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Nightmare Fuel / Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Somebody's got a bad case of worms.
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
Q, "Q Who"

WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.

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    Season 1 
The Naked Now
  • The polywater drove the crew of the SS Tsiokolvsky to such reckless behavior that they ended up killing themselves, variously by messing with the climate controls to turn the crew quarters into a freezer, or by blowing the emergency hatch on the bridge and venting the rest of the crew to space. Even Data seems disturbed by the implications of what they have just heard as the latter happens in the middle of a communication with the other ship. And of course, poor hapless Geordi has brought the infection aboard the Enterprise.
  • The first crewmember to get the polywater infection once Geordi returns to the ship is Wesley, the first of many times the show would unintentionally highlight the danger of Starfleet's practice of letting starship crewmembers bring their families along.
  • Beverly's realizations that her son, and later herself, is infected.
  • After Wesley manages to lock himself into the Chief Engineer's station and lock the bridge controls out, things go From Bad to Worse, and even then Picard can't help but note that Wesley is just another victim of the polywater's effects and can't help himself. As Riker, MacDougal, and Data force their way back into Engineering and work to restore control of the ship, they are very nearly too late to save the ship, if not for Wesley being inspired to quickly hack together a solution to Reverse the Polarity of the tractor beam.
  • The simple fact that nobody on the ship spreads the polywater infection with malicious intent, even under its influence. Mostly, the spread is facilitated by the crew's empathy for each other, and the fact that this virus has twice flown under the radar of the most advanced starships' contamination protocols.
  • Tasha brings up her infamous backstory, particularly the rape gangs, in this episode. And what ends up prompting this? Tasha, under the influence of the virus, dragging Data into her room and proceeding to sleep with Data, the virus impairing their ability to consent. There's little wonder that she later chooses to tell him that "it never happened."

Where No One Has Gone Before

  • The Traveler and Kosinski's "warp tests" send the Enterprise to speeds way beyond what warp drive technology can achieve, landing them in a galaxy so far away (2.7 million light years, more specifically) that it would take 300 years for the ship to return home with the technology it has. When they try to return home with the help of the duo, the problem worsens, as they've found themselves exponentially further away from their home galaxy, in what can only be described as an acid trip at the edge of the universe. As if the possibility of never returning home within any reasonable time frame isn't enough, Your Mind Makes It Real kicks in and anything the crew thinks of, such as old pets, long-deceased mothers, and fires, becomes reality. It's only thanks to thinking hard about returning home that the Enterprise itself gets out of this mess.


Hide and Q

  • Wesley may be a Creator's Pet, but him getting impaled and screaming isn't something you see every day.
  • Worf's own death scream isn't very pleasant to hear.


  • That damned Betazoid gift box, especially if you're a little kid the first time you see it.

Too Short A Season

  • A reverse aging serum that allows Admiral Jameson to stand up again sounds pretty awesome at first. Then he starts to visibly get younger and is fit like he never contracted the terminal illness that bound him to his wheelchair, and it becomes frightening. Then he becomes a young adult, and it just seems so wrong that this was the same man who was old and crippled a few days ago. Finally, his body seems to become stuck as a adolescent whom Karnas can't recognize at first (but his organs are still aging backward) before dying of reverse aging.
  • Karnas's threat that he isn't just going to kill hostages, he's going to do it as slowly and painfully as possible. Which fortunately never happens.

Home Soil

  • Arthur Malencon's bloodcurdling screams as he's burned to a crisp by the microbrain-controlled laser drill. We don't actually see this as it happens, only the aftermath when the station crew and the Enterprise landing party force open the door to reveal his charred corpse. What's more, considering the multitude of burn marks on his body as well as the fact that Data is barely able to avoid a similar fate by virtue of his android reflexes, it's clear that the microbrains could probably have easily killed Malencon with one blast, and that they most likely didn't because they wanted to make him suffer.

When The Bough Breaks

  • The Aldeans' abduction of the children from the Enterprise. Particularly the reaction from Alexandra's mother when she is kidnapped.

Coming Of Age

  • The "psych test" Wesley undertakes as part of the Starfleet Academy entrance exam. Everything about the test is terrifying, and it's also notably a rare Season 1 instance where the Creator's Pet does not come out on top.
    • And the fact that that was precisely the point of the test! Using your psychological profile to tailor the scenario that will be most difficult, and therefore most terrifying, for you. And they do this to every single officer. Even Worf was still visibly shaken by his test, which presumably took place several years ago.

The Arsenal Of Freedom

  • The fact that killer drones that get replaced by stronger versions of themselves were just being casually sold to warring factions like they were new cars. Even when it's just being demonstrated, it seemingly has no other settings besides "lethal force"; small wonder that its creators were killed.
  • The final drone, which the away team stress they are completely unequipped to handle with only three people, is destroyed before it can really do much damage, leaving it up to the viewer to imagine just what it would've done to them and the surrounding area if it had been given the chance.

Skin of Evil


  • The entire episode, simply because of the eerie behavior of those under control of the parasites, and how strong they make their host bodies, with the only option to remove them being to kill their hosts. And this was the prototype concept for the Borg.
    • The ending confrontation with Possessed!Remmick, starting with the squicky way his neck squirms and throbs. Then Picard and Riker blast off his head, complete with burning his skin off a split-second before it explodes, and a big worm-like parasite explodes from his body, before they fire at it, causing it to explode it as well. (Said big “mother” parasite is the page picture above.)
    • There's also the confrontation with Admiral Quinn. Despite being a man looking in his early seventies (and, in Trek terms, may well be even older), Riker's punches don't even faze him, and then he tosses Geordi and Worf around like rag dolls. It's only Beverly showing up and using the Starfleet medical phaser on a high setting that knocks him out.
    • The end of the episode, where Data reports that the signal that Possessed!Remmick had been sending appeared to be a homing beacon, aimed at an unexplored region of the galaxy, and sent to direct something towards Earth. The final shot of the episode is of empty space, and the unsettling, repeating sound of that transmission.

