What An Idiot / Star Trek

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TV shows

    Star Trek: The Original Series 
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • In the final episode, "Turnabout Intruder", insane Janice Lester switches bodies with Captain Kirk so she can stop being a woman and become a Starfleet Commander.
      You'd Expect: She would be very careful not to do anything that would give her away, although she seems fairly confident that she can pull it off.
      Instead: She makes official log entries as the captain, where she actually brags about how she's duping everyone. There is absolutely no good reason for her to do this. Only the fact that she's essentially insane can excuse her.
    • From "The Alternative Factor", two of the Enterprise's dilithium crystals have been stolen, and Kirk immediately suspects Lazarus, who, earlier that day, begged Kirk to give them to him so he could kill his enemy. Also, Kirk and Spock have been growing increasingly suspicious of Lazarus' true intentions.
      You'd Expect: The crew to keep constant watch on Lazarus, who, by this point, is resting in Sick Bay. McCoy even says Lazarus is "not going anywhere. Not this time."
      Instead: McCoy and the others leave Sick Bay, leaving no one to keep guard on their potentially dangerous guest. Sure enough, Lazarus leaves Sick Bay and takes the other two crystals.
    • Later on in that episode, Kirk is accidentally transported to an antimatter universe, where he meets a parallel version of Lazarus who, unlike his prime universe counterpart, is completely sane. Anti-Lazarus confirms what Kirk and Spock have feared; that if he and Lazarus come into contact, it would set off a chain reaction that would destroy both universes.
      You'd Expect: Assuming we take the rather spurious science at face value, that Kirk would stun Lazarus, drag him back to the Enterprise and then have the Enterprise destroy Lazarus's spaceship, which would sever the link to the antimatter universe. Alternatively, just kill Lazarus, which would be a justifiable action given that two whole universes are at stake.
      Instead: Kirk and Anti-Lazarus come up with a plan whereby Kirk throws Lazarus into the dimensional link, where Anti-Lazarus will hold him. The Enterprise then destroys Lazarus's spaceship, ending the threat from him... but also consigning Anti-Lazarus to spend the rest of his life (if not the rest of time) having a fistfight with his insane counterpart.
    • In "The Deadly Years," Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are stricken by radiation-induced aging that also kills a female Red Shirt. Kirk's failing mental faculties lead to him being relieved of command by the visiting Commodore Stocker, thus leaving him as the highest-ranking officer on the Enterprise. However, despite his rank, he has never commanded a starship.
      You'd Expect: That Stocker would defer to Lieutenant Sulu, who is the highest-ranking bridge officer still fit for duty and who has actual command experience under his belt.
      Instead: Stocker assumes command himself. The first thing he does, in order to reach Starbase 10 more quickly, is to take a shortcut through the Romulan Neutral Zone. When the Enterprise is attacked by Romulan birds-of-prey, Stocker freezes up, utterly unable to do anything.
      You'd Then Expect: For Sulu, Uhura, or friggin' anybody to step up, relieve Stocker, and take charge. Regulations aside, the Enterprise is in immediate danger and Stocker has just proven dangerously incompetent and incapable of commanding a ship in battle.
      Instead: Everyone just sits and waits for Stocker to decide to do something. Which he doesn't. The only reason the Enterprise survives is that Spock and Nurse Chapel cook up a deus ex medicina to de-age Kirk, allowing him to retake command and save the day.
    • In "The Enterprise Incident," the Romulan commander has three ships surrounding the Enterprise and is busy trying to seduce Spock into defecting. Unbeknownst to her, Spock is using this to buy time for Kirk to beam aboard disguised as a Romulan and steal the cloaking device. By the time the commander realizes that Spock is playing her, the cloaking device is gone.
      You'd Expect: That she would throw Spock into the brig for interrogation/execution and send her soldiers to seize the Enterprise and retrieve the cloaking device.
      Instead: She delays taking any action while she grants Spock the Right of Statement. Spock, of course, uses this to buy more time for our heroes to install the cloaking device, retrieve him, and make their escape—with the Romulan commander as an unintended prisoner.
    • In "And the Children Shall Lead," Gorgan, the Monster of the Week has brainwashed a bunch of children to do his bidding, which includes getting the crew to divert the ship to a heavily-populated colony and causing hallucinations so that they don't alter course. Eventually, Kirk and Spock, who still haven't been affected by the hallucinations, come up to the bridge to see what's happening.
      You'd Expect: The children to sneak off the bridge, and then summon Gorgan to give him a progress report. Kirk and Spock will probably still suspect that something weird is being caused by the children, but they won't know exactly what.
      Instead: They summon Gorgan on the bridge, in front of Kirk and Spock. Even Gorgan indirectly chides them for their carelessness, and the only reason why this doesn't result in his immediate defeat is the fact that Kirk himself has a fairly firm grip on the Idiot Ball throughout this episode. It still ends up playing a major part in Gorgan's downfall, as Kirk summons him again by replaying a recording of the children performing the summoning ritual.

