The Crew Watches “Balance of Terror” In A Shuttle Pod Supplemental

Shuttle Pod: Supplemental – “Balance of Terror”

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While Trek news is light, and a few of the podcast crew are off traveling, Brian and Matt try something a little different and record a commentary for the Star Trek: The Original Series classic “Balance of Terror.” The hosts offer up trivia and behind-the-scenes tidbits while watching. Cue up your copy of the episode and listen along!

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My favourite TOS episode! :)

Yep, definitely a must watch at least once a year.

Me… twice or thrice a year :)

Still some of the best starship combat ever (and that was before photon torpedoes had even been developed)… back when starships were powerful capital ships where the loss of one could cost the entire Federation and you had to wonder just how nasty was the Romulan war with all those nuclear weapons. Imagine how strategic it could be today when you throw in repair drones on the Enterprise and advanced sensors, photorps, decoys, etc.

I will agree, with the way storytelling usually goes, starships kind of lost their mystique the more the story/sandbox grew. It makes sense that it would happen but I also understand where you’re coming from.

we are going to enjoy watching/listening to this tonight. it’s a GREAT idea, a great addition to TrekMovie, we love all of you; if you could start doing this as a regular feature with the full TM crew it’d be even more betterer. rer.

Not my favorite episode of TOS — though it’s way, way up there — but it absolutely gets my vote for being the most technically perfect show they did. Script, acting, music, photography, and editing are virtually flawless (for the era, of course). It’s almost more like a short feature film than an episode of a TV series.

Want to show a newbie why Kirk was the kind of leader his crew would follow to hell and back? This is the episode you screen for them.

My only real beef is the clumsy requirement, inconsistent with every other episode, that the phasers be fired from a dedicated room rather than directly from the bridge. A minor pity, since that could have been easily rationalized with a line or two of dialogue.

For some reason I never been a huge fan of this episode (although I certainly like it) and to this day I find the idea ludicrous that no one knew what a Romulan looked like until this episode even though they were in a long war with them. That said, it did introduce the Romulans (one of my favorite villains in all the shows and so excited they will have a big role in Picard) and gave TOS its first big action episode. It feels very subdued now compared to what you can do today but for its time its very well done.

I haven’t watched that episode in ages. Might be time to give it a rewatch when I FINALLY finish my DS9 rewatch this week or next.

I actually found it perfectly plausible that two species separated by hundreds or thousands of light years could fight a protracted war without ever meeting face-to-face or even knowing what the other looked like. (That they were, coincidentally, so close to parity in technology is actually much harder to logically buy, but it’s a Trek staple.) Space is truly vast, something TOS was far more effective at conveying than any of the sequels or spinoffs.

Ah the days when you couldn’t warp to the Klingon home world in a day… a real inconvenience vs just beaming over.

In STID it’s literally minutes lol.

Didn’t “Harrison” just beam to Qo’nos from Earth? (something I had a hard time accepting, but then, they beamed from that planet to the Enterprise flying away from them at warp for hours in ST09 so….)


Well, ASSIGNMENT EARTH, established transportering vast interstellar distances, but it required the beam itself be vastly power-boosted to achieve it.

Making it portable, really makes it hard to imagine what their first encounter with Gary7 will be like? It’d be pretty hard to accept that Kelvin Scotty couldn’t trace that transporter beam back to its homeworld.

The difference was in the prime universe beaming over such vast distances was a no-go. Yet in the KU, that tech exists. That was something in the KU I wasn’t a fan of. Gary 7 was using more advanced tech from an alien civilization. Which I CAN buy.

Speaking of which, in Discovery season 3 that far in the future would they even need star ships anymore? Seems to me that tech would be around by then.

Well… some how the TNG Federation couldn’t figure out spore drive, makes sense they couldn’t figure out transwarp beaming either I suppose. Maybe Discovery will go into the future, enlighten them on how their ships can just jump everywhere just to make starships obsolete because well “IT’S THE FUTURE, WE MUST GO FORWARD” or some other nonsense providing a mandate to take everything once exciting about Star Trek out of Star Trek.

At this point, I don’t think it is a matter of “figuring out” the spore drive so much as it likely was considered extremely dangerous to look into as they lost two ships to it. The real question would be after a time one would think that someone would pick up the ball and see if there wasn’t a “safer” way to implement it. But it’s possible no one had found a way to do it even by TNG’s day.

