STAR TREK: PRODIGY Review — "Into the Breach, Parts I and II" (2024)

Greetings, Starfleet Academy hopefuls! We’ll be recapping and reviewing every episode of Star Trek: Prodigy Season 2 — two episodes at a time — here at TrekCore this summer, starting with the two-part season premiere today.

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“Into the Breach” does its duty to open the season admirably. The recap on what we missed since the Season 1 finaleis short and sweet and satisfying, while the set-up of the new settings and season mystery is comprehensive and intriguing. A fabulous tone setting two-parter whose ending is somehow both self-contained and open-ended.

We start with an update on each of our Protostar crew who are attending Starfleet Academy prep school: Murf (Dee Bradley Baker)is tearing it up in security, and Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) is flourishing in her science track, causally solving the tribble problem to everyone’s astonishment.

Ok, class, raise your hand if you thought the first Star Trek reference of the season would be to Lieutenant Edward Larkin from “The Trouble with Edward”? I certainly did not see that coming — he was an idiot! This first reference, though, is a perfect example of the depths this season plunges into Trek lore. Its just delightful to catch these deep cut references scattered like so many tachyon particles throughout the season.

The breadth of Trek connections is there, too, as this season I counted at least one reference to the Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, the TOS movies, the TNG movies, the Kelvin Timeline movies, Discovery, Short Treks, Picard, and Lower Decks. Incredible!

They also do a great job of referencing themselves with great little touches. Our catch-up for Zero (Angus Imrie) includes the wistful line “Ah, the joys of being corporeal…” as they witness two students interested in each other touch hands for the first time. This mimics their sincere “Ah, the joys of being non-corporeal” line from last season. Considering the Season 1 line was about not having to smell a fart, this is a nice subtle way to show how much our cadets have grown up a little.

Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas) even tries to get into the spirit of growing up as he is making more of an effect in manners and hygiene. Dal (Brett Grey), though? Not so much, as we see him skipping class even before he gets his evite from Janeway. At one point he calls it a “study snooze fest”. This prompted my daughter to say “I think school is boring too, but if that was my school I wouldn’t think that!” So Prodigy does an excellent job of making the academy prep school a dreamy place to be.

The cadets gather at the bus stop to their study abroad and watch a shuttle touch down labeled with “NCC-74656-A” — the first thrilling indication of where they are headed. The direction and music do a great job of misdirection that Janeway herself might be here. And the headless shot of a blue uniform with a mobile emitter on the arm gives the seasoned Trek fans watching a split second advantage in knowing who it really is. This scene is a great introduction to the hero of the delta quadrant himself: the EMH.

He is the same as ever, proud and long-winded and not to be trifled with. He’s a doctor, not a butler, and a personal friend of the Admiral. It’s great to hear Robert Picardo play this role again and it’s a smart addition to the cast to have him be the one “in charge” of our cadets. And the debrief he gives them on the shuttle was a great refresher of relevant portions of the previous season.

The introduction to our new ship, the gorgeous Lamarr-class science vessel Voyager-A is a highlight of this episode. We get the classic Trek trope of coming up to the ship in space doc with admiration and astonishment on everyone’s faces and some great pans of the ship, The beautiful Voyager theme-inspired music adds to the wonder of it all.

We get the stats and a great tour of the ship. The ship tour last season in “Starstruck” was mostly directed at the kids watching, giving them a crash course on different locations in a starship. This ship tour felt like it was more for fans of the previous Voyager ship and they spent a good amount of time showing off the upgrades.

The ship itself feels a little sterile, but that is in keeping with the modern aesthetic of the show. The bridge in particular feels a little generic, but what did I expect? Carpeting? Janeway’s captain chair is great. It looks admiral-worthy and comfortable. Engineering is a highlight as the consoles and catwalks do a great job of evoking the original Voyager’s engineering set, which is one of the best engineering sets in all of Trek.

The animated warp core itself looks magical. “It’s the delta radiation!” that makes a warp core look so beautiful up close, Zero explains later. Taking the time to throw that line in made me grin. This show is such a celebration of all things Trek.

Another highlight of the tour is the promise of Cetacean Ops, which according to the doctor “houses our finest navigators.” A long standing area of a starship that we’ve never gotten to see until the also animated Lower Decks finally gave us a tour of the Cerritos version of Cetacean Ops in “First First Contact.” I enjoyed the glimpses we got in “Into the Breach” and I can not wait to fully see Prodigy’s take on this legendary department.

