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Old July 5 2013, 09:51 PM   #38
Re: Highest Ranking Woman?

She doesn't say she wants Kirk's life
Yet that is the only thing she schemes for. She lures in the Enterprise, sending out a distress signal at a moment of her own choosing. She is certainly not surprised to see Kirk in the slightest, even if she feigns (double-feigns!) disgust. And when she proceeds with the body swap, it is with a tirade of specific anti-Kirk bitterness. Tellingly, it's never "Captain", it's always "Captain Kirk".

The phrase "Love? Him?" is an obvious lie, a piece of desperate self-deception. The scheme with Coleman involved prearranging for moments of gloating over the victim, moments Lester used and wasted, never daring to complete the kill. There would have been no need for such an arrangement had the victim been an indifferent Starfleet skipper.

I don't see McGivers as having triumphed. She had a choice of court-martial or exile. In neither case would she be free to resume her normal life.
Which is a definite triumph, because obviously she hated her normal life.

We learn early on what McGivers wants. Ultimately, that is the very thing she gets, even if it takes some arranging.

All the rest of Kirk's opponents in the series' other episodes are irrelevant to this discussion. We're talking about 'Space Seed' here.
Nonsense. We're talking about the portrayal of women and men in Star Trek. In some episodes, men do things like the ones a woman does here, scheming and betraying. In some of these, the men are portrayed in negative light; in others, positive. This is a rare example of such actions being portrayed as forgivable, uniquely so for a female character.

Much of this of course comes from the positive portrayal of Khan... Which is an interesting chicken-and-egg problem. Was Khan (along with his mistress) portrayed as less than completely rotten because the writer wanted the ending where Kirk basically pardons him (as the character of Kirk would suffer if he let a truly rotten egg go)? Or did the writer want an ambiguous opponent, a choice that allowed him to use the ending? There's no sign that Trek was going serial at that point; Khan as a recurring character would not have been a likely prospect. But it's a possibility, as Trek would soon start to experiment with a recurring Klingon villain (but fail due to actor availability issues), and would eventually reuse Mudd.

A likeable villain the hero admires before a betrayal and still respects after it is a bold move. A likeable traitor among Kirk's own ranks is an even bolder one. Neither Khan nor McGivers is good Starfleet material, but that's not the same as them not being progressively portrayed characters.

Before she got mesmerized by Apollo's charisma, Palamas was just plain stupid.
Umm, upon reviewing the episode, I must say I agree here. But is it fair to fault the character for the same traits Chekov consistently portrays?

Timo Saloniemi
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