149: Star Trek TOS Season 1, “Balance of Terror”

https://youtu.be/YqN9LmASwxo

Matt and Sean talk about strategy, revelations, and Star Trek royalty in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, “Balance of Terror.” But does this episode hold up and is it … well … balanced?

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In this episode of Trek in Time, we’re going to be talking about testing the limits. That’s right, we’re talking about Star Trek Season 1, Balance of Terror. This is episode number 14 in broadcast order. But number nine in shooting order. Welcome everybody to Trek in Time, where we’re watching every episode of Star Trek in chronological stardate order, which at this point in the original series is production order.

And we’re also taking a look at the way the world was at the time of original broadcast. So here we are now at our first episode in which we’re actually pretty deep into 1966. We’re at December 15th, 1966. And who are we? Well, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci fi, write some stuff for kids.

And with me as always is my brother, Matt. He is that Matt behind Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. And Matt, how are you today?

Doing good, trying to stay out of the spongy environment outside because of the high humidity and just don’t want to go out there.

Yes, it is the kind of day that you do not want to go outside in. And unfortunately for me, I live in a building in which the outside often comes inside. So,

oh

boy. This building is an exciting building to live in when it reaches 90 percent humidity in the 90s and my partner comes downstairs to sit on the sofa and begins to look like she is simply a snowman melting in July.

As we always like to do before we get into the conversation about this current episode, we like to revisit your comments from the previous episode. So Matt, what have you found in the mailbag for us this week?

Bunch of good comments. And we have a lot of people getting on that train, Sean, for the, you know, coming up with what the next episode is,

wrong answers only, so strap yourself in. Okay. So from the last, the last episode, we have one comment from AnnoyingCriticis7RP. Great episode, I think of, uh, Jerome Bixby’s Twilight Zone episode as a really As a really a genre, it’s a good life is about a child. This episode is about a teenager and where no man has gone before is about an adult.

And I think in many ways, this is a better episode than the Twilight Zone episode because it really explores a lot of different issues about whether it’s about what it’s like to be a teenager. It’s much more sophisticated storytelling. Bixby would later write four episodes for Star Trek, including the enemy within.

So there were likely no hard feelings. That’s right. Which I thought was interesting. Yeah. Related to that, directly to that, is J. D. Lewis, 3706, he wrote, This was an interesting episode. This was originally written by Gene Roddenberry and it was intended for Captain Pike’s crew and D. C. Fontana rewrote it to fit Kirk’s crew.

RE Twilight Zone while watching the episode. When Yeoman Rand returns from Charlie’s Limbo, my friend exclaimed, Look, Yeoman Blonde just returned from the cornfield. So Matt wasn’t the only one to notice the episode’s Twilight Zone influences. Yeah. Great reaction today. Can’t wait for your next reaction.

P. S. next week’s episode, Balance of Terror, is a delightfully lighthearted episode about when Kirk accidentally hits his head on a bulkhead and loses his sense of balance, and the rest of the episode is Kirk humorously trying to hide his loss from the crew, and as a result, humorous hijinks ensue.

I

thought that was

very nice.

I find myself, uh, JD now wishing that that episode does exist. Like

existed.

Yes. Yes. Just imagine a shot of the bridge and in the background, Kirk just kind of like, Oh,

but get ready, Sean, there’s some doozies in here. So here’s the next one. AJ Chan wrote balance of terror. Captain Kirk, Spock, and McCoy revisit a planet that found a book on the circus from the previous USS Barnum.

They make the three Starfleet officers do a trapeze act.

That fits right in with season three of the original series.

That’s great. Which is followed up by PaleGhost69 writing, Balance of Terror is a socio political documentary about the U. S. healthcare system and primarily focuses on how a single medical emergency can ruin someone financially.

These are very good. We have a very astute, creative audience.

Yes, we very much do.

