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

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Old October 24 2013, 04:45 PM   #16
Dr. Sevrin
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Richard Baker wrote: View Post
. . .like Wolf could drink Klingon Tea. . .
Either it was very early in the morning when you typed that, or you're Q in disguise.
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Old October 24 2013, 07:40 PM   #17
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Corbomite Maneuver is easily one of my top five trek episodes of all time (all series, even) for a lot of reasons, right up through a relatively satisfiying ending. I had the pleasure of watching that episode again last night right after my son went to bed, and I was on in the middle of nuking cup-a-noodles when suddenly it hit me:

What would Balok have done if Kirk hadn't bluffed him? Which leads to the real question of just how exactly Balok's "test" was originally supposed to play out, and more importantly, what was the real aim of it anyway.

Think about this: Balok had to discover Kirk's real intentions. He hadn't counted on Kirk bluffing about the Corbomite thing. So what exactly would be the endgame when the timer ticked to zero and it was destruction time? Would Balok suddenly say "I changed my mind, I will tow you away now" anyway? Or would he have faked a sudden mechanical failure on the Fesarius?

Considering this, I think we should consider a rather scary alternative: Balok didn't decide to test them until AFTER the Corbomite Bluff. He didn't want to risk that maybe Kirk was telling the truth, so he decided to test their intentions to see if their claimed "respect for intelligent life" really held up to scrutiny. IOW: Balok really WOULD have destroyed the Enterprise if not for his curiosity/uncertainty about the Corbomite Device. That has some interesting implications for Balok's character IMO: he's presented, in the end, as a sympathetic little guy with only the best of intentions, but he is in fact kind of a hardass who just happens to respect a worthy adversary.

Thoughts?
Corbomite Maneuver is IMO the best episode (and really does a good job of encapsulating the primary themes of Star Trek in this one 50 minute episode) of Star Trek (from any series)

As to your supposition. No, I don't think so. Everything Balok did was part of a First Contact test. IMO, the First Federation Buoy was the preliminary part (to see if a new race was deemed an actual candidate for First Contact.) IE - Had the 1701 just fired and destroyed the Buoy immediately, I'm sure Balok would have concluded "Absolutely hostile race, First Contact protocol unnecessary, engage, evaluate, and eliminate."

But, because the report from the Buoy showed that Kirk's ship had delayed destroying it until no other option was available (IE had he not destroyed it, he and his crew would have perished); then interception, evaluation (IE scanning all their stored records, which Balok did prior to making the 'threat'), and based on said initial evaluation, a First Contact test was allowed - which Balok started by issuing the threat and his other actions to see the response.

I have a feeling had Kirk not bluffed him, either the test would have ended and actual First Contact initiated by Balok; or Balok would have continued onto the 'we have decided to take you to a planet capable of sustaining your life form' phase himself.

When Kirk did his bluff, I think Balok was genuinely surprised, but the rest of the test (including Balok effectively giving them an option to escape was based on Balok's psychological analysis of humanity from the records he got from the 1701's main computer); proceeded as intended, and was designed to see if the Human's actual actions in a stressful situation matched up with actions taken in similar situations shown in their ship's historical records. (IE - Did they truly act in the manner their historical records showed.)

Once balok was assured of that, the test was over, and actual First Contact proceeded.
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Old October 26 2013, 01:52 AM   #18
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

This thread makes me want to see Corbomite again. I'm going to get the DVD out and play it within the next couple of days, despite a backlog of TV on the DVR.

It really is one of the best episodes of the series. It has a lot of special touches and texture for Kirk, something the early first season shows did best (like the scene with McCoy in Kirk's quarters in "Balance of Terror").

Corbomite has good action music, too. "Cube Radiation" is one of the most exciting ST cues ever.
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Old October 26 2013, 02:24 AM   #19
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

"Corbomite" was the first Trek episode I ever saw, and is still my favorite TOS episode.
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Old October 27 2013, 01:27 AM   #20
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
I had the pleasure of watching that episode again last night right after my son went to bed.
I hope your son is still too young to watch Star Trek, otherwise I would have to wonder what kind of Dad you are...
He's a Niner. Doesn't care for the original (except the animated series, of course). But that's four-year-olds for you.

I don't think so. He could have poisoned Kirk and company with his Tranya (and apparently they considered this possibility). A worthy adversary would have said "No, I won't take such a risk" (i.e. by drinking the Tranya Kirk and Co. revealed that they are not that "worthy" and far too trusting).
Actually, the Tranya was what got me thinking about this. It seems a little out of place until you consider that Balok is basically celebrating the end of a well-played battle of wits that he is humble enough to admit he lost (though not in so many words). The flip side of this is what would have happened if Balok had encountered a Klingon or Romulan ship, whose less inventive commanders would have concocted some kind of elaborate workaround to attack the Fesarius before the time limit ran out. Balok would have almost certainly destroyed them, and I suspect he would have destroyed the Enterprise too if Kirk hadn't played the game correctly. Same again for the Pilot vessel/towing ruse: Kirk would have had the option to FIRE on Balok's ship instead of simply overpowering it with his engines, in which case Balok would again have destroyed them.

