I watched Space Seed again recently. Kirk - in this episode, as in many others - tries to get himself in a fight with a guy who is significantly bigger and stronger than himself. He either has no conception of what is meant by the term "fair fight", or he likes getting beaten up. There is no better way to interpret that pattern of behavior. Kirk's not stupid, he knows what he's doing. He's so expert at provoking this reaction that he's even able to enrage Spock, a guy who's expert at controlling his own emotions.
I might find this habit of his puzzling if I hadn't witnessed so many self-admitted masochists in action. Because of my career as a BDSM activist, I've been exposed to an unusually high number and variety of kinkos in my life, and honey, I knows 'em when I sees 'em.
My eye is also trained to pick out Gay-looking behavior. As a bisexual I have what's known as Gaydar, a kind of "Spidey-sense" that tingles whenever Gays encounter one of their own. My Gaydar is often set off by Kirk's otherwise inexplicable behavior. For example, in Space Seed, Kirk seems to be absolutely mooning over Khan. He acts uncharacteristically mild-mannered, even passive, in conversations with Khan - which seems to annoy/arouse Spock, which also sets my Gaydar sense to tingling...as I shall explain:
Kirk is in his captain's chair, and Spock stands nearby, at his side, as the Enterprise approaches a mysterious unidentified space vessel. It's sending out a Morse Code distress call, which amazes everybody. No known Earth ships have come to this sector for years.
"I thought you said it couldn't possibly be an Earth vessel!" Kirk gently baits Spock.
"I fail to understand why it always gives you pleasure to see me proven wrong." Spock bitchily retorts.
[NOTE: Here's more evidence that Spock can sense people's emotions without touching them. How does he know Kirk is feeling any pleasure? Kirk's tone of voice and manner was totally neutral.]
"An emotional Earth weakness of mine" Jim smilingly replies.
[NOTE: more evidence that Kirk gets a kick out of playing the weak one in this relationship.]
Once they see the thing, Spock identifies it as an old DY100 class ship. McCoy reports that he reads slow heartbeats aboard the strange old starship. Everybody gets excited. The ship is at full alert status as the Enterprise pulls up alongside the derelict craft.
After listening to that damned alarm for an hour, Kirk finally decides that the tiny craft is no threat and switches off the siren.
Spock has identified the ship as the S.S. Botany Bay, which tells us nothing, since no such ship was ever officially registered.
Spock tries to explain that the ship dates from the era of the Eugenics War and McCoy turns it into an occasion for another petty snipefest.
Kirk rolls his eyes, thinks, "Not again!", and demands that McCoy follow him to the transporter room. He also calls for Lt. What's-Her-Name... MacIvers?
"McGivers." Spock helpfully responds (obviously pleased to prove Kirk wrong).
Lt. McGivers is a yummy looking redhead. Beautiful face, spectacular figure, soft, feminine voice, and a truly outstanding headful of rich, bright red locks. Kirk doesn't notice.
[NOTE: I'm not kidding! She might as well be a boy for all Kirk cares. Kirk shows zero awareness of her feminine charms, which are in fact considerable. I guess he doesn't go for redheads.]
The first thing the landing party sees is an incredibly gorgeous blond woman with large, firm, pointy tits. She's lying sealed in a windowed chamber. Kirk doesn't seem too impressed.
[NOTE: Guess he doesn't go for blonds either.]
There are dozens of these absolutely gorgeous dames of every color in the chambers. There are dozens of guys, too. McGivers explains that it's a sleeper ship that they have found. Scotty confirms that it's an old atomic powered Earth vessel. All the obviously human people sleeping here are in a state of suspended animation.
McGivers is dazed with delight. As an historian this is like finding the holy grail for her.
Suddenly one of the cells begins to malfunction. It was the guy set to awaken first, probably the leader. Kirk breaks the glass and opens the cell. The guy opens his eyes and tries to speak. Kirk comes in close to listen.
"How... long?" the stranger rasps.
"How long? Have you been sleeping?" Kirk says. "Two centuries, we estimate."
