Star Trek: Prodigy

"First Con-tact"

Review pending

Air date: 1/13/2022
Written by Diandra Pendleton-Thompson
Directed by Steve In Chang Ahn & Sung Shin

Pending my review, the commenting section is open.

Previous episode: Kobayashi

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7 comments on this post

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AMA
Thu, Jan 13, 2022, 9:31am (UTC -6)
This series keeps getting better with each episode.

The characters' introduction to the transporter, beaming floor pies all over the ship and Murf (accidentally) into outer space, was genuinely funny.

I loved the truly alien nature of the Cymari, and the characters' use of 'acoustic terra-molding' to communicate. The series exploited animation to introduce a form of life that has not been seen in nearly 1000 episodes of the franchise. I have to admit, as Rok-Tahk expressed an audible 'wow,' I just about did the same. A physical embodiment of the Cymari was likely unnecessary, but that's a minor quibble.

I also appreciated the in-universe message, regarding the delicateness of first contacts. The writers have now also presented two example of where youth should be wary/skeptical of parental figures. I'm not certain that is the intended message, but it's pretty punk if so. Ultimately, Nandi worked well as a foil and a means to bring The Diviner back in as a threat.

Incredibly well done episode. One of my very favourite outings in this new era of Trek.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jan 13, 2022, 10:33am (UTC -6)
Best episode of the series yet. Animation really continues to impress. Still feels like we're in the "set up" phase of the show, though. Makes me wonder what it will be like and what sorts of stories they will be telling in 2-3 years when they've built up the world and some history between the characters a bit. Lot of potential here.

. . .

So we've got a female Daimon Ferengi in the Delta Quadrant who raised Dal. At first glance it seems like this violates all kinds of continuity but it really doesn't. This is clearly a woman who refused to accept the limitations of her society, stole a ship and struck out for deep space so she could live her Ferengi dream of being the most Ferengi who ever Ferengi-ed. And of course there would be stories like that--people who do things like that given Ferengi society.

The show, for its part, is concerned about telling us none of this backstory, and that's exactly how it should be. It would be entirely besides the point and would make the episode worse if it tried. But it allowed for it. For those of us who know the wider Star Trek lore, we can easily connect the dots here. I appreciate that. I appreciate that while the show seemingly isn't concerned with such details, it's concerned just enough.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 13, 2022, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
I thought this was a good episode, if somewhat of a step down from last week.

Once again, the episode served as an introduction of sorts to kiddos of several aspects of the Trek universe, from transporters to the Prime Directive to the Ferengi. I have to say that while it's a bit weird to see a Ferengi so far afield, they do make perfect antagonists for a kids show, as they're irksome without being genuinely threatening. The writers did their homework quoting the Rules of Acquisition as well.

The episode was not just memberberries for Trek fans however. This episode was great when it came to developing Dal's character into something more compelling. Not only do we see some of Dal's backstory, we also get to see him make a big mistake, own up to it yet continue to suffer consequences from it (the loss of respect of holo-Janeway), and hopefully grow more as a person. Gwyn's empathy for his situation was well played too. If there was any fault here it's just that the supporting characters really had no role this week - the episode could have run exactly the same if Jankom Pog, Rok-Takk, and Zero had stayed onboard the ship.

This was also quite a visually imaginative episode, and showcased what can be done with animation within the Trek setting that it would be difficult to do even with all the CGI they throw onscreen for Discovery.
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Rahul
Thu, Jan 13, 2022, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
I think this is pretty good standard fare for Prodigy, something the target audience can enjoy. Getting a Ferengi involved pretty much gives away what will happen, though. The most impressive part of the episode is the animation with the "sand people" -- the visuals continue to be top notch.

I guess we gotta feel some more for Dal, who was raised by this treacherous Ferengi, sleeping in the engine room and ultimately being sold as slave labor. So this is a somewhat relatable experience to what Gwen went through -- more common bonds between these 2 building I think.

I liked the sci-fi aspect for the sand people and how they communicated and Gwen picking up on these things. At least we've got a very much alien species that first contact ends up being a disaster with. Janeway can be used to educate the younger audience on the ways of Trek like with the Prime Directive and how this species will now likely turn xenophobic.

I guess there's a tiny B-plot with Janeway looking through old logs of the Protostar under Chakotay's command -- and she spots (I believe) Drednok in a photo. Good ongoing mystery with what happened to the Protostar's crew that Dal's monologue touches on at the start of the episode.

