A person from the past and a vendetta in the making. Originally broadcast on February 16, 1967 this is Space Seed.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3141.9
Enterprise encounters the USS Botany Bay adrift in space for over 200 years. Aboard they discover the entire crew in hibernation. Waking one of the crew who is assumed to be their leader, they beam him back to the Enterprise and discover that he is an augmented human who, if let loose, could do real damage to the ship. Historian Marla McGivers soon finds herself infatuated by the awakened man of the past who avoids being identified. After he seduces Lt McGivers, Kirk and team discover that the man is none other than Khan Noonien Singh, one of the tyrants of the Eugenic Wars of the 1990’s.
After being placed under arrest, Khan breaks from his quarters and beams over to the Botany Bay to free his people. Khan disables life support demanding the surrender of Enterprise. After the crew fall unconscious, Khan and his augments find themselves unable to take the ship as none of the crew will cooperate. Threatening Kirk’s life, Khan informs the bridge crew that the Captain will die if they do not work with him. McGivers rescues Kirk and Spock, realizing that she has made a mistake falling for Khan. Kirk and Spock are able to retake the ship and agree to leave Khan and the Augments on Ceti Alpha V giving them a second chance at life. McGivers remains with Khan in order to avoid a court martial. Enterprise leaves with Kirk and Spock wondering what will become of the Augments in the future.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
On it’s own this episode is a very interesting story that not only provides a previously unseen glimpse of Star Treks past in the form of the Eugenic Wars but also establishes that there are still threats from Earth itself that Enterprise could still encounter.
Personally, I love that this episodes threat was not alien in nature and was a result of past actions that were just coming to a head. Sure, Khan and his followers fleeing Earth never dreamed that they would sleep for over 200 years, I imagine they figured they would wake and go lay claim to some planet somewhere, but well best laid plans and all. All that aside, it is the inclusion of the famous Ricardo Montalban in the role of Khan Noonian Singh that really makes this episode shine. By the time this episode aired, Montalban had already had dozens of roles under his belt and had become fairly well known so, having an actor of this caliber as not only a guest star but the villain of the episode was a master stroke.
Even without the follow-up and resolution that comes in the form of The Wrath of Khan, this episode stands out as a truly intense and strong story that actually feels like there could be a threat to the ship. Honestly, I would have loved for this to have been a two parter with Khan being able to take over the ship forcing more of a vendetta between Kirk and Khan. Nevertheless, the battle of wits and brawn between Kirk and Khan is the stuff of legend and, you can bet we will discuss the follow-up later.
One thing that bothers me is the treatment of Lt McGivers in this episode. She is portrayed as a lovestruck woman who has little will of her own, but is also a Lieutenant in an interplanetary starship. I get having emotions and longings for things of the past, but for her to practically toss out all sense of logic at the whim of this ancient ‘superhuman’, I would have thought that this kind of tendency would have shown up on her psych eval. I mean, sure, she comes around but it’s rather misogynistic at best.
One other thing that is rather, difficult, is that after they discover who Khan is, they act as if they are familiar with his exploits with Scotty even mentioning that Khan is one that he admired somewhat. So if Scotty admired this former Earth Tyrant, you would have thought he would have recognized him or at least found him familiar in some way. It’s a small thing but still creates a rather interesting plot hole.
Overall, Space Seed is a rather terrific episode that ultimately lives up to it’s name by planting a seed that takes root in the form of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan some fifteen years later. As I mentioned above, you can bet we will cover that one when the time comes.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- In implies that Lt McGivers is known as being rather useless on the ship as Kirk notes that this will ‘give the ships historian something to do.’
- We get one of McCoy’s first objections to using a transporter beam!
- Its interesting to note that Khan demands a new planet with a population to be conquered, yet does not ask to return to Earth.
- If you look carfully during the fight scene it is clear that some of the scenes are Shatner’s and Montalban’s stunt doubles.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: This Side of Paradise
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Late To The Game 1/24/2022
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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