Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Episode 20 Review: Supernova, Part 2Diana Keng at .
Full disclosure: I did not want to write this review. Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Episode 20 marks the end of an inaugural season that has spanned over fourteen months and putting this review out meant accepting that finality.
Of course, Season 2 is already in the works, so intellectually, I know it isn't an end, but knowing you'll see good friends again doesn't make goodbyes any easier.
The team behind this ambitious, beautiful, and wholly remarkable series has done a fantastic thing by reimagining Star Trek in a completely new way while holding true to all of Trek's core messages of inclusion, communication, and growth.
And while the season closes out with the Protostar crew achieving their goals of saving the Federation and joining Starfleet, it's a victory that came at the cost of Hologram Janeway, their first guide and mentor in life outside of Tars Lamora.
The irony that her interactions with the crew expanded her program beyond the capacity of an isolinear chip's storage, meaning she could not be saved, is an incredibly bittersweet revelation.
There's a lot to unpack in saying goodbye to Hologram Janeway, and it's hard to explain to those who haven't taken this journey with us how her presence made the Protostar more than a means of escape and a new learning environment.
Hologram Janeway made it a home.
But you’re not just a hologram to us! You’ve got memories, a personality. You’re our friend!Rok
To oversimplify, relationships like hers with the crew cannot be duplicated and stored. They are precious because they are unique.
While having the hologram detonate the Protostar warp core meant no loss of organic life, it is a loss nonetheless.
Vice Admiral Janeway is now responsible for Dal, Jankom, Rok-Tahk, Zero, and Murf.
I look forward to seeing how their relationships develop, but I expect moments of grief to hit these young warrant officers as they work, live, and learn under her tutelage.
It'll be hard not to be reminded of Hologram Janeway when her appearance, mannerisms, and voice were based on the O.G.
You may think you need me to get there, but after seeing everything you’ve accomplished, I have full confidence you’ll find your way. Because together, your potential is infinite. Now, go boldly.Hologram Janeway
Hologram Janeway isn't the only goodbye here.
As Jankom pointed out, the ship was their home, their freedom, and their protection. They kept her flying just as she kept them safe.
(Short aside: I have a theory that because the show was never called Star Trek: Protostar, their next ship may be the U.S.S. Prodigy. We'll have to see if my guess pans out next season. Stay tuned!)
Jankom: Gah, all this time, all the love we put into it and we’re just gonna blow it up? It just doesn’t feel right.
Rok: Think of it as… letting a young star become what it’s meant to be.
Their affection for their ship makes the unveiling of the new Protostar-class ship that much more exciting.
Taking a narrative perspective, there is an elegance to how they shaped the season.
From the dark opening shots of the wretched Tars Lamoran mines on Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Episode 1 through the myriad of adventures on both friendly and murderous worlds to the bright and hope-filled final scene on the steps of Starfleet Headquarters, there is incredible satisfaction to this conclusion.
Not only that, but they've managed to roll the Protostar crew's heroes' journey into a NEW heroes' journey with a new objective and mentor. Who does that? I mean, many may attempt it, but they've done it and done it well.
I know that we haven't seen the last of Gwyn, even though she won't be part of Vice Admiral Janeway's new crew.
Her lone quest to seek out Solum fills me with trepidation. Especially with The Vindicator and her Drednok unit roaming around free out there.
Gwyn: Maybe hearing about the greater universe from one of their own will open them to a brighter future.
Zero: Gwyndala, the Unifier.
Rok: I like the sound of that.
Because Gwyn and The Vindicator will find each other eventually, and there will be a reckoning.
Mind you, the writers have managed some remarkable plot twists, so perhaps that inevitable meeting will surprise us as well.
Speaking of script surprises, in a departure from the general script template this season, this finale has two distinct halves.
We begin with the conclusion of the living construct's infection of the Federation fleet and Janeway's sacrifice in destroying the Protostar at warp to minimize the effect of that energy burst.
Jankom: We can’t destroy our ship.
Dal: It’s the only surefire way to stop the long-range subspace signal.
Jankom: No! We can’t destroy our ship because if our protocore blows, everything in a fifty-million-mile radius goes with it. Not even Murf can survive a supernova warp breach.
A month passes before Dal and the others make it to Earth aboard their escape pod.
(I have some questions about how they lived for that month, but I can wait for them to be answered in next season's exposition.)
And then, we have the Starfleet-as-a-scary-judgmental-institution. With Janeway as the best advocate in the galaxy.
Starfleet Adjudicator: Good intentions do not make up for Federation crimes.
Janeway: Good intentions? I know my prior statements about my experience with the accused were unusual, to say the least. But one year ago, not one of them had ever heard of the United Federation of Planets, yet through fate engineered by their own ingenuity, they set their compass to Starfleet and without their intervention, I cannot say with certainty if all of us would be sitting here right now.
Jankom: Go, get ‘em, Janeway!
It's a perfect split -- literally down to the second -- between the spectacular, needs-must supernova plan of the episode's title to the strict structure and tension of navigating Starfleet's protocols.
I have the unique privilege to have grown up with Starfleet, but there are parts of our universe still unexplored. Those uninitiated who have never been under the protection of an alliance or pursued dreams beyond their scope. Today, the crew of the Protostar have been given a chance, a chance to discover who they are. A chance to prove what they’re capable of. A chance to improve themselves. And finally, a chance of finding their place in an endless universe.Janeway
Seeing each crew member find their niche at Starfleet was the most effective demonstration of how they'd truly found a place to belong.
And Dal and Gwyn's moment together indicates that they belong together. Cat boots and all.
Gwyn: Remember when you called me a chump for ever thinking I would get off that rock?
Dal: Hehehe, now look at us. To think, the two of us would be in cat boots.
Looking ahead, there are many, many theories as to where Janeway and her new crew will go. The obvious (and most popular) is that they'll rescue Chakotay.
However, it would be somewhat out of character for Vice Admiral Janeway to take her young and relatively inexperienced crew straight to a wormhole.
So, here's my theory, Fanatics: Using the TOS motion pictures as a roadmap, Season 2 will be the Wrath of The Vindicator, and Season 3 will be the Search for Chakotay.
Hm? What do you think? What are YOUR best guesses for next season?
Beam them all down to the comments, please! We have a long wait ahead of us, and there's plenty of time to discuss!
Until then, friends, live long and prosper. Let's hope the time will GO FAST!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond 'til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.