The series finale of Star Trek: Picard gave fans the greatest spaceship battle in the franchise.
Recently, Paramount+ subscribers were treated to the final episode of Picard’s third and final season. While Spock would remind us that there are always possibilities, this is likely the last time we’ll see the onscreen adventures of characters like Picard, Data, and Riker. Of course, they went out in style in an episode that contains what many Star Trek fans are calling the best space battle scene of the entire franchise.
For context, this is an episode where the villainous Borg come closer than ever to their goal of destroying Starfleet and the Federation for good. At this point, they have a fleet of hijacked minds and ships poised to blow away every major population center on Earth. And in typical Star Trek fashion, it’s up to the refurbished Enterprise-D to make its way through the inner workings of the Borg ship to blow it up, save the day, and hopefully rescue their crew members before making an escape from the giant exploding ship.
While this scene was quite a crowdpleaser, the honest truth is that it’s not the best Star Trek space battle we’ve ever seen. Considering how much the dramatic escape from the explosion mirrors Return of the Jedi, it’s difficult for any Star Trek fan to say their franchise’s biggest battle ripped off Star Wars. Plus, if you like Star Wars-style battles in your Star Trek, the Deep Space Nine episode “Shattered Mirror” gives us a much better battle when the Defiant must defeat the oversized Klingon ship being led by Mirror Universe Worf.
We also got better space battle scenes in The Original Series, particularly in the episode “Balance of Terror.” In that episode, William Shatner’s Captain Kirk must outwit a Romulan commander whose ship is armed with a cloaking device. The resulting cat-and-mouse battle between them is one for the ages and a reminder that Trek should try its hand at submarine-style storytelling more often.
And the various Star Trek movies have also given us better battles over the years. In addition to the heartbreaking sacrifice of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, The Wrath of Khan is fondly remembered for its epic space combat with Khan inside the nebula (an idea that both TNG and Picard would later rip off). In The Undiscovered Country, the final showdown between the Enterprise and a Klingon ship that can fire when cloaked is one more reminder that Kirk doesn’t believe in the no-win scenario.
None of this is meant to detract from how cool this space combat scene is in Star Trek: Picard and showrunner Terry Matalas deserves credit for providing the gripping space battles that previous seasons were sorely lacking. It’s cool that CGI wizardry has helped give us a closer look at the Enterprise-D in all her bumpy glory, both in and out of combat. However, those who are saying this is the best space combat they’ve ever seen in the franchise may need to rewatch the last two seasons of Deep Space Nine and get back to us.