Premise: The Enterprise discovers an ancient sleeper ship, the SS Botany Bay, which escaped from Earth’s Eugenics Wars in the late 20th century. All of the passengers are somehow preserved in a coma-like state, preventing them from aging, and allowing them to survive for over 200 years. When the Enterprise crew boards the ship, the leader is awakened, and discovered to be war criminal Khan Noonien Singh. The Enterprise’s historian (Lt. McGivers) becomes infatuated with Khan and helps him reanimate his crew and seize control of the Enterprise.
This is obviously a must-see episode. Khan is quite the villain – I can understand why Roddenberry decided to bring him back.
0:41 – On the bridge, the crew is receiving readings from a nearby ship. Spock states that the origin is unknown and that it “could hardly be an Earth ship, there have been no flights into this sector for years.” However, Uhura picks up a Morse Code signal that indicates it IS an Earth ship after all. Kirk calls Spock out on his assumption:
Kirk: “I thought you said it couldn’t possibly be an Earth vessel.”
Spock: “I don’t understand why it always gives you pleasure to see me proven wrong.”
Kirk: [Smile/smirk] “An emotional, Earth weakness of mine.”
Spock got a bit defensive there! 😉 I always love the quippy rapport between the two.
The description of what was happening on Earth in the mid-1990s is really interesting. My mid-90s teenage years would have been pretty awful if this stuff were true:
- “A lot of unanswered questions about those years.”
- “A strange & violent period in Earth’s history.”
- “The era of your last so-called World War.”
- “On the verge of a Dark Ages. Whole populations were being bombed out of existence.”
- “A group of these young supermen did seize power simultaneously in over 40 nations.”
- “Dozens of petty dictatorships.”
Although this one’s not so bad:
- “Men were more adventuresome then. Bolder. More colorful.” 😉
14:50 – Unsurprisingly, when you’ve been in a coma for ~300 years, you REALLY need to stretch and flex when you first wake up. Here are some shots of Khan’s hilarious stretches:
16:00 – Bones is a Badass. Who knew? Shortly after Khan awakens, Doc McCoy comes in to check on him. Khan pretends to be asleep, and then grabs McCoy by the neck and holds a scalpel to his throat. Bones holds steady in the face of Khan’s threats and simply instructs Khan on the best way to kill him: “It would be most effective if you cut the carotid.” His display of bravery disarms the mighty Khan.
31:15 – Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty are sitting around a table discussing Khan and his past rule on Earth. Spock is surprised that the other three are describing Khan with an air of admiration. I enjoyed this dialogue between the characters – Spock is the odd-Vulcan-out in terms of his sentiments on Khan and the others tease him a little bit:
Kirk: “He was the best of the tyrants, and the most dangerous. They were Supermen, in a sense – stronger, braver, certainly more ambitious, more daring.
Spock: [Confused & concerned] “This romanticism about a ruthless dictator is -”
Kirk: “Spock, we humans have a streak of barbarism in us. Appalling, but there, nevertheless.
Scotty: “There were no massacres under his rule.”
Spock: “And little freedom.”
McCoy: “No wars, until he was attacked.”
Spock: [Baffled] “Gentlemen…”
[Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty all break into laughter.]
Kirk: “Mr. Spock, you misunderstand us. We can be against him and admire him, all at the same time.”
Spock: [Pause] “Illogical.”
40:00 – Oh God, Kirk is stuck in a washing machine! Get him out!!
Some comments on the Khans
It was strange and interesting to watch this episode for the first time right after seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness. Of course I had heard of Khan, but I had not seen Space Seed or Wrath of Khan. Thus, Benedict Cumberbatch was my first introduction to the character. Although Cumberbatch was incredible, I can see why lots of fans were dismayed that a white actor was chosen. After watching Space Seed, the two don’t really feel like the same entity, although not just because of race. The TOS version of Khan (played by Ricardo Montalban, a Mexican actor) is more suave, more complex, more human, whereas Cumberbatch’s Khan is cold to the point of seeming robotic. They are both equally evil and creepy, though. I can’t really imagine Cumberbatch’s Khan being a dictator in the 1990s – he seems more keen on infiltrating and destroying than conquering and ruling. I still have a lot to learn about Khan from Star Trek II, so I’ll provide more comments when I get there!
TO BE CONTINUED….I will write more in a second post on Space Seed!