Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Star Trek: Prodigy episode “Masquerade.” Read at your own risk!
Star Trek: Prodigy revealed one of its biggest secrets to date, and while we presumably know the story of Dal’s origin, it sounds like that's just the tip of the iceberg in unraveling the rest of his story. Paramount+ subscribers who tuned into “Masquerade” learned that Dal is a mix of many species, and that’s because he is an Augment.
Dal learned about his origins thanks to a body modification geneticist, who informed him that he was created in a lab by the proteges of defected Federation scientist Arik Soong. Dal’s DNA is a hybrid of human, Vulcan, Klingon, Romulan, and just about every other Star Trek species under the sun, and all of it combined to create his unique and previously unidentifiable look.
Dal struggled to cope with the idea that he was manufactured in a lab, and he’ll likely face more struggles once he learns about the Federation’s stance on Augments. I asked the showrunners if Dal’s origin opened up Prodigy to telling the story of the Eugenics Wars and other heavy events touched on by the more mature shows, and Kevin Hageman teased what he could while explaining the decision to make Dal an Augment:
Being an Augment is certainly a detriment to anyone wishing to join Starfleet. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds even showcased the organization’s zero-tolerance policy on Augments when Una was arrested after her Illyrian origins were leaked. Starfleet is a welcoming and inclusive organization, but still has a pretty hardline stance on Augments.
One can imagine someone like Dal, who has felt like an outsider his entire life, won’t handle any rejection from Starfleet well should they discover his origins. And really, there are just so many more directions this story can go now that we know Dal is tied to the work of a Soong. I asked Dal voice actor Brett Gray if his character's origin plays a big role in the story going forward, and got a pretty definitive answer:
Right now, Dal doesn’t really have to worry about joining Starfleet, considering the destructive weapon aboard the Protostar. They need to make sure they’re at least one step ahead of Vice Admiral Janeway and her crew until they can figure out a way to disable the weapon.
Given the latest development that the Starfleet Trill Asencia is actually a Vau N’Akat agent from the future, the situation feels worse than before. She’ll likely get The Diviner back to form soon enough, and once they’re both working alongside Janeway to get the Protostar, I don’t like the kids’ chances of evading them. Hopefully, the Prodigy kids can catch a break soon, or gain some ground on Janeway and her Chakotay-motivated quest to find them.
Star Trek: Prodigy streams new episodes on Paramount+ (opens in new tab) on Thursdays. As the second half of Season 1 reaches the halfway point, now might be a good time to check out the upcoming Trek shows planned for 2023, and take a look at some of those shows to prepare for another year of great sci-fi television.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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