Star Trek TOS: Androids on the Road to Mutiny
Star Trek — The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 8
What Are Little Girls Made Of?
The episode began with the faint hope of finding a lost Dr. Roger Korby, who is the fiance to Nurse Chapel on Enterprise. Her ardor for the missing doc was papable, another nod to sorrow often created by the vastness of space.
Korby was found via voice transmission — the nurse was elated — but warned Kirk that his archeological finds on Exo III were grim. Mystery and treachery outside of the ship — another day at the office for Kirk.
Of course, Korby was not immediately present on the strange planet, setting up the obvious possibility for tomfoolery that Kirk would have to wrestle. Nothing is ever easy when the crew ventures outside of Enterprise.
Then, a spooky-as-hell bald thing debuted on-screen, injecting suspense and what-the-hellism in What Are Little Girls Made Of? And, the tall Halloweenish man was violent, so Kirk would inevitably be faced with a confrontation later — one likely riddled with empathy for the creature-man.
Oddly, an Enterprise security guard named Mathews fell into a bottomless pit on Korby’s planet, which inspired zero empathy from Korby’s assistant, Dr. Brown. A merchant of empathy, Kirk was not impressed with Brown’s aloof reaction. It’s a safe assumption that Kirk did enjoy his first few minutes on Exo III.
The episode flipped on its head when tensions flared, and Kirk fired on Brown, revealing mechanical innards, not blood. Kirk was no longer dealing with humans — or anything near it — so his machismo was vamped. Plus, the tall, bald Frankenstein began imitating his voice in communications back to Enterprise, which royally pissed him off.
So, what is Kirk up against? Androids — like the cellphones.
A beautiful Android named Andrea — who seemed fond of Dr. Korby — irked Chapel with her outwardly good looks. This is one of the first notable segments of jealousy through eight episodes — that is not helped by Andrea’s submissive tendencies toward Korby. Too, she was dressed in a stripper gown, an instant turn-off for a bride-to-be rediscovering her groom five years later.
The entire episode is a parable on the danger of machine intelligence over man’s, a theme later explored ad nauseam in science fiction. See: Terminator.
In an unoriginal twist, the writers chose to create two Kirks — again — just three episodes removed from The Enemy Within. Perhaps it would’ve been wise to give this a break and reintroduce the duality of Kirk in a later season.
The plot was resolved when Korby was exposed as a machine, too. Upon this predictable disclosure, Korby became desperate, pivoting to a pity story about his half-human, half-machine makeup. Kirk allotted Korby the chance to surrender his hubris, but machines are incapable of such decisions. Mutiny conquered the Androids as Andrea self-sacrificed, “killing” Korby — much like Elizabeth Dehner in Where No Man Has Gone Before.
Ruk — the hulkish behemoth — was the most memorable facet of What Are Little Girls Made Of, due to his looks and formidable presence. Although, the introduction of man vs. machines was a gigantic takeaway.
Oh, and Nurse Chapel probably underwent a defacto outer-space engagement breakup.
Themes: Man vs. Machine, Jealousy, Mutiny
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).