Sunday, February 19, 2012

Episode 14: "Balance of Terror"

Season 1
Written by: Paul Schneider
Directed By: Vincent McEveety
Air-date: December 15, 1966
Stardate: 1709.2

Quote of the episode: "Here is one thing you can be sure of... Leave any bigotry in your quarters, there is no room for it on the bridge... Do I make myself clear?" ~Captain Kirk

So as we begin this episode, the crew is preparing for a wedding ceremony for two crew members: Angela Martine and Robert Tomlinson (remember that for later on). As Kirk is about to begin the ceremony there is a call from the bridge, Spock informs him that an outposts along the Neutral Zone have gone silent. He proceeds by saying "since the days of the first wooden sailing vessels all ship masters have had one happy privilege... that of uniting two people in the bonds of matrimony." (Bill Teegarden had an excellent point about this quote and I agreed with it, Look at the Noteworthy section) And, we were interrupted by the red alert.

Then a ship-wide briefing on the situation, by Spock and Captain Kirk. Lieutenant Stiles, hopes to intercept the attackers, saying that the Romulans would have a ship painted with a bird of prey on the bottom. The Enterprise makes contact with outpost 4 and Commander Hansen, which are both destroyed by an "unknown" alien vessel with a plasma weapon. The Enterprise is able to track the ship, by their motion sensors, they parallel the Romulan ship's course, they receive code from the Romulan ship and are able to get a picture of their bridge, there we get a look at the Romulans (Look for the "Holy Shit" look from Spock as he looks at the screen)...

Stiles, who has extreme bigotry says that Spock would be able to translate the code, Kirk immediately disciplines him right there (hence my favorite quote). The ship decloaks as the Enterprise follows. The Romulan commander orders the cloaking device on and has a conversation with his Centurion, about tactics and philosophy. He also disciplines a soldier much like Kirk did to Stiles. In the briefing room, the Senior staff talk about: The debris from outpost 4, tactics and Stiles hatred of the Romulans and Mr. Spock. Kirk decides to attack the Romulans before they enter the Neutral Zone. The Romulan Commander quickly avoids the trap set by Kirk, and Kirk orders the crew to fire proximity phasers (like depth charges on submarines) and hits the Romulan vessel. The Romulan Centurion dies after saving the Commander. The phasers are under repair as the Romulans fire their plasma torpedo at the Enterprise, which is on full reverse power. They discover that it has limited range, as it impacts the ship, they then restore the phasers and continue shadowing the Romulan vessel.

Captain Kirk decides to get the Romulan ship while they are on their side of the Neutral Zone,
firing a blanketing pattern they hit the Romulan vessel, the Romulan Commander decides to
fire debris at the Enterprise to trick them that his vessel had been destroyed The continuing evasion and mimicking of the two ships almost comes to a halt as both vessels hold for the other vessel to make a mistake, Captain Kirk is visited by Dr. McCoy and is given the following advice: "Something I seldom say to a customer, Jim. In this galaxy, there's a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in all of the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all of that, and perhaps more, only one of each of us. Don't destroy the one named Kirk."

Spock trips the sensors, and the Romulans attempt to destroy the Enterprise, but they are damaged further before the Romulan Commander has more debris fired at the Enterprise except with a nuclear warhead. The Enterprise is damaged, with no stand-by crew for the forward phaser room only Tomlinson, Styles volunteers to help out because he was in weapons control for his first assignment. The Enterprise plays "dead" until the Romulans attempt to come in for the kill. Spock, checks in with Styles and Tomlinson in the phaser room saying "This time we'll handle things without your help, Vulcan." after Spock exits the phaser room is flooded with gas... Spock re-enters the phaser room in time to fire the phasers at the Romulan vessel after hearing the Captain's voice over the intercom.

Kirk and the Romulan Commander have a conversation before he destroys his vessel, that in a different reality he could of called him friend. In sickbay Styles is alive, and the Captain asks if we lost anybody, McCoy says Tomlinson the boy who was going to get married today. Before he leave, Yeoman Rand tells the Captain that Starfleet agrees with any decision he has to make. He makes his way to comfort Tomlinson's fiancee, who says she'll be alright

My Opinion:

This is personally in my Top Ten of the Original Series because it's the first appearance of the Romulans, it gives a little more background on the Vulcans, and it is filled with a racial hate message. Most people think that all the people we see in the 23rd or 24th century were enlightened, but I guess there will always be bigotry especially if humans are apart of the future. What I especailly liked about the episode, although they had no contact with each other during the episode Kirk and the Romulan Commander seemed to be thinking along with each other as they planned their attacks.


1) Bill Teegarden (a Star Trek Phase 2 crewmember) , suggested to me that It was very progressive for Captain Kirk to say..."since the days of the first wooden sailing vessels all ship masters have had one happy privilege... that of uniting two (people) in the bonds of matrimony." the keyword was "people" not man and wife, very progressive for the time, especially all the bashing on alternative lifestyles during the time... David Gerrold who wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles" wrote a Star Trek: The Next Generation script which was re-formated for Star Trek Phase II, where we discuss the first "real" homosexual characters in Star Trek, one of them being Kirk's nephew Peter.

2) This is the second of three appearances that we see Lieutenant Uhura at the Navigation station in the Original Series, the other was "The Naked Time" and "Court Martial"... there is only one other station besides Communications she has been at, and that is the Library Computer or Science Station in "Spock's Brain"... note she was in the Command chair for the Star Trek Phase II episode "Blood and Fire" for a time

3) Mark Leonard makes his first of many appearences on Star Trek in this episode as the Romulan Commander, he had two other roles in Trek... one was the Klingon Commnander in Star Trek The Motion Picture (the first time we see the ridged headed Klingons) and finally his most known role in Star Trek as Ambassador Sarek or should I say Spock's father... who's your daddy? sorry I couldn't help myself

Closing Thoughts:
If you love the Original Series, I suggest you go check out Star Trek Phase II, there is the impending release of Jon Povill's "The Child", and we are going to be shooting a new episode in June 16th to the 30th called "Bread and Savagery" get on and show some love and support for the cause. You can "like" and get updates from them on Facebook

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Until next time Trekkies, Live Long and Prosper!

1 comment:

  1. on Uhura at the Nav console, her first appearance is "The Man Trap" so it is 4 appearances... I missed it, I guess I am human after all