Star Trek: Prodigy 1×14 Review: “Crossroads”

Crossroads Star Trek Prodigy
Photo: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2022 VIACOM INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved.

The crew of the Protostar is on the run for real in “Crossroads”, after an attempt to warn Starfleet of the danger aboard their ship goes horribly awry. They may have also inadvertently started a war. You know. No big deal.

Just one episode after resolving to not contact Starfleet – for their own safety, as the Living Consciousness will infect and destroy any ship they enter into communication with – Dal and the others decide that the best thing to do is to hide the Protostar and find a new way to Starfleet. They bury the ship in the snow on a planet reminiscent of Rura Penthe and head to the nearest depot.

When their first attempt at hitching a new ride doesn’t work out – on account of the pilot (Okana) getting arrested for smuggling – the kids split up. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), this remote planet is also the location of Frex, the Starfleet officer from the destroyed outpost in “Asylum” – the very officer that Janeway is on her way to interrogate. So now the kids are in the same location as Janeway and her crew.

We all knew that it was only a matter of time before Dal and the others met up with the real Janeway. But honestly, I’m a little surprised that it happened this soon. I suppose that’s a good thing, though. One thing I’ve enjoyed about Star Trek: Prodigy has been its pacing; nothing drags on for too long. And the build-up for this conflict was executed very well. As frustrating as the misunderstanding is, it’s incredibly believable, and “Crossroads” does a good job of showing that.

Dal, Gwyn, and Jankom all have interactions with Starfleet, all of which essentially go horribly wrong. Ascencia comes to Gwyn’s rescue when a negotiation with Klingons turns to violence. But when Ascencia recognizes Gwyn as the Diviner’s daughter, Gwyn panics and escapes. Poor Jankom finally meets another Tellarite when he runs into Doctor Noum. But then he learns that “Pog” is actually a Tellarite insult.

Dal runs into the actual Janeway, and he’s immediately star-struck. He gets a Janeway-esque pep talk about joining Starfleet, but before he can explain anything about the Protostar, Flex appears and unfortunately reconfirms Janeway’s bias.

This is a moment that shows how young and inexperienced the kids are, and at the same time shows what bad timing looks like. They didn’t seem to have a set plan on what exactly they were going to say to Starfleet. Perhaps they expected to have more time before they needed to explain the situation, but nonetheless. Then a series of increasingly unfortunate circumstances work collectively to hinder them. As much as they’ve proven to be adaptable in the past, in “Crossroads” they seem to get hit with the very thing to handicap them.

Gwyn, who has long thought her father safely imprisoned on Tars Lamora, has just learned that he is actually on the Dauntless – the ship that is chasing them. It’s understandable that she would be shaken by the news, and react to anyone claiming to know him with suspicion. Jankom seems to be distressed to learn that “Pog” implies something bad about his lineage. If not for that barb from Noum, Jankom might have been able to warn him. And of course, Frex has the worst possible timing, appearing at just the wrong moment to throw a wrench into everyone’s plans.

Crossroads Star Trek Prodigy
Photo: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2022 VIACOM INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved.

The action in this episode is also spectacular. From the race through the depot to the chase across the snowy landscape to the warp-speed chase, I was on the edge of my seat. I thought for a moment that the kids would be able to make the jump; I actually gasped out loud when the torpedo damaged their nacelle right before they could warp.

While I theorized last week that Janeway would pause at the knowledge that the “villains” she’s been chasing are children, it still didn’t stop her from racing after them. I cannot fathom that she still believes these kids had anything to do with what happened to Chakotay. Likely she also is beginning to doubt Frex’s account of the attack considering he left out this one big piece. But I do believe that she isn’t thinking clearly. She’s too emotionally invested to be thinking rationally.

I’ve mentioned this before, but Prodigy is excellent at callbacks and Easter eggs to the greater Trek universe. As a big fan of Enterprise (perhaps one of the few!), seeing the Xindi again was such a thrill, especially seeing them be friendly with the Federation. I also loved getting to see a Klingon – and Gwyn knowing how to speak Klingon! And the cliffhanger ending with the Romulans was great.

I do think it’s interesting that Tysess mentions that entering the Neutral Zone is an act of war. Yet apparently the Romulans are able to cross into Federation space. As I have seen pointed out in episode discussionsProdigy is set a few years before Romulus’s sun will go supernova. (The negotiations that Tysess mentions likely refer to the upcoming evacuation.) No doubt the Romulans are extra jumpy about ships in their area of space because of this.

Okana showing up is a delight. I guess that DJ gig didn’t work out so much, since he’s back to piloting a ship. I love how they were able to make him look like the perfect cross between his Star Trek: The Next Generation and Lower Decks appearances. Him popping up in the cargo area of the skiff they stole was hilarious. I’m kind of excited to see what shenanigans he’ll lead the kids into, considering his most recent big idea was leading them into Romulan space.

I kind of hope that Murf just keeps continually evolving, like a Pokémon. I am a little surprised that his butt was able to fire a torpedo, considering how often Riker sat on the console and never launched any weapons. (…That we know of.)

I’m so excited to see what happens next week. What will the Protostar do in Romulan space? Does Ascencia seem too close to the Diviner? Will Janeway get the answers she is after?

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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