Oftentimes, after a successful premiere like Star Trek: Prodigy’s double-hitter “Lost and Found” animated series tend to suffer from faltering storylines, weaker character development, and even less awe-inspiring animation. In other words, sometimes series lose that special something after they pour it all into the premiere. Star Trek: Prodigy is not one of those series. The third episode, “Starstruck,” delivers the same level of storytelling, careful character building, and fully immerses its viewers into the adventure unfolding for the young cast.
Star Trek: Prodigy — “Starstruck”
The episode opens mere moments after the premiere ended, as the rag-tag crew of the Protostar considers the sage advice of the Captain Janeway hologram. The writers cleverly use the hologram to inform the crew about what Starfleet is—and by extension the audience—but it never feels like unnecessary exposition. After all, this motley crew has had a sheltered upbringing, allowing them to naturally discover new ideas and experiences alongside viewers.
As expected, Dal is a little too much of a hotshot for his own good. On the heels of the premiere, it was no surprise to learn that he is overconfident to a fault, which is what makes him such a fun and compelling character. Rather than following the guidance of Janeway, he opts to follow his own, completely uninformed plans for the crew of the Protostar and leads them right into certain death. Given Dal’s experiences as a captive on Tars Lamora, I can’t necessarily blame him for not trusting Janeway or authority figures in general.
The overarching plot of “Starstruck” is the crew trying to figure out how to function as a crew, while trying not to get sucked into a white dwarf, but the most interesting element of the episode is Gwyn’s subplot. Understandably, she’s not thrilled about being taken hostage and there’s definitely bad blood between her and Dal for her own deception on Tars Lamora. Early on in the episode, he throws her in the brig, where she is left to think about her decisions and also plot her escape. Thanks to Dal’s poor decision-making, the ship loses power for a period of time, giving her a chance to break free and get to the escape pods. Right as she’s about to escape, the Protostar loses all of its escape pods, leading her to resort to using the onboard replicator that can build escape pods.
Out of all of the characters, Gwyn has the most potential for growth and I am captivated by the little things they’re already laying out for that journey for her. There’s a moment during her attempted escape where she is confronted by Rok-Tahk for her involvement in the operation on Tars Lamora and it’s a double-whammy after we learn that Rok-Tahk can’t even think of something to make to eat in the replicator because she’s never had anything but the shlock they ate in captivity.
We also see more of Gwyn’s father—the Diviner—in this episode, but we have yet to learn what his true intentions are with the Protostar. But it is clear that the mining efforts on Tars Lamora were designed to recover the Protostar and furthermore we discover that the planet is part-ship, which allows them to jettison off in search of Dal and the crew.
If Gwyn doesn’t go back to rescue that adorable little baby Caitian, I will be rioting.
Overall, Star Trek: Prodigy continues to deliver beautiful animation, strong storytelling, and incredibly compelling characters that are so much more than the archetypes that they fulfill in a rag-tag crew. I hope we continue to see their layers get peeled back and that, by the finale, we have fully-fledged characters who are prepared to forge new lives for themselves as the crew of the Protostar.