Standard Orbit 116: The Real Enemy Is War Itself / by Norman Lao

How The Enemy Below Influenced Balance of Terror.

Running Time: 1 hour 21 minutes 17 seconds
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The Enemy Below tells the story of the epic "cat and mouse" game between an American Destroyer Escort Captain and the commander of a German U-boat. This 1957 World War Two classic film directly influenced Star Trek writer Paul Schneider as he crafted the narrative for what would become one of Star Trek's greatest episodes. Balance of Terror was a ground-breaking episode for Star Trek, as it brought a "military" essence to Starfleet and allowed the audience to grasp the political tapestry of The United Federation of Planets in the 23rd Century.

Balance of Terror is a fan favorite for many reasons: the introduction of the Romulans, the humanizing of the enemy, and the application of sound naval tactics to help drive the narrative tensions. It was also famous for its bold decision to break yet another convention of the time: Women serving in combat. Almost 30 years later after this episode was produced, women were finally allowed to serve on warships. In addition, the military does not normally allow married couples on the same vessel for fear of that couple being killed outright in combat as almost seen with Robert Tomlinson and Angela Martine.


Welcome to Standard Orbit (00:01:05)
Spock’s Brain Part Deux … Just Kidding! (00:02:48)
Ken’s Inspiration Behind Balance of Terror (00:03:45)
We Still Love Submarine Movies (00:08:55)
The Why of the Warrior (00:13:01)
Stiles of Bigotry in the 23rd Century (00:19:18)
Equal Opportunities in Peace and Wartime (00:28:06)
The Politics of Warriors (00:37:42)
Hailing Frequencies Open (00:47:28)
The NX-01 Trivia Challenge Winner! (00:52:45)
Did We Stump Mr. AtoZ? (00:54:36)
Our Final Thoughts and Thank You (00:57:48)


Norman C. Lao and Jeffrey Harlan


Ken Tripp


C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer), Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer), Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer), Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer), Ken Tripp (Editor and Associate Producer), Renee Roberts (Associate Producer), Richard Rutledge (Associate Producer), Richard Marquez (Production Manager), Will Nguyen (Content Manager)