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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 29 2013, 04:40 PM   #1
xvicente
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Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

Balance of Terror is considered one of the best TOS episodes.

But the battle seemed a bit one-sided. The Romulans were fleeing and had no decisive defenses of weapons. The mighty plasma weapon proved to be limited. They, their fuel running out and in despair, tried to shake the Enterprise off their tail with old bombs and debris.

Poor Romulan comander seemed so sad thoroughly.
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Old June 29 2013, 04:54 PM   #2
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

To boldly go...where at least one hapless crew has already gone.

Many TOS stories involve the Enterprise winning out over the bad guys because they are forewarned about what they can expect. In "Balance of Terror," the Enterprise might have been blasted to atoms if they'd been among those outposts attacked first. The cloaking device and super-gun seemed very advantageous to me.

The Romulans had an excellent chance—they just pushed it too far.
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Old June 29 2013, 05:22 PM   #3
Anwar
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

Well, it was a recon mission as well. Neither side had contact with the other for 100 years, so the Romulans being outmatched in battle (especially since the Enterprise had a better idea of what the Romulans could do whereas the Romulans had no idea) makes sense. They had no idea what Earth/Fed ships could do now.
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Old June 29 2013, 05:26 PM   #4
Dale Sams
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

Besides...it was Kirk. Come on.

"He's a sorcerer that one."

Also, he won. They had the Enterprise at their mercy but wasted too much time arguing about what to do.

Edit: Also the ep implies the super-torpedoes can be detonated with phasers. Which may be why we never see them again. They're kinda useless if they can be shot down by the simplest of weapons.
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Old June 29 2013, 05:37 PM   #5
blssdwlf
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

If the Enterprise had a slower ftl drive and/or Kirk had reacted a few seconds too late the Romulan plasma weapon would've destroyed the Enterprise so in the first half of the episode when they were learning each other's strengths and weaknesses it was anyone's game.

The Enterprise was faster, had longer-ranged weapons, practically unlimited fuel but couldn't take a direct hit from the Romulan weapon.
The Romulan Bird of Prey had a more powerful weapon capable of destroying the Enterprise in one hit (if in range) and a cloaking device that made it difficult for the Enterprise to target her. But she was running low on fuel from attacking the outposts and using the cloaking device.
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Old June 29 2013, 08:24 PM   #6
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

It was a probing mission; to test earth (Federation) defenses and weapons. Very often in battle the margin between victory and defeat is very small. As mentioned previously; any number of small changes in timing of certain events could have resulted in much different results
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Old June 29 2013, 08:29 PM   #7
J.T.B.
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

xvicente wrote: View Post
Balance of Terror is considered one of the best TOS episodes.

But the battle seemed a bit one-sided. The Romulans were fleeing and had no decisive defenses of weapons. The mighty plasma weapon proved to be limited. They, their fuel running out and in despair, tried to shake the Enterprise off their tail with old bombs and debris.
The question to ask is if a U-boat with torpedoes and underwater "stealth" capabilities had a chance against a destroyer with much greater speed, sonar, torpedoes, depth charges and gun batteries. Did U-boats sink destroyers in WW2? Yes, they did on occasion. Did they escape destroyers to fight another day? Yes, many times.
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Old June 29 2013, 09:50 PM   #8
SchwEnt
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

Ostensibly, it was the Romulans who had the balance in their favor. They had the double advantage of a cloaking device and a plasma super weapon.

Conversely, the Enterprise had no super weapon or miracle tech at her disposal.

But that doesn't tell the whole story.
It's like comparing WWII battleships, on paper you can look at 15" guns versus 16" versus 18" guns and decide one is superior to another.

It's the other details, quality of fire control radar, range, accuracy, rate of fire... they make the difference.

Same in this eps. The Enterprise greater range, speed, rate of fire, sensors, crew expertise, and so on. Makes the difference.
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Old June 30 2013, 05:48 PM   #9
Noname Given
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

Considering the Romulans destroyed four outposts; I wouldn't consider the mission 'one-sided' or a failure. They gave the Empire valuable information (in episode they were sending reports back) and caused great damage to Federation defense at the cost of one ship.

they also DID have an opportunity to destroy the Enterprise and very nearly succeeded; and, if not for the arrogance of a Centurion (and, as a result, the mistake of the Romulan Commander in doing something he knew was tactically wrong); they could have escaped; or drawn the Enterprise into the Neutral Zone where more ships could have converged to destroy her.
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Old July 2 2013, 07:14 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

...On the other hand, what's wrong with an unbalanced fight? An U-boat being mercilessly hunted down by a destroyer is good material for drama even if, and perhaps especially if, everybody knows from the beginning that the U-boat is toast skagen with extra tragedy.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 2 2013, 07:43 PM   #11
bbailey861
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

Timo wrote: View Post
...On the other hand, what's wrong with an unbalanced fight? An U-boat being mercilessly hunted down by a destroyer is good material for drama even if, and perhaps especially if, everybody knows from the beginning that the U-boat is toast skagen with extra tragedy.

Timo Saloniemi
Absolutely, and in this case, it is very much like a classic submarine story of infiltration for intelligence purposes then try to escape and evade. Any number of things could have gone wrong for either side. I think it worked extremely well.
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Old July 3 2013, 01:20 AM   #12
diankra
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

Also, the character dynamic is that the Praetor, and the younger Romulans who're eager for war, think the cloak and the plasma weapon are superweapons which will inevitably bring them victory. The Commander knows - or fears/suspects - that while they'll win initial victories, their value lies mainly in shock and surprise - once the enemy work out what they are, they'll work out countermeasures, the Romulan advantage will be gone, and they'll lose badly.
It's his bad luck that it's very nearly the first Federation commander he faces (the first really, given if we assume that the base commanders didn't have the resources to fight back the way a starship could even if they'd had time to analyse the problem) who does just that.
Or his good luck, given the Commander's musings about wishing he not come home, if his return will start a war.
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Old July 8 2013, 03:30 AM   #13
Push The Button
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Re: Balance of Terror unbalanced - the Romulans never had any chance

The Bird of Prey appeared to be poorly constructed, recall how dust would fall from the ceiling of the bridge whenever the ship took a hit from Enterprise, and how a large piece of the ceiling falls in and crushes the Centurion during one of the attacks.

Perhaps the Romulans used plaster or concrete instead of titanium, or whatever super-metal that Starfleet specs for their ships.
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