The Corbomite Maneuver - episode #3

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The Corbomite Maneuver - episode #3

Post  BoG on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:52 pm


THE CORBOMITE MANEUVER (1st season; episode #3)
Directed by Joseph Sargent / writer: Jerry Sohl / Air Date: 11/10/66

Technically, this is the first episode to be filmed after the 2nd pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, though it was not the first to be aired (that was The Man Trap). In many respects, this comes across as almost experimental, a dry run for the rest of the first season. You see rarely seen angles, such as from behind Kirk as he exits the turbolift onto the bridge. The relationship between Kirk & McCoy is first established here, similar to the one between Capt. Pike & Dr. Boyce in The Cage (the 1st pilot), but better acted and defined.

Though overall the episode comes across as not very eventful by the standards of most Trek episodes, its strengths are showcasing various crew members and their reactions to the presumed threat they face. In this very early going, certain ship's routines and protocols are observed, details which would not be stressed in future episodes (such as department heads reporting to the captain on the bridge). The intent was to depict a fully functional ship & crew, as realistic as may be possible on sixties TV.
Exploration is the key factor, as will be usual: the Enterprise is in an unknown sector of space, engaged in routine mapping duties and suddenly blocked by some revolving cube device. Forced to destroy this after it starts emitting radiation, Kirk now faces a choice or path - proceed further to face possible other dangers or turn around. We get a case study of how starship captains earn their pay - the buck seems to stop with him and his next decision could have long reaching ramifications. Also addressed within the possibilities of exploration, the theme here is the unknown: how do we, as a species, face it? Do we go on, advance, taking that risk, or do we stop and perhaps stagnate?

But despite grandiose ideas about mankind's future in exploring the galaxy, it boils down to the human equation of how men & women react and interact aboard such a ship. Guest star Anthony Call is excellent as the young navigator whom Kirk perhaps promoted too quickly. His nervous breakdown on the bridge is beautifully played. Then McCoy & Kirk get into it as the ship and crew have maybe three minutes of life to go, arguing over the distressed crewman. Even Spock seems uneasy as he fails to find an alternative for the now edgy Kirk, again a well-acted scene. It comes across as very true-to-life, a realistic study of people under tremendous pressure. The tension created here in the span of a few minutes is dramatic; much of this is played in real time - we, the viewer, are right there with the bridge crew as the 10-minute countdown to doom is played out. This is superbly directed (by Joseph Sargent).
Kirk's tactic of bluffing a far superior enemy shows, in the first of many such instances in the series, just how quickly and cannily Kirk thinks on his feet and why he is captain. No one aboard, including Spock (who prefers chess to poker) would have come up with such a play. It's remarkable, in a way, that this no-win scenario, in which a grim, almost despairing situation is turned around, is demonstrated in the very first episode; this pattern of thought for Kirk would continue to manifest itself all through the series and even in the films, especially strong in Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan (82). BELOW: A Candid Shot of Balok, in all his glory

Would this episode have rated higher with me if there had actually been such an insurmountable threat? Would I have liked this episode even more without the twist near the end, so that Kirk's unique tactic would have more meaning within the context of the story? Is the ending a bit too cute, undoing some of the drama? Perhaps. It's still a fine depiction of future exploration and the surprises in store for Kirk and crew. That all being said, this episode is probably best remembered for that long shot of the colossal ship Fesarius approaching the Enterprise. With some of the best dramatic Trek score blaring away at us, it still gives me goose bumps.  BoG's Score: 7.5 out of 10

ABOVE:remastered Fesarius footage. Extra Trek Trivia: this was the first filmed episode for Dr. McCoy, Lt. Uhura and Yeoman Rand. Just before starting in his McCoy role, DeForest Kelley guest-starred on a 2-part episode of Bonanza "Ride the Wind" (aired in Jan.1966), in which he played a newspaperman; some scenes in that episode were filmed at Vasquez Rocks. The last time that DeForest Kelley & Leonard Nimoy acted together in a TV episode was in Man of Violence, an episode of The Virginian which aired on X-Mas Day in 1963; Kelley played an army doctor in that one, though a drunken one, and Nimoy's character, ill and bedridden, died under his care. Balok the small was played by Clint Howard, brother to Ron Howard, but voiced by another actor. Balok the ugly (or Balok's Mr. Hyde) was voiced by Ted Cassidy. Balok offers the drink tranya to the Enterprise officers; it looks like orange juice.


remastered trailer:


Last edited by BoG on Sat May 09, 2015 7:02 pm; edited 10 times in total
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Corbomite Maneuver full episode

Post  BoG on Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:59 am



Classic Trek Quotes:
Bailey: "I don't understand this. Spock's wasting time! Everybody else.. just sitting around...somebody's got to do something!"
McCoy: "easy, Bailey.."
Bailey: "What do they want from us?! Let's find out what they want us to do...!"
Kirk: "They want us to lose our heads!"
Bailey: "We've only got 8 minutes left...!"
Sulu: "7 minutes and 45 seconds.."
Bailey: "Ohh..! He's doing a countdown!"
McCoy: "It's practically the end of watch.."
Bailey: "What're you, all out of your minds..? End of watch? It's the end of everything.. What are you, robots?!? Wound up toy soldiers?!? Don't you know when you're dying?!? Watch and regulations and orders... what do they mean..?!? "
Kirk: "Bailey, you're relieved!"



Spock mentions that the huge ship the Fesarius must be a mile in diameter...
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