Now that the Dauntless has caught up to the Protostar, the crew resorts to drastic measures to try and send a message to real!Janeway in “Mindwalk”. Taking advantage of Dal’s newly-learned latent abilities, Zero helps him establish a telepathic link to the admiral. But things don’t go exactly as planned.
Desperate to warn Janeway of the danger aboard the Protostar without exposing them to that same danger, the kids remember that Dal was able to read Okana’s mind. Using Zero’s help, Dal tries to telepathically communicate with Janeway. Unfortunately, a phaser hit at just that moment disrupts the connection and causes the two of them to switch bodies. And Janeway has been shoved in a closet by Ascencia and the Diviner.
If I had one criticism about this episode, it would be the timeline. In last week’s episode, it was mentioned that they had spent several days on the holodeck, trying to figure out a solution to their problem. However, aboard the Dauntless, it’s only been a short while since the ending of “Preludes”, as no one seems at all concerned about Janeway yet. That means that she hasn’t been missing that long.
Aside from that, it’s hard to find fault in this episode. It honestly may be my favorite one of the season. I know I’ve said that before, but “Mindwalk” was just, honestly, a joy to watch. I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed that hard at an episode of Star Trek: Prodigy. And it allowed both Brett Gray and Kate Mulgrew a chance to stretch their voice-acting chops.
Watching Dal as Admiral Janeway was hilarious. (Finger guns! Pew pew pew!) In our interview with Mulgrew at New York Comic Con in October, she mentioned that she pitches her voice differently when she’s playing the different versions of Janeway. In this episode, she essentially voiced three iterations of the same character: the Admiral, Hologram Janeway, and Dal as Janeway. And all three of them sounded completely different. Likewise, Gray was able to accurately nail the distinguished cadence of an Admiral’s voice.
It was more than just the voices. I appreciated the little details like “Janeway” having trouble walking in heels, and also the issues she had sitting in a different captain’s chair. Both “Dal” and “Janeway” had noticeably different postures as well.
I do think it’s interesting that Dal did not attempt to imitate Janeway at all. Janeway had the privilege of ending up among a crew who knew what was going on; she never had to pretend to be Dal. But Dal doesn’t even put up a token effort of acting like Janeway. I suspect that was intentional. He’s young, and all of these situations are new to him. He might not have had the presence of mind (or the confidence) to realize he needed to try and alter his mannerisms.
Unfortunately, Dal’s behavior as Janeway made the crew suspicious enough to first try locking her up in sickbay and finally imprisoning her in the brig. Interestingly, when she is originally locked up in sickbay, it’s the Diviner who sets her free. I had wondered, after “Preludes”, if Ascencia would be torn in her mission, after spending so long in Starfleet. And though the Diviner had, before he regained all of his memories, seemed hesitant to destroy Starfleet after they were so kind to him, I assumed that getting his memories back had removed those feelings.
So imagine my surprise when the Diviner came to Janeway’s rescue. When that happened, I had thought that he was just playing her. She hadn’t seemed to have overheard any of what Ascencia and the Diviner talked about; she only saw Ascencia’s true form. He might have been able to talk his way out of trouble. But he didn’t really try to do that. All he did was say that he felt conflicted because they had rescued him and treated him so kindly. He even said that he had to continue his mission.
Another thing I loved about “Mindwalk” was that it gave the kids an opportunity to interact with the real Janeway, albeit in Dal’s body. I love that she admitted to being wrong about them and did her best to encourage everyone – including her hologram self. Her remorse was genuine when she informed Gwyn that because Dal is an Augment, he’ll be unable to join Starfleet.
But later in the episode, when she told them that she would do her best to help them in the future, I believe she meant all of them – Dal included. With everything that’s been thrown at Dal in the second half of this season, I have to hope that there is something good in his future. I can’t see them changing the rule about Augments, considering how long-standing that is, but who knows?
With only two episodes left – and the Protostar now in Federation space and surrounded by the entire fleet – one has to wonder what everyone’s fate will be. Having the fleet nearby puts all of them in danger, and while Janeway knows the danger now, she is also, you know, in a cell. What will be the fate of the Protostar? What will be the fate of the kids? Will Janeway be able to advocate for them when her entire crew thinks that she’s lost her mind?
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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