I’m honestly shocked at how good Prodigy has gotten over the last few weeks. While still decidedly aimed at children as it should be, it has also had terrific character development and evolution. I’m even getting to where I like Dal and, after “Starshot,” that is, quite frankly, amazing given that I wanted to see him shoved out of an airlock after that episode.
After getting separated in time last week and defeating a fabricated copy of Dreadnok that invaded the ship, the crew of the Protostar get an unexpected message from The Diviner: Surrender their ship to him and he will release all of this prisoners on Tars Lamora, but if they refuse, he will make them suffer.
As Dal puts it, it’s a Kobayashi Maru… a no-won scenario and so, the crew decides on the only real option: Surrender the Protostar.
This episode is so good. It’s a natural, organic culmination of the Prodigy children becoming an actual crew and embracing the ideals that come with the Starfleet ship they’ve commandeered.
What I like about this development is that it is earned. Every moment in “A Moral Star” sprouts from a seed that the series has already planted. Seeing Dal, Gwynn, Zero, Rok-Tahk, and Jankom in actual uniforms, performing as an actual crew… it was wonderful. I’m right there with Janeway feeling pride in these kids.
What’s more, “A Moral Star” offers so much more on its own. The dilemma is such a simple and yet effective one: Do nothing, survive and know that others are suffering or give up your own freedoms for the benefit of others (and likely get double crossed by a very bad person). There is no winning side because the Diviner won before the episode even started. The true strength of “A Moral Star” is watching how the kids figure out how to get out of the box they’ve found themselves in.
If there is one thing about this episode I found irritating, it’s the Diviner himself. He’s been far too one-dimensional far too long and, while there are hints that there is more to him than just the mustache-twirling bad guy he’s being portrayed as, he’s still a mustache-twirling bad guy with no real motivation than enslaving and screaming about a ship. I think the episode would have been far more effective had some of the secrets of the Diviner been revealed: Why he needs the Protostar and why it is so vital to him.
Still, “A Moral Star, Part One” could very well be the best episode of Star Trek: Prodigy yet. Look at how far these kids have come. I’m so proud.