Star Trek –  The Corbomite Maneuver

★★★★1/2 November 10, 1966 Season 1 Episode 10

If you want to see where we are…and you missed a few…HERE is a list of the episodes in my index located at the top of my blog. 

This episode was written by Jerry Sohl and Gene Roddenberry

This was a really good episode. It’s a very dramatic and suspenseful episode. Kirk is seen as a commander worthy of the title as this episode shows his skills quite well. The Enterprise wanders into a part of space where they are warned to turn back and proceed no further…but that is not part of the 5-year mission.


A mysterious alien attacker claims to be able to destroy the ship with no risk of anything stopping him, and therefore grants the crew ten minutes…but they didn’t count on Captain Kirk pulling victory out of defeat. I love the look of the alien as his image gets transmitted to the Enterprise… a very handsome young man. 

Kirk has a lot of boldness in this episode. He is risking the ship on a bluff but he didn’t have many options at that point.  I have to say, the most disturbing thing to me was the episode’s final reveal of Balok. His appearance and the ship’s interior design, mixed with the incongruous voice really had an uncomforting effect. The episode offers a good look at the political climate of the Cold War.

The ending of this episode will throw you. You will not see it coming. I watched this one for the first time in years a few weeks ago…and yes I completely forgot about the ending. Great episode. 


Although the script instructed Leonard Nimoy to emote a fearful reaction upon his first sight of Big Balok, director Joseph Sargent suggested to Nimoy that he ignore what the script called for and instead simply react with the single word “Fascinating.” The suggestion of this response helped refine the Spock character and provide him with a now-legendary catchphrase.

McCoy says “What am I, a doctor or a moon shuttle conductor?” which can be considered the first of the “doctor not a” quotes. In later days, the quote would have been phrased “I’m a doctor, not a moon shuttle conductor!”

James Doohan’s wartime injury to his right hand (incurred at Normandy on D-Day) is briefly visible in the conference room scene when he passes a coffee thermos. Generally this was carefully hidden off-camera, but it can also be seen when he’s holding a phaser in Star Trek: Catspaw (1967), as he carries a large bundle of tribbles in Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles (1967), as he reverses the probe polarity in Star Trek: That Which Survives (1969) and very briefly in freeze-frame when he’s reaching into the box to restrain the evil dog in Star Trek: The Enemy Within (1966).

This episode was originally scheduled to air much earlier than it did, but the large amount of visual effects took several months to complete. The producers had to delay the planned airdate twice, before eventually broadcasting it as the tenth episode of the season.

Both in terms of its order on the production schedule, and its order of televised broadcast, this episode marks the very first time that the Enterprise fires its phasers. The actual burst that the ship fires at the warning buoy is unique to this episode.


In a section of unexplored space, the Enterprise comes across a marker of sorts that will not let it pass. They destroy the marker and move on but soon find themselves in conflict with an unknown alien who accuses them of trespassing and tells them they have only 10 minutes to live. Kirk decides it’s time to play a little poker and literally bluff his way out of the situation by telling the alien that the Enterprise has a device on board that will destroy the alien as well as the Enterprise. The bluff works but the alien turns out to be something quite unexpected.


William Shatner … Captain James Tiberius ‘Jim’ Kirk
Leonard Nimoy … Mister Spock
Anthony D. Call … Dave Bailey (as Anthony Call)
Clint Howard … Balok
DeForest Kelley … Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
Grace Lee Whitney … Yeoman Janice Rand
George Takei … Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
James Doohan … Lieutenant Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
Nichelle Nichols … Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Majel Barrett … Nurse Christine Chapel (voice) (uncredited)
Bill Blackburn … Lieutenant Hadley (uncredited)
Ted Cassidy … Balok’s Puppet (voice) (uncredited)
Frank da Vinci … Crewman (uncredited)
Walker Edmiston … Balok (voice) (uncredited)
Jeannie Malone … Yeoman (uncredited)
Sean Morgan … Crewman (uncredited)
Eddie Paskey … Lieutenant Leslie (uncredited)
Eddie Smith … Crewman (uncredited)
Ron Veto … Crewman (uncredited)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

14 thoughts on “Star Trek –  The Corbomite Maneuver”

  1. I’m actually right in sync! Tonight I will tune the station on Netflix, set half the Steinlager six-pack- only half, any more means ‘Stunned’ in the morning- on the safest edge of the LayZboy, settle back and go back to 1966. ‘Nostalgia Factor seven, Mr Sulu.’

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like the FX in this one, with the planetoid and the ship that seems to break off from it. I thought this was a very clever episode. I totally forgot the “twist” at the end but won’t give any spoilers out. I am enjoying the nitty gritty of the details, like Scotty’s finger, first time use of phaser, Spock’s “fascinating,” which I have always loved as his catchphrase, as well as Bones’ “I’m a doctor, not a…”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I got pretty sick of that, “I’m a doctor, not a,,,,,” bullshit. If I was Kirk I would have nipped that in the bud quick with a, “I’M the Captain and YOU’RE whatever the F*#K I tell you you are! Now to teach your ass a lesson gimme that phaser and take this baseball bat and go kill that creature!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That alien was scary the first time I watched it all those years ago. Kinda goofy, now, especially knowing the ending. Reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. In all the times I’ve watched Star Trek, I had never noticed Scotty’s hand.

    Liked by 1 person

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