Shuttle Pod: Episode 20 – Our Most Disappointing Star Trek Episodes

it was Q who inspired the facepalm in "Deja Q"

This week, the Shuttle Pod crew talk the most disappointing episodes of Star Trek – the episodes that were hyped up but ultimately didn’t deliver.

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I consider Deathwish the single best episode of Voyager. It is quintessentially ‘Star Trek’ by confronting a deep moral social issue, and wrapping it in a larger than life alien allegory. At the same time it goes a long way to define the nature of one of Star Trek’s most alien species. It’s wrought with unfathomable exploration; from the big bang itself, to the endless path of all creation. It’s a deep, dramatic, funny, honest episode. One of the best in all Trekdom.

The scene with Riker makes perfect sense because, as Q says; without Riker, the Borg would’ve assimilated the Federation. He’s demonstrating that one of the single most important people of recent history is there thanks to the good graces of Q(uinn). Plus, it’s like Q to bring in someone we know… someone that Janeways knows, at least by reputation. That familiarity is a powerful tool for advocacy (and for story).

Seeing the inside of the continuum was a beautiful trip, so wrought with metaphor and kitschy goodness, that it felt like something stripped right out of the Original Series. It felt so familiar yet so alien, the unflinching mindless faces of these omnipotent entities, simply waiting out eternity haunts and intrigues at the same time.

And Quinn, one of the most well portrayed, most sympathetic one-off characters I’ve ever seen… someone so detatched, so psychologically incapable of confronting what it mean to exist anymore… but at the same time, so warm and lovable that he genuinely develops a rapport with those around him without difficulty. You legitimately feel torn over his fate, as releasing him means sending a genuinely good person, a person with so much that he could give, into death.

And finally, the end brings us back to the Q we all know. Instead of the sycophantic defender of order that we can’t imagine him living up to, he returns to the role of the rapscallion, fulfilling his true destiny… in a way that all at once affirms our view of him, brings us to respect him, and leaves us disappointed in his choice.

It’s a loving, bittersweet, parable. Star Trek through and through. Near perfect in every way.

I agree. I was only recently telling a trek newbie about this episode. Plus: Beef, from Phantom of the Paradise!

Wholeheartedly agree!!

There are the obvious TOS bombs… The Way to Eden, The Mark of Gideon, Turnabout Intruder, etc… But the ratio of good eps to bad ones was weakest in TNG. Pretty much ANY episode that centered on the hollodeck was crap. Also every Wesley Crusher-centric episode was terrible. Any episode involving Troi’s mom. Every episode where the A story was Data (a machine, remember) trying to be human. And let’s face it, any episode that centered around Deana Troi or Dr. Crusher (the two weakest characters in the cast) was terrible. In fact, I would argue that Troi was by far the single most useless and worthless character in ALL of Trek. Even day player characters had more use (and charisma) than she had.

Must add a PS here now that I listened to the pod cast and got an idea of their definition of “disappointing”. They were spot on with “Reunification”. It was hyped as Leonard Nimoy guesting as Spock and the first part does nothing but tease and he shows up for the final few seconds. Then, the best part of the 2nd part was Picard and Spock talking in the beginning. The rest was underwhelming and silly and quite frankly, a rather pedestrian TNG kind of episode.

The other episode they were spot on with was “These Are the Voyages” which played out like lost segments from a mediocre TNG episode.

They were wrong on their assessment of the TNG episode “Family”. Which I get why it was placed there. We just had a wham bang finale and then they bring us a very slow and grounded episode. Except that it was BORING!! I did not care about the Picard winery or his stuck up brother. It was a huge yawner. They were correct in that audiences did not care for Picard as he came across as cold and distant those first few years. That is why they did The Best of Both Worlds. They figured they could finally show him as human by having all of his humanity stripped from him. I don’t think “Family” had anything to do with his acceptance by the audience. In fact, I didn’t think Picard really showed any cracks in his “perfect” armor until the feature “First Contact” when he fell prey to an Ahab syndrome. Until then, while Stewart had fantastic charisma the character he was playing was so very perfect it was actually sickening.

The disappointing TNG episode that was missed based on their definition was “All Good Things…” Hyped as the big time finale but… NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!! It was 82 minutes of Q telling Picard everything. No one grew. No one realized anything. No one moved on to other things. This was a series finale and it was just an overblown slow moving snore fest. Even Q, who on rare occasions could be kinda sorta entertaining, looked like he was bored with the whole thing. Yes, finales are a tricky thing and more often than not they fall flat. I should have not been expecting much from TNG as their good to bad episode ratio wasn’t that good. But it was still a HUGE let down. DS9 had the best series finale of all the Trek shows that got to make a finale. TNG’s was as bad as Enterprises. And I rank TNG’s as worse than Enterprise because I choose to consider Enterprise’s “Demons” to be the series finale. And it ended on a rather poignant beat.

TNG’s Code of Honor left me very concerned about the show … it wasn’t just bad, it was downright offensive!

Agreed. TNG’s all-time worst, though, has to be Sub Rosa. Beverly flies solo ifyaknowwhatimean right in front of Picard! Yikes!

I can’t agree with you on Deathwish or Preemptive Strike or Redemption. Other than that…
On Preemptive Strike, one thing that gets me when I watch it now comes from a nasty line from a later episode of DS-9, when someone says all of the Maaquis are dead. I think the Founders helped the Cardassians track them all down. All of them everywhere, meaning Ro. Waaaaaaaaaa!! But, I like Preemptive Strike very much. Deathwish was pretty ballsy, and that subject matter would never have made it to air during the 60’s. Redemption works fine for me, because whenever it threatens to get dull someone kills someone for fun.

When the Cardassians joined the Dominion, the Dominion wiped out the Maquis for them.

Since someone in this clip brought up the cats named after Quarks, I’ll offer this obscure bit of pop by one of the many incarnations of “space rock” (apparently people called it that at the time) pioneers, Hawkwind:

“Quark, Strangeness and Charm” (It’s actually a catchy tune.)

I read that Whoopi Goldberg was going to be in Rivals as Guinan and revealed to be Martus’ mother he was the wayward son, but she wasn’t available at the time

VOY: ‘Death Wish’? Really? I don’t know that I’m going to listen to this podcast now. That’s one of Voyager’s best episodes!