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 1,365 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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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)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first time in Star Trek lore to have the ship's captain perform a marriage ceremony for his crew. Although 20th century naval captains were prohibited from doing this, the writers may have gotten this idea from The African Queen (1951). (see the Goofs section and Star Trek: The Next Generation: Data's Day (1991)) See more »


When the disabled Romulan ship is spinning in space, the hanging wire is visible. See more »


Stiles: I was suggesting that Mr. Spock could probably translate it, sir.
Captain James T. Kirk: I assume you're complimenting Mr. Spock on his ability to decode?
Stiles: I'm not sure, sir.
Captain James T. Kirk: Well, here's one thing you can be sure of, mister: leave any bigotry in your quarters. There's no room for it on the bridge.
See more »


Referenced in The Big Bang Theory: The Love Car Displacement (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

More critical and positive comments on a great episode
28 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

To start off, this happens to be my favorite of the ST OS.

In addition to StuOz's critical comments I'll throw in some more: Getting technical, when the Enterprise fires it's photon torps at a blind target, they'd have to be mighty close to direct hits (I believe) in order to cause any disturbance much less damage to the Romulan vessel with the vacuum of space to contend with.

I had somewhat of a problem with the Romulan commander questioning his faith in the Romulan "protocol" or their leadership, unless it has to do with attacking vulnerable targets (outposts in the neutral zone) that are not at war. Also, I don't think commander would fall for the basic, or simple tactics that Kirk played, such as "playing dead," or falling for the ploy that the subordinate puts on him about whether or not to attack the Enterprise when it is playing dead.

On the Enterprise: I'm surprised that after seeing the Romulan vessel's method of attack earlier, that Sulu would say, "Are they surrendering?" when it attacks the Enterprise the first time.

Funny how Spock can only get the repair done on the weapons control right when the emergency is over.

Also in the final attack, I thought the Romulan vessel was uncloaked too long (so long that Spock could run down a couple aisles and back to the weapons room and activate and fire the photon torpedoes. I would have used phasers at this point, but I'm sure it had to do with the technicians and budget).

On the positive side: It's a good drama played on the Romulan vessel, in which to introduce us to the Romulans. Great scenes with Stiles telling a good deal of the human knowledge of the Romulans. Also his conflict with Spock is right up there. I wished Stiles' character would have stayed on the show for a while, if for nothing else than the energy he added.

It's only in fun that I point out the negatives and goofs, (I'm sure there are more). But for me this is as good as it gets!! "Balance of Terror" is always the one I place at the top in my ST rankings.

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