When the EMH tells Rok that “we thought Cetacean Ops would be the place for you,” I turned to my marine biology-loving daughter and told her that I thought Cetacean Ops would be the place for her, too. And since she didn’t know what that meant, we took the time to look up the word ‘cetacean’. The look of astonishment on her face as she said “There are whales on this ship?!” made me so excited for her. Aye, darling, there be whales here!

Next Dal has a catch up call with Gwyn(Ella Purnell) who is still on her way to Solum. They use this time to try to explain how Gwyn stopping the Solum civil war won’t change history. I’m glad they took the time to mention that and try to frame it in a way that makes sense. I’m not sure I buy it, but what do I know? I’ve never read Temporal Mechanics 101 either. Further, I don’t really care. Time travel is a device that is never going to “hold up” to logical scrutiny. But it’s fun — and thought provoking!

Prodigy Season 2 does an amazing job of maintaining an internal consistency in it’s particular set of “rules” of time travel. And throughout the season they make the gears in my kids’ brains (and my own) turn in the best way.

After all that setting the stage, it’s finally time for the type of co*ckamamie plans that we know and love from Prodigy. The crew discovers a mysterious, invisible ship — “cloaked is the proper term”, Zero informs Dal and my kids — hidden in an unmarked shuttle bay. The Infinity, which is an experimental Federation support courier with a temporal shield emitter. (I genuinely love that Jankom could tell all that by just looking at it).

A great use of Murf’s abilities here as he grabs everyone and hangs from the ceiling so they won’t get caught by Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her crew. It’s so comforting to hear the conversation between Janeway, Noum, Tysess, and the Doctor, as the same Star Trek loyalty and bravery present in the first Voyager crew and with our Protostar crew is on full display here as we learn of their plan to enter the wormhole.

As Part II begins, we catch up with Gwyn as she finally arrives on Solum. Solum feels like a truly fleshed out civilization here, with gorgeous architecture and fashion and cultural touchstones such as the heirlooms and dreadnoughts. The “Elders of Solum,” their guards, and their chamber itself feel very otherworldly and very much of this place. Gwyn’s dad calls his bot “The Lorekeeper”, which also feels particularly of the Vau N’Akat.

The reveal of Asencia (Jameela Jamil) is delicious. Of course she traveled to Solum to provide her own isolationist spin to try to influence the Vau N’Akat. She is a political villain with the cunning of Kai Winn and the bombast of Gul Dukat. Gwyn’s frustrated “She’s trying to trick you!” also shows her a relevant and timely villain and I feel that same sense of frustration in the best way every time she’s on screen.

Jameela Jamil’s performance is a highlight of the season as she chews up her lines and spits them out with genuine super-villain venom and a little bit of camp, while still maintaining the sense of her motivation being her warped idea of “protecting” Solum rather than crossing over into just “being evil.” Absolutely delightful.

Next we are treated to a classic observation lounge briefing as Janeway dials the crew into her plan. The log Chakotay (Robert Beltran) left was a beautiful reminder of his love for Janeway, but also gave our crew personal stakes in his rescue. It’s because of his sacrifice that they all embarked on this life changing adventure in the first place. Both these pieces of information make Chakotay’s rescue relevant to kids watching who haven’t known him for seven seasons of Voyager. He saved their beloved Protostar crew; now they have to save him.

Of course they can’t keep it a secret and the formidable Maj’el (Michaela Dietz) realizes something is up — and sends Nova Squad to the restricted hanger. The turbolift vs. Jeffries tube race is fun and the ensuing chaos in the Infinity is a plausible enough way to get the kids on their voyage into the wormhole. Zero strapping everyone in for the trip puts a nice bow on this introductory two-parter as we all strap in for whatever lies ahead this season.

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Stay tuned for our next review — covering “Who Saves the Saviors” and “Temporal Mechanics 101” — coming next week. We’ll also be keeping up with all the Star Trek franchise references with the return of our Canon Connections series along the way, because this season had enough to fill two wormholes!

STAR TREK: PRODIGY Review — "Into the Breach, Parts I and II" (7)

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 2 is available to stream now on Netflix globally (excluding-Canada, Nordics, CEE, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Belarus, and Mainland China). The show can also be viewed on SkyShowtime in the Nordics, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Central and Eastern Europe.

STAR TREK: PRODIGY Review — "Into the Breach, Parts I and II" (2024)

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