I’m sorry I don’t. First off, WHY is the Romulans even hiding themselves?? Two, why would our allies the Vulcans simply not fill us in on who they are when we are fighting these people? That’s the biggest head scratcher. You mean to tell me Starfleet would not have ANY intelligence of who these people are and/or what they look like? How do you fight a war for YEARS and not know their basic history about them? Its way too many loopholes for me. Yes, if they were some one off group Starfleet ran into once, OK, I can buy it. But when you start a full on WAR with someone, the first thing you do is to learn everything about them, intercept anything and everything you can. How could they not even know they weren’t related to the Vulcans is beyond me.

Apparently you don’t recall the episode very well. No one, including Spock, knew the Romulans were a Vulcan-offshoot species when the episode begins. That was simply a theory he put forth to explain the similarity in their appearance, which surprised him as much as anyone — a theory confirmed two years later by the Romulan Commander in “The Enterprise Incident.” So there was nothing for the Vulcans to “fill us in on,” since they were at the time themselves unaware of the truth about their link to the Romulans. And if that backstory contradicts episodes of the later spinoffs –well, that’s on them, not “Balance of Terror.”

As to the rest of it, I respectfully don’t find your arguments at all convincing, but don’t have the time to address them. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. :-)

It’s definitely been awhile! Good point about the Vulcans, fair enough. But it still makes no sense on its head. You are in war with someone that lasts for YEARS, never intercept any of their communications? You have the technology to launch nukes thousands of light years, but you can’t intercept any of their messages, ever? Most wars are actually won by intelligence, who the leaders are, where they plan to show up next, who they can turn on the other side, etc, not just bombing randomly for 5 years. But basically that’s what you have to believe. Let me also get this straight, war just ‘end’? No one shows up to sign any treaties? And it doesn’t answer my main question, why were the Romulans even hiding??? If you’re fighting a war, my guess is sooner or later the point is to reveal your motives and who you are, right? That happens in every war. If they won, they planned to conquer in masks?

And for the life of me, how do the Romulans manage to colonize SO MANY worlds in this time to have such an empire and yet it never gets out who they are and how they are doing it? I mean no one who has been colonized by them ever gets out and just reveal who they are? They just did all of this in secret, for how long? Just think about real life and how feasible that would be in the real world. It’s like the Nazis or ISIS taking territory for a decade and no one figures it out until AFTER the war is over who they are. It’s beyond silly IMO. And ludicrous no major power would know zip about it as it was happening.

And then of course it ends and an entire century (100 years) goes by and no one ever tries to find out more about them EVEN THOUGH everyone knows another war could break out again, hence having a neutral zone.

But yeah it is what it is, I get it.

Yeah we can disagree, totally. I’m not here to convince you or anyone. I’m simply telling you why **I’M** not convinced! And yeah, I’m not at all. ;)

Communications were audio only at the time. The episode explains that.

Where did I state it differently. And that still doesn’t explain why they never captured any to know more about them regardless. Again, I’m not talking about just what they look like, but just ANY information to understand who they are. They seem to know nothing about them even though they were in a long term war with them. It just feels absurd on its head to me since wars don’t work that way and ironically has never worked that way on Star Trek with this one exception. Which tells you everything.


Well, I didn’t find the premise too far-fetched, but what really taxed it for me was when the Rom Commander ordered his crew to flush out in the fake debris his dead mentor’s body as if was an old tried and true tactic he had in his bag of tricks. If Rom Coms had been flushing out their dead to trick their enemies for some time as a battle deception tactic, how the heck did they keep what they looked like a mystery after all that time at war?

Nobody in depth scanned, or even got a general outline of, nary a one of those floating bodies or retrieved one for an autopsy?

And if that backstory contradicts episodes of the later spinoffs –well, that’s on them, not “Balance of Terror.”

Actually, I think that Discovery has made “Balance of Terror” much more meaningful. Remember that scene where Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and Stiles debate what to do about the Romulan ship, and Spock says, “weakness is something we dare not show”? Well, the situation is not unlike what the Shenzhou faced in “Battle at the Binary Stars,” where after a long absence an old adversary sought to test Federation capabilities. And Spock advcoated giving them a “Vulcan hello.” And all of them were presumably very much aware that a dovish response to the Klingons ten years earlier resulted in a short but brutal war.