And Mark Loveless came back with the plot for Balance of Terror. Using realistic looking robot roosters, Sulu and Scotty are involved with their cockfighting. Obviously, Scotty has the advantage with his engineering skills and is the ship’s reigning champion. However, Chekhov comes up with a design that uses lasers that shoot out of one of the eyes

ending Scotty’s reign and pisses off Scotty to no end. After a ruling from Spock that technically, if they are robots, well, then anything goes, and things escalate until the ship is damaged and of course Kirk saves the day. As an aside, not only did this episode inspire the Robot Chicken series, it was the original inspiration for the formation of PETA, because duh, to which, Dan Sims replied, Chef’s kiss.

It really is. Yes.

Well done, Mark. Those are all fantastic everybody. Thank you for dropping those into the comments. I find myself looking forward to those more and more every week. It’s always been a fun thing when people have dropped one or two into the comments, but now that we’re really getting a lot of them, it’s becoming.

Kind of the raison d’etre for doing this entire podcast. That noise you hear in the background, of course, is the read alert, which means it’s time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia description. And this week it is a Wikipedia description, and it is a little more than just a synopsis because the synopsis is so short that including a little extra information around it kind of fills it out a bit.

And I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed with this one, Matt.

All right. In the episode, the USS Enterprise battles a Romulan ship after investigating an unidentified assailant that has methodically destroyed Federation outposts bordering the neutral zone. Balance of Terror introduces the cloaking device and the Romulans.

Mark Lenard plays the Romulan commander. He later portrayed Spock’s father, Sarek, in the majority of his later Star Trek appearances, as well as a Klingon captain in Star Trek The Motion Picture. The episode’s events are explored within an alternate future in the Star Trek Strange New Worlds 2022 episode, A Quality of Mercy.

I thought that was a nice reference to remind everybody of the tie in there from Strange New Worlds. This episode is directed by Vincent McEverdyte. And written by Paul Schneider, who is given credits in multiple sources that I could find from other writers and producers of the original series. They all just point out, Paul created the Romulans.

He is the one who did it. So, hat tip to Paul Schneider for having created a species that, along with Klingons, I mean, we were talking about the bad guys of Star Trek, number one and number two right there. Our main cast, as usual, Shatner, Nimoy, Kelly, Doohan, Nichols, Takei, Barrett, and Grace Lee Whitney. She makes a very brief appearance in this episode, mainly for a hug.

And we’re getting close, I think, to the end of her time aboard the ship. It is We know that she was involved in the production of eight episodes. And here we are probably fairly close to not seeing Yeoman Rand again. Guest stars in this episode include the aforementioned Mark Lenard, who is the Romulan commander.

And we do know that Lenard is best known for his role of Sarek. That is not just within the Star Trek universe. That is what he as an actor is best known for. He had been a character actor in various roles. He’d been on soap operas quite a bit prior to being on Star Trek with year long or two year long stints on various soap operas that were popular at that time.

But it was Sarek that he would find his most sustainable role, and he would play him for on again, off again, throughout many of the movies, he would be in multiple TV shows. And it’s really kind of interesting that Mark Lenard said as much as he enjoyed playing Sarek, he found the Romulan commander to be the more challenging role and felt like this episode is one that he looked back on most fondly.

Also in this episode, Paul Comi, Lawrence Montaigne, and I’ll come back to him in a minute. John Warburton, Stephen Mines, Barbara Baldavin, Garry Walberg, John Arndt, and Robert Chadwick. And some of them are various Romulans on the bridge of the Romulan ship. I wanted to revisit Lawrence Montaigne because I found this in my research for this week’s episode.

Lawrence Montaigne, much like Mark Lenard, Got to play similar roles twice. Matt, do you want to take any guesses without peeking at the show notes as to who Montaigne played? I have no idea. Montaigne plays in this episode, Decius. He is the Romulan commander who keeps coming up to the The Romulan commander and saying like, let’s be more aggressive.

Let’s go after them. Let’s destroy them for the honor of the Romulan empire. And the Romulan commander played by Lenard keeps pushing back with his more exhausted and more world weary. You don’t understand what war is all about. And Lawrence Montaigne would go on to play just like Lenard would go on to play Sarek in the episode where Spock returns home.

