This is it, Trek fans! We’ve been using those “Hold Onto Your Butts” grab handles for a week and now we’re at the beginning of the end with Star Trek: Prodigy episode 1×19 “Supernova, Part 1.” The crew of the Protostar is facing their greatest challenge yet. Brace for impact because this one is a direct hit to the feels.
Let’s talk Star Trek: Prodigy episode 1×19, “Supernova, Part 1.”
No Good Deed Goes Unforgotten
With Vice Admiral Janeway in the brig, Starfleet is facing its biggest threat yet and it doesn’t have a clue. But something Vice Admiral Janeway did in the past comes back to help her. There are many reasons that Janeway is my chosen Captain, but the biggest is her unflinching, unwavering commitment to integrity. She does the right thing when no one is looking and does it simply because it is the right thing. It doesn’t matter if it is dangerous or costly to her. She makes every effort to act with integrity. One of the Brenari refugees she saved in the excellent Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Counterpoint” went on to join Starfleet, and has now given her a fighting chance.
There tends to be this trope in a variety of genres where a character’s past will come back to haunt them. There’s another where someone who does the right thing gets flack for it in the end, thus the adage, “No good deed goes unpunished.” In this case, both of those tropes are inverted and I’m glad for it.
Main Themes Revisited
In some of the earliest episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy, one of the themes I picked up on was the difference between translation and communication and the importance of both. The universal translator allows people of different languages to understand each other’s words, but communication is deeper than that. It’s not just the words being said; it’s the meaning and depth of those words too. In Star Trek: Prodigy episode 1×19 “Supernova, Part 1” Gwyn says it best when their universal translators go on the fritz—“My father had me learn languages so I could pit species against each other. Instead, I can bring them together.” It takes The Diviner’s final words to hit Gwyn home: “You can unify them in ways I never could.” And so she does.
What brings this episode home is Gwyn’s words to Klingon Captain Trij when she asks Gwyn why she should help. Gwyn says, “Because, in the infinite of space, everyone needs to know there is a place out there willing to accept us all, no matter how different we think we are.” Right in the feels, Gwyn. That’s the meaning of Star Trek right there, folks. Everyone has a place on the bridge.
No lies here, Trek fam. I got a bit teary in this episode. I love stories of courage, and when the Federation allies show up, cue the waterworks. Also, this battle sequence is a delight for all those Star Trek ship junkies out there. I’m no Star Trek ship expert, but I did enjoy a bit of a rabbit trail down Memory Alpha, searching for ship names I didn’t recognize. One other fun thing I’ve failed to mention in previous reviews is my delight at the return of Ronny Cox reprising his role of Captain, now Admiral Jellico. Jellico shows up in a fantastic two-part episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Chain of Command, Part I and Part II” where he takes over the Enterprise from Picard. If you’re unfamiliar with Jellico, he’s got a reputation for surliness. It delights me to no end to see him grumping across the view screen at the crew of the Dauntless.
Finally, when Gwyn takes the conn, Dal calls her “Captain.” Is he stepping back because he can’t join Starfleet? I repeat what I said last week, *stares in Dr. Bashir.* If there’s room for everyone on the bridge, then there is room for augments too, particularly ones who did not choose augmentation for themselves.
And one more thing, how about that KISS?! That was unexpected, but I LOVE the subversion of the trope here. Gwyn does care for Dal, but maybe not in a more-than-friends sort of way. Dal put his cards on the table for The Diviner last week when said he’d do anything for Gwyn. And here he is, classic Dal, being impulsive with that kiss. But maybe one day she’ll get there too. We’ll see.
The next episode of Star Trek: Prodigy will air on December 29, 2022, on Paramount+.