The Corbomite Maneuver

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"The Corbomite Maneuver"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Grace Lee Whitney William Shatner Corbomite Manuever Star Trek 1966.jpg
Yeoman Rand and Captain Kirk
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 10
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Written by Jerry Sohl
Featured music Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 003
Original air date November 10, 1966 (1966-11-10)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Dagger of the Mind"
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"The Menagerie, Part I"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"The Corbomite Maneuver" is a first season episode of the American science fiction television series, Star Trek, first aired November 10, 1966, and repeated May 11, 1967. It is episode No. 10, production No. 3, the first regular episode of Star Trek produced after the two pilots, although it was aired later in the season.

Written by Jerry Sohl, directed by Joseph Sargent, and created and produced by Gene Roddenberry, the storyline describes how the USS Enterprise encounters a massive and powerful alien starship and its unusual pilot.

The episode features a young Clint Howard, brother of actor-turned-director Ron Howard, who plays the alien "child" at the end (with an overdubbed, ethereal voice provided by Walker Edmiston[1]). This was also the first episode filmed in which DeForest Kelley played Dr. Leonard McCoy, Nichelle Nichols played Lt. Uhura and Grace Lee Whitney played Yeoman Rand, although viewers saw them for the first time in "The Man Trap".

Plot[edit]

On stardate 1512.2, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, commanded by Captain James T. Kirk, finishes a third day of star mapping when novice navigator Lt. Dave Bailey (Anthony Call) spots a large spinning multi-colored cube floating in space. First Officer Spock orders Helmsman Sulu to sound an alert. Chief Engineer Scott cannot explain how the cube works. Bailey advocates attacking it with phasers. Kirk instead orders the ship to back away from the object. The cube comes even closer, emitting harmful radiation, and Kirk reluctantly destroys it.

As Kirk is having lunch in his quarters, Spock announces that a much larger object has been detected. A gigantic glowing sphere quickly approaches the Enterprise, filling the bridge viewscreen even at low magnification. Commander Balok identifies his ship as the Fesarius, the flagship of the "First Federation", explaining that the destroyed cube was a border marker. Balok ignores Kirk's greetings and announces that he will destroy the Enterprise for trespassing into First Federation territory and destroying the marker buoy. He gives the crew only ten minutes to pray to their deities. Spock obtains a visual of Balok, a grotesque, blue-skinned humanoid with a frightening face. Bailey succumbs to hysteria, and Kirk orders him off the bridge.

Asked for his opinion, Spock compares the situation to a game of chess: "When one player is outmatched, the game is over." Kirk, inspired by an argument with McCoy, replies that the answer is not chess, but poker. He then tells Balok that the Enterprise contains "corbomite", a protective substance that automatically destroys any attacker. Balok apparently falls for the ruse and does not destroy the ship. Instead, a small tug ship detaches from the Fesarius and tows the Enterprise deep into First Federation space where Balok states he will intern the crew and destroy the Enterprise. Kirk orders the Enterprise to gradually resist the tug ship's tractor beam. Just as its engines are about to explode from overload, the Enterprise breaks free. This apparently disables the alien vessel, which is unable to call for help from its mother ship.

Rather than flee, Kirk, McCoy, and Bailey form a boarding party to render assistance. Scott warns them that the alien ship is cramped and beams them over. They soon discover that the "Balok" on their monitor was a dummy. The real Balok, looking like a hyperintelligent human child, enthusiastically welcomes them aboard. He offers them his favorite drink, "tranya", to toast their meeting; they all drink to their new friendship.

Balok explains that he was merely testing the Enterprise and its crew to discover their true intentions. As Kirk and company begin to relax, Balok expresses a desire to learn more about humans and their culture, and Kirk suggests Lt. Bailey volunteer to remain on Balok's ship as an emissary of the Federation. Bailey happily accepts, and Balok gives them a tour of his ship.

Production[edit]

The episode was the first episode of the regular series to be produced, after the two pilots, "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which had been made in 1964 and 1965. It was shot at a different stage, in Hollywood. Sets were transferred from Desilu's Culver City location, where later in the series a new engine room set would be constructed for a following episode ("The Enemy Within" production 005). Shooting started on May 24, 1966. The episode was held back until November due to the amount of special effects scenes that were not completed, becoming the 10th episode to be broadcast. NBC preferred planet-based stories which were ready to air before "The Corbomite Maneuver" because the miniature footage was not completed or ready when the series premiered.[2]

Reception[edit]

In 2009, Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an 'A' rating, describing it as "TOS [The Original Series] at its best—gripping, well-paced, and thematically coherent," and noted the ending's note of optimism.[3]

Parody[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Van Hise, James, "Walker Edmiston: A man of many voices talks about his off-and on-screen appearances." [sic], Starlog No. 58, May 1982, O'Quinn Studios, Inc., p.21.
  2. ^ Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-00974-5. 
  3. ^ Handlen, Zack (February 13, 2009). "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"/"Miri". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 15, 2009. 
  4. ^ Stanglin, Doug (October 30, 2010). "Stewart and Colbert rally thousands to 'restore sanity'". USA Today. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (October 30, 2010). "Live Blog: At the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear". The New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 

External links[edit]