What Are Little Girls Made Of? (Star Trek: The Original Series) Review

He really knows how to push her buttons.

He really knows how to push her buttons.

Editor’s note: This review is part of an ongoing series by guest lead blogger, Joshua, who will view and review the Star Trek Original Series.  

Episode: What Are Little Girls Made Of? — Season 1, Episode 7 (1966)

Director: James Goldstone

Writer: Robert Bloch

The Enterprise travels to planet Exo III in search of exobiologist Dr. Roger Corby, the “Louis Pasteur of archaeological medicine.” Along for the ride is Nurse Christine Chapel (played by series stalwart Majel Barrett[1]), since she and Corby have been affianced for the last seven years. Soon Captain Kirk and Chapel learn that Dr. Corby has discovered an ancient alien technology allowing him to upload human consciousness into androids. Corby has nefarious plans to secretly infiltrate these copies into the Federation, starting with Kirk.

Dr. Corby also keeps an extra android around named Andrea (Sherry Jackson), but without a human consciousness. When Chapel asks exactly what she’s for, Corby clarifies that there’s no need for jealousy: Andrea has no emotions and so doesn’t constitute an emotional attachment. This is exobiologist speak for “Baby, please!  It isn’t serious –  I just use her to fulfill my sexual needs. You’re the one I love. Now go fix papa a highball.”

Andrea is the weak point in Corby’s plan. First, Kirk teaches her to have emotions through the magic of assault-kissing. Later, when she demands duplicate-Kirk kiss her and he refuses, she smokes him with a phaser.[2]  This is actually a fascinating premise that the franchise will illustrate throughout its many series incarnations.  Sentient beings in the Star Trek universe tend toward love. Again and again, properly alien motivations and plans are compromised by the explicit inability of thinking creatures to resist loving others. Only truly malign entities lack this capacity.

The other weak point in Corby’s plan is the gigantic OEM android Ruk (Ted Cassidy, moving like a goddamn cat in spite of his size). Ruk still remembers “The Old Ones,”[3] the original inhabitants of Exo III whom he and his android kin were forced to destroy in self-defense. Kirk manages to convince this hyper-intelligent machine that Corby represents a similar existential threat. Ruk is much better at killing red shirts than he is at parsing Kirk’s logic, and Corby is forced to zap him.

Series fans will want to know if Kirk solves this scenario with punching, and while he makes the attempt, Corby’s real downfall arrives in the revelation that he himself is synthetic! In trying to convince Nurse Chapel that it doesn’t matter, it becomes apparent that something critical has been lost in the translation to his alien, immortal form. Double suicide with Andrea is the only answer?

Let’s take a moment to pour one out for Mathews (Vince Deadrick, Sr.) and Rayburn (Budd Albright), the first in the long red line of fungible security personnel to get straight-up murdered owing to command incompetence.[4]  Gentlemen, you deserved better than 1) being thrown into a hole and 2) being smothered by Lurch from The Adams Family. We salute you!

[1]     Serious viewers will remember her as “Number One,” the first officer in the original pilot. Gene Roddenberry will remember her as his second wife.

[2]      Anytime James T. Kirk refers to kissing as “irrelevant,” it’s safe to assume you’re talking to some kind of netherworld doppelganger.

[3] Only the first explicit Lovecraft reference in this episode!

[4]     Deadrick went on to a 40 year career as a Hollywood stuntman, doubling for such distinguished figures as Steve McQueen and Lee Majors. His most recent credit places him doing stunts in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl as recently as 2003Albright also spent a couple of decades doing stunts, though he left the business in the ’70s to become a journalist and screenwriter.


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Filed under Childhood Memories, Star Trek Original Series

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