The guy is taken to sickbay, and McCoy works feverishly on him for a while. Meanwhile, Scotty tells Jim that 72 of the sleepers still live, and 30 of those are women.
Kirk asks Spock for his theory about the ship's presence in this sector.
"Even a theory requires some facts, Captain. So far, I have none."
"And that irritates you, Mr. Spock." Kirk mischievously digs.
[NOTE: Uh oh. There Kirk goes again, stirring up shit where there otherwise wouldn't be any.]
I'm not capable of that emotion." Spock deadpans.
[NOTE: oh, suuuuurrrrre you're not, Spock! Look, we already saw you act irritated once in this episode already!]
"My apologies, Mr. Spock" Kirk smilingly replies.
Next thing you know we are in sickbay, and the guy is sleeping. Kirk stands next to his bed and just gazes and gazes at this fabulous new find. McGivers comes in and she sort of hangs out doing the same thing for a bit. This bugs Kirk. Her hanging around right then sort of gets on his nerves. So he takes her aside and criticizes her, which she is a very good sport about.
What does he criticize her about? Well, this is particularly interesting: It seems that it bugs Kirk that she's apparently attracted to the handsome 20th century man. He wants her to cool it. She starts to say that she's interested "Not personally, Captain, professionally" in the man's mind. She starts to explain herself, saying that it's just that it's so exciting for her, a historian, to have a living piece of history walking around - which is perfectly plausible - and then Kirk interrupts her to say...
"...and men were more adventuresome then...bolder, more colorful?"
She brightens. She looks Kirk dead in the eye. "Yes sir, I think they were!" she agrees.
[NOTE: Kirk said it first!]
"Good." Kirk oddly responds. "If I can have honesty, mistakes can be overlooked."
[NOTE: HUH!? What the hell is that supposed to mean? As far as we know she didn't actually make any mistakes... unless rudely walking in while the Captain is mooning over the fascinating 20th century superman is a mistake. Hmm. Maybe the fact that she's interested in the guy at all when the Captain clearly saw him first is her mistake.
McGivers and Kirk have one significant thing in common: they both live in the past in their fantasies. That's well-established in canon. Kirk collects antiques, and usually is old-fashioned in his preferences. Apparently those two also have similar taste in men!]
McGivers and Kirk exit. When nobody's lookin' the new guy steals a scalpel from Bone's medical supplies. Next thing you know, the new guy is holding a scalpel to Dr. McCoy's throat and demanding answers. McCoy very icily stares the man down, showing no fear whatsoever, which earns him a little respect from his amazingly arrogant (and possibly homicidal) patient.
Kirk is called, and after a little verbal sparring the guy divulges his name: Khan. Just Khan. Nothing else but Khan.
Khan wants to read the ship's technical manuals, and Kirk is so anxious to please the guy that he doesn't question the motive behind this request.
Minutes later, on the bridge, ~Spock~ questions Khan's reading habits. He's obviously not as dazzled by the new guy as Kirk is.
In the conversation that follows, Spock seems to be trying to convince Kirk to not be too trusting with Khan. "Superior ability breeds superior ambition", Spock darkly warns, as if he really, REALLY hopes that Kirk isn't seriously thinking of trying to make a potentially dangerous guy like Khan his new pal.
[NOTE: OTOH, maybe he's just jealous.]
[NOTE: Slashy bit alert! During this little chat, Kirk sits in Spock's chair and Spock leans nearby, and Kirk I SWEAR TO GOD makes a gesture like he's about to grab for Spock's crotch, and Spock stops him cold with a sharp look, as if to say WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING! WE ARE ON THE BRIDGE!]
Cut to sickbay, where McGivers is very cleverly mooning over Khan at a time when the captain isn't there to interfere. Khan approves. She approves of him, too. It's a good thing they are in sickbay at the time, because they are both so approving of each other in their own silly, heterosexual way that it's enough to make anybody sick.
