Star Trek Into Darkness is full of many mysteries: Are Tribbles contractually obligated to appear in all Star Trek movies from now on? Why does Carol Marcus have a British accent when she doesn't have one in The Wrath of Khan and when her father Adm. Marcus (Peter Weller) is obviously all-American? Are we supposed to be okay with the destruction of much of San Francisco just because Kirk got over his self-doubt and landed his five-year mission? Did J.J. Abrams actually think Benedict Cumberbatch, as great as he is, could erase people's memories of Ricardo Montalban? We can't answer any of those. But the following eight burning questions we definitely can. Well, more or less.
1. Is the Enterprise Really Designed for Atmospheric Flight, Let Alone Underwater Travel?
As far as atmospheric flight is concerned, most definitely. Constitution-class starships are enabled for travel in planetary atmospheres, and the Enterprise does so on many occasions throughout The Original Series. Later versions of the Enterprise, like the Galaxy-class Enterprise-D from The Next Generation, would definitely not be able to do that, however. That said, there has never been any precedent for the Enterprise venturing underwater. I guess this altered timeline has resulted in even more modifications to the ship than we realized!
2. Is William Shatner's Kirk Any More Responsible When It Comes to the Prime Directive?
Not really. Just check out the Original Series episode "The Apple," in which Kirk is incredibly insistent that a group of primitive tribesman live free of the influence of an omnipotent god/minigolf obstacle called Vaal. He basically imposes "freedom" upon them, even though they're not ready for it. And that's not even counting Shatner Kirk's 17 separate violations of the Temporal Prime Directive, according to Starfleet's Temporal Investigations department in the 24th century. Those violations meant Kirk actually changed the timeline — like, say, bringing humpback whales 300 years into the future from 20th century Earth. Interestingly, Shatner Kirk never lost his command over any of those incidents, unlike Pine Kirk.
3. What Did Khan Do To Be Exiled in Space and Frozen for 300 Years?
Khan Noonien Singh and his followers were genetically engineered throughout central and south Asia in the 20th century to have superior physical and intellectual prowess. The scientists who bred them hoped that they would ascend to leadership positions in their respective countries — nations that had histories of conflict and poverty — and bring order from chaos. Well, most of them did become leaders. About 40 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East were under their control in the 1990s. But eventually the Augments, as they became known, turned on each other inaugurating a terrible conflict that lasted between 1992 and 1996 called the Eugenics Wars. Khan was the most powerful leader among these squabbling Augments and a cunning warrior — though it should be noted that none of the massacres and extermination campaigns led by the other Augment rulers occurred under Khan's leadership. By 1996, all the Augment leaders had been defeated, and, facing certain death, Khan and 72 of his genetically-enhanced followers climbed aboard a spaceship he'd designed and christened the Botany Bay, after Australia's famous 18th/19th century penal colony. It was a ship without warp drive so he and his followers had to enter cryosleep hoping that someday somebody would awaken them. That person was Kirk on The Original Series, and Admiral Marcus in Into Darkness.
4. Why Is There Such Hostility Between the Klingons and the Federation?
Humanity made a terrible impression upon the Klingon Empire upon their very first meeting in 2151 and won’t really be able to recover until the very end of the 23rd century. First contact between Earth and Qo’noS (in the film it’s styled Kronos) occurred when a Klingon warrior crash-landed in a farmer’s field in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, as seen in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. The farmer wondered who this hulking, barking warrior was, so he shot him in the chest. An interstellar incident ensued and Capt. Jonathan Archer was tasked to return the injured Klingon to Kronos onboard the newly christened Enterprise NX-01 to avoid war. He succeeded, but the Klingons looked upon humanity with suspicion ever since. And after Earth entered into an interstellar Federation with the Vulcans, Tellarites, and Andorians, the gagh really hit the fan as far as the Klingons were concerned.
War was just a misstep away for decades and in 2259, the year of Star Trek Into Darkness, the cold war between the Federation and Kronos was at its peak. In the original timeline it was only in 2293, the year Shatner’s Kirk helped the Federation sign the Khitomer Accords with the Klingons, that peace was actually achieved. Will that still happen in J.J. Abrams alternate timeline?