The Neutral Zone

    Season 2 
The Child
  • Troi is forcibly impregnated in her sleep by a non-corporeal life-form, after which she goes through an accelerated pregnancy, gives birth, and grows attached to an alien child who then dies within a few days. The creepiest part is that the episode seems completely unaware that any of this is unsettling or traumatic, and plays it all as a heartwarming Tear Jerker.

Where Silence Has Lease

  • Nagilum, in its entirety. An immortal and nigh-omnipotent Elder Thing who, in the spirit of scientific inquiry and genuine curiosity, decides to study the phenomenon of death. In order to do so, it rips a great big hole in space-time, traps the Enterprise therein, and makes with the empiricism. And it manifests as a giant face floating in the void.
    • If that face in the void image wasn't creepy enough, keep in mind that it's Nagilum's idea of A Form You Are Comfortable With.
    • Nagilum's creepiest line is worth mentioning:
      Nagilum: Is it also true that you have a limited existence?... you exist, then you cease to exist. You call it... death.
    • ...Which immediately leads to a Red Shirt being killed by a forced cerebral hemorrhage.
      • No Red Shirt has ever died in quite the same way, either—going from calmly sitting at the conn, to seizing with a terrified look on his face, and then falling pitifully to the deck in the fetal position, clearly dead, and still looking terrified.
        Nagilum: To understand "death", I must amass information on every aspect of it. Every kind of dying. The experiments shouldn't take more than a third of your crew. Maybe half.
      • That Redshirt would have been the lucky one if Nagilum had got his way. He was just Nagilum's first base-level examination of the concept of death. "Every kind of dying" implies a lot of Cruel And Unusual Deaths.
    • And let us not forget Picard and Riker calmly and matter-of-factly deciding to self-destruct the ship with all hands aboard rather then have them be killed one by one by Nagilum. The conversation Picard and his Number One have over how long to set the countdown to the ship's destruction is chilling. It gets worse when Fridge Horror sets in and we remember that, besides the crew, the Enterprise is populated by a couple hundred civilians, many of them children. It does work; they weren't killed in the end.
    • They go to a ship that is the exact double of the Enterprise, only there's nobody aboard at all, and there are strange inhuman screams echoing throughout the ship. Then Riker finds Worf, who is freaking out a little, and they ask each other if they were making the screams. They weren't. Then they find the bridge, and every door leads to one of the other doors on the bridge, so they're stuck and are visibly shaken when they return to the Enterprise.
      • Worf pretty much loses his shit on the bridge of the doppelganger ship.
    • And then the ship starts to fade from existence, threatening to take Riker and Worf with it, while their communications are nearly cut off, and the transporter can't get a lock. Somehow it's able to pull them back, but only just in the nick of time. Apparently, Nagilum isn't just studying death itself, but also the fears surrounding it.
    • It should also be noted that the word "void" is not used here in a metaphorical sense. Nagilum is nothing, the complete absence of any kind of energy or matter, at least that which is perceivable to the Enterprise's sensors. The idea of a quantifiable area of nothing is intense Mind Screw for any member of the crew that thinks on it for more than a few moments. And it's sentient nothing, at that.

Loud As A Whisper

  • The disintegration of Rivas's three chorus members, which was sudden and quick, to the point that you saw their skeletons.


  • The abrupt destruction of the USS Yamato, the Enterprise's sister ship. Picard is chatting with her captain, Donald Varley, in a manner like we have seen in multiple episodes, detailing system failures like an abrupt Explosive Decompression of a shuttlebay that cost the lives of eighteen engineering crewmembers. Then the communication suddenly cuts out and the Galaxy-class starship, a mirror of the Enterprise, lights up and explodes on the spot from the Iconian computer virus causing her warp core containment systems to shut down.
    • If that wasn't enough, the Yamato's saucer section floats by on the screen. But it's all a Hope Spot, as the explosion causes the primary hull's entire outer surface to vaporize within seconds, leaving nothing but a flaming metal wreck drifting in space. At the very least, the crew did not suffer for long.
  • Geordi’s panicked trip to the bridge in the turbolift, with the lift traveling fast enough to press him against the walls, then send him hurling up against the ceiling and tossing him to the ground, knocking his VISOR off, then finally reaching the bridge and functionally spitting him out in a heap. Given the ubiquitous use of the lifts throughout the franchise, turning this mundane part of the ship used casually in every episode, it’s mundane made terrifying.

Q Who

  • One of the few episodes where Q is not played entirely for laughs. The foppish, vaguely sinister Q is gone, and in his place is a Trickster Mentor who sees nothing wrong with abandoning eighteen members of the crew to what we will later find out is Star Trek's most profoundly worse-than-death Fate Worse than Death, and is perfectly willing to allow the rest of the crew join them.
    • His response to Riker calling him out on the eighteen deaths when the Borg slice out a section of the ship is the truly terrifying thing: "Oh, please." The cold dismissiveness of it... To a being like Q, those eighteen lives were worth less than ants under his boot. And in that moment, you realize that it's not just those nameless faceless unseen characters, but even our heroes who fall under that category. It's an unsettling reminder that Q, for all his puckish pranks and amusements, is genuinely a threat on his own, and he is so far above the Federation on the food chain that the lives of a handful of Starfleet officers mean absolutely nothing to him.
      • Perhaps worse then that, one of the only rules the Q impose on themselves and enforce with any regularity is this: "Do not. Provoke. The Borg." Which brings up some horrifying implications of its own. What happens if a Q gets injected with nanoprobes? Yes, they can warp reality, but their bodies do seem to be solid, given Sisko was able to physically attack him (Q may have allowed that hit to happen, though). Also yes, they can warp reality at will, but they need to do something to make that happen, how long of a reaction time does that require and is it less then it would take for nanites to incapacitate them?
    • Alternatively, at the end of the episode, Picard remarks that Q may have been doing them a service by preparing them to fight the Borg. It's possible that by killing off eighteen crew members, Q has saved billions or even trillions of lives. Q may be brushing off those deaths as "worth it" without explicitly explaining himself.
  • The Borg in this episode are far worse than in any subsequent episode save perhaps "The Best of Both Worlds." Truly implacable and virtually invincible, they would have run the Enterprise dry of fuel and then taken it (and taken it apart for information and technology) if not for Q relenting at the last second.
  • A Borg drone beams into main engineering and scans the ship's computer. It takes two phaser blasts to kill it, but is immediately replaced by another drone, and when Worf fires again, the phaser blast is blocked by the drone's shields. The drone then starts seriously messing with the Enterprise systems while staring very creepily at Picard and crew.
  • A great deal of Ron Jones' score for the episode is quite creepy, particularly the music that plays when the Enterprise crew get their first glimpse of the Borg cube and when the Borg drone appears in Engineering.
  • The Borg only have one line and its cold dismissiveness somehow manages to be even creepier than their usual "resistance is futile" Catchphrase:
    We have analyzed your defensive capabilities as being unable to withstand us. If you defend yourselves, you will be punished.

