Star Trek #1603: Supernova, Part 2

CAPTAIN'S LOG: The only way to stop the weapon is to destroy the Protostar.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Endings and new beginnings.

WHY WE DON'T: That's not how computer viruses work.

REVIEW: There's a relatively quick resolution to the problems set up the previous episode (or last half-season, really) before we head into epilogue territory, but it's a good one. They surmise that destroying the weapon will stop the viral signal, and that destroying the Protostar will accomplish this, but it would also blow up the star system and the assembled fleet. Rok postulates that if the explosion were spread across a proto-jump, it could be defused fairly harmlessly across the length of a sector, but of course, someone needs to be aboard to detonate. Dal has grown a lot since his first appearance, and he's ready to sacrifice himself so the others can live. Hologram Janeway assures them her program can be copied onto a chip so she can stay behind AND survive, but like Voyager's EMH, she's gotten too big to actually do that, so it will be a sacrifice after all. Since Admiral Janeway is now in the show, we don't lose Kate Mulgrew, and perhaps the holo is surplus to requirements once the Protostar is destroyed, but that doesn't make it any less sad. It will take the kids a month to find Earth aboard a makeshift, 3D-printed shuttle (poor showing from Starfleet's search and rescue teams though). Maybe novels and comics will want to tell those stories.

Though they are heroes - if you can believe the whole thing about the virus simply stopping once the weapon is destroyed... was it a continuous broadcast? - the kids are still brought before a hearing for the crimes they committed (charges that can't stick given the circumstances and Janeway's support), but mostly to see if they can join Starfleet Academy under those same circumstances. Emotionally, it's a roller coaster. They can't join in respect to real applicants, but Janeway creates an intern program for five of them. Only five? Dal gracefully accepts that it was a long shot for an augment (how he's grown!), but no, he's in. Janeway calls him a symbol of the Federation because he has so many species' DNA. It's Gwyn who doesn't stay, by her own choice, leaving to find her planet and prevent its destruction and enmity with Starfleet. Hopefully, he story doesn't stop here, but there's a nice goodbye with Dal and a send-off featuring the rest of the crew.

We also get a new look for Zero, Rok choosing a specialization, and Janeway unveiling a new ship of the line. But it doesn't seem like the Protostar-A (or whatever it ends up being called) will be their ride. Janeway says they have a bigger plan for them all, which is no doubt getting Chakotay back from the future. Holo-Janeway left them a gift, configuring the explosion so it would open a wormhole to where the Protostar had been sent, an ALTERNATE future they now call it, so maybe Gwyn succeeds after all. It's all inferred, but we're not told outright what the status quo will be in Season 2, so this is a neat cliffhanger that's not based on crisis, but on curiosity. Which is perfect for Prodigy.

There are always... possibilities. And also... exceptions.

REWATCHABILITY - High: An emotional finish to the first season that doesn't mind blowing up the status quo. I hardly believe it myself, but this little kids' show has risen near the top of my favorite offerings from NuTrek.