Star Trek is often seen as an escape from the real world. It deals with themes via the safety net of Science Fiction, offering morality tales as often as it offers explosions and gorgeous, gorgeous fly-bys. However, there are moments in the franchise that remain forever etched in the hearts and minds of those watching.
There are moments of upbeat joy that still manage to pluck at the heartstrings. Who didn't feel tears rise when Data finds Spot in the wreckage of the Enterprise? Who, except Brent Spiner that is?
When a show features strong writing and strong performances, it is inevitable that the audience will truly grow to love those characters. What follows is pain when those characters are faced with challenges and worse. Whether the moments are seemingly small, affecting only those persons depicted in the immediate scene, others have burned into the ongoing saga and the audiences' minds forever.
Whether it is the return of a painful memory in the form of a musical motif or the final voyage of a beloved companion, this list offers a comprehensive list of the most heartbreaking moments in the franchise to date. However, a fair warning to all readers: Star Trek continues to go on and on. With some luck, this is a list that may feature new entries in the coming years. Star Trek brings joy. But reader, Star Trek also knows how to bring the pain.
12. Turning Death Into A Fighting Chance For Life - Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
When Star Trek III was released in cinemas, fans had followed the crew of the Enterprise for twenty years, enjoying their ups and downs and watching the ship transform from the version in the Original Series to the beautifully redesigned model of the Motion Picture.
The ship had taken heavy damage in the Wrath of Khan but few expected the sad fate of the old girl in this second sequel. The Enterprise is as much a character in Star Trek as Spock or Kirk and to lose her was akin to losing one of them.
Tricking the Klingons to board the ship, the grieving Kirk finds his way out of the no win scenario yet again. But this film offers Kirk the heaviest cost of his career. He had already lost Spock and yet now had the chance to get him back. To do this, he doesn't just lose his beloved ship, exploding in a fiery act of resistance to the would-be invaders, but he also loses David, the son he only recently came back into contact with.
The Wrath of Khan and the Search for Spock both explore the themes of aging and death. For Kirk, David was the chance at a family and being a father. Losing him in such a violent way to then be forced to destroy the Enterprise herself was devastating for fans. He may have saved the day but the cost, for once, may have been too high.