Is Captain Jellico Actually Awesome? One YouTuber Insists He Is

Is the “mean captain” from Chain of Command not really mean, but just a pushy boss? Might he actually be awesome? One YouTuber says yes.

The Next Generation two-parter “Chain of Command” makes its way on to a lot of top 10 lists, with many people – including some here at TrekMovie – insisting that it’s even better than “Best of Both Worlds.”

What makes the episode so great is not just the A story conflict between Picard and Gul Madred, but the B story conflict between Riker and Captain Jellico, played wonderfully by Ronny Cox.

While the episode is a fan favorite, Jellico isn’t: people see the character as the kind of unpleasant boss you hope that humanity evolves beyond! But YouTuber Steve Shives contends in his video, “Why Captain Jellico is Actually Pretty Awesome”, that the character isn’t cruel just determined to win against the Cardassians – because losing to them could mean millions of lives. Steve also points out that maybe Riker needs to get over the fact that not everyone in the world needs to find him adorable.

The video was posted in April, but got more attention recently thanks to the Star Trek subreddit. As of this writing, it has more than 112,000 views. (Embedding is disabled, but you can find the video here.)

Is Captain Jellico actually awesome?

And if this video doesn’t do it for you, check out this supercut of every time someone on Voyager used the phrase “Some kind of …”

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I actually found the Jellico character to be a more credible captain than most. He definitely displayed the discipline and decisiveness that I would expect of someone charged with that level of responsibility.

I always thought Riker was a douchey, whiny first officer anyways.

He struck me as such; however he might have led better by modifying his style slightly. I agree about his commitment to defeating the Cardassians and saving lives. A good leader can maintain discipline and decisively achieve goals by adapting slightly to the organizational style of a crew, rather than expecting everyone to snap into his or her style. One versus many is not a good leadership style. Neither is giving in to the crew. There’s a middle ground a good leader can find.

Agree. Like a Bill Belichick kind of starship captain.

Jellico reminded me of a typical CO coming in to a new command. New commanders always, in my experience, make changes to the status quo. Even when it is a well oiled machine. They usually changed it so they have something on the OPR to make them stand out for promotion boards. I never met a LtCol Squadron commander that wasn’t trying to make changes that stand out so that they could get that eagle on their collar.

Some Kind of Awesome. LOL

He is one of the more competent captains we’ve seen outside of the Enterprise. The E-D’s crew was extremely whiny in that episode. All Jellico did was change some schedules and move people around. I was quite pleased when he told Riker to STFU.


He finally got Troi into a uniform, like she was a bridge officer or something. Just for that I like him!

Me too. It was about flippin’ time. She could use her other dresses and catsuits for other occasions than duty ;-)

Yes, I agree w/ this. Jellico actually got that officer to act like an officer and wear a uniform.

Effective captain, terrible leader. But he did finally put Troi in a uniform, so he’s not all bad. Plus, he finally answered the question whether Starfleet is military or not. It definitely is! No way Jellico is in the service to study nebulae and comets.

He was right about some things, but he was also an asshole. Like when he changed the schedule, he should have listened to Riker’s reasons for saying it was impractical before doing so. It seemed like he was changing things just for the sake of changing things.

That being said, the Enterprise crew reacted very unprofessionally to his changes, and they should have just sucked it up and gone along with it.

I never thought he was all that horrible, just a guy with a very different command style given the task of getting a ship that was vastly different than what he was used to ready for a dangerous mission in a ridiculously short timeline. He had to take point in the negotiations with the Cardassians, so he couldn’t afford to take the time needed to adjust his own approach to anyone else.
The person who I thought really deserved to be taken to task for their command decisions was Admiral Nechayev. Sending Picard on a commando raid and putting Jellico in charge of treaty negotiations seems like a pretty horrible misuse of your personnel, and I just can’t buy that Picard’s experience with a single experiment when he was the Captain of the Stargazer necessitated him being along for a mission which basically boiled down to “blow stuff up.” The guy was in his seventies and a high profile target. Seems like the absolute last guy you’d be able to credibly disavow.
Jellico is just another victim of the same admiral who thought that the Maquis could be mollified by a polite reminder that they were Federation citizens.

Very good points.

@Joseph R… “The guy was in his seventies”


good points all, Joseph. Nechayev was an officer whose rank seemed to have come more from playing senior level politics than being a good captain.

As for Picard’s involvement in the mission, “script reasons”

This was a great analysis. Totally agree. :)

What I never understood about Captain Jellico is why he wanted formality on the bridge (his reason for Troi to not wear her pajama’s to work) but then he goes around (even on the bridge) calling everyone by their first names. Other than that, yeah he was ok. Even came with his own catch-phrase: “Get it done!”

Huh, I’d never thought of that before. Maybe he wanted the formality to present a specific image to anyone he was talking to, but cared less about it when no external eyes were on them? After all, the viewscreen does let everyone they talk to see the bridge and the people on it.

He wanted formality from his crew. Captain’s prerogative meant he didn’t have to adhere to it himself.

Richardhead prerogative.

In my mind it’s a patriarchal/condescending model, one not practiced by good leaders. I.e., he was being a d1ck. You want them to respect your rank, you respect theirs. They earned it.

He learned that on O.C.P. :) “Get it done”

Ronny Cox is definitely awesome. Not every captain can be “nice.”

