As I was watching Dal give the most incompetent orders amid a fit of desperation, having unwisely deactivated Hologram Janeway because he'd rather figure things out on his own, and as he was jettisoning all the cargo into space (including the escape pods and who knows what other useful equipment) and diverting all power away from other essential systems — and as the space debris started slamming into the hull of the ship as the ship was getting sucked into the gravity well of the (colorfully animated) dying star, the parent in me just shook my head and thought, "This is why we can't have nice things."
"Starstruck" is what happens when you have a bunch of kids — with an arrogant and overconfident self-appointed leader — in charge of a starship. Stuff gonna get broke. The episode begins with a reasonable sense of wonder in watching these kids in awe as they discover all the cool stuff aboard the Protostar. And I guess I can understand an episode that's about showing how these kids are out of their element and in over their heads. But "Starstruck" takes it too far in the direction of utter viewer frustration in driving the point home.
Dal, who showed street smarts in the pilot, fails utterly here at listening or accepting help, which nearly destroys the ship. Unfortunately, all other characters are rendered nearly irrelevant in the process. While I see what they were going for here, having Dal's ego and insistence for independence take over the episode while the ship is getting sucked into a vortex makes him look more stupid than stubborn. My 9-year-old daughter was screaming at the screen, "Come ON, just ask Janeway for help already!" Yep, you said it, kid. Dal needs to learn from his mistakes, or someone wiser than him needs to step up. I'm not sure who the titular "prodigy" of this show is supposed to be, but right now it sure doesn't look like Dal.
In a subplot, Dal locks Gwyn in the brig where she sits sullen until an opportunity presents itself for her to escape. Dal assigns Rok to return her to the brig (a completely misplaced priority given the unfolding crisis on the bridge) and they end up in a struggle inside the shuttle bay as the ship's "vehicle replicator" literally builds a shuttle in the middle of and around their fight sequence, in what is perhaps one bright idea too many.
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