We’re nearing the end of the first half of the premiere season of Star Trek: Prodigy, and this show has already taken us on a wild ride. This episode takes the motley crew of the U.S.S. Protostar back to where it all began: Tars Lamora.
It turns out that Drednok had a message he was to deliver the Protostar in case the Diviner’s takeover attempt was unsuccessful. A recording of the Diviner offers them a deal: bring back the Protostar and he’ll release all the miners who were kidnapped from their original worlds and forced to work at Tars Lamora. The trouble is they only have one day to decide what to do. If they don’t return, the miners will die.
It’s a hard decision for Dal and the crew. On one hand, they’re desperately trying to be something better, to live up to the ideals of Starfleet. On the other, they’re so close to the Federation and to a better life. It is possible they could jump to the Federation and ask Starfleet to send ships to help Tars Lamora. The problem is that they only have power for one Protostar jump and the ship is a prototype — which means there’s a good chance the Federation won’t make it back to Tars Lamora in time.
The crew decides they have to return and hand over the ship, but Dal takes a little longer to come around. He’s afraid of losing his crew, and he knows he can’t trust the Diviner. How are they supposed to escape from Tars Lamora without a ship? Dal points out it’s a Kobayashi Maru — a no-win scenario.
Gwyn convinces Dal that they can come up with a real plan that has a chance of succeeding and they all work together to put it into action. The crew dons new Starfleet uniforms, and even without formal training, it’s clear they’ve become a Starfleet crew. (Dal even has his own catchphrase as captain, and it’s very apt — “Go fast!”)
They arrive at Tars Lamora and land on the asteroid. Dal points out to the Diviner that offering the lives of the miners in exchange for the Protostar is a bad deal because they’ll still be stuck on the asteroid with no ship. The Diviner amends the deal — he wants Gwyn. Over the protest of her crewmates, Gwyn agrees, but demands that her father give them the Rev-12, the Diviner’s ship. Drednok isn’t happy with it, but the Diviner agrees.
The first thing that the Diviner does upon boarding the Protostar is to override Janeway’s program and make her acknowledge the Diviner as the Captain. He then betrays the people he left behind on the surface — the Diviner orders Drednok to destroy the Rev-12’s power generators. He’s not just denying them the ship, though. As Gwyn points out, without power from the ship, the colony will lose atmosphere and everyone will die.
As the Protostar leaves the planet, the Diviner confesses to Gwyn that he made a mistake leaving her behind on the planet and choosing the ship over her. It’s what she’s always wanted to hear from her father. The question is, will it be enough to sway her over to his side, or will she remain loyal to her crew? As they connect and the Diviner reveals his plan to her telepathically, he realizes Gwyn is deceiving him and stalling for time. Then Drednok reveals the crew’s plan: They’ve removed the protostar core of the ship.
It turns out that things are less dire back on Tars Lamora than they initially appeared — the crew had planned for the Diviner’s double cross. Zero even beamed down before them and has thruster packs for each to make navigating micro-gravity (the result of destroying the power generators) easy. It turns out that Murf is in a replica Zero suit and is protecting the protocore (good thing Murf is indestructible!). But things are still pretty tense. They still have to rescue the miners and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough time for their plan to work — and that’s where the episode ends! This was definitely a cliffhanger, but we’ll see the second half of the story with next week’s episode.
Swapna (she/her) writes about space, technology, and pop culture at outlets such as Wired, NPR, Engadget, and more. You can find her on Twitter @skrishna.
Star Trek: Prodigy currently streams exclusively on Paramount+ in U.S. and Australia, and is coming soon to Paramount+ in Latin America and the Nordics as well as to Nickelodeon international channels, which are available in 180 countries globally. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Prodigy is distributed by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.