Review: Star Trek: Prodigy — “Kobayashi”

Star Trek: Prodigy is back and better than ever with episode six “Kobayashi” following the mid-season break. Following the crew’s harrowing escape from the Murder Planet and evading the clutches of the Diviner, they find themselves trying to decide where to go next. Understandably a crew of young, bright-eyed adventurers who have been largely isolated in their upbringings, aren’t the best at making decisions.

The Janeway hologram introduces the crew to the holodeck, making a few neat references to the real Janeway’s love of the holodeck in Star Trek: Voyager. Dal and Jankom Pog end up launching the Kobayashi Maru scenario, which Trekkies will recognize as the test given to command track Starfleet cadets, which features a no-win outcome. It has been featured in various forms of media throughout the life of Star Trek, including The Original Series, Deep Space Nine, and The Next Generation, in books, games, and the series.

Not only does Star Trek: Prodigy use the Kobayashi Maru scenario to test Dal and force him to learn what it means to be a captain—which was necessary, given how hapless he has been as a leader—but it also introduced new audiences to a few familiar faces including Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and more, featuring soundbites from the original cast. Since Prodigy has been designed as an entry point for younger viewers, this was such a great introduction to The Original Series for not just the audience, but Dal too.

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Courtesy of Nickelodeon/Paramount

One of the most shocking moments in “Kobayashi” is the revelation that Gwyn isn’t actually the Diviner’s daughter, but more of a clone of him. A prodigy, in fact. While my eye did twitch a little at the implications, especially after my other favorite sci-fi franchise followed a similar path in the winter of 2019, I feel confident that the Star Trek: Prodigy showrunners have something fun planned for this storyline.

Gwyn didn’t have a major role in “Kobayashi,” but her two little moments stood out to me. First, when she brings up Dal coming back to save her from the Murder Planet, he lies and says he only came back because Janeway told him to. Her disappointment is so palpable and the payoff was wonderful when, at the end of the episode, Rok-Tahk lets slip that Dal was determined to go back for Gwyn. I can’t help but be a shipper, when their dynamic is just so much fun to watch.

Gwyn also teamed up with Janeway and Rok-Tahk to try to figure out why the U.S.S. Protostar was on Tars Lamora in the first place and what the Diviner had planned for the vessel. In doing so, they learn that Janeway’s programing has been encrypted and she can’t access the necessary files to give them the answer they’re looking for. The major twist at the end of the episode feels like a long time coming, even though we’re only six episodes into the series. Gwyn manages to get through Janeway’s memory banks and it is revealed that they aren’t Janeway’s first crew—her last crew was captained by none other than Chakotay.

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Courtesy of Nickelodeon/Paramount

We already knew that Robert Beltran was returning to voice Chakotay, but to hear his voice again and to see him (in animation) again was something truly special. There are so many potential paths this story can go and it feels like they’re all leading to something really fun for audiences, both new and old.

Star Trek: Prodigy continues to be such a beacon of light within the current sci-fi realm, paying homage to the stories that have come before it, while giving its new cast of characters the tools necessary to excel on their own. While it utilizes characters like Janeway and now Chakotay to pull at the heartstrings of viewers, it doesn’t feel encumbered by these connections in a lot of the ways other franchises have been. It’s actually quite nice to see the series lean so heavily on Star Trek: Voyager, at least from a personal point of view, because that was “my” Star Trek and introduction point as a child. Voyager always felt like a bit of an afterthought in a lot of Star Trek conversations and it’s delightful to see its impact used to share Star Trek with a new generation.

Star Trek: Prodigy is streaming now on Paramount+.

This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Managing Editor of Entertainment at Your Money Geek | + posts

Maggie Lovitt is the Managing Editor of Entertainment at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery. She is also a freelance writer and News Editor at Collider. She has had bylines at Inverse, Polygon, and Dorkside of the Force. She is also a member of the Hollywood Critics Association.

When she is not covering entertainment news, she can be found on one of her numerous podcasts or on her YouTube channel. In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.