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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 7: What are Little Girls Made of

Enterprise searches for nurse Christine Chapel's old fiance, Dr. Roger Korby, on Exo III. He's a famous scientist whose archeology and translation revolutionized Earth's immunization work. Red shirted crew members die. Roger's assistant does not immediately recognize Chapel. but Korby greets Chapel with a kiss. They try to prevent Kirk's communication with the ship. Kirk rebels but a big bald guy, murderer of redshirts, captures Kirk--not before we learn Roger's assistant is an android.

Analysis with spoilers:
Kirk calls ship. At least, Ruk mimicking Kirk calls.  Ruk, an android of the old alien race, can mimick any voice. Lucky for Kirk, he got Kirby to obey Chapel's orders as well.

Chapel is jealous of Andrea, suspects her to be a geisha. Korby has Andrea kiss and slap Kirk to prove she has emotions. For Kirk, that doesn't explain why his crewmen are dead. Korby will explain by converting Kirk into an android (somehow Kirk doesn't throw up after being spun around)--same attitudes, memory, and behaviors. Korby says he can transfer even the soul so that humans can be immortal and eliminate the negative aspects of humanity. Kirk voices the idea that you'd lose positive human values.

Fans have pointed out the phallic symbol, the stalagtite he uses to attack Ruk. If so, Kirk unavoidably passes on his masculinity to a machine, indicating perhaps what may happen.

Android Kirk enters ship, calls Spock a half-breed, and orders to transport Kirby and his equipment. The real Kirk orders and forces a kiss on Andrea, and she shows confused emotions. As does Ruk, who doesn't want to keep the real Kirk alive. He explains the Old Ones died due to the androids having emotion and competition for survival. Kirk reminds Ruk of this competition and that Ruk should live over others. Ruk attacks Korby and Korby has to destroy. Kirk and Korby battle and Korby turns out to be an android. Korby suggests he might even be better as an android.

Korby orders Andrea to protect. She claims to want to kiss Kirk, but it's the android Kirk who refuses. She shoots him.

While Korby protests his humanity with an inkling that he's not completely human, Andrea goes to him and wants to kiss him. Korby shoots himself and Andrea.

I'm not sure this disproves Korby's claims.  His faulty memory, perhaps guilt over Andrea exposing him, shame in front of Chapel, and shooting himself and Andrea both--these seem to make a reasonable case that Korby is rather human, after all. I'm not sure about the consciousness/soul claim. How would you test such a thing?
  • Korby: Do you understand how a human converted into an android could be programmed for the better? 
  • Korby: It's still me, Christine. I'm in here.... Still the same, perhaps even better.
Robert Bloch, author of Psycho.

Ruk was a rather terrifying foe--size, baldness, yet intelligence and secret belligerence. Disconcerting villain.  Whoever did costumes knew what they were doing.

  1. First (of many) red-shirted crew to die.
  2. Kirk becomes a double again. See episode 5.
  3. Possible phallic symbol.
  4. First time (that I noticed) that we're given an explanation for the rotating crew. The Enterprise appears to take on and release crew frequently.

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