The Corbomite Maneuver
Episode

011

The Corbomite Maneuver

A scary looking alien gives the Enterprise a lot of grief, but Kirk has a way out. Going into the Mission Log, it’s “The Corbomite Maneuver”.

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Discussion

  • It’s believed by some podcaster’s that this episode is metaphor 4 the 5 stages of 50 shades of something that had not yet been coined at the time in which it was filmed and produced. Ironically – as fate would hate it – Kübler-Ross suffered a series of strokes in 1995 which left her
    partially paralyzed on her left side and ended up living in a wheelchair, (much like a former Captain of the Enterprise ) – slowly
    waiting for death to come, and found it to be an unbearable suffering, and therefore wished to be
    able to determine her own time of death. You see Timmy – when trying the power of illusion , little Balok totally used the wrong sock puppet head . Just where o where is a Talosian when you need one? “You now have six minutes!”

    • Speaking of which, according to this 1995 Skybox card – the name of Balok’s ship is the SS Fesarius

      • Canadian liberal

        But it IS the Fesarius…???

  • Canadian liberal

    What scene was cut or edited when Sulu counts down “One minute. I knew he would.” He knew WHO would say/do WHAT???

    Lou

  • Joe Schuster

    I think you guys missed a huge message in saying that this episode is about the stages of grief or whatever. I suggest that it is intended to be an allegory about the Cold War, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, the Cuban missile crisis, and the geopolitical tensions of 1966. As you point out this was the first regular episode of the series. I have always seen James T. Kirk as a representation of John F Kennedy. The similarly of their charisma, Irish names, with prominent middle initial, the youngest leader of their respective constituents, sex appeal, perfect hairstyles … I could go on but you get where I am coming from. Each is confronted with an unknown ‘enemy’ who threatens them because of an unwitting intrusion into their region of space, think about Gary Powers and the U2 spy plane incident, or the blocade of Cuba. JTK like JFK gives a rousing speech about the value of freedoms and bravery in the face of the unknown, (JFK’s speeches about the lunar mission, protecting Laos/Vietnam, Peace Corps, etc.) and then each negotiates with their horrible enemy through only blurry messages that are by turns threatening, ambiguous, and contradictory. Doesn’t that sound exactly like the Cold War of the 1960s? Nikita Khrushchev banging his shone and saying ‘We will bury you’? The Enterprise crew represent therefore the public and their various reactions of logic, emotion, empathy, fear, impulsiveness, and for the largest part unwilling participants in a high stake bluff that could result in their own destruction should the gambit not work as their fearless leader had daringly risked everything upon. These themes would have been more obvious to an audience in 1967. Only a few years before the USA had sat on the edge of destruction with their own young charismatic leader exhorting them to be brave in order to preserve their higher ideals. Doctor Strangelove and Failsafe, made at about the same time, shows a different take on much the same scenario. Military paranoia, misunderstanding, irrational hatred and the overall helplessness felt at being confronted with an imposing foreign threat, seems like a common thread that cannot be ignored. Ultimately we see that behind the scary monster is a friendly little bald man who actually likes to laugh and drink. That could be a description of Krushev as well. Tranya even sounds like vodka. Kirk leaves behind Bailey as an emissary to show the Enterprise’s peaceful intentions and the need to understand in order to dissolve the suspicions between them. That seems to me a lot like the mission of JFK’s Peace Corps. I am sure that you can see many other paralels between the geopolitics of the mid-1960s and this episode once you consider this context. While not an exact match there is certainly another take on the morals messages and meanings behind this episode then as now.