Lawrence Montaigne would play Stonn, the romantic counterpoint to Spock in the episode, Amock Time. So I thought it was really wildly funny. And I wonder how much of that is born of, well, they already had ears that would fit. Yes. Going on now to examining what the world was like at the time of this broadcast.

This episode dropped on December 15th, 1966. And the world at that time included a number one hit that is not going to be difficult for any of us to imagine what it sounded like. Probably the most sci fi of rock pop at the time. We’re talking about the Theremin influenced Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys.

Matt, sing a few bars.

And at the box office, December 15th, 1966, we have finally broken free of movies like Dr. Zhivago, where we keep going back to them, or The Sound of Music, which had been in theaters for more than two years. Here we are, number one film of the week is The Professionals and this is one of my favorite films.

If anybody is looking for a very smart, very semi tragic cowboy story, The Professionals is it. It’s a 1966 American Western. Written, produced, and directed by Richard Brooks, starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, and Jack Palance in supporting roles. And the script was adapted from a novel, A Mule for the Marquesa, by Frank O’Rourke.

It is the story of four cowboys hired to go find a kidnapped woman. And it is Effectively about four aging men looking at their lives and realizing that what is ahead of them is probably only the end of their life. And it is at turns tragic and about camaraderie. The only person who can understand an aging cowboy is another aging cowboy.

It is a really, really impactful and special film. And on television, we’ve been looking at the series that had a wider viewership than the original series. We know that for the Nielsen ratings, Star Trek, the original series, its first season averaged out at a 12 and we’re looking at the various programs that competed with it.

And tonight for the first time, we see an show that was in direct competition. Bewitched is the program. That aired at 9 p. m. opposite Star Trek, which aired from 8. 30 to 9. 30, which was an ABC program. We’ve already talked about various other shows going from Bonanza on down to a show that Matt and I laughed about last week, Daktari, which we had never heard of before.

But Bewitched is a show that still remains in syndication. It is, in 1966, a show that was nominated for a number of different Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role for Elizabeth Montgomery, Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Comedy, which included two nominees, Agnes Moorhead, who played Elizabeth Montgomery’s mother, and Alice Pierce, who won

the Emmy that year and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy, which was won by William Asher. So this is a heavy hitter of the era. I think it’s interesting that at this point in 1966, the show was still early in its tenure. It was in its second season. It was still in black and white. So this is one of those shows that kind of highlights the Uneven nature of color television in its early adoption.

It is also the still Dick York, Darren, of the early programming, Dick York being an actor who was replaced toward the end of the series by Dick Sargent. And the reason for his replacement was because of a lingering back and A back injury that he had sustained while filming a program in the 1950s that led to chronic pain, which led to effectively a painkiller addiction.

And he was not able to work well toward the end of his time on Bewitched. And in the news, lots of headlines, but the one that caught my eye the most, Mrs. Kennedy will seek an injunction to block a book about the assassination. This was a book written by a man, uh, last name of Manchester, who had been shortly after the assassination of JFK, Jackie Kennedy had asked him to write a book about the assassination.

And then when it came time for the book to be published, both she and Robert Kennedy. had issues with the book that he had written and tried to stop it and it would go into a lawsuit that would and I found this part Particularly fascinating go on to harm both Jackie Kennedy’s and Robert Kennedy’s public perception, their lawsuit to stop this book would ding their very good reputations in the American public eye, Robert Kennedy would go on to argue with Jackie that she should settle out of court to make it go away because he was currently in the early stages

of preparing to run for president. There is an article that is available if anybody’s interested in Vanity Fair. There was an article there which investigates the, the writing of the book. It would come out a year later, become a bestseller. It’s called Death of a President. If you look for the link, we’ll have it in the show notes and I encourage you to check it out.

It’s a fascinating story. A little peek into a part of history that I had not known anything about. On now to our conversation about this episode. This episode is one that, I mean, we don’t even really need to have a conversation about it. It’s one of the best episodes universally praised. Um, I find it really interesting that the background of this is rooted deeply in two separate movies.

Did you know about the connection to films that had come before this that were influential of the plot? There was a Film called The Enemy Below, which was made in the 1950s. And it is about a cat and mouse game between a submarine and a destroyer as they are hunting for each other during World War II, there was another movie.

