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Recap / Star Trek S1 E7 "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

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Left to right: Chapel, Andrea, Ruk and Korby.

Original air date: October 20, 1966

The Enterprise arrives at the planet Exo III, from which the last report from archeologist Dr. Richard Korby was transmitted five years before. Korby allows Kirk and Nurse Chapel, his former fiancee, to beam down. There they discover that Korby has been working with machinery left behind by the previous inhabitants of the planet, allowing him to become a master of robotics. But his extraordinary behavior, and requests for the resources he will need to continue his work, lead Kirk to believe he may have gone insane.

Best remembered as the one where Kirk grasps a phallic rock firmly in preparation to use it to strike a large, masculine opponent.

What Are Little Tropes Made Of?:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The episode features an extinct civilization who were wiped out by their own androids, not because the androids rebelled (and indeed, they were perfectly content to serve), but because the civilization was so afraid of this trope that they preemptively declared war on the androids, who were designed to be both physically and mentally superior to their creators. The androids won. Ruk apparently kills the two redshirts on his own initiative, and is clearly reluctant to obey some of the orders he's given. Kirk invokes this trope to defeat the Villain of the Week, who happens to be the androids' new master, by sowing fear among the androids that it's inevitable that their masters will turn against them.
  • The Apple Falls Far: Chapel nearly falls off the ledge, and we hear the sound of a rock tumbling a long way down. Then Matthews is pushed in by Ruk, and Kirk would have gone the same way if Ruk hadn't obeyed Chapel's orders not to kill him.
  • As You Know:
    Spock: Ship's record banks show little we don't already know about this planet, Captain. (proceeds to reveal it anyway)
  • Bald of Evil: Ruk.
  • Bluff the Imposter: Kirk tries doing this with his double, but it's got a full record of all his memories, so it doesn't work.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Part of Korby's logic bomb is that he casually killed Ruk off, dismissing him as Just a Machine. Only Korby is also an android now, and Andrea starts to show the beginning of emotions. So either the original Dr. Korby had some blind spots in his morality, or Robo!Korby is an imperfect android copy of the original that merely thinks it's Dr. Korby.
  • Brain Uploading: Dr. Korby can create a robotic clone of a person where the consciousness is preserved in the robot body, and in fact has uploaded himself to a robotic body.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Android Kirk wears Kirk's uniform to impersonate him, while the real Kirk is given a green and blue jumpsuit. Even then, Andrea mistakes android Kirk for the real one and disintegrates him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Kirk has no problem grabbing Andrea as a Human Shield; this is before the first Robotic Reveal, so he still thinks she's a normal woman. However, he discards her the moment he's close to cover.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Kirk is in a Literal Cliffhanger, and Ruk hasn't acknowledged Chapel's order that he not be killed, making it look like he's going to finish our hero off. However, after the ad break, he pulls Kirk to safety instead.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: Compare the coveralls that Korby and Brown are wearing to the outfit worn by Andrea. It's hardly surprising that Chapel is suspicious of her fiance's motives.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: This seems to be the case here, but it's unclear. For example, when robo-Korby tries suggesting tests to prove that he's really the same old Korby, he can't think of anything not obviously robotic in nature, yet this fact seems to make him upset. In general, certain elements of humanity seem impossible for Korby's robots, though they may not necessarily know which. Korby tried to cling to his love for Chapel, but is Driven to Suicide once it's obvious Andrea felt love for him. Chapel's retort to Korby sums it up. The real Korby would not have engaged in kidnappings or murder, implying that what robotization removes is morality.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This is the only episode that prominently features Nurse Chapel.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Korby, forced to face his lack of humanity and artificial nature, distintegrates both himself and Andrea in the episode's climax.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Inside Star Trek: The Real Story tells of how during filming, William Shatner took guest star Sherry Jackson to lunch at the commissary while she was wearing a bathrobe, which she took off in the commissary to reveal she was in her costume. It did NOT go unnoticed.
  • Distressed Dude: Kirk has a bad ten minutes of it; grabbed while trying to run away, cowers in the corner, has the Standard Female Grab Area done to him, is kissed and slapped while being restrained, and stripped naked (instead of just his shirt like normal) and strapped into a machine to be replicated.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: When the android Kirk calls him an interfering half-breed, Spock visibly withdraws into his Vulcan shell. Given that he soon afterwards leads a security team to look for Kirk and Chapel, he realized immediately or soon thereafter that this couldn't be his Captain, but it still hurt to have a duplicate of his best friend target one of his major insecurities.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Kirk tries to sic Ruk on Korby, but his hopes are dashed when the latter produces a phaser and disintegrates him.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: Kirk compares Korby's ideas to those of "Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Hitler, Ferris, Maltuvis."