The simple reason I believe it is this: Balok mentions that their records could be "a deception," which is an odd thing to suspect for an alien race that doesn't expect its records to be probed in elaborate detail by an outside force. Balok is implicitly saying that he assumed from the beginning that Enterprise was playing against him and couldn't be sure the tapes were just another chess move on their part. In other words, it really IS a game, and Balok has obviously played it before. It's an odd kind of game that reflects a deeply alien set of priorities, but a game nonetheless. The object of the game is to expose your opponent's biggest secret. If you win, you get a bottle of tranya and some good laughs. If you loose, you die.

Which might explain why nobody has ever heard of the First Federation -- or Balok -- before now. He very seldom looses.
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Old October 27 2013, 01:55 AM   #21
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Kirk, McCoy, and Bailey drink the tranya. Gagging, they fall to the floor. Losing consciousness, the last thing they hear is:

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Old October 27 2013, 01:58 AM   #22
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

The First Federation is a Ferengi front.
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Old October 27 2013, 09:15 PM   #23
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

^ Splitters.
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Old October 28 2013, 12:56 PM   #24
Robert Comsol
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Some more thoughts (and I concur with all the posters that "Corbomite Maneuver" is one of the - if not the - best episodes of TOS, especially once you consider it was the first produced of the regular series):

IMHO, Balok expresses rather human than alien behaviour. Since the real Balok does not look intimidating to other humanoids, Balok is obviously using deception ("appearances can be deceiving") on a regular basis.
I'd dare to say that therefore he is a little paranoid and suspects other sentient beings also to be deceptive on a regular basis, hence his character tests.

Considering that he misses company and conversation and wouldn't mind the company of an alien, suggests strongly that there are not any of his kind in our galaxy and that the First Federation and its planets actually do not exist (in our galaxy).

For all we know the Fesarius could be a scientific exploration ship from another galaxy and Balok just occasionally contacts "natives" he finds interesting and are suitable for First Contact procedures of the First Federation.

For the same reasons he probably gives Klingons and Romulans a wide berth. I don't think he has any interest on getting involved in any political conflicts in our galaxy (sort of a Prime Directive of the First Federation?) which could also explain why we never heard or saw him or other members of his species ever again.

Bob
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Old October 28 2013, 01:53 PM   #25
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Interesting thoughts. This might also lead to an explanation, as to why Balok is travelling in such an extremely huge ship all by himself: The Fesarius may just be filled with generators, drive systems and fuel to create the enormous speed necessary to travel between galaxies, with Balok´s little tow ship containing the only habitable space.
Still odd, that the First Federation would send a single person, though ...

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Old October 28 2013, 02:50 PM   #26
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Like I said, I think the episode itself made it clear that the First Federation's approach to new contacts entails putting on a big bluff -- making an intimidating show to conceal how small and harmless they actually are. Balok presented himself as the scary cadaverous guy with the deep menacing voice, but then turned out to be this cheerful, child-sized guy. By the same token, the Fesarius's bulk was probably mostly for show.
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Old October 28 2013, 03:11 PM   #27
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
IMHO, Balok expresses rather human than alien behaviour.
Excellent observations, Bob. The ambiguity of "Corbomite Maneuver" is one of the reasons I like the episode so much. Taken literally and going only by what is seen in the episode, Balok is a diminutive, human-like creature in both appearance and behavior. Aesthestically, the episode is all about humanity, where Balok is mere symbolism that the audience will understand.

James P. Hogan posited a lifeform in his "GIANTS" series whose biology never evolved deception and suspicion. Without going into detail, humans are an enigma, and the Giants employ one group of humans to help them understand another group.

Whether you want to view "Corbomite" literally or allegorically, one might argue that Balok does not innately have a wary disposition, but may have learned it from past experience, personal or racial. The Franken-Balok doll seemed custom-made to frighten humans, which makes me wonder if the Balok we saw offering tranya was any less an illusion?

[Mental projection, like the Talosians or Melkotians, sophisticated android, metamorph—take your pick. But was that really Balok's true appearance? In the climax of the novel 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Clarke describes the evolution of the aliens who left the monolith:

The first explorers of Earth had long since come to the limits of flesh and blood; as soon as their machines were better than their bodies, it was time to move. First their brains, and then their thoughts alone, they transferred into shining new homes of metal and of plastic.

In these, they roamed among the stars. They no longer built spaceships. They were spaceships.
Was the Fesarius the real Balok?]
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Old October 30 2013, 05:48 PM   #28
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

It was tough voice to get, but here is my impression of Balok
https://vimeo.com/18945045

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Old October 30 2013, 05:56 PM   #29
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Oh and some awesome pics of Balok today...







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Old October 30 2013, 06:13 PM   #30
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Re: THIS IS BALOK!

Gaa someone put his head on a pike!

That thing could use some restoration. What's that made of? Wood? Some kind of plaster? Or, wait, maybe melamine? The cracks do remind me of some old dinner plates I used to have.
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