Star Trek: Prodigy

“Touch of Grey”

Review pending

Air date: 7/1/2024
Written by Jennifer Muro
Directed by Sung Shin

Review Text

Pending my review, the comments section is open.

Previous episode: Brink
Next episode: Ouroboros, Part I

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10 comments on this post

    This episode is called "A Touch of Gray" for some reason on Netflix. Not sure about the discrepancy.

    While plotwise, this episode picks up without skipping a beat, the framing changes dramatically. The kiddos are not the main characters here. They are largely absent for much of the episode, other than occasional shots back to their desperate attempts to evade the captive Loom in the decrepit building Acensia is using as a gladiator pit.

    Instead, the episode is framed from the POV of the grownups, from the starting discussion within sickbay to the away mission. They made the very conscious choice here to have Janeway, Chakotay, and the Doctor staff the away mission with Wesley, making it a sort of swan song for Voyager itself. They hatch the plan to spring the kids out, including the elaborate fakeout with the Doctor pretending to be Janeway, which is the distraction that lets the escape plan work.

    I'm not sure if this would work from the perspective of the (original) intended audience of children, but I do think legacy Trek fans will enjoy this - particularly those who remember Voyager more fondly than I do. I think it's great, but I'm still a bit salty no one gave DS9 a similar treatment.

    Man, all these episodes are full of inspirational quotes.

    Teamwork! Hope! Confidence! Unity!

    STARFLEET!

    I really appreciate that we got to sit at the grown ups table for at least one episode. Also Wesley Crusher is a horrible son. All of time and space at his fingertips and he can’t be bothered to call Mom?

    Nice focus on the adult / legacy characters this episode. Out of 20 episodes, it's nice to have one that mostly features them, although I agree the kids should remain the focus of the show overall.

    Really enjoyed the Doctor overacting Janeway's death scene. Very in character.

    Like that the Loom isn't portrayed as some mindless force of nature, but an actual living creature in this episode. It would be tempting to think of and treat them otherwise.

    Combadges can blow up now? Yikes!

    Only two episodes left? I don't want it to end.

    @ Karl

    Avery Brooks is retired and completely out of the public eye. He doesn't do conventions and has declined every opportunity to be involved with Star Trek again. Well, he was allegedly very interested in and gave feedback on the What We Left Behind documentary from a few years ago, but declined to appear on camera. By all accounts he's really proud of the series and his work on it, but sees it as a closed chapter of his life.

    I think it would be really hard to do a Prodigy-like series for DS9 without him. "Where's Sisko?' and "Is Sisko back from the wormhole yet like he said he'd be?" would be the questions constantly hanging over the show. If you're in charge of making that show, I don't think you can ignore that issue and I don't see how you solve it in a satisfactory or at least non-disrespectful manner without Avery.

    . . .

    I think you're probably aware, but Lower Decks did go to DS9 and Kira and Quark guest starred. It also later went to Ferenginar and checked in with Rom and Leeta.

    @Jeffrey's Tube,

    I'm aware that Brooks has dropped off the face of the earth, as far as Trek fandom is concerned. I wasn't saying that I wish that holo-Sisko was on the Protostar again or anything.

    I mean the extent to which this show feels like it addresses unfinished business with the end of arcs for many of the Voyager characters. There are enough DS9 actors who are still alive, active and interested in Trek (Visitor, Shimmerman, and Siddig most notably) that you could have something more long-form which built a story in part off of unfinished business, even if it wasn't a direct sequel.

    But you're right, at least we've gotten two Lower Decks episodes. I guess Enterprise fans should feel the worst off, as aside from references in DIS and SNW, they haven't gotten shit.

    @ Karl

    I just don't know how you'd do it, though. You can set the show on DS9 under Kira's command but then sooner or later you have to address the Sisko issue, and you don't have Avery. You could set it in the Gamma Quadrant, following up what happened with the Dominion afterward, but the two obvious "ins" to that storyline as far as characters would be Nog and Odo . . . and sadly we don't have them either.

    Colm Meany doesn't want to come back to Star Trek either, and I don't know how much interest / will there would be in even asking Nicole (let alone her interest in doing it). So that leaves the characters we've already seen and the follow-ups we've already gotten on LD and PIC (let's not forget Worf counts too, and PIC S3 used DS9 storylines).

