Problem is they murdered a pretty young yeoman at the start of the episode, so I didn't particularly want a peaceful solution. ...
If they'd ommitted that part, the episode would've been a lot lighter.
There's a drastic change of tone about halfway thru the episode. It's very tense up thru the passage thru the galactic barrier, and the self-destruct scenario. From that point on, it's a very light episode. Each half works, but the halves don't work together.
Another drawback to this episode is, Kirk's decision not
to use the self-destruct option, seems weird when contrasted with his use of it in Last Battlefield. The stakes were much lower
in Battlefield, yet Kirk seems more determined in that story. For the sequence in that episode to make sense, Kirk should have tried to blow up the ship in this episode. (Tried and failed, I guess, maybe the Kelvins anticipated.)
This episode has that epic groaning musical theme, when Scotty gets the Kelvin guy drunk. I don't believe we hear that in any other episode – looking forward to learning about it when the TOS CD's come out next month!
Anyway, I agree with you. Not a wholly successful episode, though it has some nice parts.