The USS Enterprise is invited to the Cestus III Outpost by its commanding officer but the crew arrives to find the outpost destroyed. Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy beam down to investigate and check for survivors. One survivor tells them they came under attack by an unknown enemy. Suddenly, the ground crew as well as Enterprise itself come under attack. They are scattered when Kirk grabs a grenade launcher but the ground crew beams back up to Enterprise to chase the enemy down. Soon both ships are in unexplored space and they are contacted by the enemy, who call themselves Metrons.
They propose pitting their captain, a Gorn, against Captain Kirk. One ship loses its captain and will be destroyed while the other is free to leave. Neither crew can interfere, and the Captains cannot communicate with their ship. But the crews can watch and the Captains can use any materials found on the arena planet. Kirk uses the materials to make a weapon that severely wounds the Metron Captain. However, he decides to spare his life. The episode has plenty of action but also involves a lot of philosophical thought, making it one of the best Star Trek episodes ever.
The “Chain of Command” episodes are in two parts but the first is sort of a set-up for what we get in part 2. In this second part, we now know that Captain Picard has been captured by the Cardassians. They torture Picard in every way they know how from sensory deprivation and dehydration to starvation and beatings. This is all in an attempt to gain federation knowledge for Minos Korva. But Picard refuses to give in on their demand for information. That is when they come up with a now-infamous tactic.
Picard is shown four bright lights and his Cardassian torturer Madred tells him that he must answer “five” or be put through intense pain. Outside of this, the Enterprise stops the Cardassians from securing Minos Korva. Madred lies, however, telling Picard they won and the Enterprise was destroyed. He then tells the Captain he will let him go if he admits there are five lights or he will remain in captivity for the rest of his life. Once the Enterprise is present to get him, Picard knows he’s been lied to and defiantly as ever shouts back “THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!” Patrick Stewart’s acting alone makes this episode legendary.
Everything about Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery is terrific. Yet the inclusion of Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike made the whole thing work. “Brother” is our introduction to him and the crew of the Enterprise. Of course, the Discovery show is set before the time of the original Star Trek series. Spock is the adoptive brother of Michael Burnham, and the season revolves around finding him. This episode introduces us to Spock as a child and when Michael comes into his life.
The episode is also the introduction of Jett Reno, now a fan favorite of the series. They come across her while searching the wreckage of the USS Hiawatha. It’s on course to collide with a pulsar, so they must get in and out but find Reno has kept most of her injured crew alive. While attempting the save them, things begin to unravel around them and Burnam gets caught up in the mess. This is when a “Red Angel” saves her, something that would become a major presence for the rest of Season 2.
Trials and Tribble-ations was an incredible throwback episode filled with moments to love. To start, the Deep Space Nine crew are on the USS Defiant returning to Bajor with the sacred Bajoran Orb of Time. Along the way, they pick up a human hitchhiker named Barry Waddle. Suddenly, they have transported 200 lightyears away near Deep Space Station K7 with the USS Enterprise. The team finds that the hitchhiker was really a Klingon agent in disguise that tried to poison Captain Kirk.
They know the Klingon might be using the Orb of Time to alter past events, so they must dress as they would in that time period and track him down. Captain Sisko and Commander Dax infiltrate the Enterprise and effectively join the crew. The show uses updated, improved graphics to show scenes from the original series where they add in Sisko and Dax. There is also a funny line when Worf is asked why the Klingons look so different during this time. He says they don’t talk about it. This is a play on the major look change of the Klingons from the original series to the 1990s Star Trek shows
In this episode, the USS Enterprise encounters a multi-colored cube floating in space. While Lt. Dave Bailey wants to shoot it, Captain Kirk wants to back away from it. Yet the cube pursues the Enterprise and emits harmful radiation along the way forcing them to destroy it. Soon after, a giant glowing sphere approaches the Enterprise. It is the Fesarius, the flagship of the First Federation. Representing the Federation is a blue-skinned humanoid named Balok. He claims the cube destroyed was a border marker, and now they will destroy the Enterprise for doing so.
To save the crew, Kirk tells Balok they are carrying “corbomite.” It is a substance that automatically kills any attacker and has no regard for the fact that Enterprise would be destroyed with too. Balok obviously demands to see proof of the carbomite, but Kirk refuses and Balok does not destroy the Enterprise. A small tug ship carries the Enterprise out of First Federation space where Balok intends to destroy them, assuming the carbomite could not harm them then. But this tug ship is not as strong as the Enterprise, so they escape capture. We won’t spoil the crazy ending but you have to see it to believe it.
