Here we are at episode seven of Season One and certain trends are already appearing. Hopefully this will allow me to formulate a number of postulates as I did with the Twilight Zone. For instance, whenever Kirk is replicated either by transporter mishap or incursion into an alternate universe or by action of a mad scientist hilarity is bound to ensue.
And such is the case in this episode. The Enterprise is sent to a frigid ice world to locate Dr. Roger Korby who is not only the Louis Pasteur of archaeological medicine but is also Nurse Chapel’s fiancé. In fact, mention of Korby’s preeminence as a scientist elicits the first utterance of the dreaded phrase, “his textbook was required reading at the Academy.” Now we’re never told why a military officer needs to be versed in archeological medicine and in fact we never really find out what the hell archeological medicine is. Anyway, by the fact that Nurse Chapel is his fiancée we know this guy is a loser.
When they reach orbit Korby communicates to them that they are to only send Captain Kirk down alone. But when he finds out the that Chapel is aboard; he allows that she should join the captain. We find out that Korby is really a robot with Korby’s mind implanted in it. He is assisted by other humaniform robots who were created by a robot that was left by the “Old Ones.” This robot is named Ruk and is played by Ted Cassidy who was Lurch on the original Addams Family show from the 1960s.
Korby’s evil plan is to substitute robots for humans throughout the galaxy and allow them to assume control and thus bring forth a logical new civilization. Of course, it swiftly devolves into a murder spree wherein red shirt after red shirt is killed by Ruk. To put this plan into action Korby duplicates Kirk with a twin robot.
And here the hilarity ensues. Kirk is naked on a spinning table with only a metal console hiding his nethers. The other side of the table has a sort of formless dummy that is the future home of Kirk’s mind in Robot Kirk. As his mind is being copied into the Robot Kirk, Meat Kirk keeps repeating over and over, “Mind your own business, Mr. Spock. I’m sick of your half-breed interference!” Meat Kirk is implanting this racial hatred in the mind of Robot Kirk to tip Spock off that Meat Kirk had been replaced. We are treated to the Kirks verbally with sparring with each other. I’ll have to say Robot Kirk seemed to get the better of it.
One of the robots is Andrea. She is a very attractive young woman wearing a form fitting and meager outfit that improves the show substantially. Nurse Chapel’s reaction to Andrea’s relation to Roger Korby is very entertaining. When he assures Chapel that Andrea is just a robot and there cannot be any question of an emotional attachment Nurse Chapel does not appear either convinced or comforted by the story. Later on, Meat Kirk is able to overcome Andrea’s lack of emotional or sexual capability by vigorous kissing. She is somehow transformed into a woman and when later on Robot Kirk refuses her romantic advances, mistaking him for Meat Kirk and resenting his refusal, she disintegrates Robot Kirk with a phaser.
Finally, when it is revealed to Nurse Chapel that Roger is a robot and she rejects him for not being human. He despairs. And when Andrea then turns her romantic attention to Roger and kisses him Roger triggers the phaser and disintegrates himself and Andrea together. So sad.
Okay, this is a lot of stuff. Nurse Chapel is one of the really awful parts of Star Trek. She always has some horrific hairdo or wig, she’s kind of homely and she’s a terrible actress whose character is always annoying. But when she’s jealous of Andrea and angry at Roger it’s kind of hilarious.
Kirk has one pretty good shoulder roll in the episode and Ruk does pick Kirk up and pins him on the top of a wall at one point. And passionate Meat Kirk grappling with Andrea and reprogramming her with his Kirk lust is funny. And when she disintegrates Robot Kirk for spurning her that was funny too. But all in all, naked Kirk spinning around at two hundred rpm is probably the highlight of the show.
As a story it’s passingly interesting. Robert Bloch, the writer of Psycho wrote this episode so it’s not completely boring. In terms of mockery this is one of the best. For those two measures of the value of the show I will institute a binary marking scale and to give it a pseudoscientific aura I’ll use numbers instead of letters. In each case the value is out of a possible 10. This is a 5//9.