This recap was originally published on November 12, 2021.
This week’s episode of Star Trek: Prodigy sees the crew of the Protostar go on their first away mission to a planet and end up in a real quandary. “Dreamcatcher” opens with Dal recording a captain’s log (something Hologram Janeway told him to do) about learning how to operate the ship — and most importantly, how to set the autopilot.
Dal is just getting comfortable with their escape, and ability to hide from The Diviner, when Janeway flags a discovery: an uncharted M-Class planet in the Hirogen system. Because this is supposed to be a Starfleet crew, they’re required to investigate. When Dal pushes back, Janeway threatens to report him to Starfleet Command.
I’m still not sure whether Hologram Janeway knows the truth about Dal and his compatriots. The way she slyly looked at him when she said that if he refused to explore this new M-class planet, she’d report him to Starfleet tells me that Hologram Janeway knows exactly what she’s doing. She understands that this is not, in fact, a crew of cadets, and she’s playing dumb. I’m not sure exactly why that’s the case, but I’m really curious to find out more about the Protostar’s original mission and Hologram Janeway.
Dal finally agrees to the away mission, something the rest of the crew is very excited about, and Zero proceeds to land the Protostar on this mystery planet. The ride down is a little bumpy, but the ship makes it intact.
This new world is beautiful, but it hides great dangers as the crew quickly finds out. Dal, Jankom Pog, Rok-Tahk, and Zero each get a sleek tricorder — much easier to handle than the bulky devices we’ve seen on live-action series. Hologram Janeway instructs each of them to record their findings on this planet. They also receive Type I phasers (which Jankom Pog promptly shoots himself with) and find the Runaway, a very cool space car, before they head out to see what new things this planet holds in store for them. Janeway has to stay aboard the ship — apparently she doesn’t have a mobile emitter that allows her to travel to places that don’t have holographic generators.
Back on the ship, it seems that Gwyn has definitely chosen her side. As soon as the crew disembarks from the Protostar, she manages to get ahold of her weapon (she seems to have some sort of telepathic link with it. Is it a part of her?) and escape from her cell in the brig. She makes her way to the bridge and even reprograms Janeway to allow her access to the ship’s controls. It turns out that Gwyn has all the knowledge and skills to take command of the Protostar on her own — because that’s what The Diviner has been training her to do from childhood. She sends a message to her father, alerting him to the Protostar’s location.
Dal’s eagerness to jet out on his own, by himself in the Runaway, spells doom — because he doesn’t spend the time sticking with and looking out for his crew, they all split up and each ends up in a dangerous situation. Zero is the first to make a weird discovery about this alien planet: There are absolutely no nutrients in the soil. But then, how is it possible that it supports so much plant life?
The planet creates exactly what will entice each of the crew members because it turns that it feeds on life forms. For Jankom Pog, it’s delicious smelling food. for Rok-Tahk it’s cute, cuddly lifeforms (that don’t register on the tricorder), for Zero it’s a mystery (in this case, the Protostar’s engine), and for Dal it’s his parents (though he can’t remember what they look like). While they’re occupied with whatever the planet has conjured up, this world is slowly trapping them. Whatever life is present on the planet appears to Dal as Hologram Janeway and tries to convince him that she can give him whatever he wants if he stays on the planet, but he sees through her pretty quickly.
Dal realizes that his crew is in a lot of trouble and jumps back in the Runaway, desperate to gather his people and get back to his Janeway. Back on the Protostar, Gwyn is trying to take off, but the lifeform on the planet has hold of the ship and won’t let it leave. After a revealing conversation with the lifeform masquerading as Gwyn’s father (she realizes that it’s not him after he tells her he’s proud of her — which is heartbreaking and shows us a lot about the relationship between Gwyn and The Diviner), she lifts off in the ship as Dal and the crew approach.
But Gwyn isn’t able to make her escape after all. The tendrils engulf the Protostar and Hologram Janeway orders Gwyn to abandon ship. There’s no way the ship will be able to escape. In the last episode, Dal jettisoned all the escape pods, but Gwyn remembers that she previously ordered a vehicle replicator to create a shuttlecraft — which is where she flees to. At the last second, she grabs Murf and takes him with her. The Protostar crashes hard back into the planet and things do not look good.
The question is, what happens next? Our motley crew is seemingly stranded on this new world. Will the Hirogen, a formidable hunter species we first encountered in Star Trek: Voyager show up? And will The Diviner catch up to them? We know he’s on his way. Did Hologram Janeway survive the crash, and what shape is the Protostar in? We’ll find out in the next 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.