While the Next Generation loved to use the “parts” concept, Voyager took this to a whole new level. Eventually, they stopped naming them parts as stories simply continued from one show to the next. That brings us to “Future’s End,” one of the best Star Trek episodes (in two parts) we’ve ever seen. To start, the first episode opens on a small ship emerging from a temporal rift. The pilot claims to be Captain Braxton, who is from the 29th Century and has come to destroy Voyager.
He believes they are the cause of a temporal rift that wipes out the solar system in his time. As they fight Braxton, he and the Voyager crew are sucked back in time to 1996 on planet Earth. A man named Henry Starling came across Braxton’s ship in 1967 and uses the future tech to make himself rich. As he simply adds tech into the world slowly, leading to the tech revolution. Voyager’s crew must stop Starling, and get the future tech back before he destroys the solar system.
En route to Pacifica on a scientific mission, the Enterprise receives a confidential message for Captain Picard from Captain Walker Keel of the USS Horatio. He wants to see Picard face-to-face and does not discuss his concerns over the secure channel. The Captains decide to meet on Dytallix B for a secret meeting. It is here that Keel claims there have been many suspicious deaths of Starfleet officers and there is possibly a conspiracy behind it. Not one to believe in conspiracies, Picard departs and goes about his mission.
Suddenly, they detect a disturbance nearby and discover the debris to be the remains of the USS Horatio. Lt. Commander Data checks the logs and notices odd orders from senior officers in Starfleet. Picard then makes his crew aware of the conspiracy and orders that the Enterprise head to Earth. As they arrive, the crew eventually finds that alien parasites have been infesting Starfleet and controlling everyone. The parasites are seeking to take over Starfleet, using the humanoids to do so. This is a complete thrill ride and one of the best Star Trek episodes in history.
Again, season 2 of Discovery is incredible. In New Eden, we find out Spock has committed himself into a psychiatric facility, one week after taking leave of Enterprise. USS Discovery detects a transmission from far off. Assuming it to be connected to the Red Angel, they follow it. They end up coming across a planet in the Beta Quadrant, which was previously known to not have any human population. Apparently, this planet, calling itself New Eden, has a small human population.
We find out the Red Angel took them from Earth during World War II, putting them here. Upon reaching the planet, the small community seems to have one church that combines all of Earth’s known religions. But it is a primitive society that never evolved with the times for 200 years. They also do not possess electricity. Captain Pike then battles his religious views from his upbringing and the scientific world he is in now. It is truly one of the best Star Trek episodes you could ever see.
Hurting after losing his friend in the Dominion War, Captain Sisko is contemplating leaving Starfleet. Yet he then starts to experience hallucinations where he ends up in 20th-Century New York City. He is taken over by his vision where he is Benny Russell, an African-American science fiction writer in 1953. Throughout the episode, Russell encounters others that resemble people from the ship, none of which are in their known makeup. Benny then has the idea to write a story about Deep Space Nine, which is pretty meta.
Yet his editor tells Kira, playing Kay Eaten as well as Russell they are being excluded from the magazine’s Incredible Tales because readers might be upset reading stories from a woman and “negro.” That evening, Benny is harassed by two police officers. Persuaded by Preacher Sisko, he finishes the Deep Space Nine story about a black space captain. But the owner won’t print the story about a black hero and fires Benny. Suddenly the preacher sits next to Russell and tells him he is “both the dreamer and the dream.” Once Sisko wakes up, he is moved by his hallucination and sees Benny’s reflection in the glass.
If you’re a fan of the Captain Kirk character, then The Enemy Within is the episode for you. This is William Shatner at his best, with this episode highlighting his infamous Captain Kirk speaking pattern. The episode revolves around the Enterprise deciding to beam down and check out the Alpha 177 planet. After the Geological Technician is hurt, they decide to beam back to the ship. However, Chief Engineer Scott is having trouble with the transporter.
The crew is transported back to the ship, but Kirk experiences disorientation. The Captain is helped back to his room and while unsupervised, the transporter activates a second time. This creates two Captain Kirks. One is good and the other is bad. The good version is sadly indecisive and ineffective while the evil version is impulsive and irrational. Shatner must act his butt off and does this brilliantly. Making this one of the best Star Trek episodes in history.
