Fourteen months ago I called Prodigy the best of the new Trek series, and while SNW is challenging that position, and while these final seven episodes didn’t all cohere as well as the previous thirteen, I still stand by it, and I say that as someone who likes a lot of what Secret Hideout has been doing since 2017. What I especially love is how well the crew has come together as a team and as a family, and how each character has grown. The best thing about every Trek series has been the characters, and Prodigy continues that, from the diamond-in-the-rough that is Dal to the tragic Gwyn to the earnest Zero to the eager-to-learn Rok to the dirty-hands-zany Pog to the adorable Murf.
Dal is still growing into his leadership role, but what’s interesting is that the rest of the group is more than happy to follow his lead. And he is making some better decisions.
One of his not-better decisions is to check out a dormant Borg cube in last week’s episode, “Let Sleeping Borg Lie,” which would’ve been good advice for the writers to take. I get that they’re in the Delta Quadrant, so we’re gonna get some Voyager hits, but do we have to do another story where they encounter the Borg and unconvincingly get away? And are the Borg the best idea to feature in a kids’ show anyhow? Also, how have none of the people on the Protostar ever heard of the Borg? I mean, okay, they’ve been slaves for a long time, but I find it hard to believe that Gwyn, at least, didn’t know who the Borg are. I mean, the Diviner must know about them, and it seems to me he would’ve told Gwyn about them in case they showed up at Tars Lamora, if nothing else…
Anyhow, this second story follows the usual beats of a Borg story—specifically a Voyager Borg story, and this is not a compliment, as the Borg are utterly toothless and not at all scary.
I love every episode of the show so far, but “Time Amok” is a personal favorite for several reasons. One is the aforementioned nifty new take on time travel. Another is a clever use of the fox-chicken-corn riddle (I especially like that they don’t provide the solution to same, forcing the kids watching it to figure it out for themselves). Dal’s part in the story is to cobble together the part necessary with existing material on board, as the industrial replicator isn’t available—it’s right out of Apollo 13 (in fact, Janeway cites that particular crisis in Earth’s early space-travel days when instructing Dal). Any callback to that magnificent moment in both history and cinema is a winner in my book.
And I just adore the climax. Rok has been told that she has to construct the same part that Dal built. Dal had to piece it together because the replicator was being used to re-create Drednok. But by the time the slow-time Rok gets the assignment, Drednok has been blown out an airlock—along with Dal’s part. Now, though, Rok has access to the replicator so she can make it, and she also learns computers so she can restore the Janeway hologram (Drednok had deactivated it) because nobody told her what to do with the part once she made it. (Oops.)
My favorite character, though, by far is Rok-Tahk, voiced by Rylee Alazraqui. The unsubtly named Rok is a Brikar, and she pretty much looks like the Thing from the Fantastic Four. She’s also the basis of the funniest moment in the two-part premiere episode, “Lost and Found.” The Diviner has forbidden translators in his mine, so the prisoners can’t talk to each other. When he’s sent to find Fugitive Zero, Dal finds himself paired with this giant rock creature who mostly seems to talk in growls and snarls. It isn’t until they get on board the Protostar, with its universal translator, that we discover that the big scary monster has a high squeaky voice and is, in fact, just a little girl. Rok is, at once, very sweet, very naïve, and very easy to love. She also has a temper, as we discover in the second episode, “Starstruck,” when we find out just how much she resents Gwyn for doing nothing to help the prisoners. (Gwyn, for her part, thought they were all criminals. Rok assures her that is not the case. Tellingly, the Diviner and his hench-robot Drednok refer to the miners, not as prisoners, but as “the unwanted.”)
Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) has been airing lots of new Star Trek shows since 2017: Discovery, Short Treks, Picard, Lower Decks,Prodigy, and Strange New Worlds, with more to come. My reviews of same have been appearing on Tor.com. Unlike my rewatches of TV shows and movies for the site, these aren’t archived on a single index page, so herewith, a guide to the reviews I’ve done to date (regularly updated).