Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 14

Balance of Terror (15 Dec. 1966)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,347 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 10 critic

The Enterprise must decide on its response when a Romulan ship makes a destructively hostile armed probe of Federation territory.



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Title: Balance of Terror (15 Dec 1966)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Paul Comi ...
Lt. Robert Tomlinson
Barbara Baldavin ...
Garry Walberg ...
Commander Hansen
John Warburton ...
The Centurion


The Enterprise answers a distress call from Federation Outpost #4, a monitoring station on the Federation side of the neutral zone with the Romulan Empire. The outposts were established over a century ago and no one has actually seen a Romulan. The Romulan vessel seems to have some type of high energy explosive device as well as a cloaking device to make the ship invisible. When it appears that Romulans bear a strong resemblance to Vulcans, Kirk must deal with a rebellious crew member. He must also engage in a dangerous cat and mouse game with a very intelligent Romulan commander. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

15 December 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Network restrictions at the time forbade the tackling of any contentious subjects such as the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and the rise of feminism. Star Trek (1966) - under the guise of science fiction - boldly flouted these rules. This episode, for example, openly deals with the subject of racism as reflected through Lieutenant Stiles' opposition to Mr Spock. See more »


When the order to fire phasers is given, the ship is shown firing what, in most other episodes, are called photon torpedoes. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: Lt. Uhura, inform Command Base: In my opinion, no option. On my responsibility we are proceeding into the Neutral Zone.
See more »


Referenced in Futurama: Where No Fan Has Gone Before (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Possibly the best Star Trek episode ever
5 December 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Despite all the hoopla about THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES episode, THE BALANCE OF TERROR might just be the best episode of the series. And, while I have always loved A PIECE OF THE ACTION because it is so much fun, I really do have to cast my vote as this Romulan episode as being the very best.

The movie, interestingly enough, is really like a WWII submarine movie in that it bounces back and forth between the cloaked Romulan ship and the Enterprise as it seeks to destroy the Romulans before they sneak back across the Neutral Zone after a raid on Federation outposts. In so many ways, the show is much like the film THE ENEMY BELOW--where the American Captain (Robert Mitchum) and the German Captain (Curt Jurgens) are shown in counter-point as they both try to outwit the other--and in the process develop a grudging respect for their foe.

Interestingly enough, only a short bit of the beginning of the episode takes place on a planet--and this is amazing because an episode on board ship could easily have been static and dull. But, because the writing was so fantastic and the main characters written and acted so well (Shatner and Mark Leonard as the Romulan leader). Oddly, for the die-hard Trekkers out there, they'll recognize Leonard as the same actor who later played Spock's father.

The bottom line is this is simply a great and extremely engaging episode that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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