“Starstruck” proves that the first two episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy were a perfect indicator of what we can expect from this show. This week’s episode maintained the same quality of writing, animation, and character development present in last week’s episodes.
“Starstruck” picks up exactly where “Lost & Found” last left the motley crew of the Protostar, staring at Hologram Janeway and having no idea what’s going on. Janeway gives our characters (and therefore the audience) a crash course in Starfleet, parroting much of the traditional opening narration (“to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations”). While her speech on peace and equality really appeals to most of the characters, Dal does not appreciate the hologram’s help and vows that they can make their way without her.
Unfortunately, Dal’s distrust soon leads the crew into disaster, as their self-plotted course sends them straight into the pull of a dying star. Despite doing everything they can to escape (diverting all power to the engines, ejecting everything that isn’t bolted down), it is only by acknowledging and accepting Janeway’s help that they are able to get away with the ship – and their lives – intact.
Meanwhile, on Tars Lamora, the Diviner has burst out of the tank keeping him alive and is determined to track the Protostar in order to recover the ship and his daughter. (But probably mostly the ship.) We learn that since the escape, there have been riots among the other prisoners (and that the little cat being that Gwyn saved is now among the rest of the prisoners). We also learn that part of the planet is a giant ship, and whatever mineral they’ve been mining helps cloak the rest of the planet.
I really liked this episode. Dal is suspicious of Janeway both because she is in a position of authority – and in his experience, anyone in authority lies – and because the better life that she is talking about sounds too good to be true. His behavior indicates that there is something dark in his past; we have no idea how long he has been on Tars Lamora or how he ended up there in the first place. We don’t know his species or where he comes from – and it’s fairly evident that he doesn’t know, either.
What we learn about Rok-Tahk in this episode, on the other hand, is just heartbreaking. When she and Jankom Pog explore the ship and discover the mess, she asks the replicators to make the food they served in the prison colony because it’s the only food she’s ever had. She’s clearly younger than the others and it seems that she has spent her entire life as a prisoner. I love that she confronts Gwyn about her involvement in their imprisonment, and I feel that shattering Gwyn’s worldview is going to be a recurring thing during this season.
While the events of “Starstruck” are important – being willing to accept help is something we all need to learn sometime – I think the character beats are the bigger thing to focus on. Nothing that happens is all that ground-breaking, but everything feels especially relevant after the past couple of years: Dal’s distrust of authority, Gwyn’s insistence that she was just following orders, the knowledge that most if not all of the prisoners on Tars Lamora aren’t even criminals.
But this is also an important lesson for this crew of young people who have never really been able to rely on anyone else before. Janeway said she would help and she did, thus proving that she can be trusted. These kids need to be able to trust someone other than themselves; they need to be able to put their faith in each other or they’re never going to survive. They may not be all the way there yet, but I think this is a good start.
“Starstruck” also lays the groundwork for the season’s arc. We still don’t know how Protostar ended up on Tars Lamora or why the Diviner wants it. Is there something special about this particular ship, or is he just after a Federation starship? Has the Federation been looking for their missing ship? I am really looking forward to learning the answers to those questions.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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