  • Fanservice: We're sure there's a very good reason the duplicator required Kirk to be naked (albeit with equipment over his naughty bits). And just look at Andrea's outfit!
  • Fantastic Racism: Kirk focuses on Spock's status as a half-breed when his mind was being copied for the android. Spock does admit to some dismay that Kirk would use such an unsophisticated phrase, but it's not clear if his feelings were otherwise hurt.
  • A Father to His Men: Kirk is distraught when Matthews falls to his death, and the first thing he demands of Korby is to know what happened to Rayburn.
  • First-Name Basis: Chapel isn't happy that Andrea calls her fiancée by his first name, so Korby orders her to call him Dr. Korby from then on.
  • The Fog of Ages: Ruk has been tending to the machines in the caverns for so long, he has forgotten what happened to his creators. The trouble stirred up by Kirk's presence reminds him.
  • Foreshadowing: While showing off his newly-created Kirk android, Korby states that, had he continued the process, he could have transferred Kirk's consciousness into it — "your soul, if you wish" — and that what he's offering humanity is the chance for immortality. Turns out, that's exactly what he did to himself, as his human body was dying from the cold.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Spock, of course, is half-human, half-Vulcan. This becomes relevant when Kirk tricks his clone into calling Spock a Half-Breed.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Given by Dr. Brown, and more justified than most as it's a long drop with no convenient ledges for those without Plot Armor.
  • Holy Backlight: While traipsing through the creepy cavern, they expect Dr. Korby to appear, but it's just Dr. Brown making a dramatic entrance.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Inverted. The first clue that there's something off with Dr. Brown is that he's very slow to recognize Christine and introduces himself as "Dr. Brown" after she had already referred to him by his name.
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: The Korby that they encounter is an android that's been imprinted with the real Korby's memories and personality. Over the course of the episode, it's made clear that the duplication wasn't perfect (certain personality traits have been warped and twisted), so we don't have a complete picture of what the real one was like.
  • The Infiltration: Korby's Evil Plan is to infiltrate human civilisation with robot duplicates; he justifies this as avoiding the 'emotional' backlash that would resist such a benevolent plan for mankind.
  • Insert Double: The closeup insert shot of Korby's hand reaching for his phaser and pulling the trigger, killing both him and Andrea, was filmed in post-production. Frank da Vinci served as Korby's hand double, while Jeannie Malone stood in for Andrea.
  • Ironic Name: Andrea means "Man." Specifically, it refers to a male as opposed to a human, making it doubly ironic.
  • Just a Machine: Korby argues this regarding Andrea to his clearly suspicious fiancée. He suffers a Villainous Breakdown (or in his case, a robotic breakdown) on discovering that Andrea does have feelings for him.
  • Living Legend: Dr. Korby, the "Pasteur" of archeological medicine, famous for his translation of the medical records from the Orion ruins, which are "required reading" at Starfleet Academy.
  • Logic Bomb: Kirk is in fine form this episode.
  • Meaningful Name: Andrea the androidnote 
  • Memory Trigger: Captain Kirk checks in on Federation researcher Roger Korby on planet Exo 3. Korby has discovered a device that can make a lifelike android duplicate of anyone, and insists on using it on Kirk. This leads to a fierce moral argument that triggers a memory in the alien machine tender Ruk. Ruk recalls that the same argument led to a Robot War with their creators, which made "the Old Ones" extinct. Ruk is also a robot, as is Roger Korby, and gets destroyed in the conflict.
  • Mr. Fanservice: It's never revealed how they got Kirk's clothes off (not that it's hard) and got him into the machine.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Andrea. Quite beautiful, and wearing a "top" that just looks like it's going to fall off if she so much as breathes wrong (though, being an android, it's questionable if she has to worry about that).
  • Murder-Suicide: The fate of Andrea and Korby during a Deadly Kiss.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That
    • Kirk and Spock clearly think that Korby is dead (two prior expeditions failed to find him) and are just going through the motions to make Chapel happy.
    • Brown informs Kirk that the redshirt who fell off the cliff could not have survived.
  • Not Himself: Kirk racially insults Spock, then asks him why he looks upset. That's enough to have Spock beam down with a landing party the moment 'Kirk' has left the ship.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Invoked. Kirk mentally focuses on a racist insult toward Spock as his robot duplicate is made, leading the otherwise flawless copy to say it to Spock and alert him that something's up.
  • Precursors: The "Old Ones," an ancient civilization, left Ruk and other technologies in the underground caverns.
  • Properly Paranoid: Kirk is told to Come Alone, so he has Chapel verify it's Korby's voice before beaming down with her. When Korby isn't there to greet him, he calls for two redshirts, and after one of them is killed, orders a security team put on standby. Unfortunately, the second redshirt is Neck Snapped before he can relay the order.
