Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Balance of Terror

TOS Season 1 Episode 14
Air Date: December 15th, 1966

It is a widely known fact among Star Trek fans that Vulcans and Romulans shared a common ancestry. This was the episode where this was discovered. Spock reveals that nothing is known about the Romulan people as when the Earth-Romulan war occurred there was no video communication so the peace treaty that eventually was fostered and the neutral zone was all done using audio. This means that nobody has really seen Romulans.

The Enterprise responds to a distress call from the Federation outposts, three of which were destroyed and the fourth under attack. When the Enterprise arrives they see a Romulan bird of prey fire a weapon that completely destroys the outpost and then the ship disappears. The first practical cloaking device as in the past the power cost would make it unusable effectively in a starship. The power requirement does allow the Enterprise to track it while cloaked but not accurate enough to shoot it.

The Enterprise was able to tap into a communication feed from the Romulan ship and finally see what the Romulans look like. The crew was shocked to learn they looked like Vulcans and some of the crew became suspicious of Spock's allegiance. Kirk and the Romulan commander play a game of cat and mouse eventually leading to the Romulan ship being disabled with a critical reactor. Kirk offers to rescue the Romulans but the commander refuses and activates the self destruct. The commander is played by Mark Lenard who later plays Sarek, Spock's father.

The episode ended on a sad note. The opening scene was a wedding with Kirk as the marriage officiant but the wedding is interrupted by the distress call. During the battle with the Romulans, the groom ends up getting killed. The episode ends with Kirk telling the news to the bride.

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