Episode: 07Title: What Are Little Girls Made Of?Star Date: 2712.4Writer: Robert BlochFirst Shown: 20 October 1966
Until this story, Nurse Christine Chapel had only contributed significantly to one story, The Naked Time, where she expressed a deep desire for Spock, of all people. In this story she’s the central character, and we discover that when she’s not fantasising about the first officer, she’s pining for a previous love interest, Dr. Roger Korby.
The themes explored in this story are sex, love, jealousy and how older women react badly to younger and more attractive females.
The story starts with the Enterprise arriving at a frozen planet, Exo III, looking for the exobiologist Dr. Korby, and he and Chapel beam down to meet him.
When they materialise, Korby is nowhere to be seen, and Kirk immediately requests two security personnel join them, a pre-cursor to some predictable red shirt fatalities.
Kirk and Chapel find Korby who explains to them that he’s discovered technology from an ancient race that can make frighteningly realistic androids, and to prove the point he’s created the stunningly pneumatic ‘Andrea’ to assist him. So this little girl is made of all manner of engineered parts, but she looks great, much to Nurse Chapel’s obvious disgust.
As the second mad scientist that the Enterprise crew encounters, Dr. Korby is patently bonkers. His excuse for killing people is to avoid people misunderstanding his work, although he resists the temptation to use the phrase ‘collateral damage’.
Another dimension to this is that everyone they meet ultimately turns out to be an android. We first see the enormous Ruk, played by Ted Cassidy, most famous for being Lurch in The Addams Family, who then kills both of the red shirts. Then we meet Dr. Brown, who is shot by Kirk, revealing he’s an android. Andrea is introduced as being one, and once captured, Korby makes a copy of Kirk that they then send back to the Enterprise to impersonate him.
This is a really entertaining story, which twists and turns on what happened to the ‘old ones’ who originally made Ruk, and how the new androids that Korby has created can’t handle human emotions. It plays somewhat like a serious version of the scene where Austin Powers defeats the fembots, except here Kirk’s impact is to get them killing each other rather than to have smoke come out of their jomblies and their heads exploding. When Kirk is being duplicated he keeps repeating something abusive he might say to Spock, which then the android version of him repeats, tipping Spock off that it’s not actually him.
Ultimately, we find out that even Korby is an android, and when Andrea tries to kiss him he realises the impossibility of mechanoid love and vaporises both of them with an old-style phaser.
There are, however, a few parts that, in retrospect, don’t make much sense. At one point Kirk gets free from his captors and threatens to kill Korby using a length of cord around his neck. Korby chokes and Rok allows Kirk to escape so he’ll release Korby. But surely Rok knows that Kirk wasn’t even really hurting Korby or even a threat?
Other strangeness occurs with the turntable where they replicate Kirk, which seems to wobble excessively the faster they rotate it. But to the production team’s credit, I think the scenes where the two Kirks meet each other are very well done, considering the technical limitations of the time and budget.
The remastered version of this show has some very cool external shots of the Enterprise, but relatively little else is altered.
For trivia fans, this is actually the first episode where a ‘red shirt’ dies, although it certainly wasn’t the last. Ted Cassidy would reappear in Arena, where he and Shatner would work more on their fight scenes, and he also provided the puppet voice of Balock in The Corbomite Maneuver. In this story his size and strength compared to Shatner is well exploited, throwing him around like a doll, and he takes up some almost comic strip posses when preparing to attack.
The writing credits are given to Robert Bloch who wrote crime, horror and science fiction (including The Cabinet Of Caligari) during his long career. For Trek he created three stories, the other two being Wolf In The Fold and Catspaw. For director James Goldstone this was his second and final gig on the series, having also directed the second pilot.
Looking at this story in the bigger context, it established Majel Barrett’s Nurse Chapel as a character who did more than hang around sickbay, although in this she does relatively little more than give Sherry Jackson (Andrea) death stares. In some scenes her reaction is so obvious that they could have added subtitles with the word ‘bitch!’ repeatedly displayed. Despite this start Majel Barrett would ultimately notch up 28 of the 79 original shows, and this was her big break in the series.
Next up is Miri, where Kirk would run into some difficult children, one of which was actually his own!