5. What's Up With That Shattered Moon Orbiting Kronos?
Presumably that’s the moon Praxis, where the Klingons conducted most of the geothermal energy harvesting to power their homeworld. In 2293 the moon blew apart due to overdrilling, an explosion that threatened even to render Kronos uninhabitable. That’s why the Klingons wanted to make peace with the Federation in the first place: they needed Starfleet’s help. Now, how come an event that didn’t occur until 2293 in the Prime Timeline appears to have already happened in 2259 in Abrams’ timeline? Well, because the Klingon Empire was greatly affected by Nero’s temporal incursion. In fact, years before he reassumed command of his vessel in order to hunt Spock and destroy Vulcan, Nero and his crew were captured by the Klingons. Then he escaped and obliterated a large Klingon fleet in the process. These events may have caused the already-warlike Klingons to become even more militaristic and mine Praxis that much more relentlessly for its precious energy. That could have caused it to blow up decades earlier than in the Prime Timeline.
6. Is the Destruction of San Francisco the Worst Tragedy to Befall Earth Since World War III?
Earth slowly but surely settled down following the conclusion of World War III in the mid-2050s. That conflict left 600 million dead, most of the world’s governments — and cities — destroyed and whole parts of the planet affected by nuclear winters for years. It was only with the adoption of the New United Nations in San Francisco that attempts to unify the planet into a United Earth government began in earnest, a process that was accelerated following first contact with Vulcan in 2063.
The next couple centuries are pretty quiet…with the exception of the Xindi Incident of 2153, as seen on Star Trek: Enterprise. Again, time travel was involved. The Xindi were a group of aliens who had been fed information from time travelers saying that humanity would one day hunt them to extinction. So the Xindi decided to strike against Earth first. They launched a probe to fire a particle weapon over what used to be the southern United States — obliterating much of Florida, in particular — and killed some 15 million people. That was more than a century before the events of Into Darkness, though, and few would probably be alive who’d have experienced it firsthand. Khan’s kamikaze piloting of the USS Vengeance into the heart of San Francisco probably didn’t kill as many people as the Xindi attack, but the psychological impact of such vast devastation in the Federation capital probably can’t be understated. J.J. Abrams & Co. wanted to incorporate an aspect of the War on Terror into their film, so they transformed Khan into a 9/11 hijacker with the USS Vengeance at his disposal instead of a 747.
7. How Can a Starfleet Admiral Be As Evil as Marcus?
With the exception of Admiral Pike (and, in the Prime Timeline, Admiral Kirk himself) Starfleet admirals are always evil! It’s an argument for absolute power corrupting absolutely because, because whether male or female, human or alien, they’re almost always trying to discredit our heroes, making power plays, or, like Admiral Marcus, trying to transform Starfleet into something more sinister.
8. Will the Federation Try to Manufacture Khan's Super Blood?
You’d think they would, right? I mean, why else would they place Khan in cryofreeze once again? And it doesn’t seem like they’re putting him back aboard the Botany Bay for another decades or centuries-long space cruise. He seems to be going into cold storage in a warehouse somewhere. If his blood can actually extend people’s lives and even bring the recently deceased back to life, then Star Trek: Insurrection shows us the Federation will exploit that resource all it can — meaning that Cumberbatch’s Khan will be kept alive until he wakes up to wreak havoc in another film down the road.
Bonus Question: Why Is a Man Named "Khan Noonien Singh" a Pasty Englishman?
I’ve thought long and hard about it. I’ve ranted in thousands of words about it. But there’s still no good reason for it. Let the Star Trek Into Whiteness jokes commence!
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt and follow Hollywood.com @Hollywood_com
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It's like that old saying goes: Pleasure of love lasts but a moment. Pain of love lasts a lifetime. Oh Bette Davis, right now you are speaking to one lady of The Bachelor in particular tonight. Monday night's episodse of Sean Lowe's Body-Rock of Love, the top three gals — @shL3E, Catherine, and whatsername (OK, fine, Lindsay. Her name is Lindsay. We'll try to remember it from now on) — were flown to Thailand to romanticize themselves into a feeling of true love. Tropical location! A beautiful man! A spiritual feeling of completion! Dinner dates! These broads were on an express version of Eat, Pray, Love.
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The dates start out with Lindsay going first. Hers involves shopping and monkeys on a beach. She is crazy in love with this shirtless love-wunderkind, and she wants to make it known. So naturally, she spends 90% of her on-camera time declaring that ...to the camera. Because Sean would totally just know that via osmosis, right? Sean talks about life after The Bachelor, and she's ready to drop her life and live for him in Dallas. She's mad that the perfect opportunity isn't just presenting itself for her love declaration. So after about 17 hours of hemming and hawing, she takes a real long, side-stepping walk into telling him … look at these dancers! A spectacle! An oh-so-coincidental diversion! Look at all the ways Lindsay has avoided saying "I love you." The build-up to this L-word s**t was a bit over the top, eh? So scared, she is!
