“Conspiracy” (season 1, episode 25)
The next-to-last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s first season steered the series straight into the sci-fi horror territory so firmly established by the movie Alien about a decade earlier.
Indeed, the episode is likely most famous for featuring Star Trek’s own version of Alien’s “chest-burster.” Commander Remmick (Robert Schenkkan) is host to a monstrous “mother creature” whom Picard and Riker kill in what may well be TNG’s goriest moment. The body horror element invoked the BBC’s wrath in 1991—censors across the pond cut the messy minutes from the episode before broadcasting it.
Even before Remmick’s revolting death, “Conspiracy” gives viewers the creeps, from Picard’s clandestine meeting with other Starfleet officers (unbeknownst to him, already infected by the alien invaders), to the nauseating sight of those officers chowing down on writhing grub worms at Starfleet Command.
If stomach-churning horror is on your holiday agenda, “Conspiracy” is one of the Star Trek TNG episodes for Halloween not to be missed.
“Q Who” (season 2, episode 16)
“Q Who” proved to be one of the most consequential TNG episodes—indeed, one of the most consequential Star Trek episodes, period. It introduced the Borg into the franchise’s mythos, an adversary whose presence would still be shaping storylines in the franchise as late as the final season of Star Trek: Picard.
In 1989, few may have known just how important the Borg would come to be, but “Q Who” was still a riveting and a really creepy episode. Never were the Borg more zombie-like than they were in this initial appearance. Unstoppable and unknowable, they proved too much for the Enterprise to handle—a scary thought for Trek fans at the time, used to seeing our Starfleet heroes prevail over all.
And on’t forget the especially unsettling sight of the Borg nursery! We only saw one little Borg baby, but we heard the haunting cries of many more. Thank goodness Boimler managed to save them all in his simulation in Star Trek: Lower Decks’ “I, Excretus”!