Which was, so The Enemy Below was a 1957 American war film directed by Dick Powell and starring Robert Mitchum and Kurt Juergens. And the movie is based on a novel and the film follows the story of Captain Mural played by Mitchum, who’s a newly appointed commander of an American destroyer who is hunting for a German submarine, which is Captain by Kurt Juergens.

And so it’s a very similar cat and mouse. There is also a film called Run Silent, Run Deep, which is a 1958 American war film directed by Robert Wise, starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. And that book is the story of a commander hunting for a submarine because of personal vendetta. And both of those seem to be influential in, in this.

You have the cat and mouse story as the A plot, the B plot is we have Commander Stiles on the bridge who keeps turning to Captain Kirk and saying, I don’t know how you can not move more aggressively here. These people are evil and that his entire assessment is based upon the fact that he had an ancestor who died in the earlier war between the Romulans and the Proto Federation.

So. It’s an interesting merging of those two. So I want to start our conversation kind of taking a look at it from that perspective. Those two stories and the influence that they had upon this story. Balance of Terror. How did you find the balance between the big picture? Do we dare do something that might go into war versus the personal storylines in this?

Everything from Stiles to Captain Kirk’s Subtle second guessing of himself and also Spock’s having to acknowledge the unexpected turn of events of recognizing here we have a species that seems to obviously be deeply connected to my own. So we have some personal level, we have the big picture level, how did you find the balance between those?

Okay. So first I didn’t, I haven’t seen those old movies, but for me, this was Das Boot. Hunt for Dekotober. Yeah. It’s like, this is a cat and mouse game we’ve seen in a bunch of movies. So it’s very familiar territory. I love this episode so much. Every fiber of my being was just eating this episode up. It’s so well written.

It’s well acted, especially for the time. It was well acted. I love it. Very well put together. There’s a lot of tension and the balance between jumping between the two captains and the two ships and seeing how they’re doing cat and mouse with each other and seeing what they’re saying about the other.

And there’s this kind of growing respect between the two of them for like Kirk saying, I’m not going to underestimate him ever again because that was kind of brilliant. And then the same time he calls the Romulan captain calls him a sorcerer at one point. So it’s like. The back and forth and being able to see what they think of the other is just showing how these guys are operating at a very high level and it’s really getting tense and everybody knows it’s for their lives and it’s the tension, Sean, the tension so well done and even though It’s 1966 and it’s a very dated TV show and has Doctor Who looking cardboard sets and all that kind of stuff.

If you can look past that, this, this episode, I was watching it thinking, why was this not the first episode? Yeah. If you want to start a new show and grab people by the throat and say, look what we’re going to do. It’s like, this is it. And yet all the episodes we’ve watched before this, and I know they’re out of order from the actual air dates, but when you look at the actual air dates, you’re like, why the hell did they pick the episode they picked to start this show?

This would have like, I think, grabbed way more people because it’s like, yeah, it’s science fiction, But this is a submarine drama. This is two captains battling it out. And it’s like exciting. It’s a Cold

War epic. I mean, it really is. This is Cold War stuff right here.

Of the era. Yeah. So it’s like, this is to me, probably one of the best original series episodes.

And it’s also one of the best Star Trek episodes, period. It’s like, it’s, it’s up there for me on that. Same thing with the Spock Romulan stuff. It’s like the, the, The navigator of the week, that rotating chair of the navigator. It’s like, okay, now we have a guy that’s got a chip on his shoulder and he hates Romulans.

He’s a bigot because of his family history. It’s like, that was a little like ham fisted for me, but it created an interesting dynamic. Uh, especially when you see Spock recognizing the Romulans and the way he reacts to it. And in the ready room when they’re debating what to do, that entire scene is astounding.

It’s so good. Yeah. There’s so many different points of view coming at it. For me, the balance of balance of terror is perfect. I would not change the broad strokes of this episode at all. There are minor strokes that are like, no, why is that there? Get rid of that. But it’s broad strokes this episode I thought was incredibly well constructed.

