Star Trek is ostensibly a science-fiction franchise, but it occasionally descends into eyeball-chewing lunacy for, as best we can determine, no reason whatsoever.

Aliens Wear a Man's Face

The Vidiian race survives by stealing the organs of other living creatures, because why the hell not, they're aliens. In the masterfully titled episode "Faces," this handsome Vidiian fellow ...

... rips the face off of Miguel Ferrer's nephew ...

If only he'd done him a favor and taken the rest of that disastrous hairline.

... to become this perfect human doppelganger:

Wait, is that a duplicate of the first image?

Now he can seamlessly blend in like Jame Gumb at a breast cancer survivor's luncheon.

A Woman Gets Her Face Erased

"Charlie X" is about a teenage shithead with mind powers. He uses these powers to blow up an entire ship, break Spock's legs, and delete a woman's face because he thinks she's laughing at him.

However, he leaves her sideswept bangs intact. He may be cruel, but he's not a monster.

Harry Kim Gets Attacked by a Circus

In "The Thaw," crewman Harry Kim enters a simulation being run by a maniacal computer only to be tortured by Michael McKean in sock monkey makeup and the cast of Freddie Mercury's Cirque du Soleil.

Gene Roddenberry took his LSD with a goddamn swimming pool.

They proceed to shove Harry's head into a pink guillotine ...

... but eventually change their minds and decide to strap him down to an operating table instead, waving a scalpel in his face and screaming about fear. The whole sequence feels like the most elaborately disguised hate crime in the history of television.

Picard and Riker Blow Up a Man's Head

In "The Conspiracy," brain-eating parasites have infested the Federation with the apparent goal of making everyone sit in swivel chairs and eat mealworms. Captain Picard and Commander Riker discover the Lord Parasite hiding in the body of a Starfleet officer, so they immediately blast the officer's skull into a space-age meat explosion without exchanging a single word.

The phaser's meatsplosion setting was never used again.

The Lord Parasite then bursts from the headless corpse's chest like a suitcase full of shrieking tumors, and parents across the country changed the channel.

Data Eats Human Cake

The episode "Phantasms" involves a malfunction in Data's program that causes him to have nightmares. However, instead of typical "showing up naked for space church" nightmares, Data's go for full-on David Lynch insanity.

Riker's beard is pretty damn Lynchian to start with.

Data walks into a bar to find Worf eating a piece of cake that looks suspiciously like part of a person's chest. Data sees Commander Riker getting his brains sucked out through a straw by Dr. Crusher before finally locating the source of Worf's dessert -- a giant Deanna Troi cake, who pleads with Data as he cuts a piece from her like a Tom Petty video with a knife that looks like it was meant to skin Velociraptors:

A Midget Rides on Kirk's Back

In "Plato's Stepchildren," telepathic aliens lead an existence inspired by the teachings of Plato, who evidently wrote a lot more about abusing midgets than we were aware. When the crew makes the mistake of beaming down, the aliens subject them to a variety of indignities, such as making Spock dance an erotic fandango around Kirk:

"I assure you, Captain, my erection is entirely logical."

Forcing Spock to cry in the lap of the aforementioned midget:

And then impelling said midget to ride Kirk like a horse, because these are things upon which compelling science fiction thrives:

Ray Bradbury, eat your heart out.

Zombie Spider

In "Genesis," a virus causes everyone on board the Enterprise to devolve into animals using flimsy television science, resulting in 45 minutes of relatively decent actors pretending to be animals like they were in some sort of Craigslist drama class.

A mutant crustacean Worf burns off Dr. Crusher's face with acid spit, Counselor Troi sprouts gills, and for some inexplicable reason one lieutenant turns into a half-zombie horror spider from space, leading us to wonder what the hell he could've evolved from.

Clearly, the answer is spider butts.

Two People Are Turned into Lizards to Have Sex

In the Voyager episode "Threshold," Tom Paris breaks the threshold of Warp 10 and ends up turning into Louis Gossett Jr. from Enemy Mine. He also becomes obsessed with being the most disgusting thing that has ever existed.

He looks like the inside of your nose during cold season.

He pulls out his own tongue, scoops Captain Janeway up and bounds off with her like Space Kong, and somehow turns them both into salamanders so they can have sex in a jungle.

It has suddenly become paralyzingly clear why Voyager didn't make it to a major network.

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