Why does Star Trek continually try to paint their characters as morally grey?

Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura in episode 201 “The Broken Circle” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+
Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura in episode 201 “The Broken Circle” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ /

Why does Star Trek always make their characters into criminals to prove their morality?

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds made some bold moves to start off their second season, some moves that I don’t see why we have to keep exploring. With La’an Noonien Singh away on leave, exploring a planet that is controlled by both the Klingons and the Federation in different intervals, she discovers a plot to restart the Klingon war.

So she messages the Enterprise for help. Spock, who was left in charge by Christopher Pike, brings the information they received to Admiral April, and he’s quickly shot down. April, rightfully, points out that Singh is no longer with Starfleet and is responsible for herself, and that Starfleet going to a Klingon-controlled planet would risk restarting a war that just ended. A war that took hundreds of millions of lives in the process.

So what does Spock do? Ignore reason and fly off, risking war and hundreds of millions of lives in the process. Yes, Singh had good intelligence, and they ended up stopping the war from re-starting, but can the Strange New Worlds writing staff write content that doesn’t make people break the rules?

You don’t always need to break the rules to get things done. And more importantly, why do writers always fall into the “let’s steal the ship” trope? Do you know what would happen if you stole a ship from the US Navy? Well, a real-life and former Navy sailor stole 20 grenades and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, as well as a $250k fine.

Spock would face much harsher penalties for stealing a deadly starship and rightfully so, and risking an encounter that could restart a war. Life in prison, if not worse. Now, in the context of the show, the whole episode was written as “Enterprise good guys, everyone else not”, to try and justify bad behavior.

The Enterprise crew were needlessly rude to their fellow Starfleet officers for no other reason than “drama”, and then hatched a plan that could’ve risked hundreds of millions of lives.

Now, the issue isn’t that the good guys did the good guy thing, it’s the setup.

There was a better way to right Spock commanding the Enterprise in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ second premiere

Now some fans will get mad that I didn’t like this dumb storyline, and that’s fine. Some people just accept whatever they’re given. I don’t, I demand the best you have to offer. And listen, this isn’t a bad story. In fact, the whole idea of the Klingons building a Federation ship, just to attack their own people and re-start the Klingon and Federation war is a great idea.

Heck, it could’ve been the entire seasonal arc, it’s that good. Yet, to make the crew literal criminals and to cut the legs out of Admiral April was unnecessary. All you had to do was have April send the Enterprise to Singh’s location under cover, with the goal to avoid a war at all costs and investigate.

Star Trek does this type of stuff all the time, where they send spies into alien areas to gather information. The entire episode could’ve gone the same exact way, without making the crew of the Enterprise entitled, and April an Admiral in name only.

It was needlessly combative and made the crew unlikable. They don’t get to risk every live in the Federation for one person, not without the approval of a commanding officer. That’s how it works in the military (and Starfleet).

Yes, the Trek trope is to defy orders and do whatever, but it’s at ired trope and one that needs to be put to rest.

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