Every Star Trek crew gets a few team-building adventures, and throwing in a time anomaly is a classic Trek technique.
Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Episode 8 moves the action forward while providing a potentially catastrophic lesson on the importance of everyone’s contribution.
On a more serious note, it’s also a new set of traumas for this young crew to carry and work through together.
What continues to blow my mind about each subsequent Star Trek: Prodigy offering is the tightness of the scripts.
They deliver a hook, adventure, and message in a mere half-hour format without ever relying on trite exposition.
Here, we open on Janeway’s teamwork holodeck exercise involving the familiar-to-us fox, chicken, and grain puzzle.
Dal: We can’t do the impossible!
Janeway: Impossible? You have everything to solve this problem, if only you would solve it together. You can’t let failure tear your crew apart.
Yes, it’s a funny scene. Chickens aren’t easy to wrangle, and both animals are probably entirely alien to the crew. Jankom’s straightforward plan to eat the grain himself tracks well.
But Zero realizes that moving back and forth to move forward is key to ultimately solving the time anomaly.
Another piece of the solution is embedded elegantly by drawing in the Diviner and Drednok story thread.
Next to the crew’s dangerous naïveté, the Vau N’akat and his henchbot are the crew’s greatest threat.
With Nandi’s intel on where to find the Protostar, they’re able to pinpoint the ship and — in a chilling revelation — take control of the vehicle replicator to build and download a new Drednok directly onboard.
(Random thought: First, The Diviner produces a new progeny, and, now, two Drednoks are running around? Methinks, there’s something afoot that smacks of Shakespearean shenanigans.)
However, Drednok 2.0 (going with this since I have no idea what generation Drednok our primary one is) provides Gwyn with the location of the coupler that Dal was missing after he built the warp matrix in his time phase.
Dal’s growth is a thing of heartwarming beauty. After their encounter with Nandi, he realizes living a con just doesn’t work — or maybe that it’s too much work — and he comes clean with the Janeway hologram to the dismay of the rest of the crew.
(Another aside: I’d like to think Janeway had already figured out their true Starfleet non-status and was just playing along because, as she states later, they are her crew whether they are Starfleet cadets or not.)
Janeway: You added a piece to the puzzle. It may not be finished, but you’re all in this together.
Dal: What happens next?
Janeway: We trust each other.
By coming clean, he thought he’d managed to throw in the towel and divest himself of any responsibility as “captain,” although you’ll note he still retained the captain’s quarters.
Their less successful adventures may have shaken his confidence, but Dal’s core is one of resilience, and — while I’m not clear on how he does it — he manages to MacGyver a warp matrix together once Janeway reboots his can-do spirit.
That the pressure of being the last crew member falls on Gwyn isn’t really surprising, neither to her nor to us. She’s kind of expected to be the capable one.
I appreciate that she knows herself well enough to point out to Janeway that trying to push her won’t work. There’s a lot behind that line we have yet to explore. Maybe Progeny 2.0 will hold those answers.
Drednok’s got a lot to answer for as well. His anti-progeny stance is more than programming. It’s personal.
He cannot see what I know to be true. You are his greatest mistake.
Now that Drednok 2.0 appears to be booting up onboard, but in a less-than-optimal physical capacity, I predict that we’re in for some very interesting backstory fill.
Throwing the salvation of the crew and ship back to Rok is the lynchpin of the story.
Trapped in the slowest-moving time phase, Rok-Tahk gets the time she needs to acclimate to the idea of being the hero of the story.
This mission cannot be done alone. And though we are divided by time, we can work together.
It’s an incredibly thoughtful approach to making the youngest, most sensitive member of the crew carry the weight of saving everyone she cares about.
(Well, Murf probably would’ve survived. He’s #INDESTRUCTIBLE, after all.)
Rok needs time to understand the problem, teach herself the skills, experiment, and learn from her errors.
All the while, she’s doing it in hopes of just being able to physically hug someone again. And that hope never lets her give up.
It’s important to note that it’s Gwyn who realizes how traumatic it would have been for Rok to be left alone for all that time. More than anyone on the crew, Gwyn understands the powerful effect of loneliness and isolation.
She also knows that Rok, who was always surrounded by other slaves in the Tars Lamora mines, would never have been alone for long in her memory.
But Rok’s not going to be the only one in need of some decompression time.
Jankom, Zero, Dal, and Gwyn each now remember what it’s like to be blown up. That’s fuel for some freaky bad dreams, for sure. Even Janeway experienced death in a way when Drednok deleted her program. Will Rok’s rebuild stand up?
Murf’s baggage is a little less cut-and-dry. How does his memory work? We know he can be beamed into space and survive. So did he just float around until the phases lined up again? That’s still pretty scary.
Word is that this batch of Prodigy episodes will wrap with a two-parter. I foresee a conflict with Drednok 2.0 onboard while Drednok 1.0 and The Diviner make their way to the Protostar.
If they’re able to contain Drednok 2.0, I think Janeway’s going to want some answers. Once they change the Chakotay authorization code, that is.
Where do you think the midseason finale arc will take us? Beam your thoughts into our comments!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.