The Great Star Trek Rewatch: The Enterprise Incident

Captain Kirk has been acting strangely lately. He’s irritable, short-tempered, and now he’s ordered the Enterprise through the Neutral Zone and into Romulan space. And matters only go from bad to worse when Spock appears to betray Kirk and defect to the Romulans. Have Starfleet’s finest lost their minds after too long in space? Or is it in fact a secret mission to steal the latest Romulan cloaking device?

After suffering through a weak tail-end of season two and the travesty that is Spock’s Brain, it’s nice to come across an episode that I not only looked forward to, but which I’m still able to enjoy almost two decades after first watching it. With the nameless Romulan Commander providing a strong female character, plus the chance for Spock to take the forefront, what’s not to like about this episode? It’s even a uniquely Star Trek episode, featuring iconic Star Trek aliens and technology, rather than primitive Earthlike planets.

23rd Century Mayhem

  • The new Romulan cloaking device appears to be more efficient than the one in Balance of Terror, hence the Federation wanting to get hold of it. Apparently it’s so good that even the Romulans can’t track it, which sounds like a failure on their part – they must know every detail of how it works, so why don’t they have secret methods of tracking it than outsiders wouldn’t be able to figure out? Or some kind of remote ‘master key’ that they could send to the cloaking device to force it to deactivate?
  • For that matter, how is Scotty able to wire the cloaking device into the Enterprise so easily? Is he as amazing a reverse engineer as he is an engineer? Does everyone in the galaxy just use USB? I meant, I know the U stands for Universal, but I never took that seriously.
  • How come Romulan intelligence did not know that the Enterprise’s first officer was a Vulcan? Surely high-ranking Romulan officers would be briefed on the most famous faces in Starfleet.
  • Why did Kirk need surgery to give him Romulan ears before his infiltration mission? He wasn’t going to be submitting to any detailed scrutiny, so surely some makeup would be sufficient? And why did the Romulans not recognise him in his new guise? In fact, why send Kirk back over at all? A more expendable and unrecognisable crew member could have been chosen.
  • When the Enterprise crosses the Neutral Zone and is surrounded by Romulan ships, it is ‘surrounded’ only in the x-y plane. If the Romulans truly wanted to prevent an escape, they should have surrounded the Enterprise in three dimensions.
  • If the cloaking device is such highly classified technology, why is there not better security surrounding it?
  • Why was Spock allowed to keep his communicator once he stayed aboard the Romulan ship? Yes, he had pretended to defect, but he should still have been stripped of this device, just in case he was lying.
  • Spock’s nerve-pinch now has the ability to make the recipient appear to have died. Is it really that powerful, or were they just counting on the fact that the Romulan tricorders would be poorly calibrated for human readings?
  • Speaking of tricorders, in the last episode, McCoy appeared able to use his as a polygraph.

Summary – The Enterprise Incident: If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to investigate Spock X Romulan Commander fanfic.

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