Space Seed


Space Seed
"Space Seed"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
STSpaceSeed.jpg
Khan and Lt McGivers
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 22
Directed by Marc Daniels
Written by Gene L. Coon
Carey Wilber
Original air date February 16, 1967 (1967-02-16)
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Space Seed" is a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, that was first broadcast on February 16, 1967 and repeated on August 24, 1967. It is episode #22, production #24, written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber, based on a story by Carey Wilber, and directed by Marc Daniels. The 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan serves as a direct sequel to this episode.

The episode guest-stars Ricardo Montalbán as Khan Noonien Singh, and Madlyn Rhue as Lt. Marla McGivers.

Overview: The crew of the Enterprise awakens a powerful dictator from Earth's war-torn past.

Contents

Plot

On stardate 3141.9, the Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, finds a derelict ship floating in space. The ship is a DY-100 class freighter that was modified as a sleeper ship for cryogenically frozen passengers. Its hull identifies it as the SS Botany Bay, though there is no historical record of such a ship. It was launched from Earth in the 1990s, in an era known as the Eugenics Wars.

Scanning for signs of life, Dr. Leonard McCoy confirms that there is something still alive on board, but is not quite sure if it is human. A landing party consisting of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Mr. Scott, and historian Lt. Marla McGivers, is formed and beamed over to the freighter. Kirk has selected McGivers because she specializes in late 20th century history and culture.

As expected, the landing party finds the cargo of 84 humans, 72 of whom are still alive, remaining in suspended animation. Despite being nearly 300 years old, they have not aged a day. McGivers finds the stasis tube that contains the body of the one whom she believes may be the group's leader. Suddenly, the machinery of the capsule lights up and the male occupant inside appears to be reviving. McCoy realizes the life support system is failing and the occupant may die. Kirk breaks the glass door and pulls the man out to revive him. The man is taken back to the Enterprise for a medical examination.

Kirk has the Botany Bay taken in tow by a tractor beam, and the Enterprise sets course for Starbase 12, in the Gamma 400 star system. Meanwhile in sickbay, Lt. McGivers marvels over the man, who is a living relic from an era she has studied all her life. McCoy believes he will recover shortly, and should be well enough to answer questions. McGivers leaves sickbay, and suddenly McCoy finds a sharp scalpel at his throat, courtesy of the patient. The man is awake, and demands to know where he is. McCoy responds by suggesting that if the man is going to kill him, he should do so by cutting the carotid artery quickly and cleanly. Impressed with McCoy's bravery, the man puts the scalpel down and introduces himself as "Khan."

Mr. Spock discovers that the man is Khan Noonien Singh who, along with his people, were products of the Eugenics Wars, where genetic supermen were bred as perfect soldiers. The soldiers instead became warlords and dominated over one-third of the Earth (including seizing power in some forty nations). Toward the end of the Eugenics Wars, between eighty and ninety of them were unaccounted for. Khan is recorded as being the most dangerous of these warriors, who had dominated much of the world in his own right.

In the meantime, Khan is given spacious quarters; however, he protests the armed guard and locked door. Lt. McGivers is sent to talk to him and brief him on current events. It is clear that McGivers is falling in love with the handsome and powerful leader. Khan takes advantage of her overt kindness, and tells her that he plans to rule mankind once again, and needs her help to take over the Enterprise. At first McGivers refuses to help, but as he applies methods of psychological manipulation, she soon becomes compliant. Reluctantly, she tells Khan she will do whatever he asks.

McGivers secretly beams Khan over to the Botany Bay, where he revives the remaining survivors among the Eugenic supermen. They return to the Enterprise in force and seize control. Khan, who has familiarized himself the ship's workings while in sick bay, cuts off life support to the bridge, and the command crew passes out. Khan later throws Kirk into a decompression tank, and threatens to slowly suffocate him unless Kirk's command crew agree to follow Khan. Feeling guilty for betraying her ship, Lt. McGivers frees Kirk from the chamber. Kirk then helps Spock escape his captors, and the two vent anesthetic gas throughout the entire ship to disable Khan and his cohorts.

Khan manages to escape the gas and heads down to Engineering, where he attempts to destroy the Enterprise, but Kirk runs in and a brawl ensues. Kirk is outmatched by Khan's genetically superior physical strength, but he manages to pull a tool from a console, and using it as a club, knocks Khan out.

When Khan and the hijackers are rounded up, Kirk holds a hearing to decide their fate. Kirk decides that Khan and his followers should be exiled, and picks Ceti Alpha V, a treacherous world that Kirk believes would be a perfect place for Khan to start his kingdom over again. Life on Ceti Alpha V will not be easy, but Khan, impressed with the idea, claims he is up to the challenge and accepts Kirk's offer. Instead of a lengthy court martial for Lt. McGivers, Kirk allows her to go into exile with Khan.

Spock makes a statement at the end, saying that it would be interesting to see what Khan makes of Ceti Alpha V in 100 years. Kirk explains to Mr. Scott that Khan's question "Have you ever read Milton?" refers to Khan's exile as comparable to Satan's banishment to Hell in Paradise Lost.

40th anniversary remastering

This episode was remastered in 2006 and first aired November 18, 2006 as part of the remastered Original Series. It was preceded a week earlier by "Mirror, Mirror" and followed a week later by "The Menagerie, Part I". Aside from remastered video and audio, and the all-CGI animation of the USS Enterprise that is standard among the revisions, specific changes to this episode also include:

  • The Botany Bay is now rendered as a CGI effect with more surface detail and smoother integration into the scene with the Enterprise.
  • Khan's sickbay library computer screen has been blacked out when turned off, hiding the original transparency.

Reception

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an 'A' rating, noting its strong characters and the interplay between Kirk and Spock that emphasizes their friendship.[1]

Notes

The nature of Khan's genetically enhanced followers would be explored further in a three-part episode arc on Star Trek: Enterprise in 2004. Taking place a century before the events of "Space Seed", the episodes ("Borderland", "Cold Station 12", and "The Augments") featured a group of people from the same genetic experiment that produced Khan and his people. These people come to be referred to as Augments, although this term is not used in this episode to describe Khan and his men. The human augments in Star Trek: Enterprise seem to be aware of the Botany Bay, but their human leader (and criminal) Arik Soong assures them that it's a myth.

References

External links


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