My run-down of personal-favorite Star Trek episodes continues with the ones you should binge watch this weekend…
“In Purgatory’s Shadow/By Inferno’s Light”, Deep Space Nine: I never appreciated DS9 in its original run. I thought, A Star Trek series without a starship? Borrrring! Later, while working late-night at Cabela’s part-time, I’d return home to a quiet house and run an episode through Netflix to wind down before bedtime. Sometimes one episode would run into two (or more). Here’s a great example why. Worf and Garak are taken captive by the Dominion, where Worf is forced to fight a succession of Jem’Hadar warriors until he either yields (which, for a Klingon, is not-gonna-happen) or he dies. Meanwhile, the Cardassians join the Dominion, giving Gul Dukat unprecedented power. This is when minor character General Martok becomes a bigger player in the story, and DS9 is better for it.
“Equinox, Parts One and Two”, Voyager: It turns out Voyager isn’t the only Federation ship lost in the Delta Quadrant, and the crew of the USS Equinox is hiding a secret they would rather not have the Voyager crew discover. While Janeway has done her best to uphold the standing of the Federation while commanding her crew on the long voyage home, “Equinox” shows us another crews’ choice to take a slightly-less-than-rosy path in their quest to discover a means to return home at the expense of Federation values, and what consequence that bears for everyone that wears the uniform.
“Best of Both Worlds, Parts One and Two”, The Next Generation: The extent of the Borg threat was teased long before this seminal event, but “Best of Both Worlds” showed just how dangerous they really are. Picard is captured and turned into a Borg, and the Borg get all Borg-y on the Federation.
“Redemption, Parts One and Two,” The Next Generation: The Klingon Empire goes to war with itself and Picard tries very hard to keep the Federation out of it. Worf chooses to get involved on a personal level. The Romulans are scheming behind the scenes. We learn what happened to Tasha Yar after she chose to join the Enterprise-C in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. But probably the best moment is seeing Data commanding his own starship, and then putting the proverbial smack down on his android-phobic first officer.
“Unification, Parts One and Two, The Next Generation: No doubt, TNG had the best two-part episodes. Ambassador Spock disappears while undercover on Romulus, and Picard must pretend to be a Romulan to find him. Notable for being the last appearance of Mark Lenard as Sarek. Data again provides one of the best moments, as he learns how to use the Vulcan neck pinch.
“Favor the Bold”/”Sacrifice of Angels”, Deep Space Nine: This is kind of cheating, since this mini-arc really started earlier with “A Call to Arms”, but I’ve always considered these episodes as a two-parter on their own. Sisko left his baseball on DS9 when he was forced to evacuate it in “A Call to Arms”, and you damn well better believe he’s getting it back. An epic space battle ensues, quite unlike anything before seen on Star Trek. Quark shows a brief glimpse of heroism, Dukat goes kinda insane, and we get some long-term foreshadowing when the Prophets tell Sisko he will never find rest on Bajor.
“Year of Hell, Parts One and Two,” Voyager: Red Foreman from That 70s Show (or at least the actor who portrays him) shows up as a scientist willing to bend space and time in order to create a great space empire. Voyager gets caught up in his temporal meddling and gets the crapped kicked out of it for a year (hence the name). The only disappointing thing is, like most alternate history stories, there exist no real consequences once we’ve reached the end.
“In a Mirror Darkly, Parts One and Two”, Enterprise: Okay, I lied… Enterprise gets one more good episode worth watching. Remember the TOS episode “The Tholian Web”, where the USS Defiant was phasing in-and-out of subspace (or something)? Well, it phases into the Mirror universe (of “Mirror, Mirror” fame) and back in time where Mirror Captain Archer discovers it, and realizes he can use this advanced starship to take over the galaxy. Pretty much worth it just because it’s the Mirror universe, and who doesn’t love seeing our normally-heroic-heroes show a little bit of darkness?
“Chain of Command, Parts One and Two,” The Next Generation: Technically a two-parter, the only part that really matters is the second half, when Picard is captured by the Cardassians and brutally tortured. The Cardassian interrogator tries to break Picard by showing him four lights and making him confess that he actually sees five. Picard is rescued, shouting that there are only four lights… before later admitting to Riker that, for a moment, he really did see five.