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In the final scene of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Vengeance Factor" (episode 9 of season 3), why did Riker

have to kill Yuta?

It is clearly said in previous scenes (by Dr. Beverly Crusher) that a microvirus, embodied in Yuta, was only harmful to members of the clan with which Yuta’s clan was fighting. If so, couldn't he simply use force? Like catch her, and block her from reaching Brull or doing anything less harmful? If he wouldn't have enough force, I think that Worf was somewhere close to help him.

In my opinion, "The Vengeance Factor" is one of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But its final scene is simply terrible. Was it really necessary to end it in such a poor / lame / American-western-like way (where every "evil" must eventually die at the movie’s end)?

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The script simply indicates that he had "no choice". He'd tried lower settings (which she'd proven resistant to) and she was intent on reaching her victim:

Riker lowers the phaser, extends his other hand toward Yuta --

Riker : come on... (Yuta pauses) - I'm... sorry.

As Yuta whirls, reaches to touch Chorgan -- and Riker FIRES.

The stun charge shakes Yuta up -- but she remains conscious, recovers her footing. Riker changes the phaser setting, FIRES again. It knocks Yuta back. But she keeps coming.

Riker has no choice. He adjusts the phaser --

RIKER : Don't --

Yuta reaches for Chorgan again -- And Riker FIRES. Setting eight. Vaporize. And Yuta's gone.

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    Not to mention that Riker was too far from Yuta to prevent her from touching Brull, so physically stopping her wasn't an option either. – Xantec Sep 27 '14 at 16:19
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    @Xantec - I think this really comes down to some poor staging. Placing her closer to her potential victim and placing Riker farther away would have made his decision seem more obvious – Valorum Sep 27 '14 at 16:22
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    Two words - Kobayashi Maru. Save the girl, fail the mission. Save the mission, lose the girl. Classic no-win scenario. – Omegacron Sep 29 '14 at 17:47

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