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Proof that humanity's "evolved sensibilities" (to quote Captain Picard) don't necessarily include evolved intelligence.

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    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.
    • 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.
    • Assuming the idea of trapping both Lazarus in the corridor is the best course of action.
      You'd Expect: Kirk, Spock, and the two security guards present to stun insane Lazarus with a phaser or at least work together to overpower him and then get to a safe distance and have the Enterprise destroy the ship as soon as possible to prevent the possibility he gets by his counterpart.
      Instead: Kirk struggles with the madman alone, tells the others to stay back and not help, pushes him into the corridor, beams up to the ship, goes from the transporter room to the bridge, AND THEN orders them to fire on the ship.
  • In "Amok Time", Kirk learns that Spock is going through what Vulcans call "Pon farr", which is driving him out of his Vulcan mind, and he must return home to mate or he will die. The problem is that the Enterprise already has an important mission at Altair VI, so Kirk contacts Starfleet to request permission to divert to Vulcan. Complicating matters, however, is the fact that Kirk has promised Spock that he won't tell a soul about the Pon farr.
    You'd Expect: Kirk would tell Admiral Komack something both honest yet non-specific that would get him the permission he needs. Something like "My first officer has fallen gravely ill, and the only way to save his life is to get him to Vulcan right away."
    Instead: Kirk refuses to tell Komack anything, and thus fails to get permission to go to Vulcan. So, of course, he bucks orders and goes there anyway, and is only saved from a court-martial by T'Pau's influence.
  • 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. This causes Kirk to unwittingly beam two Red Shirts into space, not knowing that they've left orbit from the planet where they picked up the children, and on discovering this, he calls the bridge to angrily demand to know why they've altered course, and says that he and Spock are coming up there.
    You'd Expect: The children to sneak off the bridge before Kirk and Spock arrive, and then summon Gorgan to give him a progress report. Kirk and Spock may suspect that something weird is being caused by the children, but they won't know exactly what.
    Instead: They summon Gorgan on the bridge, right there and then, and he materialises just as Kirk and Spock arrive. Even Gorgan indirectly chides the children 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 Gorgan again at the climax by replaying a recording of the children performing the summoning ritual.
  • In the original Pilot Episode "The Cage", Captain Pike is startled by the appearance of the female yeoman assigned to him delivering him a report on the bridge, then trying to explain the reasons to his also-female first officer.
    You'd Expect: That the fact of having a female first officer, who by the nature of her duties is usually present on the bridge, would be enough for the captain not only to be used to having a woman on the bridge, but for the fact to be not even worthy of comment.
    Instead: He explains, to said female first officer, that the reason the yeoman startled him was that the captain wasn't used to having a woman on the bridge, earning him a funny look and forcing him to backtrack ("You're different, of course").

