The last episode of Star Trek: Prodigy closed with some shocking revelations — the ship did have a previous crew, captained by none other than Chakotay, and things ended badly. Not only that, but it’s quite unclear how the ship ended up where it did and when it did, considering 17 years ago, The Diviner was looking for the U.S.S. Protostar before the ship even launched. It looks like there might be some time travel involved here.
The current crew is certainly disturbed by these revelations, especially Janeway, but the non-hologram members of the crew find a fun distraction in the ship’s transporter. Beaming Murf into space is enough to keep them entertained as they process what’s been going on.
When the Protostar receives a distress signal, Rok-Tahk insists on helping but Dal knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. It turns out that this is a con run by DaiMon Nandi, the Ferengi who raised Dal.
The crew beams over and Dal’s friends get to see where he used to live — a small cramped room underneath the engine. It wasn’t exactly a glamorous life. Nandi is very interested in the U.S.S. Protostar, which doesn’t bode well for anyone. There’s a reason Starfleet warns its youngest members about Ferengi, after all.
Of course, Nandi has a deal for the crew of the Protostar — one that Dal can’t pass up. She’s willing to trade them a cloaking device (which doesn’t work because it needs chimerium — which the Protostar has). That would allow them to hide from The Diviner, in exchange for a crystal held by a civilization that has plenty to spare. The catch? This species has never encountered an alien race before, which means that First Contact procedures apply. Starfleet’s Prime Directive is non-interference in other cultures, and this would be a pretty large interference.
Dal isn’t convinced, but Nandi lets him know that she owes a huge debt and needs this to make things right. She gives him a Ferengi pan to trade in exchange for the crystal. Unsurprisingly, Hologram Janeway is unhappy with Dal’s decision.
The Protostar lands on the planet, and the crew sees what looks like a sandy planet. Sensors say that they’re surrounded by lifeforms, but they appear to be invisible. All of a sudden, the sand starts “dancing,” as Dal describes it, and Gwyn realizes that the lifeforms are trying to communicate. Unfortunately, they seem upset and the universal translator isn’t working.
Gwyn figures out that the lifeforms are using harmonics and figures out how to talk to them. The storm around them calms down and they make their way toward a newly constructed sand building to talk to this new form of life.
Meanwhile, back on the U.S.S. Protostar, Hologram Janeway is going over every inch of the Chakotay recording that Gwyn was able to decrypt and she discovers something. A single frame, toward the end of the recording, uncovers what exactly is boarding the Protostar and threatening the crew. It appears to be some sort of artificial lifeform with red eyes, and Janeway doesn’t recognize it.
Back on the planet, the crew — along with Nandi — arrive to meet these new lifeforms. Zero and Gwyn remark that the civilization creates sound waves that can actually shape matter. They end up in a room full of beautiful crystals and the lifeforms appear to them. The crew realizes that this species needs every crystal they have in order to transform matter — there are no “extra” crystals as Nandi claimed.
Nandi presents the worthless Ferengi gift and asks for one in exchange. They’re presented with a beautiful song, but Nandi doesn’t think that’s enough. She steals a crystal and the crew realizes this wasn’t the simple diplomatic exchange that Dal had described.
Led by Dal, the crew is determined to get the crystal back from Nandi and make up for what they’ve done to this species. When Dal catches up with Nandi, she makes a startling revelation: Dal wasn’t kidnapped by The Diviner’s forces. Nandi sold him to work in the mines. Not only that, but Nandi’s ship now has a working cloaking device because she stole chimerium from the Protostar.
The Protostar beams Dal up, which is tough because he didn’t have his combadge — but it turns out, he lost it on purpose. While he and Nandi were fighting, Dal slapped his combadge onto the crystal so they could lock onto it and beam it back to the planet, which they do.
It’s not over, though. Just because Dal helped return the crystal back to its original owners doesn’t mean he didn’t cause irreparable damage along the way. Now, the next time an alien race wants to make contact with this species, they’ll likely be distrustful and hesitant. Hologram Janeway isn’t going to let Dal off the hook for this anytime soon — she trusted him, and he let her down.
Dal has to come to terms with his own actions and Nandi’s as well. Luckily (or unluckily, as the case may be), there’s someone else on the crew who has also been betrayed by a parent, as Gwyn points out.
What’s even worse for the Protostar crew is that they may have endangered themselves even further. Back on the Ferengi Marauder, DaiMon Nandi receives information about a bounty for the Protostar from the Diviner — which means he’s about to know where the ship is.
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.