“What Are Little Girls Made Of?”
Written by Robert Bloch
Directed by James Goldstone
Season 1, Episode 9
Production episode 6149-10
Original air date: October 20, 1966
Captain’s log. The Enterprise arrives at Exo III. They’re in search of Roger Korby, an archeologist who hasn’t been heard from in five years. It turns out that Chapel is his fiancée, and she gave up her career in bio-research to sign onto a starship as a nurse in the hopes of finding him. Two previous expeditions have failed to find him—but Uhura gets a response to her signal from Korby himself. The doctor insists that Kirk beam down alone, but when Kirk reveals that Chapel is on board, he is thrilled, and agrees to have them both transport to a cavern on the surface, one that’s protected from the sub-zero temperatures by a transparency.
There’s no one to greet them, so Kirk orders Spock to beam down two security guards, Mathews and Rayburn, as a precaution. Rayburn stays at the landing site while Mathews joins Kirk and Chapel to search for Korby in the caverns. At one point Chapel almost falls down a deep chasm. They move forward to find Korby’s assistant, Brown. Then behind them, Mathews screams, and they run back to discover that he’s fallen down the chasm. (In the background, we see a big bald guy sneaking away.) Brown seems oddly unconcerned about Mathews, and it takes him a second to acknowledge Chapel, which she finds weird.
Kirk informs Rayburn that Mathews is dead and orders him to report to the Enterprise and have a security team standing by. As soon as Rayburn signs off, and before he can contact the ship, the big bald guy kills him, too.
Brown informs them that Korby has discovered that the civilization on Exo III moved underground after their sun started to cool. They arrive at a well-appointed sitting room, where they meet the scantily clad Andrea (at whose presence Chapel is nonplussed) and eventually Korby himself, who greets Chapel with a sloppy wet kiss.
However, when Kirk can’t get through to Rayburn and tries to contact the ship, Brown pulls a phaser on him. Andrea tries to disarm Kirk on Korby’s order. She fails, and Kirk fires on Brown—revealing him to be an android. The big bald guy shows up and throws Kirk into the wall. Korby identifies him as Ruk, and he takes Kirk’s communicator and checks in with Spock while doing a perfect impersonation of Kirk’s voice.
Ruk is an android and can not only impersonate people, he also protects Korby and his work. He was tending the machinery when Korby and his team arrived, ever since the native population died out. Korby admits that Ruk killed both Mathews and Rayburn. Korby says he needs twenty-four hours to convince Kirk of the importance of his work before he’ll allow Kirk to report it to anyone else. He says it’s for fear of lay people’s ignorance sabotaging his discovery. However, as a make-good gesture, Korby orders Ruk to obey Chapel’s orders as if they were Korby’s own.
Korby used the knowledge gained from studying Ruk to build Brown. Kirk decides that Korby’s completely binky-bonkers, cluck-cluck, gibber-gibber, my-old-man’s-a-mushroom nuts, and tries to run away, getting thrown across the room by Ruk for his troubles.
Andrea goes to see Chapel, asking why the nurse is unhappy when she’s been reunited with her fiancé. Andrea also notices that Chapel’s upset when she calls Korby by his first name—at which point Korby enters with Ruk and Kirk and orders her to refer to him formally moving forward.
Andrea reveals that she is also an android. On Korby’s orders, she kisses Kirk, then slaps him. Korby insists that he has no feelings for her and she has no capability of feeling anything. (This, of course, doesn’t preclude other possibilities, something that the look on Chapel’s face indicates she’s fully aware of. Besides, someone taught Andrea how to kiss…)
Korby has Ruk strip Kirk down and put him on a roundabout-thingie, and Ruk places a dummy of some kind on the other side of it. Andrea starts the machine up, and it starts to whirl around like a centrifuge.
Chapel is appalled—the Korby she knew wouldn’t hurt a fly, much less do all these awful things, but Korby insists that just beaming up to the ship with Brown and Andrea and Ruk would make them all figures of curiosity and gossip.
When the whirligig stops turning, there are two Kirks. Chapel can’t tell them apart. Korby explains that the general organs are in place, and then are altered to duplicate the subject. The machine also makes a copy of Kirk’s mind. Just as Korby starts that process, Kirk starts muttering, “Mind your own business, Spock—I’m sick of your half-breed interference” over and over.
Andrea serves lunch to Chapel and Kirk. Chapel and Kirk discuss Korby—Chapel is concerned about him, but she knows him well enough to say that he’s sane. Kirk then asks what she’d do if he gave her a direct order to betray him. She begs him not to force that choice on her—she’d rather he push her off the ledge where Mathews died.
Only then does “Kirk” reveal that he’s the android. Korby then enters with Ruk and the real Kirk, who’s now wearing one of the green-and-blue jumpsuits that Korby, Brown, and Andrea are all wearing variations of. Kirk tests the android’s memory with questions about his brother.