    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 visor can detect fluctuations in the wormhole that indicate 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; though he can't verify Geordi's visor data, he can verify that they're in the wrong quadrant of space.
      Instead: The Ferengi flatly refuses to even entertain Geordi's warnings, going so far as to say he won't even confirm their position. 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, Part 2", Sela has captured Picard, Spock, and Data and told them all about the Romulan plot to conquer Vulcan, and is trying to get Spock's cooperation since their holographic imitation of him would be a poor substitute. Naturally, he refuses.
    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. They no longer serve any purpose.
    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. And said holographic projectors. 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. He starts shoving his arm through things in front of Data to get Data's attention, but Data doesn't get it.
    You'd Expect: That Geordi move on from random actions and start creating artificial patterns, which would make clear this isn't a random reaction from the Romulan technology.
    Instead: He gives up in frustration.
  • In "Skin of Evil", the villain of the week, Armus, is the byproduct of a species of "dazzling, perfect beings" cleansing them of all things "evil." Once shed of him, they dump him on a remote planet, leaving him forever in isolation.
    You'd Expect: These "perfect beings" would have both the goods morals and the good sense to warn others in the galaxy to steer clear of that planet, as a being like Armus would obviously be extremely dangerous. Or better still, euthanize this creature of "absolute evil" so no one need blunder upon him and be at his mercy.
    Instead: They apparently couldn't be bothered to do either, resulting in the senseless death of Tasha Yar at Armus's hands.
  • In "Homeward", Worf's adoptive brother Nikolai Rozhenko uses forcefields to shelter some natives of Boraal II, a pre-industrial planet he's observing, the atmosphere of which is gradually breaking down. After being beamed aboard the Enterprise, Nikolai requests to be allowed to set up an atmospheric bubble that will protect the town he was observing.
    You'd Expect: The Enterprise crew to sympathise with Nikolai, but point out that his plan isn't practical. He would only save the population of a single town, confine them to an extremely small geographical area, and leave them without the numbers to sustain a viable population; it would be arguably more a Fate Worse than Death. To say nothing of the fact that if the equipment generating the bubble ever failed, the Boraalans would die instantly.
    Instead: Picard berates Nikolai, telling him that the Prime Directive says they shouldn't save the Boraalans, ergo they have nothing to discuss. Dr. Crusher is the only crewmember even vaguely supportive of Nikolai, and even then is shouted down almost immediately by the others. Moreover, Picard bans Nikolai from returning to the planet and tells him that he will likely face career-ending consequences for his little stunt, causing Nikolai, who now has nothing left to lose, to covertly transport the Boraalans that he saved onto one of the Enterprise holodecks, leaving the crew needing to find a new planet for them.
  • In "A Matter of Time", Rasmussen, a time traveller purporting to be a historian from the 26th century, travels to the Enterprise-D to observe them during a mission. It turns out he's actually from the 22nd century, having stolen the time machine in order to gather information and technology, travel back in time 200 years and get credited as its 'inventor'.
    You'd Expect: Having already asked the senior staff to fill out lengthy questionnaires, for Rasmussen to turn on the charm and simply ask for samples of the relevant technology (all of which the Enterprise has plenty of and won't miss the odd one or two), claiming that they'll be used as 'museum pieces'. Even if he doesn't get everything he wants, he'll more than likely get enough to set him up for the rest of his very rich, comfortable life.
    Instead: Rasmussen pickpockets everything he wants from under the nose of the senior staff, who quickly realise the equipment has gone missing and immediately suspect him. When the equipment is discovered on his time-ship by Data, rather than spin a tale of how he felt that his requests would be rejected if he simply asked, Rasmussen actually gloats about how he got away with his theft, and how he'll also be credited as the inventor of Data himself when his time ship (which is on autopilot, just compounding Rasmussen's stupidity) returns to the 22nd century. Naturally, Rasmussen is blissfully unaware of the fact that the Enterprise's sensors detected and deactivated all of the equipment the second he opened the door of his time ship, rendering him defenseless before Data, who confiscates all of his stolen equipment and arrests him. As the final insult, Rasmussen is forced to watch as the time ship returns to the 22nd century without him, stranding him 200 years out of time.

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 
  • In "Move Along Home", the station plays host to the Wadi, a species seemingly obsessed with games. The day after the First Contact party, Jake tells Odo that his father disappeared. Odo checks and, sure enough, Sisko, Kira, Dax, and Bashir are nowhere to be found. (They're currently trapped in the Wadi game "Chula.") Odo heads straight for Ops, where the Starfleet security officer, Lieutenant Primmin, is the only senior officer present.
    You'd Expect: That with the other senior officers no-shows, Primmin would've used the computer to check on where they are and, upon learning that they're missing, immediately organized search teams and whatever else would've helped find them.
    Instead: He's just sitting there bored, assuming that everyone's just hung over from last night, and completely unaware that there's a problem until Odo tells him what's going on. Is it any wonder that he's never seen on the station again? note 
  • In "Sanctuary", after the Bajorans refuse the latest visitors from the Gamma Quadrant, the Skrreans, permission to settle on Bajor, several teenage Skrreans steal a damaged ship and try to fly it to Bajor. O'Brien warns Sisko that the ship's engines are leaking radiation, and any phaser fire could ignite it. Two Bajoran fighter craft then show up to intercept it.
    You'd Expect: Sisko to warn the Bajoran fighters to hold fire in order to avoid accidentally destroying the ship — one of the occupants of which is the son of the Skrrean leader, no less — which would doubtless turn the already strained relationship between the Bajorans and Skrreans into a major diplomatic incident. Worst case, they can just let the teenagers land on Bajor, where they'll likely end up captured in about five minutes by Bajoran security forces.
    Instead: He contacts the fighters, but doesn't warn them of the ship's damaged engine. Instead, he fruitlessly tries to persuade their pilots to break off pursuit, then contacts the Bajoran general in command of the fighters and tries to get him to call them off, but doesn't warn him about the leak either. It's not until the Skrrean ship fires upon the Bajoran fighters that Sisko even thinks to warn the Bajorans, but the information doesn't get passed on quickly enough, resulting in one of the fighters accidentally destroying the ship with a warning shot. The Skrreans subsequently leave the system, now very firmly wanting nothing to do with the Bajorans.
  • 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 "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.
  • After Damar launches La Résistance against the Dominion, the Female Changeling orders her mooks to locate his family. As of "Tacking Into the Wind", they've succeeded.
    You'd Think: That if the Changeling wanted to reduce Damar's effectiveness, she'd hold his family hostage and threaten to execute them if he launches another attack or refuses to surrender. At most, she might kill one of the kids on the spot, just to show that she's serious.
    Instead: She has them all killed immediately, eliminating any leverage she would've had on Damar and giving him one more incentive to see the Dominion destroyed.
  • She pulls another one in the season finale. The Cardassian resistance is beginning to gain ground, at the same time as the combined Dominion forces (including the Cardassian fleet) are engaged in a space battle that could go either way.
    You'd Expect: She would try to put down the resistance as quickly and quietly as possible, in order to ensure continued Cardassian support.
    Instead: She orders the Jem'Hadar to level a major Cardassian city, killing two million civilians, as a warning to the resistance.
    The Result: The Cardassian forces respond to this act of aggression by turning on the Dominion, allying with the Federation instead. This significant shift in the balance of powers all but guarantees the Dominion's defeat.
    Furthermore: By the time they actually find Damar, the Cardassian ground soldiers are on his side and refuse to allow him to be executed. Instead, they kill the Jem'Hadar and join forces with Damar and the others for the final seige.

