This is probably my longest post title ever.
The return of Malavai Quinn in patch 5.2 has once again reinvigorated the discussion about what companions we'd like to get rid of or even kill. I think Bioware has handled this well enough in the content they've added since 4.0, but the original class stories still feature many moments where it feels outright wrong that you're not able to do anything but smile and nod in the face of your companions' actions. I understand that it's not feasible to go back and change that at this point, but it is nonetheless somewhat galling when you consider that the original reason for making companions unkillable (people killed their only healer and later regretted it) has completely gone out of the window thanks to the ability to switch their role on the fly.
In the spirit of angrily shaking your fist at the screen to no avail, I shall therefore present you... with what it says in the post title. This post contains spoilers for the class stories of all the Imperial classes. Somehow it's only Imperial companions that inspire this kind of rage in me... probably because the worst any Republic companions can do is be boring or mildly annoying. You might wish for an option to reject some of them, but it's generally not in character to want to outright murder them. Not so for the Imps though.
#5: Ashara Zavros
Ashara is only fifth on this list because she's a comparatively inoffensive companion. However, she is a Jedi padawan, and for some reason the Sith inquisitor decides to adopt her as his or her apprentice. Why? Who knows!
The warrior has a similar thing going on with Jaesa Willsaam, but at least she has a unique talent that makes her desirable to have around, and the Sith warrior in turn gets an opportunity to impress her big time and give her a reason to want to stick around. It's still a flawed scenario, but at least it's got something going for it.
The only thing that makes Ashara relevant to the Sith inquisitor is that she's related to a certain Force ghost, and once that's dealt with there isn't really any reason to keep her around. In fact, she comes across as incredibly naive and gullible, which are hardly good qualities in the eyes of a Sith. From her point of view it's not clear why she wants to stick with the inquisitor either; more than anything she just seems confused and embarrassed by what she's done, probably thinking that she has nowhere else to go.
If you're dark side, the logical thing really would have been to simply off her once you were done with your business on Taris. Light siders maybe could have been given the option to simply let her go and tell her to go back to the Jedi. Suddenly being stuck with her sure came out of nowhere though.
Skadge is simply the blandest and dumbest companion in the whole game as far as I'm concerned. Other companions may inspire more hatred from the player base, but in turn they also tend to have some ardent fans that balance things out. But Skadge... I think the most flattering thing I've ever seen anyone say about him was that they didn't mind him that much. What a ringing endorsement.
In more than five years, I never felt the need to take a screenshot of him either (which is why there isn't one in this post). Why would I want to? He's just a dumb, ugly thug. I think the idea behind him was that he could take the role of "muscle" for your character, but he was given to the bounty hunter... and the bounty hunter is already the muscle themselves! He is the one bounty hunter companion that nobody likes and where nobody understands why the story makes you take him along. It's as if you suddenly decided to adopt a random trash mob. And we all know what we really want to do with trash mobs.
#3: Kaliyo Djannis
I hated Kaliyo so much on my first agent. My agent was a well-meaning Imperial loyalist, which meant that Kaliyo disapproved of everything I did and I could not see why Imperial Intelligence considered her a useful asset. When she tries to sell you out at the end, it's hardly a surprise, but that only makes it all the more annoying. I couldn't believe that not only was I forced to forgive her, this was then immediately followed up with a conversation on my ship about what great buds we were. What the eff.
After re-playing the Imperial agent story with a more chaotic, dark-side lean, I've come to appreciate that Kaliyo can be fun to have around if you're playing the right type of character. But there are too many other versions of the agent with whom she just outright clashes, and those should have been able to punish her final betrayal accordingly.
#2: Gault Rennow
Putting Gault on this list actually makes me feel a little guilty because I think he's a great character and I do like having him around. But his acquisition story is awful. At least its ending.
Gault is the bounty aspiring hunters have to hunt down on Tatooine as part of the Great Hunt. And the writers did a great job at having him slip through your fingers over and over again, to the point where you can't wait to shoot this guy when you finally corner him in a narrow canyon. Except then... you're suddenly not allowed to. He offers you a way of claiming the bounty without killing him, and you have to take it. It's incredibly annoying.
I remember shortly after SWTOR's launch (when I was still playing WoW too), a fellow WoW blogger gave the game a try. This turn of events was enough to completely turn him off the game.
#1: Malavai Quinn
Who else could be number one but everyone's favourite treacherous Imperial officer? I just replayed this part of the Sith warrior story recently and it feels so wrong to be unable to exact vengeance on him. Kaliyo's betrayal ticked me off, but she had always been a nuisance. Quinn on the other hand had always been useful, and I actually liked him. To have him turn against me really hurt. And the way he does it is so over the top too! He monologues about how it's a shame that you have to die, but in such an incredibly patronising way that you can pretty much hear the hashtag #sorrynotsorry. No, of course you don't stand a chance because he's observed you and these droids are totally going to counter your every move. Even when you defeat them with ease, he still sounds more surprised than anything else. Painful betrayal delivered in an extremely smug manner? What more reason do you need to want to kill someone? Yet all you can do is forgive him and move on. Sigh.
And I have to say, I'm actually not sure the option to kill him in 5.2 is a good substitute. It comes at an awkward moment when he's just spent several minutes grovelling to you and telling you about all the hardships he endured in your absence while looking for you. Not to mention that it's been five years. I'm sure there are players who hold a grudge and who want their character to hold a grudge too, and they will have happily taken the option to kill Quinn even then. But for me, that's not what I wanted (and my own warrior basically said "I don't think I can fully trust you ever again, but it's time to move on.") Quinn is not someone I would want dead for the sake of having him dead. He's a great and fun character overall. But after a story setup that's pretty much guaranteed to make you see red and lure you into committing a "crime of passion", not being able to go through with it feels highly constricting to this day.