Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, January 6, 2014

Season 1, Episode 24 "Space Seed"

"Space Seed"
Production Number: 24
Air Order: 22
Stardate: 3141.9
Original Air Date: February 16, 1967

 Ricardo Montalbon seems to be best known for two roles, this guy:


And this guy:


The first dude is a guy in an ice cream suit with a Mini Me named Tattoo, and when that show appeared on television during the day when I was a kid, I got bored and did something else because it fell into the category of No Thanks (Perry Mason, Andy Griffith Show, Love Boat, Fantasy Island) rather than Yes, Please (The Addams Family, The Munsters, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan's Island, The Carol Burnett Show, Mama's Family). In truth, I'd like to believe that when I turned off the tv, it means that I went outside to play, but I gotta tell you, the odds aren't very good.

The second guy makes my skin crawl, and I've been dealing with him all day for the sake of this blog. You're freaking welcome.

*******

This week, we open not with a log entry, but a mystery - the Enterprise has come upon an old space vessel that Spock estimates is from the 1990's. Score! I love it when old sci-fi shows talk about the future as though it's the past. Yesterday, Classic Doctor Who informed me that in the year 2000 we all read a comic strip about a strong man named Karkus. And you won't believe what happened in 1984! Okay, Star Trek: tell me what happened during my teen years.


Kirk's Log 3141.9: The Enterprise has been floating alongside the vessel for an hour, checking it out, but they're being ignored by the occupants. Scans of the new ship are showing that some equipment is working.
Bones comes onto the bridge to report that there are 70-80 heart signs on board the ship, but no respiratory signs. Spock reveals that the ship is called the SS Botany Bay, but he can't find any records for it because record-keeping was spotty during WWIII. A world war? Awesome! I guess I missed it. Friends must have been really good that week.


Apparently, it was a eugenics war, where people attempt to build better people through selective breeding, like the America Human Kennel Club. Spock and Bones argue over which of them would be more likely to dabble in eugenics.
Kirk rolls his eyes. "God, just kiss already."
He forms an away team that includes the ship's historian because "it'll give her something to do."
Down in the transporter room, Bones makes his first on-camera complaint about hating the transporter process. He, Kirk and Scotty are joined by Lieutenant Marla McGivers, the red-headed ship's historian.

Her last name is pronounced like the guy from 80's tv who can make
gadgets out of paperclips and crap.

They beam aboard and find rows of sleeper compartments filled with people. While Scotty nearly wets himself over the old-school technology, McGivers explains that people were put to sleep for space travel back in the day because of how long it took to get to each planet. Sweet! Real science! She also says that they stopped doing this around 2018, when space travel became easier. Make a note, friends: Star Trek says that in 4 years' time, we can all go live happily on Mars with Captain Adelaide Brooke!
Wait...

Query: why is "historian" lumped in with security and communications?
Is red the catch-all color for anything that isn't command, science or medical?

Scotty flips on the lights, which triggers one compartment to start the wake-up process. McGivers says that the system was designed to waken the leader first. There's an electrical short, and dude starts dying, so Kirk breaks the compartment open to get him out.


Kirk's Log: The guy is transported to sick bay, where Bones is amazed by his regenerative abilities and perfect health. More away teams are sent over to examine the ship and take note of any problems.
Spock looks up historical info on the 1990's, and describes it as a "strange, violent period in... history." It certainly was. So many mosh pit injuries...
Kirk surmises that, Botany Bay being the name given to an Australian penal colony, Earth may have been dumping it's convicts in space. Spock says that theory is stupid, as humans were entering a Dark Age, and groups of people were being bombed out of existence; it would not be worth the trouble to ship convicts into space. Either way, they decide to tow the SS Botany Bay to the nearest starbase.


In sick bay, Kirk and Bones marvel at the perfection of the sleeping leader of the other ship. McGivers comes in to see how the patient is doing, and Kirk reads her the Riot Act for taking too much interest in the guy. She insists that it's professional interest only, and he tells her that it's good that it's professional rather than personal, because men were more adventuresome and bold in the past.
"Hi, kettle? It's Kirk. You're black."


When Kirk and McGivers leave, the stranger gets out of bed and acquires a medical knife. He grabs Bones by the throat and holds a knife to him. Because Bones is a bad-ass, the good doctor then tells his patient that the best way to kill him would be to cut his carotid artery, located beneath his left ear. The stranger kind of laughs and asks to speak to the captain.


Kirk comes down and tells this guy that he's been asleep for 200 years, that they are taking his ship to the nearest starbase, and that they will revive his people once there. The stranger admits that his name is Khan, but deflects more questions with the bullshitty "Oh, I'm really tired." Despite being threatened with a knife not ten minutes ago, Bones insists that Kirk let Khan rest. Before he goes, Khan says that he used to be an engineer, and asks if he can see the Enterprise's technical manuals. Because, you know, that's not suspicious AT ALL. Kirk stupidly gives him access to the whole library before leaving.