    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 "Endgame", 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 "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. And when they head towards the wormhole out of the empty region of space, he fires on them, trying to prevent his secret from being leaked to the Malon people.
      As a Result: Janeway has Voyager fire on the Malon's cargo hold, destroying his ship (which means keeping his dumping grounds a secret ended up costing him everything), then travels through the wormhole after triggering its collapse from the end they entered it from.
    • In "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...
    • "The Raven" and "Dark Frontier" provide Seven of Nine's backstory. It starts when her parents, Magnus and Erin Hansen, decide to study a mysterious but dangerous force called the Borg.
      You'd Expect: That they would leave their little daughter, Annika, on Earth with extended family, such as her Aunt Irene.
      Instead: They bring Annika with them. Two years later, they're all assimilated, and Annika Hansen becomes Seven of Nine.

    Star Trek: Enterprise 
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • In "Broken Bow", 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.
    • "Terra Nova" reveals one that happened decades ago (from our heroes' perspective). To wit: Earth discovers an M-class planet about nine light-years away and sends a ship over to begin colonizing it. This leads to the foundation of the Terra Nova colony, with a population of roughly 200. Since this seems to be a success, Earth lets them know that they plan to send over another wave of colonists.
      You'd Expect: The Novan colonists would be cool with this. For one thing, there aren't that many M-class planets this close to Earth to colonize, and this particular one has plenty of real estate. For another thing, despite what every Adam and Eve Plot may suggest, one colony of 200 isn't enough to establish a lasting civilization.
      Instead: The colonists tell Earth to bugger off, apparently deciding that they're entitled to the entire planet, just because. One hot-headed figure, a Mr. Logan, even threatens to fire on any Earth ships that approach the planet.
      You'd Expect: Earth to call BS on this and send over another ship while making it clear that they won't tolerate Logan's behavior and will deal with him if he tries to act on his threat.
      Instead: Earth and Terra Nova do nothing more than send angry messages back-and-forth—until communications with the colony suddenly stop.
      You'd Then Expect: Earth to send over a ship to see what happened. Or ask the Vulcans for help—humans may not like asking favors from the Vulcans, but with 200 lives potentially at stake, surely they can swallow their pride.
      Instead: Earth doesn't bother investigating until Enterprise just happens to be passing by and goes to check it out, thus belatedly learning that the colony was destroyed by the fallout of a meteorite, with the adult colonists dead and their children grown up with hatred for Earth and ignorance of their heritage.
      And On That Note, You'd Expect: That if Earth set up a colony on another world, they'd also set up a system to detect and intercept incoming meteors and other threats.
      Instead: They don't. So much for Terra Nova.
    • The Xindi in their arc of season 3. They fear humans because they were (falsely) told that humanity will destroy them in the future, and they are building a Wave Motion Gun to deliver a pre-emptive 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 galaxy. 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 sends their future-seeing allies back to the trans-dimensional realm they came from. 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 "villains" 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.