    Actually . . . there's Garak, isn't there? There's Garak on Cardassia. Bashir could join him for some reason. And throw in a bunch of new characters . . . you credibly wouldn't have to engage with any of the other elements from DS9 that are unavailable to you. That has potential. But how "Star Trek" would that series be to the uninitiated? How do you make it interesting to non-DS9 fans? I don't know.

    Seems a bit (a little bit) like trying to do Caprica after BSG and we know how that went.

    It's not an easy proposition to figure something out creatively that would also be commercially successful. Voyager and TNG sequels by their nature (and the cast availability situation) are just a lot easier.

    . . .

    ENT, it doesn't seem like there's much will there, either. It was considered a flop and a failure and that perception hasn't really changed, and it does not seem like the cast are proud of it or keen to revisit that chapter of their careers. Bakula's not interested. Blalock is a retired billionaire and could not be less interested. Braga killed Trip in the finale out of spite (and this is honestly the biggest obstacle to any "continuing adventures of the NX-01" stories, imo). That leaves BIllingsley (he'd do it), Keating (he'd do it), Park (she'd do it), and Montgomery (he'd do it, but no one would ask him). I'd love for one or multiple of them to show up for a voice cameo somewhere, but probably that's the best we can expect.

    Or maybe Billingsley could show up on SNW--how long do Denobulans live, anyway? And there are always other ways--Uhura could be viewing a training vid on some communications concept recorded by an older Hoshi Sato, for example. Wouldn't mind seeing her character pop up again in a scenario like that.

    In regards to future storylines for "DS9", "ENT", and so forth: They're (possibly) coming. There has been some discussion of a "Tales of the Federation" series that would be 2D animated. And you don't need all of the original actors for their Star Trek characters to appear in animation. For example, the 2023 2D animated movie "Babylon 5: The Road Home" was a fairly enjoyable return to the series. All of the main characters were back, but with different voice actors filling in for Delenn, Dr. Stephen Franklin, and other members of the cast that were no longer available. The voice work was so good that it was difficult to tell that the original actors had not returned. Granted, it would be difficult to replace Avery Brook's voice, but after being with the prophets for awhile perhaps returning to human form slightly alters the voice and/or the personality? In other words, with animation there are established ways to work around not having the full cast available.

    With the Skydance/Paramount merger there's no telling if a project like this would move forward, but Skydance is high on the Star Trek IP, so it's a least a future possibility.

    @ Jeffrey's Tube,

    Nicole DeBoer does the con circuit and has stayed involved in the fandom. I do think she'd come back to play Ezri.

    Andy Robinson, that's harder. His health seems fine, and he still appears for interviews and the like, but he's pretty much retired from acting because he's a full-time caretaker for his wife. I do think we could get him back for a one-off, particularly if it was voice acting, but he would not do a regular role.

    Of course, Cirroc Lofton is ready and willing as well. But he's barely worked as a professional actor since the end of DS9. The few roles I've seen him in (like fan films, and the audio drama done on Alexander Siddig's YouTube channel during the pandemic) show that he seems to have forgotten how to act. The one plus is he somehow grew into a man who looks the spitting image of Avery Brooks at his age, that's thin gruel.

    If there was a full-on DS9 "sequel" my preference would be that Alexander Siddig was the lead. He's still reasonably young, has developed into a name actor, has improved his craft, and still loves Star Trek and wants to be involved. He could still be somehow involved with Ezri (whether married to her or divorced with children) bringing her into it. Given the end of his arc was so wrapped up with Section 31, there's all sorts of interesting ways you could play this, but a straight-up paranoid spy thriller (hopefully with him working for Starfleet Intelligence, not Section 31 directly) would work. And lots of former DS9 characters (Garak, Martok, Rom, Kira, etc.) could pop in as the story required.

    Regarding ENT, I am still upset that Lower Decks didn't do something with the gag at the beginning of Season 2 while Boimler was on the Titan. He could have spent an entire episode in one of Riker's NX-01 simulations, allowing essentially everyone from Enterprise who wanted to have a cameo.

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