Kate Mulgrew Has Been Playing A Star Trek Villain All Along
SPOILERS follow for the latest episode of Star Trek: Prodigy!
In “Ghost in the Machine,” the latest episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, we learn that the Kate Mulgrew voiced Hologram Janeway has been working against the efforts of the heroes for the bulk of the series. While she still believes she is the helpful mentor she’s tried to be, the latest episode reveals that a secret subroutine has put her under the control of the Living construct which, per Memory Alpha, is the same weapon the Diviner (John Noble) wants to unleash on Starfleet. The episode ends with the Holo Janeway taking the U.S.S. Protostar out of the Romulan Neutral Zone, and bringing it nose-to-nose with the U.S.S. Dauntless which is Captained by the actual flesh-and-blood Admiral Janeway.
The reveal is handled beautifully. Most of “Ghost in the Machine” unfolds like Star Trek’s classic Malfunctioning Holodeck episodes that Kate Mulgrew starred in quite a bit in her Voyager days, with the teens stuck among holographic duplicates of the Tellarite Dr. Noum (Jason Alexander) and Holo Janeway insisting she’s doing everything she can to get them out. By the time they’re released, Zero (Angus Imrie) figures out it was Holo Janeway who locked them in the holodeck.
This is just more proof of my argument that Star Trek: Prodigy is the best show in the franchise right now. The ingeniously handled reveal about Kate Mulgrew’s character is right up there with the surprise turn in Star Trek: Discovery‘s first season that Jason Isaacs’ Captain Gabriel Lorca was a villain. And let’s be honest; a lot of fans probably figured out at least part of the Lorca twist beforehand, if for no other reason than Isaacs plays bad guys a lot.
Of course, the fact that Kate Mulgrew has been playing a villain for most of Star Trek: Prodigy doesn’t mean her character is evil. What’s happened on Prodigy would essentially be no different than an episode of The Next Generation that sees Brent Spiner’s Data reprogrammed by a bad guy or an episode of Voyager in which Robert Picardo‘s The Doctor is likewise manipulated through his programming.
The biggest difference here is mainly due to Prodigy‘s serialized storytelling. While in the above examples of Data and The Doctor being manipulated, they would almost always be “fixed” by the end of the episode; in the case of Kate Mulgrew’s Holo Janeway she’s presumably been an antagonist for most of the Star Trek series’ run.
There are only 3 more episodes left in Prodigy‘s first season, with the next episode due to stream on Paramount+ next Thursday, December 15. Perhaps then we’ll learn more about how the first character Kate Mulgrew voiced on Star Trek: Prodigy went to the proverbial Dark Side, and whether there’s hope for her coming back to the good guys.