Yeah, I couldn’t help, but I, I had the exact same response and I couldn’t help but think in terms of this feels like one of those episodes where as you’re watching and I’m like, Oh, they called from this for other programs and I think wasn’t it in Enterprise where it was revealed how the Vulcans dealt with the Klingons?

And formed an ability to like, not be screwed around with by the Klingons by saying when the Vulcans first met the Klingons, they reached out with a message of just hello and the Klingons attacked and destroyed the ship. So from that moment on the Vulcan response to coming across a Klingon ship was to attack first.

That was the approach until finally the Klingons were just like, okay, you guys are not to be screwed with. We get it. And they backed off from that aggressive stance and formed not a piece, a respect. You had to build that respect. I feel like that logic of that Moment in that show was born here in Spock siding with Stiles.

Stiles saying like, we cannot let them get back. We have everything we need in order to stop them. We should stop them here because there would be no arguing that they were not on our side of the neutral zone. There’d be no getting out of that. And Everybody around the table, I love the fact it’s Sulu debating back, I’m like, but what if they destroy us?

What if they are able to go back and crow about the fact that they destroyed the flagship of the Starfleet? Like, the fact that it’s two sub Commanders having the debate as opposed to Kirk and Spock and Kirk is sitting there and again I find myself like it’s built into the threads of the show. Kirk wants the debate at the table.

He wants people to go after each other in this way so he can assess every angle and then make a decision, which is something that is referred to in episode in Star Trek six and in the Wrath of Khan episode or not the Wrath of Khan episode, but the Khan episode, Space Seed, when Khan says, Oh, you’re a brilliant tactician, Captain.

You let your first officer go in on the attack so that you can assess and look for weakness. And that’s happening here. Kirk is watching these two men go against each other. And then when Spock weighs in. It is with the very cold calculation, Stiles is right. We need to attack now. We cannot give them any weakness because if they are like Vulcans of old, that could be the worst possible thing we could do.

And one of the things that I think goes into this episode that is watered down, unfortunately, in future depictions of the Romulans, and I wish it was there more, is this, there doesn’t seem to be as big a gap between Romulans and Vulcan ideology presented here as there would be later on. Later on, it is a lot of mustache twirly kind of bloodlust of like, we’re just like machinations within machinations.

And we’re just doing all this stuff because we love being evil. This depicts a Romulan empire that yes, is super aggressive, they are testing the limits, they are going out with a brand new mode of weapon, like we’ve got this invisibility cloak, we’ve got this massive plasma cannon, we’re able to take people out if we can get close enough, and once we take them out, they don’t even get to fire a shot back, like that’s how aggressive we are, but they are also presented as coldly calculating with a logic to them.

There, logic is sometimes born of, it’s about the empire. It is born with an emotional goal, but there is logic undergirding it. And it feels a little bit like a depiction of Romulans that split from Vulcans at a time when aggression and warlike behavior was at its fore, but there was a growing need for logic in order to survive.

And whereas Vulcan fully folded into the logical argument. The rolins folded the opposite direction, and so there’s a kind of balance there. I keep using the word balance. It’s not intentional. I’m not going for puns, but the balance of evolution that we see in this episode is a Vulcan commander who’s not mustache shortly.

I love Mark Leonard’s depiction of the commander in this. He comes across as a method actor. Which, when you compare it with a lot of the other people in the show, he lines up most fully with Nimoy and the depiction of a Vulcan. It is this world weariness as opposed to, I have my logic to guide me, it is, I have my wisdom.

I have lived enough to see what this does and to feel like, is there nothing else? And I feel like this depiction is resurrected in the next generation with a depiction of an ageing Romulan commander who has in the episode, I believe it’s called Turncoat or Traitor, where a Romulan comes to the Federation to warn them about an impending attack.

And he does it because he’s like, I can’t have another war because I have children now. I look at the children. That I have at home and I can’t put them in that future. It is at all these different levels, so beautifully rendered and impactful for future storytelling that I find myself watching it every time I watch this episode, I revisit it partway through for almost forgetting that I’ve seen it before and some of the lines that come out.