Korby explains that transferring humans to android bodies can grant humanity immortality. No more death, no more hatred, no more jealousy. Kirk points out that that also means no more love, no more passion, no more sentiment.
Kirk manages to escape by threatening Korby with rope he pulls off the fancy wooden chair he’s sitting on. Ruk goes after him; Chapel, appalled at what Ruk might do, goes after Ruk. Kirk arms himself with a stalactite that doesn’t look at all like a giant dildo. (It totally looks like a giant dildo…) Kirk hits Ruk with the stalactite, which proves futile, and Ruk knocks him over a cliff. Then, having been ordered by Chapel not to harm Kirk, Ruk pulls him up.
Meanwhile, the android Kirk has beamed aboard the Enterprise in order to go into the safe in the captain’s quarters and take out the documents showing their next several missions. Korby is looking for a planet to start surreptitiously seeding androids. When Spock tries to talk to him, the android bellows, “Mind your own business, Spock—I’m sick of your half-breed interference!” Realizing that something is up, Spock orders a security detail to stand by and beam down with him after the captain has returned to the surface.
When Andrea comes to take Kirk’s dinner tray away, he orders her to kiss him. She does, then starts to slap him. He stops her and then gives her a real kiss—a manly, Kirk-like kiss. She’s all verklempt, saying she’s not programmed for him.
She runs off, and Ruk keeps him from going after her. Ruk admits that the previous inhabitants of the world—“the old ones,” he calls them, ’cause he knows his Lovecraft—were too illogical. They started to fear the androids, and the androids became frustrated with their illogic, so they overcame their programming, as the need for survival outweighed all other considerations, and they wiped out the old ones.
Ruk remembers all this at Kirk’s prompting, which then causes Ruk to try to kill him, making it not one of Kirk’s better strategies—but then Korby and Chapel enter, and Ruk shifts his animus to the doctor for bringing the evil back. Korby is forced to phaser Ruk out of existence. Kirk then jumps Korby, which isn’t very effective, but in the scuffle, Korby’s artificial skin rips off, and he’s revealed to be an android.
Korby finally tells the truth. He was frozen, dying, having lost his legs to frostbite. All he had was his mind, and he was able to put his consciousness into the android body.
His ranting and raving is interrupted by an alarm—Spock’s landing party. He sends Andrea to deal with it. En route, Andrea sees the android Kirk and thinks he’s a) the real Kirk and b) the intruder Korby was talking about. She announces that she’ll kiss him. He refuses, as it’s illogical, so she shoots him. (Tough date…)
When she reports to Korby, she’s shocked to see the real Kirk. Kirk questions Korby’s perfect new world, considering that it involved Korby shooting Ruk and Andrea shooing the android Kirk. Kirk convinces Korby to hand over his phaser, but Andrea refuses, instead going to Korby, saying she loves him (I guess that’s who she was programmed for, surprise, surprise), and then kisses him, depressing the trigger on the weapon as she does so. They’re both vaporized.
Spock arrives to see only Kirk and Chapel, and the captain announces to his first officer that Korby was never there.
Back on the ship, Chapel decides that she will stay on the Enterprise as a nurse rather than go back to her career in bio-research, and Spock gives Kirk a hard time regarding his use of the term “halfbreed.”
Can’t we just reverse the polarity? The society on Exo III learned the secret of transferring human consciousness into robotic bodies, but the androids rebelled and killed the humans, as they were too illogical. Then Ruk stood around with his thumb up his ass for millennia until Korby showed up…
Fascinating. When Spock asks Chapel if she’s sure the voice they hear is Korby, Chapel just stares at him and asks, “Have you ever been engaged, Mr. Spock?” He doesn’t actually answer; the reasons for his reticence will become clear in “Amok Time.”
I’m a doctor not an escalator. This is one of only three non-pilot episodes in which McCoy does not appear, the others being “The Menagerie, Part II” and “Errand of Mercy.”
Hailing frequencies open. Uhura’s presence is limited to contacting Korby. Very exciting stuff.
Go put on a red shirt. Mathews and Rayburn have the odd distinction of being the first-ever redshirts. This is the first time that security guards have beamed down to the planet only to be killed not long after arrival. It’s sufficiently novel this early in the show that Kirk actually cares about the fact that it happened and continues to mention it throughout the episode.
No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. Given the way she’s dressed, and given how she responds to Kirk’s kiss—that she’s not programmed for him—it’s pretty obvious that Korby created Andrea as a sex toy for himself.
Channel open. “Eating is a pleasure, sir—unfortunately, one you will never know.”
“Perhaps. But I will never starve, sir.”
