"Supernova, Part 1" ends on a Really Big Cliffhanger, and it's at this point I begin musing whether the action-based scope of this show needlessly exceeds the thematic goals that should've been the real point of this season, which is to get these young misfits to into Federation space and Starfleet. The season seems to be accomplishing that goal, yes, but in the meantime, it's also doing one of those overly large "threat to the Federation" plots that have pervaded the Kurtzman era of Star Trek and become really tired over the past five years. And this time it will be kids coming to the rescue.
Take the ending of the episode, coming after a bunch of action sequences, where a hailing frequency opened by Asencia, who has taken over the Protostar, results in all the ships in the fleet that have gathered here being infected with the virus, going berserk, and opening fire on one another. As cliffhangers go, the situation looks pretty dire — right after the false dawn where the young crew realizes that pleading for aid from other non-Federation ships, which the weapon was not designed to target, seemed to offer a solution.
There's a lot going on here. In addition to the mass chaos in the fleet, there's all the other on-board action beats that play out, including the Drednok wreaking havoc, the Diviner officially switching sides to protect his daughter (and paying the price with his life, for real this time), Murf turning into a super mini-fighter (because goofy stuff like that is fun for the kids), Gwyn facing off against Asencia in a big fight, and Dal kissing Gwyn because, well, we couldn't possibly leave that stone unturned in the cliché quarry.
This is competent action, and among some nice touches are Janeway being released from the brig by a Brenari security officer who was a refugee she rescued in Voyager's "Counterpoint." Also, and especially, bonus points for the inclusion of Admiral Jellico as the fleet commander, voiced by Ronny Cox, reprising the role at age 84.
But I'm beyond any desire to discuss action beats. At a certain point, this becomes sound and fury filling up screen time (entertainingly enough, I suppose), while signifying nothing. We'll see how this wraps up for our young crew in next week's finale.
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