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Friday, August 15, 2014

"Space Seed" from the original Star Trek, Season 1, Episode 22

Episode 22 of the original Star Trek series, "Space Seed" has the Enterprise meet 70-odd, 200-year-old cryogenic chambers.  One breaks down, so they save the man and bring him aboard, planning to cart the cryogenic ship to Starfleet.  The man's name is Khan who was a leader during Earth's Eugenics War.  He was a tyrant who held a quarter of Earth at one point.  Held in sickbay, they allow him to read up on the ship's specs.

Meanwhile, Lt. has been painting and studying these Alpha-male leaders of old.  She initially fights her attraction, but he toys with her, complimenting, touching, pushing her away if she decides she's not interested, which works up her desire.  He demands that she obey him, that she help him take over the Enterprise.

She agrees.  They succeed.  For some reason, Khan's assaults are slow to report.  He has time to wake up his comrades and bring them back over to engineering where they take over all ship functions, including the bridge, cutting off fresh air until the bridge officers all pass out.  They put Kirk in a pressure chamber and lower the pressure until someone offers to mutiny and join Khan's cause.  None do.

Meanwhile, the Lt. is disillusioned with the violence they threaten against her fellow woman, Uhura.  The comm goes down, presumably by the Lt.  [The pressure chamber keeps dropping below 10 and then falling below ten again and again.] The Lt. semi-redeems herself by freeing Kirk.  Together with the next intended victim, Spock, Kirk saves the ship.  Of course, there's the ever-essential, Shatner-patented fisticuffs.

The Interesting Stuff
What's fascinating about this is the officers' admiration of such Alpha-males, even though they're ruthless killers and tyrants.  They oppose but admire.  Spock does not understand the humans.

They also show an Alpha-male at work, which seems to hold well with playboy-wolf strategy, if a bit agressive.  The woman eats this up. 

There's a point where the woman seems to have learned her lesson, watching the men manhandle Uhura, and her betrayal of Khan.  In the denouement, the Lt and Khan face judgment.  Khan is given a planet of his own, a wild one--named Botany Bay after the Australian penal colony--despite having nearly been killed.  Likewise, Lt opts to stay with this man whom she betrayed.  Everyone seems happy with this arrangement.

All are curious what will happen to this colony.  As we viewers are curious.  But is this the best solution?  I don't offer a different, but it's a rather curious outcome to choose.  It seems a not-quite celebration of the audaciously nasty Alpha-male.

The 80s and 10s revisit Khan and have a rather different view of him.

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