RED ALERT: This recap of the Star Trek: Prodigy episode “Lost & Found” holds a whole quadrant full of spoilers. You’ve been warned, but without the annoying flashing lights. Use the Janeway maneuver at your peril.
Welcome, Trekkies! The hour-long pilot episode of Star Trek: Prodigy kicked off the franchise’s newest series, which follows lawless teens in a mining colony located outside Federation space as they learn about the hope-inspiring Federation’s vision to boldly go.
Are you ready to dive into episode one of Star Trek: Prodigy? Engage!
Stardate: unknown. We open in an unfamiliar part of the Delta Quadrant, a large prison colony and mining operation on Tars Lamora. As two younglings drill ore, a machine (known as a Dredbot) looks on to ensure that none of the precious material is stolen. As we slowly pan through the prison operation, we see the dark side of ore crystal mining in the Milky Way.
The camera stops on Dal (Brett Gray), a young purple humanoid of an unknown species with the most adorable rat tail (probably ever), and the central character of the series. In the opening scene, we get a sense of who he is, an intelligent trickster who doesn’t think two steps ahead. Although he appears to be mining, he’s busy planning his escape.
As an ore transport comes up from the floor of the mines, Dal whispers under his breath, “My ticket outta here.”
Then, Zero (Angus Imrie), a Medusan (a genderless, non-corporeal lifeform renowned for their navigational abilities), appears to Dal. Dal, confused, turns to his fellow miners and asks, “Did anyone else see that?” When they shrug and mumble back at his question, the purple humanoid says, “Oh yeah, no one here understands anything.”
Yup, this means we’re in a part of the galaxy where sharing knowledge isn’t valued; it’s frowned upon except for a select few. As anyone who took world history knows, there’s a reason for this: influential people believe it’s easier to exercise control over others if they cannot communicate.
Bringing the point home, Dal witnesses two guards interrogating other prisoners about the whereabouts of the non-corporeal entity our hero just saw. The deadly robotic enforcer (with piercing red eyes), Drednok (Jimmi Simpson), soon disrupts Dal from his work to ask if he’s seen Fugitive Zero.
Drednok, whose sole purpose is to keep things on task and ensure the Protostar is found, asks Dal the same questions he asked the other prisoners, “Have you seen Fugitive Zero?”
In response to the question, Dal jokes, “Well, I can see how you lost him; he barely fits in the palm of your hand.” Then, pointing to Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), who’s eating mining equipment, “You may want to ask that thing. He looks like he has a big mouth if he even has a mouth.”
Not happy with Dal’s snarky response, Drednok goes for a belittling blow and asks Dal what species he is. Zero watches the interaction from a mysterious corner, and we hear Dal try to laugh off the rude question.
Right as Drednok is about to taser Dal for his insolence, Zero cuts the power to the mining operation — ya know, by blowing things to smithereens. This act alerts the robocops of Zero’s presence, offering Dal a chance to escape if only he could find an exit. But what he does find is even better, the first appearance of Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), a Brikarian.
Brikarians are native to the planet of Brikar from the Star Trek: The Next Generation novels, including Worf’s First Adventure, which is about the famous Klingon before he was an officer on board the Enterprise. They have thick, rock-like skin that enables them to withstand disruptor blasts, which will likely prove crucial later on…
Next, Dal jumps from the cliff with his master plan coming to fruition within the show’s first five minutes, so you know something will go wrong. He hollers from the top of his lungs, “HA! REMEMBER THIS DAY, WATCHERS, WHEN YOU WATCHED THE ONE DAL FOOL YOU ALL AND ESCAPE!”
Obvi, the Watchers immediately shoot him from the sky.
As Dal tumbles to the ground and tries to find another means of escape, he runs into Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas). The teenage Tellarite is working on a mining transport, which Dal immediately “borrows” for himself to flee the Dredbots. This scene brings us a slow-motion action sequence that’s sure to top a lot of slo-mo lists in the future!
As he tries to escape through the Rubble Crusher Outlet, Dal learns the Rubble Crusher can be that bad. His transport jams and something explodes.
As we wait in tension for a brief moment, we wonder if Dal survived the explosion, but then, the transport emerges unscathed.
However, Dal isn’t in the clear yet. RED ALARM!
As Dal launches himself off a dock, we meet the second villain determined to track down the Protostar: The Diviner (John Noble), the ruthless tyrant in charge of the Tars Lamora prison colony. Though his goals are shrouded in mystery, he exploits the “Unwanted” to hunt the Protostar, and he uses his own “Progeny,” Gwyn (Ella Purnell), who The Diviner created to carry out his mission.
The Diviner watches Dal’s escape attempt and ominously says, “No one, no one shall escape,” as Dal’s transport slowly slides back into the mining colony.
Suddenly, we cut to a Kazon ship flying into The Diviner’s prison colony, firmly placing our setting in the Delta Quadrant. Fun fact: the Kazon are the only species ever to be rejected for assimilation by the Borg.
Gwyn and Drednok walk out to meet the Kazon. The Kazon, there to trade for ore, is a lifeform who appears to be a young Caitian, a species that first appeared in 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, then in Star Trek: Lower Decks. After some terse words are exchanged in Kazon, a discounted price for the orphan-turned-slave is agreed upon.