    Star Trek: The Next Generation 
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In "Datalore", the Enterprise happens to find Lore, an identical twin robot of Data. At one point, when Data and Lore are alone, Lore reveals himself to be an Evil Twin by incapacitating Data, then claims that he is Data and that Lore attacked him, and he disabled Lore in response.
      You'd think: That the very blatantly obvious fact that the two are identical would make Picard suspicious, and he would ask Lore something only Data would know to find out if he was really Data or not. Even if he didn't bother with any of that, you'd think he'd at least be sure to keep a careful eye on Lore and take any advice from him with a grain of salt, just in case.
      Instead: Picard implicitly trusts Lore, believing he's Data, even when he does things that Data wouldn't do. Even worse, Wesley explicitly tries to point out the possibility to Picard, and Picard for some reason ignores him. Sure, he's a Creator's Pet, but that does mean he has a tendency to be right. The only reason everyone on the Enterprise didn't die due to Picard's appalling stupidity is that Wesley goes against orders and manages to save the day.
    • In "Heart of Glory" the Enterprise rescues a group of Klingons from an exploding freighter, which they claim to have been attacked by a Ferengi ship which they managed to destroy in a Crazy Enough to Work gambit. Worf, however, points out that he analysed the weapons signatures on the freighter before it exploded, and that they were those of Klingon disruptors. The leader of the group, Korris tries to claim that the Ferengi ship was armed with Klingon weaponry.
      You'd Expect: That Picard would immediately see through Korris's explanation as the pathetic lie that it clearly is,note  throw him and his colleague Konmel in the brig (the third member of the group is severely injured and being held in sickbay), and then contact the Klingons to try and find out if they know anything.
      Instead: To his credit, Picard actually doesn't buy into Korris's claims, but he also decides that he doesn't have enough proof to put him in the brig. So, he just palms them off to Worf. Later on in the episode, after the injured Klingon expires, Korris admits that what Worf clearly suspects is true: the ship that attacked the freighter was Klingon, and had been sent to recapture them.
      You'd Expect: Worf to immediately take Korris and Konmel into custody and then notify both Picard and the Klingon authorities.
      Instead: Not only does he not do that, he gives the two Klingons a tour of main engineering, which later goes pear-shaped when Korris escapes and tries to hold the whole ship hostage by threatening to shoot the warp core, eventually forcing Worf to kill him.
    • In "The Price," The Federation and several others are engaged in a bidding war over what appears to be the only known stable wormhole in the galaxy. Picard, however, is not fully convinced, and sends a science team through the wormhole to verify its stability so that they won't end up with a proverbial lemon.
      You'd Expect: The negotiations to be put on hold until the wormhole is declared safe.
      Instead: Not only do they continue, but one less-than-scrupulous representative manipulates everything in favor of his clients; he ends up winning, but the science team then returns to reveal that the wormhole is in fact dangerously unstable. The representative's clients are not pleased.
    • Another moment occurs during this debacle: The Federation's science team (consisting of Geordi and Data) is accompanied by a Ferengi team. Once they both go through the wormhole, Geordi and Data discover that they're not where they're supposed to be. It turns out that the endpoint of the wormhole shifts location every so often, and Geordi's sensors indicate that another shift is imminent. He immediately warns the Ferengi that they need to get the hell out of there now.
      You'd Expect: The Ferengi would listen. One of them is a scientist, after all; he should be able to verify what Geordi's telling him.
      Instead: The Ferengi tell Geordi to shut up. As a result, Geordi and Data make it back into the wormhole just before the endpoint shifts, trapping the Ferengi in the Delta Quadrant.
    • In "The Perfect Mate," the Enterprise is transporting an ambassador to a peace conference. Said ambassador has brought along a gift for the other side's chancellor as a peace offering, which he describes as "quite fragile and quite irreplaceable."
      You'd Expect: Picard to seal off the cargo bay and post security guards. Especially with two Ferengi aboard.
      Instead: He doesn't. One of the Ferengi gets into the cargo bay and screws everything up.
    • In "Unification, Pt. 2," Sela has captured Picard, Spock, and Data and told them all about the Romulan plot to conquer Vulcan, expecting to make them cooperate. Naturally, they refuse.
      You'd Expect: That since our heroes now know all about the plan, Sela would immediately have them eliminated. Or at least keep them under heavy guard at all times.
      Instead: In a display of Bond Villain Stupidity In Space, she leaves our heroes (each of whom qualifies as The Smart Guy in his milieu) unguarded in her office. With her computer. By the time she returns, they've put their own plan into motion to stop hers.
    • In "Phantasms," Data starts having weird and disturbing dreams, including one involving Counselor Troi in a situation right out of the music video for Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More." He goes to see her about the dreams.