I’ve seen this episode two dozen times. And I still find myself getting chills when the lines that you reference were like, this is a sorcerer, this one, the closing line of, I would have called you friend, the emotion in that and Kirk’s desire to say like, you can’t just sacrifice yourself now. Like, there’s a legitimate, like, come aboard my ship.

You’ll be a prisoner, obviously, but I’d love to have a cup of coffee. It’s like that kind of nobody knows our job the way we know our job. And he sees a kindred spirit. And it’s that kind of begrudging respect that really rolls through this episode. I also wanted to ask you, do you recall an episode that we’ve talked about from the original series up to this point that has Told as much of the story as it has

from the opposite ship’s perspective. A lot of this is from a camera aboard the Romulan ship, and we’re just getting glimpses of life aboard a Romulan ship, and we are shown, intentionally, relationship between a captain and another officer that looks eerily like Kirk and McCoy. How did that relationship between the two of them strike you?

I love that. Again, this ties back to, it looks like they just kind of carbon copy cloned the relationship structure from the Enterprise crew to the Romulan crew because you can end up having some interesting debates. So on the Romulan crew, you had that, I can’t remember what the rank was that he was, but they get the young guy that was like, let’s go in there and kill everybody.

And like, I’m going to radio home to the motherland and say, we’re awesome. Look what we did. That guy, he reveals as part of the triangle of the captain and that Bones character. It’s like, there were really interesting conversations there because you had the Bones character being in the middle of like, We can’t go against the motherland, you be careful what you do, and the captain’s saying like, you know, I actually wish that we would lose, and he’s like, but don’t worry, I’m too devoted to my job, so it was like, really interesting to see the inner workings of, like you said, this kind of world weary captain and his friend who’s still not at that point, but understands it, and is trying to kind of bridge back to

romulus and then the young upstart that’s like doesn’t understand what war is. It’s like that whole dynamic was fantastic and it was really well rendered even for them. And they were only on screen for what, five minutes at most. And it was really well, you, you understood them immediately and it worked really, really well.

Um,

you understood them and you mourn the older, the older guy, when he dies, you mourn his death. And then you have the absolute, going back to the logic aspect of it, when the captain says load the tubes up with every bit of refuse who can, including his body. And it is just like, you know, he’s doing it with like, I want to take this body home.

I want to be able to bury him, but sorry, old friend, you have one last thing you can do for me. And then on the flip side, Spock’s very quick like, there’s not enough mass. Like, there’s not enough here for this to be a ship. Like it didn’t work. So like the heartbreak of like, Oh, the Romulan commander threw his friend’s body out the tube and it didn’t even work.

Yeah. Like it’s just so much stuff. Go ahead. You were going to

bring something up. Can we talk about Can we talk about the Strange New World? Every week, every week it feels like, hey, I’m watching this through a new lens. This episode, a thousand percent because of that episode of Strange New Worlds where Pike changes the future and he ends up being in command there and screws everything up and ends up in a huge war with the Romulans.

And we see everything go sideways. This episode to me had, I’ve always liked this episode. You said you’ve seen it a dozen, two dozen times. I’ve seen this a bunch. I love this episode. I wouldn’t change any broad strokes, but that episode of Strange New Worlds makes this episode even better to me. Like I was, again, I keep tipping my hat to the writers of that new show.

They clearly watched every original episode probably multiple times and figured out how to tease the essence of the show without trying to emulate it. Yeah. And paid homage to it in just the right way. And it strengthens the storytelling in this one because it’s like now Kirk’s in charge and now we get to see how Kirk handles the same situation and how he goes about it in such a different way.

He’s more aggressive. He’s, he’s not, he’s not gun shy. of shooting his gun, where Pike is very much a politician. He’s very much, no, a diplomat, not a politician. He’s much, much more of a diplomat, wants to find the best in people. And so it’s interesting to see the dynamic and how the two characters handle the same situation in very different ways.

As a pairing, it’s like, it would be fun to watch these just like in one sitting. Yeah. Watch the Strange New Worlds and then immediately watch this one. I think they would hold together very, very well, especially with like the wedding scene. It’s like the wedding scene looks like it was shot

intentionally to be identical.

