The Protostar crew makes their first contact with one of the most infamous alien species in the Star Trek canon in “Let Sleeping Borg Lie”! The twelfth episode of Star Trek: Prodigy was written by Diandra Pendleton-Thompson and directed by Olga Ulanova & Sung Shin.
On the holodeck, the present day Protostar crew relives the climactic scene of Prodigy season 1 episode 10, “A Moral Star: Part 2.” A Hologram version of The Diviner (John Noble) explains the nature of the weapon aboard the Protostar to hologram Gwyn (Ella Purnell). It will corrupt any Federation computer to which it comes into contact.
Meanwhile, present day Gwyn observes. She is joined by Captain Dal R’el (Brett Gray), Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), Zero (Angus Imrie), Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), and Hologram Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). Gwyn pauses the playback volume.
Jankom is outraged that “his” ship is being used to carry a secret weapon. Zero observes that this explains why, in the previous episode, the computers on CR-721 reacted differently than anywhere else the Protostar has visited.
The crew recounts The Diviner’s motivation for such destruction: the consequences of Starfleet making First Contact with his homeworld. Gwyn underscores that this contact hasn’t happened yet: The Diviner is from the future. She believes he is dead.
Murf gurgles in a seemingly unwell way.
Hologram Janeway says she would know if there was a secret weapon aboard the ship. However Jankom points out that they erased the memory of the protostar from her memory, as well. “Touché,” concedes Hologram Janeway.
Hologram Zero prepares to remove his protective suit. Present day Zero ends playback. Rok reassures them. Zero states that they couldn’t live with themselves if they hurt anyone else and exits.
Jankom insists they locate the weapon. A montage shows the crew searching every “bulkhead, cargo bay, and Jefferies tube.” Except the bridge. They search for hidden switches or rooms. Jankom scans the components of the bridge. He eventually locates a symbol.
Gwyn’s heirloom reacts to the symbol and forms a key. This opens a passageway to a secret subdeck. Hologram Janeway has no record of its existence.
The subdeck is lit with ominous red light. They locate the weapon. It is black and red, hovering, and acts “like it is alive.” They discuss how to disarm it. Jankom attempts to fire his phaser at it but it avoids harm.
A proximity alarm brings the crew back to the bridge. A Borg cube looms ahead. Hologram Janeway apprises the uninformed crew about the threat of assimilation. However, Gwyn suggests the Borg’s ability to ascertain the key to thwarting an opponents’ weapons might prove helpful in disarming the secret weapon.
Zero ascertains that the Borg aboard the cube are dormant. Data systems are functioning normally, but the drones are sleeping. Dal proposes slipping in and using their systems before slipping out undetected. “We can save Starfleet,” Dal says.
Hologram Janeway remains against the plan. But if Dal is going ahead with it anyway, she needs to brief him on everything she knows about the Borg.
Meanwhile, aboard the USS Dauntless, Vice Admiral Janeway orders a cup of black tea. Ensign Ascencia (Jameela Jamil) questions her choice not to drink coffee. Janeway explains, “doctor’s orders.” But she quickly turns to business.
In the sick bay, Doctor Noam (Jason Alexander) is examining the Diviner. Noam reports that he’s just coming out of stasis. The Diviner says “they took my daughter,” and further mumbles about his mission. Noam informs Janeway that The Diviner likely cannot hear her.
Janeway says she needs The Diviner conscious. Noam points out that given that he doesn’t even know The Diviner’s species, any sign of life is miraculous. Asencia suggests they replicate the bio-serum present in the “soup” they found him in and use that to revive him.
Asencia reports that they will arrive at CR-721, the location of the last protojump signature, in a few hours. Janeway orders Noam to explore Asencia’s theory. She wants answers from The Diviner.
The Protostar enters the Borg cube. Janeway notes that the cube went dark for a reason. “A neurolytic pathogen disabled their nanoprobes and shut down their drones, so going in is still risky but doable.” (See also: the Star Trek: Voyager series finale, “Endgame.”) Nevertheless, she urges them to be quick.
The Protostar lands and the crew disembark. Most of the crew finds the cube spooky, but Jankom marvels at the technology and describes it as an “engineer’s dream.” However, his demeanor alters when they catch sight of rows of sleeping Borg drones.
Zero explains that the cube contains the knowledge of a thousand assimilated worlds. But they’ll need to find the “Thinkulum” to access it. This is up some precarious ladders. Fortunately, they have soon arrived at the Thinkulum. “All the Borg minds connect through this hub,” explains Zero.
Jankom approaches the Thinkulum but is stumped as to how to interact with it. Dal ascertains that somewhat must link to the collective.
