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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...

View Poll Results: Rate "Balance of Terror"
1 1 2.08%
2 1 2.08%
3 0 0%
4 0 0%
5 0 0%
6 0 0%
7 1 2.08%
8 4 8.33%
9 18 37.50%
10 23 47.92%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 8 2014, 07:36 AM   #1
Botany Bay
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Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

Each week we're having a look at a TOS episode, going through the series in production order. Please rate the episode out of ten, and have your say below. As usual, I'll record the scores so we can rank TOS in order of popularity when we finally get through them all.

This week : Balance of Terror
"Sometimes I get the feeling the only way we could achieve a STAR TREK segment on budget would be to have 60 minutes of Mr. Spock playing kazoo solo as Captain Kirk holds him in his arms while standing in a telephone booth."
Bob Justman, 1967.
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Old March 8 2014, 09:46 AM   #2
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

One of my favorite things about "Balance of Terror" is that it sticks to a serious plot, with no highly implausible story elements. If you can accept warp drive and so forth, and very-humanoid Romulans and Spock of course, then you need stretch your sci-fi suspension of disbelief no further. It's all meat and potatoes from there on.

There's no telepathy, alien mind-control illusions, god-like super-beings, time travel, evil look-alikes, or reversible deaths of regulars. These are all fun things, but a straight action episode is a good change of pace.

In movie terms, "Balance of Terror" is like The Wrath of Khan in that sense, only more so because TWOK falls back on a Vulcan mind meld near the end, and then ST III comes along...

Last edited by ZapBrannigan; March 8 2014 at 10:02 AM.
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Old March 8 2014, 10:58 AM   #3
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

9.5. Rounding off, it's 10. One of the best Star Trek episodes of all time.
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Old March 8 2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

Same here, 9.5. Round up to a 10!

The first real homerun in Star Trek. Just about everything clicks.

A GREAT episode for Kirk and Spock.

A solid McCoy episode.

Stiles Is an annoying character who comes around, but is never really
likable. I like how Paul Comi played him. Very real world.

I think that's the key here. The whole episode has a very "real" feel to it. More
of a classic drama story than science fiction. That was always a strong area in Trek.

There was real peril for both sides. What finally did in the Romulans was their pride and greed.

Balance of terror hits all the major emotions. Love, hate, greed, pride, loss, redemption
and it does all very well in 52 min!

The direction, acting, music, and writing all are among the best in Trek and in TV.
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Old March 8 2014, 02:02 PM   #5
Push The Button
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

Ten out of ten. Maintains the same level of tension as The Corbomite Maneuver and The Naked Time, and a great performance by Mark Lenard.

I wish that they had not cut out Kirk saluting the Romulan commander at the end, but other than that, this is Trek at it's best.
Don't try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make its own judgments.
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Old March 8 2014, 03:07 PM   #6
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

One of the best Star Trek episodes, in any series, of all time.


“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States...The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge'.” - Isaac Asimov
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Old March 8 2014, 03:34 PM   #7
Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror


Screw whatever minor problems it might have - including the obvious retelling of The Enemy Below, and a dozen other warship/submarine movies - this is, as all good storytelling is, about the people. And here we have as a balanced view of both sides as you want.

The characters on both sides are nicely drawn, and the performances top notch. No bullsh*t, no comedy relief, just stark commentary on the cost of war - no matter how 'right' it might be.

This is the show where McCoy's job as Kirk's counselor and conscience is fully and eloquently solidified, and where Kelley totally made the character HIS. shatner was never better as Kirk - the scene in Kirk's quarters with McCoy, where Kirk unloads the burdens of his future decisions to Bones might be one of the top two or three in the series. And what its even greater is we are shown the almost the EXACT same discussion between the Romulan commander and HIS friend/mentor, the only difference is being that the Romulan commander KNOWS deep down, that unless he can really pull off a miracle. that his mission is most likely doomed. Lenard and Warburton pull this off very well as well. Lenard said a few times that he liked this more tan being Sarek.

Schneider's script is good, but we now know that almost every great scene in this was written/heavily rewritten by Roddenberry, so kudos to the Great Bird also.

I am very glad they cut that salute out - I can guarantee that when they saw that in the projection room, they realized it could have possibly broken the mood, and/or dated it. Roddenberry was pretty big on the idea that the yet-unnamed Starfleet was a different kind of service - with no hand salutes. I personally think Kirk had basically showed the commander that he understood what his duty was, and that he respected it. Besides, perhaps that salute would be the Romulan equivalent of giving him the finger! The one cut they SHOULD have kept in, was the the base commanders warning about someone stealing the fleet designs, etc. THAT would have made Stiles' paranoia a bit more understanding...not to mention Sulu agreeing - in a more proper way!

This is a Classic, and the remastered version makes it better.
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Old March 8 2014, 06:25 PM   #8
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

The best episode aired to that time. #8 on my top 10 list of all TOS episodes.

Mark Leonard called his role of the Romulan commander one of the very best of his career, and one he even liked better than the role of Sarek.

Wah Chang's Romulan Bird of Prey ranks up will any of the ships seen in any sci-fi series.
"I've been prepared for death ever since I.... ever since I killed my crew."
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Old March 8 2014, 06:43 PM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

Yep. Easy 10. My favourite Trek episode.
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Old March 8 2014, 06:57 PM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

I'll give it a 10. Hell I even own the VHS copy of it. :-)
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Old March 8 2014, 09:07 PM   #11
The Dead Mixer
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

Good, solid episode, a definite TOS top-10er.
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Old March 8 2014, 11:41 PM   #12
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

The best TOS episode, hands down.
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Old March 9 2014, 01:01 AM   #13
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

While I agree this is a very good episode I do have a couple of problems with it and thats probably from looking at it in retrospect and with post 60s eyes.
The good parts:
Its great to see an enemy in Star Trek with honour and intelligence. I wish the movies would have enemies like this on occasion
I like that Kirk included opinions from his crew in his decision making - later in the series it really was mostly just Kirk, Spock and McCoy.
McCoy was fantastic here. Annoying but still a man of integrity unafraid to challenge his Captain's decisions.
Kirk's questioning to himself of his own actions - wanting some support from his crew while making decisions that may affect the fate of a galaxy. It was all so well done.

The questionable points IMO:
I can't understand why the ship had to be silent running. They're in space. Sound doesn't travel in space.How did Spock's actions cause the Romulans to detect them? If its so easy then why can't Federation ships find cloaked ships.
I think Kirk and Spock tolerated Stiles racism too much. I think Stiles crossed the line.
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Old March 9 2014, 01:43 AM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

A solid 10.

This is not only one of the very best episodes of Star Trek it is among the very best examples of science fiction on television or film. And I think it trumps TWOK hands down. Indeed Trek on film never got near this good.
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Old March 9 2014, 01:50 AM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week : Balance of Terror

Good writing and acting. But it has never thrilled me. It is just a bit dull at times, I think. And the submarine-plot thing detracts a bit. But good overall.
Author of Live Like Louis! Inspirational Stories from the Life of Louis Armstrong,
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tos episode of the week

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