They don’t need to be nice. But respect goes both ways; that’s what I was taught in leadership school. It’s fine to use a “top–>down” model, but it’s wiser to understand the previous leadership style so you get “everyone on board [with you” [pun].

There are four lights! Have to re-watch this episode now.

PS was great in that ep.

Inconsistant with Gene’s vision where everyone gets along no matter what happens.

And its a ridiculous vision. You can still be progressive, tolerant and civil and get into fights here and there. Thats just what being human is. And I just always found it so ironic Roddenberry pushed so much for that when the guy was infamous for being basically a jerk, getting into fights with everyone and sounded pretty stubborn. Paramount hated working with him because he was so notorious for being off putting. I mean he couldn’t even live by his own philosophy which kind of proves its a trait most people will never have entirely, I dont care how many years in the future. There will just be confrontational people and jerks.


Re: its a ridiculous vision.

Hmmm… I think history teaches us that labeling a vision “ridiculous” and then using that as a mere excuse to ignore and dismiss it because of its self-evident absurdity, can be a very foolish thing to do.

The Greek state certainly found the things Socrates was espousing ridiculous. And the Roman state after that had some nut roaming around the countryside claiming to be the Son of God saying all sorts of ridiculous things. King George definitely thought the idea that a bunch colonists were going to govern themselves, ridiculous.

I’m not interested in the relative merits one way or the other of these other visions in their citing — only that their history shows ridiculous visions that have found a forum that keeps them being discussed decades after the demise of their original espousers are going take more than that label to keep them from having profound effects both good and/or bad on the future, regardless.

A major part of the reason why the first 2 seasons of TNG are so weak is Gene’s insistance on that so called “vision”. It is really a shame he started believing his own hype, maybe he would have still be a competent creative consultant if he had kept his head out of the steaming vat of bovine fecal matter.

Who cares,

Re: Gene’s insistance [ sic ] on that so called “vision”.

What I would describe it as was he decided that he created STAR TREK to get scripts of his that the networks had shot down on HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL and THE LIEUTENANT through to air. But inexplicably, he decided that well had run dry, and instead decided he would use the second version to get his shot down GENESIS II and THE QUESTOR TAPES ideas to air.

I was fascinated to see him get away with it again, but I was very reluctant to call it STAR TREK because he wasn’t building on what had gone before but taking it back to start over with something else.

Jellico was a douchebag. The world needs less people like him.

all visiting starfleet officers in the TNG era rocked the boat or worst but i think his heart was in the right place.

didn’t they kill him off in a ‘trek’ novel?

He’s actually a pretty cool guy in person
I saw his band play here in Vegas

I’ve heard his folk tunes [and funny ones] on Chicago’s “Midnight Special.” He’s quite the opposite of Jellico in real life. ACTing! ;-)

Enough with the word “awesome”. Good lord just let it die already. That poor thing has lost all meaning. That headline made me want to throw up.

Similarly the quotative “like”. I actually could not stick through the whole video for the endless litany of “he was like” and “she was like”. This, even though I agree with the badic premise that Captain Jellicho was a good character and a credible captain.

In retrospect, he reminds me of Winston Wolf (Pulp Fiction).

“Get it straight buster, I’m not here to say please. I’m here to tell you what to do… If I’m curt, it’s because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you (two)to act fast. So, pretty please with sugar on top,” get it done.

according to memory alpha-

‘Jellico had been succeeded as commander of the Cairo by Captain Leslie Wong in 2374 when the vessel disappeared – presumed destroyed by the Dominion – while patrolling the Romulan Neutral Zone. (DS9: “In the Pale Moonlight”) ‘

That reminds me…

@ Alex, LOL
Fairy lights defeat our captain

I have yet to watch the video, but I’ve always maintained that, until the second part where he says some uncalled-for things to Riker, Jellico never did anything wrong; the crew of the Enterprise just became whiny, immature babies.

I mean, how many of you, when you get a new boss at work, go to the old, retired boss to ask him “Please make the new boss stop making us do things different from the way we’re used to doing them???” And how many of you in the MILITARY do that for your commanding officer? Yeah, I didn’t think so. ;-) But apparently in Starfleet, this is enlightened, acceptable behavior. :-)

Jellico was a proper captain and ran a tight ship. The TNG crew were preening prima donnas in Chain of Command. Jellico was assigned during a potential war situation and the crew squeaked like unprofessional munchkins. Riker should have been court-martialled. I’d happily serve on a Jellico-run ship.

I spent 22 years as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy and CAPT Jellico is just like many of my past COs. Strict, business like and not there to be your friend. At times their vision for the ship was an improvement at other times their lack of compassion was poor leadership. I never had a Captain with a Kirk or Picard type of leadership style. But I did see a few more similar to Georgi LaForge. Friendly, intelligent and thoughtful. But the CAPT Jellico was a very close approximation of two Cruiser COs I served under.

I actually wondered at the time whether Jellico was being ‘piloted’ as the lead character either to take over for a potential TNG season 8 or a new starship-based series. Certainly, Jellico coming on board for an overhauled season 8 after many of the cast finished their contracts would have made for great TV!

“Evolved Beyond”? Humans will never evolve beyond having a personality. If we lose people like Jellico, then we lose what it means to be human. Some people are just assholes – nothing will ever change that.