First off, WHY is the Romulans even hiding themselves??

Easy. The Vulcans may not have known who the Romulans were — but the Romulans sure did, and they infiltrated Vulcan society at the highest levels. So they hid themselves to preserve an intelligence advantage.

No I mean once they started the war. Once you start a WAR with someone, the intention usually is to reveal yourself and state why you are in a war in the first place. AT the very least, it now (usually) motivates the other side to know everything about you, right? In this case I guess not lol. But thats the issue. Yes, if they just stayed hidden and didn’t want to be seen to gain an advantage I would agree with you. Once they went to war all that changed though.

” Once you start a WAR with someone, the intention usually is to reveal yourself and state why you are in a war in the first place. AT the very least, it now (usually) motivates the other side to know everything about you, right? In this case I guess not lol. But thats the issue.”

Tiger2, you’re right, but the actual explanation is probably just that the episode’s writers thought the “secrecy” would make the Romulans more mysterious, threatening and unpredictable, regardless of the flaws in logic once you start pulling at those threads.

If Star Trek wanted to retcon a realistic explanation — or mention this in “Picard” or something — I guess one option is the Romulans deliberately limited revealing information about themselves because this would give them a strategic advantage over hostile outsiders (DS9 had a similar angle about the Breen — and you’ll remember an amusing scene involving Weyoun speculating about that). It could have been difficult for the Federation to obtain information if the Romulans (being a totalitarian empire) were able to restrict leaks from within their empire; and the Federation at this point may not have had enough friendly contact with the wider Alpha Quadrant to be able to get accurate info from any planets that did know more about the Romulans. The Romulans could also have shot down Starfleet spy drones on reconnaissance missions.

More retconning could also involve Section 31 and Starfleet Command knowing all about the Romulans but deliberately withholding the details from Starfleet in general because S31 actually viewed the war as an opportunity to exploit. “Chaos is a ladder” and all that.

Speaking of GoT references, I’ve been meaning to mention this to you: You weren’t the only person Afterburn was targeting online a few weeks ago. At exactly the same time, he was behaving the same way on a certain GoT fansite, although he uses a different alias there (he’s been a regular on that site for years). Same twisted mind games: The gaslighting, the projection, the smug condescension, the creepy invasive psychological manipulation, the deliberate “misreading” of other commenters’ statements, the pretentious and irritating writing style, all of it. Looks like he’d decided to start pointless sadistic arguments with random people across multiple websites because he was frustrated about the way GoT ended. The guy’s a narcissistic psychopath — the classic internet troll. Good thing Matt Wright saw through him. I thought you handled things brilliantly too. Well done.

The best retconning I can think of is to mostly ignore that there’s ever been any mention of a war. This episode is the only story that ever mentioned it anyway. And it’s FAR from the first time that a TOS premise proved to silly to even deal with in subsequent Treks.

ENT tried introduce the Romulans in a way that did not contradict Balance of Terror, but it was kind of absurd that they even tried. And fans at the time still stamped their feet and insisted it was wrong.

I agree with you about the writers and just trying to build mystery. And of course at the time, the show was new, no one really knew every little thing they wrote on a struggling budgeted sci fi show would ripple into a multi-billion dollar franchise decades later and every line from said show would be sealed in canon like it was the bible so I can’t blame them too much. We all understand they were just trying to find a cool way to introduce them and tie them into the Vulcans. But yes, unfortunately we do have hindsight now and, sorry, logically, it really makes no sense. I didn’t think I would get any push back from it, I thought this was just obvious lol. I first saw the episode when I was seven years old and even then it was a ‘huh’ to me. But same time I’m not saying its a huge deal in terms of being a fan. We’ve had some time to get use to the idea lol.

And to the franchise credit, they have always tried to keep it canon like they did on Enterprise (although they did cheat a little but they really had no choice). I always wondered if the show made it long enough to do a full blown Romulan war how would they have done it? I assume SOME of it would have to be retcon though. It makes for boring TV if the two sides just hurl missiles at each other for ten episodes and never see or interact with each other. And yes I suspect Section 31 would be heavily involved now and would keep a lot of it under wraps. That’s really the only way you can explain it that Starfleet DID know but classified it, probably for people not to mistrust the Vulcans or something.

