Star Trek’s episode ‘Balance of Terror‘ is consistently rated in the top 5 episodes by many reviewers. In the episode, the Enterprise engages in a cat-and-mouse battle with a Romulan ship after it investigates an unidentified assailant destroying Federation’s outposts at the Neutral Zone. We are introduced to the Romulans – a race that fought a bloody war with the federation and have been silent for almost 500 years. This rich episode not only introduces us to their cloaking device, new photon torpedo graphics (still called phasers because photons weren’t invented in the series yet), but also the ugly topic of xenophobia when we get our first view of them.
I always thought the episode was a strangely rich story for Star Trek; so it wasn’t a complete shock to find out the plot is heavily lifted from the 1959 movie “The Enemy Below”. That movie is about a US ship playing cat-and-mouse with a German sub. The parallels between the two are worth a write-up in itself, but you can give it a watch yourself as it’s on Youtube: