My Favorite Star Trek Scenes

[The following is my contribution to a thread on the "Not Star Trek Books" board on Psi Phi, asking people what their favorite all-time Trek scenes are.]

Probably the single scene in all of Trek-dom that had the most profound impact on me was in "Parallels." They're sending Worf through with the shuttlecraft, when one of the Enterprises fires on them -- and then we see it. Riker with his beard grown down to his chest, the wild, desperate look in his eyes, behind him Worf (which one, one wonders?) trying to keep the ship in one piece. You get the impression they're the only two left on the ship. The sheer devastation in Riker's voice as he begs, pleads not to go back to the nightmare his universe has become.

The image of that scene stayed with me for a good several weeks after I saw "Parallels" for the first time.

Other scenes, chosen at random:

Sisko voluntarily going back into the box in "Paradise" rather than conform. That was the moment when Sisko was cemented as a Trek captain worthy of his predecessors.

Kirk stopping McCoy from saving Edith Keeler in "City on the Edge of Forever."

Worf killing Duras in "Reunion." Every single trope of television in general and Star Trek in particular led you to think that Worf would hold back and spare Duras's life at the last minute, showing that he's somehow "better" than Duras, or that vengeance never solves anything. But Worf isn't human, and has different standards. Vengeance is a right in Klingon culture. So he guts the fucker. A magnificently cathartic moment perfectly directed by Jonathan Frakes.

Sisko explaining to Kasidy why he and Solok hate each other in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," which was a tour de force on Brooks's part (with great support from Penny Johnson).

The ending of "Necessary Evil."

Sisko confronting Kira in "Progress" with the realization that she's on the other side in this fight. (Nice job of directing with Kira kneeling and looking up at Sisko as she realizes he's right.)

The discussion of the Prime Directive in "Pen Pals" in Picard's quarters. This scene is why I think Winrich Kolbe is the best TV director around -- it's one of the best-blocked scenes in Trek history. Worf standing upright, arms folded, the rigid voice of obedience. Troi and Riker sitting placidly, the philosophical voices of reason. La Forge and Pulaski fidgeting, trying to grasp at straws, constantly getting up and sitting down, uncomfortable with the conflict between head and heart. Off on the side, uncharacteristically quiet, Data, around whose actions everything revolves, Spiner looking far more subdued than normal. And right at the center, Picard, the fulcrum on which it all turns. The dialogue in that scene by Melinda Snodgrass is probably the best discussion of the Prime Directive in Trek history, and the direction brings it to the level it deserves.

The moment in "Prey" when Chakotay talks down the Hirogen hunter played by Tony Todd, stating unequivocally that it's his hunt and the Hirogen will follow his lead.

The shot of Spock's empty chair in Star Trek II right before Kirk goes down to engineering.

Zephram Cochrane insisting on playing "Magic Carpet Ride" during the takeoff of the Phoenix in First Contact, adding a brilliant, human touch to the endeavor.

There are probably others, but that's what I can think of right now. *grin*

[First posted on the Psi Phi "Not Star Trek Books" BBS on 8 July 2002.]


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