The transporter is one of the coolest things Star Trek ever gave the world. I used the love watching them beam up and beam down. The reason it was created was because Gene Roddenberry couldn’t figure out how to land the ship. Besides it got the crew into the action faster. I don’t get why these days so many people want to spoil the coolness of it by pointing out that it isn’t “transporting” so much as destroying a person and recreating them. Geez, talk about being a downer.
The transporter is the coolest thing ever! And it gave us an unintended thing…some of the craziest and/or far fetched stories in all Star Trek came from when the thing would malfunction in some crazy way. All sorts of things would happen, from bizarre transformations to flat out killing people (see Star Trek The Motion Picture).Â Before I start no talk of “Lt Riker” since that was off screen and not reversed in the end. There was also an episode of Enterprise where Hoshi had a bizarre incident with a transporter which I am not counting since it didn’t really happen (long story but do your really care?). No “The Next Phase” since the transporter accident is incidental, and the transporter does not play any role in restoring LaForge and Ro. Finally also leaving off “Realm of Fear” since nothing technically happens with the transporter in that one.
So let’s get into my favorite “transporter malfunctions”.
#5.Mirror, Mirror (TOS)
So what happens if you try beaming up during an Ion Storm? Apparently you swap places with your mirror counterparts and end up in a mirror universe. You even switch clothes during the exchange, neat! I joke but in all seriousness this was one Trek’s best episodes. And the fact that a transporter is responsible qualifies it for this list. In fact the beam up in this episode is a fantastically well done scene.
#4.Our Man Bashir (DS9)
This one could almost be considered a Holodeck malfunction (hey, there’s an idea for a list!) but it’s more the transporter which is at fault. It’s also the transporter which fixes the problem (on the Defiant but still…). So what happened? Ok, most of the crew are in a runabout when it explodes, as they are being beamed off. Some energy travels back and causes an explosion on the pad, causing the physical forms to be shunted into the holodeck and integrated into Bashir’s James Bond-esque Holodeck program. The crew do not have their memories so believe they are the characters, and the program can’t be stopped in fear of losing the patterns. So while Bashir has to play along Odo has to figure out to integrate the mental patterns with the physical patterns and restore the crew. Confused? It’s actually a really good episode which deserves a full review.
No clip for this oneÂ 🙁
Yeah, I think most people have heard of this one. The transporter malfunction sets the plot in motion but the story becomes about much more than that. But that’s another article. Basically, Tuvox and Neelix are beaming up with an odd plant and somehow all three get merged into one lifeform. Funny how that one sentence makes less sense than the whole other entry. Anyway I will say that at the end a transporter manages to restore Tuvok and Neelix…but there’s a lot of stuff to talk about in between which I don’t have time for here. Let’s just say that Janeway does something kind of controversial. The goofy premise works because guest actor Tom Wright is fantastic in the role, he sells the concept and makes us believe in it (and care for this character at the same time).
I think everyone knows this goofy episode. Funny how this one also involves Ro, guess she didn’t have the best luck with transporters. Picard, Guinan, Ro, and Keiko are on their way back to the Enterprise when an energy thing envelopes the shuttle. O’Brien manages to pull them out—AS CHILDREN! Turns out that their RVM codes were blocked and the transporter re materialized them that way. Yeah this episode is second only to Genesis for the god awful science. That isn’t even the worst part either! The worst part is when a bunch of Ferengi take over the ship (you know, the same ship that beat THE BORG) and the kids have to save the day. It’s an absurd concept which I think the episode takes to seriously. If it felt like they were just having fun with it than maybe it would have worked.
#1.The Enemy Within
My friends, I give you the standard setter. This is the one that started them all! After a crewman materializes covered in some kind of ore, the transporter gets a little nutty. It beams Kirk up, and then a few seconds later it beams another Kirk up!!! How is that possible? Who knows. It gets ever stranger to. The second Kirk is the “evil” Kirk, made up of all man’s nasty traits. The other Kirk is the “good” Kirk. He has kindness and concern and is not a raging lunatic. I am joking but this is one of the first good episode of the series, and set a standard. It takes this absurd premise and really explores the concept of “good” and “evil” in people. And Shatner does a good job being both the animalistic Kirk and the docile Kirk. The episode has it all from the first “he’s dead Jim!” to the very first Vulcan nerve pinch to a scene where the bad Kirk tries to rape Yeoman Rand. Yep, that happened. I liked Grace Lee Whitney it’s to bad they unceremonious with her. But that’s another topic. This episode is just classic and has a special place for being Star Trek’s very first transporter malfunction.
This was fun, maybe next time I will do holodeck malfunctions. Now that could be interesting……