Star Trek #1602: Supernova, Part 1

CAPTAIN'S LOG: The bad guys might just win this one...

WHY WE LIKE IT: Pretty exciting!

WHY WE DON'T: I don't buy Janeway's release from the brig.

REVIEW: It's all coming to a head. The weapon has brought the Protostar right in the middle of the Federation fleet (but don't look too closely at the registry numbers, some ships may appear several times), Admiral Janeway is in the brig on account of Dal's "impersonation", Asencia and the Diviner have taken over the Dauntless' bridge and beamed over to the Protostar to hail the fleet and transmit the virus. And once the virus hits, all the ships' windows turn red and they start firing at one another, and all the crew lose the universal translator, which makes the kids in particular revert to Babelian speak from the very first episode. Phew! That's a lot! And the shaky camera work helps sell the urgency.

The bad guys are able to momentarily capture the Protostar thanks to Asencia's Drednok going full spiderbot to fight the kids. Each one (except Gwyn) is caught in a different trap, and there's a very good sequence where they use team work to help each other out of their jams. (And guys, who would you rather have guarding your back? Worf or Murf?) This team work will be tested by the absence of a universal translator, but since Gwyn IS a universal translator, this becomes a big theme, tapping right into IDIC. Dal has the idea of a calling the Federation's allies to block all the weapons fire with their shields, and Gwyn, a natural translator, makes an impassioned speech that convinces Klingons, Ferengi (currently led by Rom) and Gorn (!!! they've come a long way) to help. This is really Prodigy's theme, a mirror of the eclectic crew that's come to act as a unit over the past 19 episodes. That more ships are lured into this trap, and not enough allies can be found is the cliffhanger that sends us into Part II.

Along the way, there's a Gwyn-Asencia fight that results in the Diviner turning on his colleague and getting killed for it. He really did die loving his daughter. He turns into pixie dust, which I can't quite explain except maybe by saying it's a way to kill a character on a kids' cartoon without there being a corpse in the room. Asencia escapes, using her Drednok as an escape pod. These things are really versatile.

The one thing I don't quite buy is Admiral Janeway's escape from the brig. It hinges on her guard being one of the Brenari refugees she would have saved as a girl in Voyager's fifth season episode "Counterpoint". Unless you're VERY conversant with your Voyager history, you might wonder how an alien from the Delta Quadrant has managed to become a Starfleet officer. Well, in that episode, the refugees were sent through a wormhole to parts unknown, a wormhole that was then destroyed. The episode itself never says it leads to the Alpha Quadrant - you'd think this would be a major plot point - but maybe it did and Voyager ironically never knew. But even so. There are no explanations here, so it's all rather puzzling. It's even more puzzling that Janeway doesn't recognize her species (is that why she's always got her back turned?), and perhaps even stranger that a Delta Quadrant alien is aboard Janeway's very own ship, and she's not aware of it. And a telepathic alien as well, going by Counterpoint, but no mention is made of perhaps her confirming Janeway's state of mind. It's just loyalty at work, and even so, not great loyalty because it takes forever for the ensign to release her prisoner. And the delay makes Janeway arrive on her bridge just a second too soon. Later, it's Dal who has the big idea, not her, so not a great showing for the Admiral, overall.

LESSON: Listening isn't dependent on hearing.

An exciting penultimate episode!