Star Trek The Original Series’ tenth episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver” felt different for me than some of the previous episodes of Star Trek I’ve seen. It felt like a lot of the previous episodes involved the Enterprise crew beaming down to a new planet, an outside character being invited onto the Enterprise, an outside character stowing away on the Enterprise, or some combination of the above. While some of the Enterprise crew did spend time off the Enterprise, that portion of “The Corbomite Maneuver” felt like such a small portion of the episode overall, especially when compared to some of the previous episodes I’ve seen. Maybe I’m alone in this observation.
The Enterprise is working on star mapping when they encounter a strange cube shaped object. The object gives off radiation that was damaging the Enterprise, so the crew made the decision to destroy it. After carrying on with their plans for a bit longer, they encounter a larger, powerful alien ship that threatens to destroy the Enterprise in retaliation for destroying the cube. Kirk decides to bluff and claims that the Enterprise has a weapon on it that will destroy any ship that destroys it. A smaller alien ship breaks off and tows the Enterprise a ways away and then pretends to be in distress. Kirk and company beam into the smaller ship and find something a bit unexpected: they believed the alien they were communicating with was a blue humanoid named Balok. It turns out the blue humanoid was a puppet and Balok really appears to be a humanlike child. The episode ends with Kirk and Balok being on good terms, and an Enterprise crewman named Bailey agreeing to be left behind as a sort of cultural exchange.
To be fair, there was a bit more going on with Bailey over the course of the episode; but to be honest, I didn’t really care too much about those bits which is why I didn’t really touch on it.
According to Wikipedia, “The Corbomite Maneuver” was the first episode of Star Trek produced after the pilots and the first filmed with DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, and Grace Lee Whitney. I know intellectually that the episodes were filmed in a different order from which they aired, but for some reason I keep assuming that the opposite is true. Two things that struck me relating to this: am I correct in thinking that Grace Lee Whitney’s wig was styled a bit differently? It looked a bit different in the back to me. Also, Uhura was in yellow? She usually wore red, right? That got me wondering how it’s decided who wears what color.
Ultimately, I’d say that I liked “The Corbomite Maneuver.” As I said, it had a different feel to me than some of the previous Star Trek episodes I’ve seen, which I thought was a good thing. The twist with Balkon was cool.
Next up is “The Menagerie part one”. From what I understand, this uses footage from the unaired pilot. It’ll be interesting to see how the footage is used and how the plot differs from what I’ve already seen. This will also be the first two parter Star Trek episode I’ve seen. I’m looking forward to it.