A Competitive Ranking of Trek and Trek-Adjacent Cliffhangers
#1
I recently watched S2E8 of The Orville and it had an EPIC cliffhanger, which made me think how I would rank all the cliffhangers we've seen throughout trek.  
The qualifications I have set forth are as follows: 
  1. It must be a double length or longer episode
  2. It must have been broadcast as two or more separate episodes (i.e. excluding "Encounter at Farpoint" and similar)
  3. Rule 1 does not apply if the episode sets up a genuine threat to the rest of the series that is then followed up immediately (i.e. I'm not counting every episode of the final chapter of DS9)
  4. I am not including episodes from Enterprise because I lack the knowledge of them that I have for the others and the list is long enough already
For reference, episodes have been marked with "Part I" when the next episode has the same title followed by "Part II", or by their series and episode number if the following episode has a different title
The cliffhangers I found were:
  • The Best of Both Worlds Part I
  • Redemption Part I
  • Unification Part I
  • Time's Arrow Part I
  • Chain of Command Part I
  • Birthright Part I
  • Descent Part I
  • Gambit Part I
  • The Homecoming (DS9 S2E1)
  • The Circle (DS9 S2E2)
  • The Maquis Part I
  • The Jem'Hadar (DS9 S2E26)
  • The Search Part I
  • Past Tense Part I
  • Improbable Cause (DS9 S3E20)
  • The Adversary (DS9 S3E26)
  • Homefront (DS9 S4E11)
  • Broken Link (DS9 S4E26)
  • In Purgatory's Shadow (DS9 S5E14)
  • Call to Arms (DS9 S5E26)
  • Favor the Bold (DS9 S6E5)
  • Tears of the Prophets (DS9 S6E26)
  • Image in the Sand (DS9 S7E1)
  • Basics Part I
  • Future's End Part I
  • Scorpion Part I
  • Year of Hell Part I
  • The Killing Game Part I
  • Equinox Part I
  • Unimatrix Zero Part I
  • Workforce Part I
  • Into the Forest I Go (DSC/DIS S1E9)
  • Will You Take My Hand (DSC/DIS S1E15)

  • Identity Part 1 (Orville S2E8)
This post is long enough so I'll be putting my rankings in a comment.  Let me know what you think!
[Image: 9jilqcf.gif]
Reply
#2
Right off the bat I'm throwing out most of them to rank later, but I'm focusing on Best of Both Worlds, The Jem'Hadar, Improbable Cause, The Adversary, Call to Arms, Favor the Bold, Scorpion, Into the Forest I Go, Will You Take my Hand, and Identity.
Out of these I have the following rankings: 
  1. Best of Both Worlds
  2. Identity
  3. The Jem'Hadar
  4. Call to Arms
  5. Into the Forest I Go
  6. The Adversary
  7. Improbable Cause
  8. Scorpion
  9. Will You Take My Hand
  10. Favor the Bold
Best of Both Worlds has to take the number one spot for me just solely because of the amount of buildup.  We've only seen the Borg in one episode before this, but its bad enough that Picard BEGS Q to get them out of there.  The music buildup is amazing, I don't think anyone musically inclined can get that cliffhanger out of their head.

Identity is an upset at number 2, which I give mostly for the sudden shock value.  Isaac has been on the ship since the beginning, and has done so much for this ship, and we've never seen an inkling before of his true colors.  Now at the end of this episode the Kaylon seem to have everything going for them.  They have a Union ship, its crew as hostages, tons of ships with unknown capabilities, and most importantly, the element of surprise.  The only reason this doesn't take the top spot is the popularity of Best of Both Worlds and the fact that the summer break in TNG gave room for so much more speculation than the one week break we're getting here before the next normal episode.

The Jem'Hadar is a HUGE change in tone for Star Trek as a whole.  The Gamma Quadrant goes from being an unexplored paradise to the big baddie next door within 45 shock-filled minutes.  We get the payoff of the constant name dropping of "The Dominion" that has been going on in other Gamma Quadrant episodes, and we get the setup for the fact that this is the biggest foe the Federation has faced since the Borg

Call to Arms is a pretty big deal.  At the end of the episode, the wormhole is closed for good, or so they think, and Sisko has finally followed through and actually evacuated all of DS9's Starfleet presence.  They sabotage the station, and Gul Dukat gets to correct Major Kira that its "Terok Nor" now.

Into the Forest I Go.  Maybe its the shock value, maybe its the recency, but that field of starships and the leadup to that scene left so many questions in my head during the mid-season break that I actually paid for no commercial CBS All Access until the end of the season.

The Adversary. We're getting into the lower end of the spectrum of cliffhangers here, but this episode still packs a punch.  Right off the bat, Commander Sisko finally gets promoted to Captain, and the final beat of the episode is a defeated Founder telling the crew that they are too late, and the Changelings have already infiltrated the entire quadrant.

Improbable Cause is far from a slouch in the cliffhanger department.  We finally get to know more about Garak, and jump from "he's just a tailor" to "he used to be the right hand of the head of the Cardassian CIA" by the end of the episode.  

Scorpion is ok, but as far as impact on the universe it's lacking like other episodes on this end of the scale.  It DID give us Seven, for which I am grateful, but other than that all it did was introduce a new enemy that we saw way too little of.

Will You Take My Hand is very low on this list but not the lowest because of it's impact on what we've seen so far on Discovery.  Seeing the Enterprise was great, but it only showed up for about 10 minutes in the premiere of Season 2.

Favor the Bold ranks the lowest on my list for a simple reason.  At this point the series intro is still calling the series Deep Space Nine, and there's a huge Federation fleet ready to do battle to take back the titular space station.  There is no question that they will be victorious because of the nature of the show.

What do you think? Did I leave something out? Did I throw out a really good cliffhanger? What are your rankings?
[Image: 9jilqcf.gif]
Reply
#3
For a more complete list of two part episode across all series: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Sto...t_episodes
Reply
#4
"Recall the fleet...
                             But sir, we...
RECALL THE FLEET NOW!"

That one scene was top notch! Identity really did outdo everything that came before up to that point, and could have easily allowed itself to be as pivotal a season ending cliffhanger to the Orville as Best of Both Worlds was to TNG. I agree that the short break devalued all that suspense it created.

DS9 had a lot of serialized content that could have worked as two-parters, like the events upto and including Sacrifice of Angels. the kind of stuff that makes your mouth water for more popcorn and keeps you coming back for more...

I would like to see how other franchises like Stargate and Battlestar (scifi) would compare in an expanded  top ten/top twenty list...
[Image: akimalyn2380_13732.jpg?d=1486457680]
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)
Sponsored Links