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Monday, August 30, 2010

From Beyond Television: Star Trek--Space Seed


FROM BEYOND TELEVISION: BATTLE STATIONS, FANTASY & FUNNY BUSINESS


For this edition, it's a classic episode of the original STAR TREK...


STAR TREK the original series Season 1 episode #22

SPACE SEED ****

Guest starring Ricardo Montalban

Directed by Marc Daniels


The Enterprise locate a derelict Earth vessel. Investigating, they discover a large number of human passengers in suspended animation. Awaking one of them, Kirk and company discover the imposing figure to be Khan Noonian Singh, a genetic superman who was a tyrannical ruler in Earth's history of the 1990's(!) Now revived in all new environment to conquer, Khan revives his superhuman followers in a bid to take over the Enterprise and establish a new reign of the future.

"Well either choke me, or cut my throat. Make up your mind!"

"I caution you...such men dare take what they want..."

This is one of the best episodes of the incredibly prosperous STAR TREK mythology; so much so that it formed the basis of the extremely entertaining first sequel to STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE from 1979, THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982). The character of Khan is one of the most formidably villainous, yet obstinately honorable antagonists to ever be featured on the show. He uses a good amount of guile in his plan to take over the ship especially in the way he manipulates Marla McGivers (Earth historian) into helping him by forcing his will on her. The way he plays emotional games with her is overly misogynistic literally having her begging and groveling at his feet.

"Each of you in turn will go in there! DIE while the others watch!!"


Once taking over the ship, Khan threatens to execute the entire crew lest they join him. After all, a maniacal dictator needs people to rule over. Upon realizing suffocating the entire bridge proves useless, Khan decides to kill Kirk and make the others watch thinking that slow, singular deaths will force the crew to join him.


Of course, Kirk manages to narrowly escape death, Spock gets in one Vulcan Nerve Pinch and Kirk and Khan duel in the engineering room. Khan demonstrates his superior strength by literally crushing a phaser with his bare hands. Another cliffhanger moment occurs when Khan reveals he's overloaded the ships engines. We're then treated to a good brawl wherein ingenuity and cunning wins over brute strength.


In an unprecedented act of compassion and reverence, Kirk drops all charges against Khan giving him a chance to rule an untamed world (the savage, inhospitable world of Setti Alpha 5) as opposed to a criminal charge. McGivers is given a choice of court martial, or joining Khan and company. For those of you familiar with THE WRATH OF KHAN, you know full well the outcome of Khan's planetary rule. Interestingly, there's a great final bit of dialog from Spock that alludes to the sequel 15 years later.

"It would be interesting, Captain, to return to that world in a hundred years...and learn what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today."

"I have five times your strength! You are no match for me!"

Ricardo Montalban during the time was a huge man and appeared on many television programs as bad guys before hitting it big as Mr. O'Roarke on the hit show, FANTASY ISLAND. Contrary to what a lot of people thought, his ripped physique seen in STAR TREK 2 was his own and not a prosthetic appliance.

"Captain, although your abilities intrigue me, you are quite honestly inferior...mental, physically. In fact, I am surprised how little improvement there has been in human evolution. Oh, there has been technical advancement, but, um...how little man, himself has changed. Yes, it appears WE will do well in your century, Captain."

Both he and Kirk have some memorable exchanges here that extend into the movie over a decade later. What's most curious about the later film is that neither Kirk, nor Khan share a scene together. They only see each other via screens on the bridge.


'Space Seed' is one of the most exciting episodes benefiting from a choice script that has a villain comparable with some of Earth's most historically ruthless dictators. This was something STAR TREK would accomplish on a regular basis and something this episode does extremely well.

TUNE IN NEXT TIME FOR NIGHT GALLERY!


2 comments:

Joe's blog said...

You are the first blogger I've found who metions Star Trek... :-)

venoms5 said...

I want to be as diverse as possible, Joe and the original series is the only ST show I enjoy and watch, so there'll be more of it here in this column. Jamie Jeffords who runs Eye of Polyphemus has reviewed them all I think. He runs a blog about the world of politics, but also has a heavy emphasis on science fiction programs. You may wanna check his site out, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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