Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Star Trek Favorites: Space Seed

Welcome back boys and girls to Day 2 of Star Trek Favorites. Let's talk about characters. This next episode created a film around him. From his presence to his arrogance, this man was a conqueror among men. A being so charismatic that lesser men would die in his name and cause. A benevolent dictator but one of great strength, intelligence and vicious tendencies. I speak of one Khan Noonien Singh. This is Space Seed.

And...scene!  That's a wrap, folks!

KHAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!! Okay, with that out of the way, we remain in Season 1 when the intrepid crew of the Enterprise find a battered, 20th century spaceship left adrift in space, its crew of dozens of men and women kept in some form of stasis. The landing party triggered an automatic release mechanism that one of the occupants is freed from his pod. Weak, confused and in general discombobulated this large, built man attempts a feeble attack on the landing party when they explain they are here to help.

Brought to Sickbay on the Enterprise, Kirk speaks with the weary Khan (Ricardo Montalban of Mystery Street, My Man and I, Desert Warrior, Dr. Kildare, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Fantasy Island and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) and tells him it has been more than 300 years since he was last on Earth and of the existing body of government. Tired, Khan retreats back to sleep allowing him time to heal and regain his strength.

Yes, my hair is magnificently coiffed.

The ship's Historian, Lt. Marla McGivers (Madlyn Rhue of Operation Petticoat, A Majority of One, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Days of Our Lives and Murder, She Wrote), fascinated with men of the past, primarily conquerors is more than willing (A bit too willing) to assist Khan into being brought up to speed on Earth's current accomplishments and is fascinated with Khan's own timeline. With a bit of digging on Spock and Kirk's part, they discover the crippled vessel, the S.S. Botany Bay was a ship carrying men and women of the dreaded 1990s Eugenics Wars (Remember those dark days? Lots of Pearl Jam played while dispatching your enemies.) , these humans that were genetically engineered to be perfect specimens of the like with the problem of arrogance, cruelty and even homicidal. With this information in hand, Kirk is convinced this is a dangerous man and needs to be handled with a delicate touch.

His information came too late as Khan charms McGivers into heading back to the Botany Bay, reviving his men and preparing to commandeer the Enterprise as a new platform to conqueror the known galaxy. Can Kirk and crew fend off this power hungry mad man? Will they all be put to the sword for undermining their would-be matriarch? Can anything be done to thwart his will?

Some points of interest on the episode now. Star Trek writer Carey Wilber used the 18th century British custom of shipping criminals and undesirables as his main concept for seed ships that jettisoned these men and women into deep space. I guess for the universe to decide what to do with them. Might have been more humane to shoot them directly into the sun. With this being the first mention of the Eugenics Wars, this plot device or "macguffin" was used numerous times in the latter Star Trek series and one can hardly blame them for wanting to touch base more stories of these enhanced men and women. This episode is the prime source material for not only Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan where Ricardo Montalban apprised his role as Khan but also the reboot J.J. Abrahams film Star Trek Into Darkness where Benedict Cumberbatch had played the same character.

See anything you like, Scotty?  DON'T YOU LOOK AWAY!!!