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In Star Trek, death is not always the final frontier! The axiom was summarized by Ensigns Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2’s “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris.” Addressing the apparent resurrection of Lt. Shax (Fred Tatasciore), Mariner and Boimler agree: “Bridge crew always come back.”
But Ensign Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) isn’t satisfied with that answer. Later, he can’t resist asking Shax how he returned from the dead. “You do know about the Black Mountain, right?” begins Shax before continuing with a horrifyingly in-depth explanation. For this reason, “The Black Mountain” can be considered synonymous with the Trek convention of resurrected bridge crew members.
Now that we have a term for the resurrection of bridge crew members, here are 8 examples of Star Trek characters who returned from The Black Mountain. Did we miss your favorite? Be sure and let us know!
The original Black Mountain visitor is none other than Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Audiences were gutted when Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan culminated in Spock sacrificing himself for the “good of the many.” The memorable death scene is etched upon the minds of countless Trekkies.
However, that wasn’t the end for Spock. He made his return in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the next movie to feature the crew of Star Trek: The Original Series. This was thanks to a combination of circumstances involving the Genesis Planet and Spock’s Katra being preserved within a semi-willing Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley). Spock went on to live for many decades after his restoration, into the timeline of Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond.
Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is a more frequent Black Mountain visitor than many others on this list. In fact, in Star Trek: Generations, Picard even returned from his apparent death in the Nexus with another Black Mountain visitor: Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner).
However, Picard once again visited the Black Mountain in Star Trek: Picard season 1. At the climax of this season, Picard apparently succumbed to Irumodic Syndrome. Fortunately, his consciousness was transferred to a techno-golem designed to closely replicate his human body (minus the Irumodic Syndrome).
Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) suffered one of the most infamous deaths in Star Trek history. In the TNG season 1 episode “Skin of Evil,” the security chief of the Enterprise-D is unceremoniously dispatched by an entity called Armus.
But in the TNG season 3 episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” an alternate timeline version of Yar appears. This parallel Yar travels back in time a quarter of a decade at the climax of the episode. She subsequently gives birth to a daughter, the half-Romulan Commander Sela (Crosby), who later plays a role on TNG.
In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Children of Time,” the crew of the Defiant discovers a planet that has been inhabited by their descendants for several generations. This included a much-older version of Odo (René Auberjonois). Due to time travel, the Defiant crew became stranded on the planet several hundred years in the past. Shortly after arrival, Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) died due to a medical issue related to said temporal phenomena.
Because of these circumstances, Kira is able to pray over her own grave. Eventually, Defiant must complete its role in the time loop. However, the machinations of the older Odo prevent the ship from traveling back in time. While this ensures Kira’s survival, the generations of descendants on the planet are consequently eradicated from the timeline.
In the Star Trek: Voyager season 5 episode “Timeless,” a parallel future version of Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) visits the Black Mountain. This alternate timeline occurs after an attempt to use slipstream technology to get Voyager home sooner. Instead, only the Delta Flyer makes it to Earth. Meanwhile, Voyager crashed on an ice planet, killing all but The Doctor (Robert Picardo).
Fifteen years later, Kim plans to send a message back in time to prevent the disaster. Ultimately, he is successful in this effort. However, in the process of sending the message, the Delta Flyer‘s warp core explodes. But because the message is transmitted successfully, Kim Prime survives to complete the journey back from the Delta Quadrant.
The prime timeline version of Captain Phillipa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is killed by Klingons early on in Star Trek: Discovery season 1. However, a subsequent Mirror Universe-switcheroo brings Georgiou back into the show’s narrative for a major role through seasons 2 and 3.
Georgiou’s return does have consequences. In the two-part Discovery episode “Terra Firma,” Mirror Georgiou must be sent to a point before the two universes split. This is accomplished thanks to the Guardian of Forever, who is going by the name “Carl” (Paul Guilfoyle).
Doctor Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) was killed in the Discovery season 1 episode “Despite Yourself.” In this episode, Culber discovered that Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) was a surgically altered Klingon. This triggered Tyler’s programming, causing him to snap Culber’s neck.
But in the Discovery season 2 episode “Saints of Imperfection,” a resurrected version of Culber is found by his husband, Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), in the mycelial network. Thus, Culber is able to return from The Black Mountain.
Shax was killed rescuing Ensign Rutherford from the Pakleds in Lower Decks season 1’s finale, “No Small Parts.” However, he returned a few episodes into the following season. Rutherford became fixated on and eventually succeeded in learning the secret of Shax’s resurrection. While this is connected to The Black Mountain, the details are mostly hidden behind the orchestral score by Chris Westlake.
At first, it seemed as though Shax would be replaced by Lt. Kayshon (Carl Tart). However, this was a red herring: now both Shax and Kayshon serve in security aboard the Cerritos.
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