Here are the best Romulan centered episodes of Star Trek.
Over the years, fans and critics have rightfully pointed out how much Star Trek overuses certain alien races, with the Klingons and the Borg probably being the worst offenders. However, since the days of Star Trek: The Original Series, the one alien race they have used just enough to keep them cool and mysterious is the Romulans (yes, if you’re asking, we’ve already blocked the first season of Picard from our brains). If you’d like to see what makes these mysterious aliens tick, we’ve compiled the definitive list of Star Trek eps featuring the Romulans that you can stream on Paramount Plus.
7. “Balance of Terror” – Star Trek: The Original Series
The Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Balance of Terror” wasn’t just our first introduction to the Romulans, it was also the first time Starfleet saw what this old enemy looked like. Everyone was properly horrified to discover this foe looked exactly like Mr. Spock, but they had to marshal those fears quickly in order to wage war against a ship that can cloak itself at will. The episode is thrilling enough on its own, but it is more important than ever now that the first-season finale of Strange New Worlds gave us a glimpse of what it would be like if Pike had fought the Romulans rather than Kirk.
6. “Unification” – Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation didn’t bring in cameos from The Original Series very often, making their handful of appearances a very big deal. The best example of this is “Unification,” where we discover that Leonard Nimoy’s Spock has effectively devoted his life to unifying the Vulcan and Romulan people who once shared both a world and an ideology. In addition to the sheer fun of seeing a returning Star Trek legend like Spock, this two-part episode gave us a better glimpse at Romulan culture and the Romulan homeworld, something fans had waited literally decades to finally see.
5. “Message in a Bottle” – Star Trek: Voyager
While Voyager was arguably at its worst when it tried to copy other Star Trek shows, it was perhaps at its best when throwing completely unexpected plots at fans. This is certainly the case with “Message in a Bottle,” which begins with the holographic Doctor being transmitted to a mysterious Starfleet ship back in the Alpha Quadrant. It sounds like typical Star Trek right until the Doctor discovers the crew has been murdered by Romulans, and only his alliance with another EMH program will be enough to fight off these alien attackers and return an experimental new starship to the Federation.
4. “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: once Deep Space Nine hit its stride, it became the best series in the franchise, and no NuTrek shows have even come close to touching its glory. That glory is on full display in the wordy title episode “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges,” where Dr. Bashir’s visit to Romulus for a conference suddenly goes sideways when Section 31 once again tries to recruit him. Bashir wants to live up to classic Star Trek ideals, but he soon discovers that even his best intentions may put him in the crosshairs of the Romulans, and his every action (or inaction) could potentially lead to outright war.
3. “Face of the Enemy” – Star Trek: The Next Generation
Without a doubt, “Face of the Enemy” has the best cold open that Star Trek: The Next Generation ever gave us. Betazoid counselor Deanna Troi is horrified when she wakes up on a Romulan ship, where she has had plastic surgery so that she can pose as a Tal Shiar operative in order to complete a secret mission. This leads to a very tense Star Trek episode where she must balance her ideals and her need to survive, all while audiences get our first extensive look at what life is like onboard a Romulan warbird (a real treat for fans hoping to learn more about these aliens).
2. “The Mind’s Eye” – Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Mind’s Eye” was clearly inspired by the classic film The Manchurian Candidate, but its plot about Geordi La Forge being brainwashed by Romulans is full of surprises even for fans of the movie. It’s obviously tense watching La Forge get kidnapped and brainwashed, and we were on the edge of our seats waiting to see how (or if) Picard and crew would figure out what was going on. But the real joy of this episode is watching how convoluted and sneaky the Romulans can be, as they typically prefer these weird manipulations rather than outright conflict.
1. “In the Pale Moonlight” – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “In the Pale Moonlight” is such a perfect Sisko episode that it’s easy to forget it’s a great Romulan episode, too. But Romulans are at the center of the plot in which Captain Sisko realizes there are almost no lengths he won’t go to if it means bringing the Romulans into the war against the Dominion. The thrilling story focuses on how Sisko’s particular road to hell is paved with good intentions, and we loved seeing his interaction with a Romulan senator whose line delivery of “it’s a faaaake!” will forever live rent-free in our heads.