  • Red Shirt: Notable for being the first episode where the trope is fully in play, trope name and all: two red-dressed security officers are killed off within minutes after Kirk has them beamed down to provide backup. The first on-screen Red Shirt death would have to wait a while more, though.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Dr. Korby would cure humanity of all its problems if only he could change all humans into robots. Multiple times he tries to convince a non-cooperative Kirk of his vision.
  • Robot Girl: Andrea.
  • Robot Master: Korby.
  • Robotic Reveal: Twice, first when Brown is shot through the torso revealing his mechanical innards, and finally when Korby gets some skin scraped off the back of his hand, again revealing metal.
  • Robotic Undead: While the Exo-III androids aren't particularly slow, they do want to convert people to their kind.
  • "Second Law" My Ass!: Ruk is made to remember why his kind killed the Old Ones in apparent violation of the implied Robotic laws in that inimitable Ted Cassidy voice.
    "THAT was the equation. EXISTENCE!... SURVIVAL... must cancel out... programming!"
  • Secret Test of Character: The android Kirk is sent to test Chapel's loyalty to her fiancée versus Kirk. When she begs the captain not to make her choose between them, the 'captain' then reveals that he's an android. Korby then enters with the real Kirk.
  • Sex Bot: Hinted at — Chapel is clearly suspicious of Korby's motives in building a robot assistant in the shape of a half-dressed attractive young woman, and Korby doesn't help matters by rhapsodising about how life-like she is. (This is a case where broadcast standards may have made things worse, since Korby can't properly deny the implication that he's making time with the machine maid without making the implication explicit; all he's able to do is deny that he loves Andrea, which still leaves a number of unsavoury possibilities open. The dialogue makes it as clear as possible by having Chapel disgustedly refer to Andrea as a "geisha".) Korby is driven to suicide once Andrea makes it obvious that she has feelings for him.
    Korby: Remarkable, isn't she? Notice the lifelike pigmentation, the variation in skin tones. The flesh has warmth. There's even a pulse, physical sensation.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Andrea's outfit covers even less of her back than it does of her front.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: To demonstrate that Andrea is Just a Machine, he has her kiss then slap Kirk to show she's an Emotionless Girl either way. Kirk later kisses Andrea again, blocks her slap, then gives her a Big Damn Kiss.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Kirk gets into this with his robot duplicate.
    Kirk: Eating is a pleasure, sir. Unfortunately, one you will never know.
    Robot Kirk: Perhaps, but I will never starve, sir.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Kirk grabs Andrea this way to stop her leaving, but he also does the same to Ruk who has Super-Strength. Justified as it's just a way of gaining their attention.
  • Stock Footage: Kirk's walk to the turbolift from his quarters is stock footage from "The Man Trap". He does not have in his hand the command packet he had retrieved from his safe a moment before.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    Spock: Where's Doctor Korby?
    Kirk: Doctor Korby was never here.
  • Transhuman: Dr. Korby insists humans would be improved as androids that can be programmed without jealousy, greed, hate, deaths, deformities, and even fear replaced with joy.
  • Turing Test: Korby is horrified when he realizes that he can't prove he still has a human mind, and indeed when he tries to think of ways to prove it, he can only think of things a computer would do.
    Korby: I'm not a computer! Test me! Ask me to solve any— equate— transmit—
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The androids' creators started to distrust them, which ended up causing a destructive conflict.
    Ruk: The Old Ones. The ones who made us. They grew fearful of us. They began to turn us off.... It became necessary to destroy them.
  • Twinmaker: Dr. Korby uses the ancient civilization's technology to clone Kirk as a robot.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Kirk uses one while making for cover after Dr. Brown pulls a gun on him.
  • Vapor Wear: Andrea's skimpy top makes it clear that she can't be wearing a bra.
  • Voice Changeling: Ruk is able to imitate the voices of others; in particular, he uses Kirk's voice to radio the ship and tell Spock that everything's okay. Spock is able to notice something's amiss, but Ruk bluffs through anyhow.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Andrea's confusion about love, kissing, etc. is understandable when she keeps getting inconsistent instructions.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted; the deaths of Andrea and Korby are presented as unequivocally tragic (admittedly, partly because Chapel hadn't even begun to work through her feelings about Korby by that point). Meanwhile, Kirk emphatically describes them as being killed, rather than destroyed. Even Ruk's death, while potentially justified, is played as viciously ruthless on Korby's part.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: On the point of death from the harsh conditions, Korby had his mind uploaded to a robot duplicate.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: For some inexplicable reason, the android duplicator requires spinning like a carousel.
  • The World Is Not Ready: Cited by Korby as the reason Kirk should Come Alone. However, it isn't in the usual sense of a scientist deciding not to share this world-changing technology, but him secretly forcing it on humanity whether they want it or not.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: Kirk convinces Ruk that Korby is simply doing what Ruk's ancient masters did, as in threatening the androids' existence. Ruk exclaims, "That was the equation! Existence! Survival must cancel out programming."