      You'd Expect: Troi would remember how the last time she advised him on something like this went horribly wrong and try not to make same mistake again.
      Instead: She inadvertently mentions Sigmund Freud, who Data visits a hologram of on the Holodeck. Holo-Sigmund has an absolute field day with Data's dreams and convinces him he's secretly a perverted psychopath. Que Data attacking Troi in a Turbolift, and Commander Riker and Worf having to come to her rescue.
    • In "The Next Phase," Geordi has discovered that while intangible, he leaves detectable particles when he interacts with solid objects, and Data is now trying to "decontaminate" all the things he's touched or walked through. Naturally he tries to get Data's attention by shoving his arm through things right in front of him, but Data doesn't get it.
      You'd Expect: That Geordi move on from randomly sticking his arm through and try to draw a letter or create a pattern, which would make clear this isn't a random reaction from the Romulan technology.
      Instead: He gives up in frustration.

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • In the two-parter "In Purgatory's Shadow"/"By Inferno's Light", Garak and Worf are captured in a runabout and taken to an asteroid prison.
      You'd Expect: Their ship be impounded, disassembled, or outright destroyed.
      Instead: The ship is left, unguarded and completely active, in transporter range of the asteroid with no other ships in the vicinity. Escape is as simple as calling the runabout and having it beam them to safety.
      For Added Stupidity: This was actually brought up in a later episode when Sloane is auditioning Bashir for Section 31, which means, either then or in hindsight, even the writers knew it was contrived.
    • In the episode "Valiant," Jake and Nog are rescued by the titular starship, which is under the command of the elite cadet group Red Squad (the officers supervising them had been killed in a skirmish shortly after the war began). According to the recently-promoted Captain Watters, their mission is to gather intel on a new Dominion battleship. With Nog's engineering help, they manage to sneak up on the battleship and covertly scan it, gathering a boatload of intel—including a possible weakness.
      You'd Expect: That they would immediately return to The Federation with this intel and let fully trained Starfleet engineers analyze and utilize it. After all, the intel won't do anybody any good if they don't bring it back.
      Instead: Watters, suffering from an extremely overinflated ego and sense of personal destiny, not to mention his stimulant abuse, decides that they're going to take down the battleship themselves because they're Red Squad and they can do anything. When Jake, the Only Sane Man aboard, tries to convince them that even his Memetic Badass father wouldn't pull a stunt like that if he didn't have to, they throw him in the brig and carry out their plan anyway.
      The result: The Valiant gets thoroughly trashed. Jake, Nog, and CPO Collins are the only survivors.

    Star Trek: Voyager 
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Voyager finds the wormhole from the aforementioned TNG episode "The Price" during the third season. They also find the Ferengi that were stranded in the Delta Quadrant, who have set themselves up as gods among a bronze-age people.
      You'd Expect: That they would make a beeline for the wormhole, or at least grab the Ferengi first and then hightail it back to the Alpha Quadrant, letting 5 or 6 generations of the bronze-age people undo all the damage that was done. Heck, considering that the Ferengi were masquerading as figures from the the planet's pre-existing religion, the natives will likely eventually realize that they got scammed.
      Instead: They try to fix all the meddling of the Ferengi (itself a Prime Directive violation, arguably), who escape and even destroy the wormhole.
    • In the series finale, an older version of Janeway plans to negate her own timeline by helping Voyager get back much earlier than intended. She'll have to break a lot of rules to accomplish her plan, though.
      You'd Expect: That any of the people who indirectly/directly help her mission (Barclay, Miral Paris, Harry Kim) would have gotten some sense and realized that Janeway would erase the past twenty-plus years of their lives if they allowed her to continue through with her plan.
      Instead: Barclay and Miral unquestionably go along with the plan (Miral even tests the device to make sure it works!), and even Harry Kim is somehow swayed after Janeway talks to him. Basically, everyone in the future has to act like an idiot in order for Janeway's plan to work.
    • Weighing Janeway's need to get back home ASAP with the lives Voyager could have potentially saved over the next several years makes her choices seem more suspect. Janeway is told point blank by her future counterpart that, over the next two decades, she'll only lose 26 crew members (which is an average of about 1 per year), but that Voyager will have met and helped countless races all the way to the Alpha Quadrant. Either way, though, Tuvok will still end up going insane - no one can do anything about that.
      You'd Expect: That, knowing this information, Janeway could have come back home as a legend and still kept Chakotay and Seven alive by not assigning them to away missions. Plus, the ship now has advanced Borg armor that would repel most enemy attacks.
      Or: Present Janeway would get as much information as possible from Future Janeway and, armed with basically a roadmap home, she follows the path she's supposed to go on, but making a few changes to prevent crew deaths while still helping out countless species, maybe even finding another way to save Tuvok in the process or putting him in stasis to hold it off until they do get home.
