On Star Trek: Prodigy, the crew of the Protostar has finally found Starfleet. Or rather, Starfleet has found them! The penultimate episode of Prodigy season 1 was written by Erin McNamaran and directed by Andrew L. Schmidt.
The Protostar faces dozens of Starfleet ships. Aboard the Dauntless, Vice Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is in the brig. She pleads with the guard on duty to let her warn Starfleet about the weapon aboard the Protostar. The guard (Bonnie Gordon) cites Starfleet Order 104 Section C, saying Janeway has been determined medically unfit to lead. Janeway states that if anyone contacts the Protostar, the Living Construct will activate, turning the armada against itself.
On the Protostar, Captain Dal R’el (Brett Gray), Gwyn (Ella Purnell), Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), Zero (Angus Imrie), Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), and Hologram Janeway take in the armada. Janeway states that this is where the Construct wanted to be in order to activate: in the heart of Federation space. Starfleet will be decimated if the signal is released.
Gwyn says that the Vice Admiral can set Starfleet straight. But Dal admits that his actions while occupying her mind in the previous episode may have compromised her authority. The crew of the Protostar has no way to contact the Federation to tell them about Janeway or the Construct.
On the Dauntless, the San Francisco-based Admiral Jellico (Ronny Cox) remotely questions Commander Tysess (Daveed Diggs). He asks why the Vice Admiral is on medical leave. He states she was healthy when they spoke during the events of “Masquerade.” Thanks to that conversation, he knows there is an unknown weapon onboard a ship stolen by imposters.
“Ensign Asencia” (Jameela Jamil) approaches the viewscreen. She tells Cox that because the Protostar refuses to answer hails, Janeway has commanded them to disrupt the shields and beam a boarding party over. Cox confirms they need to get a team on the ship. Tysess orders phasers to be fired on the Protostar to take out their shields.
Zero is attempting to bypass the software blockade on the Protostar’s controls by reconfiguring the hardware. “We ‘hot wire’ it,” concludes Zero. Rok seemingly references Jurassic Park (1993) as power to the Protostar is restored: “We’re back in business!”
But Gwyn points out the shields are fading fast. Jankom says they can’t Protowarp until the Protocore is online. Dal orders auxiliary power from the unusable Protodrive be re-routed to the shields.
The Protostar executes evasive maneuvers. The various Starfleet ships continue to fire phasers at them. However, shields are holding. Dal says they’ve been in “worse jams with less practice,” assuring the crew they’ll laugh about it one day at Starfleet Academy. Rok nearly tells him that they won’t accept an augment, but Gwyn delays the revelation. Dal concludes his inspirational Captain’s speech. The Protostar undertakes a move Jankom calls the “Slippery Dipsy-Doodle” and continues to evade fire from Starfleet.
In the Dauntless brig, Vice Admiral Janeway tells the guard that if they open comms with the Protostar, Starfleet’s weapons will turn upon themselves. “If you knew me at all, you’d know you could trust what I’m saying,” she says.
The guard turns to face her. She says she does know her, and cites the events of the Star Trek: Voyager season 5 episode “Counterpoint.” In this episode, Janeway lied to protect Devore refugees. Janeway recalls the events, saying the refugees were innocent and unarmed.
The guard reveals she is one of the refugees Janeway helped to escape. The guard says she’s alive because of Janeway. Janeway says, “I’m so glad to have met you… again.” As they shake hands, the guard returns Janeway’s comm badge to her.
Meanwhile, the Protostar continues to evade fire from Starfleet. The Protostar’s shields have reached critical levels. Gwyn leaves the bridge and arms herself with a phaser rifle. She says The Diviner (John Noble) won’t try to talk. But in case anything happens, she wants Dal to hear the news from her. Dal kisses her, but that’s not the news Gwyn has to share.
She reveals Starfleet won’t allow augments. Dal collapses. Gwyn says she’s sorry, but Dal deserves the truth. Meanwhile, the Protostar’s shields fall. Dal takes the rifle from Gwyn and says, “We all deserve to belong somewhere.” But he says that if he can’t join Starfleet, he’ll make sure they can.
On the Dauntless, “Asencia” joins the landing party. But before they can beam over, she deactivates her disguise and reveals herself as The Vindicator. She is joined by Dreadnok (Jimmi Simpson) and The Diviner on the transporter pads. The Vindicator says to destroy anyone who gets in their way. “Except my progeny,” interjects The Diviner.
On the Protostar, Dal and Gwyn return to the bridge. Dal orders all hands on deck, and says not to allow the interlopers to reach the Construct. He leaves Gwyn to defend the sealed bridge.
The rest of the crew confronts the trio. Dreadnok enters attack mode. While he keeps the crew busy, The Diviner and The Vindicator head to the bridge. They deactivate the holo-emitters and Hologram Janeway vanishes. The Vindicator orders The Diviner to check to see the Construct is intact.
Elsewhere, Dreadnok incapacitates most of the crew.
