Part 5 of Playboy.com’s exhaustive ranking of every Star Trek episode ever made. This time, from Deep Space Nine’s “Paradise Lost” to Deep Space Nine’s “Nor the Battle to the Strong.”
300) “Paradise Lost,” Deep Space Nine, Season 4
Only Sisko can recognize Earth’s power outage as the Reichstag fire it truly is. He’ll fight for what’s right, but it’s becoming less clear who he can trust. DS9, you get so complicated in your second half!
299) “All Our Yesterdays,” The Original Series, Season 3
“I have eaten animal flesh and I’ve enjoyed it.” Kirk, Spock and McCoy get trapped in different parts of a planet’s past. While figuring out how to get home they meet new people and freeze a bit. A nailbiter.
298) “E2,” Enterprise, Season 3
Just when Archer thinks he’s got the Xindi superweapon problem solved, he’s hit with this: taking Degra’s wormhole shortcut will get the Enterprise thrown 100 years in the past. The crew’s descendants (!) choose to be a stagnant generation ship just to warn them! (Although even after 100 years, T'Pol’s clothing will still be tight.)
297) “Half a Life,” The Next Generation, Season 4
Lwaxana Troi and Winchester from MASH* in a Dr. Kevorkian allegory.
296) “Human Error,” Voyager, Season 7
All eyes are on Seven of Nine as Voyager traverses a particularly daunting area of space. But it’s a really bad performance week for her, as she thinks she’s falling in love!
295) “Deadlock,” Voyager, Season 2
“Weird is just part of the job,” Janeway tells Harry Kim, but not her Harry Kim. That one blew up with a clone ship, and everyone seems kinda okay with that. This is a fun, twisty episode with a surprise ending that some feel doesn’t jibe with the rest of Trek (certainly with the way Janeway rolls at the end of the series).
294) “Imperfection,” Voyager, Season 7
Seven of Nine may be learning how to feel. Good thing? Not so much — it’s a malfunction. And the only spare part is with the final Borg child that she’s grown so attached to.
293) “Cease Fire,” Enterprise, Season 2
Jeffrey Combs enters Enterprise as Shran, possibly his greatest character. Archer finds himself the official liaison between Andoria and Vulcan.
292) “Divergence,” Enterprise, Season 4
Fans that really want to see the science of warp bubbles at work, this one is for you. Those who want to see comic relief character Dr. Phlox stand-up and become a hero, this one is also for you. If you are at the center of this Venn Diagram, bring a change of clothes.
291) “Peak Performance,” The Next Generation, Season 2
Games simulators that are no game! Kinda dopey but wins points with lots of color on the periphery.
290) “Mudd’s Passion,” The Animated Series, Season 1
Because every Saturday morning kids’ show needs a jovial pimp.
289) “The Drumhead,” The Next Generation, Season 4
Occasionally Picard slips into holier-than-thou territory. This is one of those times.
288) “The Way To Eden,” The Original Series, Season 3
287) “Tears of the Prophets,” Deep Space Nine, Season 6
The Dominon War rages on, and Terry Farrell’s contract runs up. Worf cries.
286) “Image in the Sand,” Deep Space Nine, Season 7
Sisko’s development as a Bajoran religious figure involves having visions of his mother floating in sand. Hey, don’t laugh until it happens to you.
285) “Return to Tomorrow,” The Original Series, Season 2
Three ancient, super-intelligent beings that live in ceramic lighting fixtures possess Kirk, Spock and a Female of the Week with their approval. At first.
284) “Inside Man,” Voyager, Season 7
A hologram Reg Barclay pops up on the ship to tell everyone how they can get home. But does the real Reg know what his other self is doing?
283) “Court Martial,” The Original Series, Season 1
The death of a crewman may have been due to Kirk’s bad call. Now he’s gotta defend himself and seeing the set of his lawyer’s pad was one of the earliest glimpses of what a human’s domicile looked like in the future.
282) “The Haunting of Deck Twelve,” Voyager, Season 6
Neelix tells the kids a ghost story. Basically a typical Voyager episode but spun in a slightly different style, which is interesting for completists.
281) “The Deadly Years,” The Original Series, Season 2
Rapid aging hits the crew. Imagine if the tunes you listen to in the shower are considered oldies by dinner!
280) “Treachery, Faith and the Great River,” Deep Space Nine, Season 7
279) “Thine Own Self,” The Next Generation, Season 7
Blank slate Data infects a pre-Contact civilization (bad) and Troi decides to get her Commander’s rank (good).
278) “Shockwave,” Enterprise, Season 1-2
The Suliban frame the Enterprise for murdering thousands on a mining colony and Archer is zipped off by Crewman Daniels into the far future, thus potentially spiking the eventual development of the Federation (which is all news to Archer). I’ll say this about the Temporal Cold War — it acts as a nice wink to the writers, who themselves are working within a framework of “what eventually has to be” when crafting this prequel series.
277) “Flashback,” Voyager, Season 3
A virus in the form of false memories means Janeway has to explore Tuvok’s mind — and “serve” aboard the Excelsior under Captain Sulu! It’s kinda like Trek meets Annie Hall, at least from the observer’s point of view.
276) “Warhead,” Voyager, Season 5
Trek established that androids and holograms could be sentient, so what about a (really) smart bomb? When its “consciousness” fuses with the Doctor’s, we discover that its whole life is about destruction. Is it right to kilk it? This sounds dopey but actually kinda works if you go with it.
275) “The Outcast,” The Next Generation, Season 5
Some people think this obvious LGBT metaphor is helpful, others say harmful. I’m saying Riker’s heart is in the right place.
274) “The Nth Degree,” The Next Generation, Season 4
Reg Barclay redeems himself by becoming Braniac.
273) “Ship in a Bottle,” The Next Generation, Season 6
Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes are back. This time is a little better than the others, but, sheesh.
272) “Lineage,” Voyager, Season 7
Tom and B'Elanna are going to have a baby. The crew goes nuts, but B'Elanna’s fear of abandonment starts to cause trouble.
271) “The Enemy Within,” The Original Series, Season 1
270) “The Xindi,” Enterprise, Season 3
The third season of Enterprise is shot out of a canon. We’ve got a new goal (find the Xindi), new crew members (the MACOs), a great setting (the eerie Expanse) and a reason to get T'Pol into a new outfit (she’s resigned her official commission).
269) “Proving Ground,” Enterprise, Season 3
Commander Shran brings his Andorian ship in the Expanse, allegedly to help the Enterprise. Hard to trust this guy, but we need all the friends we can get. He’s such a terrific addition to the storyline.
268) “Rules of Acquisition,” Deep Space Nine, Season 2
A closer look at Ferengi society shows it is in need of reform and that, surprisingly, Quark is something of an enlightened individual.
267) “The Darkness and Light,” Deep Space Nine, Season 5
Kira will never escape her past, even when she’s pregnant. Someone is whacking former members of the Shakaar cell. Vengeance? Justice? A little of both?
266) “Shattered Mirror,” Deep Space Nine, Season 4
Some of the Mirror Universe stuff all gets jumbled. But this one has Evil Worf barking “Make it so!”
265) “Future’s End,” Voyager, Season 3
Voyager goes back to the mid-’90s and finds the young Sarah Silverman! An evil tech CEO must be stopped from creating an environmental disaster. The show can sell the future, but the present looked like a joke even back then.
264) “Metamorphosis,” The Original Series, Season 2
The creator of warp drive, Zephram Cochrane, disappeared ages ago but now he’s found — still young — kept alive by a glowy, floaty cloud. Our first deep discussion about the universal translator in this one.
263) “Captain’s Holiday,” The Next Generation, Season 3
262) “Regeneration,” Enterprise, Season 2
Did we know about the Borg years before Q ever snapped his fingers? This episode says yes, even if they never say the name. As with all terrifying things, they are hiding in a glacier.
261) “The Siege,” Deep Space Nine, Season 2
Sisko and the Federation will save Bajor from itself, and that means hiding in the rafters while Frank Langella and his zealots try to take over the station.
260) “Homefront,” Deep Space Nine, Season 4
Shapeshifters! They’re everywhere! Look inside the gumbo, they could be hiding!
259) “Fallen Hero,” Enterprise, Season 1
A dissident-though-badass Vulcan official hitches a ride with Enterprise back to her home planet for a scolding. They encounter enemy fire along the way and, as a result, a new mutual respect arises among the two species.
258) “Mudd’s Women,” The Original Series, Season 1
I feel like when I was very young and first discovering Star Trek this was the episode that was always on. To sum it up: Space Hookers.
*257) “Babel One,” *Enterprise, Season 4 Enterprise’s salute to “Journey to Babel,” with Tellarites and others aboard for a diplomatic mission. When Shran’s ship in in trouble, Andorians arrive and with them come some fireworks.
256) “Rejoined,” Deep Space Nine, Season 4
A big deal at the time for its same-sex kiss, this one explores the issue of Trills and the people from their previous hosts’ past. Solid.
255) “Hippocratic Oath,” Deep Space Nine, Season 4
Packing in as many shades of gray — that’s the Deep Space Nine way! So, those mustache-twirling villains the Jem'Hadar? Turns out they are just exploited pawns, and the Founders and Vorta keep them killing due to an addiction to Ketracel-White. Is there no one we can just openly hate?!
254) “Worst Case Scenario,” Voyager, Season 3
Not bad for a Holodeck episode. This one concerns a secret program wherein Seska, back from the dead, leads a Maquis uprising. Some intriguing musings on the darker side of human psychology and fantasy.
253) “Think Tank,” Voyager, Season 5
A win for brains over brawn! A group of eggheads floating through subspace will help anyone figure out whatever conundrum ails them — but for a price. In the case of Voyager, they want Seven of Nine. (Who wouldn’t?)
252) “Life Line,” Voyager, Season 6
The Doctor zaps himself back to the Alpha Quadrant to help save his “father” Lewis Zimmerman. A pop-in from Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi let’s us know how things have been going on Earth since we’ve been gone.
251) “Time Squares,” The Next Generation, Season 2
Temporal loops. Doesn’t quite click as well as some similar episodes, but mindscramblers like this are what we love.
250) “Tinker, Tailor, Doctor, Spy,” Voyager, Season 5
The Doctor’s daydreams cause confusion for an alien observer. Robert Picardo pivots from pest to hero quite nicely in this one.
249) “Cogenitor,” Enterprise, Season 2
A multi-gendered species keeps a small group of their kind as indentured servants. Trip Tucker is ready to get all John Brown … but who asked him to? A fascinating look at social structures, privilege and intervention.
248) “The Survivor,” The Animated Series, Season 1
A squid monster appears on the ship, right near the Neutral Zone. In actuality, he’s not as evil as he looks.
247) “The Gamesters of Triskelion,” The Original Series, Season 2
246) “Whom Gods Destroy,” The Original Series, Season 3
Lord Garth of Izar and his close family of screwballs (including Marta, Yvonne Craig’s take on an Orion Slave Girl) has our crew somewhat trapped. Scotty, left in charge while in orbit, is tough as brass.
245) “Encounter at Farpoint,” The Next Generation, Season 1
There’s a lot to pack in when you are relaunching a major franchise. It’s a little dull, to be honest. Troi’s declaration of “great joy and gratitude!” comes as little cheesy, but it’s the vibe Roddenberry wanted.
244) “Broken Bow,” Enterprise, Season 1
All those questions we’ve ever had about how this glorious future were formed. They’ll all be answered, yes? Well, not really. That’s part of what makes Enterprise a little frustrating. However, when it placed in front of you with a big bow on top as in this nicely done two-part opener, it’s so rich and hopeful.
243) “Anomaly,” Enterprise, Season 3
The 9/11-informed third season makes clear distinctions. Crew members can die and Archer will bend when the ends justify the means. The Delphic Expanse is one trippy place.
242) “Captive Pursuit,” Deep Space Nine, Season 1
The Prime Directive vs. saving a life vs. The Most Dangerous Game. This was Season 1 DS9’s first episode that really popped with fun and adventure.
241) “Defiant,” Deep Space Nine, Season 3
Will Riker visits. But it’s Tom Riker! And he’s with the Maquis, on a suicide mission. Sisko must align with Dukat, who discovers something of a reverse Maquis within the Obsidian Order.
240) “Elaan of Troyius,” The Original Series, Season 3
Diplomatic hardships as Helen of Troy — er, Elaan of Troyius — causes havoc on the ship. Her henchmen’s outfits are made from place mats!
239) “The Mind’s Eye,” The Next Generation, Season 4
LaForge is used as a Manchurian Candidate by the Romulans to screw up the Klingon-Federation alliance. Solid.
238) “Power Play,” The Next Generation, Season 5
Data, Troi and O'Brien get possessed and try to take over the ship. Lots of side characters get their moment in this one, and “Troi” as a baddie is fun.
237) “Hope and Fear,” Voyager, Season 4
Looks like some new tech to get the ship home is just around the corner. As Seven of Nine panics at the thought of being amongst so many Terrans, Janeway’s new alien friend drops hints that this may cause some interplanetary geo-political ripples. Which is always the case.
236) “Night,” Voyager, Season 5
Warp kinda takes the vastness out of space, so this episode presents a patch of the galaxy so remote that, like, there’s nothing there and no one to talk to for a good long while. Everyone goes a little nuts and Janeway begins to doubt herself. Eventually it all works out.
235) “Borderland,” Enterprise, Season 4
Klingons are ready to go to war thanks to some genetically augmented jerks created by, naturally, Dr. Arik Soong.
234) “Redemption,” The Next Generation, Season 4-5
233) “Thirty Days,” Voyager, Season 5
Paris breaks the rules (to desalinate a space ocean) and gets demoted to Ensign. Seriously. Janeway ain’t playin’ around. I love a show with consequences!
232) “Author, Author,” Voyager, Season 7
Is the Doctor a sentient being? Kinda hard to nail down. But is he an artist? Sure. And he deserves royalties!
231) “Warlord,” Voyager, Season 3
Surprise! Jennifer Lien can act! Li'l Kes ends up possessed by a vicious warrior, and fireworks ensue.
230) “11001001,” The Next Generation, Season 1
Goofy fun with blue aliens. An important breath of fresh air in TNG’s first season that was a little all over the place.
229) “Remember Me,” The Next Generation, Season 4
I feel like every character gets their “trapped alone on the ship” moment. This is Dr. Crusher’s turn, and its especially Twilight Zone-y.
228) “The Maquis,” Deep Space Nine, Season 2
A bit of a crossover with TNG, and also something of a point of no return for some die hard Roddenberry fans. This is the moment when Trek got dark — the Federation is not a utopian society, and there are schisms within. You either love the complexity or reject the soiling of a dream.
227) “Dr. Bashir, I Presume,” Deep Space Nine, Season 5
226) “Datalore,” The Next Generation, Season 1
Data’s origin story offers just enough to answer questions but retain mystery (which gets teased out for years to come.)
225) “Demon,” Voyager, Season 4
A Class Y planet “bioforms” copies of the visiting Voyager crew. This is a hardcore SF mind-scrambler, with repercussions for future episodes.
224) “Drone,” Voyager, Season 5
Another (!) transporter malfunction fuses Seven of Nine’s nanoprobes and the Doctor’s mobile emitter and — tada! — here comes a Superborg from the future. B'Elanna has the right idea (kill!) but Janeway decides to teach it goodness. It works. It kills itself.
223) “Visionary,” Deep Space Nine, Season 3
Chief O'Brien keeps flashing a few hours ahead of the timeline. If he trades places with his future self, is he still himself? Far out …
222) “Cold Station 12,” Enterprise, Season 4
Dr. Soong (played by Brent Spiner) now realizes that his augmented “children” are trying to create a new Eugenics War. Dr. Phlox teams up with jokey character actor Richard Riehle, which is just about perfect.
