Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Star Trek: TOS 1.9 - Balance of Terror

Review #8

The One with the Romulans

Apologies in advance for the next 2 reviews - it's late and I'm tired but want to keep on top of these reviews.
This is a cracker of an episode. What strikes me most is how much of a dry run this seems for Wrath of Khan. Forget Space Seed, this truly is the inspiration. You have 2 ships, playing cat and mouse. At times there is no visuals on screen (albeit because the romulan ship is cloaked) but the fight in the Comet could be the Nebula. The 2 captains only see each other at the end through the viewscreen, never in person and someone dies trying to activate the phasers on the enterprise, not to mention the deaths when the nuke goes off. The parallels are there and I honestly think i'm not stretching.

The wedding at the start and obviously the loss at the end is a nice reminder of life continuing onboard the starship. Spock is good in this ep as well, offering the logical yet aggressive suggestion of fighting. Bones as always wants to save lives, but it's amazing how the trio work off each other this early in the series. Styles (relation to cap styles in StIII?) is aggressive to Spock after we discover that the Romulans are very Vulcan like (in a very funny scene where the camera pans in handily on the romulan commander (played by Spocks future dad, natch)), but comes across as an idiot and imbecile.

The only real bad part is the crew tiptoeing round the ship and talking in hushed voices? eh? What the hell is going on there. Too close to the submarine story.

I'm also beginning to see why Rand was written out (other rumours aside) as Kirk needs to be single frankly and having her come up for a cuddle every time the ships in danger makes for rather poor viewing.

Finally, the creation of the Romulan empire starts here and it's quite impressive to see how many seeds were planted here, form the neutral zone to the cloaking device.

Must see episode.


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