[NOTE: Hey, at least Khan has the wits to show appreciation to a fabulous looking redhead, which is something she obviously hasn't been getting enough of. Guess Kirk's been too busy, running the ship n stuff.]
Later, everybody gathers in the formal dining room for a fancy dinner in Khan's honor. Strangely, Kirk grabs McCoy at this time, drags him across the room (far away from Spock) and quietly asks the doctor how strongly attracted he thinks McGivers is to Khan.
McCoy understands the real meaning behind Kirk's query.
"Well, there aren't any regulations against romance, Jim." McCoy soberly responds.
[NOTE: Hey look! McCoy says that there aren't any regulations against romance! And nobody argues with him!]
"My curiosity is official, not personal, Bones." Jim says.
[NOTE: HUH? Isn't that the same thing McGivers said!? Why does Jim feel the need to say that? Of course Kirk's curiosity about McGiver's lust for Khan is PURELY PROFESSIONAL and SIMPLY OFFICIAL! Nothing personal whatsoever!]
"Well...he has a magnetism...you felt it." Bones says to Jim, in a purely official and non-personal way that he hopes is suitable for the occasion.
[NOTE: Mind you, he's not saying he himself felt any magnetism. He's just saying that he noticed that McGivers ain't alone.]
Cut to McGiver's quarters, where Khan and McGivers proceed to spoil our appetite for dinner with their disgustingly obvious heterosexual lifestyle - sharing a deep, wet, open mouth kiss - filth-pig lust for each other just oozing like peanut oil from every pore.
Moments later, at dinner...
Kirk says, "Forgive my curiosity, Mr. Khan, but..."
[NOTE: Oh dear. He's not going to ask for *Khan's* opinion about McGiver's lust now, is he?]
"...my officers are anxious..."
[NOTE: "my officers" means Spock, who is obviously very anxious...]
"...to know more about your extraordinary journey!"
Jim smiles ingratiatingly at Khan.
"AND how you managed to keep it out of the history books!" Spock adds, grinding his teeth.
Spock continues to quietly, nastily bedevil Khan, while Kirk continues to gaze mistily at the man, completely spellbound.
[NOTE: Nope. It's nothing personal. Nope. It's all purely professional....IN A PIG'S EYE!]
"You have a tendency to express ideas in military terms, Mr. Khan." Jim quietly says, at one point. Then he smiles smarmily at Khan and adds, "This is a social occasion!"
[NOTE: See? It's not purely professional.]
The camera cuts to Spock to show us his plainly anxious and irritated reaction.
Oh, yeah. We're having all kinds of fun now at this jolly little social occasion.
Khan, who is no dummy, senses the tension in the room and cannily recognizes that some kind of weird shit is afoot. He comments on it, thinking perhaps that if he speaks of it openly it might clear the air.
"It has been said that social occasions are only warfare concealed." he declaims.
Kirk smiles encouragingly. Spock kicks Kirk under the table.
Kahn adds, "Many prefer it more open...more honest."
[NOTE: Yeah, well, you lucky heterosexuals have that choice, many others don't]
Kirk, still smarting from the kick, decides to do something to mollify Spock, since, after all, he still has to LIVE WITH THE GUY. So he suddenly changes his manner, and rips into Khan.
"You fled! Why? Were you afraid!?"
[NOTE: Oh, gee, Kirk, I don't know, was that smart? Is this possibly just another case of you trying to rile a guy who's bigger and stronger than you in the hopes that it might motivate him to kick your masochistic ass - AGAIN? Spock's already in the mood, but since this is such a special occasion, Kirk is apparently trying to get both of these guys into the mood. Oy.]
Khan's in the mood all right, but not for Kirk. McGivers has been surreptitiously fondling Khan under the table all evening, and Khan has waited long enough to take his dick out of mothballs. Well, one thing leads to another and Khan decides to go to bed shamefully early. Seconds later, McGivers is there, pantingly eager to tuck him in. They engage in some more heterosexual foolishness, and throw in some S/M to make it extra juicy. At this point Kahn makes McGivers his total sex slave, and the poor girl is so sex-starved and positively desperate to be in the company of a man who actually wants her, that it actually seems like a fair deal to her.