    Season 3 
The Survivors
  • Kevin, the Douwd from the titular episode. The Reveal of what he's done is a major Tear Jerker, but it's also mind-bogglingly horrific. Posing as a human, he fell for a human woman, Rishon, and lived on a Federation colony planet with her. Being a pacifist, Kevin never used his immense power for any harm, nor did Rishon ever learn the truth, until the savage Husnock, after multiple invasion attempts, killed Rishon along with the other 11,000 defenders of their world. Kevin, upon finding the corpse of the women he loved, became enraged, and finally lashed out with his powers, killing every Husnock in the universe with a thought. Every single one. A race of approximately 50,000,000,000 beings, utterly erased from existence. So immense is the scope of what Kevin has done, that Picard decides to simply leave him to his grief as well as his semi-imaginary wife and leave the planet quickly. After all, no one in Starfleet, much less Picard and the Enterprise crew, could ever be in a position to judge something of this magnitude.
    • And say, is something of that magnitude not enough for you? Add Troi to that horror-pile as, during the episode, thanks to a nervous Kevin, she gets the melody from a music box implanted in her head. It's an admittedly pretty tune, that plays like an ear worm with perfect clarity in her head, getting subtly louder with each repetition. Again, and again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Halfway through the episode, Troi is a crying and screaming mess, pleading for anything to stop it.
    • Some more Fridge Horror: The Q apparently stay away from him. Think about it.

The Defector

  • Jarok speaks to Data in Ten Forward, remarking how many Romulan cyberneticists who would love to be this close to him. Data says he does not believe that he does not find the idea appealing. Jarok says, in a chilling tone, "Nor should you."
    • Only made worse by Star Trek: Picard later revealing that the Romulans so fear the threat of AI that they have a secret police (more secret than their standard secret police), the Zhat Vash, who make it their mission to destroy artificial intelligence.

Deja Q

  • Guinan is actually rather terrifying when she encounters a de-powered Q. She finds him and enjoys herself tremendously upon seeing him Brought Down to Normal, even stabbing him with a fork. And then, after he's been attacked by the Calamarain and screaming for help, her reaction is to look down upon him: "How the mighty have fallen." It's such a shift from her usual attitude.
    • The conversation that takes place between herself and Q that outright says they've had dealings before, implies that she's not the slightest bit afraid of him, and her posture and hand positions when Q makes to snap his fingers suggest that she herself has some kind of power that she can use to counter Q. Q even says something to the effect of "So that's the name you're calling yourself now."
    • Q's Suspiciously Specific Denial of whatever he did to the Calamarain packs a lot of creepy into a few brief words, thanks to John de Lancie's delivery.
      Picard: What did you do to them, Q?
      Q: Oh, nothing bizarre, nothing... grotesque.
    • The spin-off novel trilogy The Q Continuum reveals that actually Q was just present when another higher being attacked the Calamarain, but he nevertheless saw nothing wrong with compressing the entire race down to the size of a snowball and tossing them into deep space for a few thousand years. When Picard confronts him about it, Q dismisses it as a minor "prank" to beings that old, and appears truly sinister when Picard observes that he shudders to think what Q would consider genuine maliciousness if that's his definition of a prank.

The Most Toys

  • The use of a Varon-T disruptor, which is basically a phaser on steroids, by Kivas Fajo. It boils its victims from the inside out, and Fajo's victim, seen in a full body shot, is in visibly excruciating pain for a number of seconds before she finally disintegrates.
  • Some of the BGM in this episode is just plain creepy. Appropriate, of course, for the Psychopathic Manchild that Fajo is.


  • John Doe's injuries when he's first discovered are nothing short of horrific, especially with part of his face torn off and his brain partially exposed. Thankfully for him, the Enterprise found him in time and his advanced healing just pulled him from the edge of death as a result.

The Best of Both Worlds (Part I)

  • The introduction has chilling music highlighting the loss of contact with the New Providence colony. It builds up to the scene where we find out that the colony is completely gone, not destroyed, almost completely taken away leaving a huge crater. It lets us know that the Federation is in huge trouble as...
  • The Borg are back, and they're no less terrifying. When they abduct Picard, they show us once again that they're totally serious about what they do.
    The Borg: Captain Jean-Luc Picard, you lead the strongest ship in the Federation fleet. You speak for your people.
    The Borg: Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.
    Picard: Impossible. My culture is based on freedom and self-determination!
    The Borg: Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.
    Picard: We would rather die.
    The Borg: Death is irrelevant. Your archaic cultures are authority-driven. To facilitate our introduction into your society, it has been decided that a human voice will speak for us in all communications. You have been chosen to be that voice.
    • The first sentence of the last line is especially chilling in its implications.
  • At least two Borg drones have both two optical implants and mouth implants.
  • After being built up over a year and a half, the Borg make their entrance in true nightmarish fashion. Picard is pacing on the bridge as they're heading for a freighter that has likely been destroyed already. Worf reports an unidentified ship entering sensor range. It refuses to respond to their hails and immediately moves to intercept the Enterprise. Picard orders the ship on-screen, and the cube appears in the distance when Picard finally says "Magnify." Ron Jones' score swells and sends a chill down your spine as the cube takes up the viewscreen.
    Picard: Mr. Worf, dispatch a subspace message to Admiral Hanson: "We have engaged the Borg."
  • Just one phrase can send shivers down anyone's spine:

