Here at Tor.com, we know that Star Trek really isn’t about villains, or ships blowing up, or chase sequences, or fist fights, or any of that other schlocky action stuff. And yet, we have to admit there’s something about the gee-whiz factor of certain Star Trek episodes that really brings out the little kid in all of us. We know that Star Trek is theoretically a thinking person’s show, and the best episodes of all the various series reflect that sensibility. But what about the episodes that just kick ass? When Star Trek pulls that off, it’s doubly so, because it’s such a nerdy show. The following ten episodes from all the incarnations of Trek certainly aren’t the best, but we think they’re the most badass.
10. “Storm Front Part II” (Enterprise)
This was the season opener for what would end up being the last season of Enterprise. In this one, aliens have teamed up with Nazis to take over the Earth, and a bizzaro alternate reality has been created where New York City is overrun with them. Archer has to organize a revolution and kick some Nazi/Alien ass. Eventually, the Enterprise flies into Manhattan and has a dogfight with WWII planes outfitted with future-disruptors. Should the Enterprise be able to take the atmospheric pressure? Were those little planes actually a threat? Who cares? It looks awesome.
9. “Shattered Mirror” (Deep Space Nine)
A lot of these killer Trek episodes seem to take place in alternate universes. It’s like when the conventions of being outside the nicey-nice Federation are gone—everybody suddenly goes all Dirty Harry. All the episodes in which our Captain Sisko has to cross over into the mirror universe and pretend to be jerky rebellion leader Sisko are awesome. But this one is particularly cool because they ask him to help them build a bizarre version of the Defiant. Now, at first this might seem kind of dumb because they could probably just kidnap any Starfleet engineer, so why Sisko specifically? Then again, Sisko did help design it! By the end of the episode, this Defiant gets to fight an evil version of Worf who drives a gigantic Klingon battleship. Pretty neat!
8. “Equinox Parts I &II” (Voyager)
Any Trek episode that deals with multiple Starfleet ships is almost always awesome. This one is particularly good because not only is the USS Equinox a sweet looking Starfleet ship, but the actual story being told is pretty dark. Basically this ship was stranded in the Delta Quadrant just like Voyager was, but unlike Janeway and company, these guys have turned a little nasty. A lot of this seemed to be echoed later on Battlestar Galactica with the whole Pegasus story arc, but we think it was particularly effective here. A full-on coup takes place at some point, with Captain Ransom trying to take over Voyager and ditch his crappy ship. The Equinox also has their own Holographic Doctor who tries to take out our Doctor! All the characters have foils, the aliens are scary and, in case you forgot, there are two cool looking starships. Oh, and it’s a two-parter. Fantastic.
7. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (The Original Series)
This classic era episode often gets overlooked because Spock acts weird, Bones isn’t in it, and Gary Mitchell is sort of creepy. But let’s face it, as a kid, it was one of your favorite episodes. Other than the Enterprise crossing the galactic barrier being totally cool (and even cooler in the remastered version) there is one main reason why this episode rocks: it’s the only one where Kirk has a phaser rifle. Kirk beats the crap out of Gary Mitchell, gets his shirt ripped and then buries Gary under a rock using the thing. This episode, in many ways, is the picture of Kirk’s badassness.
6. “Starship Mine” (The Next Generation)
If you were ever worried that Picard wasn’t manly enough, or didn’t kick enough ass, you don’t need to watch one of the TNG movies for proof of his toughness. In this episode, Picard is a straight-up John McClane/MacGyver mash-up. When terrorists try to rip-off some trilithium from the Enterprise‘s warp core, ol’ Jean-Luc is there to stop them with everything from bows and arrows to straight up hitting people in the face with his horse saddle. Picard even kills the bad terrorist in cold blood at the end. Whoa.
5. “In A Mirror, Darkly Parts I & II” (Enterprise)
Not every single Trek two-parter fits this pattern (“Birthright” is terrible), but a lot of times a two-parter is a good sign that there’s going to be a whole lot of action. This episode was basically made as an apology to the fans for all the more boring episodes of Enterprise. Here, we get two whole hours in the mirror universe hanging out with bad versions of EVERYONE. We get to see the original USS Defiant from “The Tholian Web” do battle with Starfleet ships, and Tholians and all sorts of stuff. Having all the Enterprise cast members run around in the 60s outfits was also awesome. It was cute when DS9 did it on “Trials and Tribbalations” but there was something super dangerous about the way Archer rocked Kirk’s green tunic.
4. “Year of Hell Parts I & II” (Voyager)
This episode actually has a great science fiction premise on top of all the action. A mad scientist is moving through the Delta Quadrant and performing a bunch of “temporal incursions,” which essentially erases stuff from history. Voyager gets caught up in all of this and eventually ends up being destroyed in order to stop the Krenim ship from continuing its path of temporal chaos. Janeway is particularly cool in this episode and the stakes seem extra high. The events of this episode are referenced a lot throughout the show, making it feel like a pretty major focal point. Really fun episode and they didn’t even need the Borg.
3. “Blood Oath” (Deep Space Nine)
Sure, there are a lot of DS9 episodes that have big space battles and a lot of explosions, but it’s almost hard to pick between all of them. Instead, we like this one in which Dax and the three old Klingons from the original series sneak into a facility like ninjas and kill a bunch of people. And it’s all in the name of revenge. Dax gets to be badass, and we get all the old Klingon actors together in one place. Wonderful.
2. “The Best of Both Worlds Parts I &II” (The Next Generation)
In this case, one of the best episodes of the series is also one of the most badass. Yes, yes, we all remember that cliffhanger. But, they also separate the ship, shoot up a lot of Borg and the entire Earth is at stake. Did we mention there are bunch of blown up Starfleet ships? Oh, and the Borg are in it. A lot. And they were still scary back then.
1. “Mirror, Mirror” (The Original Series)
This episode gets the badass label because of the ease with which Kirk is able to pretend to be a tyrant. There aren’t a lot of cool space battles, or fistfights, or anything. Everything about this episode is just bad. And by bad we mean really, really cool. Uhura gets to almost knife somebody, Spock looks super dangerous with a beard, and everybody is carrying around little things called “Agonizers.” Not to mention the outfits. The outfits are amazing. Note to all future science fiction shows: give your characters little sashes around their waists. It makes them look badass.
So which episodes of Star Trek do you think are the most badass? Sorry for leaving off “The Inner Light.”
Stubby the Rocket is the Tor.com mascot. Stubby remembers the day the crew all came in with sashes… Thankfully, Stubby was able to exchange them for their orginal universe counterparts with great ease.