As far Afterburn, I honestly try not to do any grave dancing when someone is banned from this site, even if they were a pain in the you know what and he definitely became one. I usually just move on and have!

But I had no idea that this was his M.O. on other sites or at least on that site, so I feel less bad for him. I just don’t get people like this? He seem to take what people said here WAY too personally when 99% of the time it had nothing to do with him. Nothing! I never cared what the guy thought about anything lol. People simply expressed their feelings on something. He didn’t like it, FINE, you can disagree or say why WITHOUT sounding like a class A jackass.

And then when the guy got so obsessed with me because I simply had no problem seeing past Trek characters return since they have been doing that the entire time including the past two seasons of Discovery, the guy lost his shit. It was bizarre, not that he disagreed with it, again fine, that he took it SO personally and attacking others over it.

For the record I don’t want ANYONE here banned. This site is small enough as it is. But if you can’t hold a civil discussion and want to stalk me and get into the same silly arguments over and over again then yeah I DON’T want to deal with that. The funny thing is there have only been four people here (and I been here over 10 years now) that I have specifically told just to ignore me because they got so insufferable. NOT because we disagree, but because its clear they just want to argue with me because they don’t like my opinion or how I express it. It gets tedious and then start to feel obsessive. So at that point, I’m just DONE! And ironically, all four people I have asked to ignore me all ended up getting banned, so clearly it’s not just me. ;)

But I didn’t ask for anyone to get banned, just I don’t want to talk to you because its waste of time by that point. But in this case that guy CLEARLY had it coming. Sorry but true! Hopefully he learned his lesson and will be civil on other boards. That’s all I can say.

OK, Trekmovie, I said my peace! I’m done!

remember Ent had the trilogy where romulans used drones to start a war between those who would form the federation.
that could have been their strategy all through their war with earth.
and they do like to do things undercover, helping the duras sisters in ‘redemption’.

Angela Martine gets over Tomlinson’s death rather quickly in broadcast order. Netflix literally dumped out of ‘Balance’ and loaded ‘Short Leave’ right wile you guys were still wrapping up.

The actress (who was also the casting director’s wife) was probably hired for “Shore Leave” on short notice, and no one bothered to remember to change her character’s name in what was a very hastily rewritten (by Roddenberry) script. Just one of many glitches in what was otherwise an outstanding first season.

She’s also in “Turnabout Intruder.”

They tried to correct her name, she is actually called Teller in SHORE at one point, but also Angela.

Yeah, her last name is now “Teller,” with no Mr. Teller in sight, and she’s hanging out with a guy named Rodriguez. Bjo Trimble’s old STAR TREK CONCORDANCE went out of its way to make a catty reference to that, IIRC.

Do I want to know?

She gets shot at by a plane, give her a break. Anyway it wouldn’t be a “glitch” if NBC hadn’t jacked up the sequence of the episodes.

She gets killed by the plane, doesn’t she? Either that or runs into a tree and knocks herself out.

Well McCoy gets killed too, so I always assumed she…

Just a minor suggestion. I know your other hosts aren’t always available for recording, but having more people on might reduce the number of ‘dead air’ quiet moments. Or having soft background music playing, as Red Letter Media does with their commentaries, might also help fill the void.

Otherwise an enjoyable commentary. Thanks guys! I look forward to hearing more.

Interesting idea.

Space channel in Canada rotates through TOS episodes in sequence on Mondays and is just back into season 1.

The Balance of Terror is scheduled for Monday, September 16th. The PVR is already set to record for our kids, so I’ll give the ‘play commentary while watching” a try then.

One of my favorites that I revisit often. Haven’t listened to this yet, but in case they don’t cover it, the ship battles were inspired from the film ‘The Enemy Below,’ with Robert Mitchum, a 1957 submarine WW2 film, which I watched a couple of years ago. Fantastic stuff.

I watched it for the first tine just a couple of years ago myself and was frankly startled at how closely BoT tracked it in some ways. Were the episode made today I`m guessing that the film’s writer may have received a ‘story by’ credit at the very least. Fascinating stuff.

I remember making the connection as a kid.

I saw The Enemy Below as an after school movie, and felt there was something familiar. I found it riveting and haunting, and it made me a fan of submarine movies.

