Makes for a roaring 50 minutes of television that holds up. I watched the TOS-R edition. The inclusion of new angles and with both Romulan and Klingon design ships is a real treat. Especially during Enterprise's escape... the CGI feels like authentic TOS, from designs and placement and execution and proves that upping f/x can work, unlike regarding a certain movie series or BBC sci-fi parody show that both did the same thing but not successfully. At least Red Dwarf knew it was a sci-fi parody, but there wasn't much it needed to build onto scenes... Red Dwarf isn't a spaceship doing space Western battles every other week, it's about the last human being verbally accosted constantly by a hologram generated by the ship's computer in order for him to stay sane, and they're stuck by and large in his cabin. First things' first: * they could have done more, in this story and in season 3 in general, to expand on what appears to be a Romulan/Klingon alliance. A shame this never got explored any more in TOS (or TNG or DS9). * Scotty really is a miracle worker in getting the alien cloaking device technology to interface with his ship in the span of one hour despite having any schematics to work on, but I did like how he recognizes (theorizes?) the device should be fitted into the Deflector system, which is one of two systems that it would be compatible with and there might be reasons he would not say "shields" - chiefly power consumption, but the episode was focusing on selling urgency and not a litany of Treknobabble. Just enough was given that feels sufficiently plausible in-universe. I ultimately rolled with it but I've seen sci-fi that glosses over details far worse that everyone else goes batbleep crazy over for no reason and this episode actually handles enough technobabble with deftness... never mind the rest of the story is so good it's easy to forgive that the 50 minutes are almost up and they have to go for climax and closure... * Would the Romulans send over two high ranking Centurions as hostages, which aren't put into the brig until Scotty orders it some several minutes later and only after the Commander hails the Enterprise to tell him the Captain has been locked up? The Romulans are noble as they are chess players, but... * ...Spock states the Romulan Commander is being clever, which he says is unbecoming for a Romulan. (ouch) Yes, the Commander retorts Romulans are several complex things but there's no reason they cannot be clever, which they clearly were shown to be. As would TNG on several occasions. Which suggests Spock is trying to wind up the Commander, which is fair since she's spending half an hour trying to wind him up as well as turning him on. * Not sure how the Romulan Commander would have that nice lengthy dramatic spat with Kirk... in her own quarters, no less * or when she's spending half the episode trying to all but beg Spock to marry her. It's played out with such dedication that it works, but it's not surprising that Spock would remain unswerving loyal to the Federation despite the rather valid points she raised, which might - for a while - make audiences wonder if he's going to change sides as well. * Amazing that they didn't choose to do an autopsy. It is plausible they would not know of a "Vulcan Death Grip" (Chapel didn't know, Spock probably found a way to do a covert mindmeld to fill McCoy in the juicy scoop that had transpired.) Now onto the good stuff!! * The episode is a nonstop thrill ride, setting up the audience's insecurities over the captain's actions beautifully. Even after the game is revealed, the tension is still there in the episode and the tonal shift remains as compelling * the ending where the Enterprise punches up warp 9, followed by chase, with Romulan Commander (I did love how she latched onto Spock at just the right time) yelling at Subcommander Tal over the open channel to destroy the Enterprise. complete with spot-on incidental music, it is a fantastic scene on all levels and really ups the stakes. Yeah, we all know Scotty will save the day but the setup and acting are so good and played with absolute conviction, how can it not be liked!! * Kirk playing insane so his crew won't be on the hook is quite novel for sci-fi of the time and a trope that could and should make a proper comeback, especially as it's not drawn out for half a season. Which is a risky narrative to attempt, even for a show with long-established characters now in its third season where there is a bit more creative leeway but even then... that and DS9 already did the trope of rank infiltration via the Founders and all...) * Great casting throughout * William Ware Theiss outdid himself with the Romulan Commander's civilian dress - from one angle it looks like groovy 60s wavy lines but from another it's actually a visage of oversized lily petals draped around. It's brilliant as far as an optical illusion goes and the best creative trickery is with pattern placement and size, not as much with "is it blue/black or gold/white" based on whatever ambient lighting is shone upon it. A very impressive outfit and he's been known for countless, spectacular designs... he was a genius. Definitely a highly recommended episode.