      Instead: She (with the help of her counterpart) destroys a Transwarp Hub and sails right on home, content in the knowledge that she's saved a few more crewmembers at the cost of thousands - if not tens of thousands - of people who would potentially benefit from Voyager's assistance. Not to mention all the technology and information they would pick up along the way.
    • In the episode "Timeless", Harry Kim and Tom Paris manage to build a slipstream drive like the one on the alien ship from "Hope and Fear". Problem is, it destabilizes after a few minutes, so they have to make constant course corrections. Harry tries but can't keep up, killing the entire crew except himself and Chakotay. A future version of Harry Kim rewrites the past so that the ship drops out of transwarp after two or three minutes in its trial run, so that it doesn't crash and kill the crew.
      You'd Expect: Harry to realize the technology works in short intervals, and use it to "puddle-jump" the ship all the way to Earth. After all, if you have a proven window of stability, then you can just stop before passing that window. The crew (including Harry) know this fact for certain, and discuss it at length.
      Instead: Janeway decides the technology is too dangerous and orders it dismantled, while being disappointed that their experiment didn't work. But it did work! You just cut ten years off your journey, and were seconds away from making it back home!!!
    • And while we're on the subject, there's the fact that they decide to go with Harry's risky and uncertain plan after holo-simulations have revealed the instabilities of the quantum slipstream.
      You'd Expect: That they'd run a few simulations of Harry's plan to make sure they can get it right.
      Instead: They don't. When they try it for real, everyone (save for Chakotay and Harry) dies, leading to Harry's Survivor Guilt.
    • In "Someone to Watch Over Me", the Doctor and Paris have a bet going to see if he can teach Seven how to go on a date without being her usual overbearing self. After an early attempt is messed up by Seven tearing the guy's ligament during a dance, the Doctor takes her himself for the "final exam", so to speak, which is a dinner being held for an alien ambassador. The Doctor's teachings work, and Seven does splendidly.
      You'd Expect: Paris to wait until after the dinner to settle their bet.
      Instead: He does so when Seven is literally standing right next to him, forcing the Doc to admit to betting on her performance. She is righteously pissed, and storms out.
      For Added Stupidity: This can't even be excused as Paris being vindictive about losing. He seems to have completely forgotten Seven was standing there, as he hastily tries to take responsibility when she gets mad about it.
    • In "Night," a Malon captain is poisoning a sentient species by dumping his toxic cargo in their otherwise empty region of space. To try and solve this, the crew offers to show the captain how to build a means to recycle their toxic waste. The Malon captain admits this would solve a lot of problems on his world, and as other Malon episodes show managing the toxins is a constant and very dangerous problem for the Malon people.
      You'd Expect: The Malon captain would take the solution offered gladly. He would be hilariously rich and beloved by all by selling the recycling technology and benefiting his entire species.
      Instead: He turns it down, citing the fact that it would put him out of work and because his chosen dumping grounds is a secret and he saves a little bit of money by using it.
    • In the episode "Basics," the crew is stranded on a hostile alien planet without technology and realize they are going to have to rough it if they want to survive. Neelix, the survival expert (despite having shown absolutely no survival skills whatsoever in previous episodes), is given command of a team where they decide to gather as much bones as possible to use for tools from right near the mouth of a cave.
      You'd Expect: Neelix would assign two or three people to perform the task which would require five to ten seconds with extra manpower and additionally serve as better protection against any predators that might happen to be lurking nearby.
      Instead: Neelix picks up a bone, tells a lone lackey to pick them all up by himself, and drops the bone again so the poor lackey has to pick it up again, making him the perfect target for the predator hiding in the cave.
    • In "Repression," someone is attacking the former Maquis on Voyager and putting them in comas. For safety reasons, Chakotay tells the Maquis to pair off and not go anywhere alone. Some time later, he and his partner (a female Vulcan Red Shirt) come across Chell by himself and learn that his partner was B'Elanna, but she ditched him because she thought she could take care of herself (either that, or she just got tired of his constant paranoia).
      You'd Expect: That Chakotay and Miss Vulcan would take Chell with them to find B'Elanna; upon doing so, Chakotay could then (a)lock B'Elanna in her quarters for being stupid, or (b)switch partners—Chell and Miss Vulcan pair off while Chakotay keeps B'Elanna with him, as he's one of the few people who can keep her Klingon temper in check.
      Instead: Chakotay leaves Miss Vulcan with Chell while he looks for B'Elanna by himself, in violation of both his own orders and common sense. He soon finds B'Elanna in a coma...and then he's attacked...

    Star Trek: Enterprise 
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • In the pilot episode, Enterprise traces Klaang's abduction to the Suliban helix. Archer and Trip have already broken him out of his restraints, and while Trip takes him back to Enterprise, Archer ends up in the temporal chamber with the invisible Silik. Now, Silik has already interrogated Klaang with truth serum and determined that he knows nothing, and he suspects the same of Archer, meaning that he's not a threat. Therefore, Silik graciously allows Archer to leave unharmed.