Gwyn is visibly angry at this point and interrupts the transaction, telling the Kazon, “If you ever bring one so young again, it will be you working in the mines.” Since we all know how well Kazons take orders from women — and it doesn’t seem like Drednok handles it much better — Gwyn is told, “Do not overstep your boundaries.”
We cut back to The Diviner, who monitors all mining operations from a stasis pod. As Gwyn walks in, we see trailing vein-like features on each character illuminate, alerting each other to the other’s presence.
Here, as The Diviner asks how well she knows Dal, we learn the progeny has always cared for the “Unwanted.” Gwyn proceeds to provide some exposition for viewers, “I know his species is … unknown. He’s mildly intelligent, but his abilities are few. He talks a lot.”
The Diviner asks how the prisoner’s pain tolerance is before Gwyn interjects that she can get him to talk without resorting to torture methods, giving her time. But time is the one thing The Diviner doesn’t believe he has: he must get the prison population under control, which means finding Fugitive Zero before the inmates are too hopeful they can also escape.
I guess the big bad of the Vau N’Akat people is hope.
However, The Diviner gives Gwyn a chance to prove herself, but with a threat that if she fails, Drednok will use alternative methods, and I think everyone knows what that means. Indicating this conversation has happened many times before, as Gwyn walks away, she turns to Drednok and says, “That’s 12 me, six you. Not that I’m counting.”
From there, we learn The Diviner is hiding something from his progeny, saying she cannot know the truth of their mission because it could subject her to the “influence” of the Federation (funny word choice there, Daddy).
We cut back to Dal, who’s trying to break out of solitary confinement, and Zero, who’s using their empathic and telepathic abilities to communicate. More exposition ensues as we learn about another essential personality trait of Dal from a third party: he never gives up. Our hero is unique because he’s the only one in the prison camp who hasn’t given up hope and still believes freedom is possible.
But their conversation is cut short as two Dredbots arrive to escort Dal to Gwyn’s interrogation room, in which the two friends imagine a better world, banter, and then, Gwyn gets mad and promises freedom (something she cannot promise) if Dal helps. They eventually settle on a plan, but one that only helps those in power.
Importantly though, we learn of Zero’s plan to help Dal. They sabotaged the maniacal antenna on the mining asteroid. Despite the young hero’s word, viewers know it is primarily a coincidence he managed to escape at the same time, something Gwyn doesn’t believe as she turns toward Dal and says, “Fess up. You two are in cat-boots.”
Dal laughs, correcting Gwyn. Gwyn’s father controls the planet, who will never let her (or anyone else leave) the rock. But the young Dal schemes anyway and requests transport in the Kazon trade ship, a mission that requires him to look for the Medusan in a part of the asteroid used for deep core mining (the section that Rok-Tahk works in).
As Dal and Rok-Tahk descend into the depths of capitalism at its worst, e.g., exploitation of people and natural resources, the Brikarian shows her young age, smiling as the elevator plummets to the mining floor.
However, Dal, who hasn’t been into the deep core mines before, isn’t having as good of a time. The computer cycles through safety training videos that can be summed up as “WARNING! DEATH! DEATH! DEATH!” (Yup, it’s like being an “essential worker” in the era of COVID-19.)
Misgendering Rok-Tahk (AGAIN), Dal comments that they must use the buddy system for mining safety, but in my book, the buddy system was never enough to save anyone from death by capitalism. But differences aside, the two automatically get paired with the Brikarian, and that’s how he can ultimately co-opt Rok-Tahk into his cause.
I was won over by the scene of the two future crew members learning how to communicate without the help of a translator. Not only that, Dal learns a thing or two about helping others (although his character arc still has a ways to go with that lesson). As the two attempt to communicate, the mining equipment suddenly goes off, and boulders come crashing down around Dal.
Rok-Tahk dives in to save him, with her rock-like skin shielding them from the avalanche of (possibly) dilithium crystals. However, that dilithium ore isn’t the only hidden gem the pair uncovers. As Dal attempts to gather the ore in his arms, Rok-Tahk picks him up so they can both see the Protostar.
The duo stands there and stares at the find slack-jawed.
As Dal and Rok-Tahk walk toward the Protostar, emotional music plays, indicating that something big is coming, and I suggest that Trekkies have tissues on hand for the moment. Two young faces full of hope peer into the ship, and as the bay doors slide open, the Federation’s symbol is seen for the first time.
The duo explores, and after pressing some shiny things, the universal translator is turned on (although I have some questions about how it can immediately understand Dal’s speech if his species is unknown).
As the universal translator powers on, Dal realizes his mistake. Rok-Tahk doesn’t match his assumptions at all! And the two introduce themselves to each other, more or less for the first time, before Zero arrives to show themself to the other two finally.
Here we shift to the second part of the season’s pilot episode, which, in typical Star Trek fashion, follows a new captain as he gathers his crew.
Since the pilot episode is one hour, we’re breaking the first Star Trek: Prodigy recap into two parts to provide ALL the background information future Trekkies need as they watch the new series.
Prepare your coffee, and come back for part two of the first episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, “Lost & Found.”
New episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy are available to stream Thursdays on Paramount Plus.
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