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According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is: And the Children Shall Lead : The Enterprise Incident : The Empath.
In the Remastered Episodes Chronology, the release sequence is
Elaan of Troyius : The Enterprise Incident : Obsession.


As ordered by an ostensibly irrational Kirk, the Enterprise enters Romulan space and is instantly surrounded by three Romulan warships. When Kirk and Spock beam over to the lead ship, Spock accuses Kirk of acting without orders and for personal reasons, whereby the Vulcan officer gains the trust of the Romulan commander. The "insane" Kirk attacks Spock, who then "kills" his captain with the "Vulcan death grip".

The "dead" Kirk is beamed back to the Enterprise, but returns in Romulan disguise to steal their cloaking device, which has been the true goal of his mission all along. When Spock is being beamed back again, the Romulan commander is with him and is welcomed by Kirk as a "guest". Scotty manages to make the device work on the Enterprise, and the Federation ship escapes the Romulan pursuers.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. When the Romulan vessels surround the Enterprise, the Romulan subcommander announces with a smug tone, “You have been identified as the starship Enterprise." Big deal. So they can read. It says, “USS Enterprise" right on the saucer. He's trying to conceal his astonishment at the sight of a Federation starship deliberately entering Romulan territory.
  2. When Scott comes down to sick bay, the newly resuscitated and "Romulanized" Kirk stands in the center of the room to greet him. The captain is supposed to be dead, yet he stands in full view of the hallway when the doors pop open. Wouldn't it be better to hide Kirk in a back room? The corridor is probably empty due to the ship being on alert status.
  3. The Romulan commander doesn't seem to know what a cloaking device looks like or where it’s located. The Romulans keep the device in a special room on top of a large, centrally located pedestal. lt is impossible to miss. Yet when the Romulan commander breaks into the room with Spock, she starts looking at the indicator panels along one wall. Bear in mind that she rushed to this room specifically because she feared for the cloaking device’s safety. A few moments later, the Romulan sub-commander finally informs her that the cloaking device is gone, and she turns around to see for herself. She's probably so used to seeing it it place that she didn't bother looking in that direction, until the sub-commander made her aware that the device was missing.

Changed Premises

  1. When McCoy returns the “dead” Kirk to sick bay and claims the captain fell victim to the Vulcan death grip, Nurse Chapel quickly responds that there is no Vulcan death grip. Maybe so, but there is tal-shaya, a Vulcan method for snapping an opponent's neck. Does this qualify as a death grip? The tal-shaya may not require a gripping motion.

Equipment Oddities

  1. At the beginning of the episode, three Klingon ships appear in Romulan space. When Scott expresses disbelief at this sight, Spock explains that intelligence reports have stated that the Romulans are buying their ship designs from the Klingons. (Now, isn't that convenient! It saved the creators from manufacturing a new Romulan ship.) [N 1] Evidently the Romulans are also buying their hand phaser designs from the Klingons, because they look very similar to the ones seen in Errand of Mercy. This was probably part of the technology exchange deal.

Continuity And Production Problems

  1. Amazingly enough, the Romulans dress their female commanders in miniskirts and go-go boots! Obviously, the Romulans aren't motivated to do this because of any sexist tendencies. After all, this woman commands an armada of Romulan vessels (which - as we find out in Turnabout Intruder - is more than we can say for any single vessel in Starfleet). So do the Romulan women like wearing miniskirt uniforms? It is probably a standard uniform design for female command officers in the Romulan Fleet.
  2. When the Romulan commander stands during her dinner with Spock and must tug at the bottom of her skirt to lower it past her posterior, is this action considered a "warrior" move? More likely an automatic reflex, similar to the 'Picard Maneuver' featured in episodes of The Next Generation.

Internet Movie Database

Incorrectly regarded as goofs

  1. The Enterprise crew are shocked to learn that their surprise capture may be due to a new cloaking technology possessed by the Romulans. Kirk and crew already encountered cloaked Romulans two years earlier in Balance of Terror. (IMDB) The cloaking technology in this episode is new because it is improved. The Enterprise was still able to track a Romulan ship, though not accurately, in Balance of Terror and cannot detect them at all with this improved version.

Plot holes

  1. Transporter beams cannot penetrate shields, yet Kirk is able to beam to the Romulan flagship and back. This means that the Enterprise and the Romulan warships have their shields down, an unlikely scenario with hostile warships facing one another. Scotty probably used the transporter sensors to match the sensor windows of the Romulan ship with those on the Enterprise, thus allowing Kirk to beam to the Romulan vessel and back again[N 2] – assuming the Romulan Commander kept her ship's shields activated (She may have kept them down as a sign of good faith, as part of her plan to convince Spock to defect).

Nit Central

  1. John A. Lang on Friday, August 17, 2001 - 6:17 pm: At one point the Romulan Commander says to Kirk that he does not understand the bond of the Vulcan/Romulan roots and origins...Really? The people of Romulus & Remus must not watch "Star Trek"...for Kirk found out about the bonds & origins in Balance of Terror. True, but knowing and understanding are two different things.


  1. According to the trivia section on this episode's IMDB entry, the Romulan Bird of Prey model got damaged while it was being unpacked for this episode - apparantly, a production assistant stepped on it! - so the creators had to substitute the Klingon design, while adding dialogue in the script to explain why Romulans were using a Klingon ship design. (In the remastered version, some of the exterior shots show a CGI Romulan Bird of Prey among the ships surrounding Enterprise).
  2. This is probably easier as it sounds. In Trials and Tribble-ations, O'Brien used the fact that the Enterprise was equipped with a duotronic sensor array to beam Sisko and Dax, and then himself and Bashir, aboard during a specific point in the scan cycle.

The Original Series Season 3
Spectre of the Gun I Elaan of Troyius I The Paradise Syndrome I The Enterprise Incident I And the Children Shall Lead I Spock's Brain I Is There in Truth No Beauty? I The Empath I The Tholian Web I For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky I Day of the Dove I Plato's Stepchildren I Wink of an Eye I That Which Survives I Let That Be Your Last Battlefield I Whom Gods Destroy I The Mark of Gideon I The Lights of Zetar I The Cloud Minders I The Way to Eden I Requiem for Methuselah I The Savage Curtain I All Our Yesterdays I Turnabout Intruder