Star Trek: Prodigy 1×13 Review: “All The World’s A Stage”
Unable to join or even contact Starfleet thanks to the weapon hidden on their bridge subdeck, the crew of the Protostar attempts to make the most of their situation. In “All The World’s A Stage”, they investigate a distress signal that ends up not being anything like they expected.
When the kids beam down to the planet, they discover that the locals recognize them as Starfleet, despite there being no recorded contact with the planet. The locals, who refer to themselves as “Enderprizians”, look more like kids playing dress up as they mimic the mannerisms and even the inflections of people like Kirk, Sulu, and Bones. The Enderprizians take Dal and the others to “the bridge”, which is set up like a theater, and tell them the story.
The story is that about a hundred years ago – which was the last time a Starfleet vessel was even in the vicinity – an ensign crash-landed on the planet to warn them of a danger in the woods. I love this scene so much, because it takes a common situation on Star Trek – captain’s logs – and flips it on its head. Also, the sight of Jankom just chilling there essentially eating popcorn was hilarious.
Watching the Enderprizians play at being Starfleet strikes a chord with Dal, as he realizes that they are all basically doing the same thing. As much as they would like to be, they aren’t Starfleet. And Dal can’t help but wonder if they’re all just kidding themselves, if they look as ridiculous. This crippling self-doubt may be one of the reasons that Dal decides they should head back to the ship, believing that the distress call was a mistake. Considering the personal blow Dal had recently, and that he might not ever get to learn more about his origins, it’s not that surprising that he feels this way.
However, it turns out that the danger in the woods is real. A young Enderprizian comes stumbling into the settlement suffering from a mysterious disease. She collapses in Dal’s arms, and he contracts the same illness. Zero believes that they can synthesize an antidote, but not without more information. Here Gwyn and Zero sort of overrule Dal’s decision, which I appreciate. As much as Dal is still making some decisions based on emotion, this shows that he can acknowledge when he was wrong and let others step up.
Gwyn, Jankom, and Rok investigate and find that the story they were told is true. The Galileo, one of the shuttles from the USS Enterprise, did indeed crash on the planet over a hundred years before. The plasma from the warp core has been leaking into a cave of dilithium crystals, and the reaction is what is causing the sickness. Unfortunately, the interference from the leaking plasma is affecting their communications, so they can’t radio back to Zero.
Jankom, who has been humbled by his inability to disable the weapon on the Protostar, is unwilling to let another broken device stymie him. I love this moment, because it shows the dichotomy of Jankom as a character. He often tries to get out of dangerous situations. Earlier in the episode, he pretended to be sick so that he wouldn’t have to go down to the planet. But here, in a situation where he could potentially die, he just tells Gwyn and Zero to give him a nice funeral.
This moment also shows that Jankom has been doing his homework. He is immediately able to identify the make and class of the shuttle, and he is able to fix something that’s been broken for a century without the use of his usual tools.
In the end, Jankom is able to use the shuttle’s communication to radio back to Zero, as the Enderprizians have the original communicator. Once Dal is cured, they must rescue the others, who are trapped in the dilithium cave. But they can’t beam them out, because of the interference. So they beam three Enderprizians aboard the Protostar to help pilot the ship into the cave for a rescue. It’s very Galaxy Quest, and I love it.
Meanwhile, the real Janeway is interrogating the Diviner and coming to all the wrong conclusions about what happened to Chakotay. Given the information at her disposal, it’s not surprising that she thinks that the Diviner is a victim of whoever stole the Protostar. After all, the evidence implies that they stole his daughter and attacked a Starfleet outpost. (The officer who manned the outpost, by the way, was rescued, which is why they found no signs of life at the wreckage in “Let Sleeping Borg Lie”.)
Still, it’s frustrating to know that Janeway thinks the worst of the poor kids aboard the Protostar. I can absolutely understand how it looks from her perspective. I can only hope that when they finally catch up to the Protostar, that she will see that they are children and give them the benefit of the doubt. I can’t imagine Janeway thinking that they would have had anything to do with Chakotay’s disappearance.
It begs the question of how they will approach Starfleet if they can’t even open a hail. Dal hints in his log at the end of the episode that they may just abandon the Protostar altogether. But I have seen others suggest that they could utilize Morse Code somehow, or use another form of primitive communication. I have also seen people theorize that they drop someone off and let them approach on their own.
“All The World’s A Stage” may very well be my favorite episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, after “Kobayashi”. It reminds me a lot of “Ember Island Players”, which is my favorite episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But it also takes a one-off redshirt character (Ensign Garrovick was in the original series), which is a meme at this point, and makes him into an actual hero. Not only did he inspire generations of Enderprizians with his actions, but also a group who could be the next generation of Starfleet officers.
This episode does a great job at embodying the spirit of Star Trek. Starfleet is more than a fleet of ships; it’s an ideal. It’s a shared goal of a utopian society, where people of all walks have a voice and can share in the advancements of society. Prodigy is a show meant for children and yet still capable of inspiring people of all ages, especially when it gives its characters lines like, “I’ve learned never to fear the truth.”
As we go into the next episode, we’re left with some lingering questions. How will the kids contact Starfleet without using the Protostar? What happened to Chakotay, and was the Diviner responsible? What the heck is going on with Murf? I am very excited to find out the answers to these 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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