Star Trek (The Original Series): The Corbomite Maneuver (S01: E10)


Stardate 1512.2. The USS Enterprise encounters a mysterious cube-like space probe. After the cube acts in an aggressive manner, Captain Kirk is forced to order the destruction of the object. Almost instantaneously, a spaceship appears and the crew of the Enterprise is dragged into a battle of wits with the seemingly hostile spacecraft.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“There’s no such thing as the unknown, only things temporarily hidden…”

Tightly filmed in a couple of locations and effectively paced, The Corbomite Maneuver is packed with genuinely tense moments. The episode’s ingenious simplicity still impresses me after so many years and repeated viewings.

Commonly known as episode #10, The Corbomite Maneuver is in fact the first official episode of the series and as such you sense that creator Gene Roddenberry was trying hard to establish the TV show’s main themes and characters. For example, Captain Kirk talks endlessly about the mission of the Enterprise, and characters’ reactions to difficult situations reveal many things about their personalities.

Finely directed by Joseph Sargent (original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three), The Corbomite Maneuver recalls old-fashioned submarine movies, which often deal with the cat & mouse game between adversarial ships. I have to admit that I have a thing for war movies that revolve around submarines, so if you are a fan of films like The Enemy Below and The Hunt for Red October, you’ll enjoy the episode.

Roddenberry always tried to downplay the military aspects of the show, but it is something almost impossible to ignore. The Corbomite Maneuver is a war story in every possible way. The episode’s handling of both the stress of battle and the unpredictability of war is noteworthy. A subplot about a young helmsman cracking under pressure brings a sense of credibility to the episode.

Furthermore, the economical and highly suspenseful The Corbomite Maneuver ends on a clever note — the unexpected twist at the end is quite brilliant and very satisfying. The ending perfectly encapsulates one of the TV show’s recurring themes: preference of intellectual curiosity over fear of the unknown. Kirk and his crew demonstrate that it’s hard but not impossible to avoid succumbing to our worst instincts.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

I’m not a fan of J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek movies. Yes, Abrams’s films are well-crafted and entertaining. However, I always get the feeling that Abrams has never seen an episode of the Original series. He should sit down and watch The Corbomite Maneuver: The episode best represents what the series is all about. Color, 50 minutes, Not Rated.

← Previous Voyage: Dagger of the Mind                 Next Voyage: The Menagerie

17 responses to “Star Trek (The Original Series): The Corbomite Maneuver (S01: E10)

  1. Wow, didn’t know that about the director: Like the commenter above, I really love that film myself. I remember this episode quite well, and it really was one of those that had a really simple concept, but was very entertaining! 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m absolutely sure that Abrams has never seen a TOS episode! Actually, he even admitted to be a Star Wars fan, not a Star Trek one, when he got at rh helm of the reboot operation in 2009…

    By the way you’re 100% right: military warfare and naval battles are at the heart of many TOS episodes, no matter what Roddenberry said! :–D

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The ST remakes? I’ll stick by Vic Mignogna and his Star Trek Continues web series. Simply brilliant.

    And always the original Pelham. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

      • The BEST? “Fairest of Them All” picks up the timeline from “Mirror Mirror” (the “Spock’s beard episode) that plays from alternate-Spock’s perspective on the Terran Empire’s ISS Enterprise. Many of the old Trek guys worked on the series, which is why it matches so perfectly.

        What sucks: When CBS started streaming Star Trek: Discovery, Desilu (or was it CBS) made Victor Mignogna pull the plug, which brought it to an end.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ron Howard’s brother is insanely freaky LOL.
    So cool these are all on Netflix at the moment.
    I wasn’t well a few weeks back (not the ole cornies) and couldn’t sleep. So just left the OG series running from the beginning. So nostalgic going through the series.
    The Corbomite Maneuver is brilliantly written, like your review buddy.
    The episode follows straight into the incredible double whammy of The Menagerie. Which is up there as another of the top ST OG creatively written episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

      • They have been messed with haven’t they? I thought I was going mad. I was scratching my head thinking the Enterprise effects looked awesome from the outside ship shots. HAHA that now makes sense. Of course they jazzed them up. Yeah I really enjoying making my way through. A few I definitely hadn’t seen before and others I couldn’t remember well. Nice to be hitting my netflix subs well this month too.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My favorite episode of the original series so far (still have a few more to watch from the first season, though). Like you said, tight and well-paced…and it always cracks me up to see Clint Howard laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t realize Season 1 was looked down upon…like you said, it does contain quite a few good ones. So I’m guessing that Season 2 is considered the best of the three, since I hear nothing but sub-par things about Season 3!

        Liked by 1 person

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