This recap was originally published on October 29, 2021.
Over the last few years, Star Trek has been boldly going into new territory, and with the debut of Star Trek: Prodigy this week, we now have the first all-ages show of the franchise. This is a show that’s intended for legacy fans to watch with new ones, bridging the gap between the die-hard viewers and those who are newer to the franchise.
There’s been a lot of hype for this new show; the fact that it’s fully animated means that viewers are treated to creative character designs and the visuals are, quite simply, stunning. Never has space looked prettier than it does in the one-hour premiere of Prodigy. While both Lower Decks and Prodigy are animated, the two shows have entirely different aesthetics and animation styles which ensures each is unique within the franchise.
The first episode, “Lost and Found, Part 1,” introduces us to Dal (voiced by Brett Gray), a young alien of unknown origin who’s working as a laborer at a prison colony called Tars Lamora. Dal doesn’t have any friends or colleagues in the colony because there are no universal translators available to the prisoners. Everyone is alone, though Dal manages to hold onto his sense of humor.
Drednok (Jimmi Simpson) is the head enforcer of the colony, and his name and appearance are pretty spot on for how menacing he is. He informs Dal that he’s looking for Fugitive Zero, but before they can make any real headway into their conversation (and more specifically, before Drednok can harm Dal), Zero (Angus Imrie) sabotages a piece of mining equipment, which leads to Dal’s ankle bracelet falling off. Of course, Dal sees this as his chance to escape the colony and find a better life for himself.
Luckily, he already has a plan: Dal takes off running and steals a ship from the engineer Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), but not before he runs face-first into the large and intimidating alien Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui). For a few minutes, it looks like Dal just might make it — but it turns out Dal has caught the notice of the overseer of the entire colony, The Diviner (John Noble), and he is determined that no one will escape. Dal falls back to the planet, dejected that his escape attempt failed.
It’s not clear what Dal did to merit being in an underground prison colony, but the next scene gives us a clue: The Kazon are supplying Tars Lamora with labor, and it’s not just criminals they’re selling but orphans as well. The Kazon (from Star Trek: Voyager fame) hand over a young Caitian (the same species as Doctor T’Ana from Lower Decks) as they apologize for shortages in the labor supply — they’ve already handed over “every criminal and orphan this side of the Delta.” This tells us that the colony is using its prisoners as laborers and also that this planet is located in the Delta quadrant of the galaxy, the same area that the bulk of Star Trek: Voyager occurred.
This scene also introduces us to Gwyn (Ella Purnell), who is The Diviner’s daughter and is extremely adept with languages. She’s clearly frustrated with her situation — being ordered around and used by her father, yet doesn’t have any clue what his plan is.
The Diviner is a mysterious being, for sure. We know he’s looking for something on the planet Tars Lamora is located on, but we don’t know what it is or why. Though we don’t learn much about him in this first episode, one thing is clear: The Diviner is very powerful. He orders Gwyn to find out what Dal knows about Zero — or else Drednok will use other, more painful, means to discover the answers they’re seeking.
After Gwyn leaves, we learn more about The Diviner’s plans: Whatever he’s looking for has to do with the Federation. He wants to protect Gwyn from their influence — it seems that he’s afraid that she could turn against him if she’s exposed to more noble ideals and goals and learns that there’s a better way out there.
Back in Dal’s cell, he has a conversation with a mysterious disembodied voice — one about hope. That’s a running theme throughout this first episode. The Diviner wants to make sure that none of his prisoners have even the hope of escape. Dal is the only one who still has that spark, that hope for something greater than the sum of his current existence. He’s taken to see Gwyn, and it’s clear that the two have a bond — they’ve talked about their dreams of seeing the stars. Gwyn makes it clear to him that he needs to figure out where Zero is or Drednok will hurt him.
Dal heads to the northwest crevasse, a seemingly dangerous area, where he’s buddied up with Rok-Tahk. After an altercation (during which Rok-Tahk saves Dal from falling rock), they uncover something magnificent: a Federation starship, hidden below the surface of the planet, completely empty and just waiting to take Dal and his companions on new adventures.
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.