One Star Trek Character Always Being Tortured By The Writers

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

miles o'brien

What if we told you that Star Trek is a franchise that never got tired of torturing its best character? Chief Miles O’Brien (a recurring cast member of The Next Generation who became a regular on Deep Space Nine) was shown in statue form in a Lower Decks episode where future students are taught that he is “the most important person in Starfleet history.” We certainly agree, but here’s the problem: throughout Deep Space Nine, it is clear that O’Brien is also the most tormented person in Starfleet history due to all the insane ways he is made to suffer.  

Will The Real Miles O’Brien Please Stop Dying?

miles o'brien

In no particular order, we’re going to review some of the weirder ways that Miles O’Brien got tortured in Deep Space Nine. For example, in the episode “Visionary,” he ends up running into a future version of himself before actually dying. He’s replaced by his future self, and while that’s fine for his family and friends, we have to imagine he constantly faces the existential dread of wondering whether he’s really the person everyone thinks he is or just a freaky future clone of himself.

Miles Has The Worst Dentist

miles o'brien

Aside from literally dying and getting shamelessly replaced, Miles O’Brien also has a pleasant vacation with his wife turned into prolonged torture and false imprisonment in the DS9 episode “Tribunal.” This is all at the hands of the merciless Cardassians, and the hapless Starfleet officer has one of his teeth ripped out with pliers before being told he’s already been declared guilty and will soon be executed. Eventually, his friends prove that he’s been framed and free him, but the fact that he spends an entire week in Cardassia’s brutal prison system is crazy.

A Prisoner Of His Own Mind, Literally

miles o'brien

Speaking of crazy prison systems, none of this can hold a candle to the time that Miles O’Brien showed a bit of interest in some alien technology and got accused of espionage. In the Deep Space Nine episode “Hard Time,” this results in him getting a very futuristic prison sentence: his mind experiences what it would be like to spend 20 years in prison, but only a few hours of time pass by in the real world. That may sound like mercy, but O’Brien develops intense PTSD from killing a fellow prisoner in his mind and ends up nearly committing suicide before Doctor Bashir talks him down.

Donnie Brasco O’Brien And More

Believe it or not, these are just a few of the many times that Miles O’Brien is needlessly tormented by Star Trek writers. We didn’t review the time that he went undercover and got a friendly confidant killed, or the time that his young daughter fell through a time portal and came back a feral teenager. Heck, we didn’t even talk about the time that he almost died from an ancient biogenic weapon or the bizarre incident in which an alien takes control of his wife’s body and threatens to kill her unless he sabotages the station.

The Mysterious Golden Statue

That all brings us back to the Lower Decks episode “Temporal Edict,” which featured a brief flash forward in which we see Miles O’Brien’s statue (shades of Zephram Cochrane) and wide-eyed students seated around it and learning that he’s the most important person in Starfleet history. The show never tells us exactly why this is, but it may very well be that surviving all these many torments ended up making him into the perfect officer. Or it could just be he’s the best because O’Brien, like his ancestor, is more than a hero: he’s a union man.