Director: James Goldstone
Writer: Robert Bloch
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Michael Strong, Sherry Jackson, Ted Cassidy, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols, Harry Basch, Vince Deadrick, and Budd Albright
Composer: Fred Steiner
Air Date: 10/20/1966
Production #: 6149-10
The Enterprise travels to Exo III and locates the presumably deceased Roger Korby (Michael Strong), a renowned scientist and beau of Nurse Christine Chapel. Upon arriving on the planet, Captain Kirk becomes a pawn in Korby’s diabolical scheme to replace emotional, intelligent lifeforms with androids of a purely logical disposition. Only Kirk’s ability to manipulate Ruk (Ted Cassidy)—a towering android built by the native inhabitants of Exo III—and Andrea (Sherry Jackson), a female android, can prevent Korby from carrying out his intentions.
The first episode of Star Trek to feature a redshirt death, “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” should appeal to fans of cerebral science fiction. Especially compelling are the experiments of Dr. Korby, which offer a unique and memorable twist on the Frankenstein legend.
Writer Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, deserves praise for establishing a highly tense atmosphere befitting the predicament of Kirk and Chapel. Particularly suspenseful is the chase sequence involving Ruk and Kirk, wherein the latter character must rely (albeit unsuccessfully) on ingenuity alone while attempting to outmaneuver his physically superior opponent.
At one point, Korby manufactures a duplicate of Kirk in order to gain control of the Enterprise. It should be noted that William Shatner portrayed said duplicate with an air of subtlety, thereby strengthening the credibility of a Captain Kirk clone assuming the place of his original self. (The same cannot be said of Shatner’s performance in “The Enemy Within,” which contains a most unconvincing depiction of an ill-tempered Kirk imposter.)
When approaching Exo III, Nurse Chapel claims to know (at least intuitively) that her beloved fiancé is alive on the planet’s surface. In a prior episode, however, Chapel expresses her affection for Spock while intoxicated by the Psi 2000 virus—a continuity flaw that may prevent viewers from accepting a key aspect of Bloch’s premise, i.e. that Chapel had remained faithful to Korby during his five-year absence, thus explaining her expression of joy upon being reunited with him.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Though slightly underdeveloped, “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” introduces a fascinating concept that many science fiction shows and movies (e.g. Blade Runner) would later explore in tremendous detail. Specifically, Korby’s experimentation with androids and subsequent change in personality raise the question, if only implicitly, of whether a human being could continue existing as such when “separated” from an organic host body. (The answer to this question is left somewhat ambiguous, with the Korby android maintaining certain emotions, e.g. love for Christine, despite no longer possessing an ethical compass to guide his logical pursuits.)
“What Are Little Girls Made Of?” should be commended for its thought-provoking subject matter. Also worth noting are Ruk’s interactions with Kirk, who, for the first time in the original series, manages to thwart the will of a malevolent android/computer by use of argumentation.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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