Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Corbomite Details

So, what is Corbomite?  Well, according to Kirk (Star Trek, Original Series, "The Corbomite Maneuver"), it is "a substance", "a material and a device which prevents attack on us. If any destructive energy touches our vessel, a reverse reaction of equal strength is created, destroying ... the attacker."  Some kind of substance rolled into some kind of material rolled into some kind of device.  Huh?  Did Shatner flub his line or did the author (Jerry Sohl) really write this?  Maybe the idea is that Kirk, clever lad, already had suspicions that Balok was bluffing, and only needed a vague and hardly-believable bluff of his own to probe his antagonist in turn.  Of course the suspense of the episode depends on that not being the case, that it was true desperation/bravado on Kirk's part.  Interesting that the intent of the ambiguous bluff is itself ambiguous. #multilevelwriting

Also somewhat interesting is that this is a fiction (bluff) within a fictional story.  That's hardly uncommon though, deception being a frequent plot device.

But to make it the title of the episode??  Good lord, that is like titling "A Piece of the Action" as "The Fizzbin Maneuver" instead.  How about "Space Fear" or "Face of the Ultimate Unknown" or something.  The portrayal of Dave Bailey was actually quite good in this episode, especially in his relationship to his captain.

There is one other reference to Corbomite in the series.  Again Kirk is using it as a bluff, but this time he describes it as a self-destruct device, in "The Deadly Years".  Come on Kirk, make up your mind.  :-)

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