SPOILER WARNING: This article contains story details and plot points for Episode 18 of Star Trek: Prodigy "Mindwalk."
Things don’t look good at the beginning of the latest episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, “Mindwalk.” The Protostar is on course for Federation space, thanks to Hologram Janeway’s mutinous secret algorithm. There’s nothing the crew can do to change that; the Living Construct has taken over the ship.
Hologram Janeway is clearly distraught by her betrayal of the crew and decides to take herself offline for the time being. If she doesn’t know what the crew is doing, she can’t sabotage them. The crew is clearly concerned, but they also have bigger things to worry about — the U.S.S. Dauntless, and the fact that it’s hailing them.
The Protostar automatically tries to evade the Dauntless by going to warp, presumably another tactic by the Living Construct. Aboard the Dauntless, Vice Admiral Janeway isn’t answering comms; she was incapacitated by Ensign Asencia. The Vau N’Akat stows the unconscious admiral with plans to place her combadge in Janeway's quarters and say that the admiral asked not to be disturbed.
Asencia arrives on the Bridge, back in her Trill disguise, just in time to see the Protostar jump to warp. The chase is on! The Dauntless merges their warp bubble into the Protostar’s, which allows them to catch up and lock onto the ship with their weapons systems.
As the crew brainstorms how they might be able to communicate with the Dauntless without using their comm system, the other ship opens fire. Things are pretty dire, but Gwyn has an idea; maybe Zero can communicate with the admiral telepathically!
However, at their present range, they're unable to do it by themself. But, by working with Dal, who also possesses telepathic genes, it’s possible they might have a shot. As the ship is rocked by phaser fire, Zero leads Dal through a meditation to try to connect their minds and reach Vice Admiral Janeway. Suddenly, they’re knocked out thanks to a strong blast.
When Dal comes to, he sees Murf towering over him. Except it’s not Dal; it’s the admiral speaking through Dal. The situation gets even more complicated — Dal is trapped in Janeway’s body on the Dauntless. It’s clear there are going to be some hijinks.
Dal as Vice Admiral Janeway walks onto the Dauntless Bridge, and Asencia is shocked to see her. She’s nervous about being exposed for who she is and potentially delaying her sole mission. Fortunately for her, this Janeway — AKA Dal — has no memory of their encounter. Dal’s first order as the admiral is to cease firing on the Protostar, but to maintain pursuit of the ship.
Meanwhile, back on the Protostar, the crew has explained their plight to the real Janeway as she adjusts to being in Dal’s body. She realizes that they’ve been evading communication in order to protect Starfleet. She wants to help — and there lies the trouble. The only way she can do that is to return to the Dauntless, back in her own body, but it’s unclear how they're going to accomplish that.
Back on the Dauntless, Dal is struggling to maintain the ruse. Asencia knows there’s something wrong, and Dr. Noum has detected damage in Janeway’s cerebral cortex. Dal-as-Janeway announces that she’s going to take a nap. Asencia takes the opportunity to tell Commander Tysess, now at the helm, that the Protostar is heading for a restricted sector near the heart of Federation space. She manipulates Tysess into calling for backup. It’s going to be easier for the Living Construct to destroy Starfleet if there are more ships present when they finally make contact.
On the Protostar, Vice Admiral Janeway realizes that because Holo-Janeway is a non-essential program, she can reboot the program and remove the secret subroutine added in by the Construct. Not only does this restore Holo-Janeway’s program, but she's also able to recover her previous memories. Holo-Janeway remembers Chakotay and the Protostar’s first crew and shows the admiral the remnants of their distress call. Unfortunately, she still doesn’t know the status of Chakotay and his crew following that call.
Rok-Tahk interrupts the Janeways to let them know that the crew has figured out a way to swap Dal and Vice Admiral Janeway back to their rightful bodies. The phaser blast acted as a conduit for the transfer of their consciousnesses. Their only opportunity to undo the mind swap is to initiate physical contact between Janeway and Dal. The trouble, however, is that the two ships are traveling at warp, and they have to somehow relay that message to Dal aboard the Dauntless.
They end up playing a game of charades to tell Dal he needs to put on a spacesuit and leave the ship. He gets the message, but Asencia and Tysess are waiting to escort the admiral to sickbay because of how strangely she’s been acting. Dal takes off running but is soon overpowered by the Dauntless security.
As the crew says goodbye to Vice Admiral Janeway, she breaks the news to Gwyn that because Dal will never be allowed to join Starfleet because he's an Augment. Though, at the moment, they have bigger problems — Dal is currently in restraints aboard the Dauntless. When he awakens, The Diviner is present. The Diviner confesses that he has mixed feelings given that the Dauntless crew has been so kind to him; but in the end, he must proceed with his mission.
However, in return for saving his life on Tars Lamora, The Diviner releases the restraints on the admiral. He asks that, if his mission fails, that she protect his daughter, Gwyndala. In a moment of honesty, Dal proclaims that he’d do anything to protect Gwyn.
Dal hurries to put on a pressure suit and escape the Dauntless, while Vice Admiral Janeway does the same on the Protostar. With his abilities, Murf acts as a tether to safely stretch Janeway towards Dal, but the Dauntless catches Dal in their tractor beam. Janeway quickly uses a phaser and fires a non-fatal shot at Dal in her body, hoping that the resulting energy will act as another conduit. The risky move works allowing the two to swap bodies once again.
Just as Dal arrives on the Bridge of the Protostar, the ship drops out of warp and there’s a huge fleet waiting for them. Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether Vice Admiral Janeway will be able to help them out of this...because her crew has detained her in the Brig.
Swapna Krishna (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., Latin America, Australia, South Korea, Italy and the U.K. and is coming soon to Paramount+ in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France 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. Star Trek: Prodigy is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.