    Season 4 
The Best of Both Worlds (Part II)
  • The whole concept of Locutus himself, as Starfleet's finest captain is turned against his ship, his crew, his government, and his race, and his knowledge is used to pervert and destroy everything he believes in. Even before later sources explained that Picard was still aware of what Locutus was doing on some level while he was assimilated, there is nothing good about that scenario.
    • While undergoing cybernetic surgery, which included new body parts and the pigment sucked from his skin, Picard is still awake enough to shed a single tear.
    • And if Locutus's introductory line in the previous episode didn't do it, this will:
      Locutus: The knowledge and experience of the human Picard is part of us now. It has prepared us for all possible courses of action. Your resistance is hopeless...Number One.
      • What's more chilling, the Borg genuinely think they're doing the universe a favor by doing what they do.
        Locutus: [in an almost sympathetic tone] Why do you resist? We only wish to raise the quality of life for all species.
  • The Enterprise arrives to join the fleet at Wolf 359, but rather than being Big Damn Heroes, they're Late to the Tragedy, finding nothing but a Derelict Graveyard of broken, smashed, and burning starships. Shelby gives a list of ships that she recognizes, and the rest of the crew just stare in horror at the scale of destruction.
    • The last ship she names is the Melbourne. Had things gone a little differently in part one, Riker would have been her captain. Shelby's voice and Riker's face as she names it show that the significance is not lost on them.
    • Showing how desperate the stakes of the battle were, one of the hulks appears to be from a Constitution-class starship.
    • It's impossible to make out on-screen, but the debris field includes a destroyed shuttlecraft from the USS Liberator. The intended implication was probably that the shuttle was being used as a lifeboat by surviving Liberator crewmembers fleeing their destroyed ship. They didn't make it, as indicated by the visible corpse.


  • Data shows just how terrifying and efficient he can be by taking control of the Enterprise almost effortlessly.
    • Keep in mind that this wasn't something Data had planned in advance; he was making it all up as he went along, not being consciously aware of what he's doing. As Starfleet's flagship, the Enterprise is implicitly staffed by Starfleet's absolute best and brightest, but all of them working together couldn't stop Data from carrying out a plan that he was improvising.

Remember Me

  • Beverly gets trapped in a pocket universe, a situation that's far scarier than was intended. There's a particular kind of hopeless terror when the borders of reality itself are closing in on all sides.
  • People start vanishing, and no one except Beverly believes they were ever there, not even the ship's computer. Which means they don't just cease to exist, they get the full Ret-Gone treatment. At least when the pocket universe started collapsing, you knew what was going on.
    • Once Picard, the last remaining person disappears, Beverly asks the computer about the Traveler's species and it lists their home planet as Tau Alpha C. She tries to plot a route to it... and then the ship fails to respond, telling her to assign the destination. She tries again, then she's told that Tau Alpha C does not exist. Beverly finally gets a visual on screen, and instead of the usual blank space dotted with distant stars, it's blue-colored emptiness.
  • The collapsing universe part almost came as a relief. What would have been far worse was if Beverly had just been left there, completely alone on the Enterprise, with everyone she knew gone, no way of possibly running the ship by herself, and still having no idea what happened.
  • And then there's this creepy gem once Beverly starts to piece together what's going on:
    Beverly: Here's a question you shouldn't be able to answer. Computer, what is the nature of the universe?
    Computer: The universe is a spheroid region, seven hundred and five meters in diameter.
    • And a minute or two later, the ship is buffeted. Beverly demands an explanation, and rather than acknowledge the shrinking universe, the computer blames explosive decompression caused by "a flaw in the ship's design"note .
      Computer: No ship's structures exist forward of bulkhead three-four-two. Hull integrity now compromised on decks three through fifteen.
      [Beverly gives an Oh, Crap! look, as she realizes the "universe" is collapsing]
      Beverly: How long can life support be maintained?
      Computer: Four minutes, seventeen seconds.
  • There's something creepy about Picard smiling to Beverly and calmly saying that the two of them were the only people who had ever served on the Enterprise, which the viewer knows to be patently impossible. And then Picard himself vanishes the instant that Beverly looks away while talking to him.


  • While something of a Bitch in sheep's clothing, Ishara Yar will spend the rest of her life regretting two things, one not going with Tasha when she had the chance, and two, betraying the Enterprise. As she admits in this episode, she has never had a real friend, and she chose to betray the only one she ever knew.

Future Imperfect

  • The amnesia-inducing virus that Riker suffers from in this episode. Imagine an apparently harmless virus getting into your system and lying dormant for years, and then coming alive and erasing your entire memory from the intervening period. In Riker's case, sixteen years of his life simply vanish from his mind. One minute, he's fine, then he skips forward sixteen years without any knowledge of what happened in between. Fortunately, that's not what's actually happening.

Night Terrors

  • At one point, Beverly hallucinates that an entire morgue full of sheet-covered bodies are sitting up on their slabs. It's unspeakably unsettling.
  • This whole episode is made of Nightmare Fuel. Noteworthy is Troi's re-occurring psychedelic vision: A three-dimensional expanding mass of green fog, where you can't see through it, but still hints at more beyond the view with the bright glow of a crescent moon, which you're involuntarily flying toward to boot. Doesn't sound too bad, until:
    • And this mantra drove the one Betazoid on the doomed ship catatonic and threatened most everyone else with REM sleep deprivationnote  — at least it was only an attempt to communicate.
  • One of the more subtly creepy moments is when Picard is sitting in his office, and the door chime starts sounding, over and over and over, and you don't know or see what's causing it. Keep in mind, this is before you really start to realize what's going on in the episode, so the fact that no one is activating the door chime is freaky as hell.
  • Seeing O'Brien, O'Brien of all people, being deeply suspicious that Keiko is cheating on him. It's just so unsettling to see him so openly hostile towards her.
  • Picard imagining the turbolift roof coming down towards him, and screaming in utter terror, helped by the fact it's about the only time we see him that terrified on-screen.
  • Just before commercial break, Beverly is explaining to Picard that the issue they're having is the REM sleep deprivation and what that entails, stating just before the cut-out that if she can't find an answer, they'll all go insane. The tone of her voice about the simple finality of that fact is utterly chilling.
  • When Riker and Picard are in the turbolift and begin discussing whether they've had any disturbing hallucinations, Riker comments on going into his quarters sometimes and having an unnerving feeling of someone there, "waiting for [him]." People with anxieties or phobias may relate to this unsettling feeling quite well. It gets even worse when Riker does go to his quarters, intending to rest, and is visibly very uneasy as he seems to be cautiously searching his quarters for signs of someone, and is almost frightened and jumpy with every noise he hears, that may or may not be his imagination...
  • The music for this episode, period. There's a feeling of mystery, but also an otherworldly sense of dread as the tension builds repeatedly, yet like the crew, the audience is STILL in the dark for almost two-thirds of the episode regarding the plot since the "how" regarding the hallucinations is explained, but the "why" is left ambiguous for a good long time.