      You'd Expect: Archer to say, "Great, thanks," and get the hell out of there.
      Instead: He gets talkative and reveals that he knows about the Temporal Cold War, making Silik decide that He Knows Too Much and would be better off dead. Only Enterprise and her transporter save Archer from an early death.
    • The Xindi in their arc of season 3. They hate humans, and they are building a Wave Motion Gun to deliver an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Now at this point they have five major advantages: Their enemy has no clue they exist, they have four hundred years to refine their prototype, they have allies who give them technology and can see the future, they live in a remote and inaccessible part of space, and they can travel nigh-instantaneously across the universe. Now they complete a Small-Country-Shattering-Kaboom prototype of their weapon, and...
      You'd Expect: They test it on some out of the way moon or planet no one will miss. Then they use the data from that test to refine their final version, teleport it over to Earth, and destroy the planet with one shot.
      Instead: They test the prototype on Earth itself. Earth immediately sends Enterprise after them, which: finds them, destroys their next prototype, convinces them not to blow up Earth, and murders their future-seeing allies. Good job, Xindi! You failed only because of your own stupidity.
      For Added Stupidity: They were testing prototypes at remote and secret locations! Using the prototype on Earth was not only stupid, it was also completely redundant.
    • In "These Are The Voyages", the crew has just rescued Shran's daughter from a group of his former business associates. As the crew are heading back home after the rescue, Archer and Tucker hear a message over the ship's intercom (delivered by T'Pol) stating that a group of intruders - the same people who kidnapped Shran's daughter - have beamed onboard.
      You'd Expect: That Archer and Tucker would wait for security to deal with the intruders, or tell the bridge to teleport the intruders out/attack the ship to prevent them from leaving.
      Instead: Archer and Tucker rush out to confront the intruders, sans weapons. They predictably get captured immediately by the aliens. Tucker (who has been shown to be capable of talking down/stalling villains in the past) tells the aliens to knock out Archer (while security is nowhere to be found), and then leads them to a room where he blows himself and his captors up, presumably dying afterwards due to injuries sustained. There was a Fix Fic written later on to Retcon the silliness of this incident as a ploy by Section 31. The Fix Fic explained that the "villians" were actually hired by Archer, and the whole thing was an elaborate ploy to fake Trip's death so he could work for Section 31 against the Romulans.
    • "A Night In Sickbay": Trained diplomat Archer is negotiating with a race who are so prudish they have in past stormed off the ship after discovering humans eat in public, to access a component that is crucial to the continued functioning of the warp drive. As part of this, he goes to visit a stand of sacred trees.
      You'd Expect: He would go out of his way to be as polite, dignified and sensible as possible.
      Instead: He brings along Porthos, who, no matter how trusted a companion he may be, is still a beagle. Even a small child could have predicted the outcome of this action.
    • In "Demons," our heroes learn that an Absolute Xenophobe movement called "Terra Prime" used genetic material from Trip and T'Pol to create a Half-Human Hybrid and are holding her at their mining colony on the moon so they can use her as a symbol of how interspecies relations will bring about the end of humanity. Despite the unnatural circumstances of her creation, Trip and T'Pol still consider her their daughter and want her rescued. Naturally, Archer agrees.
      You'd Think: Archer would send in a small team of MACOs, who would be trained in such things as infiltration, sabotage, search-and-rescue, etc. The lower-ranked ones, especially, would be anonymous enough to not draw any attention until it's too late.
      Instead: Because The Main Characters Do Everything, he sends in Trip and T'Pol, both of whom have been two of the most conspicuous figures in Starfleet since Enterprise returned home from the Delphic Expanse—and who would already be known to Terra Prime anyway, as it was their DNA that was stolen. Sure enough, their cover is quickly blown, and they both get captured.

Films

     The original Star Trek Films (I-VI) 
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
    • Terrell and Chekov arrive at Ceti Alpha V, on the Reliant, thinking it was Ceti Alpha VI. They go down to the surface. Chekov finds out that the wreckage on the planet was the Botany Bay. Unfortunately, Chekov and Terrell get captured by Khan and his minions. Back on the Reliant, two of the crew members are trying to contact Terrell, but are getting no response.
      You'd Expect: The crew two crew members to go: "Something's wrong. Send someone down, and find Terrell and Chekov.", and potentially find out that Khan was on the planet and has Chekov and Terrell hostage, and save them and potentially stop Khan.
      Instead: They merely shrug and say, "Let's give them a little more time.", which allows Khan to brainwash Chekov and Terrell, and take control of the Reliant without warning.
    • The Enterprise first encounters Reliant after sketchy reports that should suggest that something is seriously wrong with Reliant's handling of the Genesis situation. After hailing her numerous times with no response, Enterprise receives an excuse that a critical communications component is faulty, an assertion that does not survive a cursory scan of the ship by Spock. So now, whoever's on that ship is both acting suspicious and out-and-out lying.
