Star Trek (1966–1969)
26 user 6 critic

Balance of Terror 

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 ...
Barbara Baldavin ...
Garry Walberg ...
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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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The story of the events on Romulus leading up to this episode are told in the comic book "Alien Spotlight: Romulans". See more »


The Romulan captain should have realized that his weapon is designed to destroy the stationary outposts, and, as such, would be worthless against a highly mobile enemy ship. The enemy ship would simply have flown out of the way. Thus, he would never have wasted the energy required to fire the weapon on a worthless attempt to destroy the Enterprise. 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.
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Referenced in Futurama: Stench and Stenchibility (2013) See more »


Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Balance of greatness
24 May 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

At face value, 'Balance of Terror' is as straightforward as they come; this is a classic submarine movie, complete with cat-n-mouse and silent running. Enterprise faces off with a Romulan warbird on the edge of the Neutral Zone; it's uncomplicated, but makes for some tense television.

But then there's the sympathetic opponent, less a villain and more a like-minded captain on the opposite team from Kirk (Mark Lenard plays this well, and I can see why they brought him back to play Spock's father; the two don't seem all that far apart). These are two evenly-matched adversaries sizing each other up. This episode focuses on the profound responsibility of being a starship captain, the immense weight of some of these tactical decisions; and it's a great example of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic as they hash this thing out from all angles.

In the end, it's just a riveting episode from start to finish; the grudges run deep, the conflict's great, and it's one of the more accessible episodes I've seen.


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