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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 10. "The Corbomite Maneuver"

In an unknown part of space, the Enterprise runs across a multi-colored block that blocks their way--not a ship but a 1073 m3 device of unknown composition. It pursues the ship even into warp speed, gaining on them until they finally blast it with their lasers. Do they escape the alien life that created this? No, their mission is find new life and boldly go where no man has gone before.
Analysis with spoilers:
They run into a giant Bucky ball, a fullerene. Not really, but it looks like a filled molecule. It's the flagship Fesarius, commanded by Balok. The Enterprise's destruction of the warning buoy is seen as an attack.

Meanwhile, Lt. Bailey has been promoted too quickly and freezes, paralyzed in his actions upon orders. He lashes out when he assumes they have only minutes to live, which is interesting. With all the life-threatening situations the crew has been under, you would suppose that many would have cracked. This goes some way to explaining that.

Balok threatens to destroy the ship in ten minutes. If you time the minutes Balok gives the Enterprise, you'll find time stretching and snapping back to normal speed, then stretches again.

Kirk bluffs, says that corbomite will destroy any attacking vessel. Balok buys it, so instead a smaller ship will take them to a planet to drop of the crew and destroy the ship. As Balok tows the Enterprise, the ship pulls away to overtax Balok's. As the Enterprise, Balok's breaks and sends out a distress call.

Kirk, Bailey and McCoy go aboard and find Balok's appearance on the screen was a puppet. The true Balok is a boy or a midget--the only person aboard. He'd played a series of bluffs as well. Bailey volunteers to discuss cultures with Balok. Perhaps this is a metaphor for ending the cold war: a series of raises until one party needs assistance. If rendered, the parties do a cultural exchange to understand one another.

The puppet was visible as a puppet but it is somewhat fearsome behind the distorting lens.

A rather clever episode with some long delays in plot, watching the crew react, but effective.


    1. The puppet
    2. Corbomite -- every bluff should contain this substance
    3. Explanation of psychological toll
    4. A lot plot details here get used later, such as the warp escape in the latest Star Trek movie. 
    • Spock:  Has it occurred to you that there's a certain inefficiency in questioning me on things you've already mind up your mind about?

      Kirk: It gives me emotional security.
                                                          Jerry Sohl also wrote for The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Outer Limits.
                                                          1. First use of Kirk's famous bluffs to solve a problem.
                                                          2. First we hear of Spock's past: His father was a rough man, but loved by his wife.

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