1×14 – Balance of Terror

Premise: A line of Federation bases, guarding a “Neutral Zone” between Romulan and Federation territory, is being destroyed by a Romulan ship. The Enterprise gets the first-ever look at Romulans, and discovers that they physically resemble Vulcans. Kirk, with Spock’s advice, decides to attack the Romulan ship. The two ships battle back and forth, with the two Captains trying to outsmart one another.

Here’s the map of the Neutral Zone:

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16:15 – The crew members on the bridge have just gotten their first glimpse of the Romulans, who have pointy ears like Vulcans. Uhura intercepts a transmission from their ship. Lt. Stiles is suspicious of the fact that Spock resembles the Romulans and makes a quip about Spock being able to make the translation:

Uhura: “Cryptography is working on it sir.”
Stiles: [Under his breath] “Give it to Spock.”
Kirk: “I didn’t quite get that, Mr. Stiles?”
Stiles: “Nothing, sir.”
Kirk: “Repeat it.”
Stiles: “I was suggesting that Mr. Spock could probably translate it for you, sir.”
Kirk: “I assume you’re complimenting Mr. Spock on his ability to decode.”
Stiles: “I’m not sure, sir.”
Kirk: “Well here’s one thing you can be sure of, Mister. Leave any bigotry in your quarters. There’s no room for it on the bridge. Do I make myself clear?”

Awwww, Kirk is defending Spock against bigotry!!! That’s incredibly cute.

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24:25 – I found this little moment amusing – Kirk asks Spock about the composition of a planet and hold a book out to him to he can look it up, but Spock pushes the book down and the recites composition statistics from memory. Scotty gives a little Smirk. Spock must be able to hold a huge catalog of information in his brain.

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38:20 – Kirk is struggling with some self-doubt, and McCoy offers a profound statement: “In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets, and in all 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.”

39:15 – The perfect and unerring Spock makes a mistake!! The Enterprise is trying to remain completely silent so they can hide from the Romulan ship, but Spock accidentally hits a button that causes some sort of signal alarm to go off. He looks a little embarassed and worried:

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45:20 – Spock saves the day!!! The phaser room has filled with smoke and Lt. Stiles has passed out. Spock rushes in and fires the phasers to disable the Romulan ship, then carries Stiles to safety.

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This was an entertaining and important episode. It was interesting to learn some of the history of the Federation/Romulan conflict. The plot was well-crafted – I enjoy a good battle between spaceships. A modernized version of this episode would make a good space war movie.

The Romulans in this episode are not intimidating at ALL. Based on their portrayal in the new Star Trek movie, I was expecting them to be totally badass. Perhaps over the course Stark Trek they will play a more prominent role and get a little more evil.

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One Comment on “1×14 – Balance of Terror”

  1. cj Says:

    just want to start by saying, that i too am hot for spock.
    technically they did update this episode (as well as space seed) when they made stII. kirk’s battle w. khan noonian singh is reminiscent of his encounter w the romulan commander here. tense, fraught w emnity, lives hanging in the balance etc.

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