Star Trek Brings Back A Classic Starfleet Admiral Trope

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season 3 Finale – « The Stars At Night »The finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 revisited a classic, and infamous, Starfleet Admiral trope: Vice Admiral Les Buenamigo (Carlos Alazraqui) was evil all along. In Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3’s finale, Admiral Buenamigo tried to force the decommissioning of the California-class starships and replace them with his creation, the Texas-class starships, which are fully operated by artificial intelligence. However, Ensign Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) of the USS Cerritos foiled Buenamigo’s scheme, and the corrupt Admiral was killed by his own USS Aledo when the robot ship went rogue and attacked Starfleet.

Perhaps Captain Freeman should have guessed Admiral Buenamigo’s was evil because Starfleet has a long history of flag officers who turn violently insane. Buenamigo’s motivation was simply career advancement; even after rising to Vice Admiral, he found the upper echelons of Starfleet « so competitive » and Les wanted to make his own mark on the service, which would have been mothballing the California-class in favor of his Texas-class fleet. But once his plot was uncovered, Buenamigo revealed he was a psychopath. Les did an about-face whereas he stopped arguing the Texas-class would save Starfleet Officers’ lives and he was fine with killing all of the souls aboard the Cerritos « for the good of the many. » Admiral Buenamigo turned out to be yet another blight on the reputation of Starfleet’s Admirals, and he’s among the most twisted flag officers Star Trek has seen.

Why So Many Star Trek Admirals Turn Evil

Starfleet Admirals turn evil at an alarming rate. Most Admirals were starship Captains first, and it seems the pressures of long-term deep space exploration as well as the dangers they witnessed in the final frontier motivate many Admirals to resort to extreme methods. Most evil Admirals believe what they’re doing is to safeguard Starfleet and the Federation, but some, like Admiral Buenamigo, are just twisted, self-serving individuals pretending to serve the best interests of Starfleet while secretly pursuing their own agenda. Buenamigo’s misdeeds go as far back as when he was a Lieutenant Commander who manipulated Rutherford to design the USS Aledo, wiping his memory with a cybernetic implant in the process.

Admiral Buenamigo is in good company when it comes to evil Starfleet flag officers. Among the worst Starfleet has harbored is Admiral Cartwright (Brock Peters) led a conspiracy to assassinate the Klingon High Chancellor and prevent peace with the Federation in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. A military coup on Earth by Starfleet was attempted by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Admiral Leyton (Robert Foxworth), which he justified as protecting Earth from the Dominion’s Changelings. In Star Trek Into Darkness’ Kelvin Timeline, Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) sought to militarize Starfleet and start a war with the Klingons by bombing their homeworld. Marcus was so insane, he was even willing to kill his own daughter, Carol (Alice Eve).

Will Jellico Be The Next Evil Star Trek Admiral?

Star Trek: Prodigy is bringing back Admiral Edward Jellico (Ronny Cox) as the foil for Vice Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), so will Jellico turn out to be the next evil Admiral? Jellico was briefly Captain of the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation and his hardline style of command won no fans among the crew or among Trekkers. But Jellico was simply obstinate and difficult, not outright evil. Still, it’s reasonable to be wary that Jellico could reveal his true colors like so many other corrupt Admirals. Starfleet does have its share of noble Admirals like Kirk (William Shatner), Picard (Patrick Stewart), Cornwell (Jayne Brook), Vance (Oded Fehr) and Janeway, but Star Trek: Lower Decks proved Starfleet’s evil Admiral trope endures and shows no signs of going away.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Seasons 1-3 are available to stream on Paramount+.