3/19/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Space Seed"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E22
Air Date: February 16, 1967
Written by: Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber
Directed by: Marc Daniels

Premise
The Enterprise stumbles across the SS Botany Bay and, along with it, the seed of era long past, and of an epic battle yet to come.

Review
In the middle of nowhere, the Enterprise discovers a derelict vessel that Spock says couldn't possibly be from Earth because no one's ever been out this far... Well, it is... In any case, it couldn't possibly be manned by humans because the life signs are so faint, right? Wrong again... they're in cryogenic stasis. Well, all things being equal, this vessel is so old it's probably from World War III, right? Nope! Brush up on your Earth history, Spock. As Bones is so eager to correct you, the DY-100 vessel is from the Eugenics Wars. Is there any way the crew of the Enterprise could prove to be less competent? Next thing you know, they'll be underestimating the leader of the SS Botany Bay's crew.

When they head over to the Botany Bay, Scotty confirms it's from Earth. They bring along with them Lt. McGivers who specializes in history so that they can be sure who they're dealing with when they beam over. She says that the ship is a sleeper ship, which was common in the past because of the time it took to travel the distances between planets. They find the crew in stasis, and when Scotty activates the ship's systems, one of the stasis pods activates. The leader. Khan Noonien Singh. They don't recognize who he is at first, but because of complications during the wake-up process, they take him to sick bay. While there, Bones is shocked at Khan's regenerative power. And that's probably when they should have realized that he's an Augment.
"Well, either choke me or slit my throat!"
After Khan attacks Bones, that's when Kirk arrives and tries to get some information from him. But Khan only turns the conversation around and gets information from Kirk. He eventually says his name is Khan, but that's all Kirk gets. So he goes to the computer banks to find that Khan was the biggest bad of them all back in the Eugenics Wars. Meanwhile, Khan accesses the ship's computers to get caught up on modern technology. Specifically, the best ways to take over a Constitution-class Federation starship. After that, he easily seduces Lt. McGivers and she helps him bring over all his friends. So it looks like this isn't really the best of days for the crew of the Enterprise.

Once all the Augments have been beamed onto the Enterprise, Khan takes control of engineering and cuts off life support to the bridge. Kirk initially defies him, but without any way to escape, he is forced to give in. Khan wants that ship, and he will have it! When the bridge crew awakens from passing out, they find themselves in a conference room without Kirk. Khan informs them that Kirk is in a decompression chamber and unless they help Khan, Kirk will die.
Or the delicate cycle will be set to heavy.
This whole threatening thing goes on for quite some time until Lt. McGivers decides that she's totally on the wrong side and goes to help Kirk. After she helps Kirk out of the decompression chamber, they gas the conference room and the only man who escapes is the only man Kirk really needs: Montgomery Scott. Together they formulate a plan to take the ship back. Unfortunately, Khan overhears them through the comm.

Kirk runs to engineering to take over, but Khan is already there. An epic battle ensues in which Kirk's shirt actually remains in tact. And Khan easily crushes a phaser with his bare hand. The fight ends when Kirk grabs a random tubby thinggie out of an engineering console and beats Khan down with it. Because a man with the strength to crush a phaser will definitely succumb to good bonk on the head.
No one defeats Kirk's phallic imagery!
After it all blows over, Kirk gives Khan and the Augments [the name of my Landru and the Lawgivers cover band] the option to settle the planet Ceti Alpha V instead of facing any charges. And he tells McGivers that she can either go with them or face court martial for treason. She decides to go with Khan. Khan references Milton. And after he leaves, Kirk explains to Scotty that the reference means it is greater to reign in Hell then to serve in Heaven.

Spock says it might be cool to come back in a hundred years to see what crop had sprung from the seed the planted on Ceti Alpha V. Little does he know, they will encounter Khan again merely fifteen years later.

Overall Thoughts
There were, perhaps, a couple of times when the Enterprise crew were a little less than smart in this episode, but I imagine this was only to highlight the genius of Khan. It is a little disappointing that, in the end, Khan was taken down by a bonk on the head, but this episode was otherwise very well written and planned out. I imagine the bonk on the head was the studio's idea. We gotta give this cerebral episode a good fight scene, right? In any case, this episode gave birth to the most celebrated villain in Star Trek history, and for that we thank you!