Star Trek – Balance of Terror

by Alan Rapp on September 27, 2018

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Star Trek – Balance of Terror
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Star Trek - Balance of Terror television review

Today’s Throwback Thursday post takes us boldly back to where no man had gone before and the original five-year mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise. While vitally important for introducing the most underutilized of Star Trek‘s alien races, Balance of Terror is one of those episodes that isn’t helped by the passage of time as it creates some continuity problems that aren’t as easily resolved in the far more expanded current Star Trek universe. That said, taken by itself the episode works well (even if one bridge officer’s prejudices are handled with all the subtlety of a Michael Bay explosion). When attack along the Neutral Zone outposts are reported, the Enterprise is sent to investigate and the discover a cloaked Romulan ship with a wily captain who nearly out-maneuvers Kirk (William Shatner).

This marks the first time any member of the Federation has seen a Romulan, including Spock (Leonard Nimoy) whose resemblance to the Romulans creates suspicion among some members of the crew. Certainly the Vulcans should know something about the Romulans? We see Kirk fighting a familiar battle to stay true to his orders, knowing anything else might mean war, but also going as far as he can to achieve the survival of his crew and the defeat of a dangerous adversary. The episode’s strength is in the cat-and-mouse game played between the two captains and the shocking reveal of the face of their enemy. Although Mark Lenard would go on to much larger prominence for a different role on the series, he is well-cast here as the logical but passionate commander of the enemy ship. The cloaking device is another great addition to Star Trek, one that other civilizations including the Klingons would later adopt as well.

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