221) “Sarek,” The Next Generation, Season 3
Spock’s father beams in, giving fans at the end of Season 3 what they always wanted — a more concrete tie-in to pre-existing lore. The episode itself is so-so, but it set a very important precedent.
220) “Ethics,” The Next Generation, Season 5
To walk a light year in Worf’s shoes…
219) “The Cloud Minders,” The Original Series, Season 3
A worker’s struggle with sky beauties and cave brutes. Some of the best costumes in TOS.
218) “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” The Original Series, Season 3
Telepathy, transferring consciousness, unknown voids. This one has it all, plus spooky organs and a wild use of color flashes and wide angle lenses.
217) “Canamar,” Enterprise, Season 2
Archer and Trip are mistakenly placed on a Ben-Hur-like prison ship, headed towards certain doom. Just as their names are cleared, there’s a prisoner revolt! What to do?
216) “Affliction,” Enterprise, Season 4
When enough people ask “why do the Klingons look different than in the old show?” you get an episode like this. Also, a Hoshi-T'Pol mind-meld.
215) “The Practical Joker,” The Animated Series, Season 2
*214) “The Next Phase,” *The Next Generation, Season 5*
LaForge and Ro are “out of phase.” They eventually find their way back.
213) “Wink of an Eye,” The Original Series, Season 3
Time dilation right there on the ship. Is that a mosquito buzzing around you or is it your crewman saying “hey! I’m existing on another temporal plane!”
212) “The Dauphin,” The Next Generation, Season 2
Wesley’s got a GIRRRRRRLFRIEND.
211) “Latent Image,” Voyager, Season 5
The Doctor discovers he’s got a short-term memory problem. Rooting out the cause leads to a surprise (that may ultimately lead to a brighter future?).
210) “Sons and Daughters,” Deep Space Nine, Season 6
Alexander Rozhenko shows up as a new recruit aboard the IKS Rotarran. Can Worf handle that? Lovely Ziyal shows up aboard the (once again named) Terok Nor to be with Dukat, her father. Can Kira handle that? Complications!
209) “The Ship,” Deep Space Nine, Season 5
A stand-off between our gang in a busted-up Jem'Hadar ship and an untrustworthy (albeit scantily clad) Vorta.
208) “Whispers,” Deep Space Nine, Season 2
Really smart Twilight Zone-ish episode, all done from Chief O'Brien’s POV (or is it really the Chief!?).
207) “The Circle,” Deep Space Nine, Season 2
You may need a pie chart to figure out all the factions at play here, but the theme is basically that plurality is good, isolation is bad. And Frank Langella is not who he seems.
206) “The Ultimate Computer,” The Original Series, Season 2
Dr. Daystrom is coming to replace us all with a computer. That is, unless, Kirk can talk it to death with logic.
205) “The Defector,” The Next Generation, Season 3
204) “The Quickening,” Deep Space Nine, Season 4
This episode rules because a lot of innocent people die in awful ways. Shows that DS9 isn’t afraid of anything. And that even Dr. Bashir is powerless before the Teppian Blight!
203) “Dragon’s Teeth,” Voyager, Season 6
Moral ambiguity, thy home lies in the Delta Quadrant. Janeway and company are on the run from some baddies and land on a planet with some allegedly extinct folks in stasis. After waking them Voyager discovers that their new allies are even worse than the other guys.
202) “Apocalypse Rising,” Deep Space Nine, Season 5
The Federation-Klingon schism is at an end. And how did it happen? By Sisko dressing up as a mighty warrior, that’s how. No one gets between him and is bloodwine!
201) “Nor The Battle To The Strong,” Deep Space Nine, Season 5
Jake Sisko reports from the battlefront and it isn’t pretty. Gruesome violence and cowardice are not what Gene Roddenberry had in mind, but is probably a truer future.