Balance of Terror - Miri - The Devil in the Dark.


The Enterprise discovers a planet that looks amazingly like Earth, where they find a ruined, deserted city. It's only inhabitants are “children,” all centuries old, the product of life-prolonging experiments. After exposure to the results of that research, the adults of the planet died horrible deaths, acquiring scar tissue and going berserk. When the children's slowed down metabolism finally allows them to reach puberty, they too will sicken and die. Kirk and the entire landing party – except Spock – are infected with the disease. McCoy must find the antidote before they go mad and die from the illness.

The children, who mistrust all adults (they refer to them as “grups”) harass the intruders, stealing their communicators, and abducting Yeoman Rand. Kirk enlists the aid of one, Miri, who has a crush on the captain. She assists in recovering the kidnapped yeoman, and the party's communicators. McCoy, having synthesised an experimental antidote, uses it on himself, and proves it's effectiveness, saving his shipmates and the planet's “youthful” inhabitants.

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. Failure of the crew to send down more communicators. They can’t risk communicators falling into the wrong hands by blindly beaming them down, without knowing exactly where Kirk and the others are located.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit

Incorrectly regarded as goofsEdit

  1. At the end, Captain Kirk tells Mr. Spock, "Full ahead, warp factor one" which Spock repeats back to him, however, Mr. Spock is sitting at the science station (his normal station) and not at the helm, which is where the ship's movements are controlled. While Spock is not at the helm, this exchange is reflective of Naval command structure where the Captain tells the First Officer what he wants done and the First Officer orders the Crew. This was not the normal for The Original Series as it progressed, but it reappeared in The Next Generation with Number One giving the orders.[N 1]
  2. Notice the lit Bunsen Burner (at around 10 mins). One could expect that the Gas Main would not still be going after 300 Years. Bunsen Burners weren't used in the labs on the Enterprise. The Enterprise could have transported equipment down for them. It is also possible that they could have used a different source - such as propane, butane or white gas for the Bunsen Burners.

Plot holesEdit

  1. Given that the Captain's Log stated that the SOS Transmitter was found in the same building as the Lab, why couldn't someone (probably Mr. Spock) have used this to signal the Enterprise to beam down some more Communicators, thus solving their dilemma? He will make a computer out of local items from an even earlier time period in The City on the Edge of Forever. Either the transmitter stopped working after sending the SOS, but before Spock could use it, due to lack of maintenance over the last 300 years, or one of the children broke it after they stole the communicators.
  2. When the children steal the communicators, they only get three - presumably Kirk's, Spock's, and McCoy's. Rand and the two security men are not present, and therefore probably have their communicators with them - it is highly unlikely Kirk would let them go off into unknown territory without standard equipment. They probably took Rand's when she was captured, and snatched the ones belonging to the guards when there were - presumably - captured off screen while searching for Kirk and the others.
  3. What did the two security guards that came with the landing party do? They aren't present when the away team is attacked or in any other scene. Did they go AWOL? We see them again at the end and they aren't sick with the purple sores, either, when they return. As stated above, they were probably captured off screen, and presumably cured off screen as well.

Ex Artis ScientiaEdit


  1. Kirk explicitly mentions the food supplies that are running low on the planet. But it is implausible in the first place how the children could survive as long as 300 years on canned food or something like that. Perhaps their motabilism has been altered, thus enabling them to require less food, and to go without for longer periods.
  2. Well, it shouldn't remain unmentioned, but it is simply artistic license that after the vaccine takes effect the blemishes in McCoy's face are going away in a matter of seconds. The vaccine is probably designed to take effect as soon as possible.

Nit CentralEdit

  1. Keith Alan Morgan on Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 2:15 am: Spock says that the children age 1 Month for every 100 Years, but the experiment which caused this happened 300 Years ago. So does this mean that the children have only aged 3 Months? If the women on this planet get pregnant will it take them 9 Centuries to give birth? And what about PMS? ("Watch out for Miri. It's that time of the century, again.") Perhaps there are no women of childbaring age around at this point, as they would have been killed by the disease during the onset of puberty.


  1. This is listed as a Plot Oversight in the Nitpicker's Guide.

The Original Series Season 1
Pilot episodes: The Cage I Where No Man Has Gone Before
Regular episodes: The Corbomite Maneuver I Mudd's Women I The Enemy Within I The Man Trap I The Naked Time I Charlie X I Balance of Terror I What Are Little Girls Made Of? I Dagger of the Mind I Miri I The Conscience of the King I The Galileo Seven I Court Martial I The Menagerie Part 1 I The Menagerie Part 2 I Shore Leave I The Squire of Gothos I Arena I The Alternative Factor I Tomorrow Is Yesterday I The Return of the Archons I A Taste of Armageddon I Space Seed I This Side of Paradise I The Devil in the Dark I Errand of Mercy I The City on the Edge of Forever I Operation: Annihilate!