Star Trek: 20 Worst Episodes Ever

16. Justice (TNG)


"Neat as pins, ultra-lawful, and make love at the drop of a hat."

If this episode were simply devoted to the over-sexed people of Edo, who run around scantily clad when they're not busy oiling each other up, it would simply be a forgettable trifle not unlike the subsequent episodes the franchise spends on Risa, the Federation Pleasure Planet.

Instead, this early episode (which has Gene Roddenberry's fingerprints all over it, even if he isn't a credited writer) takes a dark turn when Wesley slips and falls into a flower bed and is sentenced to death. Yes, you read that correctly. It seems Edo has a randomly selected punishment zone which changes daily. If you commit any crime in a punishment zone, no matter how minor, there's only one sentence -- the death penalty. Apparently, in their haste to get down to a planet where the natives "make love at the drop of a hat," the crew neglected to read the only local law that actually mattered.

If Kirk were the Captain, he'd simply beam up the boy and the Enterprise would be off to its next adventure. This, however, is Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Picard is a stickler for following the Prime Directive, no matter the cost. And, not only does he have the Prime Directive to contend with in Justice, but he's also faced with a powerful lifeform the Edo recognize as "God." Whatever the lifeform really is, it ominously warns the Enterprise not to interfere with its "children below." What follows all of these silly plot mechanics is an unconvincing and talky finale, which does little to salvage a premise which borders on self-parody.

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Michael is one of the founders of FACT TREK (, a project dedicated to untangling 50+ years of mythology about the original Star Trek and its place in TV history. He currently is the Director of Sales and Digital Commerce at Shout! Factory, where he has worked since 2014. From 2013-2018, he ran the popular Star Trek Fact Check blog (