Identity Crisis

  • Geordi, along with a few others, contracts a parasite and is transformed into a bizarre alien creature. And that's how that species reproduces...

The Nth Degree

  • The neural interface that Barclay uses to plug himself into the main computer. Not only does he effectively become the Enterprise's main computer, complete with his voice replacing the recognizable female one, he gains knowledge so far advanced that he knows how to bend space-time on a whim. And for a heaping of Uncanny Valley, Barclay lacks any kind of expression or seeming ability to blink while he's hooked up to that thing; at most, he just turns his head.

The Drumhead

  • Insane Admiral Norah Satie shows what happens when devotion to any cause is taken way too far, to where she starts persecuting loyal Starfleet officers to satisfy her own paranoia. What makes it even more significant to modern-day viewers is that we have yet to encounter the usual Trek threats like evil aliens or any kind of Negative Space Wedgie, but such fanaticism is a thing that really happens.

The Mind's Eye

  • Geordi is kidnapped by Romulans and subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture to become their Manchurian Agent. He is repeatedly shown a series of horrifying images sent directly to his visual cortex via his VISOR implants. Towards the end of the scene, we zoom in to his face as he screams in agony.
    • Geordi while under the mind control is fairly terrifying as well (in part because we've already seen something like this with the Borg). Shown off well when he is made to kill a simulation of O'Brien surrounded by people, then socialize with his other simulated "friends" as if nothing were wrong at all. He remains obsessed with O'Brien for the rest of the episode, with no real cognizance of why. In fact, the rest of the episode is full of tense Dramatic Irony due to Geordi acting entirely normally, and nobody—not even Geordi himself—is aware of what he has been programmed to do; he even spearheads the investigations into his own actions, entirely unaware.

In Theory

  • The episode is mostly a cute little episode featuring Data being Adorkable, to the point of Sweetness Aversion...then suddenly a space-time flux fuses a woman between the decks, leaving her corpse sticking straight up out of the floor, complete with Dies Wide Open. Thank God they didn't decide to do a Jump Scare as Geordi examines her.
    • Though, while it's not a jump scare, it's still all the worse by the fact that, on top of the complete Mood Whiplash, her death comes completely out of no where - Geordi orders her to investigate the disturbances, she nods and walks off screen, Geordi continues issuing orders to the other extra, and then comes an absolutely bloodcurdling SCREAM, leading Geordi and the other extra to race to discover her body, in the state it is in the linked picture.
    • Now, here's the Fridge Horror to this - what was underneath that point in the deck below? Because just imagine if she was standing over, say, a daycare section, or someone's quarters, and a pair of legs phase through the ceiling. And then someone has to remove her remains...

    Season 5 
The Game
  • Most of the episode, especially when Wesley goes to talk to Picard about starting an investigation. You see him putting something down as Wesley enters, and then after he leaves, Picard turns around and picks up a copy of the game without a word.
    • He meets up with Robin, under the impression that they're still working together, only for her to hold up a headset and tell him it's his turn.
    • Wesley eventually gets captured by the entranced crewmembers and forced to play the game. He valiantly tries to resist, but succumbs and becomes blissfully addicted. If Data hadn't shown up when he did, the bad guys would have won.


  • The episode is terrifying enough to watch as a child, but understanding the literal Mind Rape implications of the telepathic attacks makes it especially horrifying. Especially so for Troi, whose memory of having sex with Riker is turned into Jev raping her. And then after she wakes up, he physically assaults her.


  • Put simply, the incredibly unsettling notion that the crew's minds could be wiped and the entire crew be turned against a technologically inferior civilization without even realizing it. Just the notion itself is Paranoia Fuel.
    • The true form of "First Officer MacDuff", even though it's only shown for a few seconds.

Cause and Effect

  • The Enterprise gets stuck in a time loop and keeps repeating the same thing over and over again. Knowing what was going to happen—that you're all going to keep doing this over and over again for the rest of eternity, and there's a good chance that whatever you're trying to prevent now, you probably did the same thing LAST TIME—is insanely creepy.
    • Which is presumably exactly what the crew of the Bozeman had been doing for ninety years, and would have been doing for the rest of time if not for Data.
    • The ending dialogue indicates that, unlike the Enterprise, the Bozeman crew had no idea that they were trapped in time.
      Picard: Captain... do you know what year it is?
      Bateson: Of course I do. It's 2278.
      Picard: Perhaps you should beam aboard our ship. There's something we need to discuss.
  • The start of the episode begins with the Enterprise suffering a collision in one of its antimatter drive engines. All the fail-safes that are meant to prevent the ship from turning into a space-faring bomb fail one by one. Geordi is trying to shut off the core but it's not working, they then try to eject the drive which is leaking but the ejection systems have been rendered useless due to the impact hitting at just the right point to disable the ejection systems! Data starts telling everyone that a catastrophic core breach is imminent! The last thing we hear just before the Enterprise explodes is for Picard telling everyone to abandon ship!
  • The Bozeman becomes a bit of a running joke, being mentioned or referenced in a number of episodes. The last we ever canonically hear about the ship, though, is in Star Trek: First Contact, when it's being ordered to attack a Borg cube. It spent ninety years in limbo, only to be sent to her likely death a few years later.
    • Maybe not all that likely. We see her in the battle, effectively intact alongside a critically damaged Defiant, moments before the Enterprise-E arrives to save the day. Being a century out of date and therefore severely ill-equipped to do any meaningful damage, the Bozeman would probably have been a low-priority target, which would explain why she's not showing visible damage when we see her; assuming she got away from the exploding cube in time, there's no reason to assume she didn't make it through the battle more or less unscathed.