    Star Trek: Discovery 
  • In "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry", our heroes are studying an alien they captured in the previous episode. The alien is basically a tardigrade on lots and lots of steroids — it's nearly impossible to kill or even wound, and it's powerful enough to destroy almost anything in its path. Therefore, Captain Lorca puts Security Chief Landry and Science Specialist Burnham to work weaponizing this thing. As part of this, Landry sedates the creature (whom she calls "Ripper") with Knockout Gas so that she can physically remove one of its claws. Burnham then warns her that doing so might not work on its Bizarre Alien Biology.
    You'd Expect: Landry would listen to Burnham (the scientist, after all) and find a way to make sure that Ripper really has been sedated, while taking as many precautions as possible in case it's still awake. (Especially since they both saw first-hand how dangerous it is.)
    Instead: Landry opens the pen where Ripper is kept — and discovers that it's still awake and extremely pissed. It quickly mauls Landry to death and almost kills Burnham before she uses bright lights to scare it back into its pen.
  • "Choose Your Pain" features another one involving Ripper. After Burnham figures out that the super-tardigrade works as an integral component of the experimental "spore drive" aboard Discovery, she then finds evidence that repeated spore jumps are having increasingly detrimental effects on Ripper, and manages to convince Doctor Culber and mycology expert Stamets of what's happening. They then bring their concerns to Acting Captain Saru (since Lorca is currently in Klingon custody).
    You'd Expect: That Saru would listen to the three experts warning him that Ripper is slowly dying, while keeping in mind that without it, their spore drive is useless.
    Instead: He refuses to heed their warnings (especially Burnham's, due to his lingering grudge against her) and orders them to use Ripper for another jump. It succeeds, but leaves the tardigrade completely used up and unable to assist in any more jumps — which becomes a problem when Lorca escapes and is followed back to Discovery by heavy Klingon pursuit. The spore drive is only restored by Stamets turning himself into a substitute for Ripper and jacking himself into the drive.


     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, only thinking to even raise shields after Reliant is already charging weapons. 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. After all, Admiral Bennett does admit there are others he could send but doesn't want to. 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 Sybok has already taken hostages and made clear his intention to hijack the Enterprise, and Spock has no idea whether or not Sybok has turned into an extremist in pursuit of his beliefs). 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 (gotta reuse that Stock Footage from Star Trek VI). 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: First Contact:
    • The film begins with the Borg sending another cube to attack and assimilate Earth.note  The new Enterprise-E is specifically mentioned by Geordi as being the most advanced warship in the fleet, but Starfleet doesn't trust Captain Picard due to his prior assimilation by the Borg.
      You'd Expect: Starfleet to order Picard to temporarily step down and hand command over to Riker, who did command the mission that saw the first cube destroyed, after all. Or, if they don't trust Riker either due to his stupidity in getting the Enterprise-D destroyed, order Picard to hand command over to Data, who commanded the Enterprise-D on several occasions, has mastered the use of his emotion chip, and can even deactivate it if need be.
      Instead: They order the Enterprise to patrol the Romulan neutral zone, thus ensuring that their fleet is on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle when it confronts the Borg cube. Fortunately, Picard decides to disregard his orders and go to help the fleet anyway, but they may have suffered fewer losses if he'd been there from the start.
    • Following an unwitting time jump back to the year 2063, an Enterprise landing party has to help Zefram Cochrane make his warp speed flight in order to ensure that first contact with the Vulcans goes ahead as it should. Cochrane initially isn't inclined to repair his damaged warp ship following a Borg attack, but the landing party get him on-board by telling him a few vague details about the future and showing him the Enterprise-E through a telescope.
      You'd Expect: Now that Cochrane's willing to do the flight, that Geordi would just tell him the bare minimum needed to get his ship up and running again. Given that the entire reason they're here is to prevent the Borg from screwing up Earth's history, the last thing Geordi wants to do is potentially screw it up even worse.
      Instead: He turns into an Ascended Fanboy of ridiculous proportions and blabs just about every detail of Cochrane's future to the man, not seeing the problem in what he's doing until Barclay shows up and starts doing the same thing turned Up to Eleven. By this time Geordi has already nearly fatally screwed up the mission, as Cochrane sneaks off into the woods and tries to flee, having been scared out of wanting to attempt the flight; Riker ends up having to stun him and literally drag him to the launch bay.

  • Star Trek: Insurrection:
    • So The Federation and the Son'a have teamed up to remove an agrarian race called the Ba'ku from their Fountain-of-Youth planet. The key to doing so is a cloaked ship that is essentially a warp-driven holodeck programmed to recreate the Ba'ku village.
      You'd Expect: That they'd keep the ship safely in orbit, which is where a starship belongs.
      Instead: They hide the ship in a lake near the village, which isn't even given a token excuse. Even if one were to be charitable and assume they were worried it might be detected in space despite the cloak (even though the Son'a couldn't detect it being launched or drifting just off their bow), they could hide it hundreds of miles away from the village and it would still perform its function exactly the same.
      The Result: Data's tricorder detects the neutrino emissions from the Invisibility Cloak, setting off a series of events that derails the whole plan.