It was shot to be as identical as it possibly could have been. I really appreciated that. There apparently was a version of this script where the wedding took place briefly during the episode where it’s interrupted at the beginning and then they do a quickie wedding for the middle of the episode. So the death of that one officer leaves a straight out widow.

But I, I, I agree with the decision not to do that because it added, it would add a scene that wouldn’t really be necessary for her loss to feel personal. Um, and there was also a version of the script in which Stiles died. And I, again, found myself appreciating the fact that that did not happen because you have now Stiles be, at the end, his turn of perspective when he says, he came back, Spock came back and saved me.

Like, if it weren’t for Spock, we’d all be dead. His acknowledgement at that point is necessary. As is Spock’s, like, I just didn’t want to lose a competent officer and Spock’s ability to take the emotional pushback and bigotry that he’s seen right to his face throughout the episode and put it to the side, um, which is done for storytelling perspectives, but that kind of bigotry right in your face, which should it like in a realistic

perspective should have been called out, should have been halted. There’s no, there’s no way that that should be allowed. Another thing that stood out to me, I want to, I have just two more things to, to reflect on. One is Spock and Kirk’s relationship. I do like your suggestion. What if this had been the first episode?

This is the episode that as I’m watching it, Spock is calling Kirk Jim fully on the bridge. Yes. He is just doing it right in front of everybody. And I’m like, this is where, here we are now in episode order. They’re in episode nine. They have now fully landed on what is this relationship like? And it is one of two people who are so comfortable that not only does he call the captain Jim, Kirk doesn’t ever say, you gotta have more decorum

on the bridge. This would be like Riker referring to Picard as Jean Luc on the bridge. That would never happen. That relationship of a totally different cloth. That is a effectively Riker picks a surrogate father and will never call him, Jean Luc on the bridge. He is the captain. This is a different thing.

And I found myself just like you mentioned, going back to Strange New Worlds. I kept leaping back in my head to the scene where the two of them are introduced to each other for the first time and found myself like, this is a depiction in this episode, you get the sense. These are two men who’ve known each other for a long time and are friends first.

And are subordinate officer and ranking officer second, and that that is to the strength of the captain. He relies on his friend. And he relies on him in, in ways that he reveals to somebody else, like, what if I’m wrong? And the other thing I wanted to talk about very briefly, the scene between McCoy and Kirk.

How does that hit you? As far as the, in all the galaxy, there are a million planets that could sustain life like us. And then it ends with, don’t lose the one that’s called Kirk. A message of basically like, I love you, trust yourself. Don’t hurt yourself in the process. Kind of a bold thing to show two men saying in 1966.

It is. That’s a good point. It’s it at the time that would’ve been very rare to see that on television. Um, for me now, 2024, Matt, of course, it’s just like, oh, I love it. It’s like, it’s like there’s Bones just kind of like in his own way saying, Hey man, I love you, . It was like, I thought it was great. And it’s so, it’s so Bones.

’cause Bones is the heart of the crew through the show and the movies. So him saying something like that is so in character and it’s something that we expect out of him. So I loved it. Um, what about you?

I, I love it because Kirk presents the, what if I’m wrong? And then starts to leave and says, I’m not expecting an answer.

And McCoy says, you’re going to get one. And then the one he gets isn’t on point. It is like, I don’t have an answer for that. I don’t have an answer for what if you get it wrong. I just know that I care about you and I don’t like seeing you suffer. That’s, I think, a huge aspect of this program. And for that to be in this episode, for the Spock stuff to be in this episode, for the Jim Spock stuff to be in this episode, and it not to be the first episode, I agree with you.

It was like, Ooh, what if, what if, I mean, the tone of it could have been remarkable. One final thing that I noticed. Yeah,

go ahead. I’d say there’s two things. This is me pushing my glasses up and going, um, excuse me. Um, that’s gonna be me right now. Dunno if these bothered you, but I know the answer to of ’em already.

