I understand that Prodigy is a half-hour animated series aimed at children and I accept that I am not the primary audience, but I see so many opportunities for drama and character growth be thrown to the wayside on this show for absolutely no reason that it pains be physically sometimes.
A couple of weeks ago, for instance, Dal learned a deep lesson in leadership and humility from Spock himself and, instead of giving him his moment to show that growth to his crew, he was unceremoniously cut off by something that wasn’t even urgent, robbing him of that growth. This week, it’s Rok-tahk who is, I am not even exaggerating, goes through something shatteringly traumatic and she treats it like it’s no big deal. The episode treats it like it’s no big deal. The only two people who think it’s a big deal as Gwynn and Janeway and the episode never gives them a chance to explain how big of a deal it is.
But I’m getting ahead of myself and, by the way, there will be spoilers ahead.
The Protostar is hit by a temporal anomaly that splits the crew into different time streams that move at different rates depending on who is closer to the warp core (which is about to explode in ten minutes). The trouble is, to those closer to the core, ten minutes pass in seconds and, to those further away, those ten minutes last hours… days… perhaps even longer.
This brings me to that happens to Rok-Tahk. Based on the plot, she has enough time to not only overcome her fear of being alone, but also has time to learn warp mechanics, how to create the necessary components to save the day, and fix Janeway’s holographic projectors. It’s never stated, but it’s implied that Rok-Tahk was trapped for years.
And, of course, it’s no big deal when it should have been.
It’s years, folks… years for an eight year old kid, a former prisoner, to educate herself to the point that she can fix a proto-warp engine.
I know that this is a show for kids. I know it. But Avatar managed some pretty heavy issues… I don’t understand why Prodigy can’t take a moment to do that as well.
Beyond that, aside from the episode being a lot of fun, there really isn’t enough time – ironically – to fully explore and exploit the time zone plot. Janeway jumps from stream to stream to stream, but it feels so rushed. I enjoyed the subplot of Dreadnok using the vehicle replicator to sneak on board from halfway across the galaxy, showing that he and the Diviner are still a palpable threat even from a great distance, but I can’t help but think that “Time Amok” would have been a stronger episode if it had been a two-parter, giving time to Rok-Tahk’s years alone and developing more on Dal’s fear of failure and Gwynn and Dreadnok working together to save the ship.
The possibilities were endless, but the runtime was not.