When the UHF syndicated reruns of TOS came on a couple of years later, I realized that was the memory my mind had been trying to place.

I do think that and cat and mouse of submarine warfare is something that’s been lost in Trek over time.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine sending out capital ships to explore or maintain sovereignty in those kinds of volumes without a lot of probes/drones and small ships. So, the shifting doctrine in more recent Trek series addresses what always seemed a logic problem to me.

Yep. I watched that movie a few years ago myself. BoT was certainly “inspired” by it.

Very fond of this sort of podcast episode. I own no copies of ST tv episodes or movies, so it’s good to be able to relive them in this fashion.

There were a couple of times I had to pause the DVD to get it to synch back with the audio, but otherwise it worked well. I wonder if the DVD version has a slightly different running time to the blu-ray or Netflix versions?

It is definitely one of the top TOS episodes, and so beautifully shot and lit, it proves that those old sets can still look amazing with the right set-up. I hope Quentin Tarantino takes note!

I just hope the re-merged Paramount (I’ve decided not to call them CBS anymore) will still seriously consider a Tarantino Trek, and not reject it as being too outside the stylistic parameters of existing CBS Trek projects.

I want another movie. Whether it is Tarantino Trek or not is negotiable.

There will always be another movie. Whether it’s The Search for Spock, The Final Frontier, either of the two Kelvin Trek sequels, or all four of the TNG movies.

What every GOOD Trek movie needs to be is the Trek movie they’ll never make again (even if they’ve already tried to remake it, because there IS a difference between the two). The Motion Picture. The Wrath of Khan. The Voyage Home. The Undiscovered Country. Or the Tarantino Trek movie. Or something else. That needs to be where the bar is held. That is what’s not really negotiable in my opinion.

Unless they’re doing a new trilogy in which consistency of narrative/cinematic style is called for across all three films, every Trek movie should be something unlike any other.

Did you watch it on a PAL DVD (Europe or Australia)?

I love this episode. A few years ago, me and the guys from our construction company set up a ‘Mother Goose’ club to help needy and disadvantaged kids, and on on Saturdays at our ‘Mother Goose’ clubhouse we screen episodes of TOS and TNG to the kids, and provide snack and sodas for them.

‘Balance of Terror’ is always a favourite!

Just stood in my kitchen with a bottle of wine, some cheese, Balance of Terror cued-up, and you guys! This was lots of fun! I hope you keep these commentary episodes coming. I’ll be here. Thanks, fellas!

Great commentary! I’d love to see this become a regular thing.

I liked the commentary. This was not a bad idea. I did not cue the episode up listening to this. Just listened w/o the video. I’ve seen Balance of Terror plenty of times so I pretty much knew every scene they were talking about. But if they could pipe the episode audio through, just low enough that it doesn’t get in the way of the commentary it would have helped particularly during the time there was dead air.

For the record, that briefing room scene is one of my favorite briefing room scenes in the entire run of the show. Spock saying “…then weakness is something we dare not show.” was kinda chilling. The entire conversation I thought was great from McCoy’s hesitance to take action to Sulu questioning how they lock their phasers without targeting. And then, “I hope we won’t me needing your services, Bones.” “Amen to that.”

Thanks! Enjoyed it!

P.S. Brian, in case you didn’t re-visit the last TSFS thread, I finally figured out what you meant when you said that Kirk has no reason to go to the Genesis planet. Disinvited and I were arguing that Sarek gives Kirk a reason by literally asking Kirk to go to Genesis. But, I believe what you meant is that going to Genesis to retrieve Spock’s corpse is not a good reason. Kirk, we are left to assume, would retrieve Spock’s rotting corpse from Genesis, and then some sort of Frankenstein-like procedure involving Spock’s katra and corpse would be performed to restore him back to his old self. Fortunately, Genesis revitalizes Spock’s body, so the katra re-fusion procedure at the end doesn’t have to be grisly.

As the movie plays on-screen, Sarek does ask Kirk to go to Genesis to retrieve what he left there of Spock, which we know is just Spock’s corpse. And, at the end, when T’Lar says that transferring Spock’s katra back into his body is a type of procedure that is only legendary, it goes against the way that the katra concept was presented earlier in the story. At any rate, yeah, the katra concept is totally flubbed in TSFS, and the plot of the movie doesn’t make sense as a result. Kirk’s purpose in going to Genesis is bizarre and doesn’t make much sense. I’m not particularly fond of the Hall of Ancient Thought as a concept (where Spock’s katra was originally supposed to go), but its omission totally messed up the plot of the story.