On the bridge, Spock tells Kirk that in 1993, a bunch of those selectively bred individuals attempted to take over 40 nations at once, and succeeded to some extent. But 100 of them went missing when they were finally rounded up. Kirk says that wasn't in the history books. That's because in the mid to late nineties, everyone was too fixed on the Monica Scandal to pay attention to missing power-hungry supermen. Duh, Kirk.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the subplot that is the reason why I hate this episode so much. So fucking, fucking much.

Marla McGivers goes down to sick bay to see Khan, who immediately hits on her. When she tries to ask him about his ship, he declares that her hair is unattractive, and leads her to a mirror, which has been conveniently placed on the sick bay wall because it was necessary to prove to the audience how creepy this guy is. He re-styles her hair, then tells her to remember to do it this way next time. She says she has to go, but he grabs her arm in a menacing way, to tell her that he's glad she stopped by, and hopes she will again.
Run, honey. Run.


Later, Khan goes to McGiver's quarters, asking her to escort him to the lavish ship-wide welcome dinner she's arranged for him. She's wearing her hair down.
"I approve," he says. "Next, we'll work on your sandwich-making skills."
McGivers is a painter. She's painted historical male figures, and Khan uncovers a work-in-progress of himself.
"Powerful men often take what they want," he says, kissing her.
Translation: "I'll be raping you soon. You'll probably enjoy it, but if you don't, I kind of don't care."
Oh, Marla. You are a history buff and an artist. I had such high hopes for you. But here you are, sucking the face of this douchebag, and perpetuating the stereotype that all girls want bad boys.


At the dinner party, Spock pointedly asks Khan why he and the others left, suggesting that they were after world domination. Khan says that they were "unifying" the people "like Caesar in Rome". Kirk diplomatically (and uncharacteristically) keeps his fool mouth shut. Khan then accuses Kirk of letting Spock attack him so that the captain may suss out Khan's weaknesses. When the questions get too heated, he claims fatigue again and leaves.


Khan is in his quarters when the door slides open, and guess who it is? It's McGivers, hell-bent on her downward spiral into an abusive relationship. She apologizes for her shipmates, and compares him to Leif Ericksson and Richard the Lionhearted. He tries to kiss her, but when she says "Please don't", he pushes her away and barks that she should go. If she's gong to stay, she must ask his permission first. She does, and he grants it, then he squeezes her hand so hard that she drops to her knees. He tells her that he intends to take over the Enterprise, and he needs her help. She begs him not to hurt anyone, and he throws her across the room. On the floor, she promises to help.


In the briefing room, Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Bones discuss what they have discovered about Khan Noonien Singh. Apparently, dude was the last of the Eugenic Tyrants to be overthrown, and ruled a quarter of the world. Scotty admits admiration for Khan, and Kirk and Bones agree, much to Spock's surprise. Kirk says that humans can both admire and be repulsed by someone at the same time. Spock says it's illogical, and while it kind of is, I feel like humanity gets points for being able to see both sides of the coin in that way. While admitting that he was a tyrant, they also point out that no wars occurred in Khan's area of the world while he was in power. It's like discussing the various civil projects that Hitler completed in Germany before his defeat. Pros and Khans. (Beeteedubs, kids - never join a discussion of Hitler's Good Qualities on the internet. You will lose hours off your life and the conversation will devolve into all parties "yelling" at one another in caps lock.)


Kirk goes to see Khan in his quarters. They've dumped Khan in a Red Shirt, which makes me snicker. Kirk again asks the reason why Khan and the others left Earth, and Khan replies that they wanted to start a new life... and also other reasons that Kirk wouldn't get because the humans in this time are all physically and mentally inferior to himself. Kirk leaves, and Khan musters his super-strength to pry open the door and knock his guard across the corridor. He then drops the transporter tech, and he and Marla revive and beam over the rest of the survivors from the Botany Bay.

Better stretch out. You'll need to be limber if you're taking over the ship.

On the bridge, Kirk discovers that all operating systems have been re-routed through engineering, that the lifts are dead, and that life support to the bridge has been cut off. I guess that there are no Jeffries Tubes on the bridge, or any emergency escape at all. You're kind of screwed if the lifts are out and the bridge catches fire or something.
Kirk's Log 3142.8: A breathless Kirk tries to make a log, describing the takeover of the ship. He takes full responsibility and recommends commendations to his bridge crew before passing out.
In the briefing room, Khan tries to get the newly-revived bridge crew to join him. When Uhura refuses to turn on the view screen for him, one of Khan's cronies drags her to a console and hits her. The look she gives him tells him that if he does so again, he'll be eating his meals through a tube.


He tries to hit her again, but McGivers yells "NO!" and turns on the viewscreen for her. Khan has put Kirk into a medical decompression chamber and is slowly killing him. If someone from the bridge crew agrees to fly the ship to a planet with a conquerable population, Khan will let Kirk go.
"Do I have to see this?" asks McGivers.
"No, but you're spineless for not wanting to watch your fellow crew members die," Khan replies.
The viewscreen goes blank again, and McGivers exits to fuck up some shit.


Down at the decompression chamber, McGivers hypos the guard and frees Kirk, begging him not to kill Khan. Another super-human is escorting Spock to the chamber, and together, Kirk and Spock take him down. They form a plan to gas every deck but engineering.
The briefing room fills with smoke (gas), and Scotty pauses in his escape to punch a guy before running out, but totally forgetting to collect the other guy's phaser.


Bad news, guys: Khan left the briefing room and went down to engineering to Disable the Ship. In this case, he set the engines to overload. Kirk comes in and some fighting ensues when Khan crushes his phaser with one hand. I'm gonna give some points to whoever choreographed this fight, because they certainly utilized the equipment in this room, hanging off of the chain-link fence that closes off the engines, and banking off the consoles. Kirk finally ends the fight by beating Khan with a piece of the ship. And you know the drill: he shuts off the overload Just in Time.

Captain Kirk with the Lead Pipe in Engineering. I win!

Kirk's Log 3143.3: "Got my ship back - yay me! But now I have to figure out what to do with the people from the Botany Bay, and also McGivers."
This is not hard, Kirk. McGivers should be court-martialed and she, her boyfriend, and his buddies should go to prison for hijacking your ship. But Kirk thinks it's a "waste" to put the superhuman mutant tyrants in prison. So he drops all of the fucking charges.
"Say what?" demands Bones, which is a valid complaint.
"We're near a planet where we could dump you, to start over. It'll be rough-going because you won't have access to anything, but you can rule the planet," offers Kirk.
"Cool," says Khan.
So I guess he'll rule the mob. With no other "inferior" species, it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. I imagine the phrase "Et tu, Brute?" being uttered often in that community.
Kirk tells McGivers that her choices are court-martial, or shacking up with an abusive ego-maniacal asshole.
Court martial, court martial, court martial...
"I'll shack up with the asshole," she replies, disappointing me for the last time.
"A superior woman," says Khan. "I'll take her." (No, seriously: that is quoted dialog. That asshole said that.) Shut up, Khan. A woman is not superior because she agreed to let you stick it to her.


The group files out of the court proceedings, and Scotty asks about the Milton allusion that Khan made.
"It is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven," Kirk quotes.
Spock says that it would be interesting to visit that planet in 100 years in the future "to see what had grown from the seed he just planted."
Oh, Kirk. You should have gone down to the planet's surface and dropped a giant rock slab on him. If you had, we wouldn't be stuck dealing with Khan's shit later in a two-hour film. You suck.


*******
"Hi, mom! So it looks like I won't be making it home for Christmas this year, or any year, really. I met this abusive psycho yesterday who is super-cute, and we're running off together to colonize this harsh planet in the middle of nowhere. He's kind of the leader of this group of superhumans, and they'll probably kill off quite a few of each other in the first year - fingers crossed that I don't get caught in the crossfire! (smiley face) Don't worry, I know that this one is serious about our relationship because he's already hit me a few times. Packing shouldn't take too long, as Khan doesn't really have anything after being frozen for 200 years, and he's telling me what I can and can't take, and then Captain Kirk will beam us and the others off. The captain was kind enough to offer me this, or court-martial, as I aided in the takeover of the ship. I think I got the better deal!
So long forever,
Marla"

I know this episode is supposed to be about superhumans, but I can't help but feel like this is an hour-long PSA about avoiding abusive relationships. He did nothing but give her red flags, and she just collected them all to hang in her quarters. Why does this woman have no friends to warn her? Am I really supposed to believe that out of the 400+ people on board the Enterprise, she didn't have one single friend to pull her aside and say "This guy is bad news, honey. Stay away from him"? No female friends? No sassy gay friend? Come on! Sulu is sitting right there at the helm!

I would almost - almost - declare this to be a worse lovestory than Twilight, but then I decided that they are too similar, and are closer to even-footing. In fact, they should double-date. Khan and Edward can talk about how strong and powerful they are. And Marla, whispering quietly so as not to disturb The Men, can talk to Bella about history and art. Of course, Bella will just have to listen, as she has never had a hobby or interest to talk about.

Gross. I think I need to shower with steel wool to scrub all of the Khan-cooties off of me.

*******

Despite the fact that I care for neither gingerbread or chai, there was a canister of Gingerbread Chai in the cupboard that I decided to try. I expected to be overwhelmed with the dual spice palettes, but it was lighter and more subtle than that. While I won't be chugging a gallon of it, a cup is nice every now and again.






No comments:

Post a Comment