The rag tag crew of the Protostar are directed by Janeway to explore an interesting planet they are passing by and so, eager to stretch their legs, the kids excitedly do so, but there is an unknown danger on this strange new world that is ready to consume them. Meanwhile, Gwynn plans her escape and takeover of the ship.
I know what you’re all wondering. Is Dal still an annoying little prig? The answer is yes, but less so. The glaring, egotistical, annoying Dal of last week’s episode has been upgraded to a more muffled version of himself who, while still egotistic and annoying, is at least a little more tolerable now. He actually had a really good scene on the planet when he was being tempted by the memories of his parents which was pretty dark and heartbreaking at the same time and, for the first time since a few scenes in the pilot, I actually rooted for the guy.
“Dreamcatcher” is the classic formula of Star Trek, but it feels like we’re seeing it through new eyes mostly because we are. We’re used to landing parties and away teams going to the surface of planets, but rarely do we see those worlds regarded with the same level of awe and wonder that the Protostar crew regarded this one. It’s refreshing and fun, to say nothing about the amazing backgrounds and settings that the animators put together for this series which are simply beautiful. You really do feel like this is a strange new world.
The threat of the episode is, of course, that there is a weird alien on the planet that wants the crew to stay there for a very nefarious reason and tempts them with visions of things that they want. While Dal’s was very dark and gave Kate Mulgrew a chance to play Janeway as evil (which was a lot of fun), I also enjoyed the way that the personalities of the rest of the crew were mined by the alien. Rok-Tahk was tempted by something that made her feel like she belonged, Zero was tempted by their curiosity, Jankom Pog was tempted by a literal taste of home, and Gwynn by love and acceptance. I love it when characters are explored by what they desire the most.
Gwynn, who hasn’t had a lot to do lately aside from glare at people from the brig and look remorseful, got to remind us of why she is a threat and why she probably deserves to be captain, if you want me to be honest. We know that the character is going to turn and join the crew — that is a given — but to see how capable and surprising she is was, well… surprising. It doesn’t bother me that she took over the computer systems on the Protostar so quickly because, let’s be honest, it’s not the first time we’ve seen someone do that on Star Trek and I’m not sure why people are suddenly acting like that’s never been a thing.
Finally, John Nobel as the Diviner. We’ve gotten such precious little screen time with him and this all too small taste of the character has only made me want to see more of him still.
A definite step up for the series following “Starstruck,” “Dreamcatcher” is a classic Trek episode seen with new eyes, a high concept threat, and a very nice cliffhanger.