The Original Series
Disc No :
First Aired :
27 Sep 1968
When the Romulans first surround our heroes, one of their officers declares that "you have been identified as the Starship Enterprise". Good call, dude - it says "USS Enterprise" in twenty foot high letters right across the ship's hull!
When Kirk and Spock beam over to the Romulan flagship, it is agreed that two Romulan officers will beam to the Enterprise to act as hostages. All well and good - but when the Romulans beam aboard, the very first thing they do is pull their disruptor pistols and run off the transport pad as if they're about to start shooting! And oddly, Scotty responds to this by just standing there and giving them a stern look. So why on Earth are the Romulans pointing guns when they've agreed to be hostages? Is it some attempt to seize the transporter room and beam themselves back? That makes no sense because even though it's only Scotty standing there unarmed, we later learn that they are indeed in custody aboard the Enterprise. So are they just trying to appear intimidating or something? If I'd been the one in charge there would have been a couple of redshirts waiting with phasers out... and that little stunt would have gotten both of them stunned.
So this episode features Kirk secretly beaming onto the Romulan flagship during the stand-off, then beaming back to the Enterprise. Then later well after the Romulans realise that their cloaking device has been stolen, the Enterprise beams Spock off the ship. So... did the Romulan Commander really keep her ship's shields down all that time? Wasn't that a rather idiotic thing to do?
At the end of the episode Spock takes the Romulan commander from the bridge into the turbolift and orders it to deck 2. Now remember, the bridge is on deck 1. So the lift is descending a whopping one deck - about 11 to 12 feet. So... why does it take the turbolift a whole 56 seconds to cover this distance? That's like two and a half inches per second!
Great Moment :
Scotty's reaction to seeing Kirk as a Romulan.
Body Count :
The Romulan-Klingon alliance mentioned in this episode as a reason Romulans were using Klingon ships reportedly came about when somebody dropped and broke the Romulan Warbird model!
As well as using Klingon ships, the Romulans are using Klingon hand weapons.
Non-canon sources have suggested several names for the Romulan Commander. Authors Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz list her as "Charvanek", as does the Star Trek Customizable Card Game. Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath call her "Dion Charvon" in "The Price of the Phoenix" and "The Fate of the Phoenix". Author Della Van Hise lists her as "Praetor Thea" in "Killing Time".
As the episode opens McCoy is noting in his log that Captain Kirk's behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic, constantly carping at the crew over the most minor of issues. He orders the ship across the Romulan neutral zone, prompting a trio of cruisers to decloak and surround the ship. Subcommander Tal hails them, demanding their surrender. Kirk and Spock agree to beam over to discuss the situation in exchange for two Romulan officers beaming to the Enterprise. The Romulan commander accuses Kirk of deliberately trespassing on Romulan space. Spock reveals the Captain's deteriorating mental state, prompting the Commander to arrest him. She begins a lengthy flirtation with Spock, pointing out that as the new commander of the Enterprise he could order the ship's surrender. She notes that he is only second
in command on the Enterprise, whereas in Romulan service he would command a ship of his own, perhaps even a fleet.
Kirk throws himself into the force field on his detention cell, injuring himself. McCoy beams aboard to treat him, but during his examination Kirk attacks Spock; unprepared, Spock responds instinctively with the Vulcan "death grip". Kirk's body is returned to the Enterprise.
There it is revealed that the entire situation is an elaborate Federation ploy - Kirk has been feigning a breakdown in order to give Starfleet plausible deniability for the move into Romulan space. Spock is in on the plan, and merely knocked Kirk out so that he could get back to the Enterprise. The mission is intended to allow the Enterprise to get close to a Romulan ship so as to steal a cloaking device. Kirk is disguised as a Romulan, and beams back aboard their flagship. He is successful in stealing the device, and beams back to the Enterprise with it. Whilst Scotty struggles to install the device Chekov scans the Romulan ship for Spock, a task complicated by the extreme similarity between Romulan and Vulcan physiology.
Spock is located and transported back just as the commander, furious at Kirk's theft of the cloak, is about to execute him. She is caught up in the transporter beam and captured along with him. The Enterprise warps out with the Romulans in hot pursuit. Just as they are about to enter firing range Scotty activates the cloak, and the Starship vanishes. Kirk and his crew return safely to Federation space, and he promises the Romulan commander that she will receive fair treatment and be returned to he people in due course.
One of the better episodes of season 3, this one combines an interesting story, good action, and interesting character moments. The Romulan commander is especially pleasing in this respect - smart and competent, not a stereotypical evil baddie but just a good soldier who happens to be on the other side. For a while they actually had me believing that Spock was at least tempted by her offer, though of course that was never really going to happen.