This was the first regular episode recorded after the pilot episodes, but it was the tenth aired. However, it turned out to be one of the strongest episodes.
Season 1, Episode 10: The Corbomite Maneuver
Original Air Date: November 10, 1966
Featured Alien: First Federation (Balok)
Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Scott, Rand
Main Guest Characters: Lt. Bailey (Anthony Call), Balok (Clint Howard)
Things I Noticed
As I mentioned before, this was the first episode filmed after the pilot episodes, though it was aired as episode 10. So, there are a few things that don’t match up with the later episodes.
Right off the start, the camera work when panning out from Spock and zooming in on navigation was terrible.
Uhura is wearing a yellow uniform. This indicates that it was a very early episode, as she later wears a red uniform.
McCoy ignored the red alert to finish Kirk’s physical. That seems slightly irresponsible. But some of McCoy’s behaviour is a bit too focused on Kirk rather than the situation at hand. Thankfully, he doesn’t act like this in later episodes.
Lt. Bailey seems to resent Spock a bit at the beginning. But more on his behaviour later on.
The women’s uniforms seem so loose and baggy compared to what they are in most episodes.
Unlike other episodes, they’re using metric in this episode. They did use miles at one point, mixed in with metres, but it was mostly metric.
Bailey jumps to conclusions too quickly. A bit of insubordination from time to time.
Kirk is annoyed that he was assigned a female Yeoman, Rand. Rand seems rather bitchy with him. If this were made these days, these attitudes wouldn’t be there.
The giant ship Fesarius looks better in the remastered edition.
Kirk referred to the ship as the United Earth Ship Enterprise. The Federation’s name hasn’t been established at this time.
For someone who was standoffish, Bailey has turned into someone who is rather timid in dangerous situations. And then he snapped. What kind of military has someone like this in such an important position as ship’s navigator?
Interesting how so many people are in the corridors during this high alert situation, clinging to the walls as they’re tossed around.
McCoy didn’t pronounce Balok correctly. Everyone else, including Balok, said “bay-lock.” McCoy said “Bah-lock.”
It seemed very strange seeing a 7 year old Clint Howard with the movements and mannerisms of a child and an adult voice.
Honestly, my nitpicks above aren’t that important, other than some behaviours and Kirk’s attitude toward a female Yeoman. Extremely outdated, and wouldn’t reflect the 22nd century at all. Otherwise, this was a pretty solid episode, despite being the third taped episode.
The thing that stood out for me when I was younger was the creepy Balok puppet. I thought this was the creepiest scene in all of Star Trek. It was a face that could’ve given me nightmares. However, I still enjoyed watching this episode when I was a kid. And now that I’ve watched it again, it really is one of the stronger episodes.
The acting is quite decent in this episode. Everyone is extremely serious, except when we get to the final scene. William Shatner was fairly decent and Leonard Nimoy was very good as usual. DeForest Kelley was a bit too overbearing, more than usual. But this was the first episode he did. Grace Lee Whitney was too strong for her position, but that’s not a problem with her acting. More a problem with how she was written in this episode. George Takei was very good. But I had a problem with Clint Howard. Of course, he was only 7 years old at the time, but he was obviously a child. How he acted and his movements were those of a child. It was just weird seeing him speak in a child-like manner with an adult voice.
With that said, the story was a very solid one. I really enjoyed the bluffing and Kirk’s resolve throughout the episode. He was a leader. I couldn’t fault the writing of this episode. It was extremely well done. I have pretty fond memories of this episode.
What did you think of this episode? How did you feel about the puppet Balok, and then Clint Howard’s performance? Let me know in the comments below.