This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
back to Character Insight! This week, we profile Ru'Afo from Insurrection, who comes in at number 11 on our best Trek movie villains
(When forehead of the week becomes facelift of the week)
Ahdar Ru'Afo leads the nomadic race called the Son'a during a conflict with the Ba'Ku over a homeworld including fountain-of-youth type properties. Although not revealed until late in the movie, Ru'Afo and his people were also Ba'Ku who happened to be exiled about a century earlier based on trying to take over with a new leadership regime in a coup.
Ru'Afo, like many of the Son'a, was obsessed with capturing back the youthful appearance he lost when leaving his home planet and the metaphasic rings surrounding it. These included some brutal medical procedures which included facelift equipment that apparently is lethal when used to an extreme on other races...just ask Admiral Dougherty, who came in much lower on this list of villains.
Eventually Ra'Afo decides the best way to gain back his youth is to steal the metaphasic particles from the planet, and he constructs a detailed plot with Admiral Dougherty to get that job done. Unfortunately for him, Dougherty turns on him and then the Federation's flagship brings the full force of Picard kickass down on Ru'Afo and his silly particle collector.
(Quote of the Week)
Captain Picard: Ru'afo, we're getting too old for this.
Ad'har Ru'afo: After today, that won't be a problem... for either of us.
On the bright side, only Ru'Afo goes down in flames as his followers do find a way to be reintegrated into Ba'Ku society in a happy ending. These people should've known Ru'Afo was crazy when he built up military forces to take over two peaceful races before coming back home to try and do the same.
Ru'Afo was written and acted as a relatively one-dimensional character, and his revenge-driven plot role is highly uninteresting compared to many of the great Star Trek villains. Thus, like Nero he misses out on the top 10 but he does at least come close to the really good Star Trek villains coming up soon on this list.
F. Murray Abraham plays Ru'Afo. He has a long distinguished acting career including roles in Scarface, the Grand Budapest Hotel, and Last Action Hero. He has recently been a regular on The Good Wife TV show.
Until next time, live long and prosper...