But lest you think the time is now, the time is still not now. Oh look, a series of forced romantic interactions and conversations. Look at visually pleasing it is to middle America to watch them fall in love on script! Sean opens up, obviously prodding around for Lindsay to open up (yet again), after the overnight date has been accepted. Lindsay can barely giggle her way through saying that there was something she needed to declare: I love you. Finally! Lord! Oddly enough, Sean really enjoyed hearing of her adorations. Totally weird when someone admits to liking the fact that someone else likes them, right?
Sean wakes up the next morning and heads out on a date with AshLee. Feelin' footloose and orgasm-free thanks to the night before! (JK, I shouldn't speculate — I don't know Sean's stance on sex acts that aren't strictly p-in-the-v.) Sean likes challenging AshLee's control freak personality (her? control issues? NO! Not the professional organizer!), but AshLee does not. She's afraid of being abandoned in the water, and in life! This is all AshLee is to us on this show: a walking fear of rejection and abandonment. She is so in-control of how in-control she is of her abandonment issues, that it is literally all she can talk about.
At this particular hour, in an underwater cave with no lights and very little to aid by way of navigation, she is feeling out of control of her physical life and being. Sean thinks he's going to kill them both, swimming around under all these rocks in the ocean, and AshLee is "absolutely terrified." Lucky for her sanity, she experiences yet-another one of her MAJOR life realizations: this is just like, a metaphor. For life! She needs to be challenged and she has to let go! And follow Sean, and FALL IN LOVE! Lo, but what a light shines e'er so bright o'er the end of thy rocky tunnel! Safety is here, and it is in the very biceps of Sean Lowe. It will also bring you to a nifty little beach! Salvation is tropical. Is this Eden for our Christian lovebirds?! A sign from the notorious g.o.d. above that this love was heaven-sent to single-handedly save the life of AshLee.
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As for the overnight dates, AshLee's not so morally into some of that sessual stuff and the social expectation that come with accepting one. She's real nervous and unsure about it, but Sean wants to put her at ease: just two girlfriends chattin' the night away! His intentions are NOBLE! Just like a Ken doll. But she doesn't want her family and her peoples to get it twisted: nothin' sexual is going down off-camera, America. SO get ya filthy, in-need-of-the-lord minds out of the gutter! Sean admits he knew from the beginning they would work out and build their relationship together. The term "work out" triggers a reactio in her brain that I can only imagine was like pushing a big red "ENGAGE" button. Because immediately upon those words she begins a bizarre, rapid-fire assault on Sean describing in explicit detail what sort of ring she wants (spoiler alert: it's very specific and very fancy) to be proposed with, and you can hear Sean's penis recoil into the deep, back recesses of his body. Game over, AshLee.
Catherine receives the highest honor, which is the luxury of going last. The last impression before the rose ceremony — not a bad thing to have, you know? They're on a boat drinking white wine and every 47 year old mother named Susan stares up at the TV and holds her glass of Pinot Grigio in the air, cheers-ing the happy couple and daydreaming of a time when that could've been them. Catherine and Sean spend much of this time opening up about their feelings and s**t. They both clearly love each other, and Sean admits to thinking about her constantly. But can she, too, leave her life in Seattle and come to Dallas to be with him? Drop her career, her friends, her entire life (because who needs compromises, amirite?!) for a man? And what about all those things her sisters said? Well, Catherine explains that her friends know her better than her sisters when it comes to love and relationships. Sean is a smiling doofus for Catherine. You guys, there's no way she's not winning this thing: dude is glowing around her. He even tells her he could see himself marrying her. And that she (sorry, Lindsay) is his best friend. Oh damn — thems is fightin' words on this show!
Talk quickly turns to the Fantasy Suite. Catherine explains that she didn't think she would say yes to going on one, because she wants to be seen as a lady and not some girl who gives out the goods off-camera. Sean assures her that his intentions involve, again, staying up all night holding hands and talking about hopes and dreams. No games of good touch, bad touch here, folks. He loves that she's so chaste! Jesus, the hoops these people are jumping through to not be seen as sexual beings. We get it! Most of America are a bunch of conservative baby jerks who don't seem to understand that intimacy is a part of all relationships (and usually happens much earlier in the real world, BE REAL). They're also super prudish and love to shame, shame, shame others. Who cares? Why are people so scandalized by the overnight dates? Oh, right, because sex is for after marriage, duh. Silly blogger!