Zero states they used to be part of a collective hive mind, and so they have the best chance of resistance. They are motivated by the chance to ensure the weapon never harms anyone again. They promise they will return.
Inside the Thinkulum
Zero greets the Borg, who identify them as “Species 802: Medusian.” While Zero is impressed that they are not harmed by their appearance, the Borg explain Zero cannot hurt them within the Thinkulum. Then, they talk of assimilation. Zero is soon being seduced by the voices of the hive mind.
On the Protostar, Hologram Janeway notes the Borg are scanning the ship. She attempts to contact the crew for a status report. She informs them the Borg are waking up, urging haste.
Rok says the Borg are already in Zero’s mind. Hologram Janeway says the cube’s defenses are interfering so they can’t be beamed out. Dal says they need to go. Rok says they can’t leave Zero. A drone approaches and tells them, “Resistance is futile.” Dal promises they’ll return for Zero and instructs the away team to flee.
On a bridge, they are soon confronted by more drones. The first falls to phasers, encouraging them. But they have soon adapted to the phase variance, rendering the weapons ineffective. Gwyn’s heirloom works at first, but soon rendered ineffective as well. A second group of drones begins coming up behind the away team.
Rok punches several over the edge. Jankom is encouraged. Unfortunately his overzealous fire attack breaks one of the key bridge support wires. But Dal adopts the same technique to intentionally allow Gwyn to escape to a lower bridge level. He tells her to rescue Zero as he and the other away team members are overtaken by drones.
The Living Construct
Inside the Thinkium, the Borg attempt to convince Zero to join their collective. Zero resists, and brings up the “Living Construct,” the weapon aboard their ship. They argue that if the weapon could hurt the Federation it could reasonably one day hurt the Borg. They ask how they can deactivate it.
The Borg state that they will assimilate the ship and use the Living Construct to destroy their enemies. Zero protests, but the Borg state that the Protostar crew will be assimilated.
Elsewhere in the cube, Gwyn calls for her crew mates. Hologram Janeway informs her that they’ve been captured. She says they don’t have long until assimilation. Gwyn says she has to get to Zero, who can tell them to release everyone. Hologram Janeway tells Gwyn that as long as she doesn’t appear to be a threat, the Borg will leave her alone. Gwyn apprehensively complies.
As she walks between the Borg drones without her heirloom drawn, they ignore her. Although one seems suspicious, it allows her passage. Gwen uses her tricorder to track her crewmates.
Gwyn locates the majority of the crew in the assimilation chambers. They are relieved to see her. However, that’s when an assimilated Zero arrives. They are now glowing green inside their suit. Zero approaches Jankom to initiate assimilation.
Gwyn appeals to Zero, saying that she knows they don’t want to hurt their friends. It seems like Gwyn’s words are getting through. Until Zero states that assimilation is different than being hurt.
Gwyn says that we all get hurt by revealing pieces of ourselves to each other. She says that they did what they did as an act of love and protection, and they don’t need to feel guilty for that. She tells them “Resistance is not futile.” Zero repeats the statement. Inside the Thinkium, Zero tells the Borg they will resist, because they are part of a collective that is stronger than the Borg could ever be.
This causes a wave of energy to wash over the Borg cube. The drones are incapacitiated. A restored Zero says that they will be dormant only temporarily, and they need to make their escape now.
The crew returns to the Protostar. Hologram Janeway says she’s had enough Borg for two lifetimes as the ship takes off.
Hard Won Lessons
The Protostar is safely away from the Borg cube, traveling in space. Gwyn asks Zero what they learned about the Living Construct. Zero says it cannot be deactivated or removed. They can’t shut it off, but they learned a little more. However, Hologram Janeway says she’s impressed that they survived the Borg.
Dal asks how Zero escaped the hive mind, and Zero says, “I listened to a friend. While I may have harmed others in the past, I now choose to save.” Zero says the ship is in the same boat.
Jankom concludes that they aren’t going to Starfleet. Dal says not until they can do so safely. He says the answer to who he is will always be there, even if it takes longer to get there.
An incoming distress signal calls everyone’s attention. The crew reaffirms allegiance to Dal.
“You’re growing, and adapting,” states Hologram Janeway.
The Protostar heads off to do some good.
Admiral’s Log, Stardate 61284.3. The Dauntless arrives at the debris that is all that remains of CR-721 after the events of “Asylum.” Janeway determines that the destruction could not have been undertaken by Chakotay. She concludes someone else must be in command of the Protostar, and they must be stopped.
Meanwhile, in the Dauntless sick bay, The Diviner awakens with a gasp.
New episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy are available for streaming Thursdays on Paramount Plus.
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