      You'd Expect: Kirk, the combat veteran, who's probably trained extensively for these kinds of situations, heeds the sage advice of Saavik, the fresh-out-of-Academy cadet, and raises the shields until the situation can be clarified.
      Instead: He, and the allegedly intelligent Mr. Spock, shut Saavik up and blithely keep going on towards Reliant with shields down and weapons disarmed. Khan and his crew knock the stuffing out of Enterprise.

  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier:
    • Sybok, a renegade Vulcan, has taken the ambassadors of the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan Empires hostage on the planet Nimbus III. Starfleet decides that Kirk is the only captain who can carry out a rescue mission, but there's a big problem in that the newly-launched Enterprise-A is suffering from widespread systems failures. Kirk protests that he can't mount a rescue in such an under-equipped ship.
      You'd Expect: Starfleet to realize that he's correct, and put him on a ship that's working correctly. Or at the very least, grab every unassigned engineer in the vicinity of Earth and put them on the Enterprise so as to get the ship working as well as possible by the time they arrive at Nimbus III.
      Instead: Kirk's told to suck it up, and sent to Nimbus III in a barely-functional starship with a skeleton crew, that doesn't even have a working transporter. Sure enough, their attempted rescue goes spectacularly wrong, and the Enterprise landing party is also captured by Sybok.
    • After the shuttle containing the landing party and Sybok is forced to crash-land on the Enterprise, Spock gets hold of a rifle and threatens to shoot Sybok, who unbeknownst to everyone else is actually his half-brother. Sybok steps right up to him and challenges Spock to pull the trigger.
      You'd Expect: Let's be charitable and grant that Spock's refusal to shoot Sybok isn't an act of idiocy (even though for all he knows Sybok could a terrorist who intends to use the Enterprise to attack the Federation, Klingons and/or Romulans). In that case, Spock could still nerve-pinch Sybok, hit him with the butt of the rifle, or just punch him in the face. Hell, he could just shoot him in the leg; Sybok would survive a non-vital hit from a glorified potato gun.
      Instead: Spock does nothing. Sybok snatches the rifle away, and then has Spock thrown in the brig along with Kirk and McCoy.
    • Scotty saw, at the very least, the tail-end of the aforementioned incident taking place from the shuttlebay's control room.
      You'd Expect: As soon as it became obvious that Spock wasn't going to kill Sybok, Scotty to seal off the shuttlebay and threaten to vent the bay and all its occupants into space unless Sybok and his men stand down. Or if he wasn't able to do that for whatever reason, at least signal Chekov, warn him that terrorists are aboard, and to seal off the bridge and dispatch security forces to deal with the terrorists.
      Instead: Scotty doesn't do a damn thing. But then again, considering the terrorists take over the ship with no resistance whatsoever, apparently they just sent all their security officers in the landing party. Whoops.
    • After helping Kirk, Spock and McCoy escape from the brig and telling them how to get to an emergency transmitter, Scotty starts walking away, presumably toward Main Engineering.
      You'd Expect: Scotty to be as alert as possible, considering that the ship is overrun by terrorists and those who've been brainwashed into following Sybok. You'd definitely expect him to keep an eye out for any large, obvious bulkheads that just happen to be at head height.
      Instead: "I know this ship like the back of my hand..." *CLONK!* *THWUMP!*
    • The Enterprise arrives at the fabled planet Sha-Ka-Ree, and Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sybok take a shuttle down to the surface. The remaining bridge crew, along with the formerly-kidnapped ambassadors and Sybok's followers watch the events from the bridge viewscreen.
      You'd Expect: Someone to remember the fact that a Klingon Bird-of-Prey attacked them back at Nimbus III, and that there's every chance that it's followed them to make another attempt. At the very least, you'd think that either Chekov (who was commanding the Enterprise during the initial attempt) or Sulu (who had to crash-land the other shuttle into the bay to avoid being shot by them) would tell someone to keep an eye on the sensors.
      Instead: Literally every person on the bridge is so awed by the sight of the landing party exploring the planet that they fail to notice the rather obvious sensor reading telling them that the Bird-of-Prey is approaching and that they should maybe think of raising their shields. Sure enough, the already-malfunctioning ship is totally crippled by the ensuing attack, forcing Spock to have the Klingon ambassador relieve the Bird-of-Prey's captain of his duties.

     The Next Generation Films 
  • Star Trek: Generations:
    • The evil Duras Sisters have planted a bug in Geordi's VISOR that lets them see anything he can see; they use this to obtain the Enterprise shield frequency, rendering it ineffective, and start blasting the hell out of the ship. For argument's sake, we'll assume that either they didn't know the exact method the Klingons were using, or they were re-tuning the shields only for the Klingons to find out the new frequencies through the VISOR.
