Episodes 14 and 15 of Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 felt like a two-parter, so I wanted to write about them together. Let’s dive right in!
We start on the Dauntless, where they’re trying to track down Barniss Frex, the survivor they identified from the Starfleet outpost in “Asylum.” The Diviner is still having trouble with his memories, but suddenly it comes to him that his daughter’s name is Gwyndala.
Meanwhile the Protostar crew has found an extremely Hoth-like planet where they plan to hide the ship under the snow while they go search for Starfleet on their own. They bid a touching goodbye to Hologram Janeway and put the ship into sleep mode, then head to Denaxi Depo, the main transportation hub in the sector, which feels even more Star Wars-y, even with the presence of both the Xindi-Reptilians and Okona from the TNG episode “The Outrageous Okona.”
The crew almost hitches a ride with Okona, voiced by the original actor Billy Campbell, but the authorities show up and accuse him of smuggling. As a blizzard begins, our heroes decide to split up to look for another transport off-world. Just then the Dauntless crew arrive in search of Barniss Frex, who’s ended up at the same transport hub.
Several of our crewmembers come so close to approaching one of the Dauntless crew and actually saying what’s going on, but just missing. Jankom runs into Dr. Noum and is excited to meet a fellow Tellarite, but gets offended when Noum makes fun of his height, and Jankom storms off. Gwyn meets a Klingon who turns out to be shady, but she’s bailed out by Ensign Asencia. She recognizes Gwyn by her name and tells her the Diviner is on their ship, which freaks Gwyn out and she runs off.
At the same time, Dal finds Vice-Admiral Janeway and finds he’s so overwhelmed he can barely speak. She assumes he wants to enlist in Starfleet, but before he can get the words out, Janeway’s Andorian XO, Tysess, brings over Barniss Frex and Dal hides before Frex sees him. Frex gives an over-the-top scare description of the people who destroyed his station and mentions that one of them was purple. Janeway puts two and two together and realizes she just met one of the people she’s hunting. Dal grabs the rest of the crew to run, and they try to figure out how the Diviner escaped, and why Starfleet thinks they blew up the relay station and kidnapped Chakotay.
Before getting security to lock down the facility and heading after the fleeing Protostar kids, Janeway chastises Frex for failing to mention that the people who destroyed his station were children.
Doubling down on the Star Wars-y-ness of it all, the Protostar crew escape on a speeder with stowaway Okona, who helps them get away from security by sharing an illegal fuel booster that he has on hand. At the same time, it looks like Murf is about to hatch. Still, they escape to the Protostar and launch into space. But Janeway and her crew beam quickly back to the Dauntless and her ship pursues them.
As the crew scrambles to figure out their next move Murf hatches into a toddler that’s gives me big Baby Groot vibes – he has legs and arms and a seemingly adorable, gentle personality, but immediately accidentally launches a torpedo, which hits the Dauntless.
Janeway returns fire before the Protostar can engage its protostar drive and escape, throwing them out of warp. Okona suggests they cross into the Neutral Zone because the Dauntless can’t follow them without risking a war with the Romulans.
Admiral Janeway orders her crew to pursue, but Tysess refuses to follow her orders, saying he thinks she’s risking war for the Federation based on her personal feelings about Chakotay.
Just then, a Romulan warbird decloaks and warns them not to cross into the Neutral Zone!
In the Neutral Zone, the Protostar needs to find a place to put in for repairs. Okona is fitting in really well with the crew, and it’s making Dal feel a bit self-conscious. And Murf is getting used to walking, sometimes while firing phasers randomly at the same time! Like I said, big Baby Groot energy with this one.
Okona steps in when Dal has trouble suggesting a place to go, and proposes they hit up one of his old smuggling haunts, Noble Isle. He also sprawls in the captain’s chair and flirts a bit with Hologram Janeway while Dal rolls his eyes.
On the Dauntless, Janeway tries to convince Admiral Jellico to let her enter the Neutral Zone, but he refuses. In spite of the risks, he also thinks she’s weighting her personal feelings about Chakotay too strongly in this scenario.
