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Star Trek Medley

Something for the weekend.  A medley of the Star Trek theme songs.  Ah, what memories they evoke of the endless hours I have wasted watching the various Star Trek shows!  Shatner of course had the best comment regarding obsessive Star Trek viewing.  Go here to view his comment.

Heresy!  Of course at the end of the skit we learn that Shatner was merely demonstrating what the evil Captain Kirk from the “Mirror Mirror” universe would have said to faithful Star Trek fans!  (What a relief!)

That leaves us free to debate important, meaningful questions.  What was the best Star Trek original episode?  I vote for Balance of Terror:

Originally broadcast on December 13, 1966, I have always found it riveting.  It introduced us to the Romulan Star Empire, an offshoot of the Vulcans.  Mark Lenard, one of the most underestimated actors of his generation, gives one of the best performances of the Star Trek franchise as the commander of a Romulan Bird of Prey vessel, equipped with a new cloaking device, making a foray into Federation territory.  Destroying Federation outposts along the Neutral Zone, his mission is to test Federation defenses.  If his mission is successful it will be the signal for an all-out Romulan invasion of the Federation.  Lenard portrays the commander as space-weary and tired.  An extremely able commander, he has seen too much of war, and dreads the massive interstellar conflict his political masters will unleash after he successfully completes his mission.  A Romulan of honor, he will do his duty even though he hates it.

The conflict between the Enterprise and the Romulan Bird of Prey is basically a remake of the 1957 film The Enemy Below, telling the clash between an American Destroyer Escort and a German U-Boat, with the action followed from both perspectives.  In Balance of Terror, the Enterprise is in the role of the Destroyer Escort and the Bird of Prey is the U-Boat.  The moves and counter moves of both commanders are fascinating, and the episode is the best depiction on television of naval combat, albeit in outer space.

There is a subplot where Spock comes under suspicion by Lieutenant Stiles, a descendant of a family that fought in the First Federation-Romulan War and who suspects that Romulans and Vulcans are racially linked, a suspicion born when the Enterprise scanners reveal the appearance of the Romulans to be identical to Vulcans.  It therefore is a dramatic moment when Spock agrees with Stiles at a council held by Kirk before he makes his decision to chase the Romulan ship across the Neutral Zone and destroy it:

Stiles: These are Romulans! You run away from them and you guarantee war. He’ll be back. Not just one ship, but with everything they’ve got. You know that, Mr. Science Officer, you’re the expert on these people, but you’ve always left out that one point. Why? I’m very interested in why.

 

Captain James T. Kirk: Sit down, mister. [Stiles does so, there is an awkward silence

 

Mr. Spock: I agree, attack.

 

Captain James T. Kirk: Are you suggesting we fight… to prevent a fight?

 

Dr. McCoy: Based on what? Memories of a war over a century ago? On theories about a people we’ve never even met face to face?

 

Stiles: We know what they look like…

 

Mr. Spock: Yes indeed we do, Mr. Stiles. And if the Romulans are an offshoot of my Vulcan blood – and I think this likely – then attack becomes even more imperative.

 

Dr. McCoy: War is never imperative, Mr. Spock.

 

 Mr. Spock: It is for them, Doctor. Vulcan, like Earth, had its aggressive, colonizing period. Savage, even by Earth standards. And if the Romulans retain this martial philosophy, then weakness is something we dare not show.

 

 

Star Trek, and television, doesn’t get any better than Balance of Terror.

 

 

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

7 Comments

  1. Obviously The Trouble with Tribbles is the penultimate episode in the original Star Trek Series. As explained in Trials and Tribblelations the triibbles destroyed the Klingon empire.

  2. “Ah, what memories they evoke of the endless hours I have wasted watching the various Star Trek shows!” Saturday Night Live Sunday Morning Dead. My rule of thumb: Is the movie worth two hours of my life?

  3. When I was in college (and living at home – my dad would NEVER have paid for a dorm room for me and I certainly didn’t have it) I was doing the dishes for my mom who had a hard day at work. I asked my youngest brother if there were any glasses in the living room. His response was, “Sensors indicate none.”

    The Trouble with Tribbles was one of the the best. Also up there was “A Piece of the Action”, where Kirk & Company found themselves on a planet that imitated 1920s Chicago organized crime. Shatner was his usually hammy self, but it was easy to see he had fun making the episode.

    One episode worth mentioning was when the Enterprise found itself on a world where Imperial Pagan Rome never fell. The resistance to the empire was made of people who followed “the Son”. Kirk and Spock mistook it for sun worship and were set straight by Uhura, who told them they were followers of Jesus Christ.

    The battle between Kirk and the Gorn is classic. “I will be merciful and quick!” is fun to say when you’ve had a few adult beverages. Another great episode is when Kirk, bones and Scotty are in the universe with the evil Spock.

    A buddy of mine has a CD of all of the classic Star Terk music.

  4. I loved Balance of Terror and I also loved Mirror Mirror. My two favorites. The Gorn episode (a Race that needed to be more featured in all of the next franchises) was great also.

  5. Spock in a goatee = evil. It’s logical when you think about it. 🙂 loved it. I play Star Trek Online (STO) now and then and I love the Mirror Mirror episode in that too :)…

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