Television Series: Star Trek
Episode #9: “Balance of Terror”
USA Airdate: December 15, 1966 (#14)
Written By: Paul Schneider
Music Composed By: Fred Steiner
Directed By: Vincent McEveety
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Story: 8 (out of 10)
Visual Style: 10
Verdict: Must See
Comments: For years, “Balance of Terror” reigned as my favorite Star Trek episode. Back in January, I watched The Enemy Below (1957) for the first time and was disheartened to learn that the Star Trek episode is essentially a remake of that World War II submarine movie, except set in space. I always knew the episode was “inspired by” submarine movies such as this one, but never realized the extent it borrowed the actual nuts and bolts plot. Though it loses a couple of story points for originality, “Balance of Terror” remains a near-perfect episode.
Also Known As
“Balance of Terror” represents the first foray of Mark Lenard (1924-1996) into the Star Trek universe. Playing the Romulan commander here, he went on to portray Sarek, father of Spock, later in the series. He would reprise his Sarek role in the animated series, the film series, and The Next Generation series. In 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Lenard portrayed a Klingon captain. Lenard, therefore, left his mark on the three primary “alien” species of classic Trek: Romulans, Vulcans, and Klingons.
“In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in all the universe, three million-million galaxies like this. And in all of that, and perhaps more, only one of each of us.” –Doctor Leonard H. McCoy