30 March 2015

You wait ages for a redshirt to die... (Review: 'Star Trek' 1.7, "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

And then two die at once! Two guys called Matthews and Rayburn get killed by a big hulk of an android and thus play a small part in the history of Star Trek.

The seventh episode of this show sees Kirk and Nurse Christine Chapel beam down to the planet Exo III, home to a long dead civilisation and the latter's missing fiancé, galaxy-renowned scientist Dr. Roger Corby. Who unfortunately has gone rather mad and likes androids...

Very much a Kirk vehicle (he makes some frankly brilliant moves in this one), this is also a discussion of artificial intelligence and the dangers within, with themes that would crop up in many another work after this. There are also a couple of twists that I really should have seen coming, but still feel fresh and dramatic.

This marks the debut of dead redshirts and most notably Nurse Chapel. The latter is played by Majel Barrett, who would later marry Gene Roddenberry and become known as "The First Lady of Star Trek" - contributing all the way up to the first Abrams movie, dying of leukaemia before it was released. She's definitely got a very 'floaty' voice, although I admit to not being over-struck by her performance here.

What many people, especially those of the woman-loving persuasion, is 'Andrea', whose two crossed strips of material for a top outfit is William Theiss' most famous creation by a good parsec or two. I wonder how many takes it took for the actors to deliver their lines dealing with that in their eyeline.

Equally striking is the very big android, Ruk (played by Ted Cassidy, best known as Lurch in The Addams Family) whose outfit, below, is only beaten to this episode's Most Unintentionally Hilarious Thing by Kirk trying to hit him with a very phallic looking rock.

Last but not least, there's a scene involving android creation that wouldn't look out of place in a music video and if it hasn't inspired one, I'd be very surprised.

[A small note here. While I am trying not to read up on future episodes, ancillary research into actors etc. on Memory Alpha may result my getting slightly spoiled. I do not yet know when the Klingons turn up and want that to remain a surprise]


A strong episode that still stands the test of time; although I'm not inclined to call it excellent.

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