Star Trek: Prodigy giving Hologram Kathryn Janeway villainous capabilities was a stroke of genius.
Star Trek: Prodigyg is nearly done with its first season and through the course of the show, it’s depicted its cast as wonderfully as possible. All the main characters are likable, they all have great qualities about themselves and they come across as relatable and grounded. That includes the Emergency Command Hologram that is Holo Kathryn Janeway.
The show features two Janeways, the older and real Vice Admiral Janeway and the Holo Janeway that is aboard the USS Protostar, essentially serving as den mother to the core cast of characters. Through the show, she’s done her best to not only teach but protect the kids.
And she’s done a wonderful job, until episode 17 that is, “Ghosts in the Machine”. In the episode, the crew decides to stop their attempt to make contact with Starfleet. With a destructive machine designed to infect and destroy Starfleet ships stuck aboard the Protostar, the crew of the ship deems it too dangerous to go to Starfleet space. Due to this decision, Holo Janeway sticks the kid in a never-ending holodeck program so she can take the ship back to Starfleet space with the hope of the device doing its intended purpose; destroying Starfleet.
Janeway doesn’t know she’s doing this, however, and realizes that the same machine that is designed to destroy Starfleet has the ability to overwrite her programming.
It was a stroke of genius and Prodigy co-producer Chad Quandt spoke about that very same idea to Trek Movie.com;
"Q: Regarding her (Janeway’s) manipulation, should we take Zero’s assessment as correct that she genuinely was helping them get to Starfleet with good motives and the construct only kicked in when they changed their minds about going to Starfleet?A: Yes, one hundred percent. Her intentions were pure in wanting to get them to Starfleet because that is what Janeway would want. It was that moment of “maybe we should stay in the Neutral Zone and don’t follow through with our plans” that the Vau N’Akat programming comes in to start pulling some strings without even Janeway knowing."
Giving the kids trust issues makes Star Trek: Prodigy more engaging
Setting up the kids to be distrustful of the one thing in the universe that was trying to help them, allegedly, will only serve to add layers to the story. With one Janeway now compromised, we may see more from the “real” Janeway. She started off the show hunting down the kids, believing them to be criminals, until recently when she realized they were victims of circumstance and nothing more.
This new attitude shift for Vice Admiral Janeway may mean that she’s going to be a more prominent character going into future episodes, and may even see the two Janeways face off. Though that’s speculation of course.
The kids have already gone through so much and to take away the certainty they have in their de-facto guardian will only see more twists and turns to this already interesting story.