Most people think Star Trek is just a silly sci-fi show, but those who know understand that the franchise isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty. The battles across the many TV shows have been bloody, violent, and often left a mark that went even beyond the series in which they took place and there’s a reason Star Trek battles pack such a mighty punch.
In this tier list, we evaluated the battles of each Star Trek show using IMDb ratings. The higher the rating, the lower the episode’s place on the list. With that being said, let’s get into the top 10 best Star Trek battles.
The 10 Best Star Trek Battles, Ranked
Note: this list doesn’t reflect the highly particular tastes of all Trekkies. I doubt anything could really capture anything as wide and varied. But this list does reflect the opinions of those who got so excited about these episodes that they ran to IMDb to share them.
10. “Such Sweet Sorrow Part II” (8.2)
While Discovery has a reputation for presenting the highest stakes of the Star Trek shows, sometimes this comes in handy. Control was the threat assessment system created by the spy organization Section 31 to prevent war. Ironically, the system found itself at the center of it when its sentience became a problem for the entire galaxy. In season 2, episode 14, “Such Sweet Sorrow Part II”, Starfleet found itself going toe-to-toe with Control in an Age of Ultron-style battle.
In a dazzling show of graphics, command ships from all over the galaxy gather to take on their ally-turned-foe. Meanwhile, Officer Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her adopted brother Spock (Ethan Peck) quickly realize she has to sacrifice her life by becoming the Red Angel who leads the USS Discovery to safety. The episode kept us on the edge of our seats and managed to score an 8.2 rating on IMDb.
9. “Zero Hour” (8.5)
When Earth finds itself the next target of a planet-destroying alien weapon, it’s up to Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) and the crew of Star Trek: Enterprise to save the day. It doesn’t hurt that the captain gets one of those awesome scenes in which he runs off in slow motion with bombs exploding behind him. It’s also one of the first episodes where Andorians are allowed to show up to save the day for once.
Enterprise isn’t the most popular Star Trek series. In fact, most fans of the franchise would argue that the series isn’t even all that good. Even its introduction of important events like First Contact between Humans and Vulcans hasn’t been enough to gain the favor of even the most avid Trekkie. According to the episode’s 8.5 IMDb rating, however, season 3, episode 24, “Zero Hour” has one of the best battle sequences.
8. “The Doomsday Machine” (8.7)
Star Trek: The Original Series usually took a more philosophical approach to its many dilemmas. Can sentient robots replace humans? Does Starfleet represent scientific exploration or militaristic domination? How can a booger monster who lives in a cave be the real villain when she is just protecting her children? Sometimes, though, it dropped us into the middle of chaos and disaster.
Season 2, episode 6, “The Doomsday Machine” did exactly that by having the crew of the Enterprise fight its first space whale. Contact with Commodore Decker (William Windom) quickly goes awry when he reveals himself to be driven mad with grief over the loss of his crew. The battle graphics are dated, but the close calls and Captain Kirk’s (William Shatner) self-sacrificing antics make the episode worth watching. No wonder it has an 8.7 rating on IMDb.
7. “Scorpion Part II” (8.8)
When Star Trek: Voyager fans first meet Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), she’s little more than a brainwashed drone in a tyrannical machine. She’s also the best chance Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and Chief Security Officer Tuvok (Tim Russ) have of surviving their contact with the Borg without being assimilated. After Janeway strikes with the Borg for survival in season 4, episode 1, “Scorpion Part II”, she must rely on her wits to get her and the crew out of harm’s way.
The final battle ends up being more of an existential one between First Officer Chakotay (Robert Beltran) and the yet unnamed Seven of Nine. However, a bunch of superpowered Borg cubes bearing down on the Voyager leaves the crew thinking fast and smart. It’s this mounting tension that earns the season 4 premiere an 8.8 rating on IMDb.
6. “Balance of Terror” (8.8)
Star Trek: The Original Series had a surprising knack for hitting on serious issues and season 1, episode 8, “Balance of Terror” is a prime example. The episode begins with two crew members getting married and ends with one of them being tragically killed during a surprise battle with an enemy ship. Captain Kirk (Shatner) finds himself locked in a battle of wills with the Romulan Commander (Mark Lenard). While the Enterprise crew eventually wins, their morals are tested and their casualties are high.
