I got my tables turned this week by watching Star Trek: Prodigy 1×13 “All the World’s a Stage.” Here’s why. The tagline for this episode reads, “The crew answers a distress call to find a colony trapped in Starfleet’s past.” When I read that, I thought for sure this week’s show would be a time travel episode. I am quite happy to have been proven wrong in that respect. Here are a few of my thoughts on “All the World’s a Stage.”
Starfleet Through Oral History
First up, though it’s tragic for the Starfleet ensign involved, I admire the courage “En-son” shows. He does his best to inhibit the damage done to their society by his landing there. He hides his shuttlecraft, relates to their culture via their storytelling history, and then uses the trappings of their culture to protect them from his damaged ship. The work he does to not affect their cultural development is admirable, but here’s the thing. Stories change people. They stick with you and get under your skin. They change minds and hearts before logic and debate do. Star Trek: Prodigy is highly cognizant of this idea. En-son’s stories about where he came from gave the “Ender-prizians” hope, and it permanently changed their culture. The power of stories to create hope is a thing that Star Trek has actively done since its inception. It’s not surprising that Starfleet or “Starflight” do that in-universe too.
“All the World’s a Stage” and the “Ender-prizians” are its players. I think that’s a great title for this episode and really captures its desired theme.
Don’t Judge By Appearances
One of the morals, meanings, or messages found in this episode is to not judge according to appearance. Dal and crew assume the “Ender-prizians” are too primitive to be of any help when Dal gets sick from radiation poisoning. Dal is surprised to be proven wrong here, but learns quickly, giving them a chance to help him pilot the Protostar manually in order to save the rest of the crew. The final log of “En-son” shows that he learned this same lesson—“In the end, they were the ones who saved me.”
Squishy Second Contact
I had to laugh when Dal made the comment about the rules surrounding second contact being “fuzzy.” This idea seems to be one of the main premises of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember the idea of second contact even being brought up before Lower Decks. I LOVE the idea that there’s a bit of cross-pollination of ideas happening between Prodigy and the other “adult” Trek shows. You could also argue that the predicament that they’re in with regards to how not to influence the “Ender-prizians” is the same one that the crew of the original Enterprise faced in the pilot episode of Strange New Worlds. Again, more cross-pollination. Either way, I think I agree with Dal’s decision to help bring the Ender-prizians into the fold. I’m curious to see if we’ll see them again in a future episode.
There are lots of fun Easter eggs for long-time Trek fans watching episode Star Trek: Prodigy 1×13 “All the World’s a Stage.” I about lost it when I heard “James T.” and “Suul’u” doing their best William Shatner and George Takei impersonations. And then when Suul’u says, “My my” with the same intonation as George’s signature, “Ohhhh Maaaaaiiiii,” *chef’s kiss*. Perfection. Overall, this is a fun episode with a solid message. It’s so sweet to watch our young crew grow and learn.
But let’s not forget the B-Plot. Vice Admiral Janeway and crew have revived the Diviner, but can’t make heads or tails of his delirium. And the conclusions they come to aren’t surprising given the details of the situation they have, but they are woefully incomplete. I’ve got a feeling that when they catch up to our crew, it’s going to be an explosive exchange.
Finally, what’s going on with our sweet space slug, Murf?! I’m guessing it might be a chrysalis type of situation. Will we be getting a Murf butterfly? I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.
If you want to dig in deeper with Star Trek: Prodigy 1×13 “All the World’s a Stage” be sure to check out this week’s episode of We Are Starfleet, coming soon to your podcast app of choice. Stay tuned here to Fangirlish as well because I’ve got an interview coming up with Rylee Alazraqui, the voice behind my girl Rok-Tahk! You definitely don’t want to miss that. In the meantime, you can check out the roundtable interview I did with Rylee last year!
What did you think of Star Trek: Prodigy 1×13 “All the World’s a Stage”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Prodigy will air on November 17, 2022, on Paramount+.