10 Worst Star Trek Episodes

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Some Trek episodes (or even movies) suck. The reasons are diverse, but most often the principal problem lies in the narrative. Here is my personal list of the worst ten. But as much as I dislike them, they are still a part of the Star Trek Universe.

10
VOY: Spirit Folk

For those who thought "Fair Haven" was not yet boring enough, here comes a second episode set in the eponymous old Irish town, or rather in what the Voyager crew imagines to be typically Irish. "Spirit Folk" is remembered for Harry Kim kissing a cow and for the Doctor dressing up as a priest. And that's it. Oh well, I forgot the holographic characters who become self-aware (although or just because they are programmed to be stupid?) and who destroy the holographic controls with holographic bullets. Oh my... Read the full review.

 

9
VOY: 11:59

This dull story set in present-day America is neither science fiction, nor does it further advance Voyager's storyline in any fashion. What's more, if it had not been for Janeway's clone, her equally caffeine-addicted token Irish ancestor played by Kate Mulgrew, it wouldn't have been recognizable as a Voyager episode at all. Agreed, all this is no reason to put down the episode. Yet, I don't watch Star Trek to see a story about a planned shopping mall with awkwardly forged ties to the actual series (unlike in DS9: "Far Beyond the Stars", where a similar idea was made into a really meaningful story). Read the full review.

 

8
DS9: Meridian

This story seems to come straight from a pulp novel: A business woman meets a handsome outdoorsman and abandons her job for him. This is so sexist that it hurts - even more so with the prospect that the two would vanish into a magic kingdom out of this world. It is supposed to be science fiction after all - or rather fantasy? To add insult to injury, the woman is Jadzia Dax, and apparently just because her character was considered the only plausible "victim" for such a treatment. This is all way out of character and way beyond credibility. I only wonder why this so obviously inappropriate story pitch was accepted in the first place. Read the full review.

 

7
ENT: Doctor's Orders

I used to care a bit more for this episode when it was still called VOY: "One" and Phlox's name was Seven of Nine. The rehash named "Doctor's Orders", about essentially the same delusions of a solitary character, may be the most boring episode of the franchise. I remember I almost fell asleep when I first watched it. Nothing of note happens, at least nothing that could surprise us and nothing that would have any consequences. Read the full review.

 

6
DS9: Profit and Lace

I was prepared when I watched this dreaded cross-dressing episode for a second time after many years, as I had a bottle of beer ready to make it a bit more endurable. The idea to have Quark pose as a woman named "Lumba" is already dumb enough. But why does Quark have to wear high heels that he can't walk with? And why does Dr. Bashir go as far as treating him with hormones, while he doesn't do anything about the pitch of his voice? The whole farce had just one lasting effect: It ultimately overstrained the Ferengi theme. "Profit and Lace" is the last time in DS9 that their culture is in the focus. Read the full review.

 

5
TOS: The Omega Glory

"The Omega Glory" rehashes themes ad nauseam that were already included in the previous three "parallel Earth" installments of season 2. It could still have been half-way interesting, had Captain Tracey not been an insane criminal and had Omega IV not been incredibly Earth-like even without interference. There is nothing of note in the episode but the perhaps biggest cringe moment of Star Trek, as the Yangs solemnly carry a US flag that is in tatters, everyone rises from their seats in reverence and Kirk is to speak the "holy words" (followed, of course, by a fight as he fails to say the exact gibberish they want to hear). Read the full review.

 

4
TAS: The Slaver Weapon

This is much like a companion episode to TOS: "The Alternative Factor" because it too consists of concepts that don't fit together to a story at all. Writer Larry Niven adopted the setting and characters from his Known Space universe, which are out of place in Star Trek. The course of the plot is accordingly bumpy. The history of the Slavers and the cultural background of the Kzinti are awkwardly cluttered together. Hardly any of pieces of background information contribute anything to the plot, or make sense at all. And the same can be said about the characters, Kzinti and Starfleet alike. Read the full review.

 

3
ENT: A Night in Sickbay

A lot comes together in "A Night in Sickbay" that simply doesn't belong together: Archer's stubbornness towards the Kreetassans, his worries about Porthos, his uncalled-for sexual frustration. Each topic alone would have been suited for nothing more than a trivial side plot in a normal episode, if at all. But in their combination, the story ranges from very corny (Freudian slips) over unappetizing (Phlox's messy toenails) to plain annoying (Archer's dream sequence). I hope it's not Brannon Braga who speaks through Jonathan Archer: "I'm doing the breast I can." Read the full review.

 

2
TOS: The Alternative Factor

For over five decades, this used to be the poorest outing of the whole franchise. "The Alternative Factor" seems to take us into a universe that is governed by anti-logic. While the story comes with an awkward amalgamation of concepts to start with, the abysmal screenplay and the sloppy execution add insult to injury. The episode clearly suffers from many rewrites and from the fact that Lazarus actor John Drew Barrymore didn't show up for the shooting and had to be replaced with Robert Brown. This may explain at least a few of the countless things that have gone awry. Read the full review.

 

1
SHO: The Trouble with Edward

This Short Treks episode is the only one on this list and in the whole franchise that I sincerely hate and that I can't watch without a feeling of disgust. "The Trouble with Edward" fails for a lot more reasons than just the sick humor it attempts to relay. Even if I could laugh about it, it would still be a cynical piece on an antisocial idiot and his arrogant superiors, and as such diametrically opposed to the very idea of Star Trek. In my view, this is the most Anti-Trek and the worst Trek episode ever produced. Read the full review.

 

Addendum

In case you miss TOS: "Spock's Brain" and VOY: "Threshold", they are not quite among my ten least favorite episodes because, well, they are somewhat entertaining after all. TNG: "Shades of Gray" may be a clip show, but is watchable nonetheless. ENT: "These Are The Voyages" narrowly didn't make the list.

 


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