      You'd Expect: The Enterprise to just go for broke and unload its full complement of weapons on the Klingons, who had earlier admitted that in a straight-up fight with the Enterprise they'd be quickly destroyed.
      Instead: The Enterprise fires one phaser shot at the Klingons, which does no damage. After that they resort to slowly fleeing and getting more and more chunks blasted out of the ship, until Data eventually comes up with a technobabble solution that forces the Klingons to cloak and leaves them vulnerable, allowing the Enterprise to destroy them with one hit. Unfortunately, the ship's taken so much punishment that its warp core goes into meltdown, destroying the stardrive and damaging the saucer so badly that it crashes on the planet below, marking the official end of the Enterprise-D. It goes From Bad to Worse when the planet gets destroyed by a supernova, though fortunately some timeline meddling on the part of Picard undoes that. Speaking of which...
    • Picard has found himself in the Nexus, an alternate dimension that exists outside of normal space and time. A "ghost" of Guinan tells him that he can leave the Nexus and re-enter his personal timestream at any point he wishes.
      You'd Expect: At the very least, Picard to travel back to when they initially approached the Amargosa observatory near the start of the film, then give the away team orders to find and arrest Soran, along with some story about how he's suspected of developing illegal trilithium weapons. Or hell, travel back a couple of weeks and prevent the death of his brother and nephew!
      Instead: He finds Kirk, who is also within the Nexus, and persuades him to come back and help stop Soran, travelling back to only about five minutes before his initial attempt failed. The two actually do succeed at doing this... at the cost of taking another ass-kicking, Kirk having a bridge dropped on him, and failing to undo any of the damage that Soran had already done. Though granted, Picard hadn't bargained for the Enterprise crew's utter ineptitude in dealing with the Klingons.

  • Star Trek: Nemesis:
    • At the start of the film the Big Bad, Shinzon has two immediate objectives: the first is to abduct Captain Picard and drain him of all his blood to cure Shinzon's rapid aging disease — a disease which will kill him in a week at the most — while the second is to have Data's dimwitted prototype, B-4, steal the Federation's defense data from the computer banks. B-4 is picked up on a planet near the Neutral Zone, and the Enterprise proceeds to the Romulan homeworld of Romulus.
      You'd Expect: Shinzon to have B-4 steal the relevant data during the flight over to Romulus, or as soon as he reasonably can once they've arrived. Then Shinzon can beam Picard and B-4 aboard his flagship, the Scimitar — which can fire while cloaked and has defensive and offensive capabilities around three to four times that of the Enterprise — and blow the hell out of the Enterprise before the rest of her crew can work out what's going on.
      Instead: He has the Enterprise sit around for half a day, seemingly without accomplishing anything, then waits another whole day before having Picard join him for dinner, and then finally abducting Picard another half-day or so after that. During the intervening time, the Enterprise crew are able to detect the planet-killing thaleron weapon aboard the Scimitar, and realize that something's wrong with B-4 (who they swap for Data when Shinzon actually tries to retrieve him). His own second-in-command calls him on his hesitation, and Shizon offers no valid reason for it.
    • The crew finds a prototype for Data, called B-4, in multiple pieces on a primitive planet.
      You'd Expect: They'd remember that the last Data-prototype they found turned out to be an Omnicidal Maniac and take some reasonable precautions (not reassembling or reactivating him until they reached a secure location, keeping him under guard, etc.)
      Instead: Not only do they immediately reassemble and reactivate the prototype, they download all of Data's memories (including things like classified information and security codes) into him.
    • During the initial meeting with the Enterprise crew, Shinzon is very obviously taken with Counsellor Troi, to Stalker with a Crush levels.
      You'd Expect: Shinzon to remember that there are more important things at hand than his dick, and get the hell on with his plans to save his life and destroy Earth. Alternatively, if he's really that desperate to have Troi, then just abduct her along with Picard and B-4.
      Instead: He uses his viceroy's psychic powers to Mind Rape Troi while she's making love to Commander Riker, thereby confirming to the Enterprise crew (as if they didn't already have enough reason to suspect it) that he's evil.
    • The Enterprise has been boarded by light-sensitive Remans during a Red Alert, when the ship's lights are dimmed. The Remans are not wearing goggles.
      You'd Expect: The bridge crew laugh and beam the boarding team into the brig, since they still control the transporters.
      Instead: Long, drawn-out running phaser battle through the corridors of the ship ensues.
      You'd Expect: Someone to turn the lights up, blinding the Remans and ending that threat.
      Instead: Long, drawn-out running phaser battle through the corridors of the ship ensues.
      You'd Expect: The bridge crew let the security teams do their job, and keep their focus on the space battle going on outside.
      Instead: Important crew members, including the first officer and the guy in charge of the ship's weapons, abandon their posts on the bridge in the middle of a fight to take part in a long, drawn-out running phaser battle through the corridors of the ship.
    • The baddies want Picard. The good guys beam him over, and the transporters promptly fail. They do, however, have an prototype emergency transporter.