  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • With the Enterprise having sustained heavy damage and used up its entire complement of weapons without so much as scratching the Scimitar, Picard restorts to ordering the ship to ram the Scimitar. Because of the distance involved, however, the Scimitar crew has plenty of time to react before the Enterprise hits.
      You'd Expect: Shinzon to either order his helmsman to reverse away from the Enterprise at full speed, use the ship's tractor beam to deflect the Enterprise, or open fire with all weapons to obliterate the Enterprise, since Picard is clearly willing to stop Shinzon regardless of the cost to himself and his crew.
      Instead: He just sits there, dumbfounded for several seconds, then only when the Enterprise is on the verge of collision does he make an order... which is to turn hard to port, which naturally does nothing to stop the impending impact. While the Enterprise is left completely disabled and helpless, the Scimitar loses its cloak and most of its weapons, meaning that even if they do use their Thaleron weapon to kill everyone on the Enterprise, it'll now be much harder to attack Earth.
    • The baddies want Picard. The good guys beam him over, and the transporters promptly fail. They do, however, have a 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 (or the Reman fighter that they captured intact earlier in the film) 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.

     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.
    • After Harrison/Khan kills Pike and most of the other brass and escapes to the uninhabited Ketha Province on Qo'noS, Kirk is authorized by Admiral Marcus to terminate him with extreme prejudice. To do so, Enterprise is given a payload of new, undetectable, long-range torpedoes so they can bomb the hell out of Ketha and annihilate Khan. Scotty, however, refuses to sign off on the torpedoes because he doesn't know anything about them—they're shielded from scans, the specs on them are classified, and the security goons supervising the transfer aren't going to let him crack one open to see what's inside.
      You'd Expect: Kirk to listen to Scotty's protests and insist that they be allowed to check out the torpedoes for themselves. If necessary, Kirk could go to Marcus himself and demand the information from him.
      Instead: Kirk, out of his obsession with avenging Pike's death, shoots down Scotty's protests and orders him to sign off on the torpedoes—leading Scotty to resign from his duties. Later, it turns out that Scotty was right to be concerned—which Kirk, to his credit, admits.

  • In Star Trek Beyond
    • At the beginning of the film, Kirk is assigned be a neutral representative of the Fibonans to broker a treaty with the Teenaxi, a species of aliens at the size of small cats. The Teenaxi don't trust and dislike the Fibonans due to them apparently being responsible for a lot of dead Teenaxi in the past.
      You'd Expect: That before negotiating, Kirk would do a lot of research on the Teenaxi (such as the fact that they are small aliens), and why they don't like the Fibonans. That way, if it comes to worse, Kirk could potentially be able to defuse the situation.
      Instead: He apparently does no research on the Teenaxi and why they don't like the Fibonans, and they accuse the Fibonans of stealing the "gift", which was an ancient weapon called the Abronath, when Kirk says, "[The Fibonans] told me they acquired it a long time ago." The Teenaxi leader then rants about the negatives of the Fibonans and about them wanting to kill and eat other Teenaxi, while Kirk keeps talking about "the gift", and being clueless to why they are paranoid about the Fibonans. The Teenaxi then start attacking Kirk.
      The Result: Kirk is forced to be beamed back onto the Enterprise, unintentionally taking two Teenaxi with him.
      You'd Then Expect: That before flying to their next destination, the Enterprise crew to at least beam the two Teenaxi back onto Teenax (the Teenaxi's home planet) before leaving.
      Instead: They never think of this, and fly to their next destination without beaming the two back onto their planet where they belong. This is treated as a gag at the end of the film.
    • The Enterprise arrives at the planet Altamid on an apparent rescue mission, but not long after arriving is suddenly ambushed by a huge swarm — a quarter-million of them, according to Word of God — of small, two-man spacecraft, who quickly launch an attack.
      You'd Expect: Kirk to order immediate warp speed in any direction away from the swarm. Even if the ships making it up are only small and weak (which they're decidedly not), there's no feasible way for the Enterprise to take out such an ungodly huge number of ships, as Spock points out.
      Instead: Kirk orders the ship to open fire on the swarm, accomplishing nothing. The swarm proceeds to absolutely annihilate the weapons, warp engines and deflector array of the Enterprise in a matter of seconds, and it's only because of a MacGuffin that the swarm's leader, Krall wants being aboard the ship that it isn't instantly reduced to a pulverized cloud of debris.

How well does it match the trope?

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