From a human perspective, the request to retrieve remains that have undergone a proper military funeral ceremony and disposition is not that unusual. Especially when the family says it is necessary for religious reasons.

Where TSFS goes awry, is it has Starfleet’s High Command bizarrely scoffing and making light of the religious needs Spock’s family has for the retrieval, as if human religious rituals don’t exist that have time specific elements to them them that its various military organizations takes pains to address?

It’s uncalled for, that Spock’s remains urgent need to be retrieved so his soul can properly enter Vulcan Heaven, i.e. the Hall of Ancient Thought, is met with derision.

For me, where the movie goes off the rails is it introduces the possibility of retrieving a living Spock too early. All the audience needed to drive their escape/chase thrills was the urgency of needing to retrieve Spock’s dead remains so that they can be at the ceremony by some mystical deadline for a proper Hall deposit.


Remember, the Hall of Ancient Thought bit is not in the movie, so it doesn’t necessarily make sense to consider any plot points or other details in the movie vis-a-vis the excised Hall of Ancient Thought.

As the movie plays, Kirk, at the request of Sarek, goes to Genesis to retrieve Spock’s body so that Spock’s katra can be put back into it. Recall that Sarek implores Kirk with, “Only Spock’s body was in death.” So, absent the Hall of Ancient Thought — which, again is not in the movie — we are left to assume that the re-fusion ritual at the end of the movie was the purpose of retrieving Spock’s body. And that, if not for the revitalizing power of the Genesis planet, the re-fusion ritual at the end would have been performed on a rotting Spock corpse.


I may have confused some of our basic details, but my contention the movie unecessarily introduces the possibility of retrieving a living Spock too soon when a standard remains retrieval for a proper Vulcan funeral ceremony deadline was all that was needed still stands as my point which aligns better with your point than I initially thought.


If what you’re saying is that it’s too convenient that, at the time that Kirk retrieves him, Spock just happens to have aged the exact amount to return him to the age that he was when he died, then I agree. That’s yet another problem with the plot of TSFS.

When watching the movie the first time I never once felt the idea was to go to get Spock’s body so they could refuse the katra to it. I thought it was just a matter of bringing the body back so his katra could “find peace”. It wasn’t until we saw that the body lived that the idea of refusion entered the picture. At any rate, I still think the flaw is that no one knew Spock’s body survived reentry or the impact on the planet until the science team showed up. While Sarek would have likely been notified, the Grissom did not seem to make that notification on screen. From a viewers perspective, there was no way Sarek would know the body survived, and therefore had no reason to go to Kirk to ask he retrieve his deceased son’s corpse.


You’ve pointed out another plot hole — the missing knowledge that Spock’s body was even intact.

But, what do you mean by this: I thought it was just a matter of bringing the body back so his katra could “find peace”.

What led you to think that, how does a katra find peace, and what happens when it does?

I have no idea. Sarek was the one who said “only there will both find peace.” I guess we should ask him what his intent was. He did not offer anything beyond that line. I felt it merely a plot device to get Kirk to drag the Enterprise to Genesis, myself and at the time of viewing paid it little thought.

But there was no way the intent was to refuse the katra to what they thought was a dead body. That made no sense. So why would anyone think that was the case?


Sarek was the one who said “only there will both find peace.”

He was referring to Spock and McCoy both finding peace.

But there was no way the intent was to refuse the katra to what they thought was a dead body. That made no sense. So why would anyone think that was the case?

Because putting Spock’s katra back into his body is what the whole story ultimately leads to, and there’s no other purpose given for Kirk to retrieve Spock’s body. I agree that the idea of reanimating Spock’s rotting corpse is bizarre, but that’s part of my point — there’s no other purpose given for Kirk to retrieve Spock’s body. So, when Spock’s katra is re-fused with his body at the end, we are left with the impression that this was the goal all along. The movie is titled, “The Search for Spock,” so what other likely reason would there be in searching for the deceased Spock other than to bring him back to life so that the movie series could continue onward with its main cast intact?