      You'd Expect: The good guys to beam over a bomb, use the independent transporters in the shuttles, have Data/a security team with a tech on it take a shuttle and hack their way in, or replicate the emergency transporter.
      Instead: Data jumps for the enemy ship, finds Picard, slaps the transporter on him, then dies in the most pointless Heroic Sacrifice ever.
    • So things with Shinzon have gone irreparably pear-shaped, forcing the Enterprise to fall back to Federation space. They call ahead to have a fleet of ships rendezvous with them to engage Shinzon's Scimitar.
      You'd Expect: the Enterprise crew would plot their course carefully, and avoid anything that could interfere with their ability to contact the fleet for help should they get ambushed by Romulans—or worse, Shinzon— on the way.
      Instead: They sail headlong into a dense nebula, which scrambles astrometric scans and long-range communica-..."Commander Riker, evasive maneuvers!"
      Furthermore: You'd expect Starfleet to notice the Enterprise should have come out of that nebula by now, put two and two together, and send some backup.
      Instead: Starfleet doesn't do a damn thing.
    • Also from the start of the film, Kathryn Janeway, now an admiral, contacts Jean-Luc Picard with a "purely diplomatic assignment" to Romulus to meet with Shinzon.
      You'd Expect: Jean-Luc Picard to remember that, while Janeway may outrank him, he is the superior tactician and diplomat between them. Picard has more experience dealing with Romulans than she does, and he has enough clout within the Federation to get a fleet of ships behind him in case this Shinzon guy had something more sinister planned.
      Instead: He takes the assignment as it's been given and sends the Enterprise alone into Romulan space. With no plans, and no backup. It was only because of blind luck and bad writing that this didn't end with Picard dead, his crew turned to ash, his ship destroyed, and Shinzon free to deploy his new superweapon on the rest of the quadrant.

     The Reboot Series 
  • Star Trek (2009):
    • Time traveling Romulan captain Nero and his crew attempt to commit revenge on Spock in the distant past for a failure Spock makes in the distant future that results in the tragic destruction of the Romulan home world.
      You'd Expect: That Nero would realize that he now has a chance to avert that epic tragedy, however slim, either by warning Spock and Starfleet or his own people, or that one of his crew men might have this realization.
      Instead: In a bout of insanity, Nero destroys Vulcan with a Red-Matter induced black hole to punish Spock for a mistake he hadn't even made yet, which would probably just doom his own people even more.
    • After the destruction of Vulcan, Spock and Kirk get into an argument about rendezvousing with the fleet at the Laurentian System. Kirk considers it to be a waste of time, as it would give Nero more time to get to his next target: Earth. Spock want Kirk off the ship and knocks him out with a neck pinch. He then tells everybody on the bridge, "Get him off this ship.", and maroon him onto the ice planet, Delta-Vega, which is, in Kirk's words after the moment, a violation of Security Protocol 49.09.
      You'd Expect: Anybody on the bridge to disobey Spock's orders. After all, in future and modern military forces, soldiers and staff officers do have a duty to disobey orders that are considered unlawful. Plus, even if Kirk is kind of a jerk to degree and kind of a maverick, he does make a good point that if they rendezvous with the fleet, they are only wasting time from stopping Nero from destroying Earth as his next target.
      Instead: They follow his orders without question and heave-ho Kirk onto ice planet Delta-Vega. It isn't until after Kirk is thrown out does McCoy chew Spock out on the decision.
    • At one point during the fighting on Nero's ship, Kirk is hanging on for dear life over an abyss when Ayel, Nero's Number Two, shows up.
      You'd Expect: For Ayel to kick him off the ledge, or just shoot him.
      Instead: Ayel picks him up for a round of Evil Gloating, giving Kirk a chance to grab his gun. Bye bye, Ayel.

  • In Star Trek Into Darkness
    • A Starfleet office is blown up by a Starfleet officer in London on behalf of John Harrison (aka Khan). An emergency meeting is called for with the top Starfleet brass.
      You'd Think: The top brass would hold their meeting in an underground bunker or some other secret location that Harrison wouldn't know about that doesn't make you a fat target. After all, Harrison was a high ranking member of Starfleet himself and would thus know the protocol for the situation he created, so in this scenario, you should go off protocol slightly and meet in a different location.
      Or Alternatively: Just hold their emergency meeting over a secure videoconference. Starfleet has faster-than-light communication, so they don't even need to be in the same system, much less the same room.
      Instead: They hold their emergency meeting on top of a tower with large open windows and no aerial security of any kind. Kirk only notices seconds before everything goes downhill, that Harrison was a high ranking member of Starfleet himself and would thus know the protocol for the situation he created and where and when the top brass would meet.
      The Result: Unsurprisingly, Harrison (aka Khan) attacks them with a gunship, resulting in a high number of casualties, including Pike.
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