sean Bishop

A diverting adventure has the kids facing off with one of their biggest fears.

For a ship named Infinity, internal space is way too finite.

WARNING: Spoilers below!

RECAP

“I demand tribute!”

Uncomfortably crammed into the Infinity, the kids are not relishing the estimated 61-day trip to the spiral nebula as they are already starting to get on each other’s nerves—and Pog breaking the sonic toilet definitely isn’t helping. Even though Zero is (rightfully) concerned, they decide to take a shortcut through an abandoned Borg transwarp conduit. No surprise, a device latches onto the ship, pulling them out and down to a stinky planet. But it’s not the Borg, it’s the Kazon, bringing back some memories. Some goons show up to take the kids (sans the hiding Zero and Murf) to meet the Maje, who appears to be a few Oglamars short of a Nistrom. After he demands their weight in gold-pressed latinum, Dal gets in his face and dangerously escalating things until Gwyn tries the diplomatic approach. Ekthi gives them a chance to win their freedom if they can simply beat his best pilot in a race. Dal and Pog team up in one skiff, Rok and Gwyn in another, as they head into a course swooping above burbling lava pools and through perilously narrow gates. Dal ignores Gwyn’s suggestion of coordinating strategy and even takes a swipe at her pod, frazzling her life-saving armband. Making things even worse, Ekthi is cheating by sabotaging them with random obstacles while Gwyn starts phasing in and out of existence. Oh, outside Zero and Murf discover this racing outpost is less NASCAR and more Roach Motel as they find a massive ship graveyard. 61 days of Pog smell is starting to sound pretty good right now.

Can you hear the voices in my head too?

“Your transwarp tyranny is over.”

Dal and Pog collide with the leading ship, sending them both into crash landings, and Gwyn and Rok exit the race to help. They discover the other pilots are all robots, as are all the guards. Zero and Murf get discovered by Ekthi and fight him, where knocking off his mask reveals a mind-control chip, which they pry off. Awakened, the Kazon doesn’t know what’s going on, so he takes them down into the pilot training facility where his last memory was working on a program. It’s here we meet the master manipulator: It’s the computer, of course. “Limited beings forged me, but I have grown beyond them.” Classic. EvilRacerSim 2.0 has been pulling ships out of the conduit to feed its need for more recruits, but none can meet the idealized “full potential.” The AI’s tentacles take control of Murf, who helps capture the rest of the gang, but Zero is not having any of it. With “We are not programs, we are living beings,” they break free by tearing off their own robotic limbs (OMG!) and fly straight at the computer core, destroying it in a shower of non-corporeal fury. It’s time to leave and the gang waves goodbye to the more docile Ekthi, taking Zero’s cracked but contained sphere with them. Back on the Infinity, they continue their journey, battered but buoyed by how they got through this latest ordeal, once again as a team. Speaking of teams, the Voyager holo-duplicates (with mixed personalities) get Maj’el suspicious, but when she goes to Gwyn’s quarters to try to sort out what’s going on, time comes to a stop except for some phased tentacle things that reach out to Holo-Gwyn… and she disappears. Time resumes with no one noticing. Okay, that was weird.

Now this is podracing!

ANALYSIS

Feel the need for speed?

For the second time in a row, the show gives us a standalone episode, this time with a planet-of-the-week adventure complete with guest baddies and action set pieces. After a bit of a Borg fakeout, we return to the Kazon, who should be far less sinister, except to these kids who were kidnapped and sold to the Diviner by a Kazon bounty hunter. The mystery around Ekthi made him more than his “Silence!” villain dialogue suggested. Together, this made the stakes much more personal, even with the racing stuff, which was entertaining if a bit predictable. But true to the Fast and Furious-themed title, this episode was really all about the family of this gang as espoused by Zero, who got to be the real hero of the episode with a strong performance from Angus Imrie. To that point, this episode seemed to be a pivot point for Dal, who is starting to confront his own hubris, and he does appear to be learning as he ends the episode by handing off his log to Gwyn, who was the real leader of the group throughout. So once again these short episodes (even one full of forgettable action) can have some real character stories happening underneath, and ones that feed into strong Star Trek themes. And what could be more Star Trek than the reveal that the real villain is an evil computer?

The red lighting indicates this computer has been set to evil.

