Fan Collective Unimatrix 47: Star Trek Prodigy’s “Mindwalk” Episode

Marie Brownhill
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Marie's blog, Fan Collective Unimatrix 47.


Mind-swapping has been with Trek since the first Enterprise, and while “Turnabout Intruder” will never, ever be my favorite episode, it does handle the body swapping nicely. I can say the same of “Mindwalk.” Kate Mulgrew really steals the show as Dal in Janeway’s body, though Brett Grey’s performance is certainly solid. However, “Mindwalk” isn’t about fun and “Freaky Friday” shenanigans. Rather, this eighteenth episode of Prodigy’s first season raises the stakes and the adrenaline significantly, but I’d argue that the most important element here is what Gwyn learns about Starfleet and how it affects Dal.

Plot Ahoy!

Confronted by the Dauntless, the Protostar crew scramble for options. Meanwhile, Holographic Janeway deactivates herself, fearing that she’ll continue to try and sabotage her young crew. They eventually decide to try contacting Janeway via telepathy, using Zero’s telepathy to boost Dal’s inherent abilities. Dal is successful in a sense, but their link gets severed after a phaser blast from the Dauntless rocks the Protostar. When Dal wakes up, he’s no longer Dal but rather Admiral Janeway in Dal’s body.

The admiral immediately sets to work trying to get her body back, and one of her first tasks is to rebuild Holographic Janeway’s corrupted files. She successfully purges the Living Construct’s alterations and in so doing restores Holographic Janeway’s memories. Unfortunately, Holographic Janeway lacks the answers for which the Admiral has been searching regarding the fate of Chakotay and the rest of his crew. Zero and Rok-tahk deduce that the phaser blast formed a conduit between Dal and Admiral Janeway, causing their minds to switch. The only way to restore them to their appropriate bodies is for them to touch each other. Through charades, Janeway manages to convey to Dal what she needs him to do.

Aboard the Dauntless, Dal does a poor job of imitating Janeway, but he certainly tries. His antics put Asencia on alert, but his seeming ignorance of her interaction with Janeway gives her breathing room to plot with the Diviner and Dreadnok 2.0. Meanwhile, Dal has discovered that he can see his crew through a viewport, and via charades, they convey to him that they need him to spacewalk within the warp bubble to make physical contact with Janeway in order to restore them to their rightful bodies. He rushes to comply, but motivated by Asencia, the doctor and the first officer attempt to capture whom they believe to be an ailing Janeway. The doctor sedates Dal, and he later wakes up restrained to the bed. The Diviner lets him loose, asking him, or rather Janeway, to protect his daughter if his mission fails.

Dal makes it out of the Dauntless where he meets up with Janeway, who is using Murf as a tether. Unfortunately, the Dauntless captures Dal in its tractor beam before they can make contact. Desperately, Janeway fires at her own body with her phaser in order to create the connection they need. She’s successful, so she wakes up in her body in the brig of the Dauntless. Dal wakes up on the Protostar just in time to see the ship drop out of warp to face a Starfleet armada.


There’s so much going on in “Mindwalk,” that it’s hard to come up with an analysis section that doesn’t just say “see plot.” However, while most of the episode involves the action, which propels the Protostar into an incredibly dangerous confrontation, “Mindwalk” also plays with one of the biggest themes in this back half of season one. That theme, of course, is the question of what do you do when the adults around you are failing you, and “Mindwalk” plays with this concept by having both Janeway and to a lesser extent the Diviner, re-evaluate their choices and make better ones.

Janeway’s sojourn in Dal’s body exposes her to a new set of facts, and she changes her posture based on the new information. She returns to the Dauntless with that new perspective, but unfortunately, she cannot act on it immediately. The Diviner’s act of releasing Janeway reflects that he, too, is learning to reevaluate his choices. In this scene, we get to see the Diviner remember that Gwyn is his daughter and not a tool. While he doesn’t quite go so far as to betray his mission, he’s willing to entertain the possibility that he won’t succeed, and he wants someone to look after Gwyn. I’d like to see him wrestle with the possibility that his success means Gwyn will never exist, given that he and Asencia seek to change the past in order to prevent the future timeline in which he will create Gwyn. However, this is a pretty big step for the Diviner.

The episode then contrasts these better versions of Janeway and the Diviner with what will be Starfleet’s betrayal of Dal. Dal is an Augment, and as such, he will be barred from joining Starfleet because his very existence is illegal. While I don’t know that Starfleet will jail him simply for existing, it will refuse him entry due to a very old prejudice, which runs counter to the principles for which Starfleet stands. We’ll see some of this conflict play out in the next season of Strange New Worlds, but I really like that Prodigy is tackling it as well. I don’t think we can ignore the obvious allusion to undocumented immigrants here, which is an issue that touches many children’s lives. Prodigy is telling those kids that they have worth and value even if the governmental system under which they live says otherwise. Prodigy once again trusts its viewers to understand its message, and that message is a very important one.


Four and a half crates of chimerium

Stray Thoughts From the Couch:

  1. I kind of love that Prodigy mocks “Threshold” in this episode. Goodness knows that episode is worthy of mockery.
  2. Hey, Janeway’s sister gets a name!
  3. ”Thanks for all the memories” is such a great line.
  4. I’m really hoping Admiral Janeway gets a chance to stage her own breakout.
  5. We’ve got the use of a phaser in this episode, which Prodigy has been very careful about, and I love that it’s used to right a wrong.
  6. Just how many species genomes are mixed up in Dal? Is that going to become a Macguffin?
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