When you want to talk about great Star Trek episodes, everyone tends to reference Space Seed. Mostly because it is the first time we’re introduced to Khan Noonien Singh. The episode begins with the Enterprise sending a landing party to check out the SS Botany Bay freighter. They find 84 humans on the ship and 72 happen to be alive in suspended animation after roughly 200 years. The crew takes revives and takes their leader back to the Enterprise. Spock recognizes Khan, who was part of a genetic superhuman program during the 20th century.
The intent was to create perfect humans, but these beings became tyrants as they conquered more than a third of the planet during the Eugenics Wars. Khan is placed under armed guard until the Enterprise reaches Starbase 12. Khan manages to escape and revives his crew in an effort to take over the Enterprise. Gas is released to stop Khan and realizing he’s unable to take the ship, he heads to engineering to blow up the Enterprise. Captain Kirk stops him and holds a hearing to decide his fate. He banishes Khan and his crew to Ceti Alpha V for 100 years. Yet we’d obviously see Khan again years later.
These episodes would be the final ones of the Next Generation series. It is hard for a finale to truly hit everything you want as a fan but they managed to do well. The story revolves around Q and Captain Picard. Basically, Picard has to jump through time while an anomaly forms that is defying causality. All of it is yet again a test by Q on Picard. The idea is that Picard wants to demonstrate the potential of humans to the Q Continuum.
The way Picard is told to prove this is by finding out the root cause of an anomaly and stop it before it ends up destroying all of humanity. It ranks to this day as one of the best Star Trek episodes in history and allowed for the cast to go off and make movies rather than focus on numerous television episodes. “All Good Things“ must indeed come to an end, but all good things do have to start somewhere too.
This is one of the first Star Trek episodes to ever dive into time travel. Of course, they work out a “logical” reasoning for the crew going back in time. Doctor McCoy is treating an injured Lt. Sulu when the Enterprise is hit with a time distortion. This causes McCoy to inject himself with a high dose of cordazine, meant for Sulu to treat the injured Sulu. This overdose causes McCoy to be delusional and paranoid, thus causing him to leave the ship as he beams himself down to the planet below.
Captain Kirk and crew find out McCoy entered an ancient gateway that can enter any time or place. Now a heavily medicated McCoy is changing the timeline and both Kirk and Spock must follow him in an effort to stop any damages. They travel to 1930 New York City during the Great Depression. Kirk then begins to fall in love with a woman he meets on this expedition named Edith Keeler. Yet eventually, he realizes that he must allow her to die to save the future.
This was a terrific episode that actually uses some footage from the Original Series. The Enterprise had previously visited Talos IV where Pike and Spock met the Talosians. They are able to create incredible illusions as well as search minds. Even help to piece things together that one cannot access in their own brain. Starfleet banned future visits to this planet, even though a crew member named Vina whom Pike fell in love with was unable to leave the planet.
Now seeing visions and lost in his mind, Spock needs to go back to Talos IV. Once Michael Burnham, his sister, finds him…he pushes for them to go there. When they arrive, the Talosians must search not only Spock’s mind but Burnham’s as well. Separated from Discovery, Vina sends a telepathic message to Captain Pike to tell him where his crew members are as well as what they learned. It is truly the best Discovery episode and one of the best Star Trek episodes ever.
This is a two-parter, ending Season 3 of the Next Generation and finishing up to start Season 4. It all begins when the Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Federation colony. They arrive to discover the colony completely gone, making them suspect the Borg are behind it. This is confirmed when they get word a cube-like vessel was seen before the distress call was made. They manage to catch up to the Cube and once this occurs, the Borg demand Captain Picard surrender himself.
They lock their tractor beam onto the Enterprise but the crew manages to escape it. The crew manages to escape to a nearby nebula but the Borg catch up and end up boarding the Enterprise. There, they abduct Picard and speed away to Earth. The Enterprise pursues but when they manage to catch up to Picard, they find him already assimilated by the Borg. Now called Locutus of Borg, Picard is Borg and will destroy for them. The Enterprise crew must stop the Borg and save their Captain.
Have you ever wanted to see what an evil form of the Star Trek team would be like? This is the entire concept behind the Mirror Universe. All that is good here is bad there, and the same exists for bad being good. In this episode, the Enterprise crew come in contact with their mirror selves. This happens after a transporter malfunction swaps Captain Kirk and crew with their evil counterparts, which is obviously bad news for the prime universe’s Federation.
In this parallel universe, the Enterprise is a ship of the Terran Empire. They conquer and murder anyone they feel like. They even assassinate officers as a means of both punishment and promotion. Of course, this is the first time the mirror universe was used in the Star Trek franchise. It has remained within the franchise ever since, with most Star Trek shows having dedicated connections or episodes surrounding it. Mirror, Mirror is perhaps the best of the mirror universe Star Trek episodes, however.
If you want to truly fall in love with Deep Space Nine, this is the episode for you. Within this episode, we find out that Captain Sisko had taken his son Jake to observe an inversion of the Bajoran wormhole. Yet the inversion causes a malfunction in the USS Defiant’s warp drive. Suddenly a bolt of energy strikes the Captain, causing him to vanish into subspace. Jake refuses to believe his father is really gone, especially after seeing him randomly throughout his life. Jake eventually goes on to get into his writing career and both marries and settles down. Next time his father appears, Jake shows off his books and family.
When his father disappears again, Jake leaves this all behind to go to school to study subspace mechanics to save his father. Decades pass and another inversion comes. Jake believes sacrificing his own life will allow them both to return before the warp incident and injects himself with a lethal hypospray. Jake dies in his father’s arms and both he and Jake end up back on the Defiant. This time, Sisko knows an energy discharge is coming and dodges it. Jake is back to being a teenager again and asks his father what happened. Sisko, with tears in his eyes, responds: “I guess we got lucky this time.”
Lt. Commander Data is an android, something he’ll happily tell you. However, the Enterprise crew does not see him like this and calls him both a friend and ally. This episode hits heavily today, far more than it did during the 1980s and 90s. The episode revolves around a visiting Starbase 174 cyberneticist named Bruce Maddox. He wishes to study Data to understand his positronic brain. It is made clear that Maddox wants this exact Data on every starship, everywhere within Starfleet.
To do this, Maddox has to disassemble Data to learn how to recreate his tech. But Data does not want to be disassembled and Captain Picard refuses to allow this. Maddox believes they are humanizing Data, resulting in a trial taking place. Picard defends Data while Will Riker has to argue for Maddox’s case, in spite of disagreeing heavily with him. The episode heavily connects with slavery and what makes one a person. At the same time, gives us a peek into the future regarding potential AI issues. To us, this is one of the best Star Trek episodes ever written.
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