Imaginary Friend

  • Clara's new imaginary friend turns out to not only be real, but an evil alien. So you have a cute little girl telling another cute little girl that if she won't play her way, she can just stay and die with all the others.
    • Her creepy expression and line delivery all the way through the episode.
    • The worst part? The alien has been watching the way the adults have treated Clara, and has come to the conclusion that they are cruel, uncaring monsters who deserve to die. If Picard hadn't managed to convince her that the adults weren't being malicious by giving Clara rules and expecting her to obey them, the alien would have destroyed the ship and killed everyone aboard.

The Next Phase

  • Geordi and Ro, who are trapped in the alternate phase of reality, deal with a Romulan by kicking him out into space through a solid wall. They appeared at their own funeral as ghosts writhing in pain as the Applied Phlebotinum of the episode revealed them to the rest of the crew as well.
    • Applying Fridge Logic to this episode makes it even worse. It's established that the people who are out of phase aren't able to interact with matter. This means that the out-of-phase people don't need air, or else it would have been a very short episode. Given that they don't need air, we can surmise they probably aren't affected by changes in temperature or pressure. Now apply all this to the Romulan who got shoved through the hull of the ship, last seen drifting off into space unable to counter the momentum of the push that sent him through the hull. Instead of dying a relatively quick death from exposure to space, the poor bastard will instead drift through space until he finally dies of dehydration.
      • Apparently, people out of phase are still affected by gravity and can feel pain. Add into this potential immortality and, well, he's going to have to drift by a star eventually...
    • There's some Nightmare Retardant here, however.note 

Time's Arrow, Pt. I

  • The first reveal of Data's head in a cavern in San Fransisco.
    • Later on, time starts to go screwy, and we get a glimpse of the energy-draining ghost Devidans. They were so creepy they were picked up for a Halloween-themed arc for Star Trek Online, with plenty of creepy imagery and unnerving scares to go along with them.

    Season 6 
Realm of Fear
  • The demon worms that Barclay sees inside the transporter beam are creepy enough to the audience, but to someone like him who already has a phobia of transporters, it becomes all the more horrifying as we watch the previously shy and lovable Barclay slowly go insane as he thinks his mind is slipping away. True, at the end, he confronts his fear and learns that the worms are actually people trapped in the beam, but it's still scary to watch it all happen. Troi probably had to put in some serious overtime to handle that one.
    • This episode also shows that people are fully conscious during transport. Imagine how scary it must be to be conscious while the transporter disassembles you, converts you to energy, and then reassembles you back into matter... at a target several hundred miles away.
    • There's also the autopsy of a horribly burnt body from the other ship. As Beverly and Ogawa perform the autopsy, several 'muscular contractions' occur due to technobabble. First, Ogawa picks up a heartbeat, then neural activity, and then the body suddenly gasps for air, all despite the guy being dead.
    • For the arachnophobes in the audience: O'Brien, trying to put Barclay at ease, brings up his own fear of spiders and explains how he got past it - he had to repair a Starbase with an infestation of Talarian hook spiders, whose legs are HALF A METER LONG.


  • The entirety of the episode, where the Enterprise crew are abducted and experimented on while they sleep by creatures from deep subspace. Particularly the scene where the abductees try to reconstruct their nightmares on the holodeck, ending with them standing around a creepy operating table in the dark with strange clicking and buzzing noises in the background. You can even see an abductee's hands climbing toward her face in horror as they get more and more accurate, shortly before:
    Geordi: [hand over his mouth, shakily drawing in a rattling breath] I've been in this room before!
    Riker: [grim] We've all been here before.
    • And it gets pretty bad when you realize one of the abductees is Worf of all people. Already, the viewer is aware of something wrong when Worf visibly freaks out when Mot holds up a pair of scissors. While Mot's almost whimpery "I promise not to take too much off the top" may come across as Nightmare Retardant, Worf's wary look as he then quickly leaves completely negates that. Something must be horribly wrong for Worf, likely the most stoic and bravest member of the crew, to be so terrified...
    • The specific scene where Riker learns that his arm has been severed and reattached while he was asleep.
      • And even then, that's not the worst these aliens dish out. One crewman comes back looking on the verge of death, then Beverly scans him and discovers that his blood is turning into liquid polymer, meaning his body can't transport the oxygen he needs. They turned his blood into plastic, and we never figure out why.
    • Just to make things worse, the creators were disappointed with the episode. They didn't think the villains were scary enough.
  • The episode doesn't end pleasantly, either. When the rift is sealed, something is shot through the rift and out the Enterprise before disappearing into space. The crew discusses everything that's happened and what the aliens' motivations were, with Data theorizing they could have just been curious explorers like they are. However, Riker grimly reminds them of the horrible experiments they went through, as well as the above-mentioned crewmember's death for seemingly no reason whatsoever, and says that whoever they were, they weren't just curious explorers. This leaves the episode with a bunch of very nasty questions. Who were these creatures? What did they want? What was that thing they sent through the ship before it left? Was it a probe to lead them there later? And in true Nightmare Fuel fashion...there are no answers to any of these...
    • And speaking of unanswered questions, this is the last episode Ensign Sariel Rager appears in. What happened to her? note 

Chain of Command, Pt. I + II

  • Gul Madred, the Torture Technician. His tortures are chilling, and in the end, Picard admits that he was broken, just a few seconds before being released. But that's not the really terrifying thing. No, that's finding out that, with the exception of the pain-inducing implants, all of his methods are taken from Amnesty International's archives. That's right, there are people like him out there. Pray you never find yourself at the mercy of such a person, because they don't have any.
    • And the pain implant was only futuristic from a late 80s/early 90s perspective. Such things became feasible around a decade ago; the only reason they don't exist today is because other methods of inflicting pain are just as effective, and far cheaper and easier to use.
    • "How many lights do you see?" The fact that this part is a loving tribute to the famous "How many fingers?" scene from Orwell's 1984 (where a Torture Technician villain coerced the protagonist into seeing five fingers instead of four) doesn't make it one bit less nightmarish.
    • The last scene, Picard reveals to Troi that, just before he found out that Madred had been lying to him and that he was going to be returned to the Federation, he saw five lights. Madred broke him. While the Cardassian bastard may never get the satisfaction of knowing it, Picard still has to live with the knowledge that he DID break.