At Noble Isle they have to use a space elevator to get down to the planet. Okona says it’s because people on the planet are pushing the boundaries of science, and it’s sensitive business. Rok gets super excited to join them on the away mission, and Zero and Pog stay back to work on repairs. Janeway tells the rest of the crew to be careful though because when Okona says “cutting edge,” he really means “unregulated.” She cautions them: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
In the elevator there are ads for scientific procedures. A Dr. Jago advertises a genetic augmentation process to “bring out the best in you.” And it turns out Okona was going down to see Dr. Jago as a client.
Rok is super enthused about Jago’s lab, and points out what she knows about DNA. Jago is upset with Okona for losing her shipment, but excited to meet Dal, and she fills in a key piece of information about his origin: he was grown in a lab by the protégés of Dr. Eric Soong.
Dal seems crushed to learn that he doesn’t have parents, and Jago’s shade about his “unremarkable” human genetic blend and “sloppy work” combining him with other races…doesn’t help. Jago promises a solution through her genetic augmentation process. Dal knows this is exactly the kind of thing Janeway was talking about, but he sneaks back to the lab while the others continue on.
Meanwhile on the Dauntless, Asencia is continuing to work with The Diviner when Janeway comes in.
Asencia offers to covertly enter the Neutral Zone, because she knows how much this means to Janeway. Janeway says no, but this gives her an idea: if they want to follow the Protostar, the Romulans do too. She orders Asencia to figure out a way to monitor Romulan communications channels.
On Noble Isle, Okona continues to entertain the Protostar crew. Dal comes back and seems different. He’s doing acrobatics and acting confident to the point of being smug. He’s also throwing around words like “perspicacious.”
On the Protostar, Jankom is repairing the engine when the Romulans show up and stun him. They come to the bridge and stun Zero too, but find that they can’t access ship controls without the captain.
A group of Romulans in anti-grav suits dive down from the space elevator platform to the planet. And the Dauntless is aware of it. Janeway readies weapons in case they need to destroy the Protostar to prevent it falling into Romulan hands.
The Romulans confront the Protostar crew on the planet and assume Okona is the captain, but Dal corrects them and unintentionally creates an opening for Okona to escape. Murf is struggling to get out of his hamster-like ball that Rok is carrying him in. Dal maxes out his implant and takes down a bunch of Romulans. When he turns around his forehead is showing Klingon ridges, and Rok immediately realizes he got the implant. “You cheated,” she says. As they try to make their way back to the ship, he also sprouts pointy ears, Andorian antennae and Tellarite tusks.
They catch an elevator up, but the Romulans find them and try to shoot their way in. Gwyn gets them to put on EV suits as Dal keeps mutating. Rok recognizes they can use the lightning to their advantage as long as Gwyn drops her metal heirloom. The lightning ends up striking the Romulans on the other elevator and knocking them down.
Finally, they let Murf out of his ball and he attacks the Romulans, dodging their weapons and throwing them off their platform. “Looks like we found our new security officer,” says Gwyn.
On the Dauntless, listening and hearing that things are going very wrong, Janeway launches torpedoes to disable the ship, but gives the order to abort when she hears that the Protostar kids have escaped and are on their way back to the ship. “Who are these kids?” wonders Janeway.
Dal apologizes and says he wanted them to look at him like they looked at Okona. Gwyn says he’s better than Okona because he didn’t leave them. Back on the ship, Rok does her first Science Officer log. Pog now has the parts to work on the nacelles. Zero and Rok were able to remove Dal’s implant and reverse the changes. Rok says they learned on Noble Isle that science needs rules, and that it’s our imperfections that make us who we are. D’aww.
On the Dauntless, Acensia storms into The Diviner’s room and says they’re running out of time and need to make a change. She orders Drednok to activate, and the table changes into a familiar-looking robot henchman – Transformers-style. Acensia then presses a button on the back of her neck that looks the same as Dal’s genetic implant. She transforms into a Vau N’Akat – the same species as the Diviner and Gwyn, and says, “You weren’t the only one sent back to find the ship.”
And that’s the cliffhanger for this week!