Star Trek : The Corbomite Maneuver

December 15, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid


This week’s classic Star trek episode is The Corbomite Maneuver. While mapping an uncharted unexplored region of space the Enterprise encounters a strange cube. The cube blocks the ships path and Spock orders all stop. After studying the cube and being held for eighteen hours Spock theorizes it is one of two things. A space buoy or flypaper. Kirk decides not to stick around and plans to move away from the cube. After several attempts to move away from the cube Kirk orders all stop but the cube continues to close on the ship and begins emitting dangerous radiation. With no other option and the cube still closing in Kirk orders a phaser strike that destroys the cube.


With only minor damage to the ship Kirk weighs the option of continuing on or turning back. He decides to probe on. Kirk also orders simulation exercises as the ship and in particular Baily at the helm were sluggish in the encounter with the cube. McCoy and Kirk discuss the crew and Bailey in Kirk’s quarters as the exercises commence. After the first exercise results in a 96 Kirk orders another but as it gets under way Sulu brakes in another object is approaching.


The approaching object is a massive starship that grabs the enterprise in a tractor beam and probes the Enterprise systems shutting some down. A message from the ship identifies itself as Balok from the First Federation and after examining the ships records and accusing the Enterprise of trespassing Balok deems the ship dangerous and that it will have to be destroyed. Balok grants the crew ten Earth minutes. Spock taps into the message and gets a visual of the alien commander. Baily who has been under stress snaps and is relieved of duty. Kirk tries to reason with the alien but all efforts are rebuffed. Spock says that it’s checkmate. McCoy arrives on the bridge and discusses Baily’s condition with kirk which results in an argument over McCoy’s log entry which he says he is not bluffing about making. Kirk apologizes but the argument gives him an idea. Not chess poker and he makes up the Corbomite Device bluff. He tells Balok that all Earth ships have the element built into and if any destructive energy hits the ship an equal reverse reaction destroys the attacking ship.


The bluff is partially successful as the countdown reaches zero and nothing happens. Balok tell the crew that their ship will be towed by a smaller pilot vessel to a planet in the First Federation where they will be interned and the ship destroyed. As Balok begins towing the Enterprise Kirk waits for an opening to try to escape. Baily notes that Balok’s ship has move a little farther ahead and Spock scanners say his power is down slightly. Kirk initiates a breakaway attempt. The Enterprise struggles to brake free overheating the engines and straining Balok’s ship. At the last second the Enterprise brakes free.


Uhura picks up a distress call from Balok to the Fesarius his ship is damaged and is losing life support. Uhura says that the message probably didn’t reach the mother ship. Kirk decides to board the ship in a rescue attempt to prove to the aliens that they are peaceful. He takes McCoy and Baily. Upon arriving they discover that Balok is just a puppet and that and that the real Balok resembles a small Earth child. Balok tells them that this whole scenario was a test to prove their true intentions. Kirk agrees to opening relations with the First Federation and Baily volunteers to stay to be the first emissary.


This is another great first season episode. We actually see the Enterprise on its mission to contact new life and civilizations. It was also a nice way to see a first contact and get the point of view from the alien side. I like how they made the First Federation powerful but not overly powerful. Sometimes when they made the aliens all powerful it made the story less believable. The Fesarius is a cool ship design and the re-mastered version gives it some nice detail. We not only get to see the drama play out between Kirk and Balok but we also get to see Kirk Spock and McCoy deal with life on the ship. McCoy and Kirk discussing the crew in particularly Baily and what they have been through. Kirk’s apprehension about having a female yeoman is actually a way to show his devotion to his ship and crew when he says he already has a female to worry about the Enterprise. You also get to see the big three and how they relate to each other and how they have come to be friends and comrades something I feel is lacking in the latest Star Trek incarnations. This episode has some of Treks best music as well. You also get one of the first of McCoy’s I’m a doctor lines when he tells kirk “What am I a doctor or moon shuttle conductor.” One thing I wish they would have done is mix up Uhura’s lines a little she says “Hailing frequencies open sir.” Quite a number of times.


Some bits of trivia. This was the first episode produced after the pilots but was aired later due to post production of the special effects. Balok was played by Clint Howard who is the brother of Ron Howard. There is a shot of Sulu turning around to look back at Kirk this shot was reused in many future episodes as stock footage. There is also a scene when the time is counting down Sulu says “I knew he would.” To nothing because Balok line “You have one minute.” Is missing. This is the first time the ships phasers are used in the original version they are shown as red but the re-mastered version has them as the more consistent blue beam (which I prefer personally). The scene when Spock first sees the Balok puppet called for him to react in fear but the director told Leonard Nimoy to just react by saying “Fascinating” helping refine the character. The Balok puppet became quite iconic being the last scene shown during the season two credits. This episode was nominated for a Hugo award. No red shirts were harmed in this episode.