Star Trek: Top 10 Worst One-Off Romances, Ranked
What are dramatic adventures across the galaxy without a little romance? Attractive love interests have always been a part of Star Trek, winning the hearts of fans' favorite heroes. They go to a planet, meet new people including one special pretty person, and they make out before leaving forever. Kirk started off as the first true hit-and-run Casanova and the trend hasn't ended since.
If a Star Trek character doesn't get a romantic subplot at some point, that's when it's weird. Even though these are such staples of the show, ending dramatic battles and mysteries with lovely kisses goodbye, not every short-lived Star Trek romance is a good one. Here are the Top 10 One-Off Romances, Ranked.
10 Etana Jol & William Riker "The Game"
Will Riker has had many women in his life, but few almost ruined it like Etana Jol. They looked cute together on Risa, teasing each other and making out, but all her choices had sinister undertones. After all, she really just wanted to get him to play her mind game device, bring it back to The Enterprise, and get everyone addicted.
Yeah, apparently it was all just a ploy to steal The Enterprise. And worse, because of her plotting, fans had to deal with an episode where Wesley Crusher was the hero. Her pretty face does not make up for all that trouble.
9 Nilva & "Lumba" (Quark) "Profit & Lace"
While the relationship was mostly consensual and even kinda adorable, the context of it still makes it awful. In "Profit and Lace", an already bizarre attempt at social commentary, a Ferengi named Nilva falls helplessly in love with Lumba. Problem is, Lumba is actually just Quark with some surgical implants and changes to make the Grand Nagus' plans work (yeah, the current societal implications of that are all very messy).
Either way, watching Lumba be chased after by a married man was uncomfortable. When the conditions of the episode include Quark changing back into a man by the end, it's not endearing or revolutionary, just sexualized.
8 Ves Alkar & Deanna Troi "Man of The People"
So, Deanna Troi has a bad time with diplomats. Most of the time she just catches them out in lies, but this time? She falls for one that casually uses her as a living battery (TNG seems to have a theme with that). Ves Alkar, a prized mediator, collects women and pours all of his dark energy into them and drains their lives. In the process, they become irritable, terribly jealous, voraciously sexual, and rapidly age.
This jerk used the beautiful Deanna like she was a cleansing towel just because he thought his work was more important than her life. Not only did she deserve better, but it was dumb that she fell for him in the first place.
7 Kaitaama & Trip Tucker "Precious Cargo"
So, for TNG fans, this episode was basically "The Perfect Mate" but much, much worse. Like a proverbial cherry on top, it's very likely that the writers thought it was an improvement (it wasn't).
Trip Tucker releases a kidnapped princess from stasis and they have to get her back to her planet so she can rule it. Along the way, they get a little romantic, because of course, they do. Sure, she finds him very irritable at first, but it's early 2000's romance writing. That means they had to fall in love. This one deserves discredit just for being generic, boring, and terribly uninteresting.
6 Miramanee & James T. Kirk "The Paradise Syndrome"
During their time together, Kirk and Miramanee really did love each other. The only hitch is that she was a Native American stereotype who treated him like a God. Correction, she thought he was a God, sent from the heavens. They even conceived a child together.
They planned to spend their lives together until the rest of her people decided to punish him for not stopping a meteorite, as Gods do. Their punishment? Stoning the pregnant Miramanee. Between the terrible racial insensitivity and the casual end of her life, Kirk and Miramee's romance was a bad time.
5 Ba'el & Worf "Birthright"
A huge part of Worf's character has always been his relationship to Klingon culture, honor, and his family lineage. While the Klingon Council sees his father as a traitor, he knows better. The second he heard that he might be alive, he rushed to the coordinates. Worf didn't find his father, but he did find a colony of Klingons and Romulans who ended up there after the Khitomer massacre and built a community.
During his time there, Worf met and fell for a young woman named Ba'el. He didn't react well to her Romulan/Klingon heritage, but otherwise, they had a mutual romance. Even though their romance didn't stick, their age difference and their dynamic made the coupling a little icky.
4 Beverly Crusher & Ronin "Sub Rosa"
TNG had a lot of ridiculous romantic subplots, but none of them are as absurd as Beverly Crusher's family ghost boyfriend. Like her grandmother and many other red haired relatives before her, Beverly became attached to an energy parasite. He seduced the women in her family and used them like human batteries to stay alive.
Sure, he may be a mysterious, handsome man, but fans cross the line at glowy, green sex. Maybe this could have passed as a zany B-plot, but as the main story of an episode? It only made this bad romance worse.
3 T'Pol & Johnathon Archer "A Night In Sickbay"
Much to fans' relief, T'Pol and Captain Archer didn't last past a terrible, sensual dream. Unfortunately, though, the dream still happened. And, to make matters worse, fans had to watch it in all its horrible glory. "A Night In Sickbay" was already a terrible attempt to address the "dog in space" issue. Adding a weird, sex dream analysis into the mix only made it worse.
Not only was his interest in her a little creepy and very predatory, but it had nothing to do with her personality. It was just because T'Pol was pretty and someone exotic that he used to hate.
2 Tasha Yar & Lutan "Code of Honor"
Horrible, racist stereotypes aside, "Code of Honor" is not a well-loved episode. It shows a powerful man kidnapping the lovely Security Chief Tasha Yar and trying to force her to be his wife. And not just his wife, but his first wife, snubbing out his current "first one"'s social standing.
Worse, the episode dare implies that Tasha is attracted to this gross and selfish man and that some part of her is interested in him. If fans could've picked this versus more Tasha and Data, the choice is easy. This terrible episode and flirtation should have been trashed.
1 Tom Paris & Katherine Janeway (As Salamanders) "Threshold"
In one of the most hated and bizarre episodes of Star Trek infamy, Tom Paris became an amphibious creature, infected Captain Janeway, and they had Salamander babies. Then, the crew abandoned the slimy kids on the planet they were born on.
Voyager was wise to never again flirt with the idea of Janeway and Paris as a couple. However, it doesn't make the fact they have literal spawn any weirder. Between their mentor relationship, conflicting personalities, it makes fans feel gross inside. This is by far the worst one-time Star Trek couple. Thank god they never happened again (and that the Salamander toddlers never came back).