Those, those weren’t fa, those weren’t phasers, those were torpedoes. What were they doing? Because very quickly they go into the laser beams later. So it’s like, I don’t know what that was about. Yeah. But the second thing that really bothered me, I mean, truly bothered me was we have to be quiet. Yeah. This is not a submarine.

We’re in space. You’re in space. You could be banging the side of your hull and they’re not going to hear it. It’s like you’re in fricking space. It’s like, did they not understand the science of how space works at that time? No, they did. They did. And it feels like they just took incredible creative liberties to create that tense moment of somebody dropping something so they could be heard

in space! And it was like, that just, for me, was just like, whoa, I forget, you know, the phaser thing, it’s like, okay, whatever, let that go, but, come on, in space, nobody can hear you scream, Sean, come on.

Yeah, I have the, very, very patient with those two elements, in the first, I love the tension that builds out of like, we gotta be super duper quiet here.

Like, I just like that tension. So I’m fine with, I’m fine with all that. And as far as the photon torpedoes coming out of the phaser banks, uh, historically, and this was something I found as I was researching for this episode, they hadn’t yet created the photon torpedoes. When this was produced, they simply hadn’t said fire the photon torpedoes, so you don’t have that.

They say phasers, they show something that clearly looks like photon torpedoes, and in fact, later on, they would use the same special effects scene in reference to photon torpedoes. So that just adds then to the confusion for audiences who see these in whatever order and like, hold on, how come that’s now this, but they was earlier that, and it doesn’t make any sense.

Yeah. They just hadn’t come up with it yet. So I find myself forgiving that as well. One last thing that caught my eye on this rewatch, the wedding scene followed by the morning scene where we are told that the, the woman who’s fiance has passed away. She’s in the chapel and we get a, what I think is a very touching scene of Kirk going in support of her.

She turns and in a moment of, again, dropping of decorum, she goes and hugs her captain. She needs solace. She needs comforting. He provides her with comforting. And it’s a moment of her saying, like, I understand why he died. I understand that it was our work is that important and what he died doing was important work.

So. I will be okay. And then she leaves. I found it very interesting from a directorial standpoint, and this kind of like reflects something about Kirk and his relationship to the universe. He goes into the chapel. It is a chapel, first of all, aboard the ship. She is looking upward. She’s clearly praying. He consoles her.

She leaves. He ends the episode standing there, looking toward where she had been looking, but he looks down. He is not a religious man from the perspective that she would be, but he honors that moment in a way that I think is reflective of his encompassing all beliefs into his captaincy into his ship and to how he treats individuals.

So I thought that that was an interesting directorial choice that he doesn’t look. Upward in a moment that’s supposed to reflect. He now too is praying. He is doing something else. He is doing something where he is considering actions and choices and the past. So I found that very interesting. Viewers, listeners, do you think that there was anything here that we missed?

Please jump into the comments and let us know. And as always next week, we’re going to be talking. It won’t be next week. We will be taking a week off. Quickly, just pointing that out, following we will be talking about what are little girls made of, which is a great question and great opportunity for all of you to jump in the comments with wrong answers only.

What will that episode be about? Please don’t be gross. Before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you wanted to talk about? What do you have coming up on your main channel?

Uh, at the time this comes out, my latest episode will be about I have a whole home battery that finally got installed in my house.

It only took six months to get it installed really quick. Uh, yeah. A whole video about why it took six months and whether I regret getting it installed in the first place.

As for me, if you’re interested in checking out my books, please check out my website, seanferrell. com. You can also go directly to wherever it is.

You buy your books, that’s bookstores or the public library. My books are available everywhere. If you’d like to support the show, please consider reviewing us, leave a review, recommend us to your friends, and leave a comment down below. Those are easy ways for you to support us, and if you’d like to more directly support us, you can go to trekintime.

show, click the Become a Supporter button there. It allows you to throw some coins at our heads, and it makes you an Ensign, which means you’ll be signed up for our spinoff show, Out of Time, in which we talk about things that don’t fit within the confines of this program. So we hope you’ll be interested in checking that out.

Thank you so much, everybody, for taking the time to watch or listen, and we’ll talk to you next time.

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