The Enterprise arrive at the planet Exo III to find a scientist, Dr. Roger Korby, who hasn’t been heard from in five years. Turns out he’s also Nurse Chapel’s fiance. Kirk and Spock don’t think he’s alive because two previous expeditions found no trace of him.
They must not have been looking very hard, though, because mere minutes after the Enterprise shows up, they get a transmission from the guy. Turns out he’s been living in some underground caverns.
Korby asks Kirk to come alone but when he hears Chapel he’s all lovey dovey and says of course she can come, too.
But when Kirk and Chapel get there, Korby is nowhere to be found. Two red-shirts come down to see if they can help figure out what’s going on.
Now is the time to bet on how much longer they’ll be with us.
Kirk leads Chapel along the narrow passageway by the hand, which makes sense because her outfit was not designed for caving Too bad he didn’t think to stick with the Red-Shirt #1, who gets pushed off a ledge into a bottomless pit by this massive bald guy with purple makeup that would have been amazing had this been a live-action version of the 1980s He-Man cartoon.
So they meet up with Korby and he and Chapel are clearly really happy to see each other but the rest of it is weird. There’s this super beautiful woman named Andrea who seems really territorial and Korby’s assistant, Brown, doesn’t recognize Chapel even though they’d met.
While they’re chatting, baldy (who we learn is named Ruk), grabs the other Red-Shirt who was guarding the cave entrance not very well.
Back to Kirk and the gang, Brown tries to stop Kirk from contacting the ship. In the ensuing firefight, Kirk shoots the guy and we find out he’s an android. Ruk busts in and grabs Kirk. Once he’s subdued, Ruk contacts Spock, imitating Kirk’s voice, letting us know he’s an android too.
Cut to Chapel and Andrea, who is basically wearing skimpy futuristic overalls. At this point I’m guessing she must also be an android because no human woman’s breasts could stay in that garment without significant engineering.
Korby comes out to explain things to Chapel, and orders Andrea not to call him Roger because it makes Chapel jealous (Yay! I was right and she is an android, which both Chapel and I find creepy). Trying to make Chapel feel better, Korby insists Andrea’s a machine and not capable of emotional involvement. He orders Andrea to kiss Kirk and then slap him, because that’s less weird. When Kirk says he does not like what’s going on AT ALL, Korby has finally had enough and they cart him off.
So, mad scientist cred 90% established, Roger then takes them to a room where he is making a Kirk android with all of Kirk’s physiological and thought patterns. This is accomplished by spinning the real Kirk and what looks to be a papier mache dummy on a giant table really fast.
Later, Andrea brings either real or fake Kirk to dinner with Chapel. She assumes he’s real even though he’s fishing for her to commit to betraying Korby. She says she couldn’t possibly make that choice between her fiance and her ship, and would rather be pushed off the precipice where Matthews died.
At this point Korby brings in real Kirk and Chapel is (disappointingly) surprised. Korby doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong: he just wants to make everyone immortal by making android copies of them. No big deal, really!
Real Kirk, tied to a chair, likens Korby to a bunch of crazy dictators in human history who were bent on conquest and improvement of the species. He then abruptly switches tactics and pretends to agree with Korby while he slowly slips out of his bonds.
Suddenly he breaks free and attacks Korby as he makes a run for it, away from Ruk. Chapel is trying to see if Korby is okay, because love is more important than the fact that this guy wants to found a master race of robots, perhaps each and every one in sexy overalls.
Kirk (real Kirk) grabs a giant phallic stalactite to use as a weapon but even this is no match for Ruk’s strength and Kirk finds himself dangling from the edge of the same cliff Matthews died on. He is quickly taken back into captivity. It’s too bad because it means Kirk will never get to tell the story of how he bludgeoned the evil alien to death with this:
Back in the caverns, having failed to fight his way out, real Kirk resorts to his tactic of choice #2: seduction. Kirk gets Andrea to make out with him but she pulls away, saying: “Not…programmed for you,” implying she’s programmed for Korby. Thus, all of us who thought he was a creep earlier are vindicated.
Time for Plan C: Kirk reasons with a machine. He tells Ruk that Korby is creating a situation where machines will have to cope with so many illogical and imperfect human thoughts and emotions that it will put them in jeopardy. When Korby comes in, Ruk stands up to him and Korby vaporizes him.
Kirk gets his hands on a phaser and shoots him in the hand. Chapel is shocked because it turns out Korby…is an android too! Korby tells Andrea to kill Kirk but she kills android Kirk by accident.
Kirk and Chapel’s best appeals to the Korby’s remaining human qualities convince him to hand over his weapon but Andrea won’t give hers over. She goes to Korby, repeating, “love you, kiss you…” and then embraces him and vaporizes both of them.
What we learn from this episode
– If a scientist is stranded on a planet for long enough, they will inevitably become delusional and try to kill you
– Even machines can’t fully resist Kirk’s kisses
Bechdel-Wallace Test Results:
Fail. Chapel and Andrea talk, but clearly only about men.