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

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Old September 19 2012, 12:49 AM   #31
Greg Cox
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Timo wrote: View Post
You're assuming that simply because the Romulans had no contact with the Federation, that they had no contact with other neighboring species.
The thing is, the episode itself is explicit about it: the RNZ completely isolates the Romulans from everybody.
Not everybody. The episode is also explicit about the fact that the Romulan Commander is weary of constant wars against . . . somebody.

The Romulans couldn't have been too isolated if Mark Lenard has spent his entire career waging wars on behalf of the Empire . . . . .
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Old September 19 2012, 01:30 AM   #32
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Then why did Kirk say the Neutral Zone was meant to isolate the Romulans from the rest of the Galaxy? As in, blockade their home system from everyone else?
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Old September 19 2012, 01:33 AM   #33
Santa Kang
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
You're assuming that simply because the Romulans had no contact with the Federation, that they had no contact with other neighboring species.
The thing is, the episode itself is explicit about it: the RNZ completely isolates the Romulans from everybody.
Not everybody. The episode is also explicit about the fact that the Romulan Commander is weary of constant wars against . . . somebody.

The Romulans couldn't have been too isolated if Mark Lenard has spent his entire career waging wars on behalf of the Empire . . . . .
There's a book I'd like to read!

Anwar wrote: View Post
Then why did Kirk say the Neutral Zone was meant to isolate the Romulans from the rest of the Galaxy? As in, blockade their home system from everyone else?
By "Galaxy" I'm sure he meant the Federation/Earth.
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Old September 19 2012, 06:25 AM   #34
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Anwar wrote: View Post
Then why did Kirk say the Neutral Zone was meant to isolate the Romulans from the rest of the Galaxy? As in, blockade their home system from everyone else?
Kirk probably believed that was true and it the NZ was probably meant to accomplish that but obviously it failed.
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Old September 19 2012, 01:15 PM   #35
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
You're assuming that simply because the Romulans had no contact with the Federation, that they had no contact with other neighboring species.
The thing is, the episode itself is explicit about it: the RNZ completely isolates the Romulans from everybody.
Not everybody. The episode is also explicit about the fact that the Romulan Commander is weary of constant wars against . . . somebody.

The Romulans couldn't have been too isolated if Mark Lenard has spent his entire career waging wars on behalf of the Empire . . . . .
Maybe he was fighting internal wars against domestic enemies of the Empire.
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Old September 19 2012, 01:22 PM   #36
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

And that's the point I was originally making - that if we take the episode as written, the Commander would have to have been talking either about internal strife, or then about the old war with Earth. Both of which are possible insights into what the writer was thinking, although the odds are that he did not actually put thought into these curious lines.

Of course, other episodes open up new possibilities in addition to the above two. But the idea of the Commander being a veteran of the old Earth war remains intriguing. The guy on screen looks a hundred years old, sharp, for a Vulcanoid - as we learn in "Journey to Babel"! But perhaps he has aged less than Sarek because he isn't suffering from the early symptoms of the Bendii syndrome, and is in fact a hundred and thirty years old, having fought Earth for a decade and been idled ever since.

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Old September 19 2012, 02:04 PM   #37
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Since "Balance" was inspired by "The Enemy Below", then the Romulan Commander was inspired by the WWII German Commander who served in WWI. So, maybe he DOES mean the old Romulan War except there's a 100 year difference and not 20-ish years.
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Old September 19 2012, 11:41 PM   #38
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

It seems that in both "Balance of Terror" and ST:TNGs "The Neutral Zone" writers were very prone to put in absolute terms about the history of relations with the Romulans that sounded absolute but were later proven to be false or exaggerated.

For example "The Neutral Zone" implies that there as been absolutely NO CONTACT one way or the other with the Romulans for 53 years.

Yet, there was a military confrontation with them just a few episodes earlier (though not shown). And we learn later of a vast number of battles and confrontations with the Romulans during that gap.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:15 AM   #39
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

scotpens wrote: View Post
Ever hear of the Hatfields and McCoys
The very thing I was going to write!
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Old September 20 2012, 12:39 AM   #40
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Timo wrote: View Post
There are also suspicious aspects to the timing. Spock is supposedly a rare example of a Vulcan serving among humans in Starfleet. Now, after a century of supposed inactivity, Romulans make their move - right when this rare starship with the rare Vulcan assumes patrol duty, possibly for the very first time in her service history since Kirk sees the need to have Spock give the primer speech...

These are things that might go "click" in the mind of a person who already sees spies everywhere - but also a person who has just been shocked into believing in spies for the first time.

Also, the idea of the totally faceless war is cool and fantastic and all... But difficult to execute in practice. There might well have been rumors during and after the war, rumors that only diehard hatemongers like Stiles would still remember.

Timo Saloniemi
There's also another interpretation, which to me would seem more plausible even with the omitted lines left in about potential sabotage. If Stiles is nursing a grudge against an enemy he's never seen personally but heard about, why should he automatically assume that the Enterprise's scan of the Romulan bridge is accurate? It was established from TNG on that the Romulans tend to be baiters and not direct aggressors. They lay a trap and then see if the other power takes the bait, so they can say they're merely "defending" themselves if a war starts.

Given this, why not infer the following possibility: the Romulans can assume that an enemy might be able to scan their bridge; humans and Vulcans are allies and key members of the Federation, their primary enemy; if their crew therefore looks like Vulcans and they're visually scanned, it could create a potential rift between the two races and undermine the Feds. Not every officer naturally would start accusing their crewmates of treachery, but enough guys like Stiles would still make things difficult in an ideal circumstance. Whatever political bickering is created opens up a hole for the war machine to punch through.
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Old September 20 2012, 01:16 AM   #41
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

The "Hatfields and McCoys" feud was largely oversold and overhyped. It was between two distinct branches of each family while other groups of Hatfields and McCoys were friends and intermarried not infrequently.

Another huge factor was that even after things "settled down" third partieis deliberately stirred things up again in order to profit from the conflict.
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Old September 20 2012, 06:13 AM   #42
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

I blame that Wascally Wabbit.

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Old September 21 2012, 04:30 AM   #43
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

I watched this episode for the first time in years tonight. It is probably my favorite episode of Star Trek.

I had forgotten just how far they'd gone with Rand and Kirk. Her embracing him from behind on the bridge was certainly not proper Starfleet behavior!



As for our friend Stiles...the writers, whether consciously or not, captured a psychological phenomenon know as Historical Trauma pretty well. Historical Trauma says that there are some traumas so pervasive and severe, that they can be transmitted from generation to generation.

There are several readily-available examples: Israel and Native Americans to name two.

One defining characteristic of Historical Trauma is overgeneralization. This is exactly what Stiles engages in with Spock. Traumatized people are hypervigilant toward threats, understandably so. It is classic trauma behavior to react emotionally to stimuli that remind you of the original threat. In this case, the physical similarities between Vulcans and Romulans. If you get bit by a dog, you tend to avoid all dogs for a while.

Now I'm certainly not arguing that Stiles disrespect toward a superior officer is justified, only that it is understandable in a psycho-historical context.

What a great episode!

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Old September 22 2012, 06:07 AM   #44
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Re: Stiles in Balance of Terror

Watching "Balance of Terror" closely, you will notice that Stiles did have some admirable qualities though. When he mentions "Ask Spock" about decoding the Romulan message, Kirk clearly knows that the statement is an inference about Spock's loyalty that Stiles is making yet he offers Stiles a chance to back away from his disrespectful comment.

Instead Stiles makes no effort to back away from his statement. It is clear he believes what he says and is not afraid to push his beliefs even if it hurts his career.
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