2.5 stars for "First Con-tact" -- bit of a step down from "Kobayashi" but still very enjoyable. I think Dal is developing some more morals after this episode as he realizes they shouldn't steal all the crystals etc. The crew is coming together, Janeway guiding them. All pretty good stuff so far, and we may not have heard the last from the Ferengi (unfortunately).
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Mal
Thu, Jan 13, 2022, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Star Trek: Prodigy
Season 1 episode 7

First Con-tact

“Mmmm floor pie.”

“It smells amazing!”

“And it’s delicious!!”

- Jankom Pog, Rok-Tahk and Gwyndala. Damn it, now I want pie!


* * * 1/2 (out of 4)


I agree with @Jeffrey's Tube that this is the best episode of Prodigy yet.

I was tempted to stick with 3 stars again this week, but then I realized there is only so much you can fit into 23 minutes. And “First Con-tact” is a perfect distillation of what Prodigy can be. Good clean fun, an interesting adventure of the week, and a little bit of long-form arc to pull us along.

Plus I have to give Prodigy huge props for making a great Ferengi episode! Towards the end of DS9 ("The Emperor's New Cloak”), and for those tiny slivers of Voyager ("False Profits”), and Enterprise where we “saw” them (ENT: “Acquisition”), the Ferengi have pretty much universally fallen flat. Here Prodigy brings them back to life, giving us Daemon Nandi. Nandi is captain who raised Dal, had him sleep in the engine room (like Kaylee on Firefly!)

https://youtu.be/00io4VSA6Vw?t=9

and then sold him to slavers… for a profit, or course. Daemon Nandi is something of a cross between Snow White’s wicked Stepmother and Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy,

https://youtu.be/ISTZYZq1H80

@Karl Zimmerman hits the nail on the head when he observes that the Ferengi "do make perfect antagonists for a kids show, as they're irksome without being genuinely threatening.” Kudos to the writers for putting the Ferengi to their perfect use.

@Jeffrey's Tube commented last week, "I think it's official that Prodigy is a sequel series to Voyager.” This week we see that the apprentice has surpassed his master - Daemon Nandi is far better for kids’ enjoyment (or the kids in all of us) than Naomi ever was. Of course this episode also has more than a little of Voyager’s "Live Fast and Prosper” in it.

Speaking of Voyager, we get another look at Captain Chakotay, and the cool new Starfleet uniforms. In what @Rahul calls the b-plot, but I want to call the c-plot, we catch the briefest glimpse at the robot Drednok in an old recording, hinting that the Diviner might have had something to do with The USS Protostar’s loss. This is just enough of an arc to carry us forward from episode to episode, while we partake in the adventure of the day.

And what an adventure it is! First Contact is a visual extravaganza! And how crazy that Sand Megaripples are at the cutting edge of Science:

https://www.sciencealert.com/new-study-reveals-the-secret-math-hidden-in-sand-megaripples

I was reminded of the Fantasia night shows at Disneyland that I went to see decades ago as a kid during TNG’s original run, and which evidently still go on to this day,

https://youtu.be/lulyEgkHWhg?t=102

That I get that same feeling of awe and wonder from a Star Trek cartoon well into my mid-life as I did when I was a kid at Disneyland, speaks volumes about this wonderful show.

And finally, we are treated to a fun B-plot: kids playing with the transporter. Murf continues to impress. Plus warm floor pie!

https://youtu.be/YNF48RkUqks

I love that every week these kids learn something new about the ship. Last week it was the holodeck. This week it is the transporter. And even better, each week that new lesson becomes an integral part of the plot. Last week Kobayashi took full advantage of the holodeck. This week the transporter saves the day. That was the philosphy behind old-school kids shows like 3-2-1 Contact,

https://youtu.be/s2-LEBc2sO8

I find myself thoroughly entertained and feeling great at the end of each Prodigy episode. A bit like the feeling I got back when TNG first aired week-to-week in 1987. If kids in elementary school are enjoying Prodigy now, as much as I enjoyed TNG then, then Star Trek is truly fulfilling Gene's vision.
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Yanks
Fri, Jan 14, 2022, 10:41am (UTC -6)
Another enjoyable installment.

So, how does the female Ferengi get 4000 light-years from where she sold Dal into slavery?

The kids messing with the transporter was good to see.

It will be interesting when Janeway reveals to the crew what she's clamored from her memory tid-bits.

Go figure, a Ferengi wasn't truthful...

Enjoyable every week.
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Steve
Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 8:35am (UTC -6)
I agree this is a wonderful show, but it seems a little advanced for 7+ kids. Just my opinion. Anyone else have thoughts as to the target audience? I feel like it’s more of a 12 and up show. (Compound fracture? Yikes…)

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