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Episode 22 – TOS 1×22: “Space Seed”

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This week’s episode is arguably the most famous episode of The Original Series – or at least, introduces one of the most famous-in-the-mainstream (and most controversially-rebooted) villains of Star Trek.

That’s right. You know who I mean.

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

In Space Seed, the Enterprise encounters the Botany Bay, an ancient apparent derelict drifting far beyond where a ship of that era should have been able to safely reach. Stranger still, there are lifesigns aboard. When they investigate, the crew discovers 72 people in stasis… who are definitely may or may not be a missing group of despotic, empire-mad, genetically-engineered superhumans (who in later canon became known as the Augments) who disappeared at the end of Earth’s Eugenics Wars. Their leader is Khan Noonien Singh, portrayed by the incomparable (especially as concerns gangly, ultra-white English actors in reboots better left undiscussed) Ricardo Montalban.

One of the most confusing and inconsistently-covered periods in Star Trek canon history, the Eugenics Wars are first introduced in this episode and never, through four series and close to a dozen movies, satisfactorily explained. But you know we love us some fictional future Earth history, even if it’s full of holes big enough for a Constitution-class starship.

We have our doubts about Khan’s suitability as Kirk’s Greatest Nemesis (mainly due to his and the other Augments’ general incompetence at starship conquest in this and later outings), as well as his much-touted magnetism, but you can’t deny watching Khan chew scenery is entertaining, even if the writers fell back on some pretty backwards romantic constructs when formulating the relationship between Khan and poor, under-written Marla McGivers. Let’s just say that these ladies of the future prefer our men minus the god complex.

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