Meanwhile The Vindicator locks The Diviner in the chamber with the Construct. Gwyn confronts The Vindicator and they begin combat. Dreadnok’s advantage is lost when Murf comes between him and Dal, turning the tide of the fight. On the bridge, Gwyn leaves a scar across The Vindicator’s eye. Dreadnok uses ice to stick Murf to the wall and finally incapacitates all of his opponents.
Diviner and Vindicator
The artifact fight on the bridge continues. The Vindicator tells Gwyn she’s not one of them, she’s just a mistake. As she advances on Gwyn, The Diviner emerges from the Construct chamber. The Vindicator holds Gwyn at sword point and demands The Diviner open comms with Starfleet.
The Diviner turns Gwyn’s artifact on The Vindicator. Catching it, she says he was always the weak one. Then she throws the artifact back at The Diviner and impales him. Next she hails Starfleet.
On the Dauntless, Janeway arrives on the bridge and tells them not to accept the hail. But Tysess has already opens comms. On the viewscreen, The Vindicator laughs. The Construct activates. A red wave flows outward from the Protostar, corrupting the ships it washes over. Lights on the Starfleet ships all turn red.
Janeway orders all comms and weapons deactivate. However the controls aren’t responding. Shields are down. The Vindicator says Starfleet left her to watch her people tear themselves apart, and now she will watch the Federation do the same. “Starfleet’s destruction is our salvation,” she states.
Phasers and torpedoes on the present Starfleet ships begin activating and firing on one another. Explosions occur. The incapacitated Protostar crew has a moment of desperation as the carnage begins to unfold. But Rok says they’re not done. With tremendous effort, she and Jankom work together to free Murf. Murf frees Zero, who frees Dal. In turn, Dal frees Jankom and Rok. “Let’s try that again,” says Dal.
The Diviner’s Gift
The freed crew reaches the bridge. Rok and Murf assist Gwyn and The Diviner. The rest confront The Vindicator. However, Dreadnok transforms into an escape pod. Together, Dreadnok and The Vindicator escape.
The Diviner tells Gwyn that he tried to save their world. He wanted her to see it. The Diviner says that she might be able to unify them. “There’s no barrier we cannot overcome, for you are my daughter, my spirit’s song,” The Diviner tells her. “My Gwyndala.” He dies, and subsequently disintegrates into blue energy.
Hologram Janeway reactivates and gasps as she sees the destruction. The crew begins assessing the situation. But that’s complicated by the loss of the universal translators: as we saw in the first episode, they all speak different languages.
On the Dauntless, Vice Admiral Janeway issues the order to prepare to abandon ship. However, this isn’t effective, because the universal translators aren’t working on her ship, either. Rok is about to get frustrated. Fortunately, Gwyn possesses the ability to speak different languages without a translator. “My father had me study languages to pit species against each other,” she says. “Instead, I can bring them together.”
Vice Admiral Janeway contacts the Protostar. Fortunately, both she and Dal speak standard. They can communicate. While any ship with a Starfleet signature will be corrupted by the Construct, ships without Starfleet signatures would be immune. Dal asks Janeway how many non-Starfleet allies are nearby.
Janeway says asking another to put themselves at risk is no small request, even with universal translators. Gwyn says they brought this problem to them, but she has the tools to fix it. Janeway opens a distress signal to any nearby vessels.
Dal gives Gwyn the bridge and calls her “Captain.” Klingon Captain Trij (Debra Wilson) appears on the viewscreen. Gwyn explains the situation to her in Klingon. She requests their air: immediate assistance, and help relaying the message to other non-Starfleet allies.
The Klingon asks why she should help. Gwyn says that there needs to be somewhere where everyone belongs. If the Federation has helped the Klingon like it has helped the Protostar crew, now is the time to help so it can survive. The Klingon disappears. Vice Admiral Janeway says it was a worthy effort. But now, they need to concentrate on evacuation.
The Starfleet vessels continue to fire on one another. But just as Doctor Noum (Jason Alexander) and Janeway are about to be destroyed by friendly torpedo fire, a Klingon bird of prey appears and absorbs the hit with its shields. Other non-Starfleet vessels appear as well, including Vulcan, Gorn, and Ferengi. Their shared awe makes them realize Hologram Janeway has fixed their universal translator.
However, that’s when another Starfleet vessel, the Sovereign NCC-73811, warps in. Unlike the non-Starfleet ships, it is immediately corrupted by the Construct’s signal. More Starfleet ships are still arriving in response to automatic distress signals from other Starfleet ships. Each Starflet ship that arrives to provide reinforcement will immediately be compromised. These in turn will call for help, bringing in even more ships to be corrupted.
“There aren’t enough allies in the sector to stop what’s coming,” states Janeway as a bird of prey explodes.
More ships arrive. The destruction continues. The Construct signal cannot be stopped and the Protostar cannot warp away. The snare tightens. Can the trap be escaped?
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