You just answered your own question, Cyguns. Spock would find peace. Meaning his Katra as well. For some reason we do not know the katra needed the body to be “at peace”. I was under the impression that whenever possible Vulcans held only katras somewhere. But for some reason katras could only be stored if the body was “at peace” or something. It’s all rather touchy feely but as I said, the idea of refusing the katra from minute one never entered my mind. In fact, why store the katra in a dead body? So it just didn’t make logical sense to me.

Putting the Katra back in Spock’s now living body was where the story went, but the characters had no idea that is what would happen as the movie got underway. They just wanted Spock to be at rest according to Vulcan beliefs. From where I sit, there was no idea or attempt to reanimate Spock’s dead body by any character at any time. The refusion ONLY became possible AFTER it was revealed the body now lived. Bringing back Spock was the goal of the movie. It was not the original goal of the characters. They have no control over what some marketing person or writer at a movie company decides to title their movie.


Spock would find peace. Meaning his Katra as well.

The way it plays, I took it to mean that McCoy and Spock would both find peace when Spock’s katra was removed from McCoy and reinserted into Spock. Because, what else could it mean? There is no other vessel in the story meant for Spock’s katra but his own body. So, as far as the audience is concerned, there’s nowhere else for Spock’s katra to go but back into his own body, however that might be achieved.

Regarding where the Katra goes I thought it was made perfectly clear that the culture was to pass off the katra when possible when the body’s end is near. So it is quite common for the katra to get placed somewhere that is NOT the original body. Where it ultimately goes was not made so clear but one can make some reasonable guesses. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that Spock’s katra was NEVER intended to be returned to his corpse.


No, ML31 is correct. The other purpose was given by Spock thru McCoy at the beginning of the picture. Kirk was just ignoring it because he didn’t have the missing piece ot the puzzle until he and Sarek went sleuthing.

At the beginning of the picture there’s no way for Spock’s katra to know his body would be reconstituted, eventually by a prematurely aging Genesis. At that point, the best anyone could have known was that the cells were not dead, but they hadn’t yet been gestated into anything remotely humanoid. So when Kirk realizes Spock’s katra’s made a request for a remains retrieval for a religious ceremony on Mount Seleya from the beginning, he knows it couldn’t have been for a resurrection, one which the movie never establishes that Spock himself ever knew was even remotely possible,


No. Here’s McCoy’s dialogue:

McCOY: (in Spock’s voice) Jim, …Help me. …You left me on Genesis. …Why did you do that? …Help me.

McCOY: Then perhaps it’s not too late. …Climb the steps, Jim. …Climb the steps of Mount Seleya.

McCoy/Spock asks Kirk (by implication) to retrieve Spock’s body from Genesis and (after) to climb the steps of Mount Seleya. And that is how the plot unfolds. Kirk retrieves Spock’s body from Genesis and then the ceremony to reanimate Spock is performed on Mount Seleya. As far as we know, Kirk accomplishes what was asked of him by both McCoy/Spock and Sarek. They say go get Spock’s body from Genesis, and that’s what Kirk does. He gets the body, brings it to Mount Seleya, the katra is put back into it, and both men are at peace. There is no alternative course of action suggested. There is no alternative destination suggested for Spock’s katra. Hence we are left to assume that the end ceremony was the goal from the start.


But in Kirk’s apartment Sarek makes it clear the fused Vulcan katra that he thinks is in Kirk only makes a standard funerary request for the body to be brought back to Vulcan along with the katra the host’s been fused with.

Until Ambassador Sarek gets military reports from Genesis that Spock’s body lives there’s absolutely no way at the beginning of the movie for McCoy/Spock to know a resurrection was even in the realm of possibilities when they broke into Spock’s quarters. At that point, they could only be referring to the fact that Kirk broke with standard Vulcan funeral practice by burying the body at “sea.”

I always took M/S’s confusion about that to be the same confusion I had as to why Saavik had not been consulted for the proper funeral rites. I wrote it off as since Spock was half-human, perhaps the humans pigheadedly thought they knew best? But it always bothered me that for a man extremely prideful about his Vulcan heritage that his “burial” had no Vulcan aspect to it? And it couldn’t have been the 1st Vulcan funeral for Starfleet: Remember the Intrepid?