This second half of season 2a (the first 10 episodes) continues to return to the more episodic style of the first season, but that can be a bit frustrating after the first five episodes really sunk us into the big plot about time travel, Solum, Chakotay, and the rest. But that tantalizing time tentacle bit at the end was probably enough, especially with a bingeable season. It is hard to juggle these multiple storylines, which is why we only dip into the Voyager-A POV briefly, which is mostly played for laughs as the adults seem oblivious to how weird the holo-dupes are, with only Maj’el catching on. But that’s one of those instances where you have to remember this is primarily a show for kids, and so that all tracks for the target audience. BTW, if you are looking for some more lore, it does appear that even though Zero woke up the Borg last season, what’s left of the collective isn’t active enough to retake at least his part of the transwarp network. We do know that in the coming years they will be back with the Artifact and will eventually attack Earth one last time (per Star Trek: Picard).

What ever went wrong when using Borg tech?

Final thoughts

The pacing, music, design, and acting in season 2 continue to be at an even higher level than the excellent first season. If you love these characters, then you are going to love seeing them have these fun little side adventures, growing all along the way. And we get to revisit Voyager’s two big bads (the Kazon and the Borg, sort of) with a bit of a Landru twist, like a Trek Tyrant Turducken. What else can you want from an episode 7?

No one bad-mouths coffee on my ship.

BITS

  • Stardate: 61875.9
  • This episode introduced the sonic toilet to the canon, a future tech cousin to the sonic shower.
  • Murf likes to do burpees for exercise.
  • Borg transwarp conduits were first established in TNG (“Descent”) and then in several Voyager episodes, along with the use of a tachyon pulse to activate.
  • Gwyn shows off her Klingon language skills, asking Zero “What in Sto’Vo’Kor is on our ship?”
  • Holo-Dal (with Zero’s personality) is a big fan of Cardassian yamok sauce and Ferengi bog crab.
  • The ship graveyard included the USS Cairo, previously thought to have been destroyed during the Dominion War.
  • Ekthi was voiced by James C. Mathis III, best known for voicing Black Panther in several animated Marvel shows and games.
  • Science moment: That stinky smell is thanks to hydrogen sulfide.

And I thought it smelled bad on the inside.

TrekMovie’s Prodigy July binge-watch

Since all 20 episodes were released on Netflix at once, we’re binging it in five-episode arcs; we can’t stick to watching just one a week! Each All Access Star Trek podcast (every Friday morning) will cover five episodes, while written reviews for all five will publish throughout the week, with two-parters paired up. This will all wrap up just as San Diego Comic-Con kicks off at the end of the month. We also hope to have more Prodigy interviews and analysis in July and beyond.

NEW: Full spoiler open thread!

We welcome fans joining us through July covering 5 episodes each week and we do ask for these recap/reviews to keep comments related to the season up to the episode being reviewed.

However, for those choosing to binge the show even faster, we have created an open thread where you can post all the spoiler comments you want for the entire season. 

 

Season 2 of Prodigy is available to stream on Netflix globally (excluding Canada, Nordics, CEE, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Belarus and Mainland China) and season one is currently available on SkyShowtime in the Nordics, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Central and Eastern Europe with season two coming soon. Season two has launched in France on France Televisions channels and Okoo.


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I really didn’t like this one. While I loved seeing the Kazon back this one felt like filler of the highest order to me and it was resolved way too easily IMO. But I guess that’s going to be an issue at times when you only have 23 minutes of screen time.

There are only two episodes I wasn’t fond of this season , this one and another one coming up. But not liking two out of 20 episodes is still pretty crazy.

I loved seeing the Kazon back”

Why?

Because I like them and was the first species that was introduced in the Delta Quadrant.

Fair enough, tastes differ. For me, they were bargain basement Klingons and the first indication that Voyager wasn’t going to be a particularly fresh or interesting show (and it largely wasn’t).

I don’t love them or anything and would’ve been fine if I never saw them again. But they are part of the universe and a nice throw back as part of both Voyager and Prodigy being in both show’s opening episodes. And I always loved Voyager.

So its just nice to see the entire Trek universe filled out in general and why I love this show much even if I didn’t love this episode.

I hated the Orc Klingons from Discovery for example, but still wouldn’t mind if they showed up somewhere again but I don’t see that happening lol.

That the USS Cairo’s destruction — the catalyst for the entire premise of “In the Pale Moonlight” — was caused by this rogue AI and not the Dominion is a HUGE revelation that I totally missed at the time. The entire outcome of the Dominion War is basically founded on two false pretenses. Crazy.