Ship in a Bottle

  • Moriarty's line about how he experienced "brief, terrifying moments of consciousness" while he was trapped in the computer memory banks.
    • Moriarty's fate as noted in Fridge Horror, since we later discover that, without regular maintenance, holograms can eventually suffer glitches that threaten to destabilize the entire program. Moriarty and his lady love are trapped in a portable holodeck, and are able to have their Happily Ever After... until the program starts to degrade! And they have no way of signalling the crew for help when that happens! You bastards!
      • Keep in mind that this is Professor James Moriarty.note  He will eventually figure out that he's trapped in a simulation.
    • And more possible Nightmare Fuel, remember the Enterprise was destroyed in Star Trek: Generations and Moriarty's fate has never been revealed. Though Star Trek Online actually has Moriarty's fate as part of the backstory. note 
    • You can't bring up "Ship in a Bottle" and not mention the most terrifying thing about the ending: Picard's musing that all of them might be simulations in an elaborate ruse sitting in a box on someone's table...and that's exactly what they are! What if that's all we are?!
      • Then, just like the show, we'd better do our best to stay entertaining for as long as physically possible. Lest we get cancelled.

Starship Mine

  • The ship gets cleaned by an energy field slowly sweeping through it that will vaporize any living tissue it touches, and this is a routine procedure. Of course, Picard and some thieves get caught on the ship when the field is activated. (Sattler isn't seen dying, but is certainly heard doing so.)
    • Detailed analysis: The last we see of Sattler, he's just opened the Jeffries tube hatch to see the field approaching at a pretty good clip. (Assuming a constant rate, and judging by some later scenes with better scaling cues, that'd be somewhere around half a meter per second, give or take a bit.) But when he screams, it lasts for a good few seconds, which wouldn't be the case if it caught him headfirst. So he must've turned and tried to outrun the field but failed, presumably thanks to the tight quarters of the Jeffries tube. He did, however, get far enough so that, when the field did catch him, it got his feet first and worked its way up from there. And Picard was still close enough to hear this along with us.

Frame of Mind

  • The episode's serious Mind Screw.
    • The fact that, near the end of the episode, Riker turns a phaser on himself in order to find out what's real and what isn't. He's willing to risk suicide in order to get the truth. The fact that Riker, of all people, is that desperate is terrifying.

    Season 7 
Descent Part 2
  • Lore compromising Data's ethical program and manipulating him into conducting an unspeakably horrible experiment on Geordi. In particular, Data intends to irradiate La Forge's brain cells and replace his biological brain with a positronic net - quite possibly turning him into a bionic zombie.
  • Most of the episode veers straight into David Lynch style Surreal Horror, in particular Troi as a cake being cut into despite her protests.
    • Watching Data, aka the Nicest of Nice Guys, calmly stabbing Troi in the shoulder over... and over... and over...

Dark Page

  • If you never thought Lwaxana Troi could be scary, this episode will probably change your mind. One of the most powerful telepaths in an entire race of telepaths has devoted an incredible amount of time and resources into turning her mental landscape into a minefield for anyone, including herself, looking to find out her deepest secret.
    • This actually brings up a disturbing question overall. Up to this point, Lwaxana has been an eccentric character, to say the least, and then this episode happens. It makes you wonder if that eccentricity was natural, part of her coping mechanisms, or a facade to hide the horrific pain she's held onto for all of Deanna's life.
  • The entire episode plays on just about some of the WORST fears a parent could have, particularly watching your child die because your attention faltered for a split second and never being able to move on from that fact, evidenced by Lwaxana deleting seven years of journals she kept up with diligently to erase all memory of Kestra, her deceased daughter and Deanna's sister.
    • And it gets worse. Her work with the Cairn, especially Maques' daughter Hedril, brings the memory back to the forefront, causing her to repeatedly start breaking down and becoming more emotionally unstable, despite fighting to keep her usual personality intact. When her subconscious retreats into herself and Deanna has to confront her in her own mind, Lwaxana seems perfectly willing to allow herself to die rather than face the past. This episode shows perfectly how monsters and tense atmosphere is scary enough, but the loss of a child in the most scariest way possible can be way scarier proving that even in the future the most terifign thing in the world is for a parent to lose their child.

Sub Rosa

  • Beverly is seduced by an energy being who claims to be an 800-year-old human ghost. It does this by absorbing into her, and she reacts with visible ecstasy. The being ends up taking over her mind and trapping her on his planet, all while claiming to love her and only wanting to make her happy.
    • The moment where her grandmother's corpse sits up in its coffin during a lightning storm with demonic, glowing blue eyes.
    • Very fitting, as the script for that episode was based on a story written by Anne Rice.
    • The scene where the ghost first appears behind Beverly in her mirror could induce a heart attack.


  • When a few hundred alternate-timeline Enterprises pop up in the climax, we get a look at one of the most horrifying Bad Futures in Trek: One where the Borg won, and Riker has been reduced to a desperate and babbling madman piloting the Enterprise around, trying to run from them.
    • Crazy!Riker is so desperate to prevent himself from returning to his own universe that he tries to kill Worf and thus endanger all of the multiverse in the process.
      • Worf is with him. You can see him run from his console to try and fix the one that blows while he's talking. Which adds a weird element of Fridge Horror: Worf was probably manning tactical, meaning that when that version of the Enterprise was firing on Worf's shuttle, Worf was probably the one actually pulling the trigger.
        Crazy!Riker: We won't go back! You don't know what it's like in our universe! The Federation's gone! The Borg is everywhere! We're one of the last ships left. Please, you have to help us!
        Captain Riker: ...I'm sorry, but we have no choice. If this works everything will go back to—
        Crazy!Riker: NO, WE WON'T GO BACK!
    • Fridge Horror or Fridge Sadness: The Borg were probably able to take over because Locutus was never returned to the Enterprise during that universe's version of the episode "The Best of Both Worlds" and the Borg used the information in Picard's mind to destroy the Federation.


