Star Trek: The 10 Worst Decisions Made by Starship Captains

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Star Trek fans are looking forward to the upcoming season 3 finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks as well as the last season of Star Trek: Picard in 2023 (which will finally reunite Picard with his old crew). One of the defining aspects of the franchise is its episodic nature of wrapping things up at the end of the hour, except for serialized stories in Star Trek: Deep Space NineThe Dominion War i Star Trek: VoyagerThe adventures of the Delta Quadrant.

Led by his intrepid captain, the Star Trek crews regularly make the right call at the right time and save the day once again. However, while the captains of Star Trek Often portrayed as stellar examples of Prime Directive morality, they are all too human, leading some to make truly bad decisions with dire consequences.


Picard lets Hugh return to the collective (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

An image of LaForge, Picard, and Crusher studying Hugh is shown.

The dilemma of whether or not Captain Picard should have allowed Hugh, the Borg named LaForge who managed to regain his individuality, to return unharmed or armed with a deadly nanovirus that would eliminate the deadliest enemy of the Federation is a well-known debate between Star Trek: The Next Generation ventilators

Related: The 10 Best Star Trek The Next Generation Story Arcs

The Season 5 episode “I Borg” aired a fantastic examination of an existential conflict facing the normally unequivocal Picard. The decision ends up having dire repercussions for both Hugh and Picard’s position within Starfleet Command, as well as a missed opportunity to rid Starfleet of its worst adversary. As Picard himself states in the episode, sometimes the moral thing to do may not always be the right thing to do.

Archer attacks a civilian ship (Star Trek: Enterprise)

An image of Captain Archer in Enterprise uniform is shown.

Jonathan Archer was portrayed by the always stellar Scott Bakula as a fair and straight shooter, with very little gray in his black and white views of how the bourgeois federation of planets should behave. However, in the Star Trek: Enterprise In the season 3 episode, ‘Damage’, Archer goes against his usual tendencies when trade negotiations with an Illyrian ship go awry.

Archer’s Enterprise needs a warp coil to rendezvous with Degra (one of its few allies in the current troubles with the Xindi), but the Illyrian ship’s commander refuses, noting that its crew would take more than three years to come home. if they gave up their only reel. However, Archer attacks the ship and takes the coil by force (a ruthless and unpopular action within the ranks of Star Trek, as evidenced by the reaction of its first officer T’Pol).

Kirk does not initially surrender to Kruge (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

An image of Kirk's son David Marcus is shown as he is being held by the Klingons.

Some supporters of the original crew might insist that Captain Kirk’s refusal to bow to Commander Kruge’s order to surrender stayed true to the character’s overall tone, being an ardent and long-time opponent of the Klingon Empire. However, the repercussions for Kirk’s position were dire. The Klingons had captured Kirk’s son David Marcus, Vulcan Commander Saavik, and a young Spock on the surface of the planet Genesis.

Related: 10 Reasons Why Kirk Really Is The Worst Captain

To show his determination, Kruge (played by Christopher Lloyd) orders one of his men to kill one of the hostages. Naturally, David ends up trying to avoid execution by confronting the guard about to kill Saavik, but he doesn’t survive the encounter. Kirk ends up delivering a self-destructing Enterprise anyway to save his crew, but pays a high price upfront.

Admiral Janeway travels through time to increase Voyager’s ETA (Star Trek: Voyager)

An image of the future Admiral Janeway is shown talking to the current Captain Janeway.

It’s understandable why Janeway wants to break pretty much every Starfleet rule about time travel, as she believes her crew deserved to come home much sooner (and in the process, maybe save the lives of her two favorite prodigal subordinates). It results in the two-part season 7 finale Star Trek: Voyagerin a future two decades after Voyager’s continued journey to the Delta Quadrant, Seven of Nine died en route to Earth and Chakotay ended up dying of a broken heart as a result.

It would be nice if Janeway was trying to save the universe or the human race, but it’s really just a ship. It all worked of course, especially since due to their efforts, the Borg transwarp hub network was severely compromised. However, it also resulted in the Borg being exposed to future technology, which is never a good thing in the long run.

Sisko Punches Q (Star Trek: Deep Space 9)

A picture of Captain Sisko and Q is shown.

While Q’s encounters with the more stoic Jean Luc Picard and business Kathryn Janeway tended to be more comedic than aggressive, it was on the ride in Deep Space 9 that Q met a less patient approach from the space station commander infamous Avery Brooks was still figuring out how to define his character of Benjamin Sisko, and it shows in this seventh episode of Season 1 of Star Trek: Deep Space 9where Sisko, like the rest of his first year on TV screens, is a bit more brash and conflicted.

