The ragtag team of the U.S.S. Protostar remains trapped on the newly named “Murder Planet” and are faced with a new—and terrifying—realization. No matter what directions they head in, the planet transforms its terra firma to keep them trapped and far away from the Protostar. This is also where the title of the episode, “Terror Firma,” is derived from.
At the end of “Dreamcatcher,” Dal, Rok-Tahk, Jankom Pog, and Zero had found Gwyn and Murf in the wreckage of the half-built escape pod from the episode prior, and in the opening of “Terror Firma” they discover that Gwyn has fractured her leg, which puts her at a slight disadvantage considering they have to keep running. Dal is quick to announce that they should leave her behind, but despite everything, Rok-Tahk offers to carry Gwyn to safety. Fortunately, Gwyn’s weapon can also transform into a splint, giving her enough support to run on her leg. It’s pretty handy technology.
Dal and Gwyn have a really sweet little moment after they think that the crisis has been averted. He checks on her leg and they gaze up at the stars above them—reminding audiences that these two are just kids who never thought they’d get off Tars Lamora. It’s an oddly tender moment between them, especially considering how Dal is angry and bitter towards her most of the time. It definitely fueled my little shipper heart, especially considering what comes into play at the end of the episode.
Of course, the development made between these two at this moment is quickly called into question when the Diviner arrives on the Murder Planet. The terrifying robot Drednok arrives to retrieve Gwyn (or just the Protostar) and is fully prepared to kill the rest of the crew. Gwyn places herself in between his weapons and the crew, giving them enough time to try to escape. The Drednok shoots her, temporarily destroying the device keeping her on her feet.
While the show is very much an ensemble story, this episode’s plot did seem to rely the most on Gwyn and the direction that her story is headed. Especially at the end of the episode, she makes this decision to put herself in harm’s way to protect the crew of the Protostar, she sees that her father is willing to leave her to be consumed by the Murder Planet, and she sees that Dal is willing to come back for her. I’m a sucker for hero characters that come back to rescue the “antagonist” and prove to them that someone cares about them.
At the end of the episode, as the Diviner’s ship is chasing them down, the crew makes a major discovery about the U.S.S Protostar. The ship’s name isn’t just a clever intergalactic name—it’s a clue about what’s powering it. Star Trek: Prodigy introduces an entirely new concept to the Trek universe: a Starfleet vessel fueled by an actual star. At the last minute, they engage the protostar and use it to jump them to warp, effectively putting a galaxy of distance between them and the Diviner.
This discovery was such a nice bookend to that moment where Dal and Gwyn were stargazing. In that moment, Dal realized that they could use the stars to chart their way back to the ship—and then a literal star led to them escaping from the Diviner. There’s some nice poeticism in that as well, considering the episode’s focus seemed to be very grounded—terra firma—but it was the stars that ultimately saved them. That’s some really beautiful imagery when you reflect on the fact that every kid on the U.S.S Protostar had believed they’d never make it to the stars and the freedom there.
Five episodes in and Star Trek: Prodigy remains fresh, new, and exciting. There’s something in it for every age group that should really warm the hearts of every Trekkie watching it.