Star Trek: Prodigy is back from hiatus and they’re really coming out swinging! We learn a little more about Gwyn’s origins, get incredible Trek cameos, and a little more info about the original crew of the Protostar. We’ve got a lot to dig into this week. Here are a few of my thoughts on episode 1×06 of Star Trek: Prodigy, “Kobayashi.”
“There is no barrier we cannot overcome, for we are Vau N’Akat.”
One of the more interesting parts of “Kobayashi” is learning how Gwyn (Ella Purnell) came to be. This is the first time we are meeting the Vau N’Akat, so Prodigy has the opportunity to create some new Star Trek canon. Apparently, it’s physically taxing, but the Vau N’Akat can reproduce via some sort of incubation tank and their own DNA. We also learn the name of their language–Solum. While all this canon-building is interesting, I think what I like the most about all of this is the nuance that Zero (Angus Imrie) draws between translation and interpretation. I have a feeling that this nuance will come into play later in the season.
All of our Star Trek series are revisiting the Kobayashi Maru test this season. While Prodigy has a more comical take on the test, Dal’s drive to succeed is impressive. His creativity through “chaos” is hilarious and gives me Captain Kirk in the Kelvin timeline vibes. From Dal’s choice of music to psych out the enemy, (an original piece that sounds an awful lot like a theme and variation on AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”), to his refusal to give up, we’ve got some serious Kirkian vibes coming off of him. I love that even when he learns the test is unwinnable, he still wants to know what it takes to be a good captain. And who better to give him advice than arguably the most beloved Star Trek character of all, Spock.
I absolutely love what the Prodigy writers have done here, incorporating characters from the other Trek series. I screamed with delight when Uhura, Spock, Odo (complete with “Harumph”), Dr. Crusher, and Scotty all joined Dal and Jankom Pog on the Bridge of the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is not only a fun mash-up for the long-time Trek fans in the audience but also a fantastic way for a new generation of Trek fans to meet legacy characters. I love the creative way that they used sound clips from previous Trek series to create the dialogue for this episode. It’s fun to remember the original context for the dialogue, but also to appreciate it in a different context in this part of the episode. Also, you can bet that Ear Piece, Jellyman, Mustache, Pointy Ears, and Big Red are my new names for these characters and you can’t convince me otherwise.
The big reveal of this episode is that the original crew of the Protostar was captained by none other than Captain Chakotay (Robert Beltran), Captain Janeway’s First Officer on Voyager. Not only that, they were on a classified mission. Where is Chakotay and where is the rest of the original crew of the Protostar? How did the Protostar end up on Tars Lamora? These are the things that keep us using our “Hold Onto Your Butts” grab handles until next week.
Finally, as a fun aside, did anyone else get Shakespeare vibes from the Klingon with a pointy beard? After all, you’ve never experienced Shakespeare until you’ve read it in the original Klingon.
What are your thoughts on “Kobayashi”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Prodigy will air on January 13, 2022, on Paramount+.