But I get it, this is a family show, so it's not surprising that they don't show that stuff (nor would I expect them to, really), but the way that they attempt to express that so as to not offend the ears, is pretty hilarious.
Sean wakes up, sans shirt but rife with confidence in his decision on who he needs to send home. And he is dreading telling her the truth. Because it's oh-so-clearly going to be AshLee and she is oh-so-clearly going to lose her ever-loving s**t.
But Sean is in love! He admits it to our buddy Chris Harrison just prior to watching the private video messages the girls made for him. When AshLee's video begins, you can see on Sean's face the guilt he feels about sending her home. Especially because homegirl is LOSING IT right now declaring her love and devotion to Sean. It is a love that renders her a complete blubbering mess — all the more reason for Sean to start crying, his heart heavy with the grief of guilt. Oh, what a lost soul is he: stranded between a rock and a love place (which is also made of rock). So many rocks in love (just ask AshLee, or Brett Michaels)! She found love in a hopeless place, you guys.
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There's a brief reminder that this elimination is really painful FOR SEAN, ESPECIALLY though — duh, insensitivos — because he was sent home by Emily Maynard at this point during his stint on The Bachelorette. And he's afraid he's going to blindside someone as much as he was blindsided. (Spoiler Alert: he is!) It's funny because Catherine looked completely convinced she was going home, and AshLee seemed quite focused on trying to control Sean's decision with her mind. After what felt like approximately 72 hours of dramatic elevator Muzak, Sean finally says it: and AshLee looks beyond pissed. Daggers. Literal, bloody, Game of Thrones-style daggers comin' out of this girls eyeballs right now. And without so much as a look in the other girls' direction, she walks away, demanding that Sean stay away from her (which of course he doesn't). This AshLee is stone-cold and iced over. She is guard up and out, arms-length and pissed as hell. She is pretty destroyed. "It's the ultimate reject," she sobs in the limo, turned away from camera (presumably to cry in the most amount of peace she's going to get). It prooooooooobably didn't help that Sean told her he thought it would be her from the get-go right before she got tossed into the limo. Love hurts.
As for next week? It's time for the women to tell all. Tierrable returns! Lord, I am so pleased. What did you think of Sean's decision to send AshLee home? Let us know in the comments.
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes.
[Photo Credit: Wenn]
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After a very brief meet and greet in which we are introduced to our main characters on New Year’s Eve--a card shark (Josh Lucas); an ex-firefighter (Kurt Russell); his daughter (Emmy Rossum) and her fiancé (Mike Vogel); a single mother (Jacinda Barrett) and her young son (Jimmy Bennett); a stowaway (Mia Maestro); and an entrepreneur (Richard Dreyfuss)--the rogue waves flips the ship over and we are on our way. As the core group tries to make it up through the bowels of the ship to safety half the fun is figuring out who is going to die. They can’t kill the kid right? But maybe the mother? Or how about the grizzled dad or the fiancé? You just don’t know. Although it’s difficult to achieve any real level of acting (besides acting terrified and being able to hold your breath) Poseidon still collects a fine ensemble of would-be survivors. You can throw Russell in just about any genre and he manages to pick up the pace. Same goes for everyman Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama) who follows in Russell’s footsteps but with a slightly harder edge. Barrett does a convincing job as a mother trying to keep tabs on her wandering son while the kid isn’t as annoying as say the kid in the original Poseidon Adventure. And Dreyfuss showing a little wear and tear in his older age at least doesn’t have to battle any sharks this time around. Andre Braugher also makes a memorable appearance as the ship’s captain who unwisely tells everyone in the ballroom to stay put and wait for help. Big mistake. See? It’s entirely possible to keep a film steeped in visual effects under two hours. Clocking in at 98 minutes Poseidon is just non-stop teeth-clenching action from beginning to end. Director Wolfgang Petersen known for his expertise filming in and or around water (Das Boot The Perfect Storm) takes from the cheesy 1972 predecessor and updates it with even more daring stunts more fire--and of course lots and lots of water. Sure much of it is highly implausible but Petersen likes to rely more on elaborate sets rather than just utilizing CGI giving Poseidon a more realistic feel. But in doing so Petersen also put his cast through the ringer. There are times it looks like they really are in fear for their lives. Of course there are also a few trite moments as well reminiscent of the original (“Oh God please don’t take this woman! Not this woman!”) But mostly these new intrepid survivors bravely face one dangerous obstacle after another. I’m just always amazed how long these people can hold their breath underwater in these movies. I’d NEVER survive.