Monday, December 2, 2013

Star Trek plot holes that annoy me

I love Star Trek, but that doesn't mean that I'm oblivious to its flaws. Specifically, there are some issues with some storylines that really get to me. I thought I'd call a few of them out and provide my alternate story.

Probably obvious, but spoilers follow the jump.

All of TNG: Riker is always and forevermore Picard's XO.

Commander William Thomas Riker was the executive officer (XO) on the USS Enterprise for seven series of TNG and four movies (in Star Trek time, from 2364 to 2379, 15 years). That's a long time, even in Star Trek lore. Various people mention how long he's held the position and that it's kind of weird. He'd been offered commands three times and turned them down each time. Was Picard's Enterprise really that amazing to serve on? The answer the show/movies give is "yes", but I've got a better answer.

He's an asshole who only Picard really tolerates.

Let's look at the times he is given command. When he's commanding the Enterprise against the Borg, he constantly clashing with his XO, Shelby, to the point of treating her like crap. He even shouts her down a few times. Not particularly captain-esque behavior, eh? What about when Captain Jellico is temporarily given command of the Enterprise? It took Riker all of 10 minutes to get him dismissed as XO.

When he's in command, do you ever see him confer with the senior staff? That is, aside from Best of Both Worlds, when it's already become clear he needs help.

It would have made so much more sense for Riker to have been a difficult-to-work-with asshole than for him to constantly refuse promotion like a 24-year-old hanging around his high school.

Star Trek: Generations: Crusher explains a joke to Data; Data pushes her into the water.

This is a really minor thing, and yet it bugs the crap out of me.

Star Trek XI: Alternate Universe Kirk opens fire on the mid-black-hole Nerada.

This is just dumb. The Romulan ship Nerada is caught in a black hole. Anyone who knows anything about black holes knows you cannot escape them, particularly if they form in the middle of your ship. Why waste a single torpedo? Further, why risk your ship? They almost get sucked into the black hole themselves.

I get that Kirk was a punk kid and Spock was too angry to think straight. But, you know, there were a few other officers on the bridge who could have piped up. It would have taken nothing away from the movie to have the Enterprise turn tail as soon as Nero turns down the offer of help.

Star Trek: Generations: Kirk dies on Veridian III after a fist fight with Dr. Soren. 

This one is the worst. Captain James Tiberius Kirk, the man who thwarted General Chang's plot to incite war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, the man who outdueled Khan in the Mutara Nebula, ends up dying on an essentially meaningless planet. Not only that, but Kirk left the Nexus, a place that literally gives you whatever you want. So he gives up a literal heaven because Picard decided that two is better than one in a fist fight.

Gah! What a disgraceful way for the writers to send off Kirk.

Here's what should have happened. If you recall, Picard had agreed to a prisoner exchange; himself for LaForge, as long as the Duras sisters sent Picard to the surface first. Once in the Nexus, Picard taps Kirk and brings them back to the moment Picard confronted Soren.

What a dumb move by Picard. He could have gone anywhere, at any time, and he chose to only go so far back as to have a two-on-one melee with Soren. He should have gone back to before the prisoner exchange with the Klingons (I assume he's not going to super-blatantly violate the temporal prime directive and go back WAY farther). He'd already agreed to the exchange, and so couldn't send a random old dude (it's highly unlikely the Duras sisters would recognize, let alone accept who Kirk was). So Picard would have Kirk go back to the bridge with his legendary combat experience to aid Riker and crew fight the Klingons. Picard would do what he could to stall Soren while Kirk and Riker attempted to gain the upper hand against the Klingons.

Picard would have instructed Riker to work with Kirk, but it would become clear once the Klingons fired that Kirk was the better tactician, and Riker would cede command. The same pitched battle would ensue, with the Klingons firing through the Enterprise's shields. However, instead of exploiting some weird cloaking shenanigan to force the Klingons to cloak, Kirk would come up with some badass maneuver to give the Enterprise the upper hand.

However, mid-battle, something would happen that would force most of the bridge crew to evacuate (and let's say data was already off the bridge for whatever reason). But Kirk would stay, leading the ship to victory, and give his life in the process.

There are plenty of problems with Generations, but Kirk's death is by far the worst.
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