‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Seeks “Asylum” and Things Go Badly
The Diviner lies defeated. Drednok is toast. And the prisoners are liberated. All that remains is to go to Starfleet. What could go wrong?
Star Trek: Prodigy is back, baby! It’s been nearly nine months since “A Moral Star” left us on a triumphant note. Yes, Gwyn’s memories are gone. And, yeah, that means only the audience knows that she and the Diviner are from the future. Worse, we are also the only know who realize what that weapon the Diviner left on the Protostar is capable of.
Everything else is gravy, though! Gwyn is otherwise healthy. Dal has a reasonably strong hand in leadership. And everyone’s wearing fancy Starfleet uniforms! So now what?
To Boldly Recap
Skipping ahead slightly in time, the Protostar crew is on an aquatic world trying to do some good. Merpeople attack a pregnant Aquathon (alien space whale ) and the Protostar folks plan to save her (the whale). The poachers don’t realize it, but the Aquathon is a necessary part of their ecosystem.
Dal thinks it’s important for his crew to do as much good as possible before bringing the Protostar back to Starfleet. So they transport the Aquathon away and plant her in a safe harbor before heading to the nearest Starfleet relay station. Everyone is excited save for Gwyn who remains unable to regain her memories.
The Protostar arrives at CR-721. The sole Starfleet representative there is Lieutenant Junior Grade Barnus Frex. He assumes the Protostar is there to reassign him, but Dal and the gang admit to their whole situation. They offer to return the Protostar and ask for asylum – an offer Frex happily accepts.
But before anything else, Frex says the crew must go through a bioscan. And, gamely, they do. Jankom is recognized as being a Tellarite. The machine also knows that Rok is a Brikar. Same goes for Zero and even Murf who, it turns out, is a Mellanoid Slime Worm! But most interesting of all is Dal, who the bioscan also recognizes. More than that, the machine says Dal’s existence must be reported to Starfleet immediately.
All Your Base are Belong to Us
Jankom eats all the hot dogs while Rok studies all the science. And in the medbay, Zero and Gwyn set up a biobed in the hope of using it to restore Gwyn’s memories. Unfortunately, Frex downloads the Protostar ship logs to the relay station – huge mistake.
The Protostar has a weapon on board, a virus that invades Starfleet computer systems, takes control, and causes Federation tech to destroy itself. And that is precisely what starts happening.
Gwyn finds herself locked in the biobed as it fills up with water while Zero finds themselves on the other side of the door. Thankfully, Rok gets the medbay door open and together they help Gwynn out before she suffocates. Silver lining: Gwyn’s memory is starting to resurface.
Bad news: Frex thinks the Protostar crew is behind the sabotage. He runs to the only escape pod and jettisons, leaving the crew stranded with transporters down. Dal decides the best move is to put on spacesuits, head up to the station exterior, and literally jump to the Protostar. Rok does the calculation, but they miss the ship just barely. Thankfully, hologram Janeway is able to use the tractor beam to reel the crew in.
The trauma of these events triggers Gwyn and all her lost memories return.
The Real Janeway
While the Protostar finds itself in yet another calamity, the real Admiral Janeway is still in pursuit of the ship. And she’s hot on their trail. She watches a hologram playback of her last interaction with Chakotay. We find out that the Protostar mission specifically involved going to the Delta Quadrant. And Chakotay promises at that meeting to call Janeway first if he runs into trouble.
Present-day Janeway wonders why Chakotay didn’t call. Thankfully, her team tracks the Protostar’s unique warp signature, giving her a place to start looking. Bad news, she does not find Chakotay among the debris of where the Protostar once was. Worse news, she finds someone else: The Diviner.
The Diviner is not dead, but he is in rough shape. And since Janeway has no idea that he’s all about destroying the Federation, she beams our villain aboard to save his life. Right. Yes. Seems bad.
To Boldly Review
Reviewing Star Trek: Prodigy is tricky because it is so geared for children. So the first question has to be: is this episode something a child would enjoy? And the answer is… yes? The opening with the space whale is suitably fast-paced and visually exciting. Jankom continues to pitch his humor to a younger crowd effectively. But the thing is: “Asylum” is a pretty adult episode of Star Trek: Prodigy.
Admiral Janeway’s search for Chakotay is a more mature tale, one rooted in classic Trek lore. Similarly, the ongoing plot with the anti-Federation weapon is dark and layered. Gwyn’s grief is intense, Zero’s guilt over being used as a weapon is palpable, and Dal’s tentative hope of finding his people is powerful.
Do these plots thread the needle, satisfying both adult viewers and children alike? It’s hard to say. As an adult, I do believe Star Trek: Prodigy consistently surprises me with the depth of its character development, and “Asylum” is no exception.
References: Gotta Catch ‘Em All
Not unlike Star Trek: Lower Decks, Prodigy shows a tendency to reference Star Trek’s past. And since we know that the Borg and The Outrageous Okona (for some reason) will appear this season, it seems like the Easter eggs will keep coming. Here are the ones we spotted in “Asylum”:
Frex repeatedly uses the phrase “The Final Frontier” which is literally in the opening narration of multiple Trek shows. Speaking of Final Frontier, Frex is also afraid of being sent to Nimbus III, the planet of galactic peace which appears in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Frex identifies Murf as a Mellanoid slime worm, a term which previously on Trek is used as an insult in the TNG episode “Coming of Age”.
The Protostar’s christening scene involves a bottle of champagne breaking across the hull. We first see this tradition in Star Trek: Generations. While discussing space, Dal says, “In outer space, there is no sound”. And while that may not be a Star Trek reference, it is a reference to the tagline for the movie Alien: “In space, no one can hear you scream”.
All in all, this is a promising start for the second half of Prodigy‘s first season. Now we just have to hope Okona doesn’t blow it!