A Fistful Of Underrated Episodes.
With close to 900 episodes – and a sure thing we’ll hit 1,000 in the current era – we all have our favourite episodes of Star Trek across all the Generations. Whether thats seeing Sisko wrestle with morality in DS9’s In The Pale Moonlight; watching the tense drama or Kirk versus the Romulans in Balance of Terror or TNG’s turning point in Best of Both Worlds, the debates raged on for decades.
Similarly fans have debated for years on the worst episodes, whether it’s about the way to Eden, surpassing the warp threshold or moving along home.
But underneath the best and worse episodes, there’s ones that just exist in their own little bubble. Some are brilliant and overlooked by other parts of a series or even a singular moment. Some at the time seemed awful or boring, but on a second glance offered a lot more than memory would have you believe.
Schism’s | The Next Generation Season 6
In spite of having some weird continuity over a table that irrationally annoys me, Schisms is a nice little departure from the usual Next Generation theme. Using the old sci fi trope of alien abduction, a rift opens up in one of the cargo bays letting a species from another dimension kidnap and experiment on random crew in their sleep. It’s not quite a Frame of Mind performance from Jonathon Frakes, but brings a very creepy vibe throughout.
Carbon Creek | Enterprise Season 2
Another complete departure see’s T’Pol give some family history lessons to Archer and Trip. Mainly that Zephram Cochrane’s famed Vulcan encounter was really just the first public meeting between their species. In reality her great grandmother was the first Vulcan to meet a human when her scout ship crashed on Earth in 1957. The story doesn’t really connect to anything aside from giving the smallest insight into T’Pol and a rare self contained, and oddly enjoyable, watch.
Into The Forest I Go | Discovery Season 1
For all the outcry of Discovery’s direction, it’s first season knew how to do excitement and cliffhangers; and with this episode ending the Kol-arc of the season, it delivered on nearly every level a finale should have without being he finale. Lorca’s darker tones made him become the Captain of the hour with his crew on side, Burnham and Tyler have an away mission, Kol and his stolen ship meet their end and we have some awesome work highlighting the wonders of the Spore drive, even if it nearly kills Stamets.
It’s the point where everything in Discovery clicks. Even Stamets and Lorca are on the same page for once (not that it lasts) and we get some thrilling heroics before the next arc, making it one of the seasons most satisfying.
Disaster | The Next Generation Season 5
Everyone loves a bottle episode and this one was a nice and simple story putting everyone out of place. Often overshadowed with it’s introducing Captain Picard Day as a one of joke that still lives on, it’s a nice episode for throwing people out of their element. While Picards stuck in a turbolift as the ships locked down, Worf’s the only person in the locked down Ten Forward to deliver a baby, Riker tries to take control of the ship using Data’s detached head and of course, as the senior officer on the bridge despite having zero command experience, Troi’s got to figure out what to do as she battles between Chief O’Briens experience and Ro Laren being a complete nutter. There’s a lot going on in the episode, but Troi’s dilemma held the story together nicely while Worf delivered the laughs alongside Keiko’s baby.
In the Cards | Deep Space Nine Season 5
As Deep Space Nine progressed, the role of Jake Sisko lessened with not much for a young writer to do as tensions with the Dominion were rising. But as morale on Deep Space Nine sank to a new low, he suddenly found himself leading an episode trying to bring a smile to his fathers face as he completed a series of tasks to trade for a vintage baseball card. DS9 loved it’s cool down episodes, and this was the cool down before the Dominion and Cardassians got a huge victory by capturing the station and not-occupying-Bajor.
As the arcs and stories were becoming more serious, having a silly episode before the big climax that was just a good spirited laugh was more than welcome. And Jake-Rom pair ups were rarely a disappointment; especially seeing them get involved with characters like Weyounn and the dreaded Kai Wynn. And the B story of Wynn negotiating with the Dominion would become a kkey point in DS9 history….
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