Well, I’ve been asking for Dal’s backstory for a while, and Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Episode 7 gives us a large piece of the puzzle.
The Ferengi captain, Nandi, and her ship, The Damsel, present many new questions.
Meanwhile, Janeway’s investigation into what happened to the ship’s previous crew has an enigmatic development.
But first, who else felt seen watching the crew play with the transporter?
LOL. Seriously, I’d spend DAYS zapping stuff all over the ship if I had access to one, and it’s not hard to imagine the Protostar’s crew doing precisely that.
I’m not sure why they’d choose to experiment with pie, but I’m honestly shocked that #FloorPie isn’t trending.
As for using Murf as the live test subject, I’m a little skeptical. How would you even be able to tell if his molecules were reassembled correctly?
So what did we learn about Dal here?
He wasn’t a slave on Tars Lamora for his entire life. Apparently, Nandi raised him on board The Damsel for a good chunk of his life.
Nandi: You’re alive! And… you joined the Federation?
Dal: I stole [the Protostar].
Nandi: I taught you well!
So does that mean Nandi knows where he came from and where to find his people? Why hasn’t Dal asked her about that?
If Nandi is Fagin to Dal’s Artful Dodger — I have a hard time seeing him as Oliver — it explains a few things about Dal’s character and motivations.
Someone raised on the Laws of Acquisition has an inherently selfish perspective on all interactions. Check.
Also, we’d been led to believe that Dal had no idea what a captain does when, in fact, he has no idea what a good captain does.
Everything he’s done as captain is pretty much in line with Ferengi ethos. Take the best quarters, play games, distrust the Federation.
Ooooh, this also means he might’ve known about Starfleet and the Federation before Janeway started teaching them about it. Fascinating.
But, despite her many failings, Nandi is an astute judge of character. Dal was never going to make a good Ferengi.
As for the Nandi-inspired questions:
How did she sell Dal to the Tars Lamora mines without ever meeting The Diviner or Gwyn? Was Drednok running errands, or did she sell him to a third party like the Kazons?
I needed a crystal, but when you dropped into my lap, I saw a way to get it and cloak my ship too. You shouldn’t be feeling sorry for yourself. You should be taking notes!
How did she come to have Dal on her ship in the first place? How old was he when she got custody?
Is she somehow traveling between the Delta Quadrant and Federation space?
Why did she need the crystal?
It occurs to me — not for the first time — that this crew is incredibly inexperienced in so many ways.
Rok-Tahk is a child of whatever species she is, but while Gwyn may be more mature and educated, she has been sheltered and misinformed for so long that she’s naive in areas in which Rok is experienced.
Dal comes at situations with street smarts and more than a little chutzpah, but he has little experience with relationships that require trust and respect.
Jankom and Zero have useful skills but very poor focus and direction. They are incredibly distractible and pretty easily manipulated.
Honestly, at this point, the crew are just curious passengers on the Protostar, trusting in the systems and Hologram Janeway to keep them from colliding with something and blowing up.
Figuratively speaking, they kind of do collide and blow up their first contact mission with the sonic-communicating species.
To be fair, actual Starfleet crews have done worse, but none were foolish enough to take a Ferengi with them.
While the sonic species doesn’t have space travel ability and, as a first contact civilization, wouldn’t have established any interspecies communication tech by definition, I suspect this poor first impression may be revisited by the Protostar or the Federation in the future.
Furthermore, Nandi will have her vengeance (and bounty) by ratting them out to The Diviner.
As far as pacing goes, the half-hour format of Prodigy does limit how much the show can explore relationships and character development.
I would’ve liked to have more time for Gwyn and Dal to compare their experiences of being betrayed by parental figures.
Dal: Because of me, we lost the cloaking device and the chimerium.
Gwyn: But you learned who your true friends are, the ones willing to go along with you no matter how foolish it seems. Never take that for granted. I wish I could tell you it’ll stop hurting, but I don’t know that yet.
The brevity of the narrative also cuts out the opportunity to check in with The Diviner, Drednok, and the new progeny. I’m beyond curious as to how that’s going.
Even Janeway’s analysis of the footage of the Protostar’s capture is barely tantalizing in its reveal. Of course, Drednok would be part of the boarding party. The Diviner was obviously the power behind the takeover. None of that is surprising.
What remains to be answered is how The Diviner and Drednok then lost the ship to be buried in the mines of Tars Lamora.
They had enough time with the ship to reboot Hologram Janeway and lock the ship’s database behind a Vau N’akat encoding. So how did it get away?
Curiouser and curiouser.
And what about Chakotay’s mention of a time anomaly? Is the Protostar from the future? Does that mean Drednok (and possibly The Diviner) are from the future as well?
With the DMA crisis on Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 and the promise of a time travel plotline on the upcoming Star Trek: Picard Season 2, it’s feeling more and more possible that a multi-series crossover is in the offing.
What do you think? Can they pull it off? Could we see Picard or Burnham on Prodigy? What would a live-action Dal or Jankom or MURF even look like?
Hit our comments with your thoughts and theories!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.