[NOTE: I am forced to wonder how this gorgeous dame could possibly have fallen into such a neglected and sorry state if Kirk had been as busy with the ladies as everybody seems to think he was. That bitch looked Kirk dead in the eye earlier in this ep, and let him know that she thought that, compared to Khan, he was seriously lacking in the manliness department. I wonder why she thinks that!? What's really wild is Kirk seems to share her opinion on that point.]
When we next see Spock talking with Kirk, McCoy, and Scott about Khan, he is shocked at the way they all seem to kind of admire Khan. It's clear he doesn't share their enthusiasm, which makes the humans laugh.
"We can be against him and admire him, all at the same time!" Jim chirps.
[NOTE: Just for fun, add two words, such as "in bed" or "while naked" to the sentence above.]
"Illogical" sez Spock.
"Totally." Kirk agrees.
The next time we see Khan, he's dressed in a starfleet uniform...
[NOTE: Uh oh. It has begun in earnest. You know the shit's coming down when Kirk starts taking guys clothes from them, and dressing them in things he'd rather see them in.]
...and he's alone with Kirk, having a cozy little chat.
[NOTE: and they are off and running! Brace yourself for the inevitable Kinky Kirkisms.]
Khan nicely explains to Kirk that Kirk is a totally inferior human being, and Kirk smiles blandly and doesn't dispute the point with him.
"Did you have any other questions?" Khan politely asks.
"Thank you." Kirk thanks him (!) "They've all been answered."
[NOTE: I think Kirk knew the answer before he went in. He wanted to bask in Khan's radiance for a while anyway, just because. But don't worry, it's nothing personal...not officially, anyway.]
Blah, blah, blah, long story short: Kahn, with the help of the traitorous McGivers, escapes, takes over the ship, wakens his people, tortures and terrorizes everybody and threatens to kill them all. Kirk is stuffed into a big laundry drier and set to "high hot fluff", while his comrades are forced to watch.
Amazingly, McGivers has a change of heart, and sneaks off to rescue Kirk from certain death. One thing leads to another and Kirk regains control of the situation, but not until after him and Khan engage in a big meaty, manly fist fight first, natch!
It shouldn't really be necessary for me to point out that Kirk doesn't really have to confront Khan alone: he opts to do so, even though he knows darn well that it would be nothing close to a fair fight.
Well, since Kirk is the star of the show, he naturally, improbably wins this battle royale - but not before he gets thoroughly well beaten up first, natch!
Don't kid yourself: Kirk was banking on that.
So now a hearing is convened, and Khan and McGivers await judgment. Kirk does what is quite possibly the second most incredible thing ever. He declares that all charges have been dropped.
[NOTE: Somehow we just knew that Kirk would find a totally unique way to be against that guy and admire him at the same time.]
Everybody reacts with pure shock.
Now Kirk does what is surely the single most incredible thing ever. He takes Khan - the tyrant, the would-be murdering, ship-stealing sidewinder - and gives him a planet to make his home and call his own.
HE GIVES THE GUY A WHOLE PLANET TO RULE and throws in one of the best looking dames on the ship to sweeten the deal!
Forget about the rest of the story which we saw in ST2. At this point we have no idea that Khan is in for a hard time. It looks for all the world as if Kirk is GIVING THE GUY A WHOLE PLANET TO RULE, and letting him off the hook completely!
Gee! He repaid a guy who tried to steal his ship and torture him to death while his comrades watched...by giving him a whole planet of his own to rule, and threw in one of the best looking dames on the ship to sweeten the deal. I'm not making it up. It's there! What can I say? It's in the script, fellas.
Spock, who is quietly, seethingly FAR beyond irritated after all of this, OF COURSE questions the wisdom of Kirk's decision. Hoo boy! Bet there'll be pillow talk about space seeding tonight!
Bet Kirk's banking on it.
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