Related: The 10 Best Star Trek Deep Space 9 Episodes According to IMDb

O’Brien recognizes Vash from his time on the Enterprise, Q engages in his usual tomfoolery and ends up challenging Sisko to a good old fashioned boxing match, after which Sisko beats him up. It’s a pretty bold move considering Q’s notorious mood swings and omnipotent power.

Picard chooses to avoid his Nausicaa fight (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

An afterlife image of Q and Picard is shown in TNG Tapestry episodes.

In the TNG Season 6 episode ‘Tapestry’, Captain Picard is mortally wounded on a mission away from home, and as Doctor Crusher works to save him, he has an apparent “near death” experience (orchestrated by his adversary Q). His injuries have damaged his artificial heart, and Q offers him a chance to go back in time and avoid the fight with the aggressive aliens so he can keep his original heart.

His future as the best Starfleet captain is naturally compromised, as it has given rise to an alternate timeline where Picard has a lower rank and a much less interesting life. The episode also ends up being a stellar summary of how humans are the product of their experiences, both good and bad.

Janeway forges an alliance with the Borg (Star Trek: Voyager)

A picture of Captain Janeway and the Borg Queen is shown.

The Legendary in Two Parts (Season 3 Finale and Season 4 Opener) Voyager the episode ‘Scorpion’ was notable for several reasons; not least was the introduction of Jeri Ryan’s popular character, Seven of Nine. These two episodes finally bring the Voyager crew to their long-awaited, long-awaited destination: the Borg home territory of the Delta Quadrant.

Related: Star Trek Voyager Season Rankings According to Rotten Tomatoes

Janeway decides that the best course of action is to forge an alliance with the Borg after learning that they are under attack from an even more dangerous force, Species 8472. Unfortunately, it was determined at a later date that the residents of fluidic space were just responding. to the Borg in a defensive manner since the Borg had been trying to assimilate them. It would have been wise for the occasionally impulsive captain to find out more before helping the Borg fight, perhaps the only adversary capable of defeating them.

Georgiou takes the high road against the Klingons (Star Trek: Discovery)

A picture of Michelle Yeoh's Captain Georgiu in uniform is shown.

The truth is that Michelle Yeoh’s time as the standout Phillipa Georgiou was agonizingly short. Many Star Trek fans would have liked to have seen a full series based on the real captain’s earlier adventures. Unfortunately, in the debut season of Star Trek: Discovery, he meets an untimely end after refusing to listen to the disgraced Michael Burnham’s suggestion to shoot a Klingon ship during their first encounter, where Burnham insisted that the Klingons would respect such a gesture.

Captain Georgiu opts for an attempt at diplomacy, which results first in the Battle of the Binary Stars and ultimately in his own death when he engages in hand-to-hand combat with the Klingon leader T’Kuvma. The good news was, one of the best characters in the Mirror Universe was his opposite counterpart, Emperor Georgiou.

Sisko drags the Romulans into the Dominion War (Star Trek: Deep Space 9)

An image of Captain Sisko holding a goblet is shown.

The Deep space 9 Season 6’s episode, “In the Pale Moonlight,” is widely considered one of the best arcs in the series’ history, but there’s one big problem. Captain Sisko, who is usually steadfast in his protocols, which are often characterized by the book, takes an unusually deep dive into the darker aspects of subterfuge in the ongoing Dominion War. Working with the famous ex-Kardassian spy Garak,

Related: 10 Funniest Star Trek Deep Space 9 Memes

Sisko initially resists Garak’s less scrupulous means of bringing the Romulans to his side of the war, but struggles with his tacit condonation of Garak’s methods, including forgery, bribery, and assassination for the sake of the Alpha Quadrant. Ultimately, he decides that billions of lives are worth protecting, but takes a huge hit to his personal character to accept the means that justify the ends.

Kirk Strands Kahn in Ceti Alpha V (Star Trek: The Original Series)

A split image is shown of Kahn Noonien Singh and Captain Kirk calling his name.

With the admitted benefit of hindsight, it was a colossal oversight by Captain Kirk the maroon Kahn Noonien Singh on the wasteland planet of Ceti Alpha V. In the first place, the villain was known to be genetically enhanced and therefore able to survive in these circumstances. Second, he had a temper and clearly showed signs of holding a grudge.

Third, Kirk would come to regret the “mercy” he had extended during the events of the most well-known Star Trek film. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, which had perhaps the biggest moment in Star Trek’s long history when Spock sacrificed himself to save the crew of the Enterprise. Kirk could have saved himself a world of pain if he had taken Kahn into Federation custody during the original series…or just killed him outright.

Next: 10 things newcomers to the Star Trek franchise need to know

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