Prodigy Confirms Spock as Star Trek's Best First Officer

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Episode 6, "Kobayashi," streaming now on Paramount+.

While each of Star Trek's fan-favorite crews follow the lead of their respective captain, every commanding officer has their own right-hand crew member to provide timely advice and help them maintain their perspective as they represent Starfleet across the galaxy. One crew that doesn't have a designated first officer is the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy, with the crew of the USS Protostar not being Starfleet personnel at all but instead teenage refugees that have commandeered a Starfleet vessel abandoned in the Delta Quadrant. And as this ragtag ensemble's de facto leader Dal undergoes training to see if he has what it takes to be recognized as the ship's captain, he teams up with Star Trek's greatest first officer, Spock.

Disagreeing with the rest of the crew on whether they should travel to the safety of Federation space, Dal decides to run a training program on the ship's holodeck to prove he has the leadership skills to command the Protostar and back up his decision to avoid the Alpha Quadrant where Starfleet is based. Dal decides to run the infamous Kobayashi Maru simulation, unaware that the whole program is a no-win scenario designed to gauge how officers confront the inevitability of defeat, and programs a crew of advanced holograms to join him. As his Chief Science Officer, Dal selects Spock, with the stoic Vulcan appearing as he did during the Star Trek: The Original Series era.

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While Dal is joined by plenty of other familiar faces from across Star Trek history, it is Spock that visibly leaves the most impact on the impressionable teenager. Spock not only succinctly corrects Dal from his cocky, self-centered command style when he attempts to ignore the core premise of the Kobayashi Maru but takes point to teach Dal what is truly expected from a Starfleet captain as Dal repeatedly runs the program, hoping to develop a strategy to result in a passing score. This culminates with Dal reacting to the simulated Klingons erratically, leading to Dal and Spock personally boarding an attacking Klingon Bird of Prey.

As Dal distracts the Klingon personnel, Spock quickly proves himself to be more than simply a font of sage wisdom, effortlessly neutralizing the entire Klingon crew with a series of Vulcan Nerve Pinches. This literal hands-on role puts Spock a cut above his hologram counterparts and serves as a reminder that Spock is such an iconic Star Trek character for a good reason; the paradigm of Vulcan ideals and someone who could singlehandedly take over an entire enemy vessel with his esoteric abilities.

Spock is one of the oldest Star Trek characters, debuting even before Captain Kirk in Star Trek's original pilot. For inspiration in learning how to captain a starship, Dal has effectively gone back to the source, working with Kirk's right-hand man and the franchise's flagship character. Dal may not have been able to receive his desired score on the Kobayashi Maru, but the point of the simulation isn't to pass at all -- at least in the conventional sense. And though Dal is disappointed, it's Spock that helps his captain work through these repeated losses while reminding everyone that he is a bit of a badass when he needs to be.

To see Spock show the young guns a thing or two, Star Trek: Prodigy releases new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+.

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Sam Stone (8476 Articles Published)

Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.

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