It leaves them wondering along with viewers: Was it worth it? At the same time, Captain Kirk ends up having to check one of the crew members for giving Spock (Leonard Nimoy) the stink eye after finding out Vulcans are biologically related to Romulans. The episode earns an 8.8 rating on IMDb, and rightly so for striking a balance (get it?) between hard-hitting action and deep discussions.
Related: The Best Star Trek TV Shows, Ranked
5. “Scorpion” (8.9)
Before Captain Janeway (Mulgrew) hopped into the fire, Star Trek: Voyager dropped her into the frying pan to fight something much worse. The Borg calls this mysterious creature Species 8472 and describes it as the “apex of biological evolution”. That’s high praise for a species of beings who’ve deemed it their job to cleanse the galaxy of all they see as inferior (which is pretty much everything).
It’s also horrifying to see the Borg cubes in season 3, episode 26, “Scorpion” being punked by what looks like a knock-off version of the mother creature from Aliens. It attacks several crew members aboard the USS Voyager, including Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang), before Captain Janeway strikes a deal with the Borg to subdue it. The battle between Starfleet officers and Species 8472 leaves Kim fighting for his life, but it also earns the episode an 8.9 IMDb rating.
4. “What You Leave Behind” (8.9)
The finale of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is not without its trials and tribble-lations (see what I did there!). Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher) is in the throes of madness as she releases the evil Pah-Wraith in the hopes of becoming all-powerful. Starfleet leaves Deep Space Nine for its final confrontation with the Dominion forces on Cardassia. Season 7, episodes 25 & 26, “What You Leave Behind” is full of final moments that keep viewers holding their breath in anticipation.
The series finale ends with the Dominion forces waving the white flag in the final battle. Turns out, all that’s needed to beat evil Changelings, lizard soldiers, and Jeffrey Combs while earning an 8.9 rating on IMDb is the unexpected partnership between the United Federation of Planets and their long-standing enemies the Klingons. Well, that and an even more shocking allegiance between Bajoran and Cardassian forces.
3. “Sacrifice of Angels” (9)
However, things must always get worse in any given Star Trek series before they can get better and Deep Space Nine keeps to tradition in season 6, episode 6, “Sacrifice of Angels”. Before the Cardassians fully understood how living under Dominion rule would impact their society, they literally stood shoulder to shoulder with the Changelings and their allies while facing off against Starfleet.
So, Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) devised a plan using the USS Defiant to make the Cardassians break formation. Their prime mission? Stopping the Dominion from destroying the wormhole that the Bajorans call the home of the Prophets whom they’ve worshipped for centuries. The episode has a 9 rating on IMDb, but it’s gone down in history as the battle that turned the tide in the Dominion War.
2. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (9.2)
The most Star Trek trope of all is time travel. Whether members of the crew are going forward or backward in time, it’s always a wild time for the fans watching them encounter all manner of hijinks. Unfortunately, though, the time-temporal rift experienced by Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and crew in season 3, episode 15, “Yesterday’s Enterprise” of The Next Generation wasn’t anything to laugh about.
Chief Security Officer Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) makes a shocking return in place of Worf (Michael Dorn) and it’s not the only drastic change. The crew faces a complete overhaul of its members after the ship is thrust 20 years into the future. Worse, they arrive amid a decades-long battle with the Klingons. Talk about bad timing. The action-packed fight sequences and “what if” exploration of the timeline easily earn this episode a 9.2 rating on IMDb.
1. “The Best of Both Worlds Part II” (9.2)
When the crew members go down, it’s sad but expected. When the leader goes down, however, it feels like the end of the world. Captain Picard (Stewart) earned a reputation in Star Trek: The Next Generation as being a no-nonsense commander always looking to negotiate but ever willing to fight. Then in season 4, episode 1, “The Best of Both Worlds Part II” he found himself fully assimilated by the Borg.
If there was ever a worst-case scenario, that was it. Captain Picard eventually found his way back home. But the damage was done. The Battle of Wolf 359 claimed the lives of many Starfleet officers — including Jennifer Sisko (Felecia M. Bell), the mother of Jake (Cirroc Lofton), and the wife of Benjamin (Brooks). It was the tensest episode with perhaps the most at stake and that’s why it takes the cake with an IMDb rating of 9.2.
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- This article was updated on September 7th, 2023