Star Trek #1601: Mindwalk

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Dal and Janeway get Freaky Fridayed.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Dal as Janeway is hilarious.

WHY WE DON'T: Didn't Strange New Worlds just do this?

REVIEW: While I was a bit wary of a SECOND Freaky Friday episode in the same year, even understanding that SNW and Prodigy don't necessarily cater to the same audience, Dal in the body of Janeway is worth the price of admission. "Spock Amok" was my favorite episode of Strange New Worlds, but it wasn't this funny. Watching Admiral Jane way trip over her feet, give people stupid nicknames, and over-emoting at everything was just cherry, and perhaps a little cathartic for someone who thought Voyager took itself a little too seriously at times, especially in respect to its captain. But it has a plot function too. Janeway's crew is a bit slow on the uptake (for comedy's sake), but once they decide she's not right in the head, they refuse to cooperate with even the REAL Janeway, back in her body. The Protostar has flown itself in the heart of Federation space where it can infect the most ships, and Janeway's stuck in a holding cell.

On the flip side, Janeway in Dal's body is a measured, mature performance, not goofy at all. I do wonder if they mixed the two actors' voices at times, or if Mulgrew and Gray are just great mimics. Regardless, it's effective. We also get a Janeway vs. Janeway scene, made more fun by having the hologram perceive her Admiral self rather than Dal's body. Janeway fixes Janeway, gives her access back to her memories, and they both discover Chakotay may still be out there somewhere. Bother mind trips allow the characters to learn something important. For Dal, it's that the Diviner realizes he's misjudged the Federation who have been so kind to him, and has enough honor to release Janeway as thanks, even if he must complete his mission for his people's sake. And he still cares for Gwyn. Redemption arc? As for Janeway, she sees the kids' qualities and makes good use of them, pushing us closer to their actually joining Starfleet - though she does inform them Dal wouldn't be accepted because he's an augment. So what will this mean?

Speaking of augmentations, the notion that Dal's DNA includes pre-energy form Organian DNA (which is where the body swapping comes from) is highly suspect - I mean, when did scientists get a hold of this? - but the way Zero says it, maybe it's just a similar ability, and it's really just his mix of telepathic DNA that did it. After all, Spock and T'Pring did it without its benefit. Ok, we'll let it pass.

There's a big ticking clock, and a computer virus, and Asencia manipulating things in the background, but this is still a fun action-comedy episode. The plan to spacewalk within a merged warp bubble (with Murf as a bungee chord) is amusing. The way they communicate this through a kid-friendly game of charades is also quite fun. Dal-Janeway walking over a ship's sensor and appearing as a giant on the Dauntless' screen. Heck, Janeway even mentions how she was once turned into a salamander!

Goofiness makes your crew lose faith (so how did Riker manage?).

REWATCHABILITY - High: Goofy in the best possible way. I can't stress enough how every episode sets up the future. Prodigy has become the most tightly plotted Trek series.