Star Trek: Prodigy‘s “Lost & Found” in Review
Featuring stunning CGI that would make any gamer happy, a mixed-species crew of prison planet miners, and a stunning cast of young and veteran talent, Star Trek: Prodigy is a relatively new animated incarnation of the long-running franchise.
Dal R’El (Brett Gray) – a teenager of unknown origin – is intent on escaping the prison planet of Tars Lamora to discover who and what he is. Not able to understand others there nor be understood by them (the slaves don’t have Universal Translators), he’s sort of an outcast among outcasts. Dal accidentally draws the attention of Drednok (Jimmi Simpson), an interrogator in search of an energy-based lifeform known as “Fugitive Zero” (Angus Imrie). When Zero cuts the local power – allowing the youngster to escape – the ever-brash Dal fails to get away and ends up back in the hands of his captors. (Note to self: Terrestrial mining trucks do not make great interplanetary transportation vehicles.)
Gwyn (Ella Purnell), a translator with a love of languages, is given an ultimatum by her father, the “Diviner” (John Noble). He demands that she interrogate Dal about Fugitive Zero, since they seem to be working together. Gwyn’s father is determined to find Zero, at one point implying that he will allow Drednok to locate Zero through any means necessary.
Dal appears to have an ally in Gwyn (Ella Purnell), as she understands the youngster. But at her father’s insistence – and apparently unaware of his more menacing tendencies – she attempts to coax Dal into capturing Fugitive Zero with promises of a seat on a Kazon ship that would get him off the planet. Gwyn longs to leave the planet and her oppressive father. Detecting that Dal doesn’t know much about Zero, she explains to him that the type of ethereal lifeforms which include Zero – i.e., Medusan – have no gender and are not made of matter. Dal deduces aloud that Zero must be telepathic. He also tells Gwyn that he can find Zero, even though they both know that he doesn’t even know where to start looking. Echoing the ultimatum issued by her father, Gwyn gives Dal until the end of the next day to find Zero, or she can no longer help him.
The charismatic Dal goes back to the mines and uses his own version of telepathy: his street smarts and brash demeanor. He unwittingly makes friends with a seemingly gruff, towering stone creature when they are linked together in a prison version of the “buddy system”. Dal accidentally fires a laser that causes a collapse of the mine above him. At the last moment, the creature covers Dal like a craggy stone umbrella, saving him. Even though neither of them can understand the other’s language, they begin to trust each other.
Continuing their escape from the collapse, the pair discover an abandoned Federation starship – the USS Protostar. The ship had been in an undiscovered part of the mine. Now, thanks to Dal’s happy accident, they gain access to what could be their way off the planet.
On the ship’s bridge, they discover what we know is a Starfleet communicator badge. When Dal’s new ally presses it, the Protostar comes to life. Thanks to the onboard Universal Translator, they can now understand each other’s language. The creature turns out to be a young teen named “Rok-Tahk” (Rylee Alazraqui), and Zero arrives to join their group, drawn by their hope of escape.
Knowing they will need to gather a crew of twenty or more (or a being with thirty-seven appendages), they head back to the mines. They begin piecing together a motley crew of friends, including a Tellarite engineer, Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), who is amazed they can all finally understand each other, as well as the cutest blob this side of the Delta Quadrant, named “Murf” (Dee Bradley Baker).
Accompanied by Gwyn, Drednok captures Dal and sends him to work the deadly outer rim. Gwyn, in a Machiavellian turn of events, helps him escape so he can lead her and Drednok to Fugitive Zero. While Dal heroically tries to restore the shields which can only be accessed from the exterior, Gwyn and Drednok follow him back to the Protostar. We discover that the “Diviner” has been searching for the ship in the mines for years.
At Drednok’s instruction, Gwyn boards the Protostar and starts to search the vessel. The crew manages to capture her, and the Protostar takes off – first falling, then flying through the mines. On the ship’s outer hull, Drednok attacks Dal, who manages to restore the shields just as Drednok jumps and attempts a killing blow. Drednok, caught on the outside of the shields, slides off the top of the ship.
Dal gets safely back inside, where he briefly sits on top of Gwyn, who has been strapped securely in the captain’s chair. Their escape from the prison planet is complete.
While fumbling with the controls of the ship, Rok mentions that Dal now has help learning to fly it properly. At the word “help,” a hologram of Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is activated, to offer assistance to the team. It seems Hologram Janeway is part of an interactive training program designed and integrated into the ship.
That’s where we leave the new crew of the Protostar, with Captain Janeway in her classic Starfleet uniform and hairdo. The episode ends as Gwyn’s now-seething father orders Drednok to retrieve the ship.
This is an action-packed episode that’s dense with content, without there being too much exposition. It’s an excellent addition to the Star Trek lore. The main characters have an excellent dynamic, especially once they’re on the ship.
Will Gwyn become a member of the Protostar crew? Can they trust her? Will they learn the ways of Starfleet? This initial installment gives the audience plenty of characters and plot to anticipate how the adventure will develop.