I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make about the katra. Kirk and the audience get the limited information that we get — about the katra and retrieving the body — at the same time. At no point is there any mention of re-burying Spock’s body anywhere. Kirk is simply told to retrieve the body and climb Mount Seleya so that Spock and McCoy can both be at peace. Kirk doesn’t know exactly what’s going to happen with the body or the katra and neither does the audience, until it happens at the very end with the re-fusion ceremony. There are no other hints, clues, suggestions, implications or insinuations in the movie about what exactly might be done with Spock’s body after it is retrieved or with Spock’s katra, which resides inside of McCoy until the very end of the movie.


Re: re-burying

That’s because I was avoiding specifying that. On Earth, military ceremonial “buried” remains at foreign locations have been dug up and retrieved for all sorts of familial purposes, many of them religious but not necessarily so, and not all of them result in a “reburial” per se. Which reminds me, even if Spock’s family had been atheist a remains retrieval accommodation just isn’t that unusual, which is why it struck me as so bizarre that a Starfleet Admiral scoffs and jeers at it as if it had to make sense to him?

And I have tried to steer myself, no too successfully, towards referring to Spock’s “remains” being retrieved because at that stage of the movie it is not even clear that the body that rocketed to Genesis is in any sort of recognizably humanoid form.

Firstly, just because the “coffin” made planetfall intact, it is not reasonable to suppose that it also somehow protected its contents from being heated to compositionally altering temperatures at some point on the way.

Secondly, the Genesis wave age jumps after the regenerated cells achieves an ambulatory state makes it seem highly improbable that the waves prior to achieving that coffin escaping form could have put the cells into anything recognizable as humanoid, prior.


We all agree that the assumption that Spock’s body is intact, and that Spock’s revitalized body happens to reach his dying age just at the time that it is retrieved, are both plot problems.


Re: We agree

Which I already pointed out I realize more than before when I started.

Well, my point is, Harve, unnecessarily complicates this easy action set up of the dead man’s high ranking Federation family in the form of the dead man himself (Which is hardly unusual in the form of a last will and testament – it’s just this version can speak for himself.) and his Ambassador father, requesting the military retrieve his remains before the unstable planet on which they ended up consumes them.

The Genesis clock is ticking. They try to contact Grissom, but communications appear blocked. Starfleet suspects yet another unforeseen side-effect of Genesis’ creation which increases their leeriness to send other ships there, etc.

Harve didn’t need to prematurely introduce the possibility of a live Spock corpse to drive the action to Genesis for the audience before the clock runs out. He’s even confused about it because when Kirk shows up at Genesis Saavik tells the Admiral that Spock is alive and Kirk seems genuinely shocked to discover that this indeed was the case – as if Sarek hadn’t noted the possibility of it to him prior.


Re: We agree

My mistake. I reviewed the scene. Kirk asked Saavik if Spock was alive as I would have expected he would from the Sarek briefing. I must have been confusing the Grissom Captain’s shock for Kirk’s.

Hey Shuttlepod crew! For some reason my itunes keeps failing to download this ep… is anyone else having problems?

This was GREAT! And the dream team of Brian and Matt made it even better. I thought I knew everything there was to know about this episode, but damn if I didn’t learn something new: that the actress who played Angela (Barbara Baldavin) was married to the casting director, Joseph D’Agosta. And, as further evidence of my multiple viewings of “Balance of Terror,” I listened to the podcast in my car and played the video from the episode in my head. I really don’t think I missed a thing. In terms of what to make better on future commentaries of episodes, I don’t really have much. There was just the right amount of trivia, appreciation of plot, sets and acting and deeper connections to overall Trekdom. I think you guys are onto something. But if you’re going to do “Turnabout Intruder” make it more like “Mystery Science Theater.”

Think WW2 Battle of Midway, you think anyone really “saw” their opponent through the cockpits and hulls beyond little dots? If it was a naval conflict today with the range of missiles you wouldn’t see the other – and that’s on Earth and without use of nuclear weapons. Why would you stop to video chat when the nukes are flying?

“When the two forces began to retreat, a United States carrier force swept in between them and its planes smashed away at the enemy at fairly close range.” MIDWAY SEA BATTLE HELD BIG VICTORY, By Navy Department, ‘Madera Tribune’, front page, Volume L, Number 115, 15 July 1942