Welcome back to SYFY WIRE's Warp Factor. Since the first season of Star Trek: Picard was loaded with Romulan schemes and intrigue, it is only proper that we go back to the episode when we first met this warlike offshoot of the Vulcans.
Romulans first appeared in the Star Trek Original Series episode "Balance of Terror" and have been a mainstay in the lore of Trek ever since. The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise (Spock included) did not know what Romulans looked like, and neither did viewers of the show. Seeing that they looked exactly like Vulcans was a shock and a major addition to canon.
Based on submarine films, the episode features Captain Kirk going up against an unnamed Romulan Commander, played by Mark Lenard. Lenard was so fantastic in this role that he soon returned to the series in the more regular role of Sarek, Spock's father. Lenard played that role in this series, in the films, and also on Star Trek: The Next Generation — such was the power of his performance here.
Though both Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery have played around with earlier Romulan incidents and mentions, everything established in "Balance of Terror" remains in tact.
Watch right here as Warp Factor: Classic Blend dives into the episode, but leave all bigotry in your quarters — there's no place for it on the bridge.