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"Now with the scales properly balanced, we have equal amounts of terror"

  • Jan 4, 2012
Balance of Terror is certainly one of the best episodes of the original series.  It featured the first major action scenes with the Enterprise in space, it introduced the Romulans which would become one of the most popular aliens in the series and it dealt with racism in the form of an Enterprise crewman who thinks Spock is in league with the Romulans-the Romulans who killed his family in a war almost a century before hand.  It's a loaded deck, has a bittersweet ending and it's treated almost like a submarine movie, or as best as a submarine movie can be in space with no water, but thats why the invisiblity screen was created.

As the episode opens, Kirk is about to wed to crew members in matriomony when an alert sounds from the bridge: Federation outposts are under attack on the border of the Neutral Zone-an area of space that seperates the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire.  The Romulans who had a war with the Federation almost a century ago and haven't been heard from since-may be attacking the outposts.  The Enterprise moves in to investigate and witness an alien craft destroying another outpost and when a transmission is intercepted from the vessel, we see the Romulans, and they look like Spock which raises the ire in a helmsman whose family died in the Romulan War.  Kirk knows the tense situation is now getting worse with war being a possibility.

On the Romulan ship though, the commander is compelled by the war life style of the Romulans to commit these attacks.  He does not want another war but the mentality of his people want one and is even pushed into actions he does not want to do by a subordinate officer who would look stronger by attacking the Enterprise when the Commander would not.  A scene towards the end of the episode has the Romulan Commander note that in another life, he and Kirk could have even been friends.

Balance of Terror is a Trek classic and showed a step towards a new alien power for the Federation to fight.  But then the Klingons would appear in the later season who became the breakout aliens for the series.

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Quick Tip by . January 04, 2012
Kirk and the Enterprise must follow a Romulan ship which breached Federation space to test it's new weapon as a investigation of Federation strength. Kirk and his Romulan equal must outguess each other in a tense battle, and the first major space battle the series had seen up to that point.
review by . February 01, 2005
As the Federation expanded out into space, they encountered a race called the Romulans. A vicious war ensued, where no prisoners were taken, so no Federation member has ever seen a Romulan. The peace treaty that ended the war was negotiated via subspace radio and one of the points of the agreement was to set up a neutral zone of space. Any movement by either side into the neutral zone would be considered an act of war. To monitor the neutral zone, the Federation set up a series of listening posts …
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John Nelson ()
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Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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"Balance of Terror" is a terrific drama that was essentially an outer-space version of a 1950s submarine movie. Writer Paul Schneider introduced both the Romulans and the concept of a "neutral zone" toTreklore, wrapped up in this story about the first encounter between a Federation and Romulan ship in 75 years. The resulting face-off between two vessels and their strong, noble captains--Kirk (William Shatner) and his Romulan counterpart (Mark Lenard, who later played Spock's Vulcan father, Sarek)--is directed and edited with suspense worthy of the classic sub movieThe Enemy Below. It's an example of how the originalTrekseries took lots of risks and constantly invented itself, in contrast to the more codified look and feel ofThe Next Generationand subsequent series.--Tom Keogh
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Studio: CBS Paramount International Television

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