Five Star Trek Love Stories for Valentine’s Day

Roses in Seven of Nine's borg cubicle from "Someone to Watch Over Me"I’ve had mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day for most of my life, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But whether it’s a day for true love, the death anniversary of a Catholic saint, an excuse to eat heart-shaped candy or just something to be ignored, it’s as good a day for Star Trek as any other. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of episode recommendations; whoever is reading this, I hope you find at least one or two to enjoy. (I did have to leave out any episode that involves dubious consent, unhealthy messages or a tragic ending … you’d be surprised how much that narrows things down.)

Odo and Kira kiss on the Promenade in "His Way"

Deep Space Nine s06e20 “His Way”

This is a classic first-date, friends-to-lovers Valentine’s Day episode (and one of my personal favorites). Constable Odo has been in love with Major Kira Nerys for years and she knows it, but has trouble seeing him in a romantic light because of his brusque, guarded behavior. When lounge singer Vic Fontaine steps in to play matchmaker, the result is a delightful jazz-infused comedy of errors that proves the externals of romance – dinner, dancing, candlelight – will only get you so far. It’s the courage to be vulnerable that matters most. (Bonus points for one of the most epic first kisses in Trek history – on the Promenade, no less!)

Picard and Crusher around the campfire in "Attached"

The Next Generation s07e08 “Attached”

For another story of falling for your best friend with a more bittersweet ending, we have Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher. While escaping from an alien prison, they find that their captors implanted them with a telepathic link. The link – and a campfire in the wilderness – bring a long hidden attraction to the surface. Being mature and responsible people, however, Jean-Luc and Beverly wait until the link is removed, talk it over, and decide that becoming lovers isn’t worth the risk to their friendship. Part of me wants to throw things at the screen every time I watch this, but the older I get, the more I understand.

Gray and Adira in "Forget Me Not"

Discovery s03e04 “Forget Me Not”

Gray and Adira Tal’s love transcends all boundaries: gender, species, cultural taboos, distance and even death. When Gray Tal, a Joined Trill, was fatally injured, his Human partner Adira saved the Tal symbiont by joining with it, despite the risks for a non-Trill. Though rejected and even threatened by some of the symbiont guardians, Adira is determined to honor their beloved’s legacy. Their bond with Gray proves strong enough for him to hold on to consciousness within the Tal symbiont, and appear to Adira as a guardian angel. I won’t spoil the rest of the series if you haven’t seen it, but let me assure you, their story’s not over yet.

Seven and Raffi on the cover of the audio novel "No Man's Land"

Picard: No Man’s Land Read Sue’s Women at Warp review here!

If you wonder how Seven of Nine and Raffi Musiker get from holding hands in Season 1 to challenging each other’s commitment and anger issues in Season 2, this audio drama is where you’ll find out. Nothing helps a Trek couple bond like embarking on a dangerous mission, saving each other’s lives and getting into passionate ethical debates. Their shipmate Hiro says it best when he remarks that the two women upset each other in a good way. (Bonus points for the heart-wrenchingly beautiful log entries of the widowed Professor Gillin, which inspire Seven to be more open in her own relationship.)

Billups stands up for his work in Engineering in "Where Pleasant Fountains Lie"

Lower Decks s02e07 “Where Pleasant Fountains Lie”

Finally, if romantic love isn’t for you, you can celebrate the day with a story about love for one’s vocation. Prince Andrithio Billups, Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Cerritos, has chosen a celibate life, despite years of pressure from his royal mother to take a lover so he will be eligible for the throne. When she tries to trick him into going back on his choice, it’s his protegé, Ensign Rutherford, who uncovers the deception and stops it from going too far. The two engineers share a passion for their work on the Cerritos, even if it means giving up a life of privilege. In the end, Billups leaves behind his manipulative birth family for the crew that accepts him for who he is. May you all find a crew this year that does the same for you.

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