Starfleet ships keep showing up like lambs to the slaughter, The Protostar is destroyed, and one major member of its crew ends their voyage for good by going down with the ship. Our heroes’ lives are forever changed by a season finale of Star Trek: Prodigy that puts it all on the table and goes out with a bang.
“Supernova, Part 2” was my kind of finale, one that confidently resolves its larger plot early and then spends the rest of the episode on the emotional stakes while taking time to set up the next season. One of my few criticisms of last week’s Part 1 was that I didn’t buy the assumption that Starfleet vessels would just keep showing up one after another and getting forever ensnared in the living construct’s trap. The Federation isn’t The Borg; they’re not mindless automatons following an already-established program.
Fortunately, this episode blew past that concern quickly as the Protostar crew decided the simplest solution involved destroying their ship and the living construct with it. Of course, it wasn’t that simple. Blowing up the Proto Core would do untold damage on the sector. This damage could be greatly mitigated if they Proto Warp at the exact moment they destabilize the Core. The catch is someone will have to stay behind.
Holo Janeway convinces them she’s the best option since they can copy her entire memory onto an Isolinear chip. But when Holo Janeway realizes her time with the current crew has evolved her program to be too large to fit on the chip, she lies and sends them on their way. It’s only after it’s too late that they discover the chip only carries a prerecorded message from Holo Janeway explaining the situation and expressing her pride and confidence in them.
A month later, a new Chakotay distress call — from inside a wormhole created by the Protostar’s exploded core and from an alternate future — provides Admiral Janeway with her next mission. The surviving Protostar crew is discovered and brought to Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco to face trial for their crimes. Admiral Janeway advocates for them with a speech worthy of even Jean Luc Picard. Not only are all charges dropped, but five of the six are to be taken under Janeway’s wing as Warrant Officers in Training. They were denied Academy entry due to the waitlist already filled with applicants from actual Federation member worlds.
Even Dal is allowed to participate, despite the Federation’s centuries-long ban on augmented individuals thanks to Janeway’s inspiring words. The Federation is made up of 150 member worlds; Dal shares the DNA of 26 of them. “Is there a better living embodiment of what our alliance represents?” Janeway asks the tribunal.
Gwyn is the one left out of this arrangement, as Starfleet has agreed to help her back to her home world, where she intends to follow her father’s dying wish to unite her people. In a beautifully written, intimate scene that ends with Dal and Gwyn exchanging a passionate kiss, we’re reminded that first contact between The Federation and the Vau N’Akat hasn’t happened yet and that, in this timeline, Gwyn’s father is still alive.
Gwyn departs just before our young heroes are introduced to the new Protostar Class ship modeled on the prototype. But possibly subverting audience expectations, when Dal asks if this will be the ship Dal, Zero, Rok-Tahk, Jankom, and Murf will serve on next season, Janeway responds, “I have much bigger plans for us!”
“Supernova, Part 2” resolves many of the central questions of season one of Star Trek: Prodigy, while leaving plenty to explore in season two. For one, Jameela Jamil’s Vindicator doesn’t appear at all this week after escaping the Protostar’s Bridge in Part 1. She’s almost certainly going to be a significant obstacle to Gwyn’s mission as “The Unifier.” Meanwhile, the search for Chakotay is the obvious primary agenda for Admiral Janeway for season two.
“Supernova, Part 2” is an immensely satisfying finale that doesn’t bother to waste time dragging out the high-jeopardy, epic action. I’m thrilled the writers front-loaded the biggest action and suspense in Part 1 and trusted the audience enough here to center the characters’ personal and emotional journeys. I suspect even most of the show’s youngest viewers knew Starfleet was going to make it out of this conflict intact.
I kinda wish shows more geared toward adult audiences would take a page from Star Trek: Prodigy‘s writers and embrace a more chill finale that takes the time to just clear the board and set the pieces up again for the next round. season two promises to not just repeat the formula of season one but to boldly move the story forward in new and exciting directions.
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