On a far-away mining colony, a teenage boy named Dal (Brett Gray) is drawn into the mysterious plot of the colony's evil overlord, the Diviner (John Noble), and the Diviner's robotic henchman Drednok (Jimmi Simpson). This is accomplished through the Diviner's not-evil but order-following daughter Gwyn (Ella Purnell), who enlists Dal to track down a missing prisoner named Zero, who is one of the keys to the Diviner's grip on his prisoners, which he's using as slave labor in this mine for ... some reason.
Under duress, Dal agrees to this plan with the hope he may one day possibly get off this rock (the lively opening minutes depict an ambitious failed escape plan). He ventures deep into the mine, tethered to a fellow prisoner named Rok (Rylee Alazraqui), where they accidentally find a Federation starship that has been entombed in the mine and is the very object the Diviner has been seeking.
Dal decides this starship is his ticket outta here, and quietly attempts to recruit a crew to help him launch the ship. This includes engineer Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), a Tellarite who really likes to argue, as well as the now-found missing prisoner Zero (Angus Imrie), who is a genderless Medusan encased inside a robotic body. (The Diviner wanted Zero because he could use Zero to gain dominion over his subjects' minds.) Also along for the ride is Murf, who's a creature with an amorphous slime/snail appearance that doesn't speak in words and kind of takes on the role of a puppy.
"Lost and Found" does a good job of assembling a motley crew of alien characters and getting them connected to this mysterious starship, which they successfully, against all odds, steal out from under the Diviner and escape. Along the way, there's a series of action sequences, close scrapes, tenuous alliances, and other complications (Gwyn ends up aboard the starship and taken along for this crew's ride as an inadvertent prisoner), amid some issues of core character identity (Dal has no idea what species he even is, and never knew his parents; Gwyn and the Diviner, meanwhile, are the last two of their kind).
It also sets up the mystery around the technologically advanced USS Protostar: Why does the Diviner want it so badly, and how did it end up inside this far-away alien mine? What happened to its crew? And where is the Federation amid all of this? There are no Federation characters on the show, which is the series' most intriguing and distinctive trait: This is a crew of outsiders who don't even know what the Federation is (although the Diviner does), and this gives the show a unique perspective. Correction — there is one Starfleet representative: Hologram Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), the Protostar's training program assistant based on the famous captain, who will presumably guide these kids in how to take control of a Starfleet vessel and perhaps provide tutelage in the ways of the Federation.
Star Trek: Prodigy in its initial two-part opener has the overall vibe and visual temperament of the Clone Wars animated series. Gwyn in particular looks like she could've stepped straight off the animated sets of that show, with her alien features merged with a very human-like overall appearance and a gritty outfit that shouts "action." The animation style is also very similar: bright, colorful, sleek, stylized, and visually cool to look at, but with that sort of cut-rate approach to the finer details and motion that make it clearly TV rather than feature-film quality. It's a solid and entertaining start, and my kids enjoyed it (this is their entry point into Star Trek, so I guess you could say mission accomplished to the CBS/Paramount media empire). But what most sets it apart from other Treks is the outsider's perspective.
Next episode: Starstruck
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