Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 14

Balance of Terror

Aired Unknown Dec 15, 1966 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

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out of 10
243 votes
  • When a Romulan warbird strays into Federation territory and destroys several outposts, Kirk leads the Enterprise into a strategic battle with the warbird and its cunning commander. An excellent episode...

    After a couple of so-so episodes, the two-part 'The Menagerie' (which has its pros and cons, see separate reviews) and 'The Conscience of the King', things really bounce back with this terrific story.

    It is a key segment in the history of 'Star Trek', introducing the cunning Romulans, and outlining their history – a war with the Federation a hundred years previously, and never yet being seen in person, and introducing the Neutral Zone, which would play a notable part in later 'Trek' incarnations.

    The story works in that one respect, it is very cleverly written, with both Kirk and the Romulan commander taking turns at strategical moves; and yet on the other hand is a relatively simple story. It works perfectly on both levels.

    The episode starts out with an Enterprise wedding of two crewmembers, until the ceremony is interrupted by the warning about the Romulan warbird. I just knew one of the newlyweds-to-be would be dead by the end of the episode!

    Mark Lenard, who of course would go on to play Spocks father Sarek in future stories, is perfect as the (unnamed) Romulan commander, and really feels like a credible threat to the Enterprise.

    Then there is Lt. Stiles, who suspects Mr. Spock of being a spy due to his identical appearance to the Romulans. It did seem a bit convenient that Spock could come to Stiles rescue at the climax of the story, but that is my only real niggle with this episode.

    Although the previous episode, 'Conscience of the King', was the final episode that she recorded, this episode is Grace Lee Whitney's final on-screen appearance of Yeoman Rand. Although she wasn't often one of the central characters, I did miss her after she went.

    Normally I prefer episodes involving new planets and suchlike, but I really like this episode. It introduces some key points of 'Star Trek', and stands as a terrific story.