Kirk and his android duplicate pointing out the pros and cons of mechanical life.
Welcome aboard. Majel Barrett firmly establishes Chapel as recurring in this episode, which also establishes her last name (she was identified only as “Christine” in “The Naked Time”). The only other recurring regular in the episode is Nichelle Nichols as Uhura.
Ted Cassidy makes his second appearance, also his first one onscreen (and only time credited), as Ruk, having provided the voice of the fake Balok in “The Corbomite Maneuver.” He’ll be back as the voice of the Gorn captain in “Arena.”
Michael Strong plays Korby, Sherry Jackson plays Andrea, Harry Basch plays Brown, and Budd Albright and Vince Deadrick play the two redshirts.
Trivial matters: This is the first of three writer credits on the show for Robert Bloch, best known as the author of the novel Psycho, which was famously adapted into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. Bloch would go on to write two other horror-themed episodes, “Catspaw” and “Wolf in the Fold.” Bloch’s script was given a last-minute page-one rewrite by Gene Roddenberry, with new script pages coming in during filming, causing filming to go over by two days.
In Bloch’s original script, the Enterprise was hired by a wealthy socialite to find Korby. Roddenberry rewrote it to someone with more of an emotional connection to Korby, and further made that person the character played by his then-lover and later wife.
This episode reveals the existence of Kirk’s brother, George Samuel Kirk. Kirk is the only one who calls him “Sam,” and he, his wife, and three kids saw him off when he took command of the Enterprise. Sam, his wife Aurelan, and one of his kids, Peter, will be seen in “Operation: Annihilate!” His other two nephews are never seen onscreen, though they do play a role in the novel The Last Roundup by Christie Golden. Sam seeing Kirk off to command the ship was dramatized in Vonda N. McIntyre’s Enterprise: The First Adventure.
Kevin Ryan fleshed out the characters of Mathews and Rayburn in the Errand of Vengeance trilogy—among other things, that Mathews was a Klingon agent planted on the Enterprise. The two also appeared at Lee Kelso’s memorial service in the My Brother’s Keeper novel Constitution by Michael Jan Friedman. Friedman’s first-ever Trek novel was a sequel to this episode called Double Double.
Jeffrey Lang’s 2002 novel Immortal Coil was a look at the entirety of artificial intelligence in the Trek universe, including a more detailed look at Exo III and the fate of the old ones…
Budd Albright, who played Rayburn, also served as William Shatner’s body double in the episode.
Gene Roddenberry previewed Star Trek at the 24th World Science Fiction Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in September 1966, shortly before the show debuted on NBC. He showed “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and also hired a model to wear the costume Andrea wore in this episode. The latter was, by all accounts, a big hit.
To boldly go. “Dr. Korby was never here.” Every cliché and stereotype has its origins somewhere, and we get a couple of Trek’s biggest here, starting with the oh-so-expendable security guards, and continuing to Kirk using his rhetorical skills to make mechanized beings go blooey. In this case, he doesn’t so much make Ruk go on the fritz as remember what he did to the old ones.
I feel like Kirk made all the wrong arguments to Korby. Or at least made them backwards. Korby was speaking very generally when Kirk started comparing him to various despots. It isn’t until later that he mentions his plot to slowly introduce his androids into the population, covertly so no one will notice at first. That’s when his plan really starts to get oogy.
A lot of things in this episode don’t make sense, starting with the furniture—what, was all this wooden furniture with rope on it just lying around for thousands of years? And where’d the food come from, if there hadn’t been anybody on Exo III who ate food for ages and ages? And if Chapel had such a promising career in bio-research, why is she staying a nurse on the Enterprise? (Well, because she’s sleeping with the producer, but never mind…)
Worse, this is the first episode to lose the feel of the wider community of the Enterprise. It’s pretty much entirely the Kirk-and-Chapel show, with Spock’s role minimal, and Uhura’s even minimal-er. After all the buildup of Kirk planting the snotty comment in his android duplicate, that hint does no actual good—by the time Spock beams down, it’s all over. The Enterprise may as well be empty for all that anybody else on the ship matters.
The episode has its moments, from Michael Strong’s emotional performance as Korby—making the revelation that he’s a machine more powerful, especially given the flatter affect of Andrea and Brown—to Ted Cassidy’s voice and physicality making Ruk far deeper (er, so to speak) than written, to Sherry Jackson looking really hot in the outfit. But the episode could’ve done far better with its themes.
Warp factor rating: 5
Next week: “Dagger of the Mind”
Keith R.A. DeCandido’s latest story is “Down to the Waterline,” a story featuring Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet, and taking place in Key West, Florida. It involves nixies, scuba diving, rock and roll, the ghost of a wrecker captain, and the evils of spam filters. It’s available for free on Buzzy Mag online.