In this episode, there is a rift in spacetime where the USS Enterprise encounters a damaged Enterprise-C. It was thought to have been destroyed two decades ago. Randomly, Enterprise-D undergoes a radical change by forming into a warship. We now know the United Federation of Planets is at war with the Klingons. Worf and Counselor Troi both disappear from the ship and Tasha Yar is back running the tactical station after being killed years prior. Yet the crew is oblivious to the change.
However, Guinan is able to detect that reality has shifted and tells Captain Picard. She suspects Enterprise-C is outside its normal time. But Picard knows to get the ship back to the past would be suicide. Eventually, everyone realizes the timeline issue, and while on the brink of Enterprise-D’s destruction, Enterprise C goes into the anomaly that would trigger everyone to return to their timeline. Guinan, the only one aware of the rift in time, asks Geordi La Forge to tell her about Tasha Yar. Truly, it is hard to find Star Trek episodes that hit as well as this one.
This is the two-part finale of Season 2. By now we have learned that the Red Angel that crossed through time was Burnham’s mother. However, now Michael herself must use the suit her mother wore to prevent “Control” from forming using the Sphere Data they collected earlier in the season. Five signals have to be sent off in time by Michael, due to her now being the Red Angel in time. To stop Control, Michael must take the data into the distant future where it cannot harm anyone. In the backdrop of this is a battle between Control and Starfleet, who are later assisted by the Klingons.
Michael says after the fifth signal, she will send a sixth for Discovery to follow her in time. Then will do a seventh when they arrive. But they are propelled 900 years into the future. Spock tells Starfleet that the Enterprise, as well as everyone involved, will not speak of Discovery or its crew, who are claimed to be destroyed. This was an attempt to prevent another issue like Control. But it really just helped to clean up the Star Trek timeline. It was all brilliantly done, making it one of the best Star Trek episodes in recent memory.
A lot happens in this episode. It is the first time a cloaking device is used or referenced. Due to the show taking place in 1966, it is likely the first pop culture reference of such a device too. On top of that, this episode introduces us to the Romulans for the first time too. If that is not enough, it is the last episode Grace Lee Whitney was on as she does not return until the first Star Trek film.
The episode revolves around the crew tracking down an unidentified criminal who managed to methodically destroy several Federation outposts in the Neutral Zone. As they make their way back to the Enterprise, they encounter the Romulans for the first time and the Starship Enterprise ends up in a battle with a strong Romulan ship. To many, this was one of the first great Star Trek episodes of all time and ranks as one of the best in the first season of the Original Series.
By this point in Voyager, Seven of Nine was a standout fan-favorite character. Jeri Ryan, who plays the character, was always going to be loved for her looks yet she is a brilliant actress. Fans saw glimpses of this before Season 5, but episode 7 of that season truly let her shine. In the episode, the crew comes across a debris field of a Borg cube. Captain Janeway wants to avoid the debris as best they can since the Borg will try to salvage as much of the cube as they can.
Yet as they get closer to it, Seven begins experiencing issues with multiple personality disorder. Her Borg side allowed her to intercept the personalities of people that the Borg assimilated. Seven must now wrestle with these numerous personalities as well as their past lives. This forces Jeri Ryan to take on numerous voices, personalities, and mannerisms that show off her range. That makes this one of the best Star Trek episodes, in our book.
The entire episode is told via flashback from events that unfolded over the last two weeks. Captain Sisko narrates this as he records his personal log entry. This story is about him, but we don’t realize it to start. What we do know is that the Dominion War has taken a toll on the crew. He knows he must bring the Romulans into this war if the Federation has any chance. In order to do this, Sisko knows he must prove Dominion has plans to attack the Romulans. Basically, he must lie to get their help. This results in Sisko securing the release of a forget from Klingon prison.
He needs an authentic Cardassian data rod, which causes Sislo to trade dangerous bio-mimetic gel. The forgery is done and Sisko meets with Vreenak, an influential Romulan Senator. Yet Vreenak’s ship was destroyed before he could get back to Romulus. The Captain finds that Garak, who he put in charge of securing all of this, planted the bomb. Assuming that when the Romulans scan the ship they will see the data and come to the conclusion they need. The Romulans do declare war on Dominion but Sisko must wrestle with condoning forgery, bribery, and murder to make all of this happen.
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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