  • The scene just before Data's possession. While a diagnostic is being run on him, he tries to express something to Geordi, but is incapable of finding the words to describe it. When Geordi asks him about it, he replies "I do not know" in a totally uncertain tone that comes as close to real fear as Data has ever come without an emotion chip. Then the kicker, in a spine-chilling twist on Data's character trademark of persistent, endearing, and humorously blunt inquiries about human behavior and feeling:
    Data: Geordi? What...does it feel like when a person is losing his mind?
    • Followed by a creepy Slasher Smile on then-still emotionless Data.


  • "Genesis" is pretty creepy in and of itself, but there is some disturbing Fridge Horror to the episode. Mid-way through the episode, Picard and Data end up finding the corpse of a crewman who had been killed at his post by a member of the de-evolved crew. When the episode ends, the cure has been applied to the ship and everything is back to normal, with little memory, if any at all, of what they were prior. So how many Enterprise crewmembers killed, and quite possibly ate, their fellow crewmembers in their de-evolved state without even remembering it afterwards?
    • "Worf... open your mouth." What follows is perhaps the single-most disturbing injury any one of the main cast is shown to receive. Beverly gets acidic, paralyzing venom sprayed into her face, causing her to fall screaming to the floor, completely writhing in pain. It takes about four people to hold her down long enough to sedate her and Nurse Ogawa later states that she had to be put into stasis before the venom could paralyze her nervous system and that she would need reconstructive surgery. Thankfully, the episode does not have Picard and Data finding her stasis pod before she's healed.

    Multiple Seasons/Other 
  • The Borg, to start with.
    • The Borg Queen is introduced as a talking, disembodied head and shoulders being lowered down into the rest of her body (shown being assembled in later appearances; apparently, her body's stored in pieces when not needed). Part of the spine hangs from the head and wiggles around in the air until it's all put into place. The aroused look on her face in the moments after being put back together doesn't help.
    • The Return, despite being non-canon, manages to make the Borg even creepier than we see in the movies. Vicious assimilated dogs, a giant construction/weapon drone (with a spider-like "scuttler" that emerges from it), pumping organic parts inside the cube, and a multi-bodied engineered drone (only the first body has a head; when Spock asks what it does, he's told "It feeds the tubes"). If it were actually filmed... Yipes!
      • Worse than that, a Borg drone is described as an unknown species having ashen skin and a dark, almond-shaped eye. Yeah, The Borg assimilated a GREY ALIEN!
    • You think the Borg are bad in their current form? Here is some lovely concept art that shows what they were considering making the Borg look like, with such lovely little details as visible intestines behind transparent plating, mobile sea anemone-style hair made out of pipes, and razor-sharp sickles attached to the Borg Queen's frigging wrists. "Creepy" does not even begin to cover it.
    • Star Trek: First Contact makes it a point to show how frightening Borg assimilation is, starting with an ensign getting injected with nano-probes and having his skin turn gray and implants sprout from under his skin to the Borg montage where we see sickbay converted into an assimilation chamber with the implants being installed.
      • Several crewmembers still undergoing assimilation are seen to have missing body parts that are presumably to be replaced eventually with Borg equipment. There's an extremely disturbing closeup of someone whose eye has been removed and replaced with some sort of metal object, and his eyelid is caked with some kind of bloody discharge.
      • There's also the fact that Picard flat-out executes a crewman taken.
  • Q, in general. Though he does have humanity's best interest in mind, for the most part, he is still a jerkish reality-warping alien who will gladly toy with people, mentally and physically, for his own amusement. Not only will he wipe out entire civilizations out of pure boredom, but he can also alter the laws of physics with little-to-no effort. And that's not even getting into how dangerous he can be when he's angry.
    • In the best Q episodes, it's impossible to know what his motives are, but every time he has claimed to be operating as an agent of the Continuum, he has been ruthless. Willing to execute Amanda Rogers, after possibly having already executed her parents, or imprison a fellow Q in a comet for eternity, were
    • Really, Q is very reminiscent of Trelane, the titular Squire of Gothos... except with far greater power, and without two benevolent parental figures to bring him under control. That makes him a lot scarier.
    • A popular piece of Fanon (which John de Lancie has voiced support for) is that Q's kid from Star Trek: Voyager is in fact Trelane, which means Q is the benevolent (well, less malevolent) parental figure. note 
  • Lore. When he first appears in "Datalore," he's vaguely creepy. Then you find out that he's a ruthless sociopath, and that's creepier. But it's during the scene when he kicks his deactivated brother Data in the head, twice, for no practical reason, that he becomes truly terrifying. He isn't merely pragmatically self-centered; he ENJOYS hurting people. And he's strong and fast enough to tear out your femur and stab you with it before you can scream.
    Lore: Are you prepared for the kind of death you've earned, little man?
    • Also of note is that Brent Spiner once said he preferred playing Lore to playing Data, because he and Lore had more in common.
    • Incidentally, next time we see Lore is in "Brothers," after he was rescued and reassembled by some wandering Pakleds. He's even wearing one of the Pakled uniforms from "Samaritan Snare." This means that, somewhere in Lore's wake, there is probably a pile of hapless Pakled corpses waiting to be discovered.
    • Where Data says "I'm" and twitches his eye, after sending Lore into empty space.
  • The Crystalline Entity. Yes, it may look like a giant space snowflake, but the thing is pretty damn terrifying when you think about it. You're living on a Federation colony, then one day this thing descends from the sky and begins consuming all life on the planet. It's practically impossible to evade, extremely durable, and there doesn't appear to be any way of tracking it or providing warning of its arrival. On the off chance you survive, the planet you're on will still have been left a barren wasteland. It can and will kill ANYTHING.
  • The liminal spaces which make up the various hallways of the Enterprise can give it a rather eerie vibe if few or no other people are around. Although this was somewhat possible on previous incarnations, the sheer size of the NCC-1701-D lends to an environment in which one can easily become lost among its 42 decks. It doesn't help matters that the show itself would occasionally stage horrific events in these hallways, such as collapsing pocket dimensions, nightmares, and even a woman being fused into the floor due to Negative Space Wedgie, killing her.