While on patrol in deep space, Captain Kirk and his crew find and revive a genetically engineered world conqueror and his compatriots from Earth's 20th century.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Makee K. Blaisdell ...
Spinelli (as Blaisdell Makee)
Mark Tobin ...
Kathy Ahart ...
Crew Woman
John Winston ...


The Enterprise comes across the SS Botany Bay, an ancient Earth spaceship from the 20th century traveling through deep space with a group of genetically engineered humans in suspended animation (a remnant from Earth's Eugenics Wars of the 1990s). Visiting this vessel automatically revives Khan, a charismatic Sikh warrior-type with five times the strength and ambition of regular humans, who immediately attracts the attentions of ship's historian Lt. Marla McGivers. While Kirk and Spock slowly learn he is Khan Noonien Singh, the last and greatest of Earth's tyrants, Khan uses both Marla and the ship's library to revive his superhuman compatriots and take over the Enterprise. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

16 February 1967 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The unique engineering "clubs," one of which Kirk used to subdue Khan during their fight, were never used or even seen in another episode, nor is the collection of ancient medical instruments that adorns the wall of sickbay. The mirror that figures during McGivers' hairdo scene, however, is seen again in Star Trek: The Deadly Years (1967). See more »


Although Lt. Kyle (wearing a blue tunic) is operating the transporter device when the team (including Scotty) beams to the Botany Bay, stock footage of James Doohan's hands and red sleeves (with Lt. Commander rank stripes) are seen in the close-up shot. See more »


[Khan is escorted out by Security]
Scott: It's a shame for a good Scotsman to admit it, but I'm not up on Milton
Captain James T. Kirk: The statement Lucifer made when he fell into the pit: "It is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven."
Mr. Spock: It would be interesting, Captain, to return to that world in 100 years and learn what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today.
Captain James T. Kirk: Yes, Mr. Spock. It would indeed.
See more »


Referenced in Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Khan is my Name; Conquest is my Game
15 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Here we're introduced to perhaps Kirk's greatest nemesis, the product of selective breeding - eugenics - Mr. Khan (Montalban); actually, just call him Khan. Like some malignant malady waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting universe, he sleeps, along with his followers, drifting for over two centuries in a derelict ship. The Enterprise comes along and Capt. Kirk commits, unknowingly, a grievous error. He awakens this superman and the galaxy is no longer safe. According to the historical information presented here, Earth's 3rd world war was known as the Eugenics War and was fought in the 1990's. I've always thought, since the TNG series began with its own glimpses into Earth history, that this should have been revised to coincide with the world war that took place in the 21st century (as explained in the movie "Star Trek:First Contact" for example). Well, anyway...

The actor Montalban simply dominates every scene he's in as the superior man, Khan. McCoy describes Khan's magnetic presence as 'almost electric.' Well, there's no 'almost' about it. Through a combination of charisma and sheer intensity, Montalban shows what's possible as far as overwhelming everything & everyone in sight, to the point that all things & people must cater to his will. Bred for this lofty ambition, he's more like a force of nature, unable to behave in any other way. Kirk, usually the more macho figure in a scene, comes away as a distant 2nd best when Khan's in the room or - as Khan would put it - 'obviously inferior.' As probably the most memorable single figure to grace the starship with his presence during the original series, Khan imparted to this episode a unique frisson and style; there's something special about this particular one, especially with the passage of 40 years. It's definitely a classic at this point and even legendary.

When I saw this as a kid on a small tube, I also picked the fight scene between Kirk and Khan as my favorite for the series. Kirk put on some nice moves to avoid getting bashed by Khan's far superior strength. When I got a big screen TV and played the DVD of this episode, the stuntmen became all too apparent. Oh, well, another illusion shattered. Unlike almost all other episodes where we have to guess on what happens later after Kirk and crew made their impact known, we actually find out what happens with the seed Kirk plants here (as Spock puts it). Only the answer doesn't take place a century later, as Spock hints at; no, only about 15 years later we find out how Khan and his people are doing in the sequel to this story - "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." That was